Links 4/28/16

A little birdie told me some of you have written to CalPERS and other California officials about the pending private equity reform bill, AB 2833. If you have written or called, thanks for your efforts! If you haven’t found the time yet, I hope you can weigh in soon (see here for details and suggested contacts). A grass roots push really can have an impact on the state level, particularly on issues that are usually kept among insiders.

Pseudoscience in the Witness Box Slate (guurst). A must read.

Despite their small brains – ravens are just as clever as chimps AlphaGalileo. Resilc: “Can they run for president?”

German shepherd helps rescue children from burning home Associated Press

Robots, lasers, poison: the high-tech bid to cull wild cats in the outback Guardian (vlade). :-( These do not sound like humane methods.

Brain’s ‘atlas’ of words revealed BBC (David L)

NASA maps Zika’s potential spread in the U.S. CNN (David L)

Clampdown on trade secret theft seen passing U.S. Congress Reuters (EM)

Pentagon aims to curb tobacco use by military: memo Reuters (EM)

1 Minute of All-Out Exercise May Have Benefits of 45 Minutes of Moderate Exertion New York Times.

FYI @chevrolet has informed me they no longer support last year’s software, even if there are flaws affecting safety/usability. @mtbarra @JZdziarski (guurst)

A Robot Monk Captivates China, Mixing Spirituality With Artificial Intelligence New York Times (David L). The warm-up to robot gods.

Mossack Fonseca

Former Tax Lobbyists Are Writing the Rules on Tax Dodging Intercept (furzy, resilc)


China’s “Lehman Moment?” Wolf Richter

Effects of China’s failure to reform Financial Times

EU Moves Closer to Greece Bailout Deal Wall Street Journal. Not enough substance to buy the happy talk.

Refugee Crisis

Flooded With Migrants, Germany Struggles to Integrate Them New York Times (furzy)

Refugee Crisis: Austria Cracks Down on Asylum Seekers as Far-Right Surges Newsweek


The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Today’s must read.

Commission fails to regulate new GMOs after intense US lobbying failed evolution


Syria polls defy the ‘regime change’ mantra Asia Times

The battle for truth over Saudi Arabia’s ties to 9/11 Los Angeles Times. Resilc: “More brains in his pinkie than Clintoon LLC has her her whole body and her staff.”

Tracing Heroin’s Destructive Path from Afghan Poppy Fields to British Needles Vice

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

After the Snowden NSA leaks, fewer people are searching for info on terror groups online Reuters (furzy)

Researchers struggle with the ethical dilemma of using hacked data Daily Dot. Dan K: “Contrast this with another article item:
FBI says it won’t submit tool used to hack San Bernardino iPhone for disclosure review

Should there be law that requires disclosure (to producers, to public) of explicitly known vulnerabilities of software that places personal information (like payment info) at risk of exposure? This question in context of existing RIAA anti-sharing/copying programs based largely on contracts, but leveraging aspects of legal definitions of electronic ownership. Whom is the law protecting, whom is it exposing?

Texting and Driving? Watch Out for the Textalyzer New York Times (David L). While in theory this is a good idea, I don’t like the fact that this would allow cops to pull anyone over, on the claim they weren’t driving well enough, and take and root through their phone.

Former Tor Developer Created Malware To Hack Tor Users For The FBI Slashdot (Dan K)

Imperial Collapse Watch

US to deploy robot combat strategists Financial Times (David L)

Pentagon Gong Show Chuck Spinney, Counterpunch

Trade Traitors

Barack Obama Readies For Final TPP Push, Which Could Benefit Presidential Library Donors David Sirota, International Business Times

U.S. Trade Bank Faces New Hurdle in Congress Wall Street Journal


Donald Trump unveils ‘America first’ foreign policy plan Guardian. Resilc: “If the hawks don’t like it, then I’m all in.”

Trump’s New Slogan Has Old Baggage From Nazi Era Bloomberg

Ten inconsistencies in Trump’s big foreign policy address Guardian

Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy: Incoherent & Shallow National Review (furzy). Even though I am sure this was a speech long on bromides and thin on real policy, the attacks seem disproportionate. TPTB want Anyone But Trump.

Paul Manafort isn’t a GOP retread. He’s made a career of reinventing tyrants and despots. Slate

Jimmy Kimmel Writes a Children’s Book for Trump

Donald Trump had a bigger night than anyone expected — and he’s in his strongest position in weeks Business Insider

8 Stories Ted Cruz Should Probably Have Read Before Picking Carly Fiorina Mother Jones

What Fiorina Has In Common With Palin And Ferraro (Other Than Gender) FiveThirtyEight

Cruz’s Risky Bet on Fiorina Bloomberg (furzy)

Carly Fiorina Has Agreed to Help Ted Cruz Lose the Republican Nomination Vice. Resilc: “Hard to make Clintoon look good on the campaign trail, but Carly does.”

Why Hillary Clinton Should Fear Donald Trump New Republic. Resilc: “Because she is a corrupt shell of nothingness baked with bad experience?” BTW I hear the Clinton camp is worried.

Why Bernie Will, Should and Must Stay in the Race Alternet. Subhead: “The Democratic race is closer than the mainstream media would like to admit.”

Democrats: Party Of The Rich American Conservative (resilc)

Top Advisor Says Sanders Missed Opportunity on Foreign Policy Foreign Policy (resilc)

Rhode Island closes 66 percent of polling places to cut election costs Raw Story. Yet more vote suppression.

Democrats — And Republicans — Are Growing More Worried Over Climate Change FiveThirtyEight

Rights groups appeal ruling upholding North Carolina voter ID law Reuters (EM)

‘Free’ Shipping Crowds Out Small Retailers Wall Street Journal

OSC’s new whistle-blower office to offer tipsters up to $5-million Globe and Mail. Adrien: ”
Now a cynic observer would wonder why it took so long..does this have anything to do with the statute of limitations for securities fraud?? Of course, the success of the program will depend on actual execution including actually enforcing the laws, imposing fines and collecting them..THREE conditions that are not necessarily fulfilled.”

Massive Oil Theft By Pirates Costs Nigeria $1.5 Billion Every Month OilPrice (resilc)

Tech Stocks Are Bruised But Not Cheap Bloomberg

Why the Vampire Squid Wants Small Depositors’ Money in 1 Frightening Chart Pam Martens and Russ Martens. Lambert featured this in Water Cooler yesterday, but worth checking out if you missed it.


What the Fed Statement Signals and Why Mohamed El-Eria, Bloomberg (furzy)

Economists React to the Fed Decision: ‘More Optimistic…Than in March‘ WSJ Economics

No Great Technological Stagnation Nintil (resilc)

Class Warfare

This ‘virtual employee’ is proof that the robot takeover is upon us Business Insider (David L). The Donald is focusing on Mexico and China as yesterday’s threat to workers. What does he have to say about robots?

Why Portland, Maine Is Currently Exhibit A in How Austerity Can Make America’s Opioid Crisis Even Worse Alternet

Inequality Will Increase Until There’s a Revolution Counterpunch

Socialize the Banks Jacobin (furzy)

Antidote du jour (furzy):

roo and joey links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. allan

    University of California, Davis, Chancellor Is Removed From Post

    The chancellor of the University of California, Davis, was removed from her post and put on administrative leave on Wednesday pending an independent investigation into possible violations of university policies, including using university funds to scrub negative references to the school on social media.

    The chancellor, Linda P.B. Katehi, had been the target of student protests and criticism by California lawmakers. In addition to the controversy over paying to improve the university’s online profile, she had been criticized for receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation from a publisher of student textbooks and a for-profit education company, which critics said were conflicts of interest.

    And there was the pepper-spray attack on Davis students during Occupy.

    Poor Dr. Katehi – not quite high enough in the power structure for true unaccountability.

    1. sleepy

      But her resume indicates she’s certainly high enough up to land a nice position in the for profit education industry. Maybe Bubba still has enough clout with Laureate to put in a word. Plus, helping smash Occupy on campus should be worth bonus points.

      1. Arizona Slim

        She won’t be alone in that regard. Here in Tucson, there has been quite the dust storm over University of Arizona Ann Weaver Hart’s decision to join the DeVry board. There have been calls for her resignation.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If they eliminate their concussion-inducing football program, maybe that university will be more DeVry like.

          We have to learn from our adversaries or people we don’t like….in this case, the for-profit DeVry.

    2. divadab

      Good. Neoliberal scum. Why is that fellow traveller Janet Napolitano still employed?

      “Katehi faced criticism for her decision to join the board of the DeVry Education Group, a for-profit education corporation that offers online college degrees, at a time when DeVry was the subject of a federal investigation for misleading advertising practices.[74] Katehi received $70,000 a year for her service on DeVry’s board.[74] Katehi had not received the permission of University of California president Janet Napolitano to serve on this board, as required by UC rules.[74]”

      “President Napolitano has received criticism from the UC student body for making more than the United States President while proposing increases in tuition to compensate for the decrease in state support while providing a raise to 15 of the most highly paid executives at UC.”

      She wants to close the Lick Observatory. She secretly had network monitoring software installed at UC Berkeley.

      1. Eclair

        Ummm, polecat, are you perhaps using ‘lesbian’ as a term of endearment to counter your labelling of a former government official and current UC President as a ‘nazi ahole?’ Because, commenters on NC usually excoriate malfeasant officials in a more skilled manner, making reference perhaps to actions and / or policy decisions that are directly related to their office. Using a person’s sexual orientation as a slur is an unfortunate tactic usually found on in comments on less salubrious blogs.

        1. polecat

          Ok….how bout I substitute vile scumbag instead…happy now??

          …and that hasn’t stopped others posting on this site from making such inferences toward H. Clinton……

          and of course all LGBT folks are nothing but sweetness & light…right?… well, not all are…and those are the ones i call out as hypocritical, corrupt, and/or malicious !!

        2. JustAnObserver

          Probably spends too much time on Zero Hedge when he could be getting a real , for-free, education in political economy here at NC.

  2. Steve H.

    furzy: 8 leads including an albino mommy roo hugging its beautiful albino baby?!

    You have outdone y’self, and I thank you.

    1. abynormal

      Agree. Thanks Furzy…just like ole times!

      re: Socialize Banks comment…”In 2009 at the World Economic Forum, the dozen or so biggest banks demanded of world leaders that they pay out over ten years $100 trillion dollars in order to re-capitalize banks. This is now being done. Year by year governments transfer money to big banks. They disguise it under one pseudo crisis or another.”

      could this be true? water from the womb at this point, but the inability to meet the exuberant demands, reflects the garbage on our narrow path.

    2. JoeK

      I love these pics too, but I have to say, it was an series of anti-antidotes while travelling in China in the late 80’s that got me to stop eating meat: a pig’s head and its legs stacked on a table in the market; a donkey hanging from a pole with its guts removed; live dogs in burlap bags behind a restaurant; baskets of kittens ready for the wok.
      It seems a large percentage of folks (probably not the ones we droned though) ooh-aah and coo-coo at photos demonstrating that “animals” aka other animals feel and suffer at least as intensely as we do (certainly more so than our so-called leaders seem to), and yet turn around and savour a burger or bucket of chicken parts (parts is parts) without a second thought. Denial ain’t just a river in Africa. Sorry if I wrecked your buzz.

        1. Cry Shop

          Drive a car, fly in a plane, drink coffee, wash your clothes in an electric machine, you’re killing animals, far more than any Australian Aborigines, Inuit, Tupi/Tapuia, or Xhosa. So when you get done with shooting your “white” hunter, don’t forget to turn the rifle on yourself.

          1. cwaltz

            When the first lion goes vegetarian, so goeth I.

            I tend to feel similar to the Native Americans, our lot in life is to eat something living to live, whether it be plant or animal. We should give thanks and honor the spirit that provides sustenance for us, and we should do our best to make sure that we don’t waste.

            1. Gio Bruno

              Well, that lion lives in an ecosystem that has endured for millennia. The current human condition of eating at the top of the food chain is likely unsustainable. There isn’t enough clean water or land area to sustain ALL of us (even if not wasteful).

          2. HotFlash

            Personally, I eat mostly vegetables. When I eat animals, I try to eat ones that had a pretty happy life, up that that last bad day. So, from farmers I know by name, even if I didn’t know the critters. I admit that if I had to kill my dinner, I’d probably eat less meat, maybe none. Well, unless I got really, really hungry. In my current life, it has not happened.

            I have kittehs, they are obligate carnivores. I did not design the food chain and feel that it is not my place to try to referee it.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s the realization of the butterfly effect that drove some modern humans back into caves, subsisting on air and water.

          Breatharianism is the belief, but I am not convinced at all.

      1. Steve H.

        Cecily Berry, concerning acting Shakespeare:

        “To sum this all up:

        The characters live where they find their images.
        Images are often extravagant, and we have to find our way in.
        The images are never just descriptive, they always arise out of a need within the character”

        For some reason, this beautiful image provoked in you its antithesis. For myself, it is critically important to fully take a moment to bathe in the light. And that is no joek.

      2. nycTerrierist

        Lifelong vegetarian here.

        I shudder to imagine seeing what you saw (and what was kept out of sight) in China. Even reading what you wrote is the stuff of nightmares. But people need to know!


        pls consider supporting these good people working against the dog meat trade in thailand:

        1. JoeK

          I considered not posting my comment, but heck NC readers can’t be too thin-skinned, so I figure. Not meant condescendingly, just pointing out what I see as a common type of cognitive dissonance. If you want to eat meat, by all means, but don’t pretend Foo-Foo your toy poodle deserves a mink shawl while Anonymous the Hapless Pig deserves a captive bolt in the forehead.
          And I’ve admitted to sushi as a guilty pleasure (as an occasional pescatarian). IMO at least try to be aware of the consequences of your actions and try not think or act in completely contradictory ways when there’s suffering involved. I’ll step off my soap box now, time to get back to the salt mine anyway.

            1. cwaltz

              I’m pretty sure the people slaughtering pigs on behalf of people who eat pork are turning a profit too.

              I do disagree with the premise that you can’t believe in being compassionate to animals and still eat animals. Heck, some of the sustainability movement is about being humane to an animal and providing it some quality of life before eating it. I don’t want the pig I eat to only know misery in its life.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s harder to savour that bucket of chicken parts if baskets of kittens are displayed in all our fast food restaurants.

        Perhaps, like the open kitchen, the next fad is to display one’s food-supply chain.

        And if I know foodies, a lot of them will appreciate the ‘freshness’ of their meat.

      4. perpetualWAR

        What got me to stop eating meat was the video of the crippled cow being shoved into the slaughterhouse by a forklift!
        Who does that?

        1. MtnLife

          Giant agribusiness. I went vegetarian for a while after seeing those videos too. Am now a mostly localized flexitarian. I happily subsist on quinoa for long stretches but meat can be done humanely and many animals provide a synergistic effect to a properly integrated homestead. Fresh, free range meat also tastes entirely different, as does wild game. Sometimes Mr Groundhog (or deer, turkey, wild hog, etc) has to end up on your dinner plate to allow the vegetables to reach it as well.

    3. Roger Smith

      I am newer to the site, could you please explain what “furzy” is? I typically see it next to certain links.


      1. HotFlash

        Many of the links that Yves posts are sent to her by readers, whom she credits, eg, furzy, vlade, resilc, Dan K, etc. furzy is especially good at finding great animal stuff, including many most awww-worthy antidotes.

        Good to see you, NC is a great place, Yves and Lambert are les bests, and they have attracted an amazing commentariat.

  3. Boy from Oz

    A friend of mine who runs a state gov department controlling pests such as fruit fly & phylloxera told me recently that there are over 24 million feral cats in Australia decimating the local fauna. I for one look forward to their eradication.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not saying they should not be culled. I’m saying there has to be humane ways to do it and the article did not discuss how those poisons worked.

      My father was asked by a friend to help him get rid of coyotes and foxes that were killing baby sheep. He took up trapping. He used humane snares and traps. They would capture the animal without putting them in pain. He’d then shoot them. He once caught a Rottweiler in one of his traps and freed it unharmed. It tried to follow him home.

      1. JCC

        I agree. I woke up this morning thinking about the opening shot of the Snow Leopard film linked to here at NakedCap last week. For me, haunting.

      2. Cry Shop

        You father only had to knock out a small %, only a few coyotes, and may a fox or two to immediately get a reduction in their population that would eliminate/ dramatically reduce predation on domestic animals, which are not their normal prey. The wild population would not be much effected his form of trapping (but rather it was farming/ranching destroying their habitat which made for a greater suffering among them, unseen and perhaps therefore much more acceptable).

        Coyotes and foxes normally don’t get the density that “feral” cats get, because they don’t get the hand-outs and constant injection of domestic supply that populations of cats get, which allow them to saturate an area way past what normal depredation rates would allow.

        Further, the animals in the ranges of the coyotes and foxes are use to these species methods of predation and have developed coping mechanisms. This isn’t the case with Australian faun and cats, it’s like a wolf among sheep, with no need to fear a shepherd. The wolves can set up a den and breed right inside the herd. Is it any wonder cat populations are booming.

        Think about it this way if it will help, eventually when the cats crash the eco-system, then it will be either hundreds of millions of cats dying slowly from starvation, or tens of thousands of cat ladies dying from bankruptcy trying to keep the (killer) cats going till the last domestic species is extinct. A rather quicker death of a far smaller number (10 or 20 million) by poison doesn’t look so bad in that case. (yes, even the kangaroos will buy the farm at that point, because the whole eco-system will have collapsed, and of course the entire economy and the poor and probably the middle class die along with it).

        1. Gio Bruno

          All cats should be kept indoors. They have decimated the song bird population when allowed outside. Urban crows do the same thing. Humanity has upset ecology in ways not readily recognized.

    2. MT_Bill

      It’s an issue of scale and resources. Trapping is time consuming and difficult. If you were somehow able to do the impossible and get your efficiency to 10 hours per cat, that’s 10 million hours. In that time, critically endangered species will go extinct.
      They did a super high intensity project on the Channel Islands a while back. Leg hold traps, cell phone alerts when the traps closed, and then drugged the cats for transport to the mainland. It took over 3 years, and over 3 million dollars to get rid of less than 100 cats.

      1. Mark

        The dead and dying poisoned animals are themselves poisonous. This problem is caused thoughtless irresponsible people that don’t spey, neuter and control their pet cats.

        California dpt of fish and wildlife.

        “Throughout California, the use of poison baits to control rodents has injured and killed hundreds or thousands of wild animals and pets. Predatory and scavenging birds and mammals like owls, hawks, raccoons, bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, skunks and coyotes that eat dead or dying rodents that have consumed these baits will also be poisoned.”

      2. Cry Shop

        I never could get the term humane. First, Nature isn’t cruel, just extremely indifferent. Second, nothing from the dictionary definition of humane applies to how humans go about their way of life. I could never understand why anyone would value a (parasitic?) animal species above their own species, but there are apparently quite a lot of them.

        There is a cat lady now in our neighborhood, who with the protection of the SPCA, has infested our neighborhood with feral and semi-feral cats. She and her many supporters sees lovely cats, the SCPCA sees a solution (as they are only concerned about cruelty to cats and dogs, and not wildlife?) I see all our surrounding area denuded of ground nesting birds. Even the arboreal birds tend to give us a pass, it’s too risky with such a large population ready to leap out at any turn. The splendid lizards, flying squirrels, mongoose, civits have all up and abandoned our area, perhaps even existence for some of the very rare. The cat lady knows this, but doesn’t care. She’s got her own agenda, Like a lot of neo-liberals, she’s supporting what she perceives to be the better species. It’s a meritocracy where she decides what deserves merit, at the cost to the balance.

        1. JoeK

          I happen to really like cats but they are a bane to wildlife, and there are simply way too many of them. I read something like 3 billion with a B birds a year are killed by domestic felines. I personally can’t think of life on this planet as anything other than a web, no hierarchy, and that is the view of the vast majority of those who make its study their life’s work, so whether you put humans above other animals or the other way around, it’s an artificial construction.

          Since we’ve decided lethal injection is the least-nasty way of killing humans, I guess something analogous is the most humane way for other animals. Barring that, a bullet to the back of the head seems to be the method of choice.

        2. Arizona Slim

          We have the same problem here in Tucson. And trying to reason with the cat people is useless. They’re impervious to facts and science. They operate on emotions, and that’s all.

          1. Massinissa

            ” They operate on emotions, and that’s all.”

            Im pretty sure thats true for like 90%+ of the human race. When people tell you humans think based on logic theyre lying.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              A little bit of both…rational and irrational…left and right…conservative and liberal…reactionary and progressive.

              Denying one or the other leads to imbalance, disharmony and chaos.

              A little Republican inside each Democrat, and vice versa.

        3. curlydan

          “Humanity, you never had it from the beginning. That was my motto.”
          ― Charles Bukowski

          1. polecat

            I personally think ALL domesticated felines should (by law) be kept indoors only…..I had neighbors who, at one point were caring for 5 cats…I put up higher fencing extentions around our property as a way to keep them out…..the cats would still scale the fencing….sh!tting everywhere, fitting with one another, and killing whatever birdlife they caught. It wasn’t until the people next door moved away, that the problem abated….. To many cat owners, a cat out of sight…is a problem out of mind!

            I say this as the owner of an indoor cat (now deceased) for the last 10 of the 20 years he was alive….he no doubt lived a longer lifespan because of the restrictions placed on him…..and was no longer an annoyance out of doors.

        4. cwaltz

          You don’t understand why someone would value another species above their own?

          Apparently, you are not that familiar with humans or with other species.

          I tend to prefer cats to people, with very few exceptions.

          I would be surprised if the SPCA has not tried to help her spay/neuter these animals. That means in time the population will diminish naturally. The lifespan of a feral is around 3 years. We have 2 cats that hang around our house that are neighborhood cats and it doesn’t stop the finches, robins, or other birds from hanging out(we’ve got a couple of pines, a Japanese maple, and a willow tree in our yard.

            1. cwaltz

              Did you? Most animals carry parasites and disease, including birds. Some lovely diseases that they carry include salmonella and trichomonias.

          1. Cry Shop

            Mostly in the New Territories, Hong Kong. Large swaths are like a nature preserve for South China, because animals north of the border get put in a pot.

        5. cwaltz

          If you wish to eradicate the cats then how are you any different than she?

          It sounds like you believe the other species have more merit than the cats.

          For the record, plenty of people feed birds too(and yes my household is one of them. We have bid and squirrel feeders in our yard.) Are you accusing them of believing in a meritocracy?

          1. Cry Shop

            Like American private preserve hunters, you bait your property to attract entertainment for your parasitic hunter. Perhaps like them, you’ll use any delusion to justify it.

            Learn read comprehension. “It’s a meritocracy where she decides what deserves merit, at the cost to the balance.” In this specific case both of you have displaced natural selection’s meritocracy with your own.

            Every dead cat get’s replaced with ten, so where and when is this vaunted reduction our neighborhood hasn’t seen? While she’s obviously so ill that she’s lost control over her behavior and is being taken advantage of by both people and cats, I’m not sure her pathology is that much less than yours. At least till now she hasn’t started trying to bait to bring in prey, though I would put it past her if the idea gets suggested a way to support an even greater cat density. More bang for the buck so to speak.

            1. cwaltz

              I can read just fine.

              I’ll repeat my question since you seem to have some reading comprehension issues.

              How are you any different if you wish to eradicte a species from a neighborhood?

              I also doubt your claims that the SPCA is in on feeding a feral cat colony without spaying and neutering them.

              I’d also suggest you drop your armchair psychology bit and leave pathology to professionals. It makes you sound paranoid and psychotic.

                1. cwaltz

                  You get help.

                  If you think the ASPCA is helping some woman hoard cats then you clearing have some issues with paranoia.

                  1. Cry Shop

                    (A)SPCA? …. typical American Exceptionalism.

                    Again, if you lie to yourself, and if you can’t read, then probably professional help can’t do much for you, so ignore my last suggestion. I certainly can’t help you, so I’ll stop here.

  4. Pavel

    hi Yves
    Please fix the link to the ravens article — I watched the video (5 mins) below about wild crows’ intelligence a few days ago and it absolutely blew my mind… something everyone should watch. Amazing birds! And thanks as always for the morning read, which is currently my afternoon here in the EU this week (thus frequent early posts :).

    Wild Crow Shows Incredible Intelligence During Complex Test:

    When animal researchers came up with a very special experiment to test a wild crow’s intelligence, they had no idea what to expect. But after it was over, everything they knew about bird intelligence changed in an instant. At first they spent months teaching the animal problem-solving skills.

    When it was time for the final exam, they fabricated a special puzzle that was intended to make the crow think and use his problem-solving abilities. Watch the clip to see how the bird responded. This video is definitive proof that crows are smarter than politicians. They are ‘problem solvers’ after all.

    1. Steven

      Makes me wonder if that dinosaur with the plum-sized brain they discovered recently really is as dumb as people think. Parrots are clever too. So are starlings. Bird brains do a lot, more than some people’s.

      1. Alex morfesis

        Size of a brain does not matter…look at how little most humans do with the large grey thing between our ears(nc krewe excluded)….

    2. JustAnObserver

      Maybe if we give them a few billions they could become Jawb Creators as well. Knock out 2 classes of parasites in one go. Then onward to the telephone sanitisers 3rd class …

  5. Jeff

    “Pseudoscience in the Witness Box ” is a must-read indeed (and even more a must-do-something-about-it-right-now), but it is dated April 2015.

    1. jsn

      So much dreck on Slate one tends to discount the occasional gem there. Thanks Yves for culling this from the dust bin!

    2. Vatch

      But, but, there are TV shows featuring the use of forensic science to solve criminal cases. It’s so easy! Just put the sample under the microscope, and shazzam! The bad guy is arrested and Justice is served!


      1. JustAnObserver

        Its even more interesting (depressing!) than that since one of the standard visual tropes of CSI (*) was one of the investigators suddenly discovering a hair in the trunk/carpet/toilet seat (got you this time Dr. Moriarty!) & the camera invariably cut to an image of a gloved hand holding a pair of tweezers placing said hair into an evidence bag.

        (*) O.k. a sad addiction but I did like the lead character in the original Las Vegas set version before the ^%#!!* franchising took over.

  6. EndOfTheWorld

    “Why Hill should fear THE Donald”–Fear is not really the correct word. She has an army of operatives working on dirty tricks, digging up garbage, deflecting all insults from The Donald (and there will be many.) She has friends in the MSM that will try to help, but then so does he. And, unlike her, he has many friends in the alternative media (eg Alex Jones). Bernie, a veritable Mr. Clean among US pols, would have beaten the hell out of Trump. Instead, now it’s gonna be a real contest. (Assuming the repug establishment is unable to get rid of Mr. Trump.)

      1. JoeK

        So where are the media articles urging HRC to bow out and give Bernie her delegates for the good of the party, for the good of the nation? Seems like a no-brainer.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      The article is whack. While the content is mostly about how ugly the campaign could get for HRC, the subhead is “He might be easy to beat, but his unrestrained attacks could taint her presidency,” which suggests the concern is not the campaign but governing: how Trump could so taint HRC that it would make it hard for her to accomplish anything as president. And it includes some hilarious passages:

      “[Trump’s unpredictability] makes Trump a potentially more destructive opponent on a personal level, because he could do considerable reputational damage to his Democratic opponent. …

      This is where Trump becomes Clinton’s most dangerous opponent: Even if he loses, his toxicity will linger on to poison Clinton’s administration. She might start her presidential term with a large chunk of the Republican Party believing, for instance, that she is complicit in sexual assault. … He won’t accept the prospect of defeat graciously. Instead, he will be tempted to imitate Samson, to pull the pillars of democracy down so that he destroys his opponents as well as himself….

      In the wake of defeat, Trump is also likely to claim he was cheated, which is what he did after the Iowa Caucus. Even if Trump loses by a landslide, his campaign could generate millions of supporters who reject the legitimacy of a Clinton presidency. Re-integrating bitter Trumpkins into the polity will be a major challenge.”

      1. Gareth

        “…generate millions of supporters who reject the legitimacy of a Clinton presidency…” — They say that like it’s a bad thing. Hopefully this will make it more difficult for her to manufacture support for new regime change follies and atrocities.

    1. Mav

      BTW, this is Matty shilling for vampire squid’s new retail deposits scheme.

      Another trend that I have noticed is that squid is trying to whisper into our ears by sponsoring podcasts. Alex Blumberg (Adam Davidson’s mate) had a podcast where a bank is trying to bankroll his podcasting business because they want to influence Washington policy makers (Alex reveals that in the podcast. I will link it if I can find it).

      I guess the squid realised that none of the millenials watch TV anymore.

  7. sleepy

    Trump’s claim that the US is getting ripped off by other Nato allies is based on the fact that the total defense budgets of Nato nations is $924 billion which includes a US defense budget of $610 billion.

    That is where Trump gets his “we pay 73% of Nato” claim, by comparing total military expenditures. For the US, that includes non-Nato expenditures outside of Europe, e.g., the Pacific Flee, Africa, Asia, and the Mideast. I would also assume that at least France and the UK spend a certain amount of their military budget elsewhere than Nato.

    The actual Nato budget indicates that the US pays c. 22%, while Germany, France, and the UK pay respectively 14%, 11%, and 10%. The US wants Nato nations to increase their military budgets, but again, that is not the Nato budget.

    Trump is comparing apples and oranges. While I would love to see Nato dissolve yesterday since it long ago lost the reason for its existence, I hate it when pols fib with the facts and the lies become received wisdom.

    1. Ed

      You are making the assumption that NATO’s purpose is the defense of western Europe, which hasn’t been the case in several decades.

      1. sleepy

        I made no such assumption, and stated in my last paragraph that Nato has no reason to exist.

        Fake numbers don’t advance that opinion; they make it easier to dismiss it.

    1. polecat

      well… the NYT has to aquire their revenue wherever they can…considering they’re probably bleeding subscriptions !!

    2. cassandra

      Additionally, from the Wahhabi/Salafi perspective, we find Saudi support for ISIS and the various “Islamic States” across the South; and the refusal to take in Muslim refugees on the one hand, concurrent with massive funding of Islamic facilities for migrants in Europe. Google “hijrah”.

  8. rich

    Luxembourg Puts Journalist and Whistleblowers On Trial for Ruining Its “Magical Fairyland” of Tax Avoidance
    So why has Luxembourg’s behavior been so ferocious?

    The answer can be found, appropriately enough, in a publication of PricewaterhouseCoopers itself.

    According to PwC’s January 25, 2016 “Global Regulatory Briefing,” its international client base now faces “new far reaching developments” on matters including “corporate governance and tax.” Among these are “various initiatives aiming to adapt the EU’s tax laws in the aftermath of Luxleaks” and “the release of the OCED/G20 Base Erosion and Profits Shifting (BEPS) Project.”

    Here’s what that means for Luxembourg, translated into English:

    The LuxLeaks series exposed Luxembourg as a “magical fairyland” for multinational corporations trying to avoid taxes, and now other countries are trying to shut it down.

    The government of Luxembourg made sweetheart deals with over 340 multinational corporations that enabled the companies to claim much of their profits had been generated by Luxembourg subsidiaries, which were then taxed at rates as low as 1 percent.

    Among the well-known beneficiaries of Luxembourg’s special arrangements were Pepsi, FedEx, IKEA, AIG, Walt Disney, the Carlyle Group, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Procter & Gamble and, via its one-time ownership of Skype, eBay. [Disclosure: Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay and longtime chairman of its board of directors, founded The Intercept’s parent company First Look Media.]

    Tax avoidance by U.S.-based multinational corporations alone has been estimated to cost governments approximately $130 billion each year, and tax havens such as Luxembourg are crucial to this process.

    1. Antifa

      A feature of the Bible-thumping mindset is endless fear of the Devil, and fighting off the constant temptations to sin that he and his legion of minions forever bring before the mind’s eye — each of which must be recognized for what it is, and rejected.

      But truly, where’s the fun in wrestling with temptation if temptation doesn’t win once in a while? Life becomes as dull as solitaire with 51 cards, as inedible as a cold frankfurter on a dry bun. No spice, no mustard, no onions and relish. Positively Amish.

      So evangelicals have an innate urge to raise a little hell now and again. Fondle an altar boy. Sing along to the radio. Watch porn in secret. Go out dancing. Keep some Wild Turkey behind the bookcase. Get your parishioners to buy you a second LearJet, just because you can. You know. Live a little.

      It’s harmless, after all. The Devil wins a round, so it’s still a game, you have some fun, then you pray on it and Jesus forgives. Staying on the straight and narrow is a lively game of musical chairs.

      Trump is clearly a hellraiser. Hell, he’s a former wrestling promoter. Says he loves the Bible. Let’s see what kind of fun he can provide for a nickel.

      1. Garrett Pace

        Hardly anyone in Utah or Idaho voted for Trump. Guess Mormons aren’t Christians after all.

        1. Massinissa

          Didnt they vote Cruz though? Cruz is the real Bible Thumper here. If they voted Trump, THEN I would say they were not christians after all.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Lots of good material in the Holly Bibble. I especially like the contents of the Pentateuch. Speaking of falling away, and gettin’ new religion, over and over and over… And for a “history” of tribal behaviors in the current World Hot Spot, can’t be beat. I’m sure Netanyahoo has most of it memorized, especially the parts about taking other people’s cities and land and flocks and slaves, and putting people to the sword… Because YHWH SAID…

      3. fresno dan

        At a town hall Wednesday at Stanford University, in fact, Boehner called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” — and then went there.

        “I’ve never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” he added. Boehner even suggested he would vote for Donald Trump, but not Cruz.

        My delicate ears!!!!! Seriously, I find it truly disheartening that that such language is used in our political discourse to disparage the devil – you really don’t want to get on Satan’s bad side, and calling him that which cannot be uttered – is certainly a one way ticket to a life of brimstone and basic cable…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Politicians talking more like working people.

          Next up, politicians getting paid like working people.

          1. cwaltz

            If I had my way they’d be paid based on the median wage in their state.

            They’d be a lot more concerned about those at the bottom if it had some impact on their own ability to get ahead.

        2. JustAnObserver

          As a certain singer, now resting in Pere la Chaise, once sang:

          Cancel my subscription to the resurrection
          Send my credentials to the house of detention
          I’ve got some friends inside

        3. HotFlash

          Boehner called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” — and then went there.

          “I’ve never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,”

          Ted and Carly, they are like bleach and ammonia, the fumes will be toxic!

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Evangelicals were in the GOP due to the Southern Strategy. The GOP spent a good deal of money in the South which had largely been excluded from the New Deal in the turn for support. I believe they are searching for a new deal.

      The Evangelicals thought they could win which we see in the embrace of both Israel and certain Catholics on a political level, but since religious fervor ebbs and wanes, they recognize they can’t win so they need to strike a new deal. Who will cater to their constituents? Democrats are too dismissive to be trusted, so it won’t be the generic Democrat.

      1. aet

        Instead of searching for a caterer, perhaps the Evangelicals ought to put their faith in Providence.

  9. katiebird

    I think the proof that I am no longer (in my heart) a Democrat is that I do not see how Hillary can be the front running Presidential candidate while under FBI investigation for actions she openly admits.

    If these actions are not a crime, why is the FBI wasting time investigating. If they are, why is she running for President?

    From the linked post:

    Dear FBI, the Democratic Party’s Future Rests Upon Your Investigation of Clinton’s Emails

    “It’s important for everyone at the FBI to know that your investigation, and I say this with all due respect, is viewed as a source of amusement for many writers, pundits, and observers loyal to Clinton. The 22 Top Secret emails on a private server (something that should disqualify anyone running for president) are either completely ignored by party faithful, or rationalized by twisted logic. Nothing is taken seriously anymore; everything is viewed through the belief that Republicans are worse, therefore Clinton’s indiscretions are meaningless.

    This should tell you something about the state of our Republic. This should also tell you something about the rule of law in our country. If anyone else in the U.S. government owned a private server storing Top Secret intelligence, for the sake of “convenience,” they’d be in jail. Lt. General Michael Flynn made that case on CNN with Jake Tapper.”

    1. no one

      I agree. It’s unseemly to run for any office while under a criminal investigation for the reason that you state: that the FBI, if it has any legitimacy whatsoever, must have probable cause or prima facie evidence or some such convincing standard that indicating a crime has been committed. Otherwise its efforts constitute an abuse of power and misuse of taxpayer dollars.

      Clinton should have stepped aside until the matter was resolved. Her failure to do so breeds disrespect for law enforcement, which can be seen under the circumstances as a political tool. She should know that undermining the FBI moves the US ever farther away from being a democracy governed by law.

      If Clinton is exonerated, as her supporters evidently anticipate, it is nonetheless true that she helped to destroy the credibility of the FBI by her actions. She cannot have it both ways, disrespect for the FBI while she is being investigated and respect when the agency reaches the “right” conclusion.

      1. JCC

        Under these circumstances and no matter what the conclusion (should she be elected President) she will have a very uncooperative and resentful Federal Law Enforcement Group working for her.

      2. sleepy

        Hillary: “I hereby announce that once elected, the Clinton Foundation shall be operated as a blind trust with Loretta E. Lynch as the trustee. For years, Ms. Lynch has dedicated her life to . . . . . . .”

        Well, you know the rest.

        On the FBI, I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea that someone should put their life on hold during a pending investigation. I have no problem with it as a political issue. I have a problem with the acceptance of the potential misuse of FBI power to dictate a person’s affairs pre-indictment.

        1. Brian

          When the party being investigated is sentient (enough) and understands the law before the fact, and chose treason and sedition (from those leaks available) instead of following the law that proscribes death for acts of treason and sedition…
          the choice made by the clintoon appears to be a criminal. How could we get around that and care about anything in politics again?

          1. sleepy

            Like I said, I have no problem with it as a political issue at all, and I think it was a mistake for Sanders not to hammer her on it.

            Given the FBI’s overall track record though, I have a problem with accepting some notion that anyone–and here I’m talking about far more than Hillary–should put their life on hold because the FBI is investigating them.

            That would include far more activists than I could list. That was what I was responding to. I don’t generally include the FBI on my friends list.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have a problem with the acceptance of the potential misuse of FBI power to dictate a person’s affairs pre-indictment.

          It’s like the atomic bomb and unlimited money creation for the government to spend – we have to remind ourselves the ‘bad guys’ can use our favorite toys as well.

      3. perpetualWAR

        The FBI and the DOJ lost complete credibility and legitimacy when no one could find any crimes comitted by Financial Crime Spree 2000-2008.

        Sorry FBI Fellas, you got egg all over your face for that b*ullsh*t.

      4. different clue

        Clinton is beginning to remind me of a famous politician from the days of my youth.

        ” The American people wonder if their Clintons are a crook. Well . . . we’re NOT a crook. We’ve . . . WORKED for everything we’ve got.”

        I wonder if Hillary Clinton’s political Spirit Animal is Richard Nixon.

      5. Propertius

        [T]he FBI, if it has any legitimacy whatsoever, must have probable cause or prima facie evidence or some such convincing standard that indicating a crime has been committed

        They need probable cause to make an arrest, not to conduct an investigation. Still, Katiebird’s point is well-taken – anyone else would have been forced out of the running by this.

    2. Ed

      If the current Democratic Party stands for anything, it stands for a belief that whether someone receives criminal sanctions should be determined entirely by how powerful they are. They have shown this again and again and again since 1992.

      1. Arizona Slim

        And 1992 was when I left the Democratic Party and became an Independent. Other than a brief re-registration so I could vote for Bernie here in AZ, I have been an indie through and through.

    3. Pavel

      But… but… but… It’s not an “FBI investigation” of Hillary. It’s a security review!

      And besides, Condi Rice and Colin Powell yada yada yada (cf endless numbers of Daily Kos Hillbot rationalisations).

      Our only hope is that someone at the FBI has enough guts to spill whatever they have found. Certainly the brazen contempt shown by Team Hillary should be inspiring someone to do so.

      1. katiebird

        Exactly…. Your comment clarifies why my interest in my interest in this issue prove I am no longer a Democrat. ANY Democrat would have those rebuttals at the tip of her tongue!

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To be fair to Hillary, the FBI lost its credibility at the OJ Simple trial, if not earlier, with ‘substandard analytical work and deficient practices.’

    4. apber

      Hillary gets indicted; Biden nominated at convention; wins

      Fed can’t stop market from crashing before November; Obama’s “recovery” is exposed as BS propaganda;
      Biden tarred with the “recession” brush.

      Trump wins; Comey gets nominated for SCOTUS

    5. Waldenpond

      There is no benefit to doing it now. They’d get Sanders. Wait until after the convention. The fbi will refer to the doj, the doj will kill it and the leaks will come out in the general.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I was thinking along those lines. If charges are filed they’ll have to wait until after the convention lest Sanders become the beneficiary. What happens if she is indicted or charged after nomination, does the nomination automatically transfer to her VP as if it were a presidential succession? Is there a set policy in place for such eventualities? Maybe the Clinton camp’s palpable irritation with Sanders remaining in the race until the end is tied to anxieties about the timing of any potential criminal proceedings. It seems pretty likely that the DOJ and/or FBI have been instructed not to move–assuming it isn’t politically possible to completely cover up the crimes–until they get the “all clear” signal from the Obama White House. It would seem more than odd if a candidate under indictment or charged were allowed to pick their replacement, but any process that locks Sanders out in the event of a Clinton indictment will cause a firestorm as well. A strong second place challenger seems like the intuitively obvious first alternative.

        1. Waldenpond

          Well, in a prior event, a R died, the party just selected a replacement.

          From teachinghistory: [Both the Republican and the Democratic parties have rules in their bylaws governing how to fill the vacancy. The Party Chair calls a meeting of the National Committee, and the Committee members at the meeting vote to fill the vacancy on the ticket. A candidate must receive a majority of the votes to win the party’s nod.]

          So it looks like a quick convention, trot out Biden, vote and on they go. :)

          1. Kurt Sperry

            But those rules don’t kick in to however long after July 25th it takes to make Hillary’s coronation official. That’s going to be a long time to have to obstruct a prosecution if the facts are clear that there were crimes committed. I assume if the indictments roll out prior to that July 25th, Sanders has an open field and nobody between him and the goal line. It might be easier in fact for the party if the indictments can’t be obstructed until July, to just get it over with sooner and have more time to implement their Plan B. Of course an authoritarian mindset might consider it best to stall as long as possible prior to the convention and have it come out mere days before the convention with a set play Plan B all formulated that could be rushed through under the artificial “emergency” time constraint imposed. If it were timed perfectly, it might all fall into place and a made party guy could be slotted in somehow procedurally and Sanders’ camp caught wrong footed and unable to effectively react in the brief time window imposed. Better still though obviously if the nomination were all wrapped up and the whole process could be taken into what used to be called smoke filled rooms where bigshots and party apparatchik could in total privacy completely highjack the process, disenfranchise the party base and make the whole primary electoral process an irrelevancy. It might mean losing the general and being in opposition for four years but surely that’s a more attractive proposition to face than four years of Sanders moving the Overton window leftward, clearing out the dead wood legacy staffing under his control and planting his own in its place. Four years of Trump is survivable–heck being in opposition even frees you up to make soaring populist noises with no responsibility for making them happen; four years of Sanders in office will hurt the people who will be in that smoke filled room a *lot* worse than Trump ever will. Trump’s not the main problem/threat for the DP, Sanders is.

      2. different clue

        Some time ago one of Colonel Lang’s occasional posts about the FBI investigation of this matter noted that some leaks about it revealed the kind of details that only low and mid-level police operatives would know about. Higher-ups would not be bothered knowing about that sort of detail.
        Colonel Lang suspected that such law-enforcement operatives would leak things like this out of pissed-offness at the evident desire of higher ups to end up quashing whatever is discovered for political purposes, and the law enforcement professionals were not going to quietly allow that to happen.

        I will offer my own further prediction based on my hopefully-correct understanding of that post I refer to. If the political system ends up taking zero action after the FBI searchers have presented the system with everything they find, and if the FBI feels that everything they find paints a picture of deep prosecution-worthy criminality; then non-action on what the FBI finds will lead to the FBI massively and totally leaking everything they found to burn down Hillary Clinton and to burn down every System Overlord who protects her.

        We shall see.

  10. Pavel

    Scathing piece by David Stockman on Hillary’s warmongering:

    As Donald Trump rightly says, her time as Secretary of State was an unmitigated disaster. The “peace candidate” actually won the 2008 election, but Secretary Clinton along with lifetime CIA operative and unabashed war-monger, Robert Gates, saw to it that peace never got a chance.

    From the pointless, bloody “surge” in Afghanistan to the destructive intervention in Libya to the arming and aiding of jihadist radicals in Syria, Hillary has proved herself to be a shrill harpy of military mayhem. Indeed, she brought a fillip to the neocon playbook that has made Imperial Washington even more trigger happy.

    To wit, Clinton has been a tireless proponent of the insidious doctrine of R2P or “responsibility to protect”. No one in their right mind could have concluded that the aging, pacified, tent-bound Moammar Khadafy was a threat to the safety and security of the American people. Even the community organizer from South Chicago wanted to keep the American bombers parked on their runways.

    But Hillary’s infamous emails leave no doubt that it was she who induced Obama to embrace the folly that quickly created yet another failed state, hotbed of jihadism and barbaric hellhole in the middle east. Indeed, her hands are doubly bloody.

    When Hillary bragged that “We came, we saw, he died”, it turns out that not just Khadafy but thousands of innocents have died, and not just from the chaos unleashed in Libya itself. The former dictator’s arsenals and mercenaries have now been dispersed all over North Africa and the middle east, spreading desolation in their wake.

    Indeed, the CIA annex in Benghazi was actually in the business of recycling Libyan weapons to the jihadists in Syria through the ratline to Turkey. Is there any possibility at all that this would have happened, and that Ambassador Stevens would have been murdered, had Hillary not put the shive to Khadafy’s backside?

    A shame Bernie never made the argument this forcefully in the debates or elsewhere.

    David Stockman: Anything Trumps Hillary

      1. diptherio

        The one area where Bernie is still probably just as bad as every other politician is in the area of foreign policy. He’s all about continuing our war against the “evil-doers,” he just wants our sainted allies in the Gulf to provide more of the money and men to carry on the bloodshed.

        I’m actually a little bit happy that Bernie probably won’t get the nomination — stops me from having to fret over whether or not to vote for a warmonger on the basis of his other viewpoints.

        1. vidimi

          oh please. he’s been remarkably restrained on interventionism in his responses, knowing that he has nothing to gain by straying too far left since elections are not won on foreign policy. he was one of the few who voted against destroying iraq. his dismissal of aipac was viewed as heretical. he is in the top 1% of american politicians on foreign policy, perhaps only the likes of ron paul and dennis kucinich, both now retired, being better.

        2. Vatch

          Nonsense. Bernie isn’t perfect, but he’s much better than the other candidates on defense and war related issues. He voted against the Iraq War, Hillary voted for it. He voted against the Patriot Act, Hillary voted for it. He publicly criticizes Israeli treatment of Palestinians, which very few other politicians have the courage to do. He has publicly pointed out that the use of drones kills more innocent people than terrorists, and that it creates anti-American sentiment.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Of all the candidates, Bernie is unique (I believe, others may disagree) with the ability to withstand the savage counter blows should he tell it as it is, that

            1. There is an apartheid state
            2. Politicians are too dependent on special interest money
            3. US internal and foreign affairs are being interfered with.


            He who much is given, much is expected.

            I believe not showing at the AIPAC meeting was one of his weaker arrows in his quiver.

            He did not go all out. And because others did not either, that made him just one of them, and not someone above or better.

            1. Vatch

              should he tell it as it is

              Is he not telling it as it is? You could look at this web site:


              Example quote:

              1. Move away from a policy of unilateral military action, and toward a policy of emphasizing diplomacy, and ensuring the decision to go to war is a last resort.
              2. Ensure that any military action we do engage in has clear goals, is limited in scope, and whenever possible provides support to our allies in the region.
              3. Close Guantanamo Bay, rein in the National Security Agency, abolish the use of torture, and remember what truly makes America exceptional: our values.
              4. Expand our global influence by promoting fair trade, addressing global climate change, providing humanitarian relief and economic assistance, defending the rule of law, and promoting human rights.

              You can also see whether you approve of what he says at:



              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Many here have said Israel is an apartheid state or imposes apartheid policies.

                Does he agree?

                1. Vatch

                  You can decide what he thinks by reading this. He doesn’t use the word “apartheid” but he is very critical of both sides in the Israel Palestine conflict:


                  A small quote:

                  Peace will mean ending what amounts to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders, and pulling back settlements in the West Bank, just as Israel did in Gaza – once considered an unthinkable move on Israel’s part.

                  That is why I join much of the international community, including the U.S. State Department and European Union, in voicing my concern that Israel’s recent expropriation of an additional 579 acres of land in the West Bank undermines the peace process and, ultimately, Israeli security as well.

                  It is absurd for elements within the Netanyahu government to suggest that building more settlements in the West Bank is the appropriate response to the most recent violence. It is also not acceptable that the Netanyahu government decided to withhold hundreds of millions of Shekels in tax revenue from the Palestinians, which it is supposed to collect on their behalf.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    It’s a question of degree, and our expectations.

                    I am expecting a ‘only Nixon can do China.’

                    For example, I thought it was a great opportunity to say what needed to be said in front of AIPAC, in person.

                    And ‘apartheid’ is mild compared to what else that has been said here…for example, like, warmongering.

      2. cwaltz

        I think part of the problem is much of our foreign policy is deemed secret.

        You have to dig and follow the money.

      3. Waldenpond

        Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but in the last debate Sanders said … no, the war authorization did not give authority to go any where in the world and yes, the US involvement in Syria is legal under that authority? I have always been disappointed in his support for war, terrah! terrah! but that was just bizarre.

        1. Vatch

          As has been explained on NC several times, Sanders has very little support for war. He is quite dovish compared to all of the other candidates. Here’s the transcript of the New York debate:

          I think this is the only place where Sanders mentions Syria directly:

          SANDERS: If you listen, you know — two points. Number one, yes, 100-0 in the Senate voted for democracy in Libya and I would vote for that again. But that is very different from getting actively involved to overthrow and bring about regime change without fully understanding what the consequence of that regime change would be.

          Second of all, I know you keep referring to Barack Obama all night here, but you in Syria, you in Syria talked about a no-fly zone, which the president certainly does not support, nor do I support because, A, it will cost an enormous sum of money, second of all, it runs the risk of getting us sucked into perpetual warfare in that region.

          Thirdly, when we talk about Syria right now, no debate, like Gadhafi, like Saddam Hussein, Assad is another brutal murdering dictator, but right now our fight is to destroy ISIS first, and to get rid of Assad second.

          Clinton mentions Syria several times.

          1. Waldenpond

            That isn’t the item I recalled. The discussion is on Sanders foreign policy. Some of us find him miliaristic just less than all others running.

            You just disagreed with some of us uncomfortable with his militarism with and example of him stating he will deal with ISIS and then regime change Assad.

            Here’s another example of Sanders militarism….
            NY townhall on April 25:
            [HAYES: The current authorization which you cite in what Miguel just quoted which is the authorization to use military force after 9/11. That has led to the kill list. This President — literally, there is a kill list. There is a list of people that the U.S. government wants to kill, and it goes about doing it. Would you keep the kill list as President of the United States?
            SANDERS: Look. Terrorism is a very serious issue. There are people out there who want to kill Americans, who want to attack this country, and I think we have a lot of right to defend ourselves. I think as Miguel said, though, it has to be done in a constitutional, legal way.
            HAYES: Do you think what’s being done now is constitutional and legal?
            SANDERS: In general I do, yes.]

            1. Waldenpond

              Another example of militarism I don’t agree with from the same townhall….

              [HAYES: One more question — the announcement today that the U.S. is going to send 250 Special Forces operators on the ground in Syria. Do you agree with that? Do you think that’s permissible, given the fact that there has not been an authorization?
              SANDERS: I think the — look. Here’s the bottom line. ISIS has got to be destroyed, and the way that ISIS must be destroyed is not through American troops fighting on the ground. ISIS must be destroyed and King Abdullah of Jordan has made this clear, that the war is for the soul of Islam and it must be won by the Muslim nations themselves.
              I think what the President is talking about is having American troops training Muslim troops, helping to supply the military equipment they need, and I do support that effort. We need a broad coalition of Muslim troops on the ground. We have had some success in the last year or so putting ISIS on the defensive, we’ve got to continue that effort.]

              Sanders does not care there has been no vote on Syria. Word salad on the soul of Islam and yes, troops should go in. Why? Well we created ISIS, we have to destroy them? I think that is a bizarre understanding of the situation and a bizarre reaction.

              1. Vatch

                As I said a couple of hours ago, a Presidential candidate needs to avoid looking “soft on terrorism”, so I don’t think you need to be very unnerved by some of the things that Sanders says on the campaign trail. Pay more attention to the way that he voted throughout his Congressional career; if there had been more like him in the Congress a little over a decade ago, the Iraq war would not have happened, and Daesh probably wouldn’t exist. Instead, the Congress was dominated by Hillary DINOs and Republicans, and we know how that has turned out.

              2. different clue

                I think when Sanders began his run he just expected to raise some support and make a point. I think he himself was surprised by the volume of initial support he was getting. It led him to think his nomination was a real possibility, and it really was a real possibility. His outlook swiftly caught up with that reality and changed to winning the nomination. That would lead him to a little more rhetorical caution then I perhaps would have liked.

                I would have loved to hear Sanders in that situation say something like this:
                ” Assad is the legitimate President of the only legitimate government Syria has. The Syrian Arab Republc, exercising its legitimate Sovereignty, has invited Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah assistance to defeat the Islamist Terrorist rebellion within and against Syria. We should give the R + 6 whatever help or NON-help they ask for to facilitate their systematic and total extermination-in-detail of every single jihadist and terrorist within the borders of Syria.”

                But a statement like that would have alarmed many potential primary voters and it would have been inconsistent with a genuine hope of winning the nomination.

            2. Vatch

              Interesting. He didn’t answer the question about the kill list. He’s in an awkward position. After 9/11, no American can be elected President if he or she is perceived as “soft on terrorism”. But in his discussion of war and peace at his web site, he clearly states that the U.S. should try very hard to avoid unilateral military action.

              If you don’t like his positions on these topics, you’ll have plenty of chances to criticize him when he’s elected President. If he’s not elected, there’s not much point in criticizing him (unless you’re from Vermont).

    1. MikeNY

      She’s the Establishment candidate, the only game in town.
      First Charles Koch … next Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney?

  11. abynormal

    re: Vampire Squid wants your deposits (have to bold this…hedge the numbness)

    According to the OCC, as of December 31, 2015 there were $237 trillion in notional derivatives (face amount) at the 25 largest bank holding companies with the bulk of that amount on the books of the insured banks. That compares with $169 trillion on the books of the 25 largest bank holding companies at December 31, 2007, just prior to the implosions on Wall Street. This means there has been an explosive 40 percent increase in eight years when the Obama administration was supposed to be reining in risk on Wall Street.

    When you hear Hillary Clinton repeatedly tell the public that she wants to continue along the same pathways as President Obama and that the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act is not needed, let the image of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and its FDIC insurance logo and its $41 trillion in derivatives come to mind.

    The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.
    Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

  12. JTMcPhee

    Too bad AEP finishes up (off?) his article on how the whole “Europroject” was “guided” by what used to be called “American” interests (before the tacit morph to acknowledging and quietly cheering the Triumph Of The Empire”) by up-selling the whole Great Game War of “Interests” crap, about the vast combined threats of PutinChinaTerrorFailedStates. With a nice pitch to continue the grotesquerie of militarization, to counter attacks by the Serious People about the Necessity of NATO and the EU which he is good enough to flag as projects of the deviants who built and manned that “deep state” that we mopes everywhere are reassured (with just enough smirk to keep the very rational fear alive) does not exist.

    I guess the millions of Brits just HAVE to keep doing more and more of the same, just like their cross-Channel mopes, on account of how no other set of institutions and power structures and “investments” could keep them balanced on the edge of the sword.

    Good of AEP to point out that NATO and EU are largely products of the Great Necessary Nation. The disease has infected us mopes on a lot of fronts, however, so it is amazing that ANY people can swim up the Narrative current to propose efforts to undo the cancerous mess. “Managing Europe” by the US deep state is of course how the Power Players always do things, so no fundamental surprise. But here’s another little expose of sorts, one that the CIA’s own web site brags up a bit: “The Cultural Cold War:”

    This book provides a detailed account of the ways in which the CIA penetrated and influenced a vast array of cultural organizations, through its front groups and via friendly philanthropic organizations like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. The author, Frances Stonor Saunders, details how and why the CIA ran cultural congresses, mounted exhibits, and organized concerts. The CIA also published and translated well-known authors who toed the Washington line, sponsored abstract art to counteract art with any social content and, throughout the world, subsidized journals that criticized Marxism, communism, and revolutionary politics and apologized for, or ignored, violent and destructive imperialist U.S. policies. The CIA was able to harness some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West in service of these policies, to the extent that some intellectuals were directly on the CIA payroll. Many were knowingly involved with CIA “projects,” and others drifted in and out of its orbit, claiming ignorance of the CIA connection after their CIA sponsors were publicly exposed during the late 1960s and the Vietnam war, after the turn of the political tide to the left.

    U.S. and European anticommunist publications receiving direct or indirect funding included Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, New Leader, Encounter and many others. Among the intellectuals who were funded and promoted by the CIA were Irving Kristol, Melvin Lasky, Isaiah Berlin, Stephen Spender, Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell, Dwight MacDonald, Robert Lowell, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, and numerous others in the United States and Europe. In Europe, the CIA was particularly interested in and promoted the “Democratic Left” and ex-leftists, including Ignacio Silone, Stephen Spender, Arthur Koestler, Raymond Aron, Anthony Crosland, Michael Josselson, and George Orwell.
    The CIA, under the prodding of Sidney Hook and Melvin Lasky, was instrumental in funding the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a kind of cultural NATO that grouped together all sorts of “anti-Stalinist” leftists and rightists. They were completely free to defend Western cultural and political values, attack “Stalinist totalitarianism” and to tiptoe gently around U.S. racism and imperialism. Occasionally, a piece marginally critical of U.S. mass society was printed in the CIA-subsidized journals.

    What was particularly bizarre about this collection of CIA-funded intellectuals was not only their political partisanship, but their pretense that they were disinterested seekers of truth, iconoclastic humanists, freespirited intellectuals, or artists for art’s sake, who counterposed themselves to the corrupted “committed” house “hacks” of the Stalinist apparatus.

    Interesting that one of AEP’s policy suggestions is that to be taken “seriously,” the Brexiteers need plans to “increase defense spending a half to 3 pct of GDP.” Anyone have any indication that giving the British MIC more money will lead to more “security” and counterbalance the assumed, presumed Triple Threat in any way other than maybe starting another “spend them into bankruptcy” attempt? The Narrative says that’s what dismantled the Soviet Union. But folks here generally seem to appreciate that notion is convenient nonsense.

    In the meantime, the minions of the Great Empire of Corporate Domination (do the minions glimpse what the great engines of power whose boilers they are stoking are producing and planning?) are working steadily away at demolishing all individual, local and national sovereignty and freedom, while the Techies are bringing us what, that “Singularity” event? I wonder if the design specs for robots and AI devices and all that will include the ability to operate and procreate in high ambient temperatures… Obviously, a surfeit or total absence of water is just a matter of engineering, materials, design of seals… Maybe that liquid metal Terminator creature is the Way Of The Future — the Dalek model has such limited mobility.

    1. jsn

      “What was particularly bizarre about this collection of CIA-funded intellectuals was not only their political partisanship, but their pretense that they were disinterested seekers of truth, iconoclastic humanists, freespirited intellectuals, or artists for art’s sake, who counterposed themselves to the corrupted “committed” house “hacks” of the Stalinist apparatus.”

      That doesn’t strike me as so: recent and contemporary experience of Nazi and Stalinist Russian policies, massively, industrially inhumane systems in motion, without all the isolating distances and de-contextualizations of our current market mayhem machine, rather changes ones subjective bearings. People haven’t gotten less smart or smarter, but our circumstances have become a great deal more ambiguous. I grew up around WW2 veterans and CIA or AID involved cultural and civil figures. The kinds of rationalizations the typical Hillary voter tells themselves are no different from those used in this earlier context where a much more plausible argument could be made that we were “the good guys.”

      Lord knows between Greece, Spain, Portugal & Iran, US Agencies were doing plenty of bad from the end of WW2 formal hostilities, but the larger moves of the Marshall Plan and its Asian analogue, even as effectuated by MacArthur, did in fact do a lot of good: New Deal policies have created large and durable middle classes wherever tried, some even surviving now!

      I’m inclined to believe we were in fact “the good guys” so long as the New Deal intentions were actively driving policy. As the MacArthur wing of the MIC became more active and subversive after Truman’s canning of their avatar, the dangers of personal secrecy at the war time OSS was replaced by institutional secrecy with the CIA and malfeasance became institutionalized.

      I any case, now, what’s clear is that NATO has very little to do with “securing Europe” and a lot to do with MIC self licking ice cream cones! Of course I’m open the possibility I’m just another deluded American, but that quote misses a lot of context: what’s shocking in hindsight tends to be normal at the time.

    2. jrs

      “What was particularly bizarre about this collection of CIA-funded intellectuals was not only their political partisanship, but their pretense that they were disinterested seekers of truth, iconoclastic humanists, freespirited intellectuals, or artists for art’s sake, who counterposed themselves to the corrupted “committed” house “hacks” of the Stalinist apparatus”

      Such could only exist in a world of guaranteed income or a welfare system unregulated enough to allow some of the same thing to “welfare cheats”. Or else how are the bills to be paid? With seeking truth and art for arts sake? Crowd sourcing didn’t exist then and even then it remains seriously limited. Academia has sometimes provided asylum but it can have it’s own strings. Some trust fund kids and housewives achieve such but it’s usually with it’s own class bias and it’s not WORKING class generally.

      Although they probably were independent to a degree. It might be a case of not exactly quid pro quo. I’m not so sure the CIA ever did attach any direct strings but the people did know money had to come from somewhere.

  13. Dave

    I’d get my money out of large banks and put it in smaller institutions with no derivatives exposure.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Do you really think that insulates you from the socialization of Funny Munny “losses” via derivatives exposure? We mopes are still paying off the last round, and providing, working to make, the real wealth that the Risk Baristas are whipping into the froth for this next Super Gynormous Grande Toxic Cappuchino… And “bail-ins” that can reach depositors everywhere they try to be safe, except not Panama and its linkages of course, are “authorized by laws,” the kinds that get written by Banksters for validation by “our” Elected Representatives…

      1. sleepy

        I know the end game to this one.

        Depositors will have their cash exchanged for stock. President Clinton will announce a grand “Get America Going” program that “lends” funds to the banks to repurchase their stock–at a heavy discount of course, since “we’re all in this together”. Hillary fans will praise her for unifying the country through the shared sacrifice of all stakeholders, and for appointing Penny Prtizker or a member of a minority as the get-america-going czar.

      1. Alex morfesis

        FDIC is now and has always been smoke and mirrors…during the basel 2 capital run up until the 2007 bnp paribas deriv collateral squeeze…no 2b2f institutions had paid it appears ANY money in insurance premiums for a number of years while shorting loan pools via their creations…including markit(mrkt) which has slipped thru the cracks…

        have on video deposition the purported head of kyc at b of a laughing under oath about the fdic and that it is just insurance and b of a does not have to abide by its rules….

        1. Yves Smith Post author


          The FDIC didn’t have enough money to have resolved Citi, which Sheila Bair was keen to do, but was effectively barred by “Foamy” Geithner. However, it was not short on dough to resolve other banks.

          FDIC insurance is underpriced, but not all that badly maybe 90% of what it cost. The one time the FDIC did run short was in the S&L crisis, where Congress had to pony up ~$50 billion to fund the Resolution Trust Corporation. They were not happy to have to do that.

          The bailouts were not about deposits. They were about repo, which finances about 1/2 of big capital markets trading firm balance sheets.

          1. Alex morfesis

            Didnt notice the sigh…the gaming of the fdic is that fees are based on deposits but exposure to assets is what gets paid out at the end of the day…banks reported about 4 trillion in deposits just before the crash and the fund had about 55 billion in it…by the time the burp happened, the fdic was down under a billion and assessed three years of funds (on paper)…and had to increase its available line of credit from 100 billion to 500 billion…now about 10 trillion in deposits is reported but the fund premiums are reduced by the argument not all the funds are insurable…as if there would actually be a bail in…
            Not suggesting the banking system lives or dies by the fdic…the response was to the question…is the fdic a scam…it is a feel good product…it does not charge enough to cover real time exposure and it never has…george bailey is not making home loans with 150 basis spreads to cost of funds anymore…the risks are much higher…
            The queen bee can proceed to trash me again….

    2. flora

      I’d get my money out of TBTF banks because shrinking deposits and depositors also shrinks the banks size and capitalization which has a lot of knock-on effects. Banks just *hate* that. Even if your account is tiny enough tiny accounts moving out of a TBTF bank has an economic effect on the bank that the public never sees.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Actually, no these days big banks don’t want small depositors who don’t buy other services from them. The are losing money on them. They’d be delighted to have a small depositor leave.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      There’s no risk to your deposits if they are under $250K. If you issue is not doing business with the TBTF, which is a valid, indeed important reason, that’s another matter entirely.

  14. timbers

    Donald Trump unveils ‘America first’ foreign policy plan

    “We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia and China. We have serious differences with these two nations, and must regard them with open eyes,” he said. “But we are not bound to be adversaries. We should seek common ground based on shared interests.”

    Comment: THAT’S CRAZY TALK. What about profits from regime change and endless war? And population control by US mass slaughter of browned skinned pregnant women children doctors hospitals schools infrastructure?

    1. Redoubled his criticism of Nato’s “outdated mission”, claiming US allies were “not paying their fair share”;

    Comment: What has NATO done it’s entire history except chaos producing regime change and genocide?

    2. Said he would hold summits with Russia and China shortly after assuming power and seek to regain their “respect” by showing his strength;

    Comment: What? Make nice with the rest of Planet? THAT’S CRAZY TALK. We create our own reality. What about profits from regime change and war?

    “The remarks on China and Russia are likely to raise eyebrows in US foreign policycircles, suggesting Trump would seek to foster a policy of accommodation, rather than containment or confrontation if elected.”

    Comment: THE BASTARD!

    “The Clinton campaign released a serious of criticisms ahead of the speech, calling Trump a “loose cannon” with a dangerous foreign policy that showed “reckless disregard for the dangers of nuclear proliferation”. “Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric goes against everything we stand for,” added the campaign once the speech had started.”

    Comment: Yes. Just blow up the brown skinned pregnant woman babies doctors hospitals schools infrastructure and say Putin did it.

    “The Clinton camp plans a more detailed response led by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and Virginia senator Tim Kaine later on Wednesday.”

    Awesome! Make sure to distribute enough copies for all the Serious People who will read it and proclaim it Truth!

    1. Pavel

      Ah yes, Madeleine Albright who thinks killing 500,000 Iraqi children through US sanctions (started by… Bill Clinton) was “worth it”.

    2. fresno dan

      I think the absolute unified attack against Trump (from the MEDIA) that the speech “lacks specifics” (geez, do ALL these guys get a morning briefing???) just shows that we live in a propagandized culture as straitjacketed as the Soviet Union in the past or North Korea now. Indeed, because the propaganda is so well designed and sophisticated, one could argue that we are under a worse propaganda regime.

      We haven’t won a war since the first Iraq, and that is the only one since WWII. Incredibly, despite reality all around us that we make things worse, the only idea circulated as “serious” is that we keep doing what we have been doing.

      1. portia

        it’s an indication that the chaos people have truly taken over, the ones who profit from war and debt

      2. VietnamVet

        A sign of the success of the corporate propaganda is the belief that the Gulf War was won. America still has combat troops dying in Iraq 25 years later. That is not a victory.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Seriously. Are these clinton people certifiably insane?

      Sending out the toxic human sludge that is madeline albright to say what? “There is a special place in hell” for those who would put America first? Curiously, I have heard only crickets where the “more detailed response” was supposed to be.

      The “question” on msnbs this morning is, “Can you get elected president promising to put America first?”

      Wait, what? If you’re NOT promising to put America first, whom ARE you going to put “first?”

      Maybe clinton’s ivy league friends can help her rationalize her way out of this box, but, being a product of a crummy “state school,” I just don’t see one. But even a lowly state-schooler like I am can see that she’ll have to do better than the adolescent, made-for-twitter “R2P.”

    4. Kurt Sperry

      Even if, as seems likely, Trump is just making populist noises prior to knuckling under to the all powerful neocons in exchange for their support in the general, it’s nice to hear such relatively commonsense broad foreign policy strokes being given a public airing. If Trump doesn’t back off those types of positions–and my bet is he will–he becomes in some respects a very attractive alternative to arch neocon Clinton in the general election. I’ll wait and see, but I could actually see myself voting for Trump if he sticks to and amplifies his realist foreign policies all the way to November. Probably still vote Green though, I wouldn’t trust Trump to pay the political capital necessary to really advocate for those positions if he got the pushback I’d expect he would.

  15. ProNewerDeal

    question for the US political science or law experts:

    Consider if a pro-MedicareForAll / Social Democratic type politician like Bernie Sanders were to be elected President.

    Could a Pres. Sanders, via Executive branch without Congress, legally open up Medicare, or the Veterans Affairs Care, to any US citizen adults, IF he charged such new patients a rate above actuarial cost (say 120% actuarial cost). The idea would be the new patients as a cohort would more than “pay for themselves”, thus perhaps not “requiring new spending, which can solely be legislated by Congress”.

    Thanks in advance, & Good morning.

    1. katiebird

      Or could he declare a state of emergency and just drop the age to zero?

      But that would still add up for families. Each Medicare account is individual — not couples or families. Then all the individual Supplement Plans? And individual Part D plans.

      Medicare as it is would be a mess for the general population…. It barely works for seniors.

      Might still be an improvement but that just shows how awful things are now.

      1. inode_buddha

        OTOH Medicaid works pretty darn good, with none of the hassle that seniors deal with. The coverage was very similar to Blue-Cross’ top-of-the-line when I had it.

        1. cwaltz

          It must be improving then thanks to the increase in the pool.

          It used to be that it was easier to find a MD that took Medicare over Medicaid. That doesn’t even include the hassle of having 50 different sets of rules governing it.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Most of the reasons ‘it barely works for seniors” (and I offer this as a senior and former nurse who uses those services way more than I want to, as I try to “manage my decline” — as one doctor put it) are a result of neoliberal injections of greed and stupid and the mythology of management and the idiot seductions of “tech” and “big data.”

        Medicare D is the prime example, “reform” masking a total Fokk Job. But the best deal I have found is signing up for Part A and Part B and adding one of the supplements, mine is by United. The premiums keep going up, but the reasons for that, the HONEST reasons, get discussed here frequently. Other large polities manage to manage a huge universal HEALTH CARE as opposed to “medical treatment UNsurance racket,” though those too are under attack by the neoliberal armies of the night. The other part of my prescription for possible decent medical care for what’s left of my life is “enlist in the Army, go ‘protect the nation,’ get disabled, and hope the Fokkers don’t shoot down the Sopwith Camel called the Department of Veterans affairs before I die… Was the Red Baron a neoliberal, or just arrogant nobility?

        Given the reward structure and power structure that effectuated and energizes the neoliberal paradigm, the huge wealth taken by the very few as they loot and kill )yes, people die, in large numbers, due to neoliberal policies and actions) their “all nice and legal” way across the planet, it’s interesting that there’s not much discussion (that I notice, at least) about organizing, somehow, to shut the cancer down and rebuild some healthy tissue. Maybe that is because “TINA”? Maybe that given how us apes are wired, it’s the best we can collectively manage? One can hardly even opt out into a small, relatively safe place, and live a simple decent life. The Fokkers will find you and shoot you down…

  16. MikeNY

    El-Erian on the Fed’s prospective June rate hike:

    And I suspect that a significant part of the assessment will be influenced by the behavior of the financial markets themselves.

    As if Mrs Magoo could see anything else.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      El-Erian opining on cnbs “Sees a pewiod of incwedible vowatiwity.”

      It was incwedibwy pwofound, if somewhat difficult to understand.

  17. Marco

    From the New Republik piece

    “…Clinton will end up facing the same dilemma that hurt Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and the other Republican candidates: If she responds to Trump’s attacks, she’ll sink to his level, but if she ignores them she may look weak or evasive”

    Team Clinton is in la-la-land if they think the general election will be a cake walk. What will she do when Trump calls her a big lesbian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You think she should have Bill by her side, be her punching bag, when she gets frustrated with Trump?

    2. flora

      Clinton will “float above it all” while letting her minions in the MSM do the dirty work, imo. See her campaign against Sanders as a template. Read the Sunday Funnies from the past few weeks for a glimpse of what’s to come.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I think you give her too much credit. There’ll be no “floating” this time. It’s gonna be hand-to-hand combat.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Oh, that should have occurred to me! Crying on TV! That would do it.

          But can Hillary, who’s been trying for years to prove how tough she is (her hawkishness seems about that + her weird issues with having a rejecting father who was a chief petty officer, how Dickensian), able or willing to cry on command? She got shrill and loud with Sanders. I think she’ll double down on the macho. That seems to be her reflex.

          Of course the media would go nuts and defend her: “Oh a leader should be able to cry!” But not on frggin’ national television as a either a result of stress or a cynical ploy.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Oh I missed that. Was if for something sentimental, like a voter’s suffering? That’s OK, it’s seen as female compassion.

              Crying under attack is another matter unless you make the person who made you cry look like a bully. Which Trump is, but he’d need to not miss a beat and go on with, “And this is how you’ll react when Putin gets rough with you?” He’s almost need to double down.

              I do recall she also cried during this campaign too over some voter issue.

              1. HotFlash

                Hillary cries, this is from 2008. Prol’y genuine, but I predict Trump will make her cry for reals. He is one of those bullies who can sense weakness and he will hit her where she will hurt the most.

                1. Kurt Sperry

                  I’d pay money to watch Trump get personal and really go hard for the kill in a nationally televised debate. I doubt she could effectively defend against it and would likely be left a pathetic tear stained mess begging for pity votes like the guy panhandling on the freeway on ramp with a sob story scribbled on his cardboard sign. Somebody should do it, her and her husband’s past is a *very* target rich environment.

                  1. katiebird

                    I LOVED it when he took after Jeb! … OMG. it was one of the happiest political events of my life.

                    Trump can be brutal.

    3. fresno dan

      My view is that Trump is running not against Clinton alone, but 40 or 50 years of neoliberalism. Even “serious” economic journals are walking back the “free trade” dogma that was as sacrosanct as Mom and apple pie in the fifties.
      The question really boils down to two things:
      do you want the status quo to continue (sure, Hillary will promise “kinder and gentler”)?
      have things gotten bad enough for so many that they are willing to take quite a radical step???

      1. hunkerdown

        I don’t think they’re walking it back, so much as advancing it to the next step: “hard choices”.

        1. fresno dan

          That said, not all free-trade advocates are paragons of intellectual honesty. In fact, the elite case for ever-freer trade, the one that the public hears, is largely a scam. That’s true even if you exclude the most egregious nonsense, like Mitt Romney’s claim that protectionism causes recessions. What you hear, all too often, are claims that trade is an engine of job creation, that trade agreements will have big payoffs in terms of economic growth and that they are good for everyone.

          Yet what the models of international trade used by real experts say is that, in general, agreements that lead to more trade neither create nor destroy jobs; that they usually make countries more efficient and richer, but that the numbers aren’t huge; and that they can easily produce losers as well as winners**. In principle the overall gains mean that the winners could compensate the losers, so that everyone gains. In practice, especially given the scorched-earth obstructionism of the G.O.P., that’s not going to happen.

          I think Krugman is rewriting history – he was as gung ho as anyone for “free trade” – but if that isn’t trying to walk back his advocacy of free trade, than I don’t know what is….

          **than why did we agree to all these agreements??? (cause the winners, i.e., the 0.01% were the winners…)

  18. dcblogger

    If Trump actually opposes TPP and is not just pandering, it is possible that TPP could be defeated in the lame duck session.

  19. Qrys

    Carly Fiorina Has Agreed to Help Ted Cruz Lose the Republican Nomination Vice. Resilc: “Hard to make Clintoon look good on the campaign trail, but Carly does.”

    When sociopaths snuggle?

    First we have to behold the Drumpf and Christie love affair (with lapdog ‘Ben’), and now the scary pair get cozy? Icky to say the least, though as Cenk covered yesterday on TYT, at a brokered convention (the only way now Cruz could land the nomination) that’s unlikely to stick… Fiorina’s as much the outsider as Trump is, having never held public office. The power brokers would hand pick his VP for him as part of the deal.

  20. Alex morfesis

    Tor malware…onion symbol or onion publiction…using tor to access fartbook…too funny…will ceases never wonder…

  21. portia

    Apologies if this has already been posted:

    In my strong opinion this whole thing is all part of the coming capital control war, which ties directly in with the coming transition to a biometric digital currency, the implementation of Negative Interest Rates, the rollout of large scale systemic bail-ins, and the demonization and eventual criminalization of physical assets that are outside of direct taxation control (which again would be done using the pre-conditioned guise of “tax havens”, with physical precious metals and physical cash being the main targets).

    1. Lord Koos

      This will probably happen after the next financial crash, which will be a doozy, dire enough so that they can ram throught all this stuff, along with a huge propaganda blitz telling us it’s all for the best. To paraphrase dubya, “All your cash belong to us”.

  22. Toolate

    If Japan proceeds on its current path towards owning all the shares of the stock exchange , will Japan become truly socialist?

  23. ProNewerDeal

    what happens in Jan 2017, if Trump wins the Pres, & the House & Senate retain the R majorities?

    Specifically, what will happen with the ACA law?

    Would the R Congress repeal the ACA law for the 4080th time? If yes, would Trump sign the repeal? IIRC Trump said he supports the section of the ACA that bans health insurers refusing to sell a policy based on pre-existing conditions, but I feel as though Trump is the biggest flip-flopper poli-trick-ian of the last decade, plus is a Palin-esque policy ingoramus – thus I don’t really trust any campaign claim Trump makes has an actual relation to his behavior in Jan 2017.

    Would this mean the US health system is back to the pre-ACA status quo US health system of ~2010? Would the Rs change anything relative to this 2010 pre-ACA status quo?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The pre-existing part is popular, and without the stain of the Clintons, the Democratic Party might easily win in 2018. That would be problematic for Trump. Remember in 2006 and 2008, Clinton types were out of power in Team Blue. The Republicans know Tom Delay and Hastert’s old seats were held by Democrats. Even in 2006, Rahm backed candidates lost Gores Kerry districts while Dean backed, anti war candidates won Bush Cheney districts. I don’t think this is lost on significant elements of the GOP. Without the Clinton and now Obama drag which is very real, the GOP can’t win. The GOP didn’t invent gerrymandering and voter suppression in 2010.

      The Republicans will have to do something big to stay in power Climate change (Bill Nye suggested this focus could change the electorate) and Healthcare would alter the electorate. Solar South, Western Wind, Teabagger Tidal power. They can sell it as Wellup, not Welfare.

      The GOP doesn’t pen essays about GDP being up and questioning why people are sad. They do react to the electorate or what they need to win. They tried immigration reform, but they had been race baiting for far too long and rely on too many IT types to make guest workers popular.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The odds favor, even with Hillary losing, the Senate going to the Dems. The Class of 2010 is up and that showed big R gains, many on thin electoral margins. And my understanding is many of that bunch didn’t deliver and is therefore vulnerable. I can imagine independents and Sanders Dems not voting for Hillary in some form (save staying home) and voting for Dems for the Senate, or even choosing a gridlock vote over Trump concerns (as in not wiling to vote for Hillary but willing to stymie Trump down ticket).

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I think coattails are an issue. Feingold should be a slam dunk over Ron Johnson here in Wisco – Johnson is a prime example of an empty suit – but the polling is much closer than it should be and turnout will be everything.

  24. rich

    Elon Musk Supports His Business Empire With Unusual Financial Moves From personal loans to buying stock, billionaire leader of Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity has provided help even though it could be risky

    In addition to the bond purchases, he has taken out $475 million in personal credit lines, buying shares of SolarCity and Tesla when they needed capital, securities filings show.

    The credit lines are secured with about $2.51 billion of Mr. Musk’s shares in SolarCity and Tesla, based on their closing prices Wednesday.

    Few top executives use their shares as collateral for personal loans because it can be risky to other shareholders and also raises concerns that the executive’s personal interests could conflict with the company’s interests.

    If the stock price slides, that could trigger a margin call requiring the executive to sell the shares or put up more collateral to repay the loan.

    In securities filings, Tesla has disclosed the possibility of margin calls related to Mr. Musk’s loans, which it said “may cause the price of our common stock to decline further.”

    Last year, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. shares fell 14% in one day after CEO Michael Pearson received a margin call on $100 million in loans backed by some of his shares in the drug company. Mr. Pearson’s lender sold 1.3 million of his shares to meet the margin call.

    “As an analyst, it is often a red flag for me when companies and management direct loans between entities they have personal or financial interests in,” said Nathan Weiss, founder and senior analyst at independent research firm Unit Economics LLC in East Greenwich, R.I.

    SpaceX has received $3.2 billion for its rocket program from government contracts, according to a person familiar with the matter. The lawmakers want to make sure none of that money winds up at SolarCity.

    large-sse…works for some?

  25. hemeantwell

    Re Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

    Today’s combined threats comes from Jihadi terror and a string of failed states across the Maghreb and the Levant; from a highly-militarized pariah regime in Moscow that will soon run out of money but has a window of opportunity before Europe rearms; and from an extremely dangerous crisis in the South China Sea that is escalating by the day as Beijing tests the US alliance structure.

    The dangers from Russia and China are of course interlinked. It is likely – pessimists say certain – that Vladimir Putin would seize on a serious blow-up on Pacific rim to try his luck in Europe.

    I agree the story on CIA backing of European unification efforts is interesting, but “a window of opportunity to try his luck” for what, exactly? Over time almost all of the critical pieces linked at NC agree on Russia’s disinterest in any kind of military expansion into Europe, quite different from what they hope to achieve through energy selling. They see Russian military action as defensive, e.g. the annexation of the Ukraine was intended to hold onto the Sevastopol anchorage that was threatened by the coup, and the writers at SST have pointed out how recent changes in the Russian army organizational structure reflect an effort to respond and deter developing NATO offensive capability. Evans-Pritchard is peddling Cold War fantasy, just as Clinton is, This stuff has got to be the most primitive, reptilian hindbrain part of the West’s guiding principles, older and more critique-resistant than most anything other than support for capitalism, and it likely has a broader base.

    1. JustAnObserver

      And, of course, not the slightest acknowledgment from AEP about exactly how those states came to be “failed”.

      As Lambert & Yves have taught us lack of agency indicates an agenda that dares not speak its name. I suppose this is just another indicator of how Euroscepticism (or Brexit) is heavily entwined with nostalgia for the certainties of the Cold War era. When Polish plumbers had the decency & good manners to know their place behind that Iron Curtain.

  26. JSM

    Feel free to throw tomatoes, but what is NASA doing propagandizing Zika fears? The throwaway line in the article, that NASA has run infection simulations for 30 years, is hardly explanatory. I don’t hear many stories about how NASA is using its unquestioned budget to save the climate of our ‘pale blue dot,’ but that would seem much more germane for the agency.

  27. kareninca

    My parents voted for Bernie on Tuesday in Connecticut. They would have anyway, but his meeting with Verizon strikers meant a lot to them. They remember very well when my mom and her fellow teachers went out on strike in the 70s, and how alone they felt. They could tell how much it meant to the Verizon people to have him meet with them.

    Despite being lifelong registered Democrats, they are not willing to vote for Hillary in any circumstances. No matter what endorsement Bernie provides.

  28. Lambert Strether

    One thing Trump followers might consider is that Manafort and Stone make Karl Rove look, well, not like an amateur, but not really feral; and they make Brock look like a choirboy. The conservative movement has a lot of dark sides, and Manafort and Stone are definitely one of them.

    In itself, this doesn’t speak to the question of which candidate is the more effective evil, and every candidate has their “people,” but it’s something to factor in.

  29. Neal Traylor

    What the author leaves out of this piece as does just about every WoTR author and MSMer is that Russia isn’t the only power to have sent advisors if not combatants to Donbass and disavowed them. During the Ukrainian campaign to encircle Slavyansk and squeeze the first rebels out of that town Italian journalists spoke with a ‘Ukrainian’ National Guardsman who spoke perfect Italian. Turkish journalist attempted to carry on a conversation with Ukrainian soldiers who could only speak in broken Russian to angry Donbass locals but who almost certainly spoke English briefly with Polish accents. was also the infamous footage of locals shouting ‘Blackwater’ at ‘Ukrainian’ special forces in Donetsk before the start of real fighting in that city in March 2014, with laughably insisting they were yelling ‘go to work’ in Russian instead of ‘Blackwater’.Then there was the world famous ‘out of my face please’ guy in Mariupol with the Azov Battalion, whom an army of Kiev/NATO trolls lamely insisted was a British de-mining volunteer Chris ‘Swampy’ Garrett. But Garrett appeared on a video filmed in Mariupol the same day, looking nothing like ‘out of my face’ guy who unlike the Brit had no red beard, but dark features instead. Garrett also made no attempt to cover his face, unlike the other man. Sorry Interpreter Mag and StopFakers but your efforts at damage control fail there were clearly non-Ukrainians staying mum in that March 2014 Donetsk footage, and that was almost certainly a U.S. merc or at least CIA contractor with an upstate NYer sounding accent caught on video by a Ukrainian TV crew.

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