Links 1/28/15

s Onion (David L)

Physics (APS) (Chuck L)

Washington Post. The mainly wealthy as freeloaders on herd immunity.

IEEE (Chuck L)

Real News Network

Grexit

p Martin Wolf, Financial Times (David L)

BBC. Well, he’s just thrown away all of his negotiating leverage. This is in line with what I expected but I thought they’d at least be willing to bluff.

Bloomberg. This may be why Tsipras is getting so conciliatory so fast, along with: Financial Times. Deposit flight continues.

New York Times

er DW. Notice the tone and how the Germans think Syriza has little leverage (and the BBC remarks seem to confirm that). And this by German standards is a pretty friendly article.

Bloomberg. Note the European idea of “caving” is extend and pretend, as in extending maturities and maybe a bit more rate relief.

Michael Shedlock. Important. Shows why writedowns are needed.

failed evoution

Guardian. Furzy mouse: “​The Guardian sure knows how to write a headline….”

Justin Fox, Bloomberg. Instead of faux polite, we get faux admiration.

Ukraine/Russia

RT

Foreign Policy. Terrible title to an important piece. Subhead: “The face-off over Ukraine has killed nuclear cooperation between the United States and Russia. You have permission to begin freaking out.” You need to read past heavy doses of anti-Russia propaganda.

Michael Shedlock (EM)

DW

Aljazeera

Syraqistan

DW

Financial Times

New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

New York Times

Forbes

Politico. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

BBC. The lead story at the BBC now.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Sic Semper Tyrannis

George Washington

Angry Bear

Pew Research. Democrats think the parties differ more than Republicans do. The Republicans happen to be right.

y New York Times

Oil

Wall Street Journal (Joe Costello)

Increasing Demand For Refined Products Will Increase Oil Prices OilPrice

Wall Street Journal. A feature, not a bug.

Wall Street Journal

A historical perspective may help to stem panic among investors John Kay, Financial Times (David L)

Class Warfare

New York Magazine. Big Twitterverse debate over this piece. See also: Punch-Drunk Jonathan Chait Takes On the Entire Internet Gawker. But Pareene somehow managed to miss one of the highest profile victims of failing to toe the party line: .

New York Times

Vox

Atlanta Black Star (Carolinian)

Futurist Speaker (David L). The reason I don’t buy this is I’ve seen older people get training for areas in which there was by all accounts robust demand and not be able to get a job. This is another effort of businesses to shift even more of their costs onto worker rather than train and develop workers and offer decent career paths.

Corey Robin

Antidote du jour:

lab parade links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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115 comments

  1. Oligreeks

    The FT have taken to describing Yanis as a “former blogger”.

    Oligarchs must be running scared. First they laugh at you…

    1. MartyH

      Sorry, Thomas, Mish admits in the article that he doesn’t allow for GDB increases … I suspect that was code for inflation.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe it’s a post written by a Mish-like robot.

        He’s been talking about the inevitability of robots taking over other people’s jobs. I believe a robot can be programmed to write like him.

        A lot of times, I already sensed what he was going to say.

        (And that can be said about most of us, except psychopaths – they are quite unpredictable. I don’t foresee robots replacing them).

    2. Marko

      Yeah , Mish’s calculation put things in the worst possible light , but the zero percent interest rate is a pretty sweet deal , if they can pull it off.

      Given the depth of Greece’s depression , I could see them having a couple years of 8-10% nominal growth once the gov’t starts spending again. That could reduce the debt/gdp by 20% in a very short time. The other thing Mish does is assume complete payoff. They certainly would stop once they hit the 60% debt/gdp limit , and it’s likely that , going forward , the limit will be raised or loosened as more countries find it impossible to avoid absorbing excessive private debt by increasing public debt.

      BTW , what kind of sicko would line up eight dead puppies on a couch just to get a pic to post on the net ? OK , maybe they only drugged them , but still.

      I gotta admit , though , it is a nice shot.

  2. Ddf

    Mmmm… Too early to call time on Syriza. If they fold without a fight they won’t get elected again and they likely won’t even last their current mandate. Playing nice at the outset could be a negotiating strategy. Let’s not forget the deposit outflow. They need a well thought out strategy and it’s too soon to determine they don’t have one.

    1. financial matters

      I think so too. There is a lot at play here relative to currencies and debt.

      I think the John Kay article from today has a misconception. He notes that “On the other hand the deflation, and the associated depression and social strife, that Britain experienced between the world wars was largely the result of a misguided attempt to restore the 1914 exchange rate against the dollar.” but doesn’t connect the dots that today’s austerity problems are largely due to countries still trying to follow gold standard (market based) currency and debt standards.

      If currencies and debt are allowed to play out by purely market forces they can be destructive. If they can be used in socially productive ways they can be useful.

      The US, a sovereign currency issuer, also has a double standard of austerity for social programs but needs so much government control over ‘free market’ practices that it has to hold its free trade agreement talks in private.

    2. vidimi

      so far, so good

      “Earlier, the energy minister, Panagiotis Lafazanis, called a halt to the privatisation programme that the EU and IMF have demanded in exchange for the €240bn in aid keeping Greece afloat. Plans to sell off the country’s dominant power corporation, PPC, were to be frozen with immediate effect. “We will immediately stop any privatisation of PPC,” said the politician, who heads Syriza’s militant Left Platform. A proposed schemeto privatise the port of Pireaus, the country’s largest docks, were also put on hold. China’s giant consortium, Cosco, and four other suitors had been vying for a 67% stake in the port authority, agreed in consultation with creditors by Greece’s previous conservative-led coalition government. “The Cosco deal will be reviewed to the benefit of the Greek people,” Thodoris Dritsas, the deputy minister in charge of shipping, told Reuters.”

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      They said “no default” to a domestic audience. Defaulting would tank the banking system, because they’d lose ECB support.

      They have ruled out the finesse I thought they’d use, of if needed saying “We won’t agree to X” and let the Troika refuse to give them funds, which would make the Troika responsible for the default.

      Greece will INEVITABLY default if it does not do a deal with the Troika by the time some of its debt matures, in June. Saying “we won’t default” means they have just told their own voters “We will do a deal with the Troika”. That gives the Troika the upper hand.

  3. vidimi

    UK elections:

    Fearful voting shifts the whole polity to the right. Blair’s obeisance to corporate power enabled the vicious and destructive policies the coalition now pursues. The same legacy silences Labour in opposition, as it pioneered most of the policies it should oppose. It is because we held our noses that there is a greater stink today. So do we keep voting for a diluted version of Tory politics, for fear of the concentrate? Or do we start to vote for what we want? Had the people of this nation heeded the noseholders a century ago, we would still be waiting for the Liberal party to deliver universal healthcare and the welfare state.

    1. Christopher D. Rogers

      Vidimi,

      I liked your post in relation to the Blairesque Labour Party of Ed Miliband and can relate a few more facts to you than the author of the Guardian article can – no doubt a firestorm on CIF, which regretfully I’m banned from, but via TOR manage occasionally now to post as “TheRebeccaRiotsXV”, which if you were Welsh, you’d find quite amusing. Any how, here’s my past 48hrs, and again, honest as ever, I’ve also joined the Green Party today – their London HQ really is like a headless chicken, but that’s another story. However, what’s important is this; as a longtime Labour Party member I know my way around Parliament like the back of my hand, even attending Committee meetings when open to Joe Public. Now, quite accidentally, Yanis Varoufakis, whom I’ve been associating with as an associate of Prof. Steve Keen for the past two months, is as we are all aware, the Greek Finance Minister, now, the heterodox gathering I’ve been working on was virtually ignored by the UK’s political class, media and financial services play it was aimed at, this despite high lever NY Fed and ECB involvement. Well galvanised by the Syriza victor, and fact I’m hosting Yanis in London, I thought it a good idea to go back to Parliament, specifically Labour’s front bench team. Now, I’m persistent, expect swift results and ply the phones. you’d have expected, given Syriza’s success and a UK election in May, that Labour’s front bench may have had an interest in meeting with Yanis, the UK media is certainly interested and now I have a huge PR success with a galaxy of Fleet Streets finest attending – good for Yanis, good for Steve keen, he is a speaker after all and good for heterodox economics. Alas, the Labour Party does not see it this way, its alienated, isolated by its own will and basically has zero interest, this despite the Green Party and Liberal Democrats being represented, and a huge MSM turnout – 12 Editors and economics editors of all the majors. I do work hard don’t I, but no Labour Party, this despite Christine Cumming’s and Vitor Constancio attending and former Labour Party operatives from the days of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan when it really was the peoples Party. And to add insult to injury, one of the biggest complaints against Labour is the proliferation of Oxbridge types going straight from their books, to a research job with an MP and then becoming MP’s themselves – no involvement with real people that’s for – now, I know this because the arrogance shown to me by Ed Balls office assistant was staggering, and there I was asking if ed wanted dinner with the greek Finance Minister.

      So, lets hope the SNP and the Green Party do to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party, what Syriza has done to the legacy parties in Greece, wipe them from the board. They are paid public servants, you’d not think it though, hence my contempt, but at least I’ve joined the Greens, although trying to communicate with Ms. Bennett is a nightmare, but that’s because they don’t have big corporations supplying money and staff.

      1. vidimi

        Hi Chris,

        thanks for your comment. I wish I had known about your seminar with Steve Keene and Yanis as I hold both in very high esteem. If there’s another one in London coming up, I’d love to take part, although it would probably have to be on a weekend as I spend most of my weeks either in Paris or Dublin at the moment.

        You’re absolutely correct in your assessment of the Labour party, their betrayal over the last two decades has been sickening. The Lib-Dems sending a representative won’t redeem them and they should, rightfully, be wiped out in May, but Labour, as the Democrats in the US, the Socialistes in France and the vichy left in most of the developed world are now part of the same good-cop corporate fascist movement that is making the world sick. I believe George Monbiot is correct that if they win Labour will self-destruct even more quickly than if they lose.

  4. Carolinian

    Charles Townes, fellow Carolinian and perhaps the most famous graduate of my alma mater, has died. He received a Nobel prize as co-inventor of the laser.

    Townes supposedly said he was glad to leave SC so he would never again have to look at red dirt (our cotton depleted region is famous for it’s erosion–the reason the notorious kudzu was introduced).

    There was a post here not long ago about the decline of research labs and Townes’ work at Bell Labs shows their importance. It says all you need to know about modern America that our science think tanks have mostly been replaced by political and finance think tanks.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Big Science needs Big Money and, of all the possible fronts science can advance, you see it go mostly where it benefits Big Money.

      “That precious research money goes to xxx (world domination, making EZ money, etc.)”

  5. fresno dan

    Why Harvard owns 10,000 acres of California vineyards Vox
    along those lines:

    =====================================================================
    Legally, a bottle that says Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon must contain 75 percent wine from Napa cabernet grapes. A further 10 percent must come from Napa, but can be a cheaper grape varietal like syrah or zinfandel. And the remaining 15 percent can be red wine from anywhere else in the state, like Fresno, where cabernet commands one-tenth the price it does in Napa.
    ==============================================================

    “Like Fresno” – Geez, just cause it costs one tenth the price, doesn’t mean it tastes ten times as bad….it probably only tastes about 8 times as bad. I guess I should be grateful that they left out the apocryphal story of how the devil left Fresno cause it was too damn hot…or that originally, God condemned the evil to Fresno, but decided that was to cruel and hell was more merciful. (and hey, its only as hot as the interior of the sun in April, May, June, July, August, and September – the other months are only hot enough to melt lead)

    1. Ron

      Wine marketing in the U.S. is copied from the French system relying on the government to define wine specific areas giving rise to the notion that soil type drives taste. Paso Robles a small strip of coastal property along central Calif has long been a wine growing region but it requires extensive water resources based on the type of water dependent wine plant that is popular with operators today. Sine the mid 80’s calif wine operators have converted from dry farming deep rooted wine plants to various strains developed by UC Davis which are shallow rooted and required large amounts of water and fertilizer. Harvard will end up selling for a loss as the business today is more about wine making think two buck chuck, then growing artisan plots in old or new wine regions along with the continuing Calif drought which will significantly reshape Calif Ag.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        American cheese is where California wine was 20 or 30 years, or so I have heard.

        ‘Give this shepherd some sheep, a few acres and a hive for the honey bee and I will give you Manchego and Idiazabal…’

        1. Vatch

          I sure hope you’re referring to cheese that happens to be made in America, and not to “processed American cheese food”!

  6. ep3

    Yves, not sure if you saw this. What makes me post it is actually thinking about the outcomes. For pretend example, I am a 86 year old medicare patient with health issues. My doctor needs to improve my outcomes. But unfortunately at that age, the likelyhood that my conditions will improve are actually pretty low. The doctor can manage and mitigate further decline. But decline will happen, it is inevitable. So how does my doctor get paid by medicare if the treatment does not have a positive outcome according to their standards? It sounds like to me my doctor won’t get paid. So how will he stay in business? He will have to take fewer and fewer medicare patients and take in more private insurance plans. An 86 year old is not going to have major heart surgery and then get up and take up jogging and exercise. Reality states that it’s highly unlikely that most medicare patients will have their conditions improve. Now, maybe someone who is 66 could develop old age diabetes and at first, they are given medication. Then they are able to manage their diet and perform some sort of physical activity where they use less medication or possibly none at all. But to say that the condition will “go away” seems ludicrous. This is just the continuation of the destruction of medicare. Make it so unpalatable that no one will use it and doctors won’t accept it as insurance.
    This is what I see.

    1. ambrit

      As Phyl and I approach old age, we see what you are suggesting taking form before our eyes.
      Phyllis put it best; “We were promised that we would be taken care of when we got older if we agreed to follow the “rules” and pay for our own old people while we were young. Now they are saying, ‘We have better things to do with the money. Go on off somewhere and die.’ ”
      AARP needs to have a ‘Shareholders Revolt.’ Get some radicals in charge and start using all that much ballyhooed ‘Grey Power.’ If and when nothing happens, we’ll see the reality behind the PR.

        1. ambrit

          If you are going to socialize the losses, you might as well do the same for the profits. Nationalize the entire healthcare industry.

    2. JerseyJeffersonian

      I’m with ya. I saw this news, & drew the same conclusion.

      Ezekiel Emmanuel should be feeling smug right about now.

      The Washington Consensus plan for Medicare recipients: die quickly, ’cause we don’t want to pay to STABILIZE your health so that you live longer. But they’ll lay the blame off onto the MDs for their policy through this sleight of hand.

        1. ambrit

          Watch out Lambert! You are suggesting something very close to ‘Explosive Vests at Dawn.’ This breaks law #something or other which makes irony and allusion “thought crimes.” (The French are paving the way to H— for the rest of us.)

        2. JerseyJeffersonian

          Eh, absent the authorizations seemingly nowadays a requirement for the exercise of free speech, and given the thuggish reactions of our constabulary to this exercise, the “literal die-ins” might become instead state-assisted suicides. Remember how well things worked out for the Bonus Army, another group of citizens asking for their earned benefits, after things were left to the discretion of Gen. MacArthur. None too well, as I recall.

          Makes me reflect on an irony; where might the Right-To-Lifers come down on the right to life for those merely needing a bit of taxpayer support to continue living? I think I have an answer to that, given that their usual advocacy for that “right” ends with birth. After that it is Social Darwinism, purported “rights” be damned.

          But through demographic attrition it helps get rid of those who might advocate for the perpetuation of Social Security, so charge ahead regardless of opposition.

          “Damn the torpedoes. Four bells, Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed.”
          Admiral Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay

  7. McMike

    Interesting that even as NC chronicles with increasing intensity tales of pharmaceutical corporate pathology; regulatory failure; rampant conflicts of interest; revolving doors, and profiteering; and an overbearing officialdom that defines defiance as deviance and independent thought as criminal; you still carve out a magical exemption for the vaccine industry.

    The Washington Post breathlessly prints maps of “vaccine refusal” zones like they are terrorist cells, as treats this measles outbreak with the same overblown hysteria as if it’s a map of an IS offensive in Iraq. Enraged government bureaucrats seek to shut down refuseniks like they are the public transit systems in the face of forecasted blizzards, and quarantine the deviants like they are Muslims in the wake of a bombing plot.

    Your usual skepticism with respect to the behaviors of a jealous control-freak state, its pathological corporate partners, and their corrupt media propaganda appendages is completely absent in coverage of vaccine issues, over which you instead accept any and all officially-promulgated wisdom as sacrosanct.

    In any other venture of economics, politics, and health, NC generally heralds those who break free of the group-think and corporate thought control, and cheers those who seek to opt out of the corporate system; but in the case of magical vaccines, those who opt out of government-mandated corporate preemptive medical interventions are to be scorned and shamed.

    Individual choice about the risks and consequences measles is not available in this fear-based narrative, for which corporate medicine is the savior, government the wise father, and defiance is deviance.

    No room in this for even the slightest skeptics. Apparently, the Big Lie must be swallowed whole, by everyone, without so much as a sidelong glance, or risk coming undone.

    Further, your un-ironic use of the term “herd” as an unambiguously good thing is striking in the context here, inasmuch as NC is putatively the anti-herd blog. But in the case of vaccines you’ve swallowed the propaganda whole, and are beyond self-awareness.

    Incidentally, your use of the term “freeloaders” is odd, given that the brunt of the outbreak is being borne by the unvaccinated. Of course, when the mythology around pertussis, for example, when stripped away shows that the outbreaks there are not due to the unvaccinated, and that in fact the recently-vaccinated may pose the greatest risk to others (as they shed germs). But I suspect you are not interested in facts here.

    I am used to this atmosphere in the usual propaganda arms of media, and the comment boards with their paid sock puppets and hysterical trolls who seek to make sure everyone else is as scared and compliant as they are. But the dissonance is striking in NC, which has boldly and steadfastly detailed the breakdown in nearly every system we have – except, apparently, vaccines. The magical island of immortality, unicorns, and free lunches.

    1. Lambert Strether

      To my simple mind, people stopped vaccinating for measels, herd immunity fell below the threshold, and the predicted happens.

      It’s like somebody put the Broad Street pump handle back on, and low and behold, a cholera outbreak. No magic, no unicorns, no free lunch.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        I think one solution is simply not to insure unvaccinated people for preventable diseases.

        If they are willing to take the risk of catching measles, they shouldn’t ask the rest of the insurance (or taxpayer) pool to pay for their recklessness.

      2. vidimi

        i think mcmike has a point in that the consequences you ascribe are only preventable if the vaccines well and truly work. without solid proof, this is something that folks are right to be skeptical about given the lack of regulations around and the perverse incentives of these companies.

        1. McMike

          It’s not just a question of: do they work? It’s a question of: are they worth the trade-offs?

          This is a disease-by-disease and person-by-person conversation. An individual choice about their own/children’s health and choice to inject pharmaceutical chemicals into their bodies. Regardless of the blanket “because I said so” reply of Lambert and the CDC, which seeks to grant Papal infallibility to the entire three-dozen long list of diseases against which we seek to vaccinate our infants.

          There are in fact side effects to vaccine, known and unknown, non-negligible in morbidity and frequency, to these vaccines including horrible neurological decay, severe allergies, extreme fever, and sometimes death. This is not in dispute, if not widely known. These vaccines are not without immediate, significant risk. This risk is believed to be heightened for certain at-risk children, alas a connection that is poorly understood, and currently only generally identifiable in hindsight – only after the unlucky children disappear into catatonia or tremors or encephalitis or death after vaccination, do we realize that they were perhaps particularly vulnerable.

          Also unknown and possibly unknowable is what are the long term effects on our body’s systems and healthfulness of imposing a sustained assault on nearly new babies from a variety of chemicals, compounds, toxins, adjuncts, animal cells, disease cells, and GMO drugs – in combination with each other and with other environmental and dietary toxins.

          On the other side is indeed: do the vaccines really work as advertised? And: will they fall victim to the same misuse, overuse, and nature’s inventiveness as have, for example, antibiotics. And: a variety of the questions about the list of 30-some supposedly dread diseases over which we are willing to subject the entire world to medical experimentation in order to “conquer.”

          In that light, some parents choose to be more cautious about vaccines and skeptical of the vaccine industry than they are afraid of HPV, chicken pox, or measles, just to name a few.

          Are vaccines succumbing to overuse already? There is evidence of this. The authorities are of course doubling down, and blaming the unvaccinated. Blaming the deviants. If everyone would just line up at the gate they insist, then the shots will set you free.

          Are our bodies being gypped of the chance to develop as we have become evolutionarily and genetically programed to do, flowing back millions of years into the past? That goes without saying. The vaccine premise; however, is that this human system is fatally flawed, and also that technology can fix it, and fix it without consequence. My God the hubris in that.

          But I am used to this discussion, and used to the calls by the sons of eugenics advocates for stronger enforcement, and of the medically fear-addled who would gladly strap my child to a gurney and inject them with 30 different vaccines, in vain hope that it protects someone else from the flu, or protects us all from the scourge of chickenpox. Or from the fecaly-transmitted polio for that matter. They are not interested in any of this nuance, they just are afraid, and want to be protected, and want to believe that the government and drug companies will ride in like John Wayne and save us all, and that they’ll be saved without having to pay a price. They are scared witless of their own bodies, and the government and drug companies are the cure. Get in line, and get your shot, or be shamed and prosecuted. Defiance is deviance.

          What interests me alone though is the remarkable tunnel of exemption granted to vaccines here in NC. This place, I like think of as a refuge from the group-think and knee jerk compliance with authorities and with the assurance of corporate PR people. Skeptical of propaganda, challenging conventional wisdom, resisting the fascist-corporatist state. But there’s an asterisk in this score: the skepticism is for almost everything having to do with everything government or corporate, except vaccines. Effin’ magic they are.

          Measles = evil
          Vaccines = magic
          Defiance = deviance

          1. James Levy

            There are mountains of historical evidence that critical vaccines like German Measles, Whopping Cough, Smallpox, Diphtheria, tetanus, and polio have saved millions of lives. That you want to be a free rider on this process because you fear the “real of imagined” (two can play at that game) side effects just shows what a selfish jerk you are and what depraved indifference you have to others who might catch these dangerous diseases. Perhaps atoms don’t exist and god created the world 6000 years ago in 6 days–your opinion has about as much weight as those lofty pronouncements.

            Listen, you want to indulge the fantasy that everyone is out to cheat you and medicine is a hoax, then never go to doctors, but don’t risk the lives and health of others because you labor under the fantasy that science is a scam and vaccines aren’t worth the “risks”–or better yet, move to someplace where they don’t have vaccines and antibiotics and write us back about how healthy everyone is not being subjected to the wiles of the evil Pharmaceutical companies.

            1. Iolair

              Hey, this was interesting:

              A discussion group of vaccine sales reps for pharma. Hint: they’re not talking about how many lives they’re going to save. Money money money. Such humanitarians.

              Also, it sort of sounds like it might be smart to short Merck.

            2. vidimi

              i think the argument is
              some critical vaccines are great != all vaccines are great

              the issue is not the science behind vaccination but the corporations pushing the vaccines.

            1. Propertius

              I don’t. I’m pretty generally opposed to making the innocent suffer for the folly of others.

          2. Iolair

            shhhhh McMike — you’re going to scare THE HERD. It’s important that they stay true believers till the end. Makes THE HERD easier to manage.

            I wonder what they would think if they knew the planned Ebola virus vaccines don’t contain killed or denatured Ebola virus at all, but Vesicular Stomatitis virus or (gasp) Rabies virus! It’s a semantic thing, I guess. A vaccine used for Ebola is not the same thing as an Ebola vaccine.

            I personally opted out of the madness when the doctor who had just vaccinated my newborn daughter with the brand new Hepatitis B vaccine couldn’t provide any proof that that it was going to protect her 18 years hence when she became sexually active.

            That vaccine was administered because the doctor was told to, and because somebody makes money doing it. Not for any legitimate medical reason.

            When it comes time to cull THE HERD, I’m pretty sure vaccines are going to be featured prominently in the process.

            1. Vatch

              Hepatitis is not a childhood illness, so children do not need to be vaccinated against it. Measles and mumps are childhood illnesses, so there’s a stronger case for vaccinating them against those diseases.

                1. Vatch

                  As Vidimi and others have pointed out, some vaccines are great, and others are not. One can vigorously oppose required HPV and hepatitis vaccinations and still enthusiastically support vaccination against measles, tetanus, mumps, and a few other diseases.

          3. Vatch

            “Are vaccines succumbing to overuse already? There is evidence of this.”

            Could you please point us to this evidence? Is measles one of the diseases in this category?

          4. Jack

            “We don’t know the long-term effects.”

            Immunity. That’s the long-term effect. I thought we’d settled this nonsense after we’d wiped out polio through vaccination. Any cost-benefit analysis is going to show very clearly that a minority of people suffering side-effects, some even dying, is well worth significantly reducing or even effectively eliminating whole illnesses.

                1. McMike

                  Except, of course, the small detail, that the vast vast vast majority of people who get the flu don’t, die from it.

                2. vidimi

                  count me in among those who think the flu vaccine is bunk. influenza mutates way too quickly for vaccination to viably defend against it. i caught the virus just months after getting the inoculation a few years ago, won’t do it again.

                  1. Vatch

                    Yeah, that happens. I guess the decision on whether or not to get the influenza vaccine depends on how severely type A influenza affects a particular person. Some people are flat on their backs for a week, followed by 3 or 4 weeks of fatigue and residual coughing. Others are sick for 4 days, and are fully recovered in less than 2 weeks. A person in the former category would be wise to get the vaccine.

                    Anecdote: at my office this season, all but 3 of the employees were vaccinated against flu. So far, none of the vaccinated people have gotten the flu, but 2 of the 3 unvaccinated people have been sick with influenza. This has occurred in a season in which the vaccine is considered less effective than it usually is. The season’s not over, so it’s still possible for some of us vaccinated folks to get the disease, but so far, it hasn’t happened.

    2. James Levy

      The fact that measles vaccine has saved untold thousands of lives is not a “big lie”. The fact that smallpox vaccine has saved millions is an unquestionable fact for anyone who has even the most cursory knowledge of history. You have lived too long in a world where those evil doctors and pharma companies have protected your ass with antibiotics (or are they a scam, too?) , but don’t worry, one day the economy will no longer be able to support modern medicine with all its contradictions and we can all go back to those great old days of cholera, diphtheria, and plague outbreaks (but they won’t really be happening, because the fact that germs cause disease is, presumably, a big lie, too).

  8. cwaltz

    I think Obama screwed the pooch in making Obamacare a state run program(pretty much guaranteeing it is going to be a 50 state patchwork mess but will be able to have costs shifted to states) but found these numbers interesting.

    I wonder if the opinions will hold up when the cost shifting does begin or if like Medicaid it will incur cuts every time a state does not have the will to tax people more.

    1. ambrit

      It will end up in taxing ‘people’ more. It all turns on what is admitted as a tax for discussion purposes. By not doing anything, the States will force many people to spend a lot more of their available money, and credit. That is a tax any way you look at it. That money and credit will have been withdrawn from some other use and thrown to the MIC and Financials, starving other productive members of the business world. The ripple effect will extend that tax into other spheres of the economy. The other ‘tax’ will be the outright degradation and shortening of a persons life, many peoples lives.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We cut inflation by taxing.

        Curiously, Inflation is a hidden tax.

        It sounds like homeopathy…you cure inflation with inflation, and taxes with more taxes.

        Maybe we fight neoliberalism with more neoliberalism, homeopathically.

  9. TarheelDem

    The face-off over Ukraine has killed nuclear cooperation between the United States and Russia. You have permission to begin freaking out.

    Victoria Nuland: “Mission accomplished!”

    1. Antifa

      Nuclear cooperation between the Russians and Americans is when we fire everything we’ve got at each other, all at once, in a global symphony of mutually assured destruction. Each side will be absolutely right to do so, and will have God on their side throughout this brief exercise. Should take about 30 minutes, tops, to eradicate the entire biosphere.

  10. MikeNY

    Re Chris Kyle, American Sniper.

    We had no right to invade a sovereign nation, occupy it against the will of the majority of its citizens, and patrol their streets.

    As some neocon famously said, “Superpowers make their own reality”.

    The Platonic form of hubris.

    1. Antifa

      Connect the dots between American phrases like “Manifest Destiny” from the 1800’s, “Lebensraum” from the German’s Third Reich in the mid-1900’s, and the current Western “War on Terror.” They all have a common trait of a very few rich fellows getting a whole lot richer by these national adventures at creating a new reality on the ground.

      The vanity and insanity of it is revealed by asking what America will actually do if it someday actually does govern every square inch of our planet? Answer: conquer some more. The ocean depths. The asteroid belt. Mars. Pluto. Whoever’s currently orbiting Keplar-444. They’re not like us, so they’ve gotta go.

      It’s a mindset. Hubris is just one of its symptoms.

      War is like a gold rush. The people who get rich off it aren’t the guys with picks and shovels, or rifles and bombs. It’s the people who sell these tools to the guys who wield them. Those guys die trying, or they get to go home some day and wonder what that was all about.

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for link. Shorter Gawker: Chait can dish it out but not take it. This is undoubtedly a pretty common trait among those who pronounce from on high. Since Yves mentions Finkelstein it should be emphasized that a motive for Dershowitz to destroy Finkelstein’s career was undoubtedly Finkelstein’s nailing Dershowitz for plagiarism. Perhaps the debate should not be PC versus free speech but PC versus honest speech. Say what you want but be candid about where you are coming from.

      1. Carolinian

        This just in: Finkelstein speaks on (the just departed) Joan Peters and also comments re the Dersh. Here’s a taste:

        The journalist Jack Newfield memorably described former New York City Mayor Edward Koch as a “toady to the powerful and a bully to the powerless.”

        If you multiply this description a thousand fold, you might begin to approach the real-life Alan Dershowitz.

        more

  11. DJG

    Chait on P.C. I have a strong suspicion that liberals would rather pass the talking stick around than redistribute income and power in a real way. Liberals don’t want real change: They want re-branding. When the stakes are so low, the fighting is all the fiercer. Interesting that the piece brings up McKinnon. My hypothesis about McKinnon is that she was mainly an authoritarian who dressed it all up on civil-liberties lingo. Who can forget the anti-pornography ordinances? So what is to be done? The corrective: These folks should be reading Susie Bright, who makes a hash of political correctness, in part because so much of political correctness is ostensibly about protecting women. Often, from their own sexuality. I suggest her memoir, Big Sex Little Death.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Whatever this article is actually ABOUT, I hardly think protests against commencement speeches by Rice, LaGarde or Birgeneau are illustrative of the same “principles” as a theater group’s refusal to perform The Vagina Monologues ” because the material excludes women without vaginas.”

      Rice, LaGarde and Birgeneau are prominent, unrepentant criminals attempting to leverage that criminality into lucrative careers on the celebrity speeches-for-hire circuit.

      The theater group is just stupid.

      1. DJG

        Agreed. If a graduating class says that it doesn’t want to have some junketing jillionaire address them and tell them about the wonders of last-stage capitalism, for who knows what speaker’s fee, protests are fine with me. I’m concerned more with the outbreak of puritanism that often is styled “political correctness.”

        1. JTFaraday

          Well, you can untwist your pantaloons (those are coming back into style by the way), Conor Friedersdorf confirms that an internet miracle has occurred:

  12. I.G.I.

    Re: Greece/ Syriza/ Tsipras

    I am positive the Greek PM has ruffed quite a few feathers in the EU and US by disavowing the latest statement from Brussels, condemning Russia.

    I seriously begin to worry some kind of coup will be instigated in Greece, the conservative forces in the EU and US won’t allow this to continue.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US-India nuke deal – a (editor’s note: should be ‘another’) big win for corporations.

    Anyone keeping score? Using college football scoring rules, I guess it would be:

    Corporations: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000

    People: 0

    Roughly…

  14. Hue

    The Atlanta Black star piece is piss poor journalism. I don’t know why you have it up there.

    The MTV and Pew Surveys that the writer cites has nothing to imply racially progressive millennials and comparing them to any people before them, “racist generations.” Racial sociology and politics is difficult, but that is not excuse to use misleading titles and abuse studies to fit one’s purpose of cynicism. The writer is just baiting for an argument.

    1. vidimi

      i thought it was pretty good at pointing out that white elephant in the room that is white privilege.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      This is the best you can do? Looks like the article hit a nerve.

      Pew is a highly reputable research organization. The finding that a large % (I don’t have time to look up the %) of millennials actually believe that white people suffer as much from discrimination as people of color tells you everything. That is as bad as white people (which the study also cites) saying they think race relations are just fine. Sure, just fine for them.

      1. craazyman

        This was a while back but here’s a politician who could unite communities in a color-blind bliss.

        They don’t make them like this anymore. It’s a shame indeed.

        I hope this link works because this is the leadership we’re lacking and we all suffer from it.

        I don’t know if Jews are part of the white community or if they have their own community, but I do know this. I had a Jewishh girlfriend back in The Day and she’d turn from snow-white to burnt-toast brown after a weekend trip to Florida. that’s for sure. I don’t know where they’d put her — white, black or Jewish.

      2. Scylla

        Sorry I am a day late. I saw data a month or so ago from a similar study (or perhaps it was even the same one) that also put the question of discrimination against whites to minorities, and I was shocked to see that a significant percentage (less than 50%, but I believe it was in the neighborhood of 30%) of young African Americans agreed that white people were discriminated against.
        What is that quote? “Repeat a lie often enough and it will become accepted as truth”?

    3. craazyman

      It’s a pretty useless piece of word garbage. Major major major league “ED” — Editorial Dysfunction. Wimpy words and flaccid figuring do not arouse an honest reader into a state of excitement. Furiously pounding away with risible (I knew there’d be an opportunnity to use that word if I wanted to, after I saw it in a Nigel Farage interview & had to look it up, that’s a good thing about the internet, you can just push a button and words appear with their definitions, no big dictionary hafl way across the room. That was always a pain, gettig off the couch to go get the dictiioary. It’s amazing people every learned how to speak in the first place, it must have been exhausting, However I’m using the word here even though it’s not one of my faves because it starts with an “r” ad it works in the sentennce. But I don’t think it’s very meliflouous and it’s not, at least in my mind, evocative of the pheomenon it references. It sounds too clinical. Anyway, back to my comment . . . ) rhetorical thrusts. Once I hit the phrase “white community” I could’nt read any further and closed my mind so it couldn’t penetrate me any more. It frankly made me feel gross and mentally nauseous, it made me feel like I was just its love doll being pounded with wretched rhetoric, not some human being iwth a mind and soul. .. Black community is just as stupid. It’s something people just make up when they want somethig, usually votes of some kind. And where is this white community? I’ve seen communities with white people and ones with black people but there’s usually lot of colors everywehre. Faaaak Anyway, this isn’t to say Americans who’re poor and have darker pigments in their skin don’t have it bad. They have it bad. They do. Part of their problem is the idiots in charge of almost evverything and part of the problem is that even if decent smart people are in charge it’s still hard as hell. Why is it always so hard? I don’t know. Maybe somebody knows and they can tell us all but from what I’ve seen and heard, and read I doubt it. Also, I would say the article is certainly worth posting as a link. I’m not criticizing that decision. I’m just being open with my feelings. I’m just being honest!

      1. optimader

        “Once I hit the phrase “white community” ..”
        Ding, but I read it.
        In all fairness I’m no expert to probe the “racial” sensibilities of the millennial “white community” but my sense of it is they are no more “racist”, or maybe more precisely “ethicist” than any other racial/ethnic millennial subset. As for me, the notion I am congenitally racist because I am Caucasian is more laughable than insulting because I don’t take the premise seriously.Hell, I’m half Irish!


        Blazing Saddles
        Olson Johnson: All right… we’ll give some land to the niggers and the chinks. But we don’t want the Irish!
        [everyone complains]

        Olson Johnson: Aw, prairie shit… Everybody!
        [everyone rejoices

        1. Lambert Strether

          “White community leaders called for calm.”

          “Why do white community leaders never talk about white-on-white crime?”

          We live in a world of discourse where the absurdities are stacked so high….

  15. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Guidebook Writer Stumbles Upon New England Town Too Quaint For Human Eyes

    I read this and thought… Arkham or Innsmouth?

    1. ambrit

      I hadn’t made the connection. Now that you mention it, R’Lyeh?
      Someone had some fun with the idea before:

  16. Santi

    “$country PM $president unveils cabinet of mavericks and visionaries,” says The Guardian

    I thought they had already spent this headline with Ukraine ;)

  17. barrisj

    As predicted, Hezbollah has hit back against an IDF patrol in the Shebaa Farm region of Israeli-occupied Lebanon in response to last week’s IDF air assaults in the Golan Heights against Hezbollah encampments. Bibi sez he’ll respond real good to “unprovoked and cowardly” anti-tank missile attacks…and off we go, yet again. The Israelis of course are expecting 100% US backing for whatever they choose to do, further complicating the “Who’s on first?” clusterfuck that is the Middle East today. Unfortunately for Israel, Hezbollah comes well-armed and motivated for the next round, and Bibi could well bite off more than he can chew in aid of his re-election campaign. Let us see what the “official” US response is, in contradistinction to backdoor whisperings to its clients.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      ” The Israelis of course are expecting 100% US backing for whatever they choose to do….”

      Things could get interesting if “Bibi” ever starts to worry about Nazis in Ukraine. He hasn’t said anything so far, but he’s got to have, at least, entertained a few “what ifs.”

      “Email From US Special Forces Veteran; 500 US Blackwater Mercenaries in Ukraine? US Backs Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Michael Shedlock (EM)”

  18. Sue Goldstein

    NPR story aired on Morning Edition talking about why you should support the TPP as a way to stop illegal wildlife trafficking

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: California’s epidemic of vaccine denial, mapped Washington Post

    “My colleague Jason Millman reported last week on the results of a study showing that vaccine skeptics tend to cluster together in like-minded, often wealthy communities.”

    “Wealth” always seems to come up in discussions of “vaccine denial.” And “wealth” is unambiguously correlated with level of education. That Mississippi has the highest vaccination rate and so, presumably, the lowest rate of “vaccine denial,” kind of speaks for itself in terms of the correlation between wealth, education and “vaccine denial.”

    So I’m wondering how much of that vaccine-denying “wealth” is accumulated by villifying “vaccine denial” in the rest of the less wealthy, less educated population?

    Actually, I’m not wondering that at all.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Pockets of wealth also tend to correlate with support for rampant NeoLiberalism. “Exceptions for me, consequences for hoi polloi”. Even if the exceptions may bring on the consequences for hoi polloi.

      Perhaps the “smartest guys in the room” don’t always chose wisely, but rather on the basis of their supposed superiority, potentially to the detriment of everyone else. We have seen a few examples of this recently, after all.

      Are improvements to vaccination protocols indicated? Quite likely. Is the whole concept of vaccination fatally flawed? I have not seen this demonstrated. The researchers & epidemiologists associated with the development & original adoption of programs of widespread vaccination were not usually motivated by dollars, but by a desire to reduce the sum of human suffering & death. Today, with the modern pharmaceutical industry in the catbird seat, this has likely changed, rather like when a useful & beneficial enterprise falls under the sway of some private equity behemoth; in both instances, the likelihood of corners being cut in the interest of maximal wealth extraction becomes a present & future danger. Crapification. But to read backwards from the current, compromised situation, to a presumption that there was never anything to it flies in the face of experience.

      For me, I’m glad that smallpox is functionally extinct. I am glad that I didn’t live my life under the shadow of polio; too bad for those people in Nigeria & Pakistan who still deal with this killer, eh? Why do they have to fear it? Do I have to ask?

      Autism may have other environmental causes. Are we really sure that vaccination is the only possible cause, especially here in the First World where we live in a chemical soup even before birth? Skepticism about one’s skepticism is in order when all the facts may not yet be in.

      1. vidimi

        i thought the myth that vaccines can cause autism was thoroughly dispelled a while back. perhaps somebody else can confirm.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, it has been.

          There is a an argument to be made about vaccination for things that have a low mortality rate, in that kids now get 3X the vaccinations that kids in my day did. There might be a connection to the huge number of highly allergic children we have now. But not getting vaccinated for measles? Are you nuts?

          There is a significant contingent of people among the affluent who are so into alternative medicine that they shun conventional medicine. I think conventional medicine has a lot of shortcomings and blind spots, but this is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

          1. OIFVet

            I have mixed feelings about vaccines. Many are indeed very effective and we are better for them. Then again, I am not very happy about repeating the same vaccine more often than necessary, while the previous vaccination still offers effective protection. For example, all of us who deployed to the ME had to get small pox shot. I had one at birth and apparently it was still effective because it definitely killed off the live virus small pox vaccine. So while the rest of my unit was walking around with oozing sores on their shoulders, all I had is a small inflammation. How about antibody titer to determine whether a booster is needed in the first place???

            Perhaps the worst example of vaccine abuse is at the veterinary clinics. I prefer to have my cats receive non-adjuvanted vaccines in order to decrease the risk of fibrosarcoma at the injection site (learned that lesson the hard way), but that leaves the matter of having to vaccinate them every year rather than every three. This despite the fact that most of the vaccines are effective for a much longer period. Some vets will administer antibody titer to determine whether a booster shot is needed, most won’t. And of course not vaccinating the cats would make it hard to take them to the vet to begin with. So we end up over-vaccinating our pets in the name of pharmaceutical’s and vets’ bottom line.

            So while I appreciate the benefits of vaccines, I am rather cynical about just how often we need to boosters for some of them.

        2. Jack

          Beyond dispelled. The actual paper that started this particular line of stupid was retracted by its authors. Not that it actually said what all the vaccine denialists think it said to begin with, all it did was note that a number of kids who had gotten the MMR vaccine also had autism. It never said there was causation involved, nor was the note ever followed up by more in-depth research. This is like how no anti-GMO advocate has ever bothered to actually read the famous rat study. If they had they would know it a. had nothing to do with GMOs, full stop, and b. was so badly conducted as to be essentially worthless.

          This guy is quite ruthless at the debunking:



  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    If SWIFT can exclude Russia today, it can exclude anyone, including China, but not the hegemon, in the future.

    1. David Mills

      I think that SWIFT will be more prudent than to try to exclude Russia from the payments platform given the transaction volume of hydrocarbon exports. Europe would vapour-lock if they were told that they would have to settle energy transactions in Ruble, Yuan or physical gold (ideally 90 days in advance, because markets… ).

    1. Antifa

      An old Russian joke:

      A peasant farmer walks over to his neighbor’s place for a visit, and sees the man’s dog wolfing down a pile of wilted cabbages, eating with apparent gusto. He asks his friend how this can be.

      “Oh, it’s all he eats nowadays,” the man replies.

      “But he’s a dog! Does he really like cabbages?”

      “Well, he didn’t for the first few months, but now . . .”

      ***
      Perhaps the elites have observed that the proles are getting rather skinny, and have gotten a wild look in their eyes.

    2. windsock

      If you read that, he’s saying that a Euro banking union would be a better option and that austerity threatens the Eurozone as a whole without one.

      But has he challenged the man who gave him his job, UK Chancellor George Osborne, over his austerity policies?

      No.

      Hypocritical lickspittle would be a polite way of describing the situation.

  21. jfleni

    RE: Technological Unemployment and our Need for Micro Colleges

    Yes, Yes, that’s what we need, nore cow colleges-in-a box! And the “Futurists” are laughing all the way to the bank!

    1. jrs

      Have you ever tried to get short term training for a skill within a field (not the field itself that takes more than 3 months), only to be endlessly frustrated in finding such at a price that was remotely affordable to a middle class wage slave (2-4 year programs are not focused on this), and to realize that the only choice is autodidactism? Ah yes teaching yourself stuff from books is so much better than having the right classes available.

      Maybe they shouldn’t call it “college” because that word has a lot of hoity toity (but it’s not Hahverd) when we’re talking adults learning new job skills and I’m mostly thinking within a profession they are already familiar with. And making it for profit to be paid with student loans or something is almost certainly a disaster. And a lot of the things they mention as examples I don’t think can be learned in a mere 3 months.

      But the need is VERY REAL and not so trivial and laughable. Meanwhile it’s self-teaching from books etc. when nothing better can be found.

      1. jrs

        I think at one time community colleges may have been the ideal vehicle for this, but they’re very exclusively degree focused now. College extension programs I know were once the ideal vehicle for this, but they have drastically reduced the courses offered (maybe 1/4th of what it used to be). Maybe because employers don’t pay for such education (or actually ANY education) anymore and noone can afford to pay out of pocket for any education that isn’t degree credentialing anymore or something.

  22. Re CA Vineyards and WATER

    The Harvard, California vineyards investments, piece, brought to mind the following piece, starring CalPERS, Dick Blum/CB Richard Ellis Senator Feinstein’s husband/partner in crime (see, also, Yasha Levine’s Exiled piece: ):

    03/24/10

  23. Matthew G. Saroff

    Greece does have a bargaining chips in addition to the threat of default, though I do agree that default is their best one.

    First is declaring their debt to be Odious Debt, which is technically not default.

    The second is to use Russia sanctions go play both ends against the middle.

    EU sanctions against Russia must be renewed in July.

    Greece can use this to extract concessions from the Troika, or loans/grants from Russia.

    The Russian’s have a bunch of money that would have went to the Ukrainians, but for Victoria Nuland’s hard on for another color revolution.

    My money is on a Greek military coup sponsored by the US State security apparatus if the EU Sanctions thing happens.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Odious Debt is a term used by Michael Hudson and has no legal standing, I hate to tell you.

      The Russians are in a heap of financial and economic hot water themselves. A drowning person does not make for a good life-saver. They can do some stuff on the geopolitical front (Nato would NOT like to see Greece and Russia get chummy) but not economically.

  24. Re CA Vineyards and WATER

    Re comment 26, above, for those with further interest, more California winery investment pieces (along with the other four pieces ‘devoted’ to US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Dick Blum) can be found here, , under:

    Will Parrish’s ongoing series on the Northcoast’s sprawling wine industry.

    and

    Will Parrish & Darwin Bond-Graham’s 5-part series on financier and UC regent Richard Blum.

    (I neither work for The Ava, or had a hand in writing the above referenced articles; I do have an interest though in sharing the sickening and obscene extent of US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s conflict of public interest profiteering off of both, California and US, citizens (re both the MIC, and the United States Post Office sell offs: 07/20/11 (Three and a half years now that it has gone uncontested in any EFFECTIVE manner) )

  25. Sanctuary

    Re:Greece will not default – PM Tsipras BBC

    I think you might be jumping the gun on what Tsipras is actually saying in this article and possibly what the German response is. The title to the article is “Greece will not default – PM Tsipras” but that is NOT what Tsipras says in the article. In the article he says,””We won’t get into a mutually destructive clash but we will not continue a policy of subjection,” That is NOT the same thing as saying Greece will not default. The language is subtle but actually strong. What I read from his statement is that he’s saying “we’re not going to get into a tit-for-tat row with you, we’re just going to act in our own nation’s best interests.” If that means scuttling privatization deals (as they did today) proactively, then so be it. What I think he means is that they aren’t going to wait for ECB/EU/Troika actions and then respond. They are just going to act and those actions will always be focused upon ending any “policy of subjection”. If the ECB/EU/Troika try to take retributive actions against the Greeks, they will merely keep focusing on ending other policies of subjection. If the ECB/EU/Troika proceeds to take actions that kick Greece out of the Eurozone, then so be it. It won’t be because Greece proactively defaulted, rather because the ECB/EU/Troika ended the relationship, i.e., committed a ‘self-destructive’ rather than responded with a ‘mutually destructive’ act.

    Likewise, the language in the German response is very loose. The German vice chancellor says, “I cannot imagine a haircut [debt reduction],” but that is not the same thing as “there will be NO debt reduction.” By Tsipras putting any Grexit moves in ECB/German hands, he’s betting that they know the Eurozone is far more beneficial to them as is than if it collapsed and they were forced to use a Deutsche mark that is 30% more valuable than is the current Euro. He’s forcing them to take responsibility for any negative consequences by making them make the forced Grexit response. Contrary to current German bluffing, a Grexit would not be contained and would be every bit as catastrophic as it would have been in 2012. Negative consequences arising from German forced Grexit would be blamed on Germany, not Greece. He’s betting they are too afraid of going that far and I think he may be right.

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