Links 1/12/16

Aaron Swartz died three years ago today Crooked Timber

It Can Really Suck to Be a Dog in Rural North Carolina Vice (resilc), :-(.

New Jersey rejects request for dolphin necropsy results, citing “medical privacy” MuckRock (Chuck L)

David Bowie: 69 facts BBC

David Bowie’s other legacy: internet visionary, finance pioneer Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

The Man Who Studies the Spread of Ignorance BBC (Teejay)

Researchers’ metallic glue may stick it to soldering and welding ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

Intel CEO thinks dancing drones could replace fireworks — here’s what it looks like Business Insider (David L)

Signs of the ‘Human Age’ New York Times (David L)

Cancer screening has never been shown to ‘save lives,’ argue experts: Harms of screening are certain, but benefits in overall mortality are not ScienceDaily (Chuck L). This has been something I’ve thought but have been loath to say out of concern for being perceived to be way out over my skis. But one example is the recommendation in the US that everyone over 50 get a colonoscopy. Mind you, they don’t just scope you, they snip every polyp with no idea whether it is harmful or not. On top of that, you can get a perforation (!!!) and the equipment is not properly cleaned 15% of the time, so the procedure is not risk free (and that’s before you get to the discomfort of the prep and the procedure). By contrast, in pretty much all of the rest of the world, colonoscopies are recommended at 50 only for patients in high risk groups. The evidence from Canada is that an annual fecal occult blood test, which is trivial in terms of invasiveness v. a colonoscopy, does just as good a job of detecting cancers early enough to do something about them for regular-risk patients.

Extreme Weather and Global Growth Project Syndicate (David L)


China’s slowdown, financial mayhem cast long shadow across world Washington Post

Did China Change the Way It Fixes the Yuan? Wall Street Journal

Don’t fight the PBoC: CNH/CNY hits parity Financial Times

Where Were the Post-Hebdo Free Speech Crusaders as France Spent the Last Year Crushing Free Speech? Intercept

Greek conservatives bank on unlikely lad to revive flagging party Financial Times

Brussels bureaufascists’ “backup” alternative has been set up in Greece failed evolution

UK doctors go on strike Politico

Refugee Crisis

Germany returns migrants to Austria BBC

Mass migration into Europe is unstoppable Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

Russian Shares and Ruble Fall as Oil Prices Continue to Tumble New York Times


Ignoring the U.S. Role in the Atrocious War on Yemen American Conservative (resilc)

The Hypocrisy of Obama’s Gun Control Crusade Counterpunch. Good except it promotes the idea that the gun controls are anything more than a token gesture.

Rick Shenkman, “Ted Cruz’s Stone Age Brain and Yours, Why ‘Collateral Damage’ Elicits So Little Empathy Among Americans” Tom Engelahrdt

“Madaya’s Starvation Falsification” Global Research Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc). Global Research is not the most reliable source, but the thesis seems plausible.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Weapons Industry Revenue Forecaster Enthuses Over Global Turmoil Truthdig (JT McPhee)


An Iran Question for the Presidential Candidates American Conservative (resilc)

FBI’s Clinton probe expands to public corruption track Fox. Bob Swern:

This is a story from Fox from 6-8 hours ago, by one of the few journalists there that’s actually considered credible: Catherine Herridge (Harvard, Columbia School of Journalism). Certainly credible enough to the point where the WaPo, The Hill and Reuters, among others, have picked-up this story over the past few hours. There are three anonymous sources inside the FBI, according to Herridge. This is nothing less than brutal for team Clinton.

Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton ‘in serious trouble’ CNN

Clinton plans extra 4% tax on US wealthy Financial Times. Proof of Bernie’s assertion above. This is all optics. She can’t move any more to the left on anything that counts without pissing off her big money backers.

The DNC Junta Is Continuing The DLC Coup Thom Hartmann

Has Trump Made Political Ads Obsolete? Nation (furzy)

Ben Carson New Hampshire supporters defect to Cruz CNN

The Great Forgetting Truthdig

Obama to make good on Guantanamo pledge: White House chief of staff Reuters (EM). He can’t. He said it was the first thing he’d do in office.

Chicago names attorney to lead law department review Reuters (EM)

Sickout’ by Detroit Teachers Closes Most Public Schools New York Times

Back to school for children displaced by Los Angeles-area gas leak Reuters (EM)

Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says New York Times

Angry White Men

Militia groups meet with leaders of Oregon occupation, pledge support Reuters. EM: “Any moderate Syrian militias at the meetup?”

RBS cries ‘sell everything’ as deflationary crisis nears Telegraph (David L)

Oil forecast to slide to $20 a barrel Financial Times

Oil plunges to $30, Dallas Fed President Sucker-Punches any Leftover Oil Bulls Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

Supreme Court Hears Case Challenging Collective Bargaining for Public Employee Union Esquire

Hefner’s Playboy mansion listed for sale for $200 million Reuters. EM: “That sale price amounts to a 35-year average annual return of 16%, making the property quite a good investment, even under the assumption that Hef et al sank a fair bit of money into orgiastic improvements. As a prospective buyer I’d want the whole place thoroughly steam-cleaned first, though. :)”

Antidote du jour. Photo by Luke Massey (Robert H). From a great story in Audobon with lots more great pix on how a pair of peregrine falcons took up residence on his balcony in Chicago and had a family.

pacing peregrine links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. RabidGandhi

    RG fantasy headline:

    Washington Post: US slowdown, financial mayhem cast long shadow across world

  2. ambrit

    The room temperature metallic glue story is intriguing. As a plumber, I do old fashioned hot soldering frequently, (on copper water pipes.) Copper is still the industry standard for commercial products. The introduction of this metallic glue will further degrade the skill levels needed for labour on the job. Not such an issue when the ‘bean counters’ control the contracting end of the process. Technically though, the issue that leapt out at me, by its’ absence, was the un-soldering process. Any experienced plumber will tell you of having to undo sweated joints on pipes due to mistakes and last minute piping changes. The boffins did not address that aspect of the process. If the glue is one time and irreversible, trouble ahead.

    1. craazyboy

      Most adhesives don’t hold up well to heat, so I imagine you can torch pipes loose again. I’d love it for my electronics stuff. Soldering is a pain in the butt

      1. ambrit

        Yes, but, what about the recleaning process to prepare the base material for re’soldering’? This looks like an application of the ‘new’ paradigm of “use once and throw away.” The differences between electronic soldering and pipe soldering are mainly one of degree.

        1. craazyboy

          Dunno. We’ll have to wait for the instructions. It does sound really useful for surface mount PCB manufacturing. There you mask on solder paste where all the tiny little “feet” of the chip go and then have to run it thru an oven to complete the solder joint. All without letting anything shift in position even a fraction of a millimeter.

          1. ambrit

            Ahhh. I’ve never done that. I’ve only done soldering pencil work, as in Heathkit projects, etc.

            1. craazyboy

              You wouldn’t want to. As electronics got smaller and smaller, we were faced with the choice of either breeding tiny humans, or making “pick and place” robots to put surface mount parts on the board. I know robots scare people, but I think we made the right choice going with automated PCB manufacturing.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Tiny humans is the way to go.

                Smaller brain (is a greener brain)
                Bigger heart (more compassion)
                Short hands (less grabby)
                Tinier mouth (less voracious).
                Larger ears (for listening).

              2. Carolinian

                My brother–an electronics geek–says the advent of tiny surface mount parts means that an era of diy electronics innovation is coming to an end. For example the early Apple computers were hand built.

                On the plus side televisions are now ridiculously cheap.

                1. craazyboy

                  There are some hard core hobbyists that convert their toaster ovens to surface mount ovens. When you get boards made to your gerber files, you can also buy a solder paste mask. You then squeegee on the paste and look thru a big magnifying glass and try and hand place components with a tweezers. Some parts, like resisters are not much bigger than a grain of sand. Then you put it in the oven and bake & pray. But I would never do this.

                  You can still buy surface mount components machine mounted to “breakout boards” which have the old .100″ pin spacing. You can sorta kludge things the old way then, for prototypes.

                  1. cwalsh

                    It is quite possible even for someone half blind like me to hand build SMT cards — 0402 discretes are my limit, and I’m not comfortable doing anything but touchup on ICs with less than 50 mil pitch. Even on a commercial assembly line manual touchup is required after reflow,

                2. Lord Koos

                  DIY will certainly not end with the advent of surface mount PCB assemblies. There is nothing stopping people making prototype circuits with perf board, tagboard etc. Where it gets tricky is if someone wants to modify a device with surface mount components, pretty difficult.

                3. JustAnObserver

                  Once saw/read an account of someone who had used their kitchen oven to do surface mount work on a Ball Grid Array where the connections are under the chip package, hence inaccessible to a conventional pointy soldering iron. He even gave the time/temperature settings. The only thing you had to remember was to turn the fan off … if it had one … otherwise when the solder melted the components would get blown out of position.

            2. Lexington


              Now there’s a blast from the past.

              I know I’m getting old because I can remember a time when a time when people did things in their spare time that took skill and expertise, just for the joy of it.

              That was before humanity was zombified by the electronic devices that have became our universal babysitters.

              Good God I think I might even be getting a bit misty eyed for the 1980s.

              I think I need a drink.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Sometimes, I would watch some 80’s movies, even comedy ones, and I’d cry.

                Those happy days, or good old days.

              2. Mark Alexander

                I built a bunch of Heathkits as a teenager. I think that experience gave me the confidence to do things later that most people would leave to experts, like building bicycle wheels, changing timing belts on cars, and most recently, building a house.

                I do see some of this DIY culture in the modern world, with things like Raspberry PI and free operating systems and so forth, which is encouraging.

                1. ambrit

                  Oh, the skills we had. I remember ‘tuning’ bicycle wheels, by plucking the spokes and guesstimating tensions by the tone. And I have done head gasket replacements, timing belt replacements, alternator and various pump replacements on our usually old and beat up vehicles. I don’t think we have ever owned a new car. Do the Commentariat think that the computational skills used in todays’ Electronica DIY subculture mirror the old Mechanically Inclined DIY of yesteryear?
                  Good for you building the house!

          2. hunkerdown

            No, if you place SMT parts better than halfway on their right pads, the paste keeps them where you put them and the reflowing solder’s surface tension will center them. It’s delightful.

            Do-it-yourself may be over, but with a village, much can still be done.

              1. ambrit

                It was always thus. I remember being called up by a ‘friend’ to come over and help with the physical part of swapping out a Volkswagen engine.

          3. optimader

            it’s a indium-gallium twist on eutectic metals… ..kinda like a variation on the theme of amalgam.
            Method for electrically interconnecting large contact arrays using eutectic alloy bumping
            Publication date Apr 22, 2003


            I doubt it will make headway with plumbing due to cost, other than apps. like heatexchangers in electronics or other temp sensitive equipment. . If practical issues ( like corrosion) are manageable could be a nice niche in temperature sensitive electronic applications. Personally, I would be interested if it might be great for speaker wire fabrication/repair, particularly ribbon speakers.

        2. Antifa

          A silversmith I know is interested in this new metallic glue, but it raises questions. She designs and fabricates handmade sterling silver jewelry, which involves a lot of soldering sterling silver together, and then grinding, polishing and cleaning up the resulting joint. Glue could make such joints instantly, but the problem is that jewelry is not eternal. If it ever needs repair, how will the glue be undone? How is this glue removed from silver metal? Solvent? Grinding? Heat alone? Does this glue penetrate the metal? Discolor it?

          As nifty as the glue sounds, it may be more efficient in the long term to laser weld or solder jewelry silver simply because those processes allow repair in future. So the only viable use she actually has for it is adhering tiny ferrous magnets to silver clasps. This glue replaces epoxy. Big deal.

          It appears to be more an industrial adhesive for throwaway products.

        3. tegnost

          yes, easier to un-solder than un-glue, heat it up and twist it off, (i have a high percentage of success but not 100%, especially with 3/4″ pipe, I have no idea how you guys do larger diameters than that…). I’ve had plenty of glued irrigation pipes fail as well. Add to that sometimes I’ll be soldering onto a stub coming out of the floor and if you had to cut that stub you then have to go into the structure to find it and replace it rather than simply hitting it with the torch and pulling it off. I wonder what you think about PEX, I always thought that was the future of piping, really easy. And doesn’t electronic soldering use lower temps?

          1. ambrit

            I hear you. The smaller diameter pipes are fairly straightforward to unsolder. Once you heat the pipe enough, which you can usually tell by when the solder starts to change hue and form a bead on the bottom side of the joint, pull the joint off with leather gloves, (if you’re tough,) or a lightly held channel lock pliers, twisting is the best way, and then, while the pipe is still hot, wipe the solder off of the pipe itself with a dry, clean rag. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve had to reheat a pipe and rewipe because the fit of a fitting over a pipe is very tight with clean pipe, and doesn’t take much solder left on the pipe surface to prohibit a fit. Larger copper pipes, usually 1 1/2″ and up generally get silver soldered, much higher temperatures. As for pulling off fittings from close to the slab, I’ve learned to make sure there’s some water down in the pipe to disperse some of the heat, and wrap the base of the pipe with either asbestos cloth, or, failing that, a wet rag. This gets into the “art” dimension of the craft. Judgment is learned the hard way, alas. (Sorry if I’m coming off as pompous, you probably already know all this.)Pex, well, it further abets the “give them a tape measure and a specialized tool or two and voila, a plumber!” With PEX, the fittings are key. I’ve always insisted on using the brass fittings, for strength and durability. Second, wear spots are crucial. The reason being, that whenever a fixture is turned on and off, the pressure surge will make the lighter weight pipe ‘jump’ and vibrate. If the PEX is not properly insulated wherever it passes through or around an immovable object, it will wear through over time due to the constant rubbing it endures at such spots. I don’t know enough about any chemicals the PEX material releases into the water to give an informed opinion. Basically, PEX requires a slightly different set of skills to install properly. This still takes training and a commitment to mastering your trade, self respect.

            1. tegnost

              Thanks! Mostly I fix frozen pipes and once in awhile more than that so the tips are quite useful.

      2. participant-observer-observed

        Liquid solder has been available for over 20yrs….for a price. I think 3m used to sell it for around $100 a tube!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does it release more or less gas than hot soldering?

      And which is healthier for the user, short and (before we all move on) long term?

    3. cheale

      A quick look at Wikipedia says that two of the elements which make up the glue are indium and gallium, one of which is already used in making lcd screens. Indium is quite scarce. I’m not sure that they will be sufficient for mass production of today’s electronics given the quantity (of electronics) that we currently manufacture.

      The other question is whether the indium gallium alloy will be as stable at the temperatures, and other physical conditions, as solder currently is.

      IMO this is a little hyped, and if it is a successful product, it may only be used in certain specialist applications.

      1. diptherio

        Beat me to it…mine was going to be something like “Looks like your copyeditor is on strike”

  3. Ian

    I’m getting a line through the text from starting paragraph with Hefnir down through all other text below it in the format. Might want to fix.

  4. abynormal

    The man who studies the spread of ignorance…“The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it’s going to bother you…and then, the worse things get.”
    ~ Zappa

    (now cross me out bahahhaahahaa)

  5. craazyboy

    “Intel CEO thinks dancing drones could replace fireworks”

    Sometimes you just have to conclude fireworks are good enough. Or even better.

      1. polecat

        “we were gazing at you from the ridge top yesterday…. so thought you crazy……..the People have decided a name for you….you shall now be known as Dances with Drones”

  6. Steven D.

    Herridge’s academic credentials don’t necessarily establish her credibility. I have a journalism degree too. Even though the story is based on three anonymous source, it seems plausible. I wish the FBI had pursued mortgage foreclosure fraud with the same zeal after the Justice Department announced the 50-state civil settlement that bailed out the fraudulent lenders in 2012.

    Remember? The New York AG who was the new progressive hope and whose name I can’t even remember anymore (Schwartzburg? Schwartzman?) held out against the settlement but caved in the end (they always do) to the promise the FBI would undertake a big criminal investigation. When the hoopla died down, it all sank like a stone, just like it was supposed to. Another victory for little Timmy Geithner.

    1. voxhumana

      Schneiderman… and yes, you remember correctly. I think I also remember that he was given a prominent seat at one of Obama’s bloviating, oops, SoU addresses soon thereafter…

      1. Steven D.

        Be giving SOTU a pass this year. No longer can stand the bloviating and vocal fry. Not charismatic. Boring and frustrating.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      Google has also been terrorizing local pedestrians from using the public sidewalk in front of their place in Venice, CA.

      Their apps and services have been banned from my phones and pcs ever since, although I will look at yt via browser only (NO Chrome).

      I haven’t looked at Amazon for years for similar reasons!

  7. Tim

    2 things today ( at this marvelous website / community ! )

    1. It appears some HTML code of has snuck in and hasn’t been closed . . . OR deleted You can see above where it starts. Just needs closed.

    2. Porter Ranch – you might want to set up a separate list. It appears to be the definition of regulatory capture, epic failure in management, massive C-level bonuses etc etc etc

  8. Chris in Paris

    Re: Hill’s tax on “the rich” according to the candidate, it will apply to those with income of over $5M/year. No other details than that. Marginal tax? Desperation and obfuscation until … capitulation.

    Re: David Bowie. I saw he’d died in my twitter first thing in the morning yesterday and resolved to do my best to ignore the tributes. I’ll let his work do the tributing. What a sublimely talented man – up to the last minute on Earth.

    1. pdehaan

      I’m not ignoring the tributes because there are some beautiful and sincere ones between them. The one I like best was one describing him as the “patron saint of misfits”. But yes, what an incredible talent. My musical taste is not what it was back in the 70s and 80s, but some of his albums like Hunky Dory are still obligatory listening at least a few times a year, now almost 5 decades later.

      1. Chris in Paris

        Hunky Dory is my favorite too. Maybe I just want the tribute in my head. Seems like the end of a lot of things for me.

      2. optimader

        Absolutely, although maybe CinP is referring to twitter tributes? I don’t do twitter..

        I’m surprised the 69 things you should know about D Bowie did not include an explanation of “Bowie Bonds”. Mr. Jones was always ahead of the pack. “I’ll gladly take your $55MM for 25 albums in the future” beautiful leveraging.

        ON the personal level it is a measure of his character , true to his Brixton roots that he declined Knighthood…. Where were you when I needed you?

        DW News fittingly spent ~30 minutes or so on him yesterday evening.

        A good man he was.

        1. participant-observer-observed

          Good stuff on Rolling Stone and BBC… About as much msm I will get all year!

          1. optimader

            maybe CinP is referring to twitter tributes? I don’t do twitter

            Although I will concede that I forwarded Lambert’s repost of the roundabout sign pic from yesterday: “turn to the left/turn to the right/ Oooooh-fashion… ” to a couple of Mr.Jones fellow Englander contemporary colleagues.
            I thought that was great!

            I’ll sorely miss the now to be unfulfilled future work of David Bowie. Unfortunately there is a genius talent pool of his generation who will not be replaced as they pass on.
            A Sad for Music :o/

    2. Jim Haygood

      In 1992, Hillary’s consort “Bill” ran on a platform of a “middle class tax cut.” It was a calculated lie, but it gave voters the impression that his candidacy had something in it for them.

      By contrast, taxing the wealthy just produces more revenue for government. If it’s used to cut the deficit, then fiscal stimulus declines and (all else equal) growth is weaker.

      Nothing here for the struggling middle class. It confirms that unlike “Bill,” who despite his character defects was a political genius, Hillary has a tin ear. She’s just a plodding attorney, whose knowledge of ordinary folks is limited to what’s visible out the window of her chartered Gulfstream jet.

      1. participant-observer-observed

        You are onto something interesting here….

        How might we quantify the Bush tax breaks becoming permanent and its correlation with brand “Blue Dog DNC?”

  9. craazyman

    That’s an editor for ya!

    So true. So true. And the world of prose would not be less for it.


  10. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re: Brussels bureaufascists’ “backup” alternative has been set up in Greece

    M*therf*ckers were always going to find a way.

    Strange to read Clinton’s actions on deregulation characterized as “capitulation” in this post. As I remember it, Clinton didn’t struggle against deregulation and ultimately give in. Rather he embodied the Democratic party’s capitulation to the neoliberal agenda.

    1. alex morfesis

      Brussels backup on greece…think jeb and sleep better tonite…

      The election slogan to help pop nipples

      Mitsotakis…because it’s our turn again

  11. allan

    Standard Chartered money laundering back in the news:

    U.S. prosecutors are asking whether two law firms gave Standard Chartered Plc improper advice as they steered the bank through a sanctions-violations investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The Justice Department has requested a review of e-mails and other documents related to the bank’s communications with New York-based Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and London-based Slaughter and May, according to the people familiar with the matter. The prosecutors haven’t accused the law firms of wrongdoing. …

    The law firms aren’t the first outside advisers to draw scrutiny in the Standard Chartered matter. Consulting firm Promontory Financial Group LLC paid $15 million last year to settle allegations by New York’s banking regulator, the Department of Financial Services, that it had “softened” some of its reports to regulators about Standard Charter’s compliance efforts, at times by request of the bank or its counsel.

  12. Steve H.

    – The Great Forgetting

    Thought-provoking. I have lately been contemplating the place of memory and adaptive response, in that fortune favors the quick, that the mental part of adaptation is a quicker response time than evolution. The quickest is like a combination in boxing, as the implementation of the mentation is done without thought, as a reflex. Once the combo is set, there would appear to be no reason to retain the memory of going through why it works.

    Recently I was reading about Solomonoff Induction, where priors are weighted towards the shorter explanation, a mathematical explanation of what Ockham suggested. But when an explanation is discarded, the other hypotheses must be available for the next iteration.

    So forgetting the wisdom of previous generations, which may have been incomplete but stood the selection test of time, is discarding long-wave hypotheses which are likely more robust. The new is tautologically conditional, and conditions change. And as ‘Econned’ showed so well, those new models are selected by an incentive structure where an orientation towards reality and the long-term may be ruthlessly crushed by interested powers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      Forgetting is dynamic, like dancing. Sometimes, it’s here and you want it. Sometimes, it’s there and you don’t want it.

      It may be harder to forget than to learn. Once, for example, a human learns greed, it’s hard to him/her, or they, to forget.

      It’s just as hard to forget a trauma.

      With forgetting, one is able to move on and in that case, forgetting is desirable, and we can reach greater depth as a human.

      Other times, we don’t want to forget, though begin human, we are liable to forget.

      Forgetting is never one thing, never static.

  13. mk

    I was in Wells Fargo bank yesterday trying to close out a cd, turns out the bank made an error on the type of cd they sold me five years ago, they explained that I will get less than the $5K I gave them for five years because of this error and there is nothing they can do to fix it.

    I told them (three bank employees including the manager) they could make it up to me if they would promise me right now that they will vote for Bernie Sanders for president.

    All they gave me were blank faces. I wonder if they are aware that Bernie wants to break up the banks…

    1. alex morfesis

      I hope you are joking about the missing money…if not please forward the details…wf has a cough hack cough gurggle…computer coding problem that certain wf are not aware of…at least that was the talking point suggested to the genl counsel at wf when they were magically and improperly freezing bank accounts on the west coast when people filed bankruptcy which obviously not only denied people access to their money…it also led to late charges and insufficient fund charges…in lieu of having the woman who coordinates matters for the nations atty general association ” handle it”…they chose to “correct and properly callibrate” the software…coffhackkopf

    2. Oregoncharles

      I assume you have a good lawyer? You could also file charges for theft, fraud, etc. I hope you got their names.

  14. JTMcPhee

    Re TPP “public comment” on labor provisions: It was stated yesterday that NO comments have been filed. The correct statement is that none of the over 2100 comments that have been filed have been placed in the public docket, so we can’t cooperate in pointing out the very bad things that this section and the rest of the TPP Blob are doing and will do to the ordinary populace. In the sidebar to the website, there’s this interesting notice:

    This count refers to the total comment/submissions received on this docket, as of 11:59 PM yesterday. Note: Agencies review all submissions, however some agencies may choose to redact, or withhold, certain submissions (or portions thereof) such as those containing private or proprietary information, inappropriate language, or duplicate/near duplicate examples of a mass-mail campaign. This can result in discrepancies between this count and those displayed when conducting searches on the Public Submission document type. I just got a call back from one of the USTR contacts who confirms this, states that the “inappropriate” refers to language and business confidentiality, not to “policy content.” Haw haw.

    Here’s the comment I am filing today, including recitation of my conversation with one of the managers of the process at Dept of Labor (none of the USTR contacts were available by phone) on the simple question about “where are all those other comments?”

    Docket ID: USTR-2015-0012
    Agency: Office of United States Trade Representative (USTR)
    Parent Agency: Executive Office of the President (EOP)

    Following are comments of Jonathan T. McPhee on the ” TPP Employment Impact Review” opened by the USTR and DOL
    Date: January 12, 2016

    I am a former enforcement attorney and assistant Regional counsel with the US Environmental Protection Agency, with experience in the drafting, review and enforcement of regulations under the APA, and with enforcement of the many environmental protection and health and safety laws and underlying regulations that will, along with so many other laws under what used to be called police powers and the notion of providing for the general welfare, become meaningless and a target for ISDS-arbitrated destruction on final imposition of the TPP and related documents.

    As stated in the docket for this matter, this action is not rulemaking under the laws of the United States. Invoking the bare form of the notice and comment process under the Administrative Procedures Act, a federal law under the US Constitution, to attract, channel and dismiss public comment on the one portion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership document that has been “opened” in this way so far, is a sham. This is by statement of one of the USTR contacts listed in the docket, merely an “invitation to comment.” This is purely a false presentation of a feigned opportunity by citizens to have any effect on either the content of the document or the already-taken decision to force its content and effect on the people of the soon to be quaint and formery sovereign national entities that are already signed on to its fundamental provisions and text by action of their political elites.

    Those nations and their citizens are polities that are, by exercise of every kind of corruption (meaning the conversion of public goods and rights to purely private “legal” ownership gain) by corporate interests, intended to be subjugated to the profit-and power-seeking interests of post- and supranational corporations and their combinations. This seeming opportunity to make effective comments on and “vote” to stop this corporate takeover of public functions is a smokescreen and diversion.

    I just spoke with Greg Schoepfle, Director, Office of Economic and Labor Research, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, to understand why the website indicates over 2100 comments have been filed, yet none of them appear in the docket for this action. He states that the comments will not be publicly available to other interested parties until the comment period has closed, at which time they will be added to the docket. This is another indication of the general proposition that the affected public has not business knowing what the process is all about and what other affected persons have had to say about it, with the effect and possibly the intention of minimizing the means for opponents of the underlying project from combining effectively.

    The imposition of this crushing regime of rule by corporate tribunals and secret regulatory-reconciliation meetings is not in any way “rulemaking” under the APA. The clear intent of the drafters of the TPP and related documents is to immunize them to any kind of review by national courts or limitation or blocking by elected legislatures or national executives. The decision to impose this regime of super-national nominal legal authority is completely outside the scope of US courts and legislature to amend or set aside. It is the most dishonest act to pretend to allow public comment, where that comment (unless it furthers or supports the interests of the economic elite that is carrying this coup forward) will be discounted with a pat on the head.

    The APA process was intended to allow affected parties to raise objections and concerns about proposed administrative actions under Congressionally delegated authorities in a setting that actually offered some opportunity to compel attention to those concerns. The goal was to improve rulemaking to serve public interests and minimize arbitrariness and outrageous exercises of authority, lilke declaring that ketchup is a vegetable for purposes of school lunches. Failure to address those public concerns could lead to regulatory salients being declared void or by mandating additional consideration under limits and provisions established by the courts acting under US law. The APA intended to compel actions of the administrative agencies that affected public and private interests to be conducted more or less in the open, and to allow effective input into the decision-making process as regulations were developed. The TPP process, other than in the subversive limited inclusion of a few nominally public-oriented interest holders into the process, has not been open and clearly is intended to serve only the interests of corporate entities and their minions in the various governments.

    The APA told the courts that judges could set aside or remand actions that could be shown by aggrieved and potentially injured citizens to be “arbitrary and capricious” or “an abuse of discretion” or “otherwise not in accordance with law” or, for trial-like administrative procedures including impositions of monetary penalties for violations, “not supported by substantial evidence.” There is no such opportunity for judicial review of either the adoption of the regime or the individual attacks on local and federal public-interest legislation that are ongoing and strengthened via the business coup contained in these documents and the structure they impose.

    Corporations are legal fictions that existed in the first instance only by grace of the sovereign political entities that authorized them, with limited charters and powers. That these creatures of law have become a law unto themselves is one of the reasons the future of our species looks limited and ugly. The clear goal of the overall TPP and related documents is to demolish the power and sovereignty of all national, state and local governments and replace it, by a mostly invisible, largely silent coup, with secretly negotiated agreements produced by draftsmanship of corporate management and their captive and subservient minions who have worked their way into government positions by a long-term calculated strategy. This is only the latest in a set of so-called trade agreements that the poorly named business interests have so assiduously manipulated their way into assembling apparent “consent” over many decades. The Trade Representative represents the interests of large corporations only, not the interests of the people of the United States.

    The provisions being offered in this sham public comment process have been reviewed by the Labor Advisory Committee that was allowed by the managers and rulers of this process to be in the room while the many little Catch-22s in the documents were being crafted by smart legal minds retained by or supporting pure business-centered profit-driven interests. I incorporate and second the comments of that group here: I offer as an additional attachment the observations of one critic of this process, David Dayen, contained in this document:

    Previous “trade agreements” have resulted, among other corporate goals, in what was intended: transfer of manufacturing and other jobs to places without effective protection for workers and their livelihoods, depression of working people’s wages, destruction of laws that protect workplace safety and outlaw slavery and oppression, and the many other predatory elements of corporate rule. Also effective in those outsourcings are the search for places without the inconveniences of restrictions on taking of private property or environmental, food safety, and other limits to pure corporate greed. The present effective coup to be accomplished by imposition of the TPP and related regimes will nail down the lid on attempts by working people and the organizations and government entities that nominally or actually represent their pressing interests, to halt this process or to oppose the impositions that have occurred and will increase, by design, under this worldwide design.
    I have friends and family members who have suffered massive reverses in the laboring portion of their lives due to existing realities of policies fostered by NAFTA and similar pacts. These include people in both manufacturing and office jobs, the latter mostly call centers where “consumer” citizens interact with corporations. Their jobs were transferred by corporate fiat to low-wage places without labor laws, and often they were even required to train their replacements as they were terminated. These people have generally found it impossible to find equivalent employment, and always at much lower wages when they can find jobs at all.

    What this process is plotting to do is use the structures of existing national governments, and such legitimacy as they have from their various political environments, to effectively and by appearances “legally,” supplant those same governments with arbitrary and oppressive rule by corporate interests that own no loyalty to the structures that gave them their initial legitimacy as entities. This current sham comment process is one part of the corporate covenant, giving lip service to the forms of participatory government but with the decision to impose the new regime having long since been made. There is no way that any part of this process is intended to be reviewed effectively by either the legislative representatives (who have largely been attracted by various means to get on board, in any event) or the courts. The US executive branch clearly intends to force this new arrangement through and impose it on the rest of our citizenry, and is complicit in the many stratagems being employed to make it inevitable.

    It is not clear whether the TPP is a “treaty” under the US Constitution, or some hybrid crafted with the intent to allow high-handed overthrow of republican government. In either event, it is clearly intended that this spurious notice and comment is an exercise in futility for affected labor and any other citizen interests. The proponents of this plan of corporate domination will not alter the terms as a result of comments received, though we can expect an artful response to any comments received that pro forma discounts them in terms that sound like reasoned review. The proponents clearly will not stop the TPP process, even on the already patent showing of massive harm to the people that by their work create the wealth that will be ever more effectively transferred to a very few individuals that benefit from corporate rule.

    One might observe that as pressures on the lives of ordinary people affected by the market-and-purely-profit-driven notions that underlie these pacts increase, history indicates that a tipping point often is reached where the public anger peaks into aggression. And it is apparent that corporate executives and the other small fraction of humanity that controls the vast majority of wealth and the machinery of political and economic power, is unconcerned about the livability of our planet. The individuals who conceive and carry forward these stratagems know that they are largely immune to consequences like environmental collapse, conflict, displacement and starvation. They have figured out how to use existing social and political structures to produce a gloss of the political and social validity and lawfulness that even the most oppressive of existing national governments has to display, to avoid or defer reaction that historically has often turned violent. This comment process is just a part of that thin veneer of the effort to stupefy and distract the public into more or less passively allowing the yoke and chains to be fitted to them.

    There are no effective trade-offs or opposing views to consider, in the estimation of this commenter. The entire document, including the labor portion referenced here, and the activities that have produced and undergird its content and intent, should be halted. Reviews by many different parties indicate that the TPP provides no measurable benefit to the United States, but of course significant benefits for other countries and of course for its corporate sponsors. The corporate benefits include virtually untrammeled power to loot the resources of every formerly sovereign nation and political subdivision, making it more and more likely that the end-game conditions of the planet as portrayed in the movie “Soylent Green” will eventuate.

    More sources:

    No pride of authorship, anything in there is open to any use. I’ll maintain that this is an exercise in futility, but “Je proteste!”

        1. polecat

          Like I stated last week………they’re shitting on us all in plain sight…and calling it shit ! This… will… end… badly !

      1. JTMcPhee

        Anybody that wants to can file a TPP comment of their own. Go here,!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;D=USTR-2015-0012 , and click Comment Now! Tricks: you need to put some text in “second address” field, a space will not do, otherwise it won’t submit, and be sure to click the box at the bottom that indicates you are NOT filing on behalf of a third party.

        I am, just for whoops and giggles, also faxing this to my elected purchased representatives’ offices, and sending a short note to them via their pre-circular-file Contact Me! utilities. Earlier posts here have the lists of Trade Traitors, but send it to all of them you have a “right” to be heard by as residents of their districts or states. We see how easily our ‘representatives’ with their spurious “electoral legitimacy” can be bought or turned.

        What happened to all the interest and seeming start of momentum toward opposition? are we all just crushed by the yoke they are hanging on us, expecting that we will just strain harder at the traces to “earn” our ever-smaller feed bags at the end of ever-longer days of labor (if we have a jawb, that is) or waiting for the Knacker to haul us away for rendering into the feedstock for Soylent Products?

        Do not go gently… Couch your lance, and charge the windmill!

        1. tim s

          Do not go gently… Couch your lance, and charge the windmill!

          I hear you, but I think the wind is not in our sails. We don’t have lances, and where are the windmills? It seems many people are afraid of lances anyway and no longer know how to use them even if they were available….

          All of the old boundaries are gone, there is no representative government, and the PTB are largely criminal. It seems that it must get worse before it gets better. If it is a soylent future, then so be it. It will be somewhat deserved, unfortunately. But, hey, what’s a declining empire without copious amounts of suffering??

          Once Fast Track passed, the chance for a political solution seemed out of reach. A slap in the face is an understatement for how that passed.

          I hope that you are right and that your efforts (and those who have done the same) will have the desired result.

            1. tim s

              Very true. I did not mean to imply that we should yield. Our traditional political channels for action have become so withered that they are no longer effective. Those in power feel no constraints by that process and ignore those who use it. It will take a greater movement than we have mustered thus far to change anything.

              Online submissions will likely be printed out and burned to light the cigars in their smug fuggin mugs as they piss on us.

              That doesn’t mean do nothing….

        2. jrs

          Now there are:

          Comments Received*

          Not that I can view any of course, as yea they don’t seem to be appearing. I suppose it helps to get those comments visible if you have a lot of expertise, but it doesn’t seem they are letting any show at this time regardless of expertise. Yea we’re screwed IOW, and they are censoring the comments. We need a mass movement not comments that get censored anyway.

    1. cnchal

      Great comment. I wonder if if the whole thing will be redacted.

      I think of the TPP as odious law, much the same way dictators could drown their countries in odious debt, steal millions for themselves and let the peasants pay for it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the peasants have to pay for it, then, they should be the ones to spend it.

        Unfortunately, the Tsarist government did the borrowing and spending (in the name of the People, maybe), but the people of Russia ended up paying off (if not 100% of the debt, but eventually, after many decades).

        “You, the people, are the sovereign. You pay it. I am leaving for another country.”

    2. meeps

      Thanks, JTMcPhee. As an attorney, do you think the correct legal characterization of the function of the TPP/TTIP/TISA would be that of a supranational coup d’etat, a surrender, a succession? The agreements have been called all of these things and I wonder what would be the distinction; conveyance? Anyone?

    3. 3.14e-9

      John, this an great piece of investigative work, and easily understandable to someone without a legal background. It could be an article on a news site — although it would have to be fast. Thank you a million times for writing and submitting it and for sharing it here.

      In addition to your representatives (sic), have you also thought of submitting it to members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee? It seems like it also would be appropriate to send it the legislative staff of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders responsible for trade agreements. Bernie’s campaign staff might be interested, but they have other worries right now, sending a memo to his Senate staff would probably be the fastest way to get his attention.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Clinton proposing 4% tax:

    This is all optics. She can’t move any more to the left on anything that counts without pissing off her big money backers.

    I would disagree with this. Her backers are well aware of what she has to do to get elected, if it means getting her in power they would be happy for her to sing the Red Flag before every speech. They know exactly how she will govern, and they are perfectly content with that.

    1. rich

      Biden praises Sanders on income inequality, calls Clinton ‘relatively new’ to the fight

      Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden offered effusive praise for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders Monday, lauding Hillary Clinton’s chief rival for doing a “heck of a job” on the campaign trail and praising Sanders for offering an authentic voice on income inequality.

      And while Biden said Democrats had a slate of “great candidates” running for president, he suggested Clinton was a newcomer to issues like the growing gap between rich and poor.

      “Bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real. And he has credibility on it,” Biden said during an interview with CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

      Bernie must be stronger than anyone willing to admit.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Bernie had a profile as prominent as anyone on the national stage outside of Warren, but seeing a 74 year old challenge the Hillary juggernaut without Obama mania and msm coverage must be leaving many Democrats thinking, “what if?”

        Not Biden, one of the newer faces could have run the same challenge if they weren’t so devoted to pursuing a right wing agenda. Despite the small nature of Obama, being President is a much bigger prize than a corporate board seat.

        At the same time, Bernie owes nothing to no one. No one has earned a cabinet seat except O’Malley.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Clinton may be relatively new, but converts are most zealous.

        Unfortunately, she needs to show she is a true convert.

        1. Massinissa

          That will be hard, though not impossible, considering that she is most definitely not a true convert.

    2. sid_finster

      I recall that her husband once promised us something about a “middle class tax cut” when he was trying to get himself elected.

  16. down2long

    This strike-through is fun. I’ve been wanting to learn how to do it for years, and now it’s automatic. One more thing to strike off of my bucket list.

    1. allan

      Also too: Bernie Sanders Widens Lead Over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, Poll Finds

      The survey from Monmouth University, released on Tuesday, shows Mr. Sanders leading Mrs. Clinton by a margin of 53 percent to 39 percent, with Martin O’Malley trailing at 5 percent. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

      The results signify a significant shift on the New Hampshire race, as Mrs. Clinton had a narrow advantage over Mrs. Sanders there in a November poll from Monmouth. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll released this week showed Mr. Sanders with a four-percentage-point lead there.

      Perhaps more worrying for Mrs. Clinton is the finding that a majority of New Hampshire voters said that their choice is set, while only 35 percent were completely decided two months ago.

        1. ambrit

          Hillary will eat even Divine Taffy to get elected. I hope so, because that’s exactly what she’s promising the rest of us.

      1. giantsquid

        Two new polls (Quinnipiac, ARG) show Sanders moving ahead in Iowa today. Will Debbie Wasserman Schultz now decide that perhaps a few more debates might be a good idea, perhaps moderated by Clinton family friends?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Wonder if she will double down and make it an 8% tax?

          Make it 90% on anything over $1 million per year, and she will be a serious candidate.

      2. rich

        Hillary “Feels the Bern” – Record Numbers of Members Vote to Endorse Sanders by Massive Margin

        The recent member vote conducted by progressive organization is downright devastating for Hillary Clinton. The numbers speak for themselves, and demonstrate in no uncertain terms that Hillary Clinton has absolutely zero grassroots support. There isn’t a person in this country who is genuinely excited about Hillary, while Bernie Sanders continues to pack rooms and, as we learned in December, broke the fundraising record for most contributions at this stage in a political campaign at 2.3 million.

        The fact that Hillary is still seen as the inevitable nominee simply proves how completely lifeless and corrupt the Democratic establishment is. But don’t take my word for it.

        From MoveOn:

        1. James Levy

          Well, some feminists like Katha Pollitt and Lena Dunham really do badly wish to see Hilary president. Their arguments don’t have a logical center to them, just an “it’s our turn and I don’t wanna die without seeing a woman president” insistence, but they are truly committed to her being president.

          1. Andrew Watts

            Societal leftists feel no pressing desire to deal with the little people’s problems.

            Pass the champagne. Hillary ’16!

          2. GlobalMisanthrope

            I think it’s reductive, dismissive of actual feminists and possibly sexist to call them “feminists” just because they’re women supporting a woman candidate. (Or if you call them such because that’s what they call themselves, quotes would help.) The supporters you mention and their ilk are just doing the clubby Dem wing of the Junior League thing they always do. Nothing to do with feminism, except as branding.

              1. GlobalMisanthrope

                I hadn’t, so I looked it up. Wasn’t that clever of you? Or it would have been if it described what I was doing.

                I was saying that conflating a woman in support of a woman candidate (a Scotsman, if you like) with a feminist (a Scottish Green Party member) is logically problematic and, therefore, might plausibly be understood to signal a bias on the part of Mr Levy.

                However, if Mr Levy had meant that they were self-described feminists, and had indicated that by putting the word in quotes, I would have read his comment differently.

                A sex-baiting metanarrative is being constructed by and around the Clinton campaign that uses “feminist” so broadly that it could be understood by one without a dictionary at hand to be synonymous with woman. That’s branding, not ideology.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          As a woman, Hilary needs to be outraged that occupiers should be assaulted by the police, while widespread attacks on women were not covered for many days.

          The message from the sheriff of Nottingham and his associates seems to be that rich people’s wealth is valuable, but women are cheap chattels.

          Make that her daily message to women voters.

    2. 3.14e-9

      Got the e-mail from them about an hour ago and jumped for joy. Excerpt:

      After more than 340,000 ballots were cast in a four-day membership vote, Bernie Sanders has earned our endorsement with an overwhelming 79% of votes cast, far more than the 67% threshold required for an endorsement. That’s the best-ever performance of any presidential candidate in MoveOn’s 17-year history.

      This vote was not only decisive, but participation was broad-based, with more ballots cast than any other endorsement vote in MoveOn’s history.

  17. Jim Haygood

    From our “broken record” department — crude earl is now approaching the round number of $30 a barrel. It’s down another 3.5% to $30.29 as I type. Chart:

    This is what economists call an “exogenous shock” (meaning anything important that they failed to foresee). And it’s going to have unforeseeable consequences for much of the developing world.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You think there is a beer deflation?

        That beer will be cheaper tomorrow, or next year, and so, let’s just wait?

        1. craazyman

          I never understood that economic argument.

          A consumer might be dead the next day. Shouldn’t they Live Now and consume?

          You can assume infinity if yewer a real mathematician or physicist, but only if youze can divide by infinity too. That makes it easy.

          1. polecat

            Yes….Consume, Stay asleep, Have no original thought, Marry & reproduce, Respect authority……….. Who knew John Carpenter was our modern day Nostrodomus

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I can’t vouch for more consumption, but we need more idleness and more hours of sleep.

              Too many humans working too hard to become rich and powerful.

              Unfortunately, there can be only one emperor, whether the human population is 10 million or 10 billion. More humans just makes the emperor-ship more valuable, I guess. In that sense, the emperor is always for a bigger ‘market.’

      1. Jim Haygood

        Whereas above the 49th parallel the “northern peso,” worth one USD as recently as three years ago, has fallen below 70 U.S. cents.

        At least Canuckistanis will get to seek 15 minutes of fame as extras in movies, as Hollywood heads north again like it did in 2001. Toronto can double for New York or Chicago, though L.A. is a stretch unless they fly in some palm trees.

        1. craazyboy

          Remember the $140 oil. It’s like the Alamo.

          Hollywood has been in Vancouver full time this whole century.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Remember the 30, comrade.

            Crude printed $29.93 just after 2 pm.

            This is a test. It is only a test. Had this been a real emergency, the PPT would have intervened.

            1. cnchal

              The PPT is on the wrong end of the deal. This like trying to catch a guillotine.

              Quadrillions levered on a tiny fulcrum of wealth creation. Now we find out what the debt that funded all the hole drilling in North Dakota and tar sands buildup in Alberta is really worth.

              If oil gets to $8.00 the canucklebuck will be less that 50 cents US.

              On top of all the petro dollar pressure, there is talk about negative interest rates from the Bank of Canada.

        2. Carolinian

          On the other hand President Cruz will put them in charge of America. Hockey will become the national sport.

            1. craazyboy

              From google search
              “California claims its gas tax is .395 cents per gallon but the numbers suggest it can be as high as $1.13 per gallon, plus local sales taxes.”

              They do have one of the highest state gas taxes in the country. Plus it looks like locals get in the act too. That goes on top of the Federal gas tax.

              I see lots of stations with $1.90 gas here. But I don’t drive much, so it’s not like winning the lottery.

              1. ambrit

                Poor folks. I filled up the PT for $1.58 a gallon yesterday in Gulfport MS. The airlines lock in their fuel months in advance. It should take a few months for the fuel fairy to sprinkle reducing fairy dust on your air flight tickets.

              1. pdehaan

                I believe $3 or $4 should be the absolute minimum for gas, no matter the price of oil, even if just for the sake of responsible consumption, climate change, etc. The “we’re getting screwed” part is only true as far as it relates to where the profits currently go, but no, you’re not getting screwed in any other sense paying only $3 for such a valuable resource.

    1. cnchal

      Here is a section of a post at that is rather illuminating.

      Unlike backwardation, a large contango spread contains the potential for significant financing difficulties of the entire futures curve. The greater the cost of carry (buying spot, selling future, taking delivery and storing until final delivery) the steeper the futures curve should be, especially since there is enormous leverage in every step of that process (you don’t put it up the full purchase amount of the oil you just acquired to sell into the future, you borrow as much as you can and use the oil as collateral in the interim). Thus, the oil curve becomes itself a derivative commentary on both collateralized “dollar” conditions now and especially perceptions about those conditions in the future. In the case of the oil curve over this period, though, the front end has essentially pulled the rest of the curve downward now to the point that the whole of it has fallen below $50.

      In other words, funding markets that are financing more and more stored oil hitting storage (rather than the normal usage in backwardation) are increasingly looking to disgorge that oil at whatever point in the future since it looks less likely that funding commitments can be maintained (easily and cost-effective) and rolled over in perpetuity. If you bought at spot or took short futures delivery in the past year hoping to get a Janet Yellen “transitory” payday, the shaky status of funding commitments (including the perceived value of stored oil as collateral) means that more and more speculators and physical owners (including producers) are increasingly looking to offload what they already have into the futures market (rather than stored oil coming back on market in an orderly and regular fashion over time as the curve pushes back up to backwardation) at whatever price they can get (including margin calls). The result in this rush has been futures prices sinking to the point of compressing current levels of contango – a self-reinforcing rush of financial desperation.

      Would $8 per barrel oil be considered a black swan event? craazyman, your five bagger awaits. The only question is timing.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Back in 2004 when crude first broke above $40, futures were backwardated. For instance, the Dec 2005 contract could be bought for less than $40. Long specs got a double-barreled gain, not only from the spot price going up, but also from the long-dated futures rising up to meet the spot price as they approached expiry.

        Today it’s the opposite: Dec 2017 crude is at $42, a stunning $12 premium to spot. Should crude merely hold flat at $30 till then, you could make $12 shorting it.

        But it’s a risky proposition. War or (say) a revolution in Saudi Arabia could launch crude in a hurry. Or a global depression could hand you your $8 spot price. Maybe we should stick to a placid, low-volatility cakewalk like private equity. /sarc

        1. low_integer

          Reciting commodity and stock market figures seems very natural to you. Were you once a banker?
          I must say that since your arrogant little rant about the metric system I cannot take you seriously. I have also begun to wonder if the real reason you are here is not because you are dissatisfied with the financial system but dissatisfied that you can no longer personally gain from it.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Post-Hebdo free speech.

    Is free speech free if the price is eternal vigilance?

    Is anything free?

    Maybe Nature’s bounty?

    1. Antifa

      “Cows do not give us their milk, and bees do not give us their honey.
      But if you are wily, and strong, and ruthless, they are yours for the taking.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Even more wondrous is vegetables’ non-violent, non-resistance to our robbing of their lives.

        Unless we are talking about poisonous mushrooms.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Have you tried milking a cow?
        Or getting honey out of a hive?
        My neighbors have about 20 hives; they’re out there all day long. Their bees are thriving, though, and pollinating our fruit.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Nature’s Booty, in the buccaneer sense of the word, not Bounty. We all here know there is no effing Cornucopia out there. And too bad the fokkers who profit off the defiling and the externalizing and the diminishing returns won’t bear even a small part of the global fokk-up consequences. Immune to them in life, and they get to escape into safe, comfortable, cared-for death or if the billionaire life extension and terraforming projects pay off, away to Elysium with them. Retribution with what ordinary people would see as justice only happens in fiction. And besides, their advisers are showing them how to double down on misery of others, to get rich on betting the downside while the planet burns. Speaking of self-licking ice cream cones…

      And all I can understand might be the driver of all this is a constant pursuit of the anticipated and maybe disappointing pleasures that come from sex and its repetitive correlative titillations (food, infinity pools, private jets and islands and megayachts, the bespoke suits and shoes that some here chat about so happily, ‘the most expensive’ of any and everything, on and on), and the fun of power, of cowing and dealing death to others. Does Obama have to call for a wet cleanup after watching the videos of Hellfire damnations? I’ve seen the most interesting vulpine expressions on Michelle’s FLOTUS face in random fortuitously unguarded pix that appear from time to time on my little 14″ aging screen…

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mass migration into Europe unstoppable

    Will they react like some ex-Californians who made room by moving to Arizona and elsewhere? Will some current Europeans vacate their positions by relocating to, say, another continent?

  20. alex morfesis

    Rahmbo hires roundup(tm) attorney to kill off anything that might not make the official narrative look purrrtee. Only officially approved, authorized and sanctioned opposition parties will be allowed on the new putting greens…

  21. abynormal

    “What if there was a library which held every book? Not every book on sale, or
    every important book, or even every book in English, but simply every book – a
    key part of our planet’s cultural legacy.”
    Aaron Swartz

    1. Jim Haygood

      Imagine there’s no Disney
      It’s easy if you try
      No DMCA controls us
      Above us only sky

      — John Lennon (approximately)

  22. griffen

    The story on dogs in rural North Carolina, pretty disheartening and thank goodness an organization exists to alleviate a little of the suffering. I would guess there are a few pet owners not willing to welcome PETA onto their property (or their mobile home porch).

    As a relative once described them parts of NC, welcome to “tobacco-desh”, that rural segment east of I-95 quite often ignored for lengths of time.

    1. OIFVet

      PETA is hardly a good place to seek help for animals. For many rescues who do the real work on the ground, PETA is a four letter word. There is nothing humane about euthanizing a perfectly healthy pet that can be re-homed with just a little bit of effort. I give my money to my local no-kill foster network, they are the ones who do the good work. I also give money to TNR organisations, because theirs is the only humane way to decrease the strays population. I will never give a dime to PETA, they are the Red Cross clowns of the rescue world, only more controversial.

  23. allan

    99 Homes with a tragic, real world ending:

    12-year-old girl fatally shot during family’s eviction from Pennsylvania home

    The Sentinel reported that Pennsylvania State Constable Clarke Steele had gone to the apartment on Tuesday to enforce the eviction order when Ciara Meyer’s father, Don Meyer, pointed a .223 caliber rifle at his chest.

    Officials said that Steele fired a single shot that traveled through Don Meyer’s arm and then lodged in Ciara Meyer, who was standing behind him. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Terrorists include family members who are unwise enough to be in the vicinity of those Unlawful Enema Combatants that we used to hear so much about when all that quaint Law of Nations was being flattened by the carpet and close support bombers and artillery of Empire, blithely ignoring those silly lines on maps and sovereignties that used to be…

      And besides, they were only RENTERS, from the story… A man’s home is his castle only if he owns it, of course…

      Desperation: is there an index that can be reported in spaces like this, since there are 10-baggers to be collected by those who bet the right side of the tipping point… Maybe Bloomberg? No, let’s try Cramer…

  24. Stephen V.

    Lambert’s Post yesterday on Open Data and Academic publishing reminded me of this from the NYT
    Economics remains a stubbornly male-dominated profession, a fact that members of the profession have struggled to understand.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Thanks for this. Amazing. Key finding is that female economists do as well as male when they single author papers but get NO BUMP from co-authoring with a male economist.

  25. Oregoncharles

    ” This has been something I’ve thought but have been loath to say out of concern for being perceived to be way out over my skis.”

    Actually, Yves, the kind of analysis you do – referred to as “getting into the weeds” – could be highly appropriate for medical issues. Your brief discussion of this article is an example: you were right. As long as you call on medical expertise as needed, I’d encourage you not to worry about your skis too much.

    You’ve saved me an unneeded colonoscopy (in combination with the skwee factor), so I’m grateful.

  26. cassandra

    “Global Research is not the most reliable source, but the thesis seems plausible. “ The same goes for much in the NYT or WaPo, and nearly everything on the tube. I feel like a character in a LeCarre novel, trying to discern the truth by conversing with characters in whom full trust can’t ever be placed.

    1. hunkerdown

      You can trust fully that anyone paying good money to have stories told to other people doesn’t actually believe those stories. See also the elite lecture circuit.

  27. ewmayer

    Re. the Playboy mansion, there are 2 important caveats:

    [1] $200 mil is the asking price – even the paid Hollywood fluffers at TMZ were expressing deep skepticism about that last night (never watch TMZ deliberately, but local n00z sneaked in a clip by way of ‘news’);

    [2] A condition of sale is that buyer has to let Hef live out his days there before moving in! (But hey, at least ya don’t gotta sleep with the randy old goat.)

    1. optimader

      $200MM and you’ll have a grumpy old man shuffling around in a bathrobe exposing himself & scaring the housecat? No thanks!

  28. hunkerdown

    In the shadow of the UK doctor strike, CMS: end of EHR “meaningful use” standards imminent? (Internal Medicine News) I’m confused as to whether this is a victory for simple bloody-mindedness on the part of labor, or whether the primary objective of EHRs was to facilitate consolidation of practices and hospital systems by standardizing “inventory”, so outrage-moderating pretexts such as “bending the cost curve” etc. can at last be safely jettisoned.

  29. Plenue

    There have been quite a few American Conservative links of late. And most of them are eminently sensible articles, free of the usual brain-meltingly stupid right wing drivel. I’m curious as to what they consider to be the legacy of rational conservatism they’re hearkening back to. Surely not Eisenhower, with his CIA coups.

  30. tongorad

    The district said it had ordered 64 of its about 100 schools closed for the day, because so many teachers had called in sick.

    Ivy Bailey, the interim president of the union, Detroit Federation of Teachers, said of the sickout, “I don’t support the method,” but she refused to condemn the teachers who had taken part, saying she understood their anger.

    Ahh, the old “hate the sin, love the sinner” routine. O Spirit of Gravity…what a pal.

    I understand your pain, you see, but…

    1. cnchal

      That is a great link. Thank you.

      Coder economics explained.

      Data management is the problem that programming is supposed to solve. But of course now that we have computers everywhere, we keep generating more data, which requires more programming, and so forth. It’s a hell of a problem with no end in sight. This is why people in technology make so much money. Not only do they sell infinitely reproducible nothings, but they sell so many of them that they actually have to come up with new categories of infinitely reproducible nothings just to handle what happened with the last batch. That’s how we ended up with “big data.” I’ve been to big-data conferences and they are packed.

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