Links 6/17/16

6 in 10 of you will share this link without reading it, a new, depressing study says Washington Post (resilc)

Local Chinese Officials Promise They Won’t Let the Yulin Dog Meat Festival Happen This Year Global Voices (resilc)

2016 Theme: Inclusive cooperation for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality World Day to Combat Desertification 17 June (guurst). A tall tree was cut down just around the corner from my building, for no reason I can discern. We need more trees and green things.

The US dropped 67 nuclear bombs on this tiny island nation — and now it’s far more radioactive than we thought Business Insider (David L)

Toward a More Reflective Planet (David L). I saw a piece a good 12-15 years ago that I have been unable to locate on the web, arguing that the reflection lost by the melting of the ice caps could be compensated for by requiring flat roofs (like on apartment buildings) and roads to have titanium oxide on their surface, and recommended a lower cost white substance for third world countries.

Facebook’s rise as news source hits publishers’ revenues Guardian (furzy)

Europe Is About To Create A Link Tax: Time To Speak Out Against It Techdirt. Important.

Bolivia rejects Bill Gates’ donation of hens Guardian. Corey:

There is something tragically poetic in a clueless billionaire’s attempted gift of range animals and the ultimate rejection. Sort of the feeling of a 2nd grader coloring money at school and offering it to his parents to help with their impending debt crisis… except I don’t feel sorry for Bill. His tragedy involves more the inept deafness of our failing neoliberal society.

All aboard the Immortality Bus: the man who says tech will help us live forever Guardian


Post-Orlando Call for Expanded Watch List Tests Civil Liberties Bloomberg

As It Shapes ISIS-Centric Narrative, Orlando Police Reject Freedom of Information Request for Audio of Nightclub Shooter’s 911 Call Alternet (eric a). I hate to feel compelled to run posts like this.

48 people were shot during yesterday’s 15-hour filibuster on gun control Vox

Which Gun Control Policies Will Actually Work? Vice (resilc)

McCain: Obama ‘directly responsible’ for Orlando shooting SFGate (furzy). Lambert wonders if this remark is proof that McCain is losing it.


Returned Hong Kong Bookseller Recounts Eight-Month Detention in China Time (daisann)

Hong Kong Bookseller Breaks Silence on China Detention Saga Bloomberg

For Japan’s ‘Sarakin’ Moneylenders, Negative Rates Yield Positive Results Wall Street Journal

Switzerland withdraws longstanding application to join EU RT (Chuck L)


Killing of deputy Cox erupts into Brexit debate Defend Democracy

Osborne’s ‘punishment Budget’ is economic vandalism Ambrose Evans-Pricthard, Telegraph (Chuck L)

IMF suffers from groupthink on subject of the EU Telegraph

‘It’s time to call time on the EU experiment’, by Kingston University’s head of Economics, History & Politics, Professor Steve Keen Kingston University Alumni Association (Chuck L)

U.K. Authorities Look for Motive of Jo Cox Killer Wall Street Journal

Eastern Europe Is Both Dreading Brexit and Ready for It New York Times

Brexit Debate Focus Shifts to Chickens, Dead Cats, Taxes Michael Shedlock

Greece gets the nod for next tranche of bailout cash euronews


US diplomats urge strikes on Syria regime Telegraph

Syria Daily: 51 US Diplomats — Time for Airstrikes on Assad Regime EA WorldView

CIA chief: IS working to send operatives to the West McClatchy (resilc)

What ISIS Wants American Conservative (resilc)

Hillary’s Huge Libya Disaster National Interest

Imperial Collapse Watch

CIA Chief Just Confirmed ‘War on Terror’ Has Created A Lot More Terrorists Common Dreams (furzy)

Worried About “Stigmatizing” Cluster Bombs, House Approves More Sales to Saudi Arabia Intercept (resilc)

Andrew Cockburn, Victory Assured on the Military’s Main Battlefield — Washington TomDispatch (resilc)


Bernie Sanders Offers No Concession in Address to Supporters NBC versus Bernie Sanders offers a concession-style speech — without a concession Washington Post. Note he rejects a lame duck TPP, defying Obama.

The Political Revolution Continues Bernie Sanders. Transcript.

Bernie Sanders Says He Will Work With Hillary Clinton to ‘Transform the Democratic Party’ Atlantic. Reslic: “Is there another Clintoon I don’t know about? the only way to transform the DNC is to burn it on top of a pile of lobbyists.”

How Trump Happened Wall Street Journal

Selection for president, if the 2016 presidential election was between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Reuters. This has tons of filters and Lambert did some screens. Confirms overall Trump decay but contradicts findings of another recent poll that showed him as losing ground among whites with less than a college degree.

‘Guccifer 2.0’ Is Likely a Russian Government Attempt To Cover Up Their Own Hack Motherboard. This looks to overstate a speculative case. My understanding is their are a lot of independent black hat hackers who are very good. There is no reason to think the DNC had super duper security and would therefore require a state actor or state-funded level actor to break in. Lots of people would have had to have access to the records, and thus any identifiable user would have been a way in (and that’s before you get to possible sabotage, say by an angry ex-employee handing over a password). Recall how the Sony hack, which experts later said was clearly due to the fact that Sony had absolutely God-awful security, was attributed to North Korea? And look at how often credit card records are hacked, and those are almost certainly secured vastly better than you would expect the DNC to be. Note also that the DNC uses the “state actor” excuse for being compromised. Per Forbes (and note the author has no IT expertise):

The DNC’s hired cyber security firm explains that “it is extremely difficult for a civilian organization to protect itself from a skilled and determined state such as Russia.” It suspects that Russian hackers used “spearphishing,” or emails made to look like they came from someone trusted that contain links or attachments that give the hacker access to the computer when clicked.

Huh? My 88 year old mother gets messages like that, as I do all the time. This is so common that I have trouble seeing this as a terribly sophisticated measure.

The argument here seems to rest on “media sophistication” as in Gawker and The Smoking Gun picked up the story. Huh? I could see Guccifer e-mailing his post to 20 or even 50 media outlets and having only 2 take it up. I’m less able to evaluate the metadata claim, but since hacking is a crime in the US, would sending docs through a bunch of machines to muddy the trail be a prudent self-protection method? Comments from technically savvy readers encouraged.

Southern Baptists Split With Trump On Refugee Resettlement NPR (furzy). Not clear that this is that big a deal. Trump was never courting the evangelical wing. He’s divorced, has cleary had lots of extramarital sex, has been pro abortion, and now has spoken out in support of gays. And this is just a recommendation to local churches.

A Who’s Who of Financiers Is Expected at Trump’s New York Fund-Raiser New York Times

Donald Trump tells people to ‘ask the gays’ about how great he is. ‘The gays’ respond—and it is EPIC Daily Kos (furzy)

One Out of Four U.S. Senators Is a Pot Prohibitionist—Is Yours One of Them? Alternet (Steve C). I can understand the push for more use of medical marijuana, as well as decriminalization, but I wish the people who are lobbying for this change would also put some muscle behind reducing sentences generally for minor drug crimes, since those are the big source of incarceration of African Americans.

Philly tax not so sweet for drinks makers Financial Times

Healthcare company announces plans to leave Kansas, eviscerates Gov. Sam Brownback in open letter Daily Kos (furzy)

US Banks Top Cluster Bomb Investment ‘Hall of Shame’: Report Common Dreams.

Moody’s explores the end of the US business cycle MacroBusiness


The Fed Surrenders Wall Street Journal

Texas banks face increasing risks from low oil prices: Dallas Fed Reuters

Class Warfare

Former college students score a rare win that could have a big impact MarketWatch (Phil U)

The Disadvantages of Being Stupid Atlantic. Resilc: “Up here in vermont my escavator and lumber mill operator have more sense about most things, including government and foreign policy, than 99% of DC.” Moi: “More preening elite self-regrad, which regularly takes the form of depicting those who don’t agree with their version of conventional wisdom as stupid>”

Congresswoman Calls for Drug-Testing the One Percent, Not the Poor Common Dreams (furzy). Hahaha!

Britain is in the midst of a working-class revolt Guardian (Plutoniumkkun)

Antidote du jour. David C:

Seal pup 6th May 2016 at Lone Ranch Beach, OR, south end (beyond kink.)

I should not have been that close. The wind was very high, much sand, my face and eyes down, the rocks uneven. Suddenly I almost trod on this pup. I backed off, took the photo and went away. On my return ten minutes later pup noticed ahead of time and waddled back to sea. Mummy was out fishing. Photo was also front page of Curry Pilot a week or so later.

seal pup links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. abynormal

      btw, i posted this particular link b/c it offers multiple original tweets…there seems to be a discrepancy between whether MSF will stop REQUESTING FUNDS from the EU or ACCEPT FUNDS.

      MSF will NOT ACCEPT EU FUNDS. They’ll rely on their Emergency Funds.

    2. Micky9finger

      Sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
      They should double the required donation then publicly rag on the EU when it bitches about paying.

  1. Donald

    I was ready to forward that National Interest article on Clinton’s Libya disaster when I saw that the writer was an advisor to Trump. I still think it was a good article, but it’d be a waste of time forwarding it to a lot of people I know who need to read it..

    Two points. First, what is wrong with this country that people utterly disgusted by Clinton would find it necessary to line up with Trump?

    Second and more important, (since the obvious answer to question 1 is that the US is crazy), what are the best links to articles about Libya and Clinton? I still keep seeing Clinton supporters claiming that we had to intervene to prevent mass slaughter. By Gadaffi’s forces and while I know I’ve seen articles refuting this, if possible I’d like a mainstream source to link.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian


      In partial answer to your first question, that Seymour Hersh (whose work is cited in m’s response to you), a veteran investigative reporter, finds himself no longer welcome at media outlets in the U.S., and instead has to find publication at the London Review of Books speaks volumes. The NeoCons/NeoLibs have captured these outlets, and news and investigative reporting contrary to the echo chamber that they foster will be either passively (through declining to publish or disseminate), or actively suppressed through character assassination and ridicule. Nice, huh?

    2. JohnnyGL

      Gates has said she was the swing vote and it was 51-49. Pentagon was against it and held talks with Gaddafi behind the scenes. Pentagon wasn’t enthused about going to war and said there were no US interests at stake.

      I vaguely recall there might have been some material in the published State Dept. emails about how hard she pushed for war and the “coming slaughter” wasn’t based on any intelligence.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        In the emails, Hillary was even made aware of the ethnic cleansing in the South which started with the collapse of the state, and she just ignored it.

        In case, anyone forgot there were massacres. It was just our rebel allies who committed them.

        When Hillary said, “Putin was worse than Hitler,” she was being dismissive of how few people he has potentially killed. Even the most ardently anti-Russian could come up with a few thousand. I think she meant it as a joke. Hillary probably thinks she can strike a victory for surviving little girls everywhere with her impressive body count and any new wars she can start.

        1. OIFVet

          I, for one, am awed by the impressive amount of sociopathy she can display with what seems like very little effort. Her cackling upon learning that Khadafy was sodomized with a knife is simply incredible. By the nation’s then-top diplomat, no less…

        2. Fool

          She doesn’t care about “little girls everywhere”. The “impressive body count” was meant to impress voters whom she presumed would be torn between her and Jeb! Bush. (Which speaks volumes about her foresight.) I don’t think she’s realized that when it comes to foreign affairs the Beltway Blob has turned the whole country into 1920s Republicans

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I put “surviving” for a reason. As long as the survivors worships at the twin Clinton throne, all will be well.

        3. JohnnyGL

          “In the emails, Hillary was even made aware of the ethnic cleansing in the South which started with the collapse of the state, and she just ignored it. ”

          I hadn’t seen that, but it makes sense. Terrorism always FOLLOWS military intervention by the west, it rarely precedes it.

          On a separate note, the State Dept letter requesting strikes on Assad is mind-blowing. Does anyone on the planet want regime change in Syria besides Beltway-bubble residents, Likudniks, Erdogan, and some Saudi Royals??? You can’t win ’em all, guys!!! The Russians got there first, give it up!!!

        4. Jagger

          Hillary: “says she supports a measure requiring women to register for the draft, while maintaining that the American military should remain a volunteer force.”

          So Hillary takes a stand on women and the draft. If our dear leaders decide it is necessary, then young women in mass should be drafted, by definition, involuntarily, into the military. So is she taking this stand for the votes or does she have some really big plans lined up for this country?

          For some reason, I just can’t see Chelsea serving a day in a marine doggie uniform. Someone needs to do something about the fashion sense of the Marine Corps or they aren’t going to get quality recruits.

          1. craazyboy

            The boots are gonna have to go. I don’t think pant suits are that popular among younger women either, but I’m not stupid enough to guess what they may want to wear in the ME desert. Prolly not the standard 100 lbs of gear. Some of them think guns are icky, too.

            1. Jagger

              Yes, maybe platform shoes might work. I just saw some Hollywood, TV series in which a 5’2″ female cop, skinny as a rail, chased down and took down some fanatic middle eastern terrorist trying to escape that was at least a head taller than her and built like a bull. And she did it all while wearing some very attractive platform shoes. Personally, I probably would have let that tough hombre go ahead and build up a running lead while waiting for reinforcements. He didn’t look like someone I would really want to tangle with in one on one, hand to hand combat if I had any choice about it. She might make a good marine but suspect the lack of platform shoes could be a problem. And a hundred pounds of gear might slow her down a bit because I doubt she weighed more than a 110 pounds.

              I do wonder how many parents really, really want their daughters eligible for the draft if we end up in another Vietnam or WW3. I kind of doubt if they even want their sons in the draft. But Honest Hillary thinks it is a good idea, so there you go-the powers that be.

        5. MED

          i have read, … no-fly zone over Libya with the express intent of protecting civilians, one of the over 3,000 new Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department on New Year’s Eve, contain damning evidence of Western nations using NATO as a tool to topple Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi. The NATO overthrow was not for the protection of the people, but instead it was to thwart Gaddafi’s attempt to create a gold-backed African currency to compete with the Western central banking monopoly.

    3. Fool

      I think it’s pretty sad that you decided against forwarding an insightful article because the author is advising Trump. It speaks volumes about how the media sausage is digested by the people (and thus, by induction, how it’s made).

      The Hersh piece is really cool though.

      1. Emma

        It’s interesting what is included and excluded from MSM. Here’s three other articles, NOT in the MSM, on the Orlando shooting and terrorism. The first two articles suggest links between the shooter, the FBI, and the ‘military industrial complex’ at large…..while the third suggests what may be causing terrorism at large.

    4. John k

      What do you see, for those utterly disgusted with Clinton, as a better option than lining up with trump? And why, bearing in mind the need to select the lesser evil. You will go with Clinton (or throw away your vote)…
      Because to support the neo-lib dem party?
      Because he is more likely to start another war?
      Because he would be more confrontational with Russia/China?
      Because he is less likely to prosecute fraud?
      Because he is more corrupt?
      Because he will advocate worse trade deals?
      Because he wants to build a wall? (What is so bad about a wall, anyway? Creates jobs, right?)
      Because he advocates evicting illegals?… Ah, is this the crux of antipathy that overwhelms all of the above?
      Oh wait, because the supremes? Note that Obama is already selecting neo-lib republicans; please indicate the basis for thinking Clinton would consider somebody more progressive than trump.

    5. Dave

      Why is it so hard to acknowledge that Trump may have a better foreign policy advisor, to say nothing of a track record?

      I figure it’s 50/50 Trump will be acceptable or perhaps a disaster on foreign policy.
      That’s a hell of a lot better than Hillary’s proven 100% disaster.

      Nuclear war avoidance is more important than all other issues.

      1. notabanker

        The more I read about her short time as SOS, the scarier it becomes. You are spot on, nuclear war is just not an option. You also have to wonder how the Pentagon is going to put up with her after the Libyan debacle. It says a lot when the JCOS is brokering diplomatic discussions because the countries top diplomat is bent on military force.

      2. bdy

        50-50? We have no idea with Trump. Check. I can’t get from there to “acceptable outcomes are a coin toss away.”

        No earthly reason to vote for either of these p’s-o-s.

  2. fresno dan

    When the Goldsboro, N.C., resident spotted the freezer at her neighbor’s yard sale last month, she thought she was getting a good deal. The neighbor was charging $30 for a deep freezer with a hinged lid — the kind of freezer large enough for someone to climb inside.
    She was keeping the freezer plugged in in the corner of a spare bedroom, alongside houseplants, an armchair, a vacuum cleaner and spare toiletries. Last Friday, she peeled off the duct tape and looked inside.
    The first things the woman saw were a green sheet and a bag of kitty litter, she told WTVD.
    Then, her eyes landed on a human foot.
    “I have a serious problem,” she told the 911 dispatcher. “My neighbor sold me a deep freezer. I just opened it and there’s a body in there I think.”
    “Your neighbor sold it to you?” the dispatcher asked.
    “I am freaking out,” she responded, short of breath.
    “I understand, ma’am,” said the dispatcher. “Your neighbor sold it to you?”
    “Yes,” she said.

    This seems to be happening to me more and more…if it keeps up, I’m gonna stop buying freezers at yard sales….

    1. skylark

      Who would buy a freezer and not look inside first? OTOH, who would sell a freezer and not remove the body first? It just keeps getting curioser and curioser.

      1. aletheia33

        the medical examiner determined the woman died of natural causes. it would seem her daughter was unwilling to dispose of the body in the normal fashion. she sold the freezer to her neighbor, told her a story, and fled. she may have been dependent on her dead mother’s SS checks.

        they are now trying to find her.

        i imagine there

        so where does this ultimately get filed? imperial collapse watch? banana republic? not exactly guillotine watch material. is it a sign of societal disintegration, or more simply just too much poverty? a symptom of too much “inequality”? maybe we need a new category. but at the same time, this story, in various permutations, may not be a very new one in the annals of humanity.

      2. aletheia33

        the medical examiner determined the woman died of natural causes. it would seem her daughter was unwilling to dispose of the body in the normal fashion. she sold the freezer to her neighbor, told her a story, and fled. she may have been dependent on her dead mother’s SS checks.

        i am sure SS pays a death benefit for disposal of one’s body, including funeral and cremation and/or burial.

        so where does this ultimately get filed? imperial collapse watch? banana republic? not exactly guillotine watch material. is it a sign of societal disintegration, or more simply just too much poverty? a symptom of too much “inequality”? maybe we need a new category. but at the same time, this story, in various permutations, may not be a very new one in the annals of humanity.

        1. Dana

          SSA death benefit is $255. That might be enough to pay a trash hauler to take the freezer away. Except a surviving child gets the benefit only if they’re eligible for benefits on the decedent’s record, i.e. either they’re a minor, or they became permanently and totally disabled before age 22.

          1. craazyboy

            Plus she could sell the freezer to raise bus fare and run away. She may be a rational economic actor, maximizing utility, after all.

    2. pretzelattack

      “waiter there’s a fly in my soup!”
      “i’ll just add a couple of dollars to your bill, no problem!”

    3. Optimader

      Instead of asking to confirm the neighbor “sold it to her”, I really expected the follow up question to be “madam, how much did you pay for it?”

    4. bob

      Can’t afford to bury them, or whatever your final wishes are.

      There was a link here recently on all of the unclaimed bodies piling up at coroner’s offices. If you claim them, you have to pay to bury them. If no one claims the body, the coroner has to deal with it.

      “it’s a church time capsule”- in a matter of speaking.

  3. JacobiteInTraining

    “…Huh? My 88 year old mother gets messages like that, as I do all the time. This is so common that I have trouble seeing this as a terribly sophisticated measure…”

    You are correct, an exploit such as this is trivial enough to implement that it is truly within the realm of a script kiddie. Also, even in ‘civilian’ organizations with dedicated & highly specialized security departments separate from overall IT – in theory providing greatly hardened and secure apps/policies/practices above and beyond what you would normally expect in a midlevel corporate environment – attacks such as these are common, difficult to defend against, and likely to garner *far* more compromised goodies then your average user might expect.

    Having been associated as a longtime & semi-senior IT person with an unnamed Healthcare organization that was recently compromised in a big BIG way, I can confirm that (although the press release spin trumpeted the same ‘extremely sophisticated hacking team exploited us!’ theme, the actual root-cause was a simple email crafted to run an .exe that granted access to a desktop…that then led in predictable fashion to multiple other password, accounts, systems, up to and including user/patient/claims databases and other what-not.

    This, in an organization that really was reasonably competent & trying to comply with HIPAA and all other Healthcare/PPI security requirements, and had a truly dedicated IT/Security staff. They weren’t morons & they were not ramshackle in their attempts to protect this data. But, they were compromised nevertheless by a single dumb user clicking a single dumb link – and initial access by the hacker was then magnified by the propensity for many more people to WANT & NEED access to data (both test and prod) that they really *don’t* need elevated access to….thus, the first & second compromised systems tend to lead to easily obtainable access to yet more systems.

    Wash, rinse, drink a Mountain Dew, repeat.

    In the case of this DNC hack, there is no technical reason to believe it couldn’t have been initiated by that bored 13-year-old down the street. Of course, in addition to the pimply-faced kid…I would absolutely expect people in the employ of various international governments to *also* want to take a peek. Why not eh? ;)

    1. SoCal Rhino

      Ongoing issue in my TBTF institution as well. We periodically run internal test (security teams originates the attacks) and some people, including some seasoned, bright people, fall for it every time.

      One bit of feedback we just gave to our president: stop sending out corporate newsletters with embedded links!

      1. Alex morfesis

        Guccifer 2.0…the russians are coming, the russians are coming…Casheswipe, the vaporware company, should get the singularity people to bring back Jonathan Winters as their spokesperson…150 million vc smackers for a bunch of former McHeads…Alperovitch has been screaming cyber cold war for 7 years plus…
        Why would anyone with a brain keep this data on any server ? What is wrong with just killing some trees and keeping paper copies ?
        Some smart lawyer one day will have all these hacking statutes thrown out…unless the government (or the private sector) is going to mandate 17 character passwords, most networks have 100 thousand ways in by design…with all due respects, most hr people hire the not so socially advance individuals for IT…

        easy targets…

        and hiring h-1b boys lonely for home cooking and bollywood movies…


        because they are all loyal to the us constitution by virtue of having passed thru airport security and signing that apartment lease near stanford…

    2. flora

      per Yves:
      There is no reason to think the DNC had super duper security and would therefore require a state actor or state-funded level actor to break in.
      I agree. I’d say the same thing about Hillary’s homebrew basement State Dept. server. I’ve added a link from youtube below that’s a good general overview of network security and, by extension ,server and device security. I’d bet the DNC and Hillary didn’t do even a fraction of this security work. (Hillary had one guy working part time? The server wasn’t encrypted for 2-3 months? ) So it wouldn’t take a state actor to penetrate their servers. Probably a bored 13 year old could do it.

      The following video is legit, it is what it claims to be. It’s 35 minutes long and, as I said, a good overview. Readers working in network or server security might find it particularly interesting.

  4. Adam1

    “Lambert wonders if this remark is proof that McCain is losing it.” My first thought was, that’s the pot calling the kettle black, but I could also agree with Lambert.

    Reslic: “Is there another Clintoon I don’t know about? the only way to transform the DNC is to burn it on top of a pile of lobbyists.” Many of my Democratic friends think I’m crazy for promising not to vote for Clinton. My thoughts are that it’ll have to get worse before it gets better – send the SOBs back to the woods for a while.

    1. Bob

      McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential nominee in 2008 was proof that he was “losing it”. This episode is merely confirmation that he’s truly “lost it”. It’s time for him to retire from the Senate. Hopefully this fall voters will turn him out.

      1. Brian

        I have made the observation, whether good or bad, that McCain showed narcissitude rules his existence. He didn’t care about anything except getting elected emperor, and was willing to do anything, including asking Caribou Barbie to front for him. There are numerous examples of this kind of phlegm in our halls of powder. The Clinton enjoys murder like Johnny McRotten, our president appears to enjoy it quite a lot, Donald says he wants him some.
        Why are we represented only by the worst kids in the playground?

      2. perpetualWAR

        I still cannot believe McCain survived Keating 5. That just shows how stupid or ignorant people can be.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Arizona was the home of Barry Goldwater, and Goldwater supporters are lunatics.

          1. JustAnObserver

            Including, of course, Hillary “Goldwater Girl” Clinton … claims to be ex-GG but I must confess to having some lingering doubts.

      3. Dave

        So was Al Gore’s “choice” of Joseph Lieberman,
        “Eeyore from the Insurance Company headquarters of Hartford”.

        1. polecat

          gee…I completely forgot about J. Lieberman as Gore’s running mate !! ….not good in retrospect eh?!

    2. craazyboy

      McCain is not “losing it”. He’s just a frustrated Super Hero because if elected prez he would have defeated the Middle East by the end of his first term. It’s just one of those emotional outbreaks he makes once and a while when his wife or handlers don’t carefully screen what he says in public.

      Yeah, I watched the speech from whatshisname and I was thinking, “I should vote for that guy”. Then he mentioned the democratic party and I got all confused again.

    3. Steeeve

      McCain lost it in the ’08 election when he went full nut-job and picked Palin. Remember his wink-wink nudge-nudge “ehh…ehh?” (Check out my trophy VP!)

      As for Sanders transforming the DNC – pretty sure I snorted out loud during his address last night at the suggestion of working with Clinton on implementing his agenda. Campaign finance??!!! Is there any scenario where he’s not the nominee that could actually have a chance of making that dramatic an overhaul? DNC chair? Count me skeptical to say the least.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Or he was always a narcissistic thug willing to do whatever he saw would advance him, and my guess is he really hates Obama.

        Oh sure, he wasn’t a lunatic from late 1998 until late 2000, but to echo Dennis Green, McCain is who we thought he was when he opposed MLK day, took money from the Keating Five (campaign finance reform was to fix his image), and was a loyal rubber stamp for whatever insane idea Ronnie Raygun.

    4. Alex morfesis

      McCain is nuts and maybe has always been so as he was born with no nationality…he was born outside the canal zone in a proper hospital, and until 1960, if you were born to foreign parents, you had to pass a patrimony/history test in panama when you turned 18…at age 16, his family helped pass the john mccain for future president act…8 us code 1403…to finally give good old john a country to call his own…only after june 1952 were children in the us part of the canal born to americans, declared “citizens”…so mccain became a U.S. citizen in 1952 (if you accept the argument his parents were in panama working for the military, therefore, being born off base is covered by language of the act)…

  5. fresno dan

    CIA Chief Just Confirmed ‘War on Terror’ Has Created A Lot More Terrorists Common Dreams (furzy)

    Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan said Thursday that, years into the United States’ fight against the Islamic State, the terrorist group’s reach and power have not been diminished and that it has even more fighters than al-Qaeda had at its height.

    Speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan said, “Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach. The resources needed for terrorism are very modest, and the group would have to suffer even heavier losses of territory, manpower, and money for its terrorist capacity to decline significantly.”

    He also said the group is still “a formidable adversary,” adding, “The branch in Libya is probably the most developed and the most dangerous.”

    I expect in 30 years, the same testimony will be given by some other CIA director.
    There is another link today about how essentially the same number of people as killed in Orlando were shot while gun control was being debated. People killed by guns daily is not very newsworthy….

    So we run around making a big, big deal about terrorist attacks, defacto telling ISIS you can really affect us. Our solution is go bomb some more in the mideast, that creates more terrorists. It only took us a few years to realize what a mistake Vietnam was. We have now regressed to the point that it will take us decades to learn what we previously figured out in years…

    1. HBE

      “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process”

      So they want to turn Syria into Libya.

      These “diplomats” are either incredibly stupid (probable) or they are part of an internal SD wing getting pressure from Turkey, Israel, the Gulf or all three.

      “The United States is not going to sit there and be used as an instrument that permits a so-called ceasefire to be in place while one principal party is trying to take advantage of it to the detriment of the entire process.”

      What!???! The US and it’s allies in continuing to supply their proxies have been the only ones taking advantage of the ceasefire. So what exactly do they think will happen when they destroy the secular and still stable Assad government? The religious fundamtalists from different factions will just drop there weapons, say thank you and sing kumbaya.

      It’s not like a destroyed and fractured Syria will become fertile grounds for ISIS or anything.

      But from the other perspective it’s great! More permanent war and we get to stick it to Russia and Iran at the same time!

      Man these SD guys must be fist bumping eachother about how brilliant they are. I think I will call this type of shite the hillary school of diplomacy from now on.

      1. abynormal

        “I used to think it was possible for an artist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory.”
        Don DeLillo, Mao II

        “A demonic horde. Upended sacks of beans. A hundred broken rosaries. There are a thousand metaphors and all of them are inadequate: forty bombs per aircraft, four hundred and eighty altogether, seventy-two thousand pounds of explosives.”
        Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

        “2. Humanity & Peace –
        Any act against the constitution,
        Must be declared to be but void,
        But atomic acts against humanity,
        Are the strength to be but tried.
        [22] – 2

        The future of any of the countries,
        Does lie way above its people,
        And the future of humanity –
        On numerous BOMBS so ample.
        [23] – 2”
        Munindra Misra, Eddies of Life

        “How in hell did those bombers get up there every single second of our lives! Why doesn’t someone want to talk about it! We’ve started and won two atomic wars since 2022! Is it because we’re having so much fun at home we’ve forgotten the world? Is it because we’re so rich and the rest of the world’s so poor and we just don’t care if they are? I’ve heard rumors; the world is starving, but we’re well fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we’re hated so much? I’ve heard the rumors about hate too, once in a long while, over the years. Do you know why? I don’t, that’s sure! Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!”
        Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

      2. Int

        These people are certainly not stupid. Nor are they going to succumb to pressure from these countries, it’s almost always the other way around. The u.s has been busy meddling in and trying to overthrow the Syrian state since the 50’s, long before Clinton came on the scene.

        Also it’s amazing how often the idea the that the u.s has so far been neutral in Syrian civil war is constantly repeated in the press. Never mind the thousand of “rebels” trained and armed to the tune of hundred of millions of dollars by the u.s and their proxies. Pretty sure under international law this is considered an act of war.
        From my understanding the rebellion would have been put down by then Syrian state some time ago. The Syrian state responded with immense brutality. The uprising did not have a critical mass of people supporting it. And the military did not defect in any meaning full way.

    2. Carolinian

      And Kerry was one of those diplomats.

      We may some day be looking back at Obomber as President Peacenik–relatively speaking. Of course he still has time to send the cruise missles winging toward Damascus.

    3. grizziz

      I would suspect if the list of signatories were made available they likely have a historical connection to PNAC (Program for the New American Century) and before that Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss. Their model was Imperial Athens which internally practiced a limited democracy. Externally and in relation to the to the Greek military alliance known as the Delian League, Athens started as “first among equals” among its partners. Eventually Athens turned to Tyranny to lord over the alliance and demanding tribute for protection against a dormant Persia. Sparta drops out of the Alliance and according to Thucydides the rest is history.

      Meanwhile, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan close PNAC because of the PR disaster of their Iraq War and open a new think tank, Foreign Policy Initiative to further a progressive imperial program. For readers who are not familiar, Robert Kagan is the husband of the notorious cookie bomber Victoria Nuland. I suspect she would be one of the first signers of the document, ‘cuz clusterbombs lead to clusterf*cks leads to democracy and property falls into the deserving hands of the 1%.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Yep — likely the “Gang of 51” are the Nuland Neocon Narcissists, all pumped up on American exceptionalism and U.S. air supremacy.

        They make ol’ Gen. Curtis Lemay look like a peacenik. Despite his delusions, Lemay at least regarded himself as working for America’s best interests.

    4. vidimi

      if true, this is of utmost significance. this is tantamount for calling for a war against russia. and how would you keep the chinese out of that? the scary thing is that, if the US has crazies at every level in government, maybe obama deserves his peace prize after all.

      1. OIFVet

        if the US has crazies at every level in government, maybe obama deserves his peace prize after all.

        It just dawned on me: it’s the crapification of peace. “Taste the new peace, now with 50% more war!” Duh! (Slaps forehead).

      2. polecat

        [the nuclear cleric finishes his sermon, with all the Kaganites in the pews, in chorus] “Oh Holy Bomb’…. [starts sluffing off skin]….”I Reveal My Inner Self”…..[pushes launch button]

    5. perpetualWAR


      Candidate for President #1 is being investigated by the FBI


      Candidate for President #2 is reality TV star who is a racist, misogynist

      Do you really have to ask what’s wrong with this country?

      1. craazyboy

        And it’s only one month to the conventions of both parties and we still don’t know who’s behind Door #3 and Door #4.

      2. OIFVet

        Well, the question was 90% rhetorical, with 10% disbelief. I mean, how is a somewhat logical, normal person, to process the revelation that the people tasked with working to find peaceful solutions are itching to drop bombs?

      3. Jim Haygood

        Candidate for President #1 is being investigated by the FBI

        More stunning is that Candidate #1’s “charitable” foundation raked in $17 million from foreign governments while she was serving as Sec State … and it’s not even under investigation.

      4. jrs

        candidate #2 also has a legal case against them.

        Yes it is literally the case that both candidates are accused of breaking the law. Chief executive hardy har har.

  6. fresno dan

    Britain is in the midst of a working-class revolt Guardian (Plutoniumkkun)

    But make no mistake: in an almost comical reflection of the sacred lefty belief that any worthwhile political movement will necessarily be built around the workers, the foundation of the Brexit coalition is what used to be called the proletariat, large swaths of which are as united as in any lefty fantasy, even if some of their loudest complaints are triggering no end of anxiety among bien-pensant types, and causing Labour a great deal of apprehension.

    In Stoke, Merthyr, Birmingham, Manchester and even rural Shropshire, the same lines recurred: so unchanging that they threatened to turn into cliches, but all the more powerful because of their ubiquity. “I’m scared about the future” … “No one listens to us” … “If you haven’t got money, no one cares.”

    If the 1% were not reaping ALL the benefits of being in the EU, Britain would not be in the EU.

    1. William C

      You missed out the most important bit

      ‘But at the centre of where we find ourselves there is an undeniable irony, which may yet turn cold and cruel. If the revolt succeeds and Brexit wins, the party in power is likely to take a political turn that will lead us even further away from what the moment demands, while Labour will likely tumble further into division and introspection.’

      So the author excoriates others for showing contempt for the working -class but then suggests the working class may be about to do something stupid which will only make their plight worse.

      I think you perhaps misread the situation in the UK, fresno dan. Brexit is not so much a rising of the 99% but a plot by the intellectual heirs of Thatcher to detach the UK from the EU so that they can treat the 99% even worse than they have done already. It is far closer to the Tea Party and the Trump campaign than it is to Occupy Wall Street.

      You have to understand how powerful the newspaper owners, especially Murdoch, are in the UK. Others have written about arrogant governments and obseqious media in Europe. In the UK it is the other way round. The newspapers are arrogant and overmighty and the politicians obsequious. Readers have been told by the tabloids for decades that the EU is their enemy when in fact their real enemies are the newspapers they are reading.

      1. makedoanmend

        +1. Haven’t bought or read a “news”paper in 15 years. Can’t even stand to read a link to the likes of the Guardian (of waffle, piddle and constructed confusion).

  7. fresno dan

    The Disadvantages of Being Stupid Atlantic. Resilc: “Up here in vermont my escavator and lumber mill operator have more sense about most things, including government and foreign policy, than 99% of DC.” Moi: “More preening elite self-regrad, which regularly takes the form of depicting those who don’t agree with their version of conventional wisdom as stupid>”

    The best and the brightest…always self asserted.

    1. Hacker

      Did anyone actually read the whole article? I don’t see how the comments reflect the tone of the author who said:

      We must stop glorifying intelligence and treating our society as a playground for the smart minority. We should instead begin shaping our economy, our schools, even our culture with an eye to the abilities and needs of the majority, and to the full range of human capacity. The government could, for example, provide incentives to companies that resist automation, thereby preserving jobs for the less brainy.

      I wonder if the Mr Freedman has been reading Greer’s Retrotopia.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It is still elitist. The “less brainy” need to be cared for. It’s a better packaged, more caring version of elitism. The top echelon is presumed to be in charge but they must run things better, as opposed to share power.

      2. Skippy

        In Greer’s Retrotopia his caste would be running things… old boss just like the new boss thingy….

  8. abynormal

    They’re Back…”Both the number of bankruptcies and the amount of liabilities associated with them have picked up significantly, as Bloomberg points out.

    Moody’s is forecasting high default rates in sectors that are largely expected given commodity prices, such as Metals & Mining and Oil & Gas, however trouble looks to be spilling over into other sectors such as Construction, Media, Durable Consumer Goods, and even Retail.”

    “Guggenheim has one of the fastest-growing turnaround teams, with 11 senior advisers brought on in less than three years. Projects include advising satellite operator Intelsat SA, which has more than $15 billion of debt. For Lazard, the largest independent merger adviser, restructuring advisory revenue jumped 84 percent to $42.6 million in the first three months of this year from the same period last year, according to filings. Its work included negotiating turnaround plans for Vantage Drilling, an oil-and-gas company that sought bankruptcy protection in December, and Walter Energy Inc., a coal producer that filed last summer.”

    side note: Card issuers are warning that credit trends have deteriorated after years of historically low write-off rates. Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank said at a conference this month that soured loans are rising, while JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon said that credit is “going to get worse.” Revolving debt held by U.S. consumers increased to $951.5 billion at the end of April, a 5.5 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the Federal Reserve.

  9. Carolinian

    The Atlantic story on intelligence pokes you in the eye with its crude headline but is not necessarily what one might think. Here’s the author’s conclusion.

    When Michael Young, a British sociologist, coined the term meritocracy in 1958, it was in a dystopian satire. At the time, the world he imagined, in which intelligence fully determined who thrived and who languished, was understood to be predatory, pathological, far-fetched. Today, however, we’ve almost finished installing such a system, and we have embraced the idea of a meritocracy with few reservations, even treating it as virtuous. That can’t be right. Smart people should feel entitled to make the most of their gift. But they should not be permitted to reshape society so as to instate giftedness as a universal yardstick of human worth.

    It seems hard to argue with this. After all possessing an exclusive gift can be socially disabling (Bobby Fischer anyone?) and “social intelligence”–something not measured in the IQ tests–may well be a more important characteristic in our increasingly crowded world. FDR was described as “a second rate mind but a first rate personality.” These days, perhaps, he wouldn’t go far. Meanwhile our Dem candidate for president revels in “smart power” and is widely hailed by the elites. Perhaps it’s modern America itself that should be getting the Darwin Award.

    1. DJG

      Carolinian: I’m not trying to detract from your astute comment, but I also had heard of the quote about F.D. Roosevelt. The WWW attributes it to Oliver Wendell Holmes:

      “a statement by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who once described FDR as having ‘a second rate intellect, but a first rate temperament.’ ”

      I had originally thought that the line came from Winston Churchill, who was a combination of a second-rate intellect, second-rate temperament, and a lot of English stubbornness and innate conservatism.

      My point on this comment: I’d go all the way back to the Greeks–character is destiny.

      These days, especially on vehicles like Facebook, I see much instant revelation of character. And it isn’t pretty.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes I shouldn’t have made it an exact quote. The meaning is the same.

        As for the Greeks, character is rather amorphous. Personally I’d say experience is destiny. Our modern meritocracy tends to perpetuate a middle class that knows far too little about the rest of the country and is focused only on succeeding within their peer group. Obviously we badly need intelligent people with specialized skills. The question is whether they should be running the show in government, business.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Holmes probably considered himself and maybe Einstein first rate. I doubt Holmes would engage in the hyperbole around an Obama and his 853rd dimensions of chess. Holmes would likely point put Axelrod butchered the metaphor and decided it sounded smart because Spock played 3 dimensional show in the 1960’s and consistently made wrong choices or pulled deus ex machina plans out of his ears.

        I believe he was responding to calls for him to challenge Roosevelt for the White House.

      3. Skippy

        The ability to quantify – giftedness – by those self awarded style…. is the conundrum…

        Disheveled Marsupial…. our last PM was a Rhodes Scholar with middling grades… but… swaggered like he was born [picked to rule]… even after the night of long knifes is still about his rightful place..

    2. pretzelattack

      i’m not sure it was his gift that disabled fischer, he had an odd upbringing, and imo was somewhere on the autistic spectrum. plus he may have just been naturally a jerk, hard to separate that out.

    3. DJG

      Further, and more directly, the article is a good source of data, but the data are hidden among snarky assertions and what seems like diversions. The article’s title would be better as The Disadvantages of Living in a Time When Intelligence Is Only Verbal. I recall, growing up in the Minoan Era, that my parents (working class) expected book smarts. But they also stressed emotional intelligence, which is a complicated way of dealing with the world and its expectations (and prejudices). My mother was definitely the teacher of emotional intelligence–gesture, listening, perception, etiquette, good handwriting ( ! ). And before heading off to the University of Knossos, I spent some summers changing light bulbs at a hospital, rather than interning at Conde Nast.

      We now are in a time in which everyone is highly verbal–or seems to be. The high schools have eliminated shop and home ec as, like, totally sexist–even though students should have tactile and kinesthetic learning. Advanced Placement is all the rage–talk about teaching to the test. And this ability to be verbal on command mainly serves the authoritarian atmosphere of the U.S. office. One doesn’t have to be R.D. Laing to see how this excess stress on verbal learning may lead to some problems.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Shop and home ec, like civics and music and art, have had to be eliminated from most school curricula because the school’s survival is based on the results of increasingly onerous high-stakes standardized testing that focuses almost exclusively on math and language arts. And, to enhance the rapid elimination of public education so the function can be handed over to private operators, those tests are increasingly designed to ensure failure.

        As charter schools run by hedge-fund managers or financed by Bill Gates, the Waltons, and others of the plutocracy increase school segregation while cherry-picking which children of color are educated, often in a “no excuses” atmosphere that’s nothing but cultist boot-camp brainwashing, the only kids who even have an opportunity to learn critical thinking skills are the ones belonging to the elites or who are lucky enough to reside in a district where the elites outnumber the poor.

        We’ve had more than 30 years of “education reform,” and if the generations who’ve grown up during that time lack understanding of how government and economics and all the other polluted agencies work compared to how they should work, it’s our fault for embracing the idea politicians and business people with no background in education know how to run schools better than educators. Fortunately, it’s not too late to fix it, but it means getting involved at the local level and fighting all the way up to the USDOE.

        1. DJG

          EB: Agreed. I happen to live in the Illinois senatorial district of Heather “Me Loves Charters” Steans, who sponsored legislation allowing them across the state. She’s in it up to her eyeballs–with relatives in the game. And she was running as a delegate for Hillary Clinton in our March primary. I didn’t vote for her. I don’t know if she won, but my point is that she is typical of the caliber of HRC delegates.

          Breaking glass ceilings to make sure everyone is a hog at the trough, to mix metaphors.

    4. Take the Fork

      What was the demographic distribution of the 80 million Americans with an IQ of 90 or below?


      I am afraid that there is a genetic component to this… it is a can of worms for our ruling mythology about equality.

      1. James Levy

        Stephen Jay Gould related an interesting story. When WWI came to these shores the US Army did a load of IQ testing to check out its new recruits. Turned out that blacks in Harlem scored higher than Jews from the Lower East Side. How could this be? We all “know” that Jews are smarter than blacks. Well, it turned out that Harlem residents had on average higher incomes, higher educational attainment, and a much better grasp of American English than transplanted shtetl Jews from Minsk a Pinsk. So guess what? This manifested itself as higher IQ’s.

        In other words, it’s the yardstick that’s the problem, not the people.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          The cultural bias of any and all standardized tests is a known quantity. That it doesn’t prevent them from being used to determine who deserves what is a testimony to our desire to be able to categorize people and put them in their places.

        2. Enquiring Mind

          The WWI Army IQ testing may have some alternative interpretation, based on what Solzhenitsyn said in 200 Years about the shtetler lack of participation in home country armies. If they dodged the Czar, they’d likely dodge the rest, too. As you note, there is likely a language component, but that isn’t the whole story.

          1. jrs

            Oh no kidding on that one. The eastern European Jews had probably fled conscription when making their way to the U.S. Ask anyone who has that ancestry and they probably have the story of their ancestors fleeing being conscripted in the Czars army. More common than Irish fleeing the famine. Why flee the Czar to get drafted in another pointless war in anyway.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In the film, Gangs of New York, people of that city just rioted to avoid being drafted in a not-so-pointless war.

              1. craazyboy

                Meanwhile, the starving Irish were waved thru Ellis Island straight to the Army recruiting bench. Jobs!

          2. James Levy

            Nice try, but the conscripts were already conscripted so the testing would not and did not get them off.

            Alas, although Solzhenitsyn did the world a great service with the Gulag Archipelago, he became over time a classic Russian right-wing nutter and anti-Semite. The implication that Jews are cowards is pretty old and worn. And the idea that they were “faking it”, well, I can’t tell if that is a bigger insult to Jews or Blacks (are you implying that Jews are all chicken shits or that Black people just can’t possibly be smart?).

    5. jrs

      Political opinions are often misinformed. All opinions are not equal, some opinions are misinformed period (but you have to determine that’s actually what is going on rather than a true values difference). But that’s not the equivalent of stupid. One needs both free time and odd interests to actually be that interested in politics.

      Conventional intelligence may be glorified and there are some careers it alone might be used to your advantage (become a quaint), but it’s the exception and I’d suggest anyone who thinks it’s the only thing that determines success in most jobs, is cluelessly naive, to the point I’d wonder how many jobs they’ve even held frankly.

      I think maybe it sounds nicer to say “smart people get far in the world” like it sounds nice to say “hard working people get far in the world”. The truth is much messier (those that inherit can get far, those without a moral compass can get far, those really good at manipulating people can get far, those who project a lot of confidence can get far, those with good looks can get far etc..)

    6. zapster

      ‘Cept current job market clearly demonstrates that “merit” has little to do with success…

  10. nycTerrierist

    re: Yulin. Hell on earth: the ‘dog meat festival’. Started in the ’90s as a ‘tourist attraction’ for ‘good luck’.
    Mass torture and public slaughter of dogs including stolen pets. Chinese govt. responds to world-wide outcry, by silently condoning rather than promoting this horror show. Still deplorable. Shame on Yulin.

    “Michael Tien Puk Sun, the representative of the National People Congress from Hong Kong, told the press that the Yulin government has promised that there will no public slaughtering of dogs. However, they won’t stop people from consuming dog meat in private.

    Animal rights activists from Guangxi have confirmed that thus far there are no street banners about the festival in Yuli. However, they still have doubts regarding the government’s sincerity about enforcing the law, whether the decision to stop the festival is way to wash their hands of a “spontaneous” local cultural event. Some are worried too that the intense scrutiny of the festival could backfire as more people get to know about Yulin and travel there for dog meat.”

    1. Dave

      The poor dogs are tortured to pump more adrenalin into their meat that makes it tastier. The same kind of Asian omnivorous feed greed mentality is endangering the California abalone and other endangered species worldwide. In a country where human life is worth little, animals are valueless, except as a commodity.

      Practicing turnabout as fair play, I have thought of a great way to save endangered rare animals.

      Grind up the genitals of captured 100 year old Confucian scholars and add it to the endangered animals feed.

  11. EndOfTheWorld

    Re: The Yulin Dog Meat festival in China. People have been traditionally eating dog meat for centuries. Not sure it’s anybody’s business whether the Chinese continue to eat dog or not. You’re saying it’s more humane to just exterminate the excess animals and waste the meat? Why?

    1. nycTerrierist

      Don’t speak for me. Who mentioned ‘exterminat(ing) the excess animals’?

      Sentient being: a creature that can suffer and feel pain, mostly humans and animals.

      Sentient beings are more than ‘meat’.

      Maybe try to have a little compassion for others.

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      EndOfTheWorld, I read your heartless comment with one of my two rescue dogs sitting on my lap. I’ll just leave it at that as I don’t want to violate the TOS.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        I’ve lived in Asia. Remember poor people don’t have money to get all their dogs fixed, like the Americans. The result is too many dogs. They either eat them or poison them, to thin out the herd. The US system costs a lot of money, for spaying/neutering, then catching strays, then sheltering strays, then eventually killing a lot of them anyway. I’m not heartless—I love dogs. But they are animals. Americans tend to try to turn them into persons, with hats, sunglasses, etc. They’ve been used as food for untold centuries, particularly some breeds, like the chow.

        1. aletheia33

          yes dogs as pets are a luxury of the relatively affluent.

          but torture and “execution” of any form of life for entertainment?

          OTOH, dropping bombs on faraway civilians may be a sign that we need more public executions at home to channel our unconscious murderous rage more safely. not a popular thought, but i’ve always been intrigued by the theory that too much repression of human rage in “civilization” plays out in the terrible mass violences of the 20th-21st centuries.

          1. Steve C

            Dogs’ relationship with humans is so complicated we’ve barely scratched the surface, and the modern American experience of that relationship is peculiar to this time and place. Other countries have different relationships with dogs, including as livestock. Why is it ok to eat a cow cut up into pieces, shrink-wrapped and put into a supermarket case, but not a dog?

            But animals–dogs, cows, chickens, whatever–have a right to humane treatment, IMHO, meaning no torture. Goes for humans, too.

            1. nycTerrierist

              “But animals–dogs, cows, chickens, whatever–have a right to humane treatment, IMHO, meaning no torture. Goes for humans, too.”


            2. yasha

              “In fact, the Hawaiians were at a complete loss to explain the really inexplicable attitudes about dogs and pigs of the early British and American explorers and exploiters who visited their islands. The Hawaiians raised both species and kept them both as pets, Hawaiian women even suckling their young — and they also ate both species. Why these strangers should consider the dog as only suitable to be a pet and the pig as only suitable for food completely escaped and baffled them — as, of course, it should any rational man.”
              — Calvin W. Schwabe, Unmentionable Cuisine

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Do people still keep pet rocks?

                Should rocks be pulverized to provide infrastructure jobs?

                How can some rocks be pets, and some destined to be vaporized?

        2. nippersmom

          Aside from my aversion to eating dogs in general (I view it as one short step from cannibalism), these dogs are not just killed the way livestock are killed. The are deliberately and sytematically tortured; there are some who believe the pain and fear experienced by the animals enhances the value of the meat. Many are skinned or boiled alive. And, as stated elsewhere, these are not all “superfluous” animals. Family pets are routinely stolen for the dog-meat trade. I find this abhorrent, just as I find inhumane factory farming in this country abhorrent. And I question the capacity for empathy and compassion of those who just shrug and say it’s no big deal.

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            I didn’t know they were tortured. Sorry, I thought it was just more of a culinary festival. No, I agree torturing animals is a bad thing.

            1. perpetualWAR

              And stolen. Right now on Instagram there’s a video showing the theft of a pet that literally made me vomit.

            2. nycTerrierist

              You will find a quick google of this gruesome and cruel torture ‘festival’ informative.

          2. LMS

            I’m a fellow dog mom. I’ve read the same about the torture of the dogs prior to consumption; this is cruel. I personally cannot bring myself to eat animal flesh from any species and think no animal should suffer, but I do think there is something special about the dog. Although genetically similar enough to a wolf for interbreeding (thus the same species by definition), dogs have co-evolved with humans such that there is a biological basis for social bonding between us. For example, studies show the production of oxytocin, a hormone involved in bonding (as between a mother and newborn), in both dogs and humans when we gaze at one another: That oxytocin release was not found with hand-raised wolves and their owners. There are other animals that are intelligent and have complex social relationships within their species, but dogs have co-evolved with us, so the affection we share and the level of communication we achieve between species is extraordinary. The thought of torturing and eating dog is just awful.

    3. cm

      This is an exercise to see how supporting we really are of “diversity.”

      Please recall Lewis & Clark’s preference for dog meat.

  12. L

    File this under Big Brother and Wishful thinking.

    Yesterday John Brennan appeared before a senate committee including Ron Wyden and told them that non-american encryption is “theoretical”. In his view the rest of the world has no useful encryption products and would have no choice but to buy ours. Therefore any mandate for a backdoor will not hurt American companies.

    Ludocris as this sounds it makes two things readily apparent:

    First, Brennan and others do view the mandated backdoors as a way of spying on the world. If, after all, the rest of the world has no choice but to use our products then a backdoor for the U.S. is a hole in everything they do.

    Second, Brennan is wholly out of touch with the world, or at least believes that the Senators are. In either case that presents a disturbing picture of the level of information and expertise in our government.

    Senator Wyden, who was on the committee, called him on it but stopped short of the language that I think most of us would have used under those circumstances.

    See the article at The Register

  13. Amateur Socialist

    A truly bizarre story from Austin where police finally have a suspect in custody after months of rock throwing incidents where someone was throwing large rocks from the window of a vehicle at oncoming traffic in a heavily used section of I-35 downtown.

    It turns out the guy was actually into contacting the victims, showing concern for them and even calling 911 to report the crimes.

    He also had some kind of long held public grudge against towing companies, appearing multiple times to complain about them at city council sessions. There appear to have also been some copycats involved with other incidents.

    1. pretzelattack

      glad i didn’t know about this last week, when i was in austin. reminds me of that nurse that provoked a health crisis in her patients so she could deal with it.

      1. Amateur Socialist

        Yeah it got pretty scary for awhile. The police were even restricting traffic at night to try to control it (which caused massively unpopular backups, it’s a very heavily used conduit).

        It occurred to me on my walk with the husband this morning that there is a kind of resonance with the candidacy of a certain high profile politician who managed to promote massive arms sales into one of the world’s most volatile regions. All in the name of promoting “stability”. So it goes.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Is there a category for “random mutual asymmetric vulnerability”? Maybe us mopes could come up with an Index of Vulnerability” of some sort, something a little more mathematical and scientific than the Doomsday Clock posted by the “members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who are in turn advised by the Governing Board and the Board of Sponsors, including 18 Nobel Laureates. The closer they set the Clock to midnight, the closer the scientists believe the world is to global disaster.”

      Humans throw rocks from cars, drop cinder blocks from overpasses, lay logs across rail tracks, shoot guns that let “stray bullets” off their leashes, drive drunk, carelessly or deliberately ignite enormous fires, SWAT the wrong house, don’t wash their hands after defecating and before returning to work, engage in the full range of FIRE behaviors that are so well documented (usually seriatim and often with tenuous contextual connection to a common thread, spy on each other through windows and Windows and every whichother way, sneeze and cough without covering their orifices, steal from each other in every way imaginable, gin up all kinds of “tech” like CRISPR and nanodevices and autonomous war machines, did I mention nuclear weapons which are sort of asymmetric if suicidal, jigger “the law” so consequences that ought to apply in smaller human contexts just DON’T to the few, and of course we love our snipers who can pink-mist a Hajji from miles away and drones are so cool. And everywhere we ordinary people, most of us, go about trashing our environment, crapping in our own nests, ignorant or unconcerned, and self-serving…

      Seems to me that the asymmetric vulnerability is going asymptotic — especially unbalanced as between ordinary people and the Credentialed Classes including the shits that work for DARPA and NSA and contract to provide ever more lethal and compendiously deadly toys and tools. Us mopes get all exercised about some idiot throwing rocks, more so about “random shooters” who plink at cars and their occupants from ‘sniper hides’ in range of roadways.

      Too bad we mopes don’t get more exercised about the other stuff that is killing us — but then the aphids on the milkweed plants don’t get exercised about the ants that take their nectar, and eat them when said ants get a little peckish…

      My personal analog perception of an index notation on a straight 1 to 10 scale (non-log) is that “we” are at about 8.6, balancing the consequence-free and opaque and obscure and impunity-protected hazards and plagues against the exposure, naked and afraid, of those of us who cannot act to protect and defend and get retribution and restitution…

      1. Amateur Socialist

        Yeah I read stories like this one and think about the movie “Fight Club”. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. But not always.

  14. abynormal

    ‘Their’ litter box is Shrinking…Home Depot Sues Credit Card Corps
    “…the true purpose for Defendants’ joint efforts to favor chip-and-signature in the United States over chip-and-PIN is to protect Visa’s and MasterCard’s inflated profits that are tied to cards using the faulty signature technology,” argues Home Depot. “In short, signature processing permeates the United States market because Visa and MasterCard profit from this well-documented instrument of fraud.”

    This is the second recent lawsuit filed by a major retailer over chip-and-PIN cards. Last month, Walmart made similar allegations against Visa.

    In a statement to the AP, MasterCard defends the awesomeness of the “chip” part of chip-and-PIN without addressing its shortcomings, or the allegations of collusion.

    “Regardless of how the cardholder’s identity is confirmed, the chip makes data much more secure, rendering it almost useless to create fraudulent cards or transactions,” a MasterCard rep explains.

    In a subsequent statement to the Consumerist, that same rep clarified that MasterCard has “a separate business and a distinct approach” to Visa.”

  15. rich

    Austerity Kills! Bank of Greece reports “Greek’s health deteriorating, life expectancy shrinks”

    The economic crisis and the strict austerity bound to the Greek bailout agreement kills. They kill Greeks. The Bank of Greece may not write it in such a melodramatic way on its Monetary Policy Report 2015-2016. However, the conclusions in the chapter about “Reforms in health, economic crisis and impact on the health of population” are shocking and confirm what we have been hearing and reading around from relatives and friends in the last years: that the physical and mental health of Greeks has been deteriorating – partly due to economic insecurity, high unemployment, job insecurity, income decrease and constant exposure to stress. Partly also due to economic problems that have patients cut their treatment, partly due to the incredible cuts and shortages in the public health system.

    The Report notes that “while it takes longer to record the exact effect, trends show a deterioration of the health of Greeks in the years of loan agreements and austerity cuts.”

    The BoG states:

    – Suicides increased. “The risk of suicidal behavior increases when there are so-called primary risk factors (psychiatric-medical conditions), while the secondary factors (economic situation) and tertiary factors (age, gender) affects the risk of suicide, but only if primary risk factors pre-exist.

    – Infant mortality increased by nearly 50%, mainly due to increase of deaths of infants younger than one year, and the decline of births by 22,1%. Infant mortality increase: 2.65% in 2008 and 3.75% in 2014

    – Increase of parts of population with mental illness, especially with depression. Increase: 3.,3% in 2008 to 6.8% in 2009, to 8.2% in 2011 and to 12.3% in 2013. In 2014, a 4.7% of the population above 15 years old declared it suffered form depression – that was 2.6% in 2009.

    -Increase of chronic diseases increased by approximately 24%.

    The BoG notes that “the large cuts in public expenditure have not been accompanied by changes and improvement of the health system in order to limit the consequences for the weakest citizens and vulnerable groups of the society.”

    I wonder which kills more….guns or austerity?

  16. Jim A.

    My hope is that preventing gun sales to those on the no fly/watch lists will force the government to add some checks and balances to that list.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      Totalitarianism means never having to say you’re sorry.

    2. apber

      The only thing the govt will add are all the names of all those who criticize politicians and/or policy. We are so, so close to Orwell.

    3. cassandra

      a) There are widespread proposals to strengthen gun control by reinforcing background checks, refusing gun licenses to terrorists, and/or banning assault rifles.

      b) However, Mateen worked for G4S (see linked Vice article), was presumably given a security pass by the company, and had special gun purchase privileges. Presumably, he passed some kind of clearance process for this purpose. Furthermore, the FBI actually interviewed him, and he passed that as well.

      I feel like I have 2 heads: does no one else notice the fact that (a) fails to address the failures in (b), or that someone in class (b) is likely to be practically immune from the restrictions of (a)?

      Why is no one addressing how Mateen was placed in the exceptional position that granted him the privileges to arm himself? Why is no one noticing that the French Islamic shootings occurred in a country where guns are totally banned?

      The conclusion should be that terrorist screening processes must be improved. How? Well, one place to start might be to consider procedures followed by DHS. Perhaps we should discuss whistleblower Philip Haney’s politically incorrect claim that the mosques attended by Mateen and the San Bernardino shooters were both associated with Islamist organisations considered by him to be extreme:
      But such discussions are prima facie islamophobic, so (a) is all that’s permitted by process of elimination.

      1. polecat

        What does that say about pols of the likes of Diane Feinstein, or John McCain, neither of which bring up the fact of Manteen’s employment w/ the Security State……. to which THEY are big advocates thereof…..!!

  17. hemeantwell

    McCain: Obama ‘directly responsible’ for Orlando shooting SFGate (furzy). Lambert wonders if this remark is proof that McCain is losing it.

    Stated with some qualifiers, the argument — a version of blowback — can be made. Here’s an example that plays off Trump’s recent yammering:

    Lest you think I’m rushing to McCain’s defense, it’s more interesting as a case of how a serious argument is vulgarized by adding the spice of conspiracy >>> it’s trashed >>> the perps escape under cover of coordinated derision by coastal Democons.

  18. MsExPat

    You can find dog meat restaurants at many places in Guangdong, including just across the border from Hong Kong in Taisan. It’s no big deal in China, really. The festival in Yulin is very suspect to me because dog meat is a “warming” food, eaten for medicinal and health reasons in wintertime. As with snake, it is not consumed in the heat of summer, because it would make you sick. As with most “exotic ” Chinese foods, dog is the subject of Orientalist fascination; American visitors who watch the extreme food shows on Travel Channel are desperate to taste it, while gluten free vegans are appalled. I’m somewhere in between–I understand well the cultural and medicinal reasons for eating unusual foods but am not particularly interested in eating dog. Fwiw, dog meat does not come from pet animals but from a specific wolf like breed raised only for its meat.

    1. Tom_Doak

      I’ve seen open flatbed trucks in Hainan province with cages of dogs stacked upon cages, too short for the dogs to even stand up. They were all the same breed, so I assume that most of them are bred for consumption.

      1. nycTerrierist

        whether they are ‘bred for consumption’ is no excuse for extreme confinement, then slaughter.

        horrible for any living being. and yes, the west does the same (factory farms).

    2. c.heale

      In Korea, dog is eaten in the Summer, especially on three dog days, which are three hot days.

  19. flora

    re: “Healthcare company announces plans to leave Kansas, eviscerates Gov. Sam Brownback in open letter”

    Thanks for the link. The story’s link to the original at bottom is well worth a read, too. It’s a good summary. The reality is even worse. But, the Koch backed GOP candidates (Brownback, et al) didn’t do this entirely on their own. Per Bernie’s video remarks that the Dem party abandoned many states, imo they haven’t just abandoned states, but actively try to scuttle any good state dem candidates for statewide or national office in said abandoned states.

    Kansas had a very good dem candidate for gov in 2014 running against Brownback,and the polls showed he was in position to win. Brownback is widely despised in Kansas. If the dem candidate had won I think the tax breaks, school vouchers and other privitization efforts would have halted. Probably a rollback effort would have begun. Enter the national dem party advisors to the state dem party. The GOP started attacking Brownback’s dem challenger and… acting on advice from nat. committee the dem challenger offered no response, until it was far too late. State dem outreach co-ordinator posted offensive comments on his facebook page about residents of towns he’d visited to ask for their votes. Yeah, way to sway the voters. And even with such abysmal “help” the election was close. A few years earlier a Kansas dem candidate for US House ran with the “help” of the dem national committee and lost big time. 2 years later same candidate ran and pointedly rejected all “help” from the dem national committee. The candidate won.

    It is as awful (and getting worse) in Kansas as the story says. I think anyone in a dem “abandoned” state who wants to run as a dem candidate for US or statewide office would do well to ignore any national dem party “help” or “advice”. State dem parties that want to win will ignore nat. dem committee advice. With “friends” like the dem national committee you can’t blame all the losses on the GOP alone. This looks like a year some of the worst KS GOP ALEC state pols will be defeated, if the Dem candidates and state party ignore the national party.
    Adding: the way Obama took on voter suppression in Wisc and Kansas and other “abandoned” states was truly inspiring – not.

    1. abynormal

      Jun 1, 2016 Topeka, KS AP: The Department of Revenue reported Wednesday that the state collected $469.5 million in taxes in May, when the official projection was $544 million. The shortfall was 13.7 percent.

      The state missed its projections for individual and corporate income tax collections in May by wide margins.

      The department blamed slumps in agriculture, energy production and aircraft manufacturing. (yeah well it would seem the corporate tax cuts didn’t help either…blowback)

      Atlanta is due to see health premiums rise 64% in 2017…cheaper to die quickly!

      1. inode_buddha

        Stolen from somebody else’s slashdot comment today:

        “Another person who thinks taxes are the government “taking” your money. It’s an exchange – in return, you get roads, security, stability, infrastructure, many public services, and a range of safety nets if/when you are no longer able to earn money.

        And yes, you have a choice. You’re free to opt out of this social contract at any time, by leaving the country. (Also by making your income low enough to avoid taxes, or high enough to avoid taxes.)”

        I’ve wondered for the longest when states like Kansas are finally going to get disgusted enough to toss out the upper class. *cough*Kochs*cough*

    2. curlydan

      Also pointing to why Sanders won 67% of the caucus “vote” in KS. People are sick of the ineptitude shown by KS’s state Democratic party. I think I’ve shared this link before, but it speaks to the weak-kneed capitulation present in the state party hierarchy.

      From August 2015: “Instead of referring to the statewide party as the staid Kansas Democratic Party, they may start calling themselves Red State Democrats…. ‘It’s a statement of predicament,’ Meeker tells The Pitch. ‘We’d like to be blue or purple, but it’s a statement about our conservatism. We’re fiscally conservative.'” Wrong, 67% of the people you lead just voted for a Democratic Socialist.

        1. James Levy

          Part right, but I fear it’s worse: money for infrastructure useful to me, no money for people I don’t like (usually Blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants who aren’t Sikh doctors or Israeli “businessmen”). In other words, lots of rank hypocrisy. The blind spot here is, as you say, working White people, because the media and cultural bias is that such people cannot possibly be poor or need social aid. I mean, if you work and you are White, America is supposed to be the land of milk and honey!

          One of the ugly things that holds us back is the refusal to admit that most poor people are white and they really need help. Instead, they get nasty nativism from the Right and stupid bigotry from the Left (and moral lectures from both).

    3. Steve in Flyover

      The “open letter” is easy to ignore, because it comes from a government is the only customer company that is losing funding from the state budget cuts.

      In the meantime, what are you hearing from the CEOs of the state’s biggest employers?


      1. Rhondda

        Got a link for your assertion that “government” (presumably Kansas) is Pathfinder’s only customer? I am familiar with their company as I work in this area. Pathfinder is successful and has been growing by leaps and bounds. I have shared the blogpost with several work-friends. Not seeing a “meh, easy to ignore” response from my peeps. Rather, lot of folks steamed and saying something more like “Hell, yeah and good on him for speaking public truth to power.”

        1. Steve in Flyover

          See the Kansas City Star article

          “Through his business, Blackwood saw the effects of Kansas budget cuts on those clients…..”

          My cynical view is that he’s bitching because his customers are getting their budgets cut by the state. Which ultimately means less business for him.

          Not saying that it isn’t his right to bitch. I happen to agree with him that Brownback is a effing disaster.

          But as noted, have you heard anyone from Cerner (for example) bitching about Kansas taxes/budget cuts? Nope.

        2. Steve in Flyover

          Try it again….

          “Through his business, Blackwood saw the effects of Kansas funding cuts on those clients…..”

          Which (to me) translates into: He lost sales, because his clients had their budgets cut by Kansas.

          But then, I’m an old cynic.

          1. Rhondda

            Appreciate your response, however I will point out that Cerner is located in North Kansas City, Missouri.

    4. Christ on a bike

      Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy berned it up, so to speak, 10 years ago. Democrats piggybacked off of it to score the big 2008 victory – then went back to sleep. (Case in point, Brownback’s demoralizing reelection.) I’m disappointed Sanders opts to stay with the Dems, but his focus on down-ticket local elections is welcome.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The 50 state strategy was possible because the Clintons and their brand of centrism were off the scene. You can throw money at organizers and lists until the cows come home, but very few except die hard Democrats who are too die hard to be effective volunteers (lacking a moral center doesn’t help convince people to support a candidate) will be motivated to help. People will fight for ideas not overlords.

        Virginia doesn’t have a state wide election this year, but the Democrats seem dead even by their standards.

      2. neo-realist

        Sanders ought to be pushing for a new DNC leader that will initiate a similar 50 state strategy to take back congress–seeking out strong economic populist and or progressive candidates to run in the states; It would be done with a goal of remaking the Democratic Party into an entirely new populist brand, which may be easier than trying to establish a brand new 3rd party and selling it to main street.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It needs to be stand alone. The DNC can be controlled by a Democratic President. Obama crushed the 50 state strategy for fear the little people might make demands. Do you remember how uncouth Lt Dan Choi was when he protested the President’s position on DADT. He embarrassed Obama. Imagine if there was an organization dedicated to pushing policy which couldn’t be controlled by an Obama.

          We do need creative destruction periodically. A new organization can be captured, but not right away.

      3. Steve in Flyover

        There are a bunch of people in Kansas who think Brownback is AOK.

        As long as he can make the rural church-goers happy on “cultural” issues, and the Johnson County Republicans taxes low, he’ll have plenty of supporters.

        Like the school funding formula. All the school districts are complaining, but not for the same reason.

        Everybody except Johnson County is bitching about draconian cuts. No money to educate the kids of the immigrants in Garden City and Wichita, or to keep the high school with 35 total students open out in Western Kansas.

        Johnson County is bitching because Johnson County taxes won’t be spent locally, but will fund schools in the rest of the state.

    5. Elizabeth Burton

      Just take as a given the DNC, and by extension the state parties, will refuse to support any progressive candidate. We had one in Texas running against John Cornyn in ’14. The public excuse is that Cornyn’s too firmly seated, and that tends to be the favorite excuse for not even attempting to run a candidate in solid red districts. Which, given the kind of corporate New Democrat they’d choose thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, since they then give the voters six of one against half a dozen of the other.

      And when the candidates they do run lose to those same Republicans, they’re excuse is that the Democratic voters don’t do their duty. So, it’s never their fault, you see. I think the psychiatric definition for that is “narcissism.”

    6. different clue

      Perhaps this is where a Sanders movement can be useful . . . in supporting local liberadical Democrats in defiance of Inner Party Democrat wishes.

  20. human

    American nuclear testing remains an unmistakable piece of the national psyche, and officials continue to fight for global nuclear disarmament. In March, the nation sued the UK, India, and Pakistan in a largely symbolic attempt to pressure them to dismantle their nuclear arsenals.

    Business Insider should learn how to use snark tags …

  21. allan

    “US diplomats urge strikes on Syria regime ”

    CNN’s article on this says

    CNN reviewed a draft of the memo, which has since been classified. [how convenient] …
    President Barack Obama has resisted wading deeper into the Syria conflict, but officials familiar with the memo said the State Department officials could be trying to force a policy debate in the upcoming elections. Hillary Clinton has promised a tougher policy toward Assad, while Donald Trump has promised to get tough on ISIS but would work with Russia.

    Clinton stay behinds at State coordinating with the campaign (which includes the writers and editors at the NYT)? Nah, couldn’t be.

    1. craazyboy

      Plus it sounds like such a good idea. Gotta be a winner with the voters by now. Everyone is shock and awe deprived, I’m sure, and what better way to change these regimes so we can go in and do some nation building. Plus it’s good for the economy and infrastructure, being a link between those things, ya know. .

    2. Rhondda

      Clinton stay-behinds? GWB/Cheney “tunnelers”? Declassify now! The American people deserve to see the list of names of State Dept employees that serve Israeli interests. No doubt Victoria Nuland’s name leads the list. These neocons must be purged from our government, imo. Dissenters my ass. These people are traitors and probably all of them are war criminals for their involvement in the intentional destabilization and destruction of Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc.

      1. Enquiring Mind

        The stay-behinds are the new improved version of Operation Gladio. There is a permanent cadre of government employees that provides the, ahem, continuity of policy.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Once upon a time, moles in the State Dept were outed by Congressional investigations.

        No more, as Congress now is on the same payroll they are.

        1. craazyboy

          I think once upon a time we referred to the State Dept. as “Foggy Bottom”. Then some people convinced us we needed to be more sophisticated in our foreign policy.

  22. rich

    Clinton’s Progressive Beacon Is a Former Goldman Sachs Banker and Bob Rubin Protégé

    “Gary Gensler still has not learned the lessons of the late ’90s and of deregulating Wall Street.”
    ‘More Mission for the Money’

    Since he joined the campaign in April 2015, Gensler, 58, has been advising Clinton not just on financial policy but on trade and taxes. With his help, she’s focused in on the so-called shadow banking system—non-bank entities that behave like banks but do not face the same regulations—as a key area in need of more rules. He’s also resisted activist pressure to support a 21st-century Glass-Steagall Act.

    His official post, which he requested, is chief financial officer. At Clinton headquarters, signs hang above each department, briefly distilling what each does.

    He’s with her and she’s with them….

  23. Brian

    I would like to pose a question regarding voting.
    Why are you, me, them; stupid enough to believe voting for someone in the 1% is going to benefit you me or them?
    If we could get past this simple idiot test, we might…….

    1. flora

      Wealth index is not the entire proxy for character. Someone may be in the 1% and only care about furthering the 1%’s wealth and control. Someone may be in the 1% and care about fostering the health of the larger community. (see T.R. Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy, etc.) Someone may be in the 50% and only be interested in furthering the wealth and control of the 1% as a way to suck up to the 1% in hopes of getting favorable revolving-door treatment when leaving office. etc.

      Shorter: it’s not the candidate’s wealth bracket I’m most interested in, but what they say they’ll do and their record suggests they’ll do once in office. After listening to BillC and Obama say they’d work for all of us then turn around and do the opposite words not aren’t enough to convince me. I’m looking at the record.

      1. hunkerdown

        Except that “character” is bullshit as far as policy outcomes. Interests are what matter in practice, and the privileged can’t be trusted with them, at all, ever.

        This ritual fealty nonsense needs to be dispensed with, IF we are actually looking for competent administration instead of daddy. Until our “professional citizens” are our at-will employees and subordinate to us rather than the other way around, they’ll have their hands in OUR till until the end of their scheduled shift and there’s nothing we can do about it.

        1. flora

          I dunno. I like to think Bernie wouldn’t sell out. His track record suggests he wouldn’t sell out.

    2. Tom_Doak

      The Clintons weren’t in the 1% when they first got to D.C. Only soon after they left.

  24. Optimader

    mpensated for by requiring flat roofs (like on apartment buildings) and roads to have titanium oxide on their surface, and recommended a lower cost white substance for third world countries.

    That would be titanium dioxide (TiO2).. The sstochiometric form–fully oxidized. Pretty amazing range of Why not? The foyer light and ding room lights are nickel arent they?

    The ubiquitous pigment in white paint.
    As a bulk powder it has very low emissivity(reflects “heat”) and a very high refractive index. vapor deposited, it is used to coat lenses for plorization, filtering and other advantagous effects. On plate glass, imparts a hydrophobic hard surface the is marketed as self-cleaning glass. Coated on metal surfaces like drill bits as a “hard”coating that resists galling. My trusty ol Tac hockey skates are coated with it.

    when percipitated as platelets ( like little fish scale) it is a paint additive that imparts apearlrcent quality.

    Tbat garish “gold” trim on cars? TiO2

    1. Jim Haygood

      Coated on metal surfaces like drill bits as a “hard” coating that resists galling.

      That would be Titanium Nitride (TiN).

      Mr. McGuire: I want to say three words to you. Just three words.
      Benjamin: Yes, sir.
      Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
      Benjamin: Yes, I am.
      Mr. McGuire: Chemical vapor deposition.

      1. optimader

        Ah yes. you are absolutely right Jim, TIN.. is gold.. Been a few years since messing TiO2..
        Was involved in process for pearlescent intermediates.. Way before that Albany Titanium, a spin off from Arco had a process that was an end run from rutile directly for Ti sponge ( big Pentagon push for submarine hull plate) ended up being too much of a process challenge.. TiO2 has a pretty amazing breath of potential material properties..

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      For once I should trust my memory. I had written titanium dioxide, then wondered, and looked up titanium oxide which is used to make white pigments and so is also very reflective. Didn’t re-check titanium dioxide. The perils of 6 AM writing.

      1. low integer

        Titanium dioxide sits in the more general group of Titanium oxides, so neither is really incorrect.

        1. low integer

          Hmmm lost my chance to edit.
          Second try: Titanium dioxide sits in the more general group of titanium oxides, so referring to titanium dioxide as a titanium oxide is not incorrect.

  25. Jim Haygood

    Searching for clues at the scene of the crime:

    Trading in five of the most popular securities linked to moves in the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index surged to more than 4 percent of total U.S. stock volume in the last four days, a level that before this week had never been reached.

    Monday the VIX surged more than 20 percent. It was only the fourth time in 30 years that’s happened on a day when the S&P 500 Index fell less than 1 percent.

    Trading in the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN, known as VXX, the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures, called UVXY, and three other volatility ETPs hit a record 470 million on Tuesday. Almost 370 million shares changed hands on Thursday, or 5 percent of the overall market volume.

    VIX is calculated from the implied volatility on S&P 500 options. If investors flock into puts for downside protection, their implied volatility goes up, and so does VIX.

    Volatility ETNs are a different animal, keying off the VIX futures, which have been a big hit for the CBOE since their introduction in 2004. These ETNs can serve as a hedge against falling stock prices (a proxy for puts), or a leveraged long bet (a proxy for calls), without owning options. Options expire; volatility ETNs don’t.

    What’s the volume surge mean? Evidently, there’s a lot of fear out there. Whether it’s a contrarian buy signal (my instinctive reaction) remains to be seen.

    1. oho

      “What’s the volume surge mean?”

      think of VIX/VXX as insurance.

      Lots of people are buying an insurance cuz they see dark skies.

      Will a tornado land? No one knows and is a liar or fool for saying with absolute certainty otherwise (whether pessimistic or optimistic).

      1. Jim Haygood

        After the tornado passes over, punters switch into XIV, an inverse VIX fund.

        It makes tons of money exploiting chronic VIX futures contango … except when tornadoes blow through town.

        Are ya feelin’ lucky?

  26. Take the Fork


    I’m open to regulations on the gun trade. For example, I think it is ridiculous for someone to be able to purchase a weapon like an AR15 without a significant waiting period and extensive, reliable background checks. And to profile those known to be mentally ill seems like simple commons sense. As does regular sweeps of public housing for illegally-owned weapons. This last alone will save more of the lives that matter than any amount of police oversight (which is also needed).

    That said, if we can’t (as many claim) control our borders, diminish or stop the flow of people and drugs across it, find and deport some or all of the trespassers (if we chose to do so as a free people in a democratic republic), do anything about tax evasion, prosecute accounting control fraud, etc… will an assault weapon ban do anything other than drive the trade into those “shadows” we hear so much about?

    Moreover, if we our government is – or is one the verge of becoming – decidedly Fascist (whatever that means, and as some hereabouts believe) than any unilateral disarmament of the citizenry strikes me as a sentimental and ultimately suicidal act of idiocy.

    1. Lexington

      As does regular sweeps of public housing for illegally-owned weapons. This last alone will save more of the lives that matter than any amount of police oversight (which is also needed).

      Because if you live in public housing your Fourth Amendment rights are forfeit?

      I know the Bill of Rights is little more than a hollow shell in contemporary America but now we’re even discarding proper regard for appearances…

      1. Steve in Flyover

        Yeppers you tax-paying losers, just keep writing those checks to the government to subsidize every thing and every one on the gravy train.

        But God-forbid you attach some strings to the government cheese. Like maybe some people need some behavior modification.

        But I’m old fashioned, in that I believe if you a cashing a government check (from President, to the bailed out banks, on down to SNAP card recipient), you automatically assume some responsibilities.

        1. James Levy

          I can’t go so far as to say that your responsibilities include giving up your Constitutional rights as a citizen. Either they are inalienable, as the Declaration proclaims and the Founders signed (people who say “it’s not the law” are technically correct, but the Founders swore an oath to it when they appended their names, and that does count for something–certainly intent) or not. I’d say you could make the case that anyone of the proper age who went into public housing would have to sign up for the National Guard before I would say that you could search their homes and seize their property without a warrant and probable cause.

        2. ambrit

          To become a client of the State does not mean you become a ward of the State.
          Paternalism is very corrupting.

  27. Buttinsky

    Dog meat:

    Wading into treacherous waters… As someone with considerable ambivalence about being a meat-eater — and having just consumed part of the carcass of a poor, once conscious pig who never did me any harm — I think it’s worth pointing out that a lot of cognitive scientists agree that a wide range of non-humans (most mammals, birds, some reptiles and even some sea life — not least of all cephalopods) appear to be conscious creatures with a reasonably complex intelligence and emotional life. The argument that dogs should be spared from the dinner table is really an argument that all such animals be spared; it is really the argument for vegetarianism (at least until we can discern the sentience of plants).

    But even among us meat-eaters, I don’t think the “spare the dogs” position is to be rejected because it lacks logical consistency. Human empathy and compassion for others is never perfect, and if we decide that a dog or a cow or a whale or a pig or an octopus shouldn’t be lunch — even if it is only one particular dog or one particular octopus — that is to our credit because of the sheer human beauty of its inclusiveness. Still, please, do be mindful that it is not logically consistent in any meat-eating context. (None of this is intended to address the horror of mistreating any animal prior to consumption.)

  28. Jon

    Re: IT Security.

    Spearphishing is a little different than regular phishing. Spear phishing targets a single individual and usually does so in a way that weighs on their trust. Ex. say lambert’s email is Yves gets an email from (note the change from ‘l’ to ‘1’) saying “Hey, Yves, I’ve forgotten my password again! And the host says I have to give him your credit card number before he’ll reset it! Can I just use your password real quick?”

    Spearphishing requires some knowledge of the target and the people they trust. So it is really not that common, and it is very effective.

    1. Hacker

      Jon. I’m glad you made the example personal. That is important.

      Yves, your comment that you do not see this phishing as terribly sophisticated practically begs someone to actually demonstrate on you. There are companies dedicated to phishing corporate employees as a necessary security training exercise because if done correctly it is usually successful.

      I’ve personally phished InfoSec professionals with a highly targeted contextual email and fooled a significant percentage to revealing their passwords. The hard part for the black hat is maintaining the infrastructure for the attacks and follow-on command and control. That in itself takes a lot of time so as to keep from being traced. Spear phishing is easy – trying to avoid attribution is hard.

      Nation states can afford to do this without any financial motivation to the attack. It is hard to imagine an otherwise successful black hat (working illegally and underground profitably) having enough skin in the game to perform this kind of work effectively pro-bono. Who cares who is president when you don’t pay taxes and don’t play by the government’s rules? There is a lot of risk attracting the attention of a nation state (not just the US) in doing so.

      Also, just to throw that complete mystery novel twist in this: What if Guccifer2.0 didn’t hack the DNC, but rather hacked the RNC and then released the DNC docs the RNC had collected.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Please see the comment above from an IT professional who works at a large insurer that he says is diligent about security. He said a 13 year old scipt kiddie can do that level of phishing, and a phish just like that worked at his company due to user stupidity. Another reader in IT at a bank agreed.

        Why are you promoting this Russian hack line? The DNC is clearly going to have less good IT than a major public company with millions of records it legally (HIPPA) or practically (theft in the case of a financial institution) has basic business incentives to keep well secured. Even FAIR has gone after the media and described how the sourcing of the assertion was very weak.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      That is false. I get messages JUST LIKE THAT regularly, once or twice a week, in the name of people I correspond with with some frequency. And I can tell they are phishes from the content, they ask for stuff the person I know would never ask for. The most common form is “I’m [pick out of town location or better yet overseas] and had my wallet stolen so I have no money or credit cards. Can you send me $XXX so I can get home?”

      And BTW Lambert would never ask for a password by e-mail either….

      1. aab

        Yeah, but you’re smarter than a lot of people, Yves.

        Meritocracy is bullshit, and defining intelligence the way the elite does is nonsense, and current psychometric testing even on its own terms is wildly misunderstood and far too limited. But there is an extremely wide range of human capacity in every variant of cognitive functionality. Do you really think every single DNC staffer is as sharp as you? Particularly given there’s a lot of flux in the staffing, and they’re interacting with huge numbers of partner, client, donor, media and other groups?

        I don’t think your personal ability to see through that type of phishing means it’s generally easy to spot. And frankly, I assume that most of the DNC staff is probably not all that bright, and are primed to want to please the people they interact with and to want to expand their social network. That’s how they have gotten ahead in life. So it seems plausible to me that they would fall for a half-decent spearphish that you wouldn’t.

        I wan’t under the impression that the posters above you were arguing this had to be Russians or state actors, just that this technique takes some sophistication. Rather than requiring massive resources, someone who actually knew, say, a DNC intern could easily do this correctly it sounds like. But it’s still the case that proper security would have prevented it. It’s another example of how they all think they’re terribly smart while behaving like actual dullards. But then, I guess when you own/are colluding with the media, government and all other relevant centers of power, it doesn’t matter if the data gets out — up to a point. (Right? Right? I mean, there are actual crimes that would at least get reported, aren’t there?)

  29. nycTerrierist

    “The argument that dogs should be spared from the dinner table is really an argument that all such animals be spared; it is really the argument for vegetarianism (at least until we can discern the sentience of plants).”


    “People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.”
    ― Isaac Bashevis Singer

    “I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens.”
    ― Isaac Bashevis Singer

  30. Jim Haygood

    Woody Guthrie vs America’s corporate copyright lock-up:

    The classic folk song “This Land Is Your Land” may literally belong to you and me. A suit filed Tuesday over Woody Guthrie’s classic “This Land Is Your Land” is aimed at liberating a song known to generations of schoolchildren.

    The Brooklyn band Satorii argues that the music belongs to the public and not to Ludlow Music, the publishing company that collects licensing fees to use the composition.

    Mark Rifkin, one of the band’s lawyers, explained their thinking:

    “Somewhere along the way we got sidetracked by giving corporations the right to own copyrights and to profit from them, long after the creators of the work have died and long after anyone else has an interest in protecting the work.”

    Doubtless Woody would agree. If he were still around, he’d be writing songs mocking Disney and its malevolent mouse, who locked up copyrights for absurd periods.

  31. cm

    Anyone looking for a job?

    The Default Breach Specialist responsibilities include ensuring all breach letters are issued as required by investors, insurers and/or State Law. Responsible for ordering title, reviewing title and all security documents to identify missing assignments needed to complete the chain of title prior to foreclosure referral. Maintain a caseload of loans reporting between 60 and 120 days delinquent to ensure they have a complete chain of title/assignments and breach letters are issued as required by investors, insurers and/or State Law.


    Stay informed of state changes with regard to chain of title requirements as they pertain to missing assignments and incomplete chain of assignments

  32. allan

    Countrywide’s Mozilo Off the Hook as U.S. Said to Abandon Suit

    U.S. prosecutors have abandoned their case against Angelo Mozilo, a pioneer of the risky subprime mortgages that fueled the financial crisis, after a two-year quest to bring a civil suit against him.

    The Justice Department has decided not to sue Mozilo, the co-founder of Countrywide Financial Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. … In recent years, the 77-year-old has been living in a 12,692-square-foot house in Santa Barbara, California, investing in real estate and writing a book about his life so his grandchildren will “know the truth.”

    Let me save you the trouble, Angelo.
    The truth is that this administration has shredded the rule of law.
    There are (at least) three legal systems in this country,
    depending on who you are and whom you know.
    And you’re in Concierge Class.

  33. Tom Stone

    Banning those on the “terrorist Watch List” would set a precedent that might not be beneficial to most Americans.
    Extrajudicially depriving American Citizens of their Constitutional rights based on a secret list without any kind of due process or review…what could go wrong?
    And those calling the AR-15 and assault rifle might want to look up the definition, it’s a “selective fire shoulder weapon firing an intermediate power cartridge”.
    The AR-15 sold to Civilians is a self loading or semi automatic rifle firing a cartridge a good deal less powerful than the 30-06. And the AR platform is the most popular rifle among Hunters, Target Shooters and people looking for a modern rifle for home defense…there are at least 20 million AR’s in Civilian hands in the USA.

  34. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela’s reality is worse than dystopian fiction:

    Officially, Venezuela has canceled 16 school days since December, including Friday classes because of an energy crisis.

    In reality, Venezuelan children have missed an average of 40 percent of class time, a parent group estimates, as a third of teachers skip work on any given day to wait in food lines.

    At one school, so many students have fainted from hunger that administrators told parents to keep their children home if they have no food.

    And while the school locks its gate each morning, armed robbers, often teens themselves, still manage to break in and stick up kids between classes.

    As food grows scarce, schools have reported dozens of cafeteria robberies. This month, thieves beat a security guard to death at one school so they could make off with the cafeteria’s food.

    The late President Hugo Chávez made education a centerpiece of his socialist revolution. In just a few years, all of that progress has been undone.

  35. cassandra

    Am I alone in being bothered by this disconnect?

    a) Gun control advocates seek to prevent extremist attacks by tightening background checks for gun purchases, forbidding sales of semi-automatic weapons, and banning gun licenses to terrorists.

    b) Despite an FBI interview and a security clearance with security firm GS4, Mateen remained unidentified as a terrorist. His security clearance, in fact, was good enough to give him a special license that increased his weapons access.

    How is (a) supposed to remedy (b)? (Especially considering the access of the Bataclan and Hebdo shooters to advanced weaponry in a country with notoriously strict gun restrictions).

    Is it possible that Mateen’s screening at GS4/Wackenhut could have been lax? GS4 is a company of some notoriety, globally,
    and in Britain,

    Failure to identify terrorists is not isolated. This article
    cites Dutch news sources, indicating, inter alia, that 50 ISIS sympathizers were employed at Belgium’s Zaventem Airport. Between Belgium and Orlando, it might be prudent to operate on the assumption that our security systems themselves have been infiltrated.

    Why are there so few discussions on improving screening of personnel, when there is not merely room for improvement, but likely a need for reform? Perhaps it would be wise to consider what DHS whistleblower Philip Haney has to say:
    In full disclosure, I really have no defense against the argument that his statements shouldn’t be considered, because such a personality might jump at the chance to go onto the book tour circuit to make his fortune;-).

    Along with the fact that the terrorists are associated with Islam, we face the complication that these same terrorists are executing other Muslims as apostates, for no other reason than they might subscribe to a different religious school. We’re not going to come up with an intelligent policy to solve this mess without speaking openly and thinking clearly on the full range of issues, and I see no signs of that right now.

    1. cassandra

      (This is a double post; for some reason, the first didn’t show, so I rewrote it.)

  36. Elliot

    It doesn’t fit the terror/scary Islamic brown people narrative, or the “please sweep public housing because those scary poor people might have illegal guns”, but it looks increasingly as though the Orlando shooter was not an Islamic terrorist at all, but simply deranged.

    Mateen had a troubled past. Why isn’t that the story?

    On Thursday, CIA Director John Brennan said authorities have not been “able to uncover any link” between the Islamic State and Omar Mateen, the shooter who stormed Pulse nightclub Sunday in an attack that left 49 dead and dozens injured.

    By the time the CIA’s findings were announced, however, politicians and pundits had seized on the extremist angle, driven by Mateen’s pledge of support for the Islamic State leaders in a phone call to police.

    The narrative has held, despite a slew of reports suggesting a complicated, conflicted man with a penchant for guns, a history of domestic violence, alarming behavioral problems dating back to middle school, and alleged struggles with his sexual identity.

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