Links 1/20/15

New York Times :-(

SFGate (furzy mouse)

Business Insider (David L)

MIT Technology Review (David L)

Pando

Patient Safety

Guardian

BBC

WSJ China Real Time Report

Bloomberg Views

Financial Times. Scott: “Clear as mud.”

BBC

Business Insider

Balkan Insight (Mark Ames). A must read.

Counterpunch

Ukraine/Russia

John Helmer

Moscow Times (furzy mouse). Needless to say, the headline is not well supported by the body of the article. Mark Ames says, however, that the mood in Russia is very dark, and people under 40 are particularly nervous about what is happening: “Things were very stable there under Putin, more or less predictable, until now. It’s not that they blame him, but they think their futures are screwed.”

Washington Post

Syraqistan

Asia Times

New York Times

Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Peter Woit (Cathy O’Neil)

Consortium News (Thomas A)

CounterPunch

Washington Post

Project Syndicate

Truthout

Mother Jones

Oil

Energy bondholders at risk as bank loans ebb Financial Times (Joe Costello)

Economist

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

CNN (Dr. Kevin)

New York Times. Li: “Evidence of the hollowing out of the middle of the country in terms of brainpower.”

Tyler Cowen

Atlantic

Truthout

Antidote du jour (martha r). My kind of creature:

black jaguar links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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102 comments

  1. James Levy

    I find the “1700 private jets” thing rather annoying. Whatever the agenda of the writer the way these things are played is “they are hypocrites, therefore their actions must be false and their goals suspect–let’s just forget about that silliness and get back to planning our Superbowl party.”

    Radically reducing carbon emissions is becoming a desperation move, a survival strategy, not something “cute” like saving the pandas (and no, I’m not saying saving the pandas is just a cute bourgeois pastime; I’m saying that if global warming hits its stride, the pandas are toast anyway along with a sizeable percentage of all living creatures and a big chunk of the human race). The seriousness of the situation is being ignored or thwarted at too many levels for us to worry about whether or not those considering doing something about it are flying in private jets. In a life-or death situation, you’ve got to get decision-makers on board, for the obvious reason that they make the decisions, or refuse to make decisions. Without at least a faction of the Power Elite working with us our only hope is global revolution followed by enlightened leadership, and my money is not on either outcome right now.

    1. Antifa

      The other article on carbon overload from human sources (from Business Insider) is accurate and informative but completely fails to mention our real problem at this point, which is the release of methane from the northern tundra and from the warming seabeds of the polar oceans. These clathrate-laden seabeds are already steadily releasing methane that was previously locked up by cold temperatures. Clathrates on and in the polar seabed are geologically known to be capable of suddenly belching out 40 to 60 thousand tons of methane due to an underwater landslide or earthquake. Methane being 20- times more effective than carbon as a greenhouse gas, this would make our planet too hot for homo sapiens within the year it would take to saturate the atmosphere. And it would release a whole lot more methane, probably resulting in a runaway greenhouse effect that could last for centuries to millenia.

      If Monsanto really wants to control all food crops on this planet, they need to get started on inserting genes that will let plants continue with photosynthesis at temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Better have some genes like that ready to insert in people, too.

      1. susan the other

        The Japanese were mining methane hydrates from the ocean floor around Japan with the intent of using it as fuel. There was no followup on that little report. I think it was on NHK. If it were possible it would make sense to mine it/capture it and use it as the sole source of carbon fuel. But that is probably impossible. I also noticed that BzInsider was very deferential to international corporations – that they are deciding that they have obligations to the planet, etc. Well, isn’t that nice? I wonder if all the big car manufacturers have decided to retool to do bikes and trikes and trains. Why can’t there be a trolley car that everyone peddles? Also no nod to anything that isn’t a “green-green revolution” which means more of the same poisonous industrial agriculture. Bz Insider is the mouthpiece of all those super-meritorious international corporations. That is also pretty annoying. But at least it is a start.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I like the idea of passengers-powered trolley cars.

          And why don’t we make use of the energy generated by tread mill runners, in gyms all over America?

          Is it enough to keep all the homeless people warm?

    2. McMike

      The “private jets” complaint is no more than dressed up non sequitur ad hominem, with a touch of hypocritical abuse appeal to spite through anti-elitism, in an effort to poison the well with a genetic fallacy.

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      Exactly.
      “let’s just forget about that silliness and get back to planning our Superbowl party.”

      For my party, I got a great deal on Gulf Shrimp. Of course, I need to split them and scrape out the crude oil. But if I fry them, I’ll save on cooking oil. Thanks BP Deepwater Horizon.

      In related news,
      that “Hawaii’s Solar Push” article is awesome news. Short version: Solar panels working awesome. Just need to improve the battery storage technology. And if a panel falls over, nothing gets polluted.

    4. Vatch

      There is something to be said for the practice of leading by example. If global climate change is truly on the Davos agenda, would it really be so difficult for a few of these movers and shakers to reserve some first class seats on regularly scheduled flights?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There are things one can not say, but only can be said by others.

        No one can say ‘I am wise.’

        People will laugh at your lack of wisdom for saying that.

        That’s something others say about wise people.

        Then, there are things others can not say, but only can be done by you.

        We are not going to say whether these guys should fly in their private jets or not.

        But you can lead by setting good examples.

        We can then admire them and follow their leadership.

      2. steelhead

        L.O.L. Do you think that those sociopathic a**holes would share air/seat space with mere ordinary humans???

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      Jet planes are one of the most serious climate change issues, not simply by virtue of the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted, but where they dump them in the atmosphere. And private jets are the worst offenders, a ton more output per passenger than even first class on a commercial flight.

      Your ire here is totally misplaced. My occasional flying on planes (4-8 times a year) probably more than offsets my considerable carbon virtue on every other front, such as living in an apartment (way less in heating/cooling costs than a freestanding structure) and not owning a car.

      1. Susan the other

        The things I have read have always led to me to believe the same. That the exhaust from jets high in the atmosphere is a much greater concern than our chimneys and our cars. Altho’ both chimneys and cars are a very great concern. Just the fact that jets put those CO2s into the high atmosphere where rain cannot bring them down and etc. creates a problem of much greater significance. They stay there for hundreds of years. Along with our ban on cars, we need to ban air travel. Besides, with computer conferencing it really isn’t crucial anymore to jet off someplace and be important in person. These days everybody can touch a virtual monkey.

      2. davidgmills

        Become a soil carbon cowboy to assuage your guilt. A genuine way to reduce your carbon footprint. Just takes a little land, which is unfortunate for us urbanites.

  2. James Levy

    About why black children of the black middle class fall back into poverty, I have a few points:

    1) how many blacks had businesses they could hand down to their kids compared to whites/Asians
    2) how many blacks had union jobs they could wangle their kids into compared to whites
    3) has anyone bothered to ask the black children, now adults, why they think they are not doing as well financially as their parents?

    Getting and staying in the Middle Class seems to me to be a function of inheritance, culture, and conformity. Hard work is rarely the issue–the working poor put in herculean hours and get nowhere. The best way to stay in the Middle Class is to inherit a business or valuable property from mom and dad. The second best way is to have dad in a high-paying closed-shop union job that he can get you into. The third is to play the part, the keys to which are: do you get properly credentialed; do you exhibit a positive, energetic personality (forget about character, which is not something Americans care about or cultivate); are you tall, likeable, and attractive; do you conform easily to the group culture (usually white) of your firm or institution; are you properly deferential and make the goals of the firm or institution your own.

    I think many black people suffer in comparison to whites in all three approaches. Their parents are Middle Class via income only, and lack capital; they are rarely members of craft unions; black kids are not necessarily socialized to the corporate culture of “niceness” and pliability the way many white kids are. But it would be most enlightening to see what black people in this boat actually have to say about why they are where they are.

    1. Paul Niemi

      To get into the middle class, I would suggest: A. Go to work for the government. B. Work in a professional capacity for a company that bills the government for services. C. Marry someone who has done A or B. The odds are not good for getting there by other avenues in today’s economy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t know if this is Reductio ad Absurdum, but as a thought experiment, our philosopher says, why don’t we imagine a government that can print as much money as it and, by exercising that power, hires everyone in the land?.

        The government can then produce wheat, prepare dinners and manufacture all the cars we need.

        The people then get to inspect its work and fine, if necessary, the government for lack of sanitation, for example, or for making unsafe cars.

        1. Paul Niemi

          Do you mean Cuba? The people have the right of free speech to inspect the government, of course, right up to the point of actually using that right.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I cried for Argentina before.

            Now, I fear I might have to cry for Cuba…American tourists are coming.

      2. neo-realist

        I know quite a few black people that got into the middle class via civil service—The racism in the private sector against blacks, even in the present age not just the past, has forced or encouraged many blacks to seek upward income and career mobility via the public sector.

        James I want to add (and this probably dovetails with your last paragraph somewhat)–How many blacks who worked in private sector corporations were capable of wrangling jobs for their kids, their nephews, and other black friends and their kids?

  3. hemeantwell

    The Ames article on Golden Dawn gives the impression that many support Golden Dawn not because they are fascists, but because they are angry with the former ruling parties. In the absence of policies aiding the working and lower-middle classes, anti-immigrant sentiments fester. If Syriza wins, and is able to successfully resist the Troika and carry out a reform package, it would be interesting for these people to be interviewed again.

    1. McMike

      That’s pretty much the fascist game plan. Exploit popular grievances with calls to restorative greatness by tapping nationalist/racist impulses, scapegoating “others” and their enablers/collaborators in power, cleansing of corruption and weakness, and promising populist empowerment.

      The death camps come later.

    2. DJG

      May be a better primer on Greece. Doesn’t get all panicky about Alexis Tsipras. (Although if he induces panic among the powerful, good for him.)

      Two interesting things to note: Massive tax avoidance and corruption among the elites. Considering that “Chicago Booth” is in the business of preaching tax avoidance, I wonder what that study was about. Were the Boothies in favor of avoidance?

      Then there is the demographic collapse. Note that the Baltic States are in demographic free fall. For hundreds of years, neither the Russians nor the Germans could get rid of the Lithuanians, and now they are fleeing en masse–from the joys of late-state capitalism.

  4. Yonatan

    “Analysts Predict a Russian Descent Into Madness Moscow Times”

    The Moscow Times is a fully bought and paid for Atlanticist mouthpiece.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know if it’s subtle brainwashing, but to those Russians under 40, feeling unease about their country, I say, it’s alright, because even for the famed hardy Brits during World War II, in reality, many would have fled except it was tough for an island nation (I learned this here at NC the other day).

      I say to them, feeling screwed, feeling not completely sure about standing fast with your leader, your president – that has nothing to do whether your nation’s cause if just or not, though the propaganda will be ‘Look, people are not with him, for his cause is weak.’

      “Look, people are not with Churchill, they are fleeing by swimming across the Atlantic to America.” Luckily, many Brits were smart enough to not try that and, in the process, making Churchill look good (that’s my reading from, again, NC, the other day).

      1. optimader

        Beef,
        It is a gamble, I would not want to be Putin. He’s designed a patronage model and cult of self that will make it difficult for him to land softly. Squirrelling away $40BB_$70BB nest egg is academic if you cant retire and enjoy it with the grandkids!

        For all the vaunted historical evidence of the ability of the Russian to internalize hardship that gets trotted out, I am guessing the under 40 crowd is disinterested in revisiting the plight of their grandparents and great grandparents if there is political wiggle room to avoid it. JMHO.

        Like you, I also learned that the Brits would have punched out of the UK enmasse during WWII if they could have hitched up to appropriate transpiration. As well I learned that the Luftwaffe would have prevailed in the BofB (from their perspective Operation Eagle Attack, and presumably the follow on Operation Sea Lion?) if only the German High Command had persevered a couple more weeks.

        Both these points would be an even more interesting narrative fodder it there were a couple credible historical citations.

        1. Jack

          Operation Sea Lion was doomed from the start. Even if the Germans achieved air superiority they simply didn’t have the capability to launch a massive seaborne invasion, especially with the Royal Navy prowling the channel. And my point wasn’t that Britain was an island of cowards forced to stand and fight, or anything of the sort. Merely that the notion that there was something uniquely stubborn about the British is wrong. People flee in war all the time, most British simply didn’t have that option, or weren’t willing to risk the U-boats.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      They have a new editor. Mark Ames said the old one was a tool, but he hasn’t yet reached a verdict on the new one. But a couple more headlines like that one and it will be bloomin’ obvious.

    1. susan the other

      In a poem. Rilke’s “Der Panther.” But Rilke’s panther is so brainwashed it almost fails to be a panther. This panther has a steady clear gaze and would probably take to a hammock like a black bear. Ihm is gar nicht als ob es tausend Staeba gaebe und hinter tausend Staebe keine Welt. So watch out.

  5. ambrit

    This shouldn’t come as any surprise to those who frequent this blog, but, the fact that the courts are being caught flat footed on it does surprise. Another case of the State Security disdaining the Civilian Authority.
    U.S. Marshals use wall penetrating radar to see inside your house.

    1. fresno dan

      “At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

      Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person’s house without first obtaining a search warrant.

      Current and former federal officials say the information is critical for keeping officers safe if they need to storm buildings or rescue hostages. But privacy advocates and judges have nonetheless expressed concern about the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies may be using the radars — and the fact that they have so far done so without public scrutiny.

      ======================================================================
      Fortunately (Sarc), our Supreme court has said “generally” – a nice weasel word so that nobody gets disciplined, fired, or demoted for going ahead and not getting warrants.
      The court makes itself irrelevant, and the one document that constrains the government is rendered mute.

  6. Ned Ludd

    When we remember Martin Luther King, we remember his dream. It helped awaken an entire nation.

    So it’s hard to believe that just over three and a half years after that triumph, King would tell an interviewer that the dream he had that day had in some ways “turned into a nightmare.” But that’s exactly what he said to veteran NBC News correspondent Sander Vanocur on May 8, 1967.

    NBC News posted the article August 27, 2013, but later removed it from their website. An is available at the Internet Archive.

    King opposed that war – in fact he was one of its most prominent and vocal critics. Just four days before his interview with Vanocur, King delivered a scathing anti-war speech at New York’s Riverside Church, calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” It cost him white support, and even angered many blacks, who felt King should confine his message to civil rights. And crucially, it poisoned his relationship with Johnson, who had been a key ally.

    excerpts from Vanocur’s interview are, for now, still available on the NBC News website.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.: Some of the old optimism was a little superficial, and now it must be tempered with a solid realism, and I think the realistic fact is that we still have a long, long way to go. And that we are involved in a war on Asian soil, which, if not checked and stopped, can poison the very soul of our nation…

    When a nation becomes obsessed with the guns of war, it loses its social perspective, and programs of social uplift suffer. This is just a fact of history…

    There is something about a war like this that makes people insensitive. It dulls the conscience. It strengthens the forces of reaction. And it brings into being bitterness and hatred and violence. […]

    In fact, it helped the economic side of the nation, to integrate lunch counters and public accommodations. It didn’t cost the nation anything to get the right to vote established. Now, we’re confronting issues that cannot be solved without costing the nation billions of dollars… We can’t get rid of slums and poverty without it costing the nation something. […]

    You can, through violence, burn down a building, but you can’t establish justice. You can murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder through violence. You can murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate. And what we’re trying to get rid of is: hate, injustice, and all of these things that continue the long night of man’s inhumanity to man.

    The video is also available on YouTube.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ned, thanks for quoting King yesterday about the biggest purveyor of violence in the world.

      I noticed that it was not an immediate insight to him, but once he gained it, he resolved to confront it…prioritized it over individual violence.

      We can do likewise when we think about gun control…know which is the biggest source.

    2. prostratedragon

      Ned, thanks for this vital link. One small correction, though (really to the archive blog): The note at archive implies that Dr. King’s Riverside Church address was given in May. Actually, .

      1. Ned Ludd

        NBC News must have thought the speech at Riverside Church was on May 4th, instead of the correct date of April 4th.

        Here are links to audio of the two speeches that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave in April 1967 about Vietnam:

        • “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” – delivered on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church
        • “Why I Am Opposed to The War in Vietnam” – delivered on April 30, 1967, at Ebenezer Baptist Church

        The Grio, which was once owned by NBC News, still has, on its website, of the August 27, 2013, article that was deleted by NBC News.

  7. MikeNY

    Re: MLK and the dignity of labor.

    Yes. I’m sick to puking of hearing about how education and training and tax-breaks to lure corporations will provide ‘good jobs’ for people. The ethical imperative is to pay a living wage for the jobs the economy actually creates. The rest is noise, rationalization, and cop-out.

      1. Fíréan

        Swiss precision engineering company Daetwyler when faced with a shortage of skilled workers in the USA launched their own Swiss-style apprenticeship scheme and trained people to work for them.
        Here’s a link to an English language version of both the company’s and employees’ story which explains the difference between Swiss skills required and the USA levels of skill which the company encountered.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More education?

        Genuine education? Education that does not emphasize enlightenment over technical skills needed to serve the existing system (‘Let me describe what it is’ – this is only descriptive)?

        “What? Navel gazing? That’s not productive at all. Try economics.”

        I wonder if there is an Education-Industrial-Complex…

      1. Vatch

        But business leaders keep telling us that they can’t find qualified people to hire. Could it be that our business leaders are mendacious sociopaths?

        1. roadrider

          Well that’s a well known con to get stupid/corrupt pols to further erode protections for the labor force and increase the availability of indentured servants guest workers.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Start of sarcasm (SOS).

            Big Business has the right to unimpeded importation of cheap, foreign labor.

            In fact, it’s an inalienable right.

            End of Sarcasm (EOS).

      2. MikeNY

        Excellent question, of course. There have been a few good posts on that subject here lately with very engaging commentary…

    1. Louis

      It’s really a question of pay now or pay late: i.e. we either guarantee a living wage on the front-end or pay later to fund social welfare programs like Medicaid and food stamps.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Exactly. Low Minimum Wage is just shifting the burden to the taxpayers (food stamps, housing, medicaid, etc). The cheap a$$ employer (oops, I mean job creator) gets slave wage employees and makes a bigger profit as the taxpayers pay the difference to raise the employees standard of living to poverty level.

      2. hunkerdown

        Nah, there is a distinct qualitative difference in what “we” get when paying later: namely, the prerogative to see others with contempt instead of compassion.

        Look upon your works, self-esteem movement, and despair…

      3. tim s

        You state it wrongly. It is not a matter of what WE do. The large corporations choose to NOT pay a decent wage and (supposedly) save themselves money immediately, and at a later date we the taxpayer, not the corporations, pay taxes towards welfare programs. If the corporations were on the same level as we are, then your statement would make sense.

    2. gordon

      MLK was assassinated just as his Poor People’s Campaign was starting. That was a campaign aimed at breaking down the black/white divide which traditionally had prevented the development of class consciousness among the American poor as a whole. That conjunction in time has always looked suspicious to me. Was the possible success of that campaign the trigger for his murder?

      1. MikeNY

        I don’t know, but I do know that MLK thought racial justice impossible without economic justice. It’s striking to hear him hit this theme in his speeches and writings. He was so right. And we seem to have listened so little. :-(

      2. neo-realist

        According to William Pepper’s book on the King Assassination, Hoover and Johnson were terribly worried about the impact of the march and felt that it needed to be stopped or neutralized in some way— I believe Johnson was worried about its potential effect on his re-election chances, Hoover for its revolutionary potential as well as possible elite concerns over the international embarrassment it would cause to the country.

        1. Louis

          J. Edgar Hoover was convinced that King was a communist (he wasn’t) and maintained surveillance on King’s personal life. However, after King was assassinated, Hoover realized the political significance of King: i.e. a failure to catch the assassin could discredit the FBI, so Hoover directed the FBI to basically move heaven and earth to bring James Earl Ray to justice.

  8. roadrider

    Re: Democrats Take on Wall St

    Sure, they introduce this when it has no danger of passing and annoying the guys who finance their campaigns.
    Just another football to be pulled away at the last minute. .

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Geez, ya think?

      Yeah, yeah! Remember when the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress, and the Presidency a few years ago, and how they labored like Trojans to advance the historic ideals of the party? Me neither.

      Well, as “they” say, fool me once (or some number just below infinity), shame on you. Fool me, eh, oh shit, I’ve lost count (can you blame me?). Anyway…shame on me.

      Wait, how’s that again?

  9. aletheia33

    re: ”The NSA, NIST and the AMS”:
    the NSA attempts to mislead, using the American Mathematical Society.

    i submit that NC links needs a new category, something like “Equivocation by Professional/Academic Bodies,” “Truth Evasion among the Professions.” (of course NC, masters of headings, can do much better than these lame suggestions, these are just to get across the idea.) maybe as a subheading of Big Brother, but we see this come up with regard to many important issues; professional organizations are generally completely spinelessly unwilling to stand up for anything, guarding their misguided self-interest as their own institutions erode and society falls further apart.

    consider the firing of jews across academia in 1930s germany; the pusillanimity of all such organizations during the mccarthy era; the number of academics employed by the CIA during the Cold War; etc.

    the danger extends far beyond the advanced corruption/delusion of the economics discipline and into all professional arenas; these bodies–despite the fact that many of their members see quite clearly what is going down but feel all they can do is stand by helplessly–do absolutely nothing; and the public remains uninformed of the fact.

    one of the main reasons these bodies exist is to enable the evasion of responsibility and accountability, to give their seal of non-disapproval to collaboration, to legitimize it before, during, and after the fact.

    attention needs to be paid.

    1. Eclair

      “Experts are, by definition, servants of those in power: they don’t really think, they just apply their knowledge to the problems defined by those in power (how to bring back stability? how to squash protests?). ” Slavoj Zizek

  10. Vatch

    “Catholics don’t have to breed ‘like rabbits’, says pope Guardian”. Yeah, but it’s kind of hard to achieve that goal when the Catholic Church prohibits every effective means of contraception except abstinence.

    1. Eclair

      And …. the Catholic Church in the US is so fortunate to have right-leaning, patriarchal state legislatures in their corner working to defund women’s health and reproductive services as well as to criminalize abortion. And, working also to prevent birth control education and the sale/distribution of certain forms of birth control.

      Regard this interesting and … if you are a woman of child-bearing age … horrific set of maps:

    2. William C

      But given the vast majority of Catholics cheerfully ignore the Popes’/bishops’ teaching on the issue, I suggest it is not much of a problem in practice.

      1. Vatch

        It depends on the country. Catholics in the U.S., Canada, and Europe tend to ignore the Catholic Church’s bizarre rules against contraception. But the people tend to be more obedient to the Church’s anti-contraceptive dictates in several Latin American countries (Chile, Costa Rica, and Brazil are exceptions), the Philippines, and Africa.

  11. Hue

    Seriously, who does care about the social sharing gap between those two? I am annoyed by all the Buzz shares that clog up my FB.

    “Top thirty movies that you have to watch when you’re high”
    “The ten most outrageous sex positions you didn’t know about!”
    “Fifteen most attractive world leaders you didn’t know about!”

    Ugh. So trite and stupid.

  12. flora

    re: The NSA, NIST and the AMS.
    Thanks for this link. An important read concerning the possible misdirection and misuse of math professionals by the NSA.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The End of Republican Obstruction Project Syndicate

    “Indeed, of the various possible reasons why the electorate in 2014 did not perceive the economic recovery that was underway, the most plausible is that the typical American had not benefited from it.”

    Oh, I finally get it . This is the “If a tree falls in the forest” economic “recovery.”

    From the Wikipedia page titled “If a tree falls in the forest” under the “Metaphysics” section:

    Can something exist without being perceived? — e.g. “is sound only sound if a person hears it?” The most immediate philosophical topic that the riddle introduces involves the existence of the tree (and the sound it produces) outside of human perception. If no one is around to see, hear, touch or smell the tree, how could it be said to exist? What is it to say that it exists when such an existence is unknown? Of course, from a scientific viewpoint, it exists.[8] It is human beings that are able to perceive it.”

    Sounds simple enough. As long as at least SOMEONE can “perceive” it, it exists.

    Whew!! I was beginning to think this whole economy getting better thing was some sort of a scam.

  14. barrisj

    Praise Jesus, even the NYT has finally awakened to the fact of Israeli “co-operation” with al-Qaeda/al-Nusra forces in Syria/So. Lebanon, something that has been a running commentary by “b” on the Moon of Alabama blog for months now:

    Iran Confirms Israeli Airstrike in Southern Syria Killed One of Its Generals

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — Iran confirmed Monday that one of its generals was among the dead in an Israeli airstrike that also killed several Hezbollah fighters in southern Syria on Sunday, an announcement that added to the tension and unpredictability in the region after the strike.
    The attack placed Israel in a direct battlefield confrontation on Syrian soil with its longtime enemies Iran and Hezbollah. And it put pressure on Hezbollah to respond militarily, risking further escalation on the outskirts of Syria’s chaotic civil war.
    […]
    Less than two years ago, Hezbollah and Iran mostly tried to keep their military roles in Syria quiet. But now Iranian generals and Hezbollah fighters roam Syria, advising and even directly fighting alongside Syrian forces.
    At the same time, Israel has mostly turned a blind eye toward the Qaeda-affiliated insurgents battling the Syrian government near the border — an idea nearly unthinkable before the Syrian uprising. Israeli hospitals have even treated United States-backed Syrian insurgents who have been allowed to cross the border, including from groups that have sometimes cooperated on the battlefield with those Qaeda-affiliated fighters. That in turn has led the Syrian government to accuse Israel of supporting Sunni extremists against it.
    [..]

    The general tenor of the article, however, is aimed at highlighting Iranian/Hezbollah involvement in opposing the IS and its affiliates in Syria, and that “invites” Israeli participation in what has become a total free-for-all combat zone. A rather perverse interpretation of the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” meme, and in fact one aspect of active Israeli combat actions is to egg Hezbollah into retaliation in the Golan Heights, to which Israel of course will respond with an “Operation Cast Dome” military response, further widening the conflict and putting Israel’s patron the US in a very difficult position indeed. Nobody is in charge here, everybody is taking a shot at furthering its own agenda within the chaos that is the Middle East.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thanks for your observations, barrisj. What a mess!… and I would guess that chaos is one of the perpetual objectives.

      Reminded me of an article in Reuters yesterday about the organized effort presently underway and announced by the Israeli government to defund the International Criminal Court in The Hague in order to prevent potential investigation and prosecution for crimes against humanity.

      Why is the US not a member of that court, and why doesn’t the USG not provide funding to the ICC? After all, we seem perfectly OK with funding the World Bank and the IMF.

      1. Eureka Springs

        @ barrisj, An excellent answer (some might say a must read) posted at Pat Lang’s place yesterday.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          I strongly second this recommendation, Eureka Springs. This post was crafted by confusedponderer (anything but), one of those invited by Col. Lang to generate posts due to confusedponderer’s thoughtful approach, well-supported by his research and citations.

    2. Banger

      `Historically Sunni fundamentalists have been supported by Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Turkey, Pakistan and Israel for a number of reasons that had to do with opposing Arab nationalism, socialism and Soviet influence.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Re: … “for a number of reasons that ha to do with opposing Arab nationalism, socialism and Soviet influence.”

        … And why was that? Could it have been Oil and the petrodollar? (Think “Henry the K”.)

  15. Brindle

    I went and saw Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” last night. Part of my rationale was to see the state of mass consumption, right-wing/centrist propaganda. A more accurate title would have been “American Psychopath”, as Chris Kyle clearly was one.

    Rania Khalek nails down the facts in this article:

  16. Jim Haygood

    Distressing news from the Arabian front, comrades:

    SANA, Yemen — The presidential residence in Yemen was shelled on Tuesday by Houthi rebel militiamen, the information minister reported, in what appeared to be an escalation of fighting that has gripped the capital for the past few days.

    The president of Yemen, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, was believed to be inside the residence, a short distance from the presidential palace in Sana, the capital. It was not immediately clear whether he was safe.

    All our years of drone bombings haven’t made Yemen safe for dictatorship? One is shocked, shocked. Probably our heroes were not given adequate funding.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Your teeth and your heart…connection.

    I have always thought the connection is plaque – your dental plaque will clog your arteries.

    1. Iolair

      And yet the article only recommends brushing and flossing MORE, and seeing a periodontist to have the crap scrapped out of your gums. This is typical blame-the-victim position by health care workers (hard for me to call them doctors) who don’t want to do the hard work sleuthing out what’s going on with the rest of the body or dealing with the implication that they just might not know what they’re doing.

      Ask any veterinarian who has ever swooned from the halitosis of a dog in renal failure. It wasn’t because Fido wasn’t brushing his teeth.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Sorry, I take my cats to have their teeth cleaned every year or two. In animals there is similar strong evidence of the connection between periodontal diseases and other health issues. My older cat is 15 and doesn’t look or act remotely that old.

        There is no case for arguing against better dental maintenance. BTW you see a periodontist ONLY if you are already having gum problems, and they also recommend at home maintenance. This isn’t just for your general health. Gum disease can lead to the loss of teeth.

        1. Iolair

          I have a 19 year old cat with great teeth that has never needed to have them cleaned. I suppose we could swap anecdotes all day long. My point is, something in the body chemistry/physiology makes the mouth an environment conducive for the growth of, lets call them ‘necrophilic’ bacteria. And deposition of plaque. Once that’s out of control, it’s gum disease and yes, there are a lot of down stream consequences, including progression to tooth loss or seeding of bacterial colonies onto the heart valves. Mitigating the damage is appropriate.

          However, if the condition doesn’t exist in cats in the wild, eating their normal diet (raw) then an actual cause has to be laid at the feet of something other than a brushing deficiency.

          This is a sore subject for me as my poor mother-in-law spent the last 10 years of her life obeying exhortations to ‘just brush and floss more” (she’d spend hours with the electric toothbrush) while her breath still smelled like feces. Quarterly visits to the periodontist also. Unfortunately, as a daughter-in-law I wasn’t in any position to guide people’s thinking about it. Even her own son, my ex-husband, said “My mother’s problem is that she doesn’t brush her teeth enough”. (so how much would have been enough?) She should have had them all pulled but there was some sort of pride in keeping all your own teeth running in that family, and she kept that rotten mouth to her dying day.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Cats in the wild live to be an average of one or two years old. So you can’t generalize from a state of nature given their lifespans as pets.

          2. neo-realist

            Re the mother in law’s breath, did she brush her tongue? Did she have acid reflux or some other stomach condition that may have caused the breath issues?

            1. Iolair

              She brushed her teeth, her gums and her tongue. Constantly. She used a potent mouthwash that would have sterilized a bucket of manure. I hardly think all the abrasion and caustic disinfection was actually beneficial for tender tissues trying to fight off infection and heal. Where else in the body do we do that?

              I won’t chip away at the paradigm anymore. I’ll just refer you to the classic work on the subject of the mouth: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Weston Price DDS. Lots of primitive cultures with no access to western diets and medicine have beautiful teeth and die with their entire arcades intact.

              And Yves, I was thinking of the BIG cats, not domestic cats.

              1. Vatch

                I don’t think a person should brush her gums. That will just erode them and cause periodontal disease.

        2. Iolair

          I have had good personal experience with CoQ10 for oral health.

          (I just crush a soft gel with my teeth and smear the contents over my gums with my tongue)

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    All labor has dignity – King.

    That’s for Job Guarantee.

    But let me say to you tonight, that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity, and it has worth.”

    Teaching yoga? Teaching economics?

    Doing yoga? Doing economics?

    Can navel gazing be a job?

    Is learning by gazing at stars ‘genuine education?’

    This is for Basic Income Guarantee by recognizing yoga, meditation and star gazing as work…productive work for the building of humanity.

  19. JohnB

    There is a popular idea – that Lambert expressed in yesterdays links – that Quantitative Easing is basically (indirectly) doling out money to the wealthy and finance; I’ve believed this until recently, but now I’ve gotten very skeptical – are there any sources to back this view, particular describing in detail, exactly how that transfer of wealth works?

    For example, here is an MMT-based article from NEP, which seems to play-down that idea (specifically the idea of the transfer of wealth, happening through commodity prices) – and this adds to my skepticism – but I’d be very interested in hearing views that favour the idea:

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      QE raises asset prices, period. No meaningful real economy effects. That helps asset holders (the rich) and financiers who benefit from all the trading, oh, and the CEOs who borrow money on the super cheap and buy back stock to keep the price high.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Democrats take on Wall Street with Financial Transactions Tax.

    There is something immediate, emotional, even spiritual when we tax to take on someone powerful, wealthy, unjust or corrupt.

    But, no.

    Sorry.

    We tax to fight inflation.

    Now, where is it now? Where did you put our friend, the PPI?

  21. susan the other

    Helmer. Bagging the Cat. Interesting especially about German Gref’s comment that he anticipates the Russian state will fund all the Russian banks, and they in turn will buy up all the failing Russian Industries. I think it is implied that there will be capital controls because it is an emergency. Does this explain why Russia has bought so much gold lately – so as not to outprint the value of the ruble? Whereas the Fed shorts gold massively everyday to protect the dollar. Which approach will win? And whereas QE accomplishes much the same goal by giving Wall Street banks all the money they need to keep the stock market up as necessary and likewise provides corporations with cheap money to buy back all their shares precluding a run on banks and corporations. I’m not readily seeing much of a difference here. Also implied in the pending emergency situation was a war anticipated over Ukraine. And certainly everything the Fed has done since 2008 has been to keep our MIC going. Whatever.

  22. susan the other

    Also Mark Ames. The Great Leap Rightwards. Should have been entitled The Great Leap Upside Down. That article made perfectly good sense to me. Having been ripped-off and chronically disappointed by promised capitalist miracles for decades all the former resistance fighters have co-opted the former collaborators in a new party named after an ancient pagan god. Apollo was just one of many gods. Not the only god. Certainly not the stupid god of finance. That old pantheon was as flexible as nature. So Golden Dawn is now a right wing nationalist (think socialist) party that the neoliberals cannot tolerate. Makes perfectly good sense to me.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Thank you, Mr. Holder, for ending the horrible civil asset forfeiture program.

    Next up – stop comingling the money of your department (the counsel for the People) with that of your client (the People – you know, the plaintiff named in your complaints).

    “The People’s money is not the government’s money. You print, we spend.”

  24. Oneaboveall

    The comments for the “More Young Adults Stay Put in Biggest Cities” article are a perfect example of why we will never get anywhere in this country. The vehemence directed at Amira Nader (the subject of the article) is amazing. Why can’t people get this riled about the trillion dollars the F-35 will cost or the brand new tanks that were sent straight to mothballs because they weren’t needed?

    1. JTFaraday

      The ravening mob does have a point–why get a $190k degree in acting?

      Maybe because a narrow late 20th century commercial-industrial culture left would-be artists with few avenues of pursuit beyond “going to school for it”? It’s not like she could run off and get on the Orpheum circuit, let’s say.

      1. JTFaraday

        So, as new waves of neoliberal and ultra-pragmatist philistines take a hatchet to universities in the 21st century, will the survival of culture and scholarship rely on things like this alleged “punk archaeology” movement, with its declassed professionals and amateurs?

          1. Oneaboveall

            I guess I forgot the rule that nothing should be pursued unless it increases corporate profits.

            Thanks for the “punk archaeology” link, BTW.

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