Links 1/13/16

NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And It’s Not Looking Good For Us News.mic (Lawrence R)

There Is a New Climate Change Disaster Looming in Northern Canada Vice (resilc).

Aleutian Quake Zone Could Shoot Big Tsunamis To Hawaii, California NPR (David L). We were just warned about the possibility of a really Big One in the Pacific Northwest. Now, this…..

How They Sorted Mail in 1903 Core77 (resilc)

College Sports and Deadweight Loss Rajiv Sethi

I run a Silicon Valley startup – but I refuse to own a cellphone Guardian (resilc)

IBM loses its mind I, Cringley (resilc)

How the blockchain will enable self-service government Wired. Not sure I buy this. Blockchain is a technology still looking for customers. Promoters of new technologies routinely greatly underestimate the degree of behavioral change needed to adopt their shiny new toy.

New development could lead to more effective lightbulbs BBC (David L). Even though the color-corrected florescent bulbs have gotten a lot better, I still prefer the light of incandescents (and halogens, which if anything are worse in terms of efficiency) and so hope they can be improved.

North Korea faked sub-launched missile test footage: analysis Reuters (furzy)


Chinese RMB Will Continue To Depreciate: Morgan Stanley Value Walk

China currency: down a peg Financial Times. Its Lex column. Subhead: “The renminbi should keep falling.”

Three wise men Economist

Africa Hit by China’s Woes Wall Street Journal

Sterling’s Slide Extended on Dismal Industrial Output Figures Marc Chandler

Canada’s dollar dips below 70 cents U.S. for first time since spring of 2003 Macleans. That was when I enjoyed the weak Aussie $..

The Protocol of Frankfurt: a new treaty for the eurozone European Policy Center (guurst)

It’s time for Europe to turn the tables on bullying Britain Guardian

Taking Ukraine’s carrot IRRUSSIANALITY (furzy)

Refugee Crisis

Cologne attacks: Germany to make foreign deportations easier BBC

Germany Just Screwed Europe Global Guerrillas (Chuck L)

Swedish police investigating alleged officer-led coverup of sexual assaults by migrants Washington Post (furzy)


Iran detains 10 US sailors in Gulf BBC. You love the “dog ate my homework” excuse: we are to believe not one but two boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. But Iran is just giving the US a well-deserved wrist slap. It’s detained the sailors but assures the US it will return them soon.

What Hillary Knew about Libya Consortiumnews (Chuck L)

We are Terrorized: Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing, and Why It Can’t Be Easily Fixed War on the Rocks. Resilc: “My #1 danger is a moron driving and talking on a cell phone. #2: potholes on I states.”


The Top 5 Reasons MoveOn Members Voted to Endorse Bernie (with the Most Votes and Widest Margin in Our History) Ilya Shymam. Alread discussed in Water Cooler yesterday, but this has to drive the Clintonistas nuts. It exposes the lack of support among voters she thinks she owns: left leaning but not aggressively so middle to upper middle income voters. And notice point 2 on this missive: Sanders also seems to be turning around the perception that Clinton is the natural candidate for blacks and women. As the first woman partner in uber-macho M&A said to a horrified group of Radcliffe alumna many years ago on the subject of work-life balance: “Nothing is going to change until women own the means of production.” Economic justice is the fastest path to social justice. More people are starting to understand that.

Hillary Clinton Races to Close Enthusiasm Gap With Bernie Sanders in Iowa New York Times. The Grey Lady sort of acknowledges that Hillary is on the defensive!

Hillary Clinton Whiffs on Reforming Wall Street’s Ratings Agencies Intercept (resilc)

A brief history of attempts to audit the Fed. (Rand Paul is a latecomer.) Washington Post (MS). Note how the article promotes the idea that the 1980-2006 period of the “Great Moderation” was an actual success, as opposed to Potemikin prosperity as systemic problems were building up. But otherwise useful.

Sanders, Trump, and Economic Populism American Prospect

Iowa Will Not Be Donald Trump’s Waterloo New Republic. Not so sure, mainly because Trump is such a poor loser and very petty. His telling his security guards to keep the coats of hecklers that were ejected from his Vermont rally was childish and vindictive. Shows of piuqe like that play only to his base.

SOTU. They are overhyped but I suppose I must provide a link or two.

Obama’s Vision: Crush Republicans Bloomberg. So he talks bravely now, when he’s a lame duck, and after he’s been using those Republican meanies as his excuse for speechifying like a sorta liberal but governing like a neoliberal.

In State of the Union, Obama Confronts Americans’ Fears New York Times. Speak for yourself.

The State of the Union Was About Tech Because Everything Is About Tech Motherboard (resilc)

Obama: America Is Great Again Already New Republic. Resilc: “And i b smokin’ crack.”

Toxic “Reform” Law Will Gut State Rules on Dangerous Chemicals Intercept (resilc)

The seven charts you need to fathom California’s water prospects Grist

Supreme Court strikes down Florida death sentence process Reuters (furzy)

The Supreme Court’s ruling against the Florida death penalty system, explained – Vox (resilc)

Kentucky governor to dismantle state’s health insurance exchange: newspaper NewsDaily

Philadelphia newspapers, website donated to non-profit institute Reuters (EM)

Bill Cosby and His Enablers Atlantic (furzy)


Barack Obama And Hillary Clinton Donors Profit From Gun Industry International Business Times

More guns aren’t the answer. For Canadians, America’s gun cult looks like a collective suicide pact National Post (resilc)

Police State Watch

Inside the Police-Industrial Complex Pacific Standard (Chuck L)

Cicero road rage: Wheels of justice turn differently for ex-police officer (Editorial) Syracuse (bob)


Oil dips below $30 a barrel, lowest level in 12 years Los Angeles Times

How low can it go? Oil price could crash to $10 a barrel, warn investment bank bears Telegraph. Remember how the consensus a year ago was that oil would be weak for only the first half of the year, and then would return to the $90-$100 a barrell level?

Calls for an emergency meeting of OPEC countries as oil prices slip euronews (furzy)

BP to axe 1 in 5 North Sea jobs as oil giant cuts 4,000 staff worldwide Guardian (furzy)

Fed Eyes Margin Rules to Bolster Oversight Wall Street Journal (Li)

LegalYou: The Ultimate Self-Help Legal Resource is Live! Foreclosure Fraud

Class Warfare

How the Government Underestimated the Extent of Income Inequality Atlantic. “Social Security is underfunded today because policymakers didn’t foresee just how rich today’s rich would be.”

A primer on the damaging movement to privatize public schools Washington Post. From last week, still important.

Income Inequality Makes Whole Countries Less Happy Harvard Business Review. This isn’t news. And the bigger deal is that inequality shortens lifespans, even among the rich.

Antidote du jour (Pamela A). A mare and a stallion, from a Toronto public farm:

horses links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Bill Smith

    “Iran detains 10 US sailors in Gulf”

    Or that they just ran out of gas.

    What a screw up. And no one noticed they were ‘off the scope’ for a while.

    1. Inverness

      I can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t encouraging news for the house of Saud, who wouldn’t mind some Iran- US tension.

          1. JTMcPhee

            They are returning the little “littoral combat” shipettes so they can be re-inserted into the set of Imperial miilitary-industrial “assets” to be blasted and sunk when the shooting starts.

            An off-hand reminder: The Israelites have a fleet o U-boats, “gebaut in Deutschland” and largely paid for by US wealth transfer to said Israelites. Who have armed them with conventional- and uclear-warhead cruise missiles that can be launched while submerged.

            What could possibly go wrong?

            Effing stupid humans…

            1. Jim Haygood

              No worries, JT, the IAEA will inspect those dangerously destabilizing nuclear-armed U-boats. Oh wait, they decided not to!

              (18 Sep 2015) A resolution calling for the inspection of Israeli nuclear sites has been defeated at the IAEA General Conference.

              Israel’s long term allies such as the US, some EU members, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Canada voted against the motion calling for nuclear inspection.


              Garth Brooks channels Tel Aviv:

              ‘Cause I’ve got friends in low places
              I’m not big on social graces
              Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis
              Oh, I’ve got friends in low places

              1. subgenius

                Not sure about uclear, but I can see this equivalence

                Unclear warheads = most of our “betters”

            2. Jagger

              The Israelites have a fleet o U-boats, “gebaut in Deutschland” and largely paid for by US wealth transfer to said Israelites.

              Yes, remember thinking that was absolute insanity. I am not sure who is more likely to fire off a couple of nukes first, Israel or North Korea? Certainly won’t be Iran since they don’t have any.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think there is a lot of things we’re not been told about with this. I can imagine one boat getting lost or drifting due to engine failure or broken navigation equipment, but two? And why did the US navy not realise that two of its boats were missing or off the map? It all seems very odd.

      1. Antifa

        Perhaps a simple case of, “Who likes a sailor, then?”

        Since the days of the Phoenicians it’s been well known that not everyone is strait in Hormuz . . .

      2. PatrickW

        This could have been an intentional probe to test Iran detection abilities and reaction time. Or maybe just a screwup, but it is all a little too convenient.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I think there is a lot we are not being told about this. I can understand if one small vessel has a mechanical issue and drifts, or its navigation system is wrongly set – but two? And if they had a mechanical problem why didn’t they call HQ for help before drifting into Iranian waters? And why did nobody notice the vessels were not where they are supposed to be, surely all military vessels in the Gulf are closely tracked by the US Navy?

      (sorry if this comes as a double post, my previous posting seems to have vanished into the ether)

      1. James Housel

        Call me crazy (everyone else does!), but after just reading about Admiral Arleigh Burke trying to bully JFK into sending in the Navy during the Bay of Pigs disaster I have to wonder if there aren’t rogue elements at work here trying to sandbag the Iran nuclear accord. On the face of it the story is as ludicrous as the cover offered for Francis Gary Powers. It looks now like the Iranians refused to take the bait. Cui bono

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its not impossible. The speed with which the Iranians sent them home would certainly suggest that they suspected that it may have been a deliberate provocation and they wanted to show they wouldn’t take the bait.

  2. craazyman

    wow. the end of civilization, climate change disaster and a tsunami in the first 3 links!

    is this the way to start a day? It’s already Xanax Time and it’s only 7 a.m.

    If you’re an asteroid you’re feeling very neglected right about now. you don’t want to make an asteroid feel like it has something to prove.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I think my old cat is dying so I am sad. I was told a year ago he might have cancer (one lung is not working and the Xray of it didn’t look good) but I didn’t spend the considerable $ to diagnose it because I was not about to give a 15 year old cat chemo. It seemed like it would be keeping him alive for me as opposed to for him. But if he has cancer I will probably have to put him down since that is a bad way to go and I am really not looking forward to having to do that. And the vet I am with now, which is an animal hospital, tends to push overtreatment, so I need to move his records to the vet I use for the cat that got stuck behind the bookcase goes to (don’t ask why the two cats see different vets, there were good reasons at the time) and see what they say.

      He hasn’t been eating much of late and is getting very skinny. He has also been having hip trouble so it could be due to that but I don’t think the odds favor it. And he looks like he is thinking about his mortality. He has a spell like that when he was a kitten and got his ribs bruised really badly. He was quiet and very pensive for a few days.

      1. Inverness

        So sorry. I agree that chemo would be excruciating for the cat, who would suffer from an agressive treatment. All my best to you and your fine feline at this time.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        My wife and I had to do this a year ago. There is no way of sugar coating it, putting a beloved pet down is deeply painful. I’ll never forget when we took our cat to the vet for that; for the first time ever, it actually got into the cat carrier by itself. Possibly the cancer was that painful, possibly it trusted us and thought it was going to get better, anyway, a very hard experience. So sorry you have to go through it.

      3. makedoanmend

        I lost one of my cats last year to a tumour. The amount of weight she lost and the suddeness of loss made it impossible to ignore her condition. She also developed a stagger.

        In retrospect, I think I put my own feelings (major, major sad) over her latter quality of life.

        It’s impossible to give advice in these situations. My only comfort is that I gave another living creature a relatively good life on this lonely and often sad planet. She likewise brightened my life, and still does in a way.

        Compassion comes in many forms.

      4. abynormal

        oh Yves, i am sorry to hear this. a very painful time with no way around it…the Journey with your beautiful friend must continue. my Love with both of you through your travel.

        “And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.” ~Kahlil Gibran

      5. Steve H.

        We’ve had over a hundred named critters in our time (I am counting fish, too…). Waited too long to take some on the long walk. Put down a rescue pit bull with an old bullet hole ten days ago.

        He had a very good day. Pizza crusts in the car, ride ride ride. We have an old-school country vet, so Brinks went down with his head in Janet’s lap and the dog whose dog he was right next to him.

        I encourage anyone with the decision to try to do the deed this way. When our daughter moved out, her old pup stayed. Waited for a yearly visit to die quietly in her lap. It matters to the mammals.

        1. jimmt

          My condolences as well. It is the tough end of the bargain when Death approaches our pets. We have shared so much joy and love with them that it is hard to let them go. I wish you strength.

          1. Steve H.

            Thank you, we’re well here. Elsewhere in the thread is expressed the difficulty of their lifespan being less than ours. It seems, though, that they are reflections of our own great inevitable. Skiing down the backslope of expected lifespan, I want my kids to outlive me, but not my pets, and I’ve got some considerations of what makes a good ending. So Little Sister will be our last dog, but then she’s the best dog ever and deserves our undivided.

        2. subgenius

          + 1

          Four legged mammals seem to see the important things so much more clearly than their 2 legged brethren

      6. Tim

        The greatest gift of love you can give your beloved cat is the gift of setting it free as undoubtedly you know.

        It sucks. It’s hard. ( We did it twice. )

        We were fortunate both times and were able to have it done outside in a garden instead of in a sterile room.

      7. Pat

        All my sympathies, Yves. I have often said that the biggest drawback to pet ownership is the lifespan, and the hardest thing about it is being brave and caring and adult enough to help them leave us as comfortably as possible. Wish there was something I could do or say that would make it easier.

        1. Jacqueline Read

          My heart goes out to you, Yves. I’ve done this twice and there are no words to express the anguish. I’ve come to the conclusion that our companion animals shorter life spans are the price we pay for their love.

      8. craazyman

        oh man that’s bad. I still remember losing the family cat when I was in high school when I got home from school and my mom broke the news that it went to the vet and didn’t come back. Strangely over the years, the cat has come to me in dreams. Not often, but several times, looking exactly as it did when it would climb up on my blanket in bed and sit on my chest staring at me. I’d put my finger under the blanket to make a point, like a tent and move it around, and it’s eyes would get bright and it would pounce. It may be just memory but it may be something else, it’s hard to know.

      9. PQS

        So sorry to hear it, Yves. I’m counting down the days for our old girl kitty of unknown age. We’ve had her for 15 years but she was an adult stray when we adopted her. She seems fine but elderly and I know it will come.
        At this point I’m more concerned about my kid’s reaction since it will be her first loss. And those childhood ones can really hurt.

      10. John Zelnicker

        Yves – My deepest sympathies for you and your friend in this difficult time.

        I sincerely believe that dogs and cats (and most mammals, at least) know when their time has come and will let you know by their behavior. The first dog I had to put down let me know it was time one morning when I came downstairs to feed her. Instead of eating she just laid down in front of her bowl and placed her chin on top of the food and looked up at me with the saddest eyes. The vet was kind enough to come by the house that afternoon.

      11. Pavel

        Dear Yves
        Along with the others, so sorry to hear this. I have vivid memories of when our springer had to be put down, and then years later a beloved cat. My mother, who was closest to both of our pets of course, was absolutely devastated.

        (With the springer spaniel, it was severe arthritis apparently linked to inbreeding — one reason I would only have a mutt if I ever get a dog.)

        A separate note: my aunt’s new dog was hit by a car in their town south of LA and had to have extensive surgery. My father said to me, “Guess how much the vet cost?” I hazarded “$2500”. I was off by an order of magnitude–it was $25,000. Unbelievable.

      12. DorothyT

        Yves, thinking of you and your dear cat. Be sure he hasn’t been losing weight because of hyperthyroidism. My cat was like that at 15, becoming skeletal, and was (finally) diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and given daily meds. He gained weight and lived to be 18. Why do cats suffer from this malady so much? Canned cat food, even the best, can cause this. The cans are lined with BPA (nearly all canned food is, ours too). Cats with lower body weight than dogs and people are the canary in the mine for BPA and their food.

          1. Jagger

            I lost a cat with hyperthyroidism. She was always hungry but kept losing weight anyway. She didn’t lose her appetite until the very end. I believe now there are some fairly inexpensive treatments for hyperthyroidism.

        1. jawbone

          Hyperthyroidism in cats can come from exposure to fire retardant chemicals — used on carpeting, upholstered furniture, some bedding. It is, iirc, no longer used on children’s bed linens and clothing, as it was causing some problems for children, but, also iirc, it is considered safe for carpeting. Cats, of course, walk on the furniture and carpeting, clean their paws, etc., to do ingest the chemical.

          I lost a big, love bug brown tabby to hyperthyroidism. Treatment is not cheap and does require timed meds.

          Best wishes, Yves, to you and your loved/loving cat.

      13. GlobalMisanthrope

        So sorry. Something to consider is letting him die naturally by keeping him comfortable with pain meds and, possibly, antibiotics. That’s the course our vet offered when our elderly dog was dying of cancer and she could see that we weren’t really able to put her down. It was still agonizing for us, but she seemed to go peacefully.

      14. ambrit

        You’ve touched on a common theme here; the anguish of loss.
        I’ve experienced it over the years. I can still recall the feelings I had as an eight year old when my puppy was run over in Hialeah, Florida. Helping my father-in-law on his Gentleman Farmer spread somewhat inured me to the death of farm animals. Pets are another matter. Our cat Busby became ‘twitchy’ in her old age and would lay out in the sun on our elderly neighbours’ driveway. We felt relieved when her sons arranged for day nursing for her. Sad to say, one of those young ‘nurses’ pulled into the driveway while texting and ran Busby over. An hour later, I held her as the vet gave her an overdose.
        Antoine d’ Saint-Exupery put it best in “The Little Prince.”
        The fox says to the Little Prince: “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
        That entire chapter (21) of the book is worth reading.

      15. EmilianoZ

        Michel Houellebecq wrote that having a dog was like having a child that you would survive. Same goes for any beloved pet I guess.

      16. human

        So sad…

        We have a 3 year old tabby who is just now showing reponse to treatment for an infection since before Thanksgiving. Just seeing her groom herself has become a joy.

        She has become more of a cuddler. It is hard not to attribute this to the hands on care that we have given her.

        I have seen a couple of dozen cats come and go. Life is indeed transitory. A journey of joys and sorrows.

      17. HotFlash

        My dear Yves,

        So sad to hear. I have had many, many kitties over the years. Some die in their (aka my) bed, some tell me please, I can’t take it any more. They tell you and yes, keeping them alive for you is not fair to them. My friend has a wonderful vet who came to her house when it was Kee-dog’s time to go.

        And of course, if they are really lucky, they will be reincarnated as — your cat.

        Hugs and tears to both of you.

        1. Swedish Lex

          Sorry to hear
          I didn’t understand how attached I was to our cat Icetea until his heart simply stopped beating age one. Having had the same cat as co-pilot for such a long time as you have must be hard.

          We now have Flocon (Flake) who is a girl and the total opposite of Icetea but just as lovely.

      18. OIFVet

        My first cat in the US was also my best friend, we got her just after we arrived when I didn’t know anyone. She died just after I deployed for the war. I knew that that day was coming, she was old and getting very feeble, but it still was like a dagger through my heart. I burst out crying when my parents told me. A grown man in uniform, surrounded by others: they all thought I had just got a “Dear John” phone call. It took me six years to get over it and adopt another cat.

      19. lezmaz

        I’m so sorry. We just went through this with our beloved kitty, same type of cancer. I found a book called “Going Home” by animal writer Jon Katz to be so helpful. He has lots to say on the many dillemmas you may face and very comforting observations about animal consciousness. We did not choose to put our friend through chemo and I have no regrets.

      20. subgenius

        @all with a love for our mammalian compadres…

        Excellent book – a biography of a dog – “Merle’s door”

        Cannot recommend it enough.

      21. Jess

        I’ve had to take that long walk with several of my former critters (including a pet dog of 17 years who is buried in the back yard) and love my current kitties so much that it’s easy to empathize with what you’re going through. Take heart in the fact that you gave him a good life, far better (and longer) than many others get. And enjoy your memories and photos. Hope you have a nice picture of him that you can put up as a bonus antidote, either now or after he goes.

      22. Oregoncharles

        How sad. Their lives are just too short.

        Do you have a vet who can administer the shot, when the time comes, in your home? We’ve been lucky that way, and it does help at a time when you need it.

      23. 3.14e-9

        Yves, like others, I am sorry to hear your sad news. I’ve been in that situation. I had a beloved cat companion die of cancer. He lost an alarming amount of weight. My acupuncturist suggested putting drops of red clover in his food. I don’t know if it helped, but it certainly didn’t hurt. My vet had given him a couple of months at best and was astonished that he lived for another year. One of my other cats curled up with him and kept him warm (a cat who never before or after got along with her housemates).

        That was many years ago. I have another cat now who I’m not sure is a cat at all, but a reincarnation of all my previous cats rolled into one. A year ago I found out he has a congenital heart condition, and the vet tells me he could drop dead without warning. There are new meds, but they are outrageously expensive with no assurance of a longer life. So I live every day with knowing he could be gone in an instant. My life has been a long series of traumatic losses, resulting in a constant fear of loss that at times has been crippling. It took this cat for me to fully grasp the impermanence of life.

        Cats seem to know that, and when they’re ready to go, they let you know..

      24. Merf56

        Oh my – so sorry! My 17 year old girl is facing similar. I am more upset with the prospects than before perhaps because my son is also quite ill. I feel like the world and everything in it is going down…. I seem to be snapping at everyone these last weeks.
        I’ve taken to feeding my old girl all her bad food favorites now – moderation be damned – if she eats it and feels better for a few hours good for her. Decision time looming Thinking good thoughts for you and your cat whatever transpires…

        1. Inverness

          Merf56: Remember to be gentle with yourself. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, even a nice walk for twenty minutes might do some good. I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t know, but just sending some warm thoughts your way. Caregivers do not to also look after themselves, as much as they can.

      25. MojaveWolf

        As with everyone else, heartfelt condolences. But first a wee bit of possible temporary hope. We lost our oldest dog (anywhere from 15-17, we got him as an adult rescue in 2000 so not sure of xact age) back in 2013, but had thought we were going to lose him a year earlier. He had cancer, including nasal cancer so severe it was actually cratering his nose and we wondered if we were doing him a disservice by not taking him to the vet to be put to sleep already even tho we could hardly bear it (we also had no intention of putting him through chemo). Instead we tried a remedy called artemisinin that worked temporary miracles. All the crusty areas went away and everything went back to normal within a couple of weeks and he was a fully healthy dog again for over 6 months. He was very old and did start fading again the following winter and finally left us the following spring, but the extra time was a blessing for all of us. Cats are different from dogs and much more sensitive to lots of things, so I have no idea if this would be an option for your cat, but if not there might be something similar.

        Regardless, our heart goes out to you. My spouse and I love our dogs as our children, more than any humans except each other, and we know how tough this is (we have lost too many over the years, sucks for us that we outlive them). Best wishes to you and your cat.

      26. juneau

        Your friend is lucky to have such a caring guardian. No doubt you will do whatever you see as necessary to help him. Kind Regards to you both.

  3. wbgonne

    The Supreme Court’s ruling against the Florida death penalty system, explained – Vox (resilc

    I’ll explain it: this is Scalia’s Supreme Court (swing vote Kennedy notwithstanding) and Scalia is all about the power of juries. This is a continuation of the line of recent decisions that includes invalidating the federal sentencing guidelines and holding that only juries, not judges, may determine facts that trigger mandatory minimum sentences.

  4. CrackJack

    Re: “Germany makes deportations easier”.
    BBC mistakes “Ausweisung” for “Abschiebung”.
    The former is a ‘friendly request’ from state to asylum seeker to leave the country.
    The right of residence is retracted from the immigrant. Yet, they cannot be forced to leave (Abschiebung) if coming from countries subject to civil war (which most of the immigrants allegedly are #FakedSyrianPassports).
    In essence, this whole debate is a red herring to calm German conservatives and the right-wing (PEGIDA).

  5. larry

    The NASA related article is almost 2 years old and the study referred to is junk science. See this critique: Ian Angus, “What did that ‘NASA-funded collapse study’ really say?” from the Climate & Capitalism blog, the post published 31 March 2014..

    1. Oregoncharles

      Nothing lasts forever, including civilizations.

      It repeats almost exactly Diamond’s theme in “Collapse.”

  6. Uahsenaa

    I have to give Obama credit for one thing: he sees the writing on the wall, and, I think, has a strong suspicion that Sanders will be the nominee. This positions him nicely to pretend that he had all those issues at heart the whole time but was too nice a guy, too willing to get along to do anything about them. Sanders, for his part, does not even come close to implying that Obama is any way responsible for the very phenomena he rails against, so all the pieces are in play to perform a political good cop bad cop routine, with Obama the presumed “good cop” who was obstructed by Congress (goes the story), while Sanders will be the bad cop who sticks it too them.

    This was confirmed in my mind by the Biden interview in which he said that Sanders is more genuine than Clinton on income inequality. The last time we saw Biden just casually offering his opinions to the press, it was when he effectively worked as a test balloon for Obama’s shift on marriage equality. The administration seems to be turning against Hillary, which could be very bad news for her, considering the FBI investigations.

    1. sleepy

      And let’s not forget there was never any personal love lost between Clinton and Obama after the nasty 2008 democratic primaries, even though their political positions are nearly identical as far as I can tell. I suspect both the Clintons have always viewed Obama in much the same way as the Bush family viewed Bubba–the usurper to the throne.

      Too many coincidences recently: Obama’s announcment that he wouldn’t endorse a dem primary candidate–political protocol would prevent that anyway, but I’m talking about timing–together with Biden’s statement and, as you allude to, the possible looming FBI investigation.

      Concerning that investigation, does anyone have any confirmation beyond the “three unnamed agents” referenced by Fox?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Seems our Republic hangs on how Loretta is feeling, whether she does what Massa tells her to do or searches her soul and comes up with her own answer. The Clintons have always been kindly toward black folks, so she’ll be pondering that. And sisterhood is powerful. And the Chosen Wandering Tribe has never been an obvious fit with African-Americans. So she’ll have to weigh a revolt by her troops against what the boss (on his way out the door) is telling her to do against whatever heartstrings are pulled by gender, race, and religion. I think she’ll punt: take action, but make sure there are no real fireworks until after the election.

        2. neo-realist

          It might be more of a tradition for a retiring president to endorse his VP if he/she is running? Reagan endorsed Poppy Bush, but I don’t believe he was all that crazy about him. Eisenhower endorsed Nixon and I don’t believe there was a lot of love between those two as well.

      1. 3.14e-9

        No. But Judicial Watch, which has an ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the State Department, has just dropped a couple of bombs. A week ago, they said a newly released OIG report confirms that Clinton and staff deliberately thwarted their FOIA requests by lying about her e-mail servers. They said the OIG report also indicates that somebody could be held in contempt of court. I haven’t read the report to see if their interpretation is accurate, but it’s available for anyone who wants to read it.

        Then two days ago, they announced that the State Department magically has found “thousands of new records” from Hillarys time as SoS. It’s not clear how many of those were on her private server.

        They’ve got several other headlines on their webpage that, all together, look like very serious trouble for Clinton. It could very well be that Fox is getting its leads there. That they are the only ones reporting is hardly a surprise.

        There are, however, an increasing number of reports surfacing about interaction between Hillary’s office and the Clinton Foundation. I confess … I was up this morning until the birds started singing searching through the latest batch of emails to be released. First thing one notices is that they are all stripped of subject line and sender. Fortunately, there’s a good search function. So, for example, if you want to search for e-mails pertaining to Bill, you can start with WJC and then do a refined search. I found some fascinating e-mails about his special envoy status to Haiti, which I cross-referenced to the CGI website. They clearly are exploiting their official positions to enrich themselves. In one e-mail, Hillary laments that Bill is concerned she’s going to say something wrong during her impending trip there.

        There are several other instances of running speeches past him. Oh, and he met secretly with Netanyahu in November 2009. Don’t know if that ever was reported, but if you read through other e-mails about the strained relationship between Obama and Netanyahu, and how Hillary was going to smooth Bibi’s ruffled feathers, and then add Bill into the mix, it’s no wonder that “Obama’s” Middle Eastern policy was all screwed up.

  7. Brindle

    No matter how beautiful a Grand Canyon river trip would be, to have to deal with sexual abusers is a nightmare. The phrase “good ole boy network” tends to sugar coat what is simply criminal activity.

    —-“It was a culture of victim-blaming perpetuated by all levels of management,” she said. “I repeatedly sat in meetings in which victims who had reported sexual violence were degraded and discredited.”—

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A somewhat related question, speaking of groping..

      In the age of same-sex marriage, what is the new rule going forward with regard to frisking female suspects or female airport passengers by female agents?

      How is that different from using male agents, in the age of same sex marriage?

      1. tejanojim

        Because only 3-10% of the population identifies as gay, and because of existing power imbalances between men and women including but not limited to social conditioning, physical size and strength. The acceptance of gay marriage doesn’t change any of that.

  8. Swedish Lex

    On the cover-up of sexual assaults in Sweden.

    There appears to have been at least a few clear cover-ups. In addition, the girls and women are stepping forward to give stories outside those incidents.

    Some talk already about a “code of conduct” that would be spread nationwide. I would support that. This is an interesting way of handling it in Norway:

    In Sweden it would make sense to make sure the code of conduct is not limited to immigrants.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      As usual, the Norwegians seem to take the most sensible and pragmatic approach to these things. It seems to me that simply pretending that there are no ‘issues’ with taking in lots of traumatised young men from war zones is doing a huge disservice to immigrants and the host populations. Accepting and acknowledging the issues, while making it clear that certain behaviours are completely unacceptable seems the only realistic approach to assimilating very large numbers of refugees. Refugees are not just immigrants – they are people who usually do not choose voluntarily to move from their homes, so there are specific issues involved, these need to be talked about openly. Its not racist to do this.

      1. Optimader

        Kitchen Stories (2003) : IMDb
        Swedish kitchen researchers (!) in the nineteen fifties goes to Norway to explore country bachelors use of kitchen area.
        10/10 | Jan Faxér | 1 Nov 2003
        The summary of Salmer fra kjokkenet in imdb places the movie in the “feel good” genre. This may be true for UK citizens, however a swede really gets the shivers alongside with incontrollable laughs while watching this movie.
        The horror derives from the fact that since the thirties the Swedish politicians seriously have believed that they were able to shape society with reason and logic. Thus in the movie, there is the “Institute of private homes research”, the object being to develop the most logically structured kitchen, adapted to the average movements of the “normal” house wife.
        This excellent movie made in Norway, the neighbouring country of Sweden – which up to 1905 was submitted in a state union with Sweden – makes a very convincing statement about the “swedish mentality”, that is how our welfare state has developed during the past 70 years.
        The growing relationship between the aging Norwegian farmer and the archetypical swedish bureaucrat Nilsson. Nilssons job is to observe his delinquent while he is performing the daily chores in the country kitchen, is moving and, I think, quite significant if you’re interested in the nature of mankind – one of Nilssons colleagues comes at him with the a priceless line of speach: “How the f**k can one know anything about ones fellow man, if not speaking to him?” It needs to be said – the obeservators are strongly advised not to interfere with their “objects of research”.
        In other words; at one level of Salmer fra kjokkenet provides you with great laughs, if you recognize the type who’s main interest is to grasp control of your behavior, of your life. At another level this is a painful, yes, raw settlement with the swedish “social engineering” so admired by foreigners, at least in the past.
        I cannot think of any other movie more worth recommending to somebody who’s interested in what mankind really is, and what caricature she can made into.
        This is a movie about how to make friends when every other possibility is exhausted, how to talk man to man, when every way of communication i banned by the “authorities”.

          1. optimader

            It’s properly balanced w/ enough dry humor relief in the absurd vein that the movie is engaging.

            It made my cut sufficiently enough to donate a copy to my local library. I regularly shame them in a polite way regarding much of the New Release utter shite they buy and put on the shelves.
            Why do they feel they are serving the public good by putting three copies of Transformers-12 or anything by the likes of with Dwayne Johnson or Vin Diesel etc.. on the shelf?

        1. Jagger

          The horror derives from the fact that since the thirties the Swedish politicians seriously have believed that they were able to shape society with reason and logic.

          Check in to the Bolshevik attempt to create the new Russian Man. Didn’t work out too well though. I suspect many ideological government and media types feel enough brainwashing will produce a new society overcoming basic human nature. I imagine it works to a certain extent.

          1. Swedish Lex

            Interesting approach to compare Sweden today with the Soviet Union pre WWII.

            Had not heard that one before.

            1. Jagger

              Here is a link:

              The Soviet man was to be selfless, learned, healthy, muscular, and enthusiastic in spreading the socialist Revolution. Adherence to Marxism-Leninism, and individual behavior consistent with that philosophy’s prescriptions, were among the crucial traits expected of the New Soviet man, which required intellectualism and hard discipline.[6] He was not driven by crude impulses of nature but by conscious self-mastery, a belief that required the rejection of both innate personality and the unconscious, which Soviet psychologists therefore rejected.[7]

              Orlando Figes stressed the “selfless” aspect with the state placed above individual needs. Of course in those days, the Bolsheviks didn’t have today’s level of sophistication when it comes to propaganda/brainwashing. But they gave it a shot. It was definitely a tough sell for the everyday peasant of the 20s.

              There was a new Soviet Woman model as well.

              1. Jagger

                Of course in those days, the Bolsheviks didn’t have today’s level of sophistication when it comes to propaganda/brainwashing.

                Should read: Of course in those days, the Bolsheviks didn’t have today’s level of sophistication when it comes to SOCIETAL propaganda/brainwashing. (And they didn’t have a TV in every home.)

          2. OIFVet

            It worked well enough, otherwise we wouldn’t have the term “sovok”. And so it will be with the Nordics’ attempts, with the difference being that one produced extreme machos and the other attempts to produce neutered beta males. See “Lillehammer” on Netflix…

            1. Jagger

              I have doubts that the mass of peasants could truly internalize the principles. I could see a few achieving the transformation but suspect the mass simply presented an acceptable outward appearance. So I just have my doubts without really knowing.

              1. OIFVet

                The point is, they did succeed in creating a new man, albeit not the type they wanted to create. The West has been far more successful in that regard, creating consumers out of citizens.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Well sort of, but Zynovyev did not use the term sarcastically. It was appropriated for that use by the Russian liberals, to denigrate all who did not support their great democratizing agenda that brought the disaster of the 1990s. Nowadays it is used to denigrate anyone who supports Putin, without much bother for critical analysis as to why that might be. It is also used to describe people like me, who grew up in the Soviet Block, immigrated and embraced the West, only to re-discover and re-embrace our own culture. Deserters from the “great democratizing and liberating march toward unfettered free markets”, IOW. So “sovok” is a rather complex thing to define but its very existence points out that a new kind of man was created. It’s neither good nor bad, it just is.

                    1. Jagger

                      Thank you. So today, the term Sovok is now part of the propaganda war.

                      I just finished Orlando Figes, “The People’s Tragedy”. Fascinating book. One thing that struck me is that the basic idealism of Bolshevism appeared to be in conflict with the human nature of much of the population. And in the form of a dictatorship, it was very brutal. It seems the mass wanted anything but the Tsars yet Bolshevism seemed almost just another version of strong man Tsarism with perhaps slightly more belief and understanding of the masses.

                      Also I was surprised at the weakness of Bolshevism and how unlikely that they were to seize power. While everyone else hesitated and debated, the bolshevis took action. And against the odds, action gave them power.

                      Any recommendations on good books covering the Russian period after the 20s?

                    2. OIFVet

                      Not really sure, I find most history books on Russia to have too much pro- or anti- bias. Perhaps Stephen Cohen’s ‘Rethinking the Soviet Experience’ strikes a balance, but that’s just my opinion. Personally I always preferred Russian literature to Russian history.

                      Which is why I will say one thing about Russians: they prefer strong government, even a brutal one, to a weak but “democratic” government”. It’s the result of centuries of traumas and invasions. The national psyche craves the security of a strong state. The Bolsheviks eventually created that after the civil war. I also disagree that the masses wanted anything but the Czars. In Russian folklore, the tales of the good czar are a legion. It goes like this: the czar is good but his boyars are terrible. If only the czar knew what was happening, he would correct the injustices. In a way, this goes some way to explain Stalinism; some part of the population would always refuse to believe that Stalin knew what was happening, much less that it was happening on his orders.

                    3. Jagger

                      I will see if I can track that book down. Over the last couple years, I have reading primarily about Russia and to some extent, Spain. Both attempted to create a new society without capitalism. And both failed. In each case, other alternatives such as anarchism and social democracy could not stand up to Bolshevism.

                      While Capitalism relies on ownership and accumulation by the individual, ideally, communism relies on a society based on sharing according to need. Communism has a greater expectation of human nature. Yet it has failed over and over. So why-is it human nature?

                      Sholokov’s The Don novels got me started on Russia. Superb novels. They are surprising historically accurate. And Orlando Figes is well worth reading. He has a knack for writing which reminds me of Wedgewood or Tuchman. Can’t wait to turn the next page. Plus he clearly knows his subject. He makes you think. I just started his Natasha’s Dance next which appears to be as well written as The People”s Tragedy.

                      As to strong man leadership, I wonder why? I guess enough wars and truama would produce the black and white thinking which supports strong man leadership

                    4. OIFVet

                      I will have to read Figes, sounds very interesting. I recommend ‘A Record of Interesting Choices: Tales of a Post-Soviet Man in the West’ for some light yet illuminating account of what it was like growing up in the Soviets and then moving to the West. It is very similar to what I would write about growing up in Soviet Block Bulgaria and then moving to the US. And yes, it does contain a rather entertaining section on the complex and perplexing Sovok phenomenon :)

                  2. Jagger

                    With the death of David Bowie, I checked out his website. He has a recommended 100 books to read. One was Orlando Figes, A People’s Tragedy. He definitely had a wide range of interests.

        2. OIFVet

          That explains why I find IKEA products to be repulsive on a very visceral level. I though it had everything to do with IKEA’s use of Soviet Block prison slave labor, but that never could explain anything so viscerally felt.

          1. Optimader

            I only bern to ikea once tagging along. It was a good experience insofar as i started chatting w a Lebanese lady working a chocolate countrr there about the family home in Beirut she had to leave –a beatiful city that was trashed unfortunately.
            In anycase she kept feeding me dark Belgian chocolates so overall a good experience.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There should also be a code of conduct for all UN peace-keeping troops and for soldiers from NATO (and any country) stationed overseas…(for example, Imperial Japanese soldiers in Nanjing or Red Army soldiers in Berlin).

    3. Dagnarus

      I don’t really understand why people keep talking about giving classes on “sexual norms” with regards to the reported sexual assaults. As a general policy it sounds like a good idea. But with regards to the specific issue under discussion, does anybody actually think that the reason why such mobs are carrying out the described attacks is because they are not clear on the fact that ganging up on/groping/robbing/and in the worse incidents raping women is criminal behavior?

  9. DJG

    Resilc: “My #1 danger is a moron driving and talking on a cell phone. #2: potholes on I states.”

    Viva Resilc. Just throw in incomprehensible statements from banks / brokerage houses / taxing bodies / utilities and the current massive reluctance to give a receipt on a transaction. Mayhem on the roads? Mayhem in the suites? Who needs mad bombers?

      1. kgw

        Recently canceled my Verizon Wireless account (12/15/15) and as of yet have no proof of same from Verizon.

      2. allan

        United no longer gives receipts for in-flight purchases of “food”.
        And Koch Industries no longer gives receipts for purchases of “academics”.

      3. human

        I regularly see this…from being offered an emailed receipt in lieu of a paper receipt to having to request any receipt at all.

      4. GlobalMisanthrope

        I’ve noticed a move toward offering emailed receipts, requiring that one give ones email address, which I decline for obvious reasons. What’s ironic about this is that the paper receipts are printed on are coated with endocrine-system-disrupting pthalates.

        Could it be that the industry producing the POS systems, components and paper were well aware of this danger long before the general public and are now trying to stave off a class action against them by employees who have been required to handle the paper?

        Just saying.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Paper receipts are everywhere. We all handle them everyday.

          Maybe we should wash our hands more frequently.

          But there will be no water left to grow food.

        1. JEHR

          When I learned that Canadian banks can use deposits (up to a certain amount) for “investment” opportunities, I no longer trust any Canadian bank. They have become triple threat organizations what with their ability to use customers’ deposits, make risky investments and sell insurance, they are no longer the safe “utilities” they used to be. Just saying . . . . The big five are TBTF now.

      5. Irrational

        Amazon (at least the UK site) finds all sorts of excuses not to provide you one especially if your order is just “fulfilled” y Amazon. When you request one you get a snotty copy-paste out of some manual standard reply and you have to loose your temper verbally to get a proper bill that you can reconcile your credit card statement with.

  10. D. Battabong

    Wonderful to read an EU writer eloquently calling out the UK political establishment for its mean-spirited whingeing/bullying about/of Europe. Britain please leave the EU so we don’t have to listen to your moaning anymore.

  11. Swedish Lex

    On “Germany just screwed Europe”.

    The same discussion applies to Sweden.

    I disagree to 80%. Where I agree is that there is a significant number of asylum seekers are either unaccompanied children or young adults. Many come from Afghanistan. It will be very difficult to engage with them since they have no families or other connections with Swden. Everything has to be learnt from scratch; language, social codes, etc. Many clearly come from a heavy background and have often suffered while criss-crossing the world to reach Sweden. The normally have very poor ideas of what Sweden is and hence immense diffuculties adapting and understanding what a future in Sweden could be like.

    However, the majority of the refugees come from either Syria or Irak and are often families and/or young(er) people, many with good qualifications. Looking at how Sweden has managed to integrate former “batches” of refugees (Irak, Balkans, etc.) I have no worry at all that they will integrate and find jobs. The impression thus far is that the vast majority of these people want to build new lives and create futures for themselves and their families.

    Same should apply in Germany.

    1. EmilianoZ

      However, the majority of the refugees come from either Syria or Irak and are often families and/or young(er) people, many with good qualifications. Looking at how Sweden has managed to integrate former “batches” of refugees (Irak, Balkans, etc.) I have no worry at all that they will integrate and find jobs.

      In one of the Stieg Larsson books (the hornets’ nest?) there’s an Iraqi physician who works as a janitor.

      1. Swedish Lex

        A complex problem.

        How to formally recognise the dimplomas of doctors (and other professionals) from the other side of the planet who often come without any documentation (blown to pieces back home).

        At the same time, I think that about 25% of doctors practising in Sweden got their diplomas outside the country.

        The Syrians who have arrived in Sweden have so many talents, ambitions and qualifications. I just hope that the Swedish adiministration will be able to process it all. Last year alone, Sweden received what would have been 6,2 million refugees in the US. More before then.

  12. petal

    Bernie Sanders is speaking at Dartmouth tomorrow night at 7. Was able to get 2 tickets very, very easily(easy to find how to get them unlike with HRC/Bill). It is in Spaulding Auditorium(our big one). I will try to write stuff down and get a feel for crowd make-up.

  13. allan

    How the Powerball rules were tweaked to make the game an even bigger ripoff

    On the surface, the purpose was no secret: “The rules change is intended to increase the odds of winning any prize, while making it more difficult to win the jackpot prize,” the New York Gaming Commission, which ran the game last year, said at the time.

    But it was a little more reticent about the real goal, which was to reduce the probability of any jackpot winner at the twice-weekly drawings, and thus increase the probability of a massive, potentially billion-dollar jackpot. (The jackpots increase whenever there’s no jackpot winner.) As Walt Hickey of calculated, the chance of a billion-dollar jackpot in any five-year period rose more than seven-fold, from 8.5% to 63.4%.

    Lotteries are a taxation on innumeracy.

  14. Dave

    Saw two homemade bumper stickers on a Subaru yesterday:

    Using the Hillary campaign colors, font and design.

    “I’m Ready for Hilarity Corruption!”

    “Sanders vs Trump= Sanders wins”
    “Hillary vs Trump” = Trump wins”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To me, it’s more than one person.

      We are voting for the better team.

      For example, if people knew Geithner was going to the Treasury, would that have made any difference how they voted?

      Who will be your secretary of defense or secretary of state?

    2. cyclist

      There is a house I pass by with what must be a dozen pro-gun and tea party type signs. One of them adopts a Clinton poster to read ‘Hillary for Prison, 2016’. It is likely the only thing we would agree on.

  15. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re: BP to axe 1 in 5 North Sea jobs as oil giant cuts 4,000 staff worldwide

    Staffing cuts on oil rigs? Wasn’t “taking shortcuts” cited as the main cause for the Macondo blow-out? Give me strength.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When it comes to safety, however reluctant Luddites may be to accept that, at least replace displaced human workers with robots, if they want to save money.

      But I am not sure we are that lucky.

      1. vidimi

        that BP will continue drilling but with fewer staff making sure everything is in tip top shape, increasing the risk of another blow out

  16. Pavel

    More disgraceful, disingenuous, deceitful (take your pick) political reporting from the NYT re Bernie Sanders in the “Enthusiasm” piece:

    Clinton advisers said they believed Iowa was a single-digit race and have been warning supporters against complacency, admitting that Mr. Sanders’s operation in the state was better financed and organized than they had expected. On Saturday, they began trying to undercut his electability with a television ad casting Mrs. Clinton as the strongest possible Democratic nominee, even though some polls show Mr. Sanders would also perform well against Republicans like Donald J. Trump.

    Hillary Clinton Races to Close Enthusiasm Gap With Bernie Sanders in Iowa

    Once again, they neglect to point out that Sanders does better than Clinton against the 3 top Republicans (Trump, Cruz, Rubio). Sanders doesn’t “perform well”, he performs better than Hillary against the Republicans.

    How blatantly biased can the NYT get? They did the same thing on reporting the poll results the first time.

    1. polecat

      well…..they ARE the NY Times, after all. Would you expect anything better from that unctuous rag ??

  17. Optimader

    Standing in a train station this AM for a downtown day, briefly heard the trailing end of a radio excerpt from BHO SoU ramblings.

    Maybe just the way the permenance of memory is wired in my brain, but the applause pause invoked in my mind the B&W film clip MontyPython would periodically use.

    It was a canned applause track w/quick dB roll in a theater full of babushkas wearing coats and clapping. As a kid iwould always think, wow memorialized for life on MP! I wonder what they were actually watching??

    Did he offer a wheat harvest forecast?

    1. OIFVet

      Heh, I watched the Blackhawks. That was fun, and no chance of hearing Barry’s voice. Strict media discipline for the next couple of days: no radio, no TV, no websites with auto-play videos. Can’t risk it, his voice is an irritant.

      1. optimader

        His speeches are a joke, like AI generated text. I recall back when BHO was first running for POTUS, a law school colleague reflected along the lines of BHO seemed to be a nice enough guy , but terminally superficial was perpetually as engaging and insightful as listening to someone reading yesterdays weather

        BTW, if you skate, CPDstrct’s Mcfetridge Sports Center has open adult-only skate sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:15pm . For some reason they don’t show it on their schedule, just bitched at them abt that.

        It allows time for dinner w/a gentleman’s speedball, then a fast skating session –particularly sublime in the summer time.
        Hours: Wed & Fri: 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. (all ages)
        Sat & Sun: 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. (all ages)
        Wed: 9:15 – 10:30 p.m. (adults only)
        Fri: 9:15 – 10:45 p.m. (teens & adults only)

          1. optimader

            To be clear, it was a law school peer of BHO, not mine! I did not attend law school.
            Heck just reading Contracts/Ts&Cs induce narcolepsy for me, I can only imagine Law School would have stopped my heart.

            1. mark

              oh, thanks…. contract law can be pretty interesting, if you’re young and energetic.

              a raft, and a horse, started it all.

              1. optimader

                No diss intended, no doubt there is interesting intellectual content for someone, I just prefer it not be me.

      1. jrs

        no, no, the only thing expected to think 5 full years ahead in this society is 17 year olds considering student loans …

  18. Chris in Paris

    Re: “The Frankfurt Protocol”

    Art. 1 grants the COMMISSION the power to levy taxes.


  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Aleutian Quake Zone…tsunamis in Hawaii and California.

    Thanks to Global Warming, tsunamis from that quake zone are also possible in the Atlantic ocean, because Northwest Passage in the near future.

    And perhaps, also radioactive Pacific salmon in Norway as well.

  20. Goyo Marquez

    Re: Social Security
    Ronald Reagan’s reforms turned SS into a regressive tax, the more you earn the less you pay, incentivizing wealth accumulation for those close to SS cap. You get to keep more of every dollar earned above the cap.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the poor tend to live shorter lives, they would also get back less, when they add up the retirement years.

      1. James Levy

        Earn is one hell of a loaded, normative word. It implies that markets are about compensating people justly, and not based on a host of other considerations. Does Alex Rodriguez “earn” more than a trauma nurse? Does Donald Trump? People are compensated certain amounts for various reasons, some good, some ridiculous. Any relationship between getting and earning is highly problematical.

        1. hunkerdown

          Exactly. Snot-nosed punks EARN exactly what I decide they earn. The rest is stolen, I tell Corey with a steely glint in my eye.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Technically, those were Greenspan’s reforms. He headed the commission. Reagan just signed off on them.

      Part of the original sin of Social Security in 1935 was selling it as a pension/insurance plan, glossing over its inherent but artfully concealed redistributive element which would have condemned it politically as “welfare.” Contributions had to be linked to benefits (and still are) for the plan to pass Congress.

      In other words even calling it a “tax,” much less a “regressive tax,” would have been anathema to its original sponsors, who sold it to the public as a contributory pension plan. Fortunately for them, the Supreme Court saw through the pretense and declared in Helvering v. Davis that Social Security is nothing but a tax and a wholly unrelated benefit program, which Congress may amend or repeal at any time.

      Joining the decision was Justice Harlan Stone, who during the drafting of the legislation had advised Secretary Frances Perkins that the constitutionality of Social Security could be based upon “The taxing power of the Federal Government, my dear; the taxing power is sufficient for everything you want and need.”

      Like the unsolicited credit card offers you get in the mail, Soc Sec was “pre-approved” by the Supreme Court. Cozy!

  21. st33ve

    I went to the LegalYou site, and it requires you to create an account (including giving them an email address) before you can even view pages that show you what kinds of information and documents they have available.

    No, thanks.

  22. barrisj

    The Empire Strikes Back! The Philippine Supreme Court has ruled favourably on the restoration of US military basing on the islands, after much to-ing and fro-ing by the US Embassy and Obama Administration to “persuade” the Philippine government to reverse its 20-yr ban on bases. So, as part of Obama’s “countering of Chinese threats” in the area, look for revival of naval bases in Subic Bay, and reopening of the giant Clark AFB on Luzon. Let’s please set aside any talk about “retreat of America”, as US imperialistic impulses remain strong as ever, with holdover Cold War bases in Europe revitalised as part of the “war on terror” joining the US effort in Africa and Asia to establish/maintain military bases across the planet in the interests of “national security”. A hearty tip o’ the hat to the O-man for his efforts over the past 8 years to extend the global reach of the US military and related intelligence gathering.

    1. Jim Haygood

      0zero’s cringing submission to the demands of the surveillance-‘defense’ complex is so abject that one wonders who is actually in charge.

      Looks a lot like Japan in the 1930s, where the expansionist military was firmly in the driver’s seat behind a flimsy democratic facade.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And the Japanese central bank did its part to bolster the empire by buying JGB in the 1930s.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You’re right.

        They are right there in the South China Sea or the West Philippines Sea (perhaps it’s the East Vietnam Sea), with cruising People’s Liberation Army warships.

  23. JEHR

    Re: There Is a New Climate Change Disaster Looming in Northern Canada

    How will the world end? (

    “This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper” . . . as all those tailing ponds in Canada’s north unfurl!

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Marketwatch:

    Telematics services use remote sensory technology to collect data that can illuminate particular driving behaviors says Sandeep Puri, a director in Deloitte Consulting’s Insurance Strategy and Operations division. Using this information, insurance companies can adjust risk calculations by mileage, braking, acceleration, force of turns and time of day


    And why not a time history of your vehicular speed, synced to the GPS?

    More broadly, we can track consumers this way too.

    “Have you spent enough, at least your patriotic share, to save the economy from 2 straight quarters of negative GDP growth?”

    “Keep your sesame credit pristine, obedient citizens. Consume!!!”

  25. rich

    Hillary Clinton’s Single-Payer Pivot Greased By Millions in Industry Speech Fees

    Hillary Clinton’s sudden attack on Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care plan is a dramatic break with Democratic Party doctrine that the problem with single-payer is that it is politically implausible — not that it is a bad idea.

    Single-payer, the Canadian-style system in which the government pays for universal health care, takes the health insurance industry out of the picture, saving huge amounts of money. But the health insurance industry has become so rich and powerful that it would never let it happen.

    That was certainly Clinton’s position back in the early 1990s, when she was developing her doomed universal coverage proposal for her husband, Bill.

    But in the ensuing years, both Clintons have taken millions of dollars in speaking fees from the health care industry. According to public disclosures, Hillary Clinton alone, from 2013 to 2015, made $2,847,000 from 13 paid speeches to the industry.

    This means that Clinton brought in almost as much in speech fees from the health care industry as she did from the banking industry. As a matter of perspective, recall that most Americans don’t earn $2.8 million over their lifetimes.

    What was Chelsea’s excuse yesterday? Sander’s plan cost too much or did she mean to say they took too much?

  26. Anon

    Re: Grey Lady Article

    Looks like we’re in Step 3 of 4, where Hillary has begun to fight. Following Ghandi’s 4 step program, Sanders will win. The last debate is this Saturday, right?

    1. aliteralmind

      Pssssh. It’s way more buried than that. It’s on Sunday night. During championship football games.

  27. Joe

    Germany Just Screwed Europe has no place here. It’s not even a piece demonstrating how useless much of the media is, it’s just a bad blog post. Its entire premise is the ridiculous idea that there is such a thing as cultural incompability between recent migrants (read Muslims) and Europe. There is no Muslim culture and there is no European culture. There are sets of norms and practices adopted by different people. ‘Muslims’ don’t deem women inferior. There are religious texts which deem women inferior, just like the Bible does. There are Muslim men who deem women inferior, just like many Americans do. But to speak of cultural incompability is absurd. It also assumes those Muslims who do deem women inferior are set in their ways. Culture is not static, people do change. As for his argument most migrants are young men, that does not mean they are single men. Many have families in Syria and Turkey which they will bring legally once they have claimed asylum. These arguments are thrown about everywhere and I wish nakedcapitalism could be a place of respite from this crap.

  28. Andrew Watts

    RE: Germany Just Screwed Europe

    The ability to assimilate immigrants isn’t a matter of demographics. It is based upon on the vigor of the incorporating society. Remember Tewdrig.

    RE: What Hillary Knew about Libya

    The Libyan war is a textbook example of how a policy of unenlightened self-interest will end badly. The whole R2P label is meaningless jargon used to obscure the imperialist actions of the (neo)liberal interventionists.

  29. subgenius


    All very interesting, mathematically, programmatically, and socio-economically.

    Now explain how that all works when the insane resource demands of maintaining an internet start to become problematic.

  30. Propertius

    IBM loses its mind

    I don’t know – this seems like business as usual for Big Blue. About a decade ago, the national lab I worked at spent several tens of millions of dollars on a large IBM “supercomputer” cluster. During one of the innumerable and interminable pre-installation conference calls with IBM, we were treated to an hour-long argument among the IBM folks about exactly whose budget the ethernet cables were going to come out of. It’s a company perpetually at war with itself, with the customers as collateral damage.

    1. Inverness

      You could rephrase it: “Please send all refugees home to a certain death. Europe lacks the political will to manage this crisis, despite being morally obligated to help out fellow human beings.”
      You might also want to put the blame on the western countries involved in destablilizing the Middle East in the first place, instead of dumping on people just looking for a life outside of war zones.

      1. divadab

        A bit hyperbolic – almost all the refugees in Europe came from a safe third country – Turkey. Returning the criminals among them to that safe third country – or better, not admitting them at all until thoroughly vetted – is both legal and certainly not deadly.

  31. tony

    >More guns aren’t the answer. For Canadians, America’s gun cult looks like a collective suicide pact

    This is hyperbole similar to terrorism fears. Gun deaths in the US are some 400+ a year. Traffic accidents are 32 000+ a year.

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