Links 12/31/15

Wishing you all a great 2016! Sorry for being remiss re the holiday cheer and all that. I hope you all got some well deserved R&R. Your humble blogger sadly had a lot of distractions…..and not of the recreational sort. But some close allies chipped in over the holiday, and Lambert really REALLY soldiered away, so I did get help.

An apt misquotation can reveal the greater truth Financial Times (Scott)

Neil deGrasse Tyson: How can there be a God with ‘an absence of benevolence’ in the universe? Raw Story (furzy). One, humans are not “the universe.” For starters, dolphins are smart and also altruistic. Two, eternity is probably pretty dull unless you find a way to mix things up. What happens here is exciting if terrible, and might well be an E-Ticket ride. Three, I am highly confident that there are planes of existence under better management. Too bad humans are messing up a very nice planet.

Should we solar panel the Sahara desert? BBC (David L)

Brazilian women urged to avoid pregnancy due to virus TreeHugger (resilc)

A 3D-Printed Digital Sun Dial Is as Easy to Read as a Cheap Digital Watch Gizmodo

New York is finally installing its promised public gigabit Wi-Fi Verge. The US being the US, you know there is a catch, like snooping. One is that this will be used to get rid of pay phones and eventually stupid phones. I was shocked that the new Birmingham, Al airport has NO pay phones. My cell was out of juice when I got off the plane. Fortunately, a Delta agent let me use her phone (at the gate, not her cell). Similarly, eople who are traveling overseas often don’t want to use their phones due to ginormous foreign network charges.

Facebook faces IPO class-action lawsuits Financial Times

2015 Wraps

The Most Awful and Absurd Foreign Policy Quotes from 2015 American Conservative (resilc)

In Retrospect: A Year of Sharpening Contradictions Juan Cole

The New Extreme

Terror alert for New Year celebrations BBC

Brussels cancels New Year fireworks Financial Times

A powerful cyclone has pushed the North Pole 50 degrees above normal to melting point Business Insider (David L)

Star Wars and the Death of American Cinema Counterpunch. The much loved and missed sometimes NC contributor Andrew Dittmer pointed out that IMBD showed the biggest disparity evah between official reviews of the latest Star Wars movie and audience reviews, with many of the sort, “I’ve never written a review here before, but the reviews were completely wrong about this movie and here’s why” and then would go on to give an extremely articulate, detailed recap of why the movie was so God-awful. Andrew also gave some of the high points of the gushing NYT review and this bit in its penultimate paragraph:

….his most far-reaching accomplishment here is casting Mr. Isaac, Mr. Boyega and Ms. Ridley — a Latino, a black man and a white woman — in this juggernaut series. It’s too early to know how this will play out as the whole thing evolves, but the images of Mr. Boyega and Ms. Ridley each holding a lightsaber are among the most utopian moments in a Hollywood movie this year.:

Huh? Or as Andrew said, more broadly, “How did this happen?” meaning how were movie reviews bought on such a broad scale?


How a Nation of Tech Copycats Transformed Into a Hub for Innovation Wired

Europe’s bank rescue rules risk rebounding on governments FX Street

Belgian soldiers reportedly held orgy during Brussels terror lockdown. Slate

Rouble hit amid fears for Russia economy Financial Times

UK draws line under ‘banker bashing’ after scrapping assessment Financial Times


Syrian rebels’ political demands Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

How to Fight Jihadi Terrorism Project Syndicate (David L)

Mosul: Turkey’s Fulda Gap War on the Rocks (resilc)

Obama Administration Preparing Fresh Iran Sanctions Wall Street Journal

Return to Zaatari: A lost generation of Syrians in the making​ Globe and Mail. Resilc: “More terror fodder.”

Exclusive: Islamic State ruling aims to settle who can have sex with female slaves Reuters (resilc)

Iraqi forces still s–k. Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Inside Gitmo: America’s Shame Rolling Stone

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The FAA Shut Down Every Drone Club Within 30 Miles of Washington, DC Motherboard (resilc)

Federal judge: Drinking tea, shopping at a gardening store is probable cause for a SWAT raid on your home Washington Post (furzy)


Independents Could Be Decisive in Both New Hampshire Primaries New York Times (Lawrence R)

In the Year of Trump, the Joke Was On Us Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone (Chuck L)

Trump spokesperson who sported bullet necklace on CNN threatens to wear a fetus next time Raw Story (furzy)

Speaking Fees Meet Politics for Clintons Wall Street Journal. Li: “He wouldn’t even say he’d stop giving paid speeches if she became president!”

Can Trump’s Clinton-Sex-Scandal Revival Hurt Hillary? New York Magazine

Hillary Clinton’s Baffling Foreign-Policy Problem New Yorker. Resilc: “Because there is no there there.”

Elizabeth Warren is steering Democrats left without running for president. Slate

How to read a presidential candidate’s tax plan Tax Policy Center. Where’s Waldo? time! Count the neoliberal assumptions!

How ISIS Replaced Ebola as the Great Fear of the Election Cycle Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc). Yet more proof of a pet peeve: how bad most people are at statistics. You are at VASTLY higher odds of being killed by a drunk driver, yet you don’t see fear-mongering about driving.

Those Demanding Free Speech Limits to Fight ISIS Pose a Greater Threat to U.S. Than ISIS Intercept

TSA threatens to stop accepting driver’s licenses from nine states as of Jan 10 BoingBoing. I had not looked carefully at who gets hit first. There are a lot of very connected, very big political donors in CA. Will any of them decided to press for the TSA to stand down on this one?

Speaking of muscle in CA: Farmers Try Political Force to Open California’s Taps New York Times

Your TV is lying to you about who has abortions Vox (resilc). Click-bait-ish headline but good statistics and discussion of perception manipulation.

Warren Buffett Beats Elon Musk In Nevada OilPrice (resilc)

The Catastrophic Threat of Bail-Ins Sprott Money (Chuck L)

Fannie and Freddie Give Birth to New Mortgage Bond Wall Street Journal. F&F are late to the party. The post-crisis game has been to shift risk from banks and other government-backstopped investors to the public.

Puerto Rico Says It Will Default on Some Bonds New York Times

Puerto Rico Is Up In Arms Because The Obama Administration Basically Just Called It A Colony Huffington Post

Class Warfare

Piketty vs. Piketty Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate (David L)

US runaway teen delays extradition BBC

Highest Earners’ Tax Rates Rose Sharply in 2013 New York Times

The Opium Wars, Neoliberalism, and the Anthropocene LA Review of Books (guurst)

The keyboard and the spade New Statesman (Chuck L). Subhead: “In the overdeveloped West, technology is making us forget what it truly means to be human.”

Antidote du jour. Laura Bellamy “Making Faces” (Claudia):

giraffe links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    bahahahahaaaa UK Banker Bashing Comment:

    Kevin Alexanderman
    1 hour ago

    It was only a leftist witch hunt in the first place. Banks have money, leftists want to steal it, so leftists badmouth banks.

    Standard formular/teeheehee for crooks on the political left, always after something for nothing–no matter how much economic or personal damage they cause.
    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize”

  2. abynormal

    slap head…old news but significant considering:
    Monsanto and the Drug Policy Alliance are not the only entities leading the charge to regulate Cannabis through genetic engineering. As published in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Experimental Botany, Researchers from the College of Biological Science of the University of Minnesota have identified the genes in the Cannabis plant that produce tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC), claiming in a press release that it is “a first step toward engineering a drug-free Cannabis plant”. George Weiblen, an associate professor of plant biology and a co-author of the study, said “Cannabis genetics can contribute to better agriculture, medicine, and drug enforcement”.

    George Weiblen conducts his research under a permit granted by the DEA to import Cannabis from outside of the U.S. The two sources from which these imports come from are the Kenex corporation based in Ontario Canada and the HortaPharm corporation based in Amsterdam. These two corporations are two of the very few entities which have acquired a DEA permit to import Cannabis into the United States. The history and role of these corporations illustrate the potential of Genetic Engineering in the global Cannabis market.

    1. edmondo

      it is “a first step toward engineering a drug-free Cannabis plant”.

      I think I bought some of this years ago from someone on the street. It’s called oregano.

      1. craazyboy

        Smoking rope could make a big comeback!

        But there is an opportunity to fully merchandise this to the Millennia Generation. The Millennial Hippie Starter Kit.Tie dye T-shirt, of course, water bong, Donovan mp3 iTunes discount coupon, Lava Lamp ( can we get one with blue leds?) and some incense to cover up the smell of burning rope. $99 plus $15.99 shipping and handling.

        Tune out just like grandpa did!

        1. optimader

          water bong
          3D printed bong..

          Monsanto may squander a fortune on this, but I’m guessing there are quite a few “seedbanks” of unaltered maryjane seeds in private reserve to sow hither and yon that will perpetually pollute the genetically altered plants. It is an incredibly robust weed afterall.

          1. craazyboy

            Be a long time to exterminate the real stuff, worldwide.

            Zero THC plants aren’t really as dumb as it sounds. Hemp is about the highest density source of plant protein. Significantly better than soy beans. Plus, it grows like a weed. It’s used now as a body builder supplement and it’s more easily digested protein than whey supplements. Right now it’s grown and processed in Canada, because it’s illegal in the US due to our antiquated hemp/pot laws.

            So if we went into big time AG production on it, someday you could enjoy a hemp burger at McD’s instead of today’s soy burger.

            1. optimader

              I’m pretty sure THC is pretty straightforward to extract from the naturally occurring plant. But yeah, the potential applications for MJ has to have a breath that exceeds most any plant I can think of? Ironic, maybe that’s why it’s illegal, bumps into too many status quo products.

              1. craazyboy

                Occams Razor says we don’t need Monsanto in the formula….

                The Canadian hemp barely has any THC in it. Then I think they just use the stalk to grind up for protein powder. I’ve used it – no buzz – just went to the gym like normal. Didn’t stop for pizza or anything.

                But I read they can’t even grow near zero THC hemp in the US under existing law.

                1. optimader

                  My recollection is the food supplement is meal ground from seeds not the plant proper? If that’s accurate, I think it is also the case that the seeds really don’t have THC content in any case. Might be wrong on this, but thats my recollection of a conversation w/ a friend who is a prof of food science in cali (and a daily pot smoker for at least ~35 years).

                  1. craazyboy

                    Yep, your right. It’s the seeds they use. Just checked. I guess that makes the yield/acre sound less attractive.

                    For smoking, the buds were the good part, without the seeds. So I’d assume they just have really crappy hemp for eat’n.

                    Also, just remembered hashish is made by alcohol extraction. So you need something sort of similar to a moonshiner’s still if you ever want to turn your crop into hashish. Some explosion risk there. Plus, why bother if you can grow it at home.

                    1. hunkerdown

                      Why bother?!

                      a) Secondary recovery! Plenty of yummy remains on trim/shake/leaf. Use butane, rubbing alcohol or just old-fashioned Afghani rubbing to get the yummy off the rope. Then…

                      b) Solvents get passed through a chamber of whole leaf material and evaporated on a hot water bath, and the resultant brown “hash oil” can be scraped up then smoked and/or vaped. Powders get screened and pressed into the familiar “hash”.

                      c) It’s a good cheap way to make good neighbors in DC.

          1. ambrit

            Madame. There seems to be some, perhaps THC produced, confusion on the YouTube video producers part. The famous ship of 1912 was the RMS Titanic. The actually mentioned USS Titanic was supposedly the “mysterious” aircraft carrier sunk at Pearl Harbour on December 7th. The ‘mystery’ ship was an USN Airship Tender. “Ol Smoky” as it was affectionatly called gained the sobriquet due to its’ coal fired engines. This was due to the ships’ genesis as a converted WW1 captured German Imperial Fleet cruiser, the ‘Prinz Heinrich.’ The german armoured cruiser was ‘said’ to have been scrapped in 1920 for reasons of security. This was only a cover for the development of the US Navy’s seagoing airship program. When the Titanic was sunk at Pearl Harbour, and the subsequent disappearance of both the Rook and the Raven, her airship accompaniests, in a mysterious fog bank in the South Pacific, the program was quietly erased from official memory.

      2. cwaltz

        Someone should tell him that just because we have cannaboid receptors that it would still be classified as a drug without the THC. Adrenaline is naturally occurring in the body and it is still classified as medication(and carried in crash carts.)

    2. John Zelnicker

      @abynormal – The effort to genetically engineer cannabis is part of a strategy of Big Ag and Big Chemical (Dow, duPont, BASF, etc.) companies to find a useful version that they can patent and control. And charge outrageous prices for it.

      Hopefully, the cannabis botanists and chemists can create whatever strains are found to be useful by the well known techniques of grafting and cloning and without inserting non-cannabis genes. They have already produced a strain (Charlotte’s Web) that is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and very low in THC, that is very suitable for some children suffering intractable epilepsy.

      And, why would we need a “drug-free Cannabis”? The strains grown as hemp crops have almost undetectable levels of psychoactive components.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      For THC-free cannabis I would direct their attention to the ditches and corners of cornfields in the vicinity of South Bend, Indiana or Lincoln, Nebraska. No genetic legerdemain needed at all.

    4. different clue

      I suppose Monsanto’s interest in Cannabis at all means it is just a long step further to RoundUpReady Cannabis and Bt Cannabis and then multi-Stack Cannabis.

      Then the non-Corporate Cannabis grower will have to fend off extortionate accusations and shakedowns by Monsanto and etc. based on Alien Tresspasser FrankenGenes found in your Cannabis.

  3. Kevin Smith

    If you are a very big, very connected donor you very likely fly private, and would never have occasion to be hassled about your driver’s license by the TSA.

    1. optimader

      There are plenty of influential ppl flying in first class last I checked.
      Pushing this though my Babblefish Press Release Interpreter, I think this adds up to a desire to expand the TSA boarding pre-check program, which presently as a minimum requires fingerprints. So ok, the compromise will be “we’ll take your driver license if it’s corroborated by your fingerprints, please press firmly on the scanner”, then as that matures revealing the limitations of the technology, enter stage right ->retinal scans. Policies are best implemented incrementally.
      But hey, what do I know.

      1. Propertius

        You can have precheck without either Global Entry or Nexus, and hence without fingerprinting. In fact, precheck is so easy to get that it seems to have lost all usefulness (at many airports the precheck lines seem to be slower than the regular security lines).

  4. fresno dan

    I see where has a petition (which I signed) with regard to the police killing of Bettie Jones in Chicago by the police.
    “In a clarifying letter sent to the community in the wake of those protests, Ramsey said one of the reasons Feaster could not be charged was because Thomas had not died.”

    This is what passes for fine legal reasoning in CA. Incredible. If someone shoots you, or at least if a cop shoots you, no charges can be filed until your dead…
    As it turns out, the person shot by police has died. Now of course, the rationale for not charging the cop is it was an “accident” Double incredible.
    This was a man exiting from a roll over crash. Now the crash was due to a chase because the police thought he was drunk.

    Now a number of commentators (at right wing sites – they dissent with this ruling) state that the police should be held to a higher standard – which is exemplary consistency among people who believe that people who own and use guns should be well trained – trained in when and how to draw a weapon. And if they are not capable of that, they are at the VERY least derelict in their duty.

    My view is that the police should be held to the SAME STANDARD. Any civilian who had come upon an accident and is pointing a gun at a person exiting (UNARMED) from a crashed vehicle would certainly be charged with a crime. Why is a cop pointing a gun at a person exiting a crashed vehicle? If the standard is “any person a cop comes upon might have a gun” – than that is de facto no standard and it is open season upon us all (well, in fact it is pretty apparent that it is open season upon us all)

    Again, this particular incident won’t make national news because it is SO COMMON, but it is just another ongoing example of a police state – the police are doing what their masters want them to do, and therefore there are no charges because the police perform as expected. The police are immune from any true accountability and responsibility in their jobs, which appears to me, to have less and less and less to do with protecting the community.

      1. fresno dan

        A number of examples of Philly behaving exactly the same occur to me. As usual, “reform” is equivalent to Lucy telling Charlie Brown that she will not pull the football away.

  5. fresno dan

    Neil deGrasse Tyson: How can there be a God with ‘an absence of benevolence’ in the universe?

    It isn’t so much that I don’t believe in God as much as I believe that humans are incapable of even approaching imagining such an entity, and what such an entity would actually desire of us. I tire of humans, as with almost all things, using God for their own dubious purposes. This after all, is a species who has a not inconsiderable number of members, who without irony, pray to win football games*….

    * and wars! However, I think football is the more telling example. As bad as war is, at least it is of some import.
    The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we CAN imagine.
    J.B.S. Haldane

    God has an inordinate fondness for beetles

    1. diptherio

      God is a woman and her name is Eris…I thought this NDT guy was supposed to be smart (and yes, she does enjoy coleoptera).

      1. Jake Mudrosti

        I thought this NDT guy was supposed to be smart

        A few words about that…

        The noted climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan’s name has lately been appearing in media coverage as a noted advisor behind the Pope’s recent strongly worded calls for global climate action. Check the top of his faculty webpage — there’s a photo of him with the Pope. Is Ramanathan a self-described Hindu, by the way? The answer is yes.

        Long before the media started printing Ramanathan’s name, I linked to his faculty page in NC comments, to support my claim that large numbers of scientists explicitly reject Tyson’s demonstrably counterproductive antagonistic approach. Ask yourself whether Tyson has alerted his fans to the existence of Ramanathan or the continuing success of Ramanathan’s approach. The answer to that question partially explains (allow me to say this again here in NC comments) why many scientists regard Tyson as a relentlessly self-promoting ass.

        1. Plenue

          Must be weird and awkward for the Pope, to take advice from a guy he thinks is going to burn in hell for eternity.

            1. Plenue

              Then the Pope is a bad Catholic who doesn’t know his theology. One of the central conflicts between Catholicism and Protestantism is whether you get to heaven through good works or faith alone. Regardless, both a very clear that you still have to ‘accept Jesus into your heart’ first. The Pope can say what he wants, lots of Popes have said lots of things. Contrary to popular conception though, the Pope is not the sole setter of official Church doctrine. Saying atheists will go to heaven smacks of the kind of sanitizing that left-coast hippies have been engaged in for decades; ‘all religions reflect some part of a universal metaphysical truth, man’ type of rot. The Bible makes many specific claims, as do most central religious texts. I would encourage people to actually sit down and read the thing at least once.

              1. cwaltz

                Who says the Bible is the be all and end all of what God has had to say?

                Personally, I take more stock in the guy who prays to God today and asks him to guide him and aid him for the Greater Purpose than I do a bunch of people who can quote scripture and spend all their time obsessing over what God told men years ago instead of listening and trying to figure out what God is trying to tell THEM PERSONALLY today.

                So is it your belief then that an infant that dies before it is old enough to understand the concept of Jesus is condemned to spend time away from his Father? That’s a pretty harsh position(and somewhat contrary to what Jesus himself had to say on the subject to Matthew). Personally, the God I pray to is kinder than that. (and yes I’m aware that the Catholic Church has theorized that God has a limbo for infants but it is not officially Catholic doctrine any longer and their position now is to accept that different theologians can have different opinions on the subject.) So I guess the Catholic Church doesn’t know everything. I also think that it’s interesting that you feel that you have the right to judge the Pope as a “bad Catholic”, you might want to reread scripture yourself focusing on the texts that discuss judgment and what happens to those that choose to engage in it without mercy.

        2. Plenue

          He’s a pop science public relations hound. That’s literally his job as head of a planetarium. He’s certainly not an accomplished research scientist, and most science educators have made far more contributions to papers and are referenced by other scientists far more often than he has been. Basically, Tyson is what a failed career in astrophysics looks like. Failed as a scientist, at any rate. He earned his PhD and then never did much science with it after that. Brian Cox and his “Wonders of” series are much more worthy successors to Sagan and Cosmos.

          1. hidflect

            I feel much the same about Michio Kaku. Except x 100. A shameless panderer to junk science too, often musing about dubious concepts in an extreme manner. He does a disservice to real science.

      2. Oregoncharles

        “ERIS was the goddess or spirit (daimona) of strife, discord, contention and rivalry.”

        Like the Morrigan, ancient Irish goddess of war, imaged as a crow (carrion-eater). A VERY realistic warrior culture.

    2. lylo

      More importantly, why would anyone care to reprint an astronomer pontificating on philosophy?
      When did we forget that “scientist” does not mean expert on everything, or even their field?
      It’s like everything the man says or writes carries weight to some in this community, and I honestly do not understand why. So just throw up any link to anything he says, because it has to be cool.

      I could easily liken it to reading the economic policies of a playwright with no economic background and, because you agree with some of their cultural ideals, spouting them on like-minded websites for the sole purpose of “internet cred.”
      But I’m sure I’m wrong and it’s actually completely different…
      (BTW, nothing wrong with Tyson per se, but seriously, WTF is up with the love-fest? He’s just an astronomer, guys, even though he’s on the TV AND a scientist. Impressive, I know, but why in the world would I care what he has to say about theology? Also, it was a terrible click-bait non-article, which at this point is the vast majority of Tyson articles.)

      1. Brian

        Tyson appears to be explaining what is questionable about the assumptions humans make of this god character. Philosophy or simply an opinion? Lettuce not start a war again based upon either. These war things make an outside observer of “humanity” question the need for a species that never learns.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        He’s friendly and Sagan-lite without threatening the powers that be and questioning our perceptions of our place in the universe or introducing us plebes to an unknown universe*.

        I can’t stand the need of some atheists to justify their lack of beliefs in the divine.

        *Then again, I was aware of Sagan before NDT, so I could be undercutting NDT. “A celebrate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.” NDT is a TED talk, not Carl Sagan.

      3. Plenue

        He’s giving an opinion, and he’s a visible public figure so someone sees profit in printing what he has to say. Ignore it or don’t. I’m amused by the people getting pissy about it though. Only professional philosophers are allowed to philosophize? Okay, if you say so…

        Actually you really shouldn’t even be making that kind of argument, because in professional philosophy circles many theological assumptions are dead as a doornail. Pretty much no one defends mind-body dualism anymore, as an example. The few that do are apologetic frauds like William Lane Craig, who is a laughing stock in his profession.

        Anyway, I would say that an astronomer can have very meaningful things to say about the nature of the universe and its lack of benevolence. Contrary to what Smith thinks, he wasn’t just talking about humanity. “If God is benevolent, I look at the universe and see asteroids rendering life extinct, there’s an absence of benevolence in the actual universe that I see.” is the type of thing he was actually saying. The universe is 99.99999999999999% empty nothing, punctuated by violent events like things exploding, spewing lethal radiation everywhere. Life struggles to survive, dies all too soon, and is then consumed by other life that too will die soon enough. And then after a few billion years the star explodes, taking entire planets, life and all, with it. The universe is a terrible place.

        Of course he’s still operating under an assumption of the (supposedly) nice hippie Christian God. Anyone who has actually read the Old testament knows that the God of the Hebrews was a sociopath who demanded obedience. Benevolence was never a factor. Christianity is the result of Paul’s Greek speakers launching a successful coup against the older Aramaic speaking Jewish followers and hijacking a nationalist millennial cult, Hellenizing it in the process. There’s a reason Judaism continued on long after (what Christians claim is) the Jewish Messiah supposedly came and went. Central tenets of Christianity, like God coming down to earth and impregnating a mortal, Zeus style, are utterly laughable to Hebrew theology.

        1. different clue

          The God of Selection is a Callous God, and Its first True Prophet was Darwin.

          If Mother Corn ain’t happy, ain’t NObody happy.

        2. cwaltz

          The question for someone who believes though is He rendering them extinct or do they exist beyond here? And if they exist beyond here do we know that leaving here is such a horrible, terrible awful thing to have occur? I think NDT is looking at our existence through the prism of a scientist. He catalogs the things he has concrete evidence of here and now(and that has allowed him to inform the opinion that God is cruel for making us struggle and forcing us to experience things that aren’t comfortable.) However, faith isn’t about evidence. It’s a feeling and like many feelings, they aren’t easily quantified and cataloged. *shrugs*

          1. Plenue

            How else is one supposed to look at the world? Sure, you can can go with things invisible and fairies, but if you’re going to do that all bets are off and it’s a crapshoot. At that point I’m not sure why I’m supposed to respect and listen to the guy in the Italian palace but not the guy running the cult telling people to kill themselves so they can join the aliens behind the comet, or the whacked out homeless guy in the alley. Maybe he isn’t whacked out on drugs at all, maybe he’s experiencing divine revelation. Or maybe it’s both, maybe the drugs have opened his mind to the beyond.

            And once you start saying things like “well maybe the universe isn’t that cruel because there’s another, better life beyond” you’re only a very short hop away from being the apologist excusing God ordering the murder of Canaanite children because he was actually just putting them at the front of the line to enjoy eternal happiness with him. And yes, that is an actual argument people make:

            “So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged?”

    3. optimader

      Well the notion of humans speculating about the infinite in the context of a higher order Entity has proven to be corrupted time and again by finite personal objectives, no?
      Why should NeilD, or anyone else have ANY expectation of benevolence? In the theme of finite personal objectives, maybe management of whatever program he hosts suggested some expression, any expression that assumes a higher order entity was needed to expand southern market share? Purely my speculation at best.

      As “faith” and “theory” goes, I am good w/ my pet theory that our dimension may be nothing more than a “metabolic” excretion from those that exist in a higher order dimension. We are in essence detritus. Why should there be any expectation directed toward an elimination? Surely my theory tests consistently w/ the behavior exhibited in our reality. I mean, consider a Dog. Quick sniff to confirm what was yesterdays lunch, optionally scratch a little grass over it, I surmise to camouflage it from the errant walker and that’s about it, no “benevolence” to consider here. As good an explanation as any.

      Bottom line, why spend time contemplating that which one has no control, influence or even ability to resolve the essence of Truth about?? Surely there are more fulfilling ways to occupy a laughably short mortal timeline?

      1. craazyboy

        We’ve all seen pictures of galaxies where they appear to be slowly swirling – like going down a toilet bowl. Our universe may be an outhouse.

        1. optimader

          Bingo, or a lot of outhouses.. Super-Nova?.. think methane explosion… mere speculation of a finite mind.

      2. Plenue

        “I am good w/ my pet theory that our dimension may be nothing more than a “metabolic” excretion from those that exist in a higher order dimension. We are in essence detritus.”

        Sounds pretty gnostic. A corrupt world descending from a flawless Godhead.

    4. knowbuddhau

      “[H]umans are incapable of even approaching imagining such an entity, and what such an entity would actually desire of us.”

      Word. Or better still, “no word.” ISTM the best thing to be said about the subject is, “I have no idea.” There must always be a realm which eludes our capture. With what one word would one contain the whole ocean?

      It further STM that this technology we’re using, language, is like a set of Ptolemaic Tupperware. Dictionaries show us that every word is nested within other words. People like to pretend that their way of nesting is the best, perhaps even only, possible way.

      IMNSHO, it’s not the authoritative arrangement and labeling, but the flow between them that conveys meaning. Neither a menu nor a spice rack is a meal. A set of ingredients, however artfully arranged, nourishes no one if you don’t get to cooking.

      The crucial property is neither authoritative labeling nor impervious containment, but self-emptying (aka kenosis, sunyata). It’s hard to understand what people mean by “god” without knowing how the user has it nested and its inflows and outflows.

      Most such discussions end up resembling food fights. Terrible messes made but no one nourished.

      And don’t even get me started on NDT’s awful narrative style. Absolutely ruined the new version of Cosmos.

    5. 3.14e-9

      NDT: “It’s a fact that we’ve lived with gods ever since the dawn of our species.”

      That’s a scientist’s idea of a “fact?” No one knows how our earliest ancestors viewed god or gods, or whether they had any concept of god(s) at all. It’s highly unlikely that they did.

      Further, his argument that the existence of god has anything to do with a “benevolent” universe is based on the flawed assumption that god should be “benevolent,” which in turn is a value judgment that whatever aids and comforts humans is “good,” while anything deleterious to humans is “bad.” I imagine that wolves, trees, and beetles would have quite a different definition.

    6. Propertius

      This after all, is a species who has a not inconsiderable number of members, who without irony, pray to win football games

      One of the highlights of my residence in Japan was seeing a rather distinguished-looking gentleman getting his golf clubs blessed at the neighborhood Shinto shrine. Gods of every stripe have always loved sporting events (and the theater, in the case of Dionysus). Why should football be any different from the ancient Olympics or the Mayan ball game?

  6. fresno dan

    Federal judge: Drinking tea, shopping at a gardening store is probable cause for a SWAT raid on your home Washington Post (furzy)

    I propose that judges, more accurately IMHO, be addressed as your scumlord.
    Really, other than habit, the idea that the independent judiciary protects us is laughable.

  7. Gabriel

    Interesting about divergence between critics’ and audience reactions to new Star Wars movie. The great Eileen Jones wrote a review of the thing. Teaser sample:

    Frankly, I could say far worse things about the film, oh so many things that would presumably lead to my assassination by a fanboy death squad. The Force Awakens is one big mass of holes and botches—the kind of big, open, inviting targets that seem to beg you to hit them, in the immortal words of Resistance fighter pilot Poe Dameron, “with everything you’ve got!”

    There’s that hilarious moment, for example, when menacing Kylo Ren, dressed like Darth Vadar Jr., takes off his helmet and mask to reveal comic actor Adam Driver looking like a slightly depressed teenage wanker in a woman’s wig from the 1970s.

    And then there are the big exposition dumps in dialogue form, such as (SPOILER) when Princess Leia says to Han Solo, “As you know, we had a son who went over to the dark side because you and I neglected him during his formative years, so when you meet him, please try to win him back. He’ll be the guy in the bad wig.”

    Or words to that effect.

    For a non-believer, it’s brutally ironic to see Carrie Fisher back to playing Princess Leia, the role that made her a star 5,000 lines of cocaine ago, stuffed into a boxy vest to hide her middle-aged bulk, one side of her mouth permanently downturned in a sardonic scowl no plastic surgery could remove—it’s the fixed result of decades of delivering scathing one-liners about her insane Hollywood experiences. With a voice that’s now a bitter barroom croak, she nevertheless has to croon as if she were still a dewy young 20-something fresh out of rehab, “May the Force be with you!”

    1. Jason

      My takeaways from the segment of review linked above:

      -She completely missed the point of Ren’s character. He *is* a depressed wanker trying to be Darth Vader.

      -Their son’s existence and turn to the Darkside was heavily, heavily telegraphed.

      -Apparently there’s something wrong with acknowleding that women get old, too.

      I’m not familiar with Eileen Jones (and based upon your presentation of her writing, I’ve zero desire to read any more of it), so I’ve no idea what makes her “great”, but apparently she has trouble paying attention to the movies she’s reviewing. Perhaps that’s *why* there’s such a disparity: the fans actually *watched* the film,

      1. kj1313

        OK let me try this again (cell phones stink)

        Let me add that IMDB has become ground zero for a war between those that love the prequels (apparently C-SPAN in space is riveting) and those who love the original trilogy. The same thing they nitpick the new film for has been done in the previously to their admiration. Also there is a nasty racist undercurrent on IMDB who hates that the lead is a female and the other lead is a young black male.

        I dislike Disney on principle but they have handled this movie far better and gave fans the nostalgia they craved since the original trilogies.

      2. cybrestrike

        Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s a pure escapist fantasy movie, not an Oscar-bait flick or thought provoking documentary.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Has anyone besides me actually seen the original Star Wars? The movie is a mess. The Kessel run in 12 parsecs? This doesn’t even make sense. The whole movie only works because Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill like each other, and Han saving Luke isn’t scrutinized the way it should be. Luke is practically skipping with glee after being devastated by the deaths of his legal guardians. The dialogue was awful. Carrie Fisher began a successful career as a script doctor because she refused to say the lines she had been given. Oh and then, the power of prayer saves everyone from the Doctor.

      Yes, I did see Star Wars Sunday. All in all, I enjoyed it, but I think too much time was wasted setting up a big reveal about what Rey is to match the Darth Vader reveal from Empire.

      1. James Levy

        I saw star wars when I was 12. I thought it was dumb then. I never got it, although I though The Empire Strikes Back was a better popcorn movie when I saw that in the theatre. Of course, by the time I saw Star Wars I had already seen 2001, The Andromeda Strain, Silent Running, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, and all the original Star Trek episodes, so I was probably not the intended audience. You see, I like Science Fiction!

        1. ambrit

          Who was it who quipped, when asked what was the ‘Golden Age’ of Science Fiction, 12?
          I saw 2001 on its’ first release in a proper big screen theatre when I was 12. It definitely got to me. To its’ credit, Star Wars worked as a fairy tale story. Since Joseph Campbell was involved in its’ inception, that stands to reason. Then came the Space Opera-esque sequels.
          I disparaged Disneys involvement in the final triad because of Disneys reputation as the Very Big Entertainment Corporation of Known Space. We used to refer to it as The Mouse Kingdom. Now it wants to be The Mouse Dimension. Sorry Walt, but you need a passport to Magonia.

          1. craazyboy

            We should make the distinction between “hard syfy” and fantasy. “hard” means there was at least some effort at extrapolating from real science. Now some people get all upset when there is no clear separation in novels and movies, even to the point of shouting “Get your elves off my spaceship!” when reviewing these works.

            An example. A molecular knife or sword is hard syfy because a single molecule thick sword or knife can effortlessly cut thru almost anything. A magic wand is fantasy and makes things easier for people who write Harry Potter novels. OTOH, some writers do fantasy very well.

            Now take a light saber. There is no scientific explanation why two swordsmen could bang beams of light against each other. This confuses some people and makes them angry.

        2. craazyman

          Did you ever see Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 From Outerspace?” It’s in a class by itself. Flying saucers attack the earth like you wouldn’t believe. The special effects are legendary,.

          1. ambrit

            I like “ED Wood”s repurposing of “Plan Nine.” And yes, we are now being run by a cabal of the ‘undead,’ so, who knew that the original Ed Wood was a prophet? (I think that man had his passport to Magonia for a long time.)

      2. optimader

        Has anyone besides me actually seen the original Star Wars?
        The original was a cheesy quasi-biblical scifi movie w/ production cost probably about the same as the present prequel’s catering budget. Campy, low risk and low expectation that struck a homerun. Every subsequent prequel becomes more and more risky in the sense of somehow inadvertently shtting in the franchise food bowl.

        Presently any big budget Hollywood production has to pass though a gauntlet of politically, demographically, socially correct filtering to minimize the possibility of offending ANYONE who might be a deterrent to peeps lining up w/ their $12.00 and follow on purchases of consumer “collectible” debris.

        Gen Whateva as media consumers have w/ few exceptions rendered what’s economically worthwhile and financeable in Hollywood to be over the top, big budget formulaic CGI substituted for dialogue and plot pabulum edited with very short Average Scene Lengths (ASL) that appeals to the sweet-spot short attention span consumer. Very few exceptions to this formula, I wouldn’t expect more.

        1. Jess

          Dear Opti: With such nice phrase turns such as, “inadvertently shtting in the franchise food bowl” and “follow on purchases of consumer “collectible” debris”, you have struck a blow today for good commentary. Congratulations, and Happy New Year.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I adored it as a child, but a couple of years ago when I pulled it out to look again I was shocked at just how bad it was. The dialogue really is hilariously bad. I can never understand how Lucas could do decent dialogue for his earlier films and be so tin eared for Star Wars.

        I saw the new one this week. It was fun, but ultimately very disappointing. The story seemed quite lazy, and it had all the hallmarks of having had a significant amount edited out. It was very incoherent, even by children sci fi standards. And while I loved seeing the old actors again (I must admit it brought a tear to my eye), I thought the new actors were average at best. Isaac is a great actor, but I just can’t see him as an action figure. The other two were just passable I thought.

        Most unforgivably of all I thought the action sequences were kind of inept. I found it hilarious (am I the only one to notice?), that the bad guy’s after Han Solo were two of Indonesias greatest martial arts stars. But they had no chance to show their amazing physicality. It seemed like a bit of an in-joke.

        What seems to have passed over so much comment is that Star Wars was essentially a remake of a far superior film – Kurosawas ‘Hidden Fortress’. But Kurosawa was a poet of the screen, able to do brilliant action, while maintaining multiple layers of meaning. He could make a film that was simultaneously popcorn fun, while still politically radical and deep.

        1. ambrit

          I believe that Lucas admitted his debt to Kurosawa. I love “Hidden Fortress,” one of Kurosawas hidden gems. “Dodes’ka-den” and “Ikiru” will give one a feel for the mans gifts.
          “The Simpsons” touched on the relationship in an episode where Lisa gets Lucas to go back to his roots after skewering the first ‘prequel.’
          My best shot at the latest film is that Disney should have named it “Son and Daughter of Star Wars.” Then, release it in Jediscope!

          1. PlutoniumKun

            He has always acknowledged it as a source, although he never stated it was a remake (unsurprising, as Kurosawa had already successfully sued Sergio Leone for ripping off Yojimbo for Fistful of Dollars), but its pretty clear when you look at the characters and storyline that it is the primary story and character source, if not an actual remake. Only Luke Skywalker doesn’t have a direct equivalent character in Hidden Fortress. Even the ‘wipe’ cut he used was a direct lift from Kurosawa. Its just a pity that he never really studied Kurosawa’s technique and scripting skills, which was vastly greater than Lucas was capable of.

        2. craazyman

          Toshiro Mifune was always awesome. I’m wouldn’t say he made Akira Kurasawa but he sure helped. There was also some incredible women actresses too.

      4. Tertium_Squid

        12 parsecs was intentionally erroneous. Notice the look on Obi-Wan’s face after the 12 parsec line and you’ll see that even IN-universe Han Solo is making it up as he goes.

      1. Gabriel

        Sorry about that–really should stop messing around with a hrefs. Thanks for posting working one.

    3. Vatch

      I hate the new Star Wars movie; it’s awful. The plot holes and incongruities are vast, and the lack of originality is insulting to the viewers.

      The only good thing about it is that I watched it at a matinee, so I didn’t have to pay the full ticket price.

      1. kj1313

        Like most modern blockbusters? The sequel is mainly getting good reviews because it a 180 from the prequels Lucas did in the 90s.

        1. Chris in Paris

          Just b/c Yves opened this may I opine: I had a great time watching the new Star Wars movie.

          Point à la ligne.

          Isn’t that just what it’s about, fun? Jeez, if I wanted intellectual I’d see “Carol”.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Personally, I went to Star Wars hoping for an intelligent angle on a classic story, and Carol because I wanted to see Blanchett and Mara get nekkid together, but maybe thats just my warped priorities.

      2. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

        I didn’t expect there to be a Star Wars subthread running on NC today; what fun. I saw the new movie yesterday. I was 13 when the original movie came out and a science fiction fan to boot, so the first one hit me in the sweet spot and I can’t help but be fond of it – a feeling that lasts to this day.

        Spoiler Alert, Spoiler Alert, Stop Here if You Don’t Want to Know What Happens:
        I was surprised how many thematic elements were lifted straight from the original in this reboot: a new, bigger deathstar that gets blown up; surprise, surprise more characters from the family Skywalker with daddy issues. It reminded me of why I gave up on the Harry Potter movies after discovering that every one led to a to-the-death confrontation between Harry and Voldemort in Act V.

        But I guess I’m just an old crank. I neither loved nor hated it. I’m inclined to give it a few extra points for not spending close to an hour yabbering away about a trade dispute on Naboo. But then I have to take points away for hewing so close to the original. And then I have to take a pile of points away for not allowing a major character to even have one stinkin’ line — that was just wrong in every possible way. That’s the primary thing that really killed my enjoyment of the movie.

        1. Vatch

          Spoilers continued. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie, unless you never expect to see it.

          In addition to the shockingly large number of unoriginal plot elements derived from the 1977 movie, there’s also plenty of plot foolishness. A planet is able to store a sun’s entire store of energy, and use that as a weapon? Why didn’t the planet turn molten while it was storing the energy? The pilot who crashed with the angstish ex-storm trooper janitor didn’t even try to find the ultra important missing droid? After having lost the Millennium Falcon how many years ago, Han and Chewie find it just as the new characters have absconded with it? And if it was able to be flown, why didn’t the merchant on the planet do something with it? After working with Chewie for decades, Han suddenly discovers that he like’s Chewie’s weapon? They repeated the parsec blunder. Ha ha, guys, very funny. How did the goggly eyed woman get Luke’s light saber? If it the light saber was so important, why wasn’t it in a locked case? How could the newbies fight so effectively against experienced Jedi/Sith Kylo Ren? He was able to slow a beam of laser light in an early scene, for goodness sake! He has super powers, and he was almost killed by a newbie!

          As for comparing this to the usual run of action blockbusters, at least there’s some snappy dialogue in some other blockbusters. I was hoping that Rey would make a wise crack about the lack of an elevator in the final scene, but no. Iron man would have said something. He called Captain America a “Capsicle”, in reference to the 70 years when Captain America was frozen in ice. Heck, “I am Groot” is better than some of the dialogue in the new Star Wars movie.

          Okay, I’m done venting.

          1. Vatch

            No, I guess I’m not finished venting. Spoilers ahead, so don’t read this if your life will be ruined by learning about the movie before you see it.

            Why are the good guys part of the “Resistance”? The New Republic (not the magazine) became the government after the Empire was defeated. The bad guys (The First Order) should be considered rebels or resistance. I guess they had to do this because they were copying the plot of the 1977 movie.

            I hope I’m done venting.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            As far as Rey’s efficiency, she is (redacted). It’s her lightsaber not Luke’s. The angry Solo is upset he won’t be as talented as Darth Vader. Needless to say, the force is strong growth with Rey, and much like coincidences surrounding Luke in the OT, they follow Rey.

            The non clone storm trooper, rhea pearlman, and even searching for Luke are distractions from the main event. In 18 months, people will be astonished when they hear Rey is (redacted).

          3. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

            Agreed on all counts. Maybe it’s better in 3D, I just saw the ‘regular’ version. ;-)

  8. abynormal

    Fracker Protects Rex Energy Site From Santa and Videographer of Color (video at bottom of article)

    po fracker slave sweats for his own demise…

    “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.”
    ~God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

  9. Ignim Brites

    “Can Trump’s Clinton-Sex-Scandal Revival Hurt Hillary?” In conjunction with the Crosby sex scandal, the revival of the accusations against President Clinton pose a mortal threat to Secretary Clinton’s campaign. Given the prominence that CNN has given to the Crosby story it would be unsurprising to discover a sophisticated journolist type operation to force Secretary Clinton out of the race and hand the nomination to Sanders. Remember the first rule of politics: It is better to lose the election than lose the party

    1. craazyboy

      I don’t see why R’s would want to remind us they spent $80 million on a special prosecutor to pin Bill with the BJ. An 80 million $ BJ ! At least Bill didn’t pay that. Talk about screwing up the market! That would suck. hahaha.

      But if Sanders is the last man standing(hahaha) after the public outrage, then maybe it would be worth going over it all again.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps it’s time for chaste, virtuous robot presidents.

        They will be programmed to avoid all such scandals.

      2. Ignim Brites

        You are missing the point. It is not Lewinsky that is a problem. It is the questions about Willey and Broaderick that the Crosby prosecution threatens to open up. That is why the prominence of the Crosby prosecution suggests a journolist type effort to drive Secretary Clinton out of the race.

        1. optimader

          Willey and Broaderick
          Put flesh how Willey and Broaderick are any threat to HRC???
          I don’t like her either, but for IMO valid reasons.

          Unless you have some reasonable insight to claim HRC was personally involved in drugging and sexual attacks, third party, puerile sexual peccadillo stories about BClinton flog a dead horse, no pun intended.

      3. optimader

        Absolutely.. it’s a nonstarter.
        The HRC scriptwriters could turn this into the inversely proportional sympathy thing in a NY second that would kill it in the media crib.. Faaak, I could have a scotch and write that script for HRC if I had no (metaphorical) soul. Philandering husband, damaged but loyal and honorable wife….move along, nothing to see here.
        The R’s soiled themselves on that one, I really doubt they want to revisit it. Connecting dots between BCosby and BClinton are wishful thinking at best.

    2. Carolinian

      Trump scores by saying the things the press corpse are too neutered to utter. Should Clinton have been impeached over a bj? Of course not. Should he have subsequently retired from public life in quiet shame? Of course! The biggest question about the Clintons is: why are they still around?

      1. DJG

        Agreed. A great summation. And keep reminding us during the upcoming campaign: Who in their right minds thinks that Hillary Clinton should still be around? Questioning her viability as a candidate may have some effect.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        People don’t want to acknowledge they were conned, especially smug Team Blue types. Obviously Bill’s extracurriculars don’t rise to high crimes and misdemeanors, they are unbecoming of a leader of a political party which is supposed to represent women who have suffered serial discrimination and abuses in the work place. Having an affair is one thing. Having an affair with a 19 year old intern is predatory in every respect. Virtually every office worker in America has sat through a video of why Bill’s behavior is a no-no, but hey, who cares Bill was getting up while my tech stocks were going up!? Get it? High five!

        Team Blue fanatics don’t want to acknowledge their rally around the flag or even boorish behavior or reassess their views of a Saint Kennedy type and their subsequent devotion. In many ways, the only way to justify support shown for Bill is to make sure his presidency is redeemed or allow him to remain as an elder statesman, or they could acknowledge that they might not be as sophisticated as they thought they were. “Primary Colors” lacked self awareness, but it’s message was bad behavior is okay because Bill would lower interest rates and somehow do well by everyone.

        1. Jim Haygood

          In assessing an 8-year presidential term, the bookends at the start and end often are the most revealing.

          Clinton campaigned in 1992 on a platform that included a ‘middle class tax cut.’ After entering office, Clinton announced that he’d been deceived about the nation’s finances, and a tax hike was needed instead. It’s an unlikely claim.

          In his last day in office, Clinton granted a number of corrupt pardons including the late Marc Rich’s, in which Hillary and her brother acted as cutouts to launder Rich’s $400,000 bribe.

          Upon leaving the White House, Clinton staffers ‘liberated’ over $100,000 worth of ‘souvenirs’ (furniture, computers, silverware and china, etc).

          Even within the walled garden of the Depublicrat duopoly, unindicted felons like the Clintons are such an implausible choice that the possibility of the D party deliberately throwing the game must be considered.

          1. OIFVet

            Upon leaving the White House, Clinton staffers ‘liberated’ over $100,000 worth of ‘souvenirs’ (furniture, computers, silverware and china, etc). Wait, I thought they had only removed the Ws from the keyboards? See, I keep hearing the charge of theft, and it sounds just as fishy as it did 15 years ago. I mean, what self-respecting Bushie wouldn’t launch prosecution against the Clinton-connected thieves of government property? Where is the WH inventory showing the missing items? How the heck does one even remove furniture from the WH?!

        2. Propertius

          Having an affair with a 19 year old intern is predatory in every respect.

          Lewinsky was born in 1973. She was 23 when she got involved with Clinton, not 19.

      3. optimader

        he (should) have subsequently retired from public life in quiet shame
        Why should he? What’s his motivation to “retire from public”?
        He’s a charismatic showman/grifter who apparently perceives no shame by someone else’s sensibilities, has aggregated great wealth and power, and has a public that enables him, let alone shun him!

        It’s the old story of the scorpion and the frog, it’s his nature!
        BClinton will be out there with an agenda ’til he drops dead.

        1. cwaltz

          He’s a charismatic showman/grifter who apparently perceives no shame by someone else’s sensibilities, has aggregated great wealth and power, and has a public that enables him, let alone shun him!

          Wait! Are we talking about Clinton or Trump?

          LOL, the two of them have tons in common.

    3. perpetualWAR

      What does it say about us as a nation that we impeach a President for getting a blow job, but the waterboarding President skates?

      1. different clue

        What does it say about Speaker of the House Pelosi’s deliberate decision to be the engineer of arranging the skate-away of President Waterboard? “Impeachment is off the table.” Who knows how us-as-a-nation might have responded had Pelosi not actively interfered with Conyers’s beginning to spin up the wheels of House Judiciary Committee into motion? How bitter was the Intelligence Community over how Bush-Cheney had burned their Agent and their Agent’s Proprietary? How much of a drip-drip-drip of scandal was the Intelligence Community prepared to feed to the Judiciary Committee with the very best of dramatic pacing? And Pelosi destroyed all that.

        A better question might be: what does it say about the Silicon Yuppie filth and Limousine Liberal garbage in Pelosi’s district that rewarded her for “Impeachment is off the table” by giving her a 60% or so vote margin to go back to Congress again?

      2. Propertius

        What does it say about us as a nation that we impeach a President for getting a blow job, but the waterboarding President skates?

        To say nothing of the President who orders the assassination-by-drone of a US citizen (and his 16 year-old son, also a US citizen) without any pretense of due process. In a just world, Cheney, Bush II, and Obama would have adjacent cells in the Florence Supermax.

  10. craazyman

    Haldane was only a scientist, what could he know? If he’d lived long enough to visit Santa Fe and channel the Pleidians he’d have changed his mind.

    Does that giraffe have an overbite problem or do they all look like that. I’ve never seen one up close.

    1. craazyboy

      I checked my giraffe zoo pics. They probably do all have overbites, but it’s only noticeable when they smile. As it turns out, giraffes don’t smile that often. They usually have a mellow look about them.

    2. DJG

      It looks to me that the giraffe is either eating a bagel (must be a Montreal giraffe) or a peanut-butter cookie. Some kind of treat, and I’m not sure why I am preoccupied with this. On the other hand, I see local squirrels fairly often eating pizza. I always wonder where they get the money.

      1. fresno dan

        The question is: if giraffes can act squirrely, can a squirrel act giraffey?

        By the way, you can feed the giraffes at the Sacramento zoo.

  11. OIFVet

    Turkey’s Islamist Agenda in Kosovo. The process and methods described in the article are in evidence elsewhere in the Balkans, as well. “The Ottoman centuries of the Balkans were a success story. Now we have to reinvent this.” [Davutoglu] announced, “Turkey is back.” Until the Balkan people kick you back out…

    1. Carolinian

      Did you hear the one about Erdogan talking down a bridge suicide as his limo just happened to be driving past? Methinks he may have hired PR shop Hill and Knowlton of Kuwaiti incubator fame.

      1. OIFVet

        The kindler, gentler Ottoman sultan, all that was missing was the box of pistachio Turkish delight… I had a good chuckle when I saw that. At least Putin lives up to the image of the omnipotent Russian tzar, wrasslin’ with bears, taming tigers, and riding bare-chested in the middle of Russian winter. Infinitely more believable :)

          1. OIFVet

            A whole lot of former Ottoman subjects don’t think highly of sultans past or present. But speaking of Armenians, a prominent Armenian Genocide denier has been harnessed by Al Jazeera Turkey to argue that the Turks in the Balkans were victims of, you guessed it, genocide. “What happened to the Turks in the Balkans was one of the worst things that has ever happened to human beings,” says McCarthy. “It is one of the greatest disasters that has ever been and yet no one knows about it. No one knows anything about it.” (Bulgaria, My Land). To be sure, what happened to the ethnic Turks in Bulgaria during the 1980s was despicable. But 500 years of Ottoman yoke was infinitely worse, yet the neo-Ottomans in Ankara insist that Ottoman rule was incredibly gentle, peaceful, and tolerant. The revisionism of Erdogan and Davutoglu is breathtaking. Anything to reconstitute the empire…

  12. Horatio Parker

    Neil deGrasse Tyson: How can there be a God with ‘an absence of benevolence’ in the universe?

    Without suffering, there is no self awareness.

    Without suffering, there is no perception of an absence of benevolence in the universe.

    A bit of a paradox.

  13. allan

    Washington Post fires Harold Meyerson

    Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post’s editorial page editor, has fired columnist Harold Meyerson, one of the nation’s finest journalists and perhaps the only self-proclaimed socialist to write a weekly column for a major American newspaper during the past decade or two. … More than any other columnist for a major U.S. newspaper, Meyerson provided ongoing coverage and incisive analysis of the nation’s labor movement and other progressive causes as well as the changing economy and the increasing aggressiveness of big business in American politics. He was one of the few columnists in the country who knew labor leaders and grassroots activists by name, and who could write sympathetically and knowledgeably about working people’s experiences in their workplaces and communities.

    1. Brian

      WP would like to be a great american newspaper. It may have been once. In the end, it is made into toilet paper and has but one use.

  14. TedWa

    Tyson : How can there be a God with ‘an absence of benevolence’ in the universe?
    He gave us free will to be benevolent or not and on that our perception of the universe and God rests. Me thinks he claims a case of “eye of the needle” so why try.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The question reveals a lot about us.

      How can be we ‘sapiens’ if we can not absolutely, undoubtedly, positively answer that question?

      It seems to me that it implies we’re not-so-sapiens.

    2. Jagger

      I don’t see how we can determine an absence or presence of benevolence in this universe without first determining the assumed creator’s purpose or reason for this universe, this existence. If we had that understanding, then we would know whether benevolence exists or not within the universe. From our perspective alone, I don’t think we can reach a conclusion.

      1. Jagger

        Although I suspect we can speculate that a world founded on eat or be eaten was not a world designed to be a nice, comfortable place. Killing/eating is mandatory for survival. In what ways can the process be benevolent for both prey and predator? Only if death is not final and only if something is learned in the process????

  15. alex morfesis

    Orgy ? belgian soldiers ? Orgy ? I thought those went out with bell bottoms and open shirt chest forests…who luvs ya babee…hey krahkah…

    1. optimader

      Orgy ? belgian soldiers ? Orgy ?
      Bless them, they might otherwise have shot up some innocent civilians in what was best addressed as a criminal matter.
      Soldiers should not be misconstrued as Police. That’s a bad thing.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Cautionary tale from the BBC story on the ‘affluenza’ teen:

    Tanya Couch and her son planned their disappearance and even held a going-away party, said police.

    The pair travelled to the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, but were caught after a phone call for a takeaway pizza tipped off police.

    Tonya Couch arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday where federal marshals took her into custody.

    We can infer that México is wired to detect and locate ‘wanted’ U.S. cell phone numbers, just like Canada, Europe and probably most of the developed world. Also, that U.S. marshals operate freely there, as if México were a kind of unannexed territorial possession.

    Lessons for fugitives: (1) Ditch your cell phone; (2) Head for Guatemala or points south.

    1. bob

      Laughing– C’mon, they were going native. They probably ordered the pizza(from dominos) while wearing sombreros.

      As several historical instances back to the birth of cell phones, and before with land line phones, in central and south america — they are all listened to by the USA. Not news, and Guatemala isn’t going to change anything.

      This was all happening before snowden was born. (1983)

      I also wonder if it was the telephone system at dominos that made the connection. Yanno, those private companies keep quite a bit of data too.

      “we have on record that your favorite pizza is xxx”

      1. tegnost

        as well as cell phone trace the call center for dominos could be in kansas, the order could have been taken by google or something, or their credit card had a trace. Basically nowhere to hide… mind your manners, consumer!

        1. bob

          I just can’t get over the idea of ordering dominoes, in mexico, on the lamb.

          “we gotta fit in…get some hot peppers on it!”

          1. bob

            Pardon, lam, not lamb, looked it up.

            Note to any future criminals who may try to run away- If you see dominoes, you haven’t run far enough.

      1. bob

        Well, the idea used to be that they WOULD NEVER do that INSIDE the US.

        Overseas, out of country, in “the backyard”? Yes, no hold barred.

        They’ve had huge programs monitoring all telecom in central and south america since at least the 60’s, if not before.

        One stop- Church Committee Chile Allende ITT

        1. tegnost

          exactly, the whole game for all of them (google or nsa) has been to get your data offshore where they can do as they please

  17. Synoia

    Should we solar panel the Sahara desert?

    Yes, but Night?

    When I was working on communications (telephones) in Namibia, we had immense trouble in getting reliable communications.

    1. The locals would steal the wires off the pole to make jewellery
    2. The sea fret in the morning would saturate the insulators, wood and wires and attenuate the signal to nothing.

    Seemingly simple ideas are not so simple. The devil is in the details.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The solar energy that goes into the Sahara desert will be harvested.

      But it that heat is not there, but harvested and transmitted elsewhere, surely global weather patterns will change.

      Do we really know what we are doing?

      “What am I doing here,” asked Perot’s VP running mate.

      1. craazyman

        if it reflects enough light back into space it might make the sun hotter. That could defeat the whole purpose.

  18. Dino Reno

    Tabbi keeps moaning that he doesn’t get the Trump phenomena and probably never will. Trump’s opponents are desperate to stop him by using identify politics and political correctness, but it isn’t working. The giant working underclass that has been created in the last thirty years knows that immigration is promoted to reduce their wages and that endless wars in the Middle East signal a Clash of Civilizations. Trump didn’t create these two huge issues, but he is saying he can fix them. As if by magic, he leads the race and will probably win the White House. Matt, it’s really that simple.

    1. Jagger

      Tabbi keeps moaning that he doesn’t get the Trump phenomena and probably never will.

      It is easy. Those people are giving the finger to the entire republican ruling classes.

      1. alex morfesis

        oh yeah…me thinks someone needs to drop me into the dunk tank as I had mouthed off foolishly a little while back that “el donaldo” would be done by christmas…oh well…SPLASH…

        happy new years to Yves, Lambo, and the rest of the not ready for prime time muckrakerz…

    2. RWood

      “The giant working underclass that has been created in the last thirty years knows…”
      Either that’s so … or/and they are the 2016 El Nino groundswell of something other. And as “created,” what intended?

      1. Dino Reno

        Who knows where this ends up? But for now, the bumper sticker I saw yesterday for Trump 2016 says it all: Enough is Enough.

        1. different clue

          Someone here not long ago gave a link to Sanders bumper stickers saying:

          Sanders. because fuck this shit.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Similarly, eople who are traveling overseas often don’t want to use their phones due to ginormous foreign network charges.

    Back to the future.

    It will be like when people used to buy traveler’s checks when they were overseas.

    Now, you buy a ‘traveler’s local-currency, local-account cell phone’ that’s accepted anywhere, from one of our multi-national financial corporations.

    Don’t leave home without it.

    That’s progress.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      Or wait until you get outside the usa plantation and by an unlocked cell and local sim affordably without contracts like the rest of the world does!

      1. Irrational

        But remember valid ID for that now at least in Europe because surveillance in the name of war on terror is fashionable here now too.
        Nonetheless happy New Year to all with special thanks to Yves and Lambert.

  20. tegnost

    Happy new year and thanks for all your efforts Yves, Lambert, and all the ancillary writers and behind the scenes elves who keep it all going basically 24/7/365. Looking forward to more of the always improving NC in the year to come!

    1. tegnost

      holy toledo, tearing it down with a prison work crew, that would be quite the interview. Not currently in the greater PNW but I’m pretty sure it’s cold…

      1. perpetualWAR

        Have you noticed, tegnost, that the SPD is surely trying to keep the tents from returning on the I-5 corridor greenbelts?

        It’s horrific that we have such a massive homeless population.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Anyone remember this stage turn?

          It disappeared from the movie release, of course, since that came out during the darker days of Reagan’s rule, ’round election time as I recall, and the echoes and easy substitution of Reagan for Hoover and the apposite lyrics were not going to get past the PTB screen…

      2. diptherio

        Yeah, it’s cold out here. We’re having the opposite of what’s happening on the East Coast. Around 20 F where I’m at (-6 C).

      1. abynormal

        serving & protecting…

        “I think it is a wise person who does not answer the door to uninvited police officers. Who knows what kind of crazy person could be standing there with a loaded gun!”
        Steven Magee

  21. Parker Dooley

    “how were movie reviews bought on such a broad scale?”

    Cheaper to buy just the reviews than the whole newspaper.

  22. Oregoncharles

    And a happy, productive New Year to you, too, Yves. Here’s hoping your distractions turned out OK. Maybe it’s a sign that you’re supposed to relax a bit more.

  23. Carolinian

    Writes Pam Martens: Mr. Expert on Glass-Steagall can’t even spell it.

    Summers also uses the opinion piece to bolster both his and Hillary Clinton’s self-serving view that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was not responsible for the financial crisis in 2008 and ensuing economic collapse that caused millions of foreclosures and job losses. Summers writes:

    “Sanders asserts, as many do, that Glass Stegall’s [sic] repeal contributed to the crisis. I may not be objective, as I supported this measure as Treasury Secretary, but I do not see a basis for this assertion. Virtually everything that contributed to the crisis was not affected by Glass Steagall even in its purest form. Think of pure investment banks Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, or the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or the banks Washington Mutual and Wachovia or American International Group or the growth of the shadow banking system. Nor were the principle lending activities that got Citi and Bank of America in trouble implicated by Glass Stegall [sic].”

    Aside from the fact that “Steagall” is misspelled twice in the three times it is used in the above paragraph, Summers is dead wrong on every other premise as well.

    More here

    1. Jim Haygood

      Not to mention his use of ‘principle’ in the last sentence, when he meant ‘principal.’

      Evidently passing a literacy test is not necessary to become a professor at Hahhhhhvid, the alma mater of the intellectual giant George W. Bush.

          1. OIFVet

            Good Will Hunting: “you dropped 150 grand on a fuckin’ education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!”

            Much as I like the dis, Hahvahd and Yale are about networking, and a dollar fifty ain’t gonna buy that…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To network, study hard at the library and get a job as a house-cleaner for the rich.

              Let them get to know you personally.

              1. ambrit

                Dear MLTPB;
                I have known some of “the rich,” and it is an experience that I would not recommend to anyone who wishes to live a peaceful, uncomplicated life.
                Being “rich” seems to be a disqualification for Enlightenment. Didn’t the Buddah abandon that lifestyle at the beginning of his journey?

          2. fresno dan

            December 31, 2015 at 3:16 pm

            There are some things only an intellectual can believe, for no common man could be so stupid.

            If Bush was gonna outdo the “Best and the Brightest” he had to double down on the eliteiest institutions….

      1. OIFVet

        Summers’ piece was published on the WaPo opinion page. So, are the WaPo editors as illiterate as Summers, or did they pull a subtle subversive job on him by publishing him in his full illiterate glory?

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Predicting 2016.

    Worse, the same or better?

    It could be anything – one’s finance, health, love life, the world, Nature, etc.

  25. quixote

    “Exclusive: Islamic State ruling aims to settle who can have sex with rape female slaves Reuters”

    There. Fixed that for them.

    1. optimader

      does anyone here expect Dubai’s towering inferno to collapse into it’s footprint in 9 seconds?
      Hard to say, was it as “economically” (shittily) designed/constructed as the TTowers, then hit by a fueled up widebody jet?

      Spectacular, but in the presented footage at least, it isn’t “engulfed” — at least as I understand the word.
      Other than whomever set the fire, if it was intentional, I feel sorry for anyone killed, it would be a most unpleasant ending.

      1. different clue

        I remember reading an interesting comment on a “9/11 …why such total tower collapse?” thread. And it basically said: the building trades were thoroughly mafia-dominated when the TTs were built. So it is possible that when the client paid a half-a-billions dollars he thought he was getting a half-a-billion-dollar building. But really he only got a quarter-billion-dollar building. The other quarter-billion-dollars might have made the difference in the TTs standing up as against falling down when the planes hit them.

      2. hidflect

        “cripes” may be referring to Building 7 which pancaked at freefall speed without being hit by any plane.

  26. jfleni

    RE: Should we solar panel the Sahara desert?

    Definitely, but especially North Africa, from Morocco all the way to Saudi: four time zones!

    But if you call them WOGS, the price goes way up!

  27. Jim Haygood

    Some dimwitted disinfo from Marketwatch:

    ‘The S&P 500 index closed the year at 2,043.94, snapping a three-year winning streak. The index nose dived in the final hour of trading, netting a 0.7% loss for 2015.’

    Wrong-o. What’s meaningful is the total return on an index, including dividends which add about 2.0% to the S&P’s price-only return.

    According to Standard & Poor’s, the total return on the S&P 500 from 12/31/2014 to 12/31/2015 was +1.38%. You can download up to 10 years of historical data from this link (use the blue ‘Export’ button below the chart, at right):

      1. cwaltz

        Woohoo! I wonder how much of that gain was taken out of the hides of workers? Everybody cheer, we earned an extra dollar by exploiting a Chinese workers. Yayyy!

  28. ewmayer

    Re. “A 3D-Printed Digital Sun Dial Is as Easy to Read as a Cheap Digital Watch | Gizmodo” — Typical inane techno-masturbation from Gizmodo. And – on the speculative notion that there actually might be a market for such a novelty – how much more does 3D printing such a thing cost per unit than mass production via basic injection molding? [Where one can use the same kinds of tech as for the 3D printing to program a CNC machine to produce an injection mold far more cheaply than in the pre-CNC days.]

    Re. “How a Nation of Tech Copycats Transformed Into a Hub for Innovation | Wired” — This is more or less standard technological development at work – first you learn by imitating, then proceed to innovate. I’m sure it worked the same way for our ancestors sharing flint-knapping and other stone-age technologies, and among tool-using non-human animals.

    Re. “Highest Earners’ Tax Rates Rose Sharply in 2013 | NYT” — The rates they are supposed to pay, or the rates they actually pay?

    Happy new year, all – hope to see you all safe & sound on the other side!

    1. LifelongLib

      I turned my desk at the office into a sun dial by just marking where the shaft of light from the gap in the window blind is at each hour of the day. It only works in the morning (window faces southeast) and of course it shifts a bit every day because the sun does, but it’s “digital” and cheaper than that printed 3-D thing.

  29. Jack Parsons

    There were no pay phones at the Krasnodar (Russia) airport several years ago; there may be some now. There were, instead, card phones outside that worked with cards you buy at the post office.

    The men’s toilets were squat, so I chalked this up to Third World Infrastructure. Krasnodar at the time had the third highest number of cars per capita in Russia.

  30. Jack Parsons

    The keyboard and the spade

    My condolences on the RSI, but, dude, back-breaking physical labor is why god made teenage boys.

  31. Daryl

    Unrelated to anything (other than the ongoing election), I stumbled on this JRR Tolkien quote while reading about his WWI experience today.

    “The most improper job of any man… is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.”

  32. flora

    1st Amendment and free speech, destruction of the Bill of Rights stories, TSA stories, NSA spying stories, …… I’m starting to evaluate all these stories in a new context: Is this brave new world of ‘protection’ exactly what the corporate forces pushing for TPP and TTIP want?

  33. abynormal

    Yves, Lambert and NC Family….Good Health & Abundant Joy for the coming year. I’m so grateful for this site. Thank You All for expanding my world…my heart.


  34. abynormal

    Hat Tip to my daughter for sending me this…
    Do you know who this is a photo of? Chances are you don’t, but don’t feel bad because probably not one American in one million does, and that is a National tragedy. His name is Eugene Jacques Bullard, and he is the first African-American fighter pilot in history. But he is also much more then that: He’s also a national hero, and his story is so incredible that I bet if you wrote a movie script based on it Hollywood would reject it as being too far-fetched.

    Bullard was an expat living in France, and when World War 1 broke out he joined the French Infantry. He was seriously wounded, and France awarded him the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire. In 1916 he joined the French air service and he first trained as a gunner but later he trained as a pilot. When American pilots volunteered to help France and formed the famous Lafayette Escadrille, he asked to join but by the time he became a qualified pilot they were no longer accepting new recruits, so he joined the Lafayette Flying Corps instead. He served with French flying units and he completed 20 combat missions.

    When the United States finally joined the war, Bullard was the only member of the Escadrille or the French Flying Corps who was NOT invited to join the US Air Service. The reason? At that time the Air Service only accepted white men.

    Now here is the part that almost sounds like a sequel to ‘Casablanca’: After WWI Bullard became a jazz musician in Paris and he eventually owned a nightclub called ‘L’Escadrille’. When the Germans invaded France and conquered it in WW2, his Club, and Bullard, became hugely popular with German officers, but what they DIDN’T know was that Bullard, who spoke fluent German, was actually working for the Free French as a spy. He eventually joined a French infantry unit, but he was badly wounded and had to leave the service.

    By the end of the war, Bullard had become a national hero in France, but he later moved back to the U.S. where he was of course completely unknown. Practically no one in the United States was aware of it when, in 1959, the French government named him a national Chevalier, or Knight.

    In 1960, the President of France, Charles DeGaulle, paid a state visit to the United States and when he arrived he said that one of the first things he wanted to do was to meet Bullard. That sent the White House staff scrambling because most of them, of course, had never even heard of him. They finally located him in New York City, and DeGaulle traveled there to meet him personally. At the time, Eugene Bullard was working as … An elevator operator.

    Not long after Eugene Bullard met with the President of France, he passed away, and today very, very few Americans, and especially African-Americans, even know who he is. But, now YOU do, don’t you? And I hope you’ll be able to find opportunities to tell other people about this great American hero that probably only 1 American in 1 Million has ever heard of.

  35. tongorad

    Stars Wars functions as a brand, and not as much (if at all) as a film narrative. I suppose you could say this about all movie franchises, but Star Wars takes the cake in terms of people consuming it as part of their identity.
    Rather like Apple.

  36. giantsquid

    There’s something odd about all the 1 out of 10 ratings given by users who wrote reviews for the new Star Wars movies. So I decided to also take a look at user reviews of Ironman, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Hunger Games. Two out of three received a large percentage of 1 star reviews. I wasn’t surprised. Ironman received very few poor reviews, the other two movies received mostly bad reviews. I’ve seen these movies. All can be criticized for one thing or another. They aren’t masterpieces. But they aren’t awful either, in my opinion. What the 3 movies panned by IMDB users have in common is having been pummeled on social media with misogynistic and racist abuse. By the way, the average score for the 304,000 IMDB users who rated the Star Wars movie is 8.6/10 (a little high, I think). Of the 2,500 who wrote reviews, I’d say about 90 percent gave it 1 star. Rather than being an example of elitist corporate-bought reviewers being overly lenient in their assessments, I think these reviews, in toto, reflect the depth and breadth of a misogynistic and racist subculture that is lashing out.

  37. dk

    NakedCapitalism makes me cry almost every day. Also, the readings and links eat up time like it’s uh, something which have more of than I do.

    But it also give me focus and purpose as well as information that I can share with people trying to understand their world.

    Thank you, and best wishes for the seemingly dismal 2016!

  38. Lee Baker

    The Catastrophic Threat of Bail-Ins

    “The idea of trustees using assets for their own benefit or (worse) claiming ownership of any trust assets represents one of the most serious forms of financial crime in Western civilization.”

    It’s the holidays, so I can understand all the attention to Star Wars. But the story I think NC readers would really want to know about is the one that threatens depositors, not only in the EU but also in the US. Below is a link to a corroborating story about the dangers of Bail-Ins, which is just plan old theft of your hard-earned work.

    Notice that many people who made comments to the original post blamed legislators as much as TBTF banks and Wall Street. The linked story above tells us about new revisions to Dodd-Frank that allow for Bail-Ins here in the US. Laws are so complex and ever changing that it’s hard to know what to do.
    I would love for the experts to comment on this story. My link to Ellen Brown’s post mentions Yves.

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      Ellen Brown means well, and I will confess I have not read her article, but she is so regularly wrong on details and even on her main conclusions that don’t link to her. There are times I wonder whether she has actually been hired by the other side, because even the “right-sounding” positions she takes so often have inaccurate arguments supporting them that it discredits those relying on her backup.

      Deposits are a liability of a bank. The only thing that makes them at all safe is a government guarantee or that the bank is adequately capitalized. Calling banks “trustees” is not accurate as far as their relationship to depositors is concerned. This is the sort of thing that makes me unwilling to link to her or discuss her work.

      Moreover, where has she been? Bank bail-ins have been the policy of European regulators since the Cyprus bank resolutions, which IIRC was 2013, and it was under discussion before that (because I am in an airport and my plane is about to board, I don’t have time to run down details, so forgive the reliance upon memory). This is NOT a policy US bank regulators like or think is sound, precisely because they are of the view that the possibility of bail-ins will make banks more susceptible to runs.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, deposit insurance was a response to the bank runs that did so much damage in the Great Depression (my grandfather’s bank, among many others).

        It does have a limit, though, which is one reason the FDIC so often uses mergers rather than paying out insurance. The biggest depositors, not covered by the insurance, would be the most damaging if they “ran.”

  39. optimader

    So who wants the 5-axis machining center in Chino Ca, the Chinese might be dong the slow wallet draw these days. Other than cannon-fodder in the MIC, who’s left if this country that knows what a 5-axis machining center is??
    Probably not the Gen-whatever barista with the neck tattoo slinging coffee.

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