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Links 10/17/11

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FBI DNA database plans under fire BBC

Verizon Wireless Now Collecting Your Web, Location, App Data PC Magazine

‘Robot Biologist’ Solves Complex Problem from Scratch Science Daily (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal New York Times

Many officials hold leases with shale drillers Philadelphia Post-Gazette (hat tip reader Michael W)

Mapping America’s Shadowy Drone Wars Nick Turse, TomDispatch

U.S. military denies decision to quit Iraq after 2011 Raw Story

Europe’s lost decade as $7 trillion loan crunch looms Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Benford’s Law: Are Euro States and US Stocks Fiddling Their Figures? Psy-Fi (hat tip Richard Smith)

In Herman Cain’s Writings, a Startling Lack of Foresight Swampland (hat tip Ed Harrison)

Long ties to Koch brothers key to Cain’s campaign USA Today (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Cornel West, 14 Others Arrested In Front of Supreme Court For Peaceful Assembly Alternet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Debt, Deficits, and Modern Monetary Theory Harvard International Review (hat tip reader Arthur)

Obama extends support for protesters Financial Times. A saying I learned in Caracas: “A politician is someone who gets in front of a mob and tries to call it a parade.”

Occupy Pensacola: Alleged “Conservatives” Better Wake Up Karl Denninger. I don’t know what and where the hysteria about the “progressive stack” started. It’s a formal mechanism for making sure minority views (and that does not necessarily mean “minority” from the demographic standpoint) are aired.

Losing Their Immunity Paul Krugman, New York Times

How Occupy Wall Street Really Got Started Andy Kroll, Mother Jones

Call for inquiry into Occupy Wall Street police officer Guardian. Why is this story not in the New York Times?

NYPD using strobing flashlights to interfere with cellphone cams? Lambert Strether. I’m waiting for someone to use the trick from Cryptonomicon (and no, I’m not telling you).

Antidote du jour. Reader Michael T’s nomination for Steve Schwarzman’s look alike (and Michael T knows Schwarzman personally):

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82 comments

  1. Tyzao

    maybe you already saw this article by Matt Taibbi

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/attorneys-general-settlement-the-next-big-bank-bailout-20111005

    he was on the news here in Berlin this weekend talking about how the Occupy marches are serving to inform/educate the public and their real power is yet to come, if and when they can connect with the Mortgage fraud — think it was CNN europe or maybe BBC, thought it was interesting and then went looking for it this morning

  2. rjs

    yves linked to this story last week; here’s my emailed commentary on it:

    i was quite surprised on thursday to see the ohio county i live in, Geauga, enter into a class action against MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System), MERSCORP, & its member banks, on behalf of all counties in ohio…you’ll recall that the banks formed MERS in the 90s to get around the requirements (& fees) of state laws that required every mortgage (deed of trust) and note (obligation to pay the debt) to be recorded manually at the county courthouse where the real estate transaction took place…since it’s inception, most every mortgage transferred has gone through this MERS system, and MERS has claimed to now hold title to roughly half of the home mortgages in the nation — something between 60 & 65 million loans…we’ve talked about challenges in several states as to whether MERS had legal status to foreclose, and the fabrication of documents used in that process, but the geauga lawsuit goes to a deeper problem…the complication that arose during the securitization process (wherein banks packaged the loans into MBS, then sliced & diced them into CDOs of multiple tranches) was that the electronic record keeping of the multiple rapid security transfers broke down, & no reliable paper trail was maintained…so the geauga county lawsuit addresses this problem, & charges that the “defendants systematically broke chains of title throughout Ohio counties’ public land records by creating “gaps” due to missing mortgage assignments they failed to record, or by recording patently false and/or misleading mortgage assignments. Defendants’ purposeful failure to record has eviscerated the accuracy of Ohio counties’ public land records, rendering them unreliable and unverifiable — damage to public land records that may never be entirely remedied” …what we see here is that because of the banks slipshod record keeping, even those people who have been paying faithfully on their mortgages may not have clear title to their homes when their mortgage is paid off, possibly making it difficult for subsequent owners to get title insurance…it goes without saying that this is national problem; there is no way of telling from this lawsuit how many home titles may be clouded, but i know that this county & its politicians are very conservative, low-key & laissez-faire, so they wouldnt have acted if it werent a serious problem & they didnt have MERS dead to rights…

    1. Tyzao

      I’ve been wondering about the MERS-mess as well. The primary purpose of a county-courthouse and clerk (official records, deed books, plat books) is to keep official records for all people and places within that county, in order to maintain typology as well as chronological accuracy. If BoA and others are no longer required to record assignments in the county where that particular property was located then (1) how can it be determined if that particular county court even has jurisdiction over matters concerned with a single specific parcel of property and (2) doesn’t this contradict hundreds of years of precedence for every other preceding Deed and associated Mortgage which had been recorded?

      While I am sure there are many other aspects and facets of the massive fraud which has occurred over the past 10+ years in the Banking and Mortgage industries, I keep coming back to the local rule of law. I don’t see how any of this works itself out, until every single property in the USA is revisited and verified. MERS and other likeminded “systems” were created under an assumption of ultra vires.

      1. Moopheus

        “(1) how can it be determined if that particular county court even has jurisdiction over matters concerned with a single specific parcel of property”

        Unless the banks figure out a way to physically move the property around, that shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

        What I don’t quite get is why a) only a few counties are pursuing this and b) why it took them so long to take action. Did they have no clue what was being done?

        1. Tyzao

          I know it is highly theoretical, but if an assignment is no longer required by law at the local level, then how can the local courts have jurisdiction over the matter when no public record exists?

          With regard to your “a” why only a few counties have pursued these actions, I would gather it has more to do with the substantial and pervasive influence of unbridled economic development/republicanism dominating local politics across most of the country. Further evidence of this is the USA’s complete disregard for land use management (and the dismantling or ineffectiveness of most comprehensive planning and zoning regulations) as well as having the least densely populated cities on the planet. Many of the same banking industries were working very hard at the local and regional levels to undermine, dilute and remove comprehensive planning and zoning regulations as well as statewide / regional consistency requirements in order to permit the massive transformation of mostly agricultural lands to low density single family housing (with meeting concurrency requirements for infrastructure and social services). Without the millions of subdivided properties throughout unincorporated parts of counties, all those homes would have never been built.

        2. LucyLulu

          You asked why so few counties are pursuing action. I’m not sure if your question was limited to Ohio, but in some states mortgage assignments are not required to be recorded. In addition, in states like my own, it is not unusual for there to be an original deed of trust recorded in the name of the originator and the only subsequent recording to be either a successor trustee for foreclosure filed, in the name of the servicer (perfectly legal), or the mortgage satisfaction. This makes it more difficult for counties to pursue legal remedy, as there is no access to assignments to even be aware of problems or know of MERS involvement.

          1. Tyzao

            The fact that mortgage assignments are no longer necessarily recorded at the county courthouse is a recent decision by a higher court or is that historically consistent? For example in Florida, it was only recently decided by an appeals court that recording assignments was no longer necessary. I thought for sure there must have been a federal code that required recording mortgage assignments in all 50 states at one point in time. I’m still not sure how banks have been able to get away with using the “Pay to the Order of [blank] without recourse” language, which is essentially an assignment without publicly recording where the real estate is located on Earth.

  3. Moopheus

    Re: Amazon, the example they give of the Penguin author who Penguin claimed was in direct competition. I think that may be wrong. It’s always been my understanding that the direct competition clause in the contract referred to sales of the specific title under contract. Authors are published by multiple publishers frequently; it’s not a violation. It may be that Penguin considered it a violation of an option clause, but that’s a separate issue.

    Also, I have to wonder how much traditional publisher support–editing, copyediting, proofreading, publicity, and so on–Amazon will provide. Admittedly, traditional publisher support for these function is also on the wane. But I have read unedited slush. I wouldn’t pay money for that.

    1. Moopheus

      Ha, now the article has been changed to say that a suit has been threatened but not actually filed.

  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘Slashing [euro zone banks'] loan book from $19 trillion to nearer $12 trillion … will be an ice-cold douche for the world.’ — Ambrose E-P

    He means a shower, ladies, comme on dit à Paris. Or maybe ol’ Ambrose is spinning a sly double entendre. It’s a chilling metaphor, to be sure — eek!

    ‘We all told too that the EU’s €440bn bail-out fund (EFSF) — at last approved after high drama in Slovakia — will be ramped up with “leverage”. It is assumed that German lawmakers will tamely go along with this.’

    That is like, so yesterday evening. Today’s installment of Europe’s Dostoyevskian melodrama takes an entirely new tack:

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear that “dreams that are taking hold again now that with this package everything will be solved and everything will be over on Monday won’t be able to be fulfilled,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, said at a news briefing in Berlin today.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-17/germany-shoots-down-dreams-of-early-end-to-europe-sovereign-debt-crisis.html

    ‘Dreams’ — oh cruel mistress! At least she didn’t say ‘delusions.’ But she implied it!

    Bloomberg has published a lovingly detailed financial-porn fantasy about the 3 trillion euro leveraged-EFSF dream:

    The EFSF and the ECB, with the collective backing of euro-area governments and possibly the IMF, would have to guarantee all new bonds issued by Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, France and Belgium for at least several years, or until a more permanent fix, such as jointly issued euro bonds, can be arranged. Data compiled by Bloomberg, and separately by the IMF, suggest those countries’ financing needs add up to about 2.5 trillion euros through 2015.

    In all, then, and adding in some buffer for error, 3 trillion euros would be the minimum amount that European governments must pledge to stop the crisis.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-17/europe-s-last-stand-in-financial-crisis-needs-overwhelming-firepower-view.html

    Ambrose E-P contemplates the knock-on effects, should this unlikely leveraged leviathan come to pass:

    The ECB can of course save Euroland, if it is willing to launch stimulus a l’outrance. A reflation policy would undoubtedly lift the South off the reefs … [but] requires an inflationary boom in Germany. That is the price that Germany must pay. But as events have made all too clear over recent months, this runs smack into German ideology and the Teutonic granite of the Bundesbank.

    It all comes down to the ECB. This is where the great cultural battle will play out. Aux armes, citoyens!

    1. Jim Haygood

      It’s gettin’ real down on the euro plantation:

      FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) — The yield premium demanded by investors to hold French government debt over German government bonds continued to rise Monday, with investors fretting over a potential hit to France’s public finances if banks are forced to recapitalize in the face of a Greek default. The spread between 10-year French bonds and German bunds widened 2.7 basis points to 95.3 basis points, its widest level since 1995.

      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/france-yield-premium-over-germany-at-euro-era-high-2011-10-17?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

      Wave goodbye to triple-A, mes amis!

      As Spanish granny woulda said:

      ‘BAZOOKA DE MIERRRRRRDA!!!!!’

  5. john

    Philadelphia Post-Gazette?! I’ve never been so offended. Pittsburgh is not in Philadelphia! I demand a full apology on behalf of Western Pennsylvania.

  6. wunsacon

    Did you see the Herman Cain articles on RawStory?
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/16/cain-the-war-in-iraq-wasnt-a-mistake/
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/16/cain-on-abortion-no-exceptions-for-rape-and-incest/
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/16/cain-still-believes-liberals-want-to-destroy-this-country

    This guy is unelectable.

    Why do the plutocrats fund such a loony lineup on the right? Do they want Obama to win or are they trying to push the Overton window to the right?

    1. Paul Tioxon

      This is the third set of stories posted on NC, and not here, or almost no other place do you find the one resume item that would qualify him as more than have a diploma from clown school. For 15 years, from 1989-1996, Herman Cain served on the Federal Reserve, culminating as a board of director and Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. Now, while this might not make him Alan Greenspan, it sure separates him from some guy from the burger industry who went onto the pizza industry. This position has the patina of outstanding pillar of the business and community, but does not make you a policy determining decision maker. Still, it is a long association with the Fed and should speak to his understanding of some of the issues he needs to address with a little more authority that he has been expressing. it also puts him in direct conflict with Ron Paul, and those vocal critics of the Fed who want to see it gone. This party is fielding candidates on the same stage who seem to have nothing in common when it comes to policy other than a desire for power.

      http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1011/Cains_Fed_friends.html?showall

      1. avgJohn

        Paul, I’m not so certain of his savvy with macro economic issues. Did you read the articles he wrote in 2005 and 2008, claiming the impending economic crisis, was simply scare tactics by Democrats? I saw Glen Beck do the same thing on his show.

        And ask how he(Cain) can be trusted with leading the national economy, he replied “Well, it’s real simple, Chuck,” Cain replied. “I have economic advisers working with me now who spend time studying these various analyses”. Spoken like a true CEO. If things go well, he will take sole credit, and if they fail, he’ll jump with his golden parachute.

        At least this is what the “NewAmerican” claims.

        http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/9372-herman-cain-admits-he-qmissedq-economic-crisis

      2. avgJohn

        Paul, I’m not so certain of his savvy with macro economic issues. Did you read the articles he wrote in 2005 and 2008, claiming the impending economic crisis, was simply scare tactics by Democrats? I saw Glen Beck do the same thing on his show.

        And ask how he(Cain) can be trusted with leading the national economy, he replied “Well, it’s real simple, Chuck,” Cain replied. “I have economic advisers working with me now who spend time studying these various analyses”. Spoken like a true CEO. If things go well, he will take sole credit, and if they fail, he’ll jump with his golden parachute.

        At least this is what the “NewAmerican” claims.

        (http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/9372-herman-cain-admits-he-qmissedq-economic-crisis)

    2. Moopheus

      Because there are plutocrats who support his views? His long affiliation with Koch-funded groups suggests just that. And these are folks who are used to the idea that they can get what they want if they throw enough money at it.

    3. Jim

      I haven’t read the stories, but concluded he was unelectable when he announced his support for a National Sales Tax. Moreover, the more Dems demonize the VAT, the more difficult it’s going to be for them to support one later. Everyone Wins.

  7. wunsacon

    >> ‘Robot Biologist’ Solves Complex Problem from Scratch Science Daily (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

    AI within our lifetimes. The economic value of human labor will drop to zero. What “economic system” works for landless laborers who are permanently unemployable?

    1. Nathanael

      What economic system works for people when there isn’t a demand for labor?

      “Socialism”, it’s called…. there are several varieties of it.

  8. Cletus Del Roy Spuckler

    Hey, everybody! I’m Cletus Del Roy Spuckler and I am so stupid. I’m the dumbest person on the planet. Durr, durrr, my brain is so tiny and small, I can’t even tie my own shoes. Oops, I just pooped my pants. I don’t even know what a toilet is. Just about the only two things I do know is that you can always trust Wall Street banks to serve the public interest, that’s number one; and the second true thing is this: the US government and the Mainstream Media say there is a dastardly plot by Iranians to send Mexican drug hitmen into the USA to commit Terrorism, and I have no reason to doubt them.

    I’m very scared. Very *very* scared.

    Hey, I’ve got an idea! Maybe we should bomb Iran, then launch a ground invasion, and then bail out the TBTF banks once again. My job was outsourced to India, and I’m unemployed, nevertheless I’ll be glad to chip in my Social Security and Medicare entitlements to bail out Wall Street if they need it! Finally, just to be on the safe side, put all those Occupy Wall Street protestors in jail.

    aSJGUA$*9wrg9j afdasf ag =a=a===== Whoops! Forgot how to type for a second there and just started banging my empty, fat head against the keyboard. I forget things like that all the time – how to type, how to use soap to wash my smelly armpits, people’s birthdays. Probably because I’m soooooo stupid!

    Well, I’d better get on with the rest of my stupid day and find out what David Ignatius of the Washington Post, Steve Clemons of the Atlantic, and Robert Siegel of NPR have to say about this Iranian terrorist plot.

    After getting well-informed on that subject, I’ll check out what Very Serious Reporters for the MSM (such as Andrew Ross Sorkin) have to say about honest hard-working bankers versus the Anti-Wall Street idiots protesting against them.

    If the MSM tells me the large banks are Too Big To Fail, they are not corrupt and serve the public interest, then I have no reason to doubt them. If they tell me the OWS protestors represent a greater threat to the American public than bankers, that must be true as well. Everyone knows the MSM is free of corporate money. No MSM reporter would have any reason to lie or misrepresent the truth, such as putting the interests of Wall Street over the American public. Oops, there I go, I just pooped my pants again.

    1. No Know

      Hey there Cletus. Ya say yer “scared”. Believe it’s spelt ‘skeered’. Gut to heer from ya though.

    2. ambrit

      Howdy Cletus;
      Boy, you done bin hornswaggled! An, you aint rite neither! How come you be readin? Thats fer sissies! Jes lissen to da radjio guys lak dem urly mornin radjio djs or good ol Rush. Thats allus you need.
      Yr cuz, Am.

    3. scraping_by

      The corporate right has always had a characerture they claimed to play to. Think of Nixon’s “Silent Majority.” Rush Limbaugh’s “Real Americans”. You can always cherry pick a few who fit that category and give them plenty of face time.

      And many of them are out here in the Heartland, or down in Dixie, or out in the Great Wide Open. Rural workers against urban workers. It’s a divide and conquer thing.

      OWS is about talking to the real members of the 99%. The ones who annoy the MSM by being “painfully sincere”. Getting away from stereotypes and back to a dialogue.

      While there will always be a handful of pathetic bullies who feel bigger for obeying, they’re a minority and would be troublemakers anywhere. NYPD is culling out their bozos and sending them to lower Manhattan even as we speak.

  9. Steve

    re: OWS

    Yves, is that your name i’ve seen attached to various emails helping these protesters to craft a message?

    Are you kidding, they’ve been out there an entire month and still haven’t put a coherent message together, besides “i hate the rich” and “i want free stuff”???

    Let me guess, next up is Obama (yes the same Obama who has taken more wall street contributions than any other politician in the history of our country) waiting in the wings to help these poor and desperate “99%” out with more freebies and handouts.

    1. wunsacon

      Did you read Denninger’s account of his visit to OWS? You certainly didn’t come up with your caricatures of OWS by reading any real reporting.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      And you have a problem with this? Did you actually read the messages? Apparently not.

      First, I’ve made it clear I’m sympathetic with OWS and even went and paid a visit. And I wish I could spend more time down there, but I’m chronically swamped.

      Second, someone from OWS e-mailed a bunch of people. Some of the people they wrote to never participated in the thread, yet are being criticized, as if there is something wrong with being on the receiving end of people who want to effect change. If you managed to miss it, lobbyists and think tanks do even more aggressive and concerted outreach to media. So it’s OK for people to take the messaging from, say the American Enterprise Institute or the neoliberal Center for American Progress (which I think is a MUCH more pernicious role for the media to play, acting as stenographers of people who represent particular political interests) than to respond to an inquiry?

      Third, the nature of the inquiry was misrepresented. The individual who contacted us (and remember, OWS is so loose and egalitarian it isn’t clear a conversation with one person is going to have any impact) wanted to know how to respond to the media’s demand for demands. Pretty much everyone on the thread who answered started listing demands. I said firmly they should NOT issue demands now and gave some supporting reasoning.

      1. aletheia33

        @ yves,

        thank you for doing that. you strongly stated your view on this here at nc as well and made a clear, cogent argument in support of OWS sticking to publicizing no list of demands. your clear thinking, communicating, and yes, “leadership” (this can be understood in the sense that we are all leaders of OWS) at this juncture are invaluable. (guess i can’t say it too often.) keep up your good work.

        as for not having as much time as you’d like to contribute to OWS, it’s fine. it’s the quality, not the quantity, that counts. a minute of your intelligence and clarity does and will do more and better than hours of blather from quite a few others.

    3. Jim Haygood

      From Bloomberg:

      Occupy Wall Street, the protest that has spread from Lower Manhattan to as far as Rome and Hong Kong, is supported by most New Yorkers, according to a Quinnipiac University survey.

      Sixty-seven percent of New York City voters said they agree with the protesters’ views, while 23 percent don’t, the school’s Polling Institute said today.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-17/wall-street-protesters-backed-3-to-1-by-new-yorkers-quinnipiac-poll-says.html

      1. aletheia33

        over 70% of nyers in the same poll felt that OWS should stay as long as they need to.
        this was borne out in all my conversations with non-occupiers in the nyc streets this weekend. virtually everyone to whom i mentioned my participation responded with a smile, an upbeat comment, and an expression of support. i was quite surprised and touched.

        i also began to think that if one simply went around nyc and invited and encouraged people one the street to come on down, many of them would. and it is easy to start a conversation on the street anywhere in nyc–people have to do a lot of waiting around on the subways and at traffic lights, etc., and are happy for a short diversion, it seems.

    4. Baws Hawg

      You and that there other commentaterer Cletus should get together. Cletus said he’s the stupidest, but I think it’s a close race.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The geniuses of Wall Street will probably exploit those in the 98.9999999 percentile, who are too close to the arbitary cut off point and they know it, to protest vehemently against those in the 99.0000001 percentile, whom they know all too well as they are quite alike.

  10. Paul Walker

    Asking why the Guardian story has not been published in the NYT is like asking any district attorney, including Cyrus Vance to fully investigate or any president of the past 30 years, including President Obama to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States. Such expectations fall within the realm of denial. Lawlessness rules society rendering the forces of order anarchists. This is the reason dissidents are being vacuumed into the void to assume the mantle of order.

    Perhaps it’s time Paul Krugman advocate blowing another bubble using American households as the water carriers since the housing bubble he so strongly advocated did such a fine job the last time round with easing deflationary pressures after the dot com / LTCM busts.

  11. Rowlf

    I visited Karl Denninger’s site before coming here, and was impressed by his OWS account. I haven’t always agreed with what he writes and his positions but always respected his arguments. Glad to see him get closer to enlightenment. It gives hope that others can rise above the GOP/Democrat BS.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Women are turning androgynous, says Bloomberg — at least when it comes to shopping:

    Men were the original mission shoppers, and they adopted e- commerce first because it saved time. Faster Web connections and a better shopping experience drew in more women. This has accelerated change in shopping behavior because women outspend men and retailers have long focused their efforts on them.

    Women now go into a store, hoping to go right to what they need like a man would,” said Delia Passi, CEO of Hollywood, Florida-based Medelia Inc., which advises companies such as Home Depot Inc. (HD) on how to appeal to female shoppers. “The science of retail shopping has changed, and unfortunately the retailer hasn’t.”

    Foot Locker, the largest U.S. sneaker chain, trained associates to ditch the traditional “how may I help you?” for “what kind of shoe are you looking for?” It’s a subtle change that’s more likely to start a conversation, said CEO Ken Hicks.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-17/best-buy-sales-at-risk-as-surgical-shoppers-lose-impulse-retail.html

    One can easily imagine the next iteration at shoe stores: ‘How can I make your feet more beautiful today?’

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I hate gender stereotyping. I’ve never liked shopping and always go into stores, particularly clothing stores, with a very specific goal in mind.

      So being efficient is “shopping like a man”? I think it is more a function of being busy and/or thinking shopping is a nuisance.

      1. abelenkpe

        I’ve never been fond of shopping either and try to keep any trip to a store as short as possible. I don’t think this is a new thing at all, just the world waking up to the fact that one more stereotype has lost it’s basis in reality.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We talk about GDP and in Bhutan, apparently, they have something called the Gross National Happiness Index (maybe someone might post that).

      I wonder if there is such a thing as the Gross Feminimity Index of a country?

    3. mk

      where are the customers?

      I wonder if those 3-d printers can be used to make wearable comfortable shoes….

    4. craazyman

      That’s not how a real man shops.

      How would Bloomberg know? He probably hasn’t gone shopping in 32 years. He probably has a staff of shoppers, probably hot women in short skirts.

      A real man shops like this:

      “I need to get a pair of pants. I’m going to the clothing store. I get half way there and say “F*ck this” I’m already bored out of my mind and paralyzed with confusion about the 50 different kinds of pants I’ll be assaulted with. This is already painful.

      I ask myself: What’s wrong with the pair of pants I already have? Nothing. So I decide to go for a beer instead and recover from the trauma. After the beer, I notice I’m next to a hardware store and buy some duct tape and a reversible multi-headed screwdriver for $5 at a counter display.

      There’s a rip on the inside of my one pair of pants, which I can now fix with the duct tape. The screwdriver seems like a good idea and it goes in the kitchen drawer.

      So final total: I have saved at least $50 minus 1 beer and a $5 screwdriver and — with a screwdriver and duct tape — I can fix almost anything now, even clothes.

      Going shopping should be a money saving experience.

      No woman can shop like that! LOL.

  13. Finance Addict

    There can be no doubt left as to the significance of Occupy Wall Street. At the very least it shows the power of so-called “fringe” movements to shape the national dialogue and have a wide-ranging (in this case global) impact. There’s another national movement tapping into the zeitgeist of anger at the corporatocracy, and this one has the potential to cause a lot more direct damage to the banks: http://bit.ly/pVu04R

  14. alex

    re: NYPD using strobing flashlights to interfere with cellphone cams? … I’m waiting for someone to use the trick from Cryptonomicon (and no, I’m not telling you).

    Not telling you? What is this, a test to see if you remember the book? I did, but I can’t recall what you’re referring to.

    P.S. Interesting that Yves seems to like Neal Stephenson. I liked Cryptonomicon, but thought the Baroque Cycle was even better.

  15. lambert strether

    The foreclosure mess is also how the Occupiers can scale out to the neighborhoods from the GAs, which most working class people cannot attend from work or childcare or transport constraints.

    I believe something similar was tried in Madrid, so we shall see if the same evolution occurs here.

  16. kravitz

    about that OWS NYPD strobe light interference issue…

    Many new digital cameras (not camera phones) have a manufacturer’s preset group. Usually on a dial or behind a menu.

    Look for terms like ‘snow’ or ‘fireworks’ or ‘night’ or ‘sunburst’ or something like that.

    The camera can automatically adjust for bursts of light.

    Many can even take a series of shots in rapid succession, adjusting for periods between strobe bursts.

  17. Valissa

    Why does neoclassical thinking still dominate economics? http://theconversation.edu.au/why-does-neoclassical-thinking-still-dominate-economics-3861

    I found this article quite good on the need for a paradigm shift but disappointingly limited in it’s list of non-neoclassical theories for consideration (what, no mention of MMT?).

    A paradigm change in economics, you say?

    “and now for something completely different” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdQ3G-IJgIo&feature=fvst

  18. b.

    Some media drivel of forensic interest:
    “At least a few of the protesters are not fully committed to nonviolence. It’s going to be the job of the majority of Occupy to keep them under control.”
    http://www.salon.com/2011/10/17/occupy_wall_streets_struggle_for_non_violence/

    Not quite. It is the job of the police to keep violent offenders under control, all that OWS has to do is not get in the way if possible.

    Unless we are imposing Sippenhaft standards on public assemblies now, and consider collective punishment acceptable. “One rock, and we will nuke the whole square!”

    1. LucyLulu

      We shouldn’t discount the possibility of violence and criminal behavior from people planted by critics to discredit the protestors.

  19. KFritz

    Re: Strobe flashlights

    The protestors need to buy a quantity of their own strobe flashlights and shine them in the eyes of the POLICE. We’ll see how they like their own tactics used on themselves.

  20. KFritz

    Re: Strobe flashlights

    The protesters need to buy a quantity of their own strobe flashlights and shine them in the eyes of the POLICE. We’ll see how they like their own tactics used on themselves.

  21. Anon

    Went down to OccupyLSX in London today, in front of the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. Nice spot the changeniks have got themselves there.

    Very, very windy, though, with tents and tarps flapping all over the place. All was calm in the crowd, a ska band was playing, food tent going great – saw a little kid enjoying the novelty of free grub – media/know-your-rights workshops, several police who seemed reasonably relaxed, noisy helicopter stationary overhead for much of the time.

    But most of all, so many V-for-Vendetta masks, it’s quite unnerving. Anonymous also appears to be present (at least in sign form).

    Saw Alan Moore speak at the British Library a few weeks ago, and he was asked what he thought about Anonymous and all these V masks popping up everywhere (in almost any protest now, anywhere in the world, you can see them).

    He is dead chuffed about it, he said, very, very pleased and proud of the youngsters who are trying to push for changea to our loony economic system on basic humanitarian grounds.

    Perhaps a moment to celebrate Moore’s prescience:

    Whatever happened to the American dream? It came true. You’re looking at it.

  22. LucyLulu

    Dylan Ratigan just finished a segment with David DeGraw (AmpedStatus) and Bill Black. Bill Black agreed to be the honorary Attorney General for OWS and come up with some suggested charges for the group to get behind. Bill already stated on the show that Holder and Geithner should be fired and Bernanke’s resignation should be demanded. He also said that if FHFA can file lawsuits for fraud against 17 banks, there is sufficient evidence for fraud to be filed by the Justice Department, and where are they? Good piece. If it’s posted online, I’ll come back later and post the link.

      1. Valissa

        Thanks for the link. While I am generally supportive of Bill Black in this role, the question is… who asked him? I just checked both the Occupy Boston and OWS websites and there is no mention of him, or any related nomination process or voting process. I’m hoping this is explained in the segment as it smacks of going against the leaderless principles as expressed so far.

        1. Valissa

          OK it appears David DeGraw spontaneously asked Bill Black on the show. Is that true or was it pre-planned behind the scenes?

  23. Glen

    That Telegraph article is spooky – seven trillion disappears from supposedly private banks and they’re going to make their citizens pay for it. You’d think by now they would see the clear need to wipe out the debt rather than sink the world into a global depression.

    I use to think the Europeans had gotten a bit smarter than the US given their repeated history of war, but apparently I was wrong. We should see Merkel and Sarkozy waving a piece of paper and touting “peace in our time” soon when they hand over the future of their countries to a bunch of banksters.

  24. aletheia33

    re: #OWS

    i was able to come down from new england to visit the encampment this past weekend, from saturday afternoon through sunday afternoon (spent the night).
    my mind is still exploding from the experience, it’s hard to marshal the loud thoughts (and one doesn’t want to try to police them too heavily!), and i’m not sure where best to post my thoughts anyway. my deep thanks to nc, blogger and readers, for providing the best forum i could want for expressing my views as they evolve.

    at any rate, here’s what’s gelled first:

    there is a vast gap between the consciousness of observing and commenting on OWS from a distance (and just one block away is a great distance) and the consciousness of being there, especially in the evening, after all the camera-wielders have disappeared and the occupants settle down for rest, and in the morning before the photographers, researchers, tourists, area workers, other observers, and day-occupiers have begun to pour in.

    is anyone blogging as they are occupying full time? please, if you know of any such, post it here. there is the livestream OWS video, and what it broadcasts is very important, but not enough to convey the layers and archipelagoes of what the occupiers are doing and how they are living the occupation.

    the occupation (at this epicentric location) is vast. it self-consciously represents and is building a new society. one could spend weeks living there and not run out of interesting, useful material to report and conversations to follow on the ground. one thing this means is that most of the current phenomenon, notwithstanding all the observers crowding in, is not being recorded and will be lost to history.

    anyone who wishes to report and comment on OWS, what it is about, who is there, how it can best effect its aspiration, and so on, should not feel they can adequately or accurately do so until they have spent at least one night, preferably several, on the ground body-by-body with the occupiers. what if one of those bodies actually touches your own, while both are asleep?? i do not care how good your left credentials or strong your sympathy–one must come to know what one wishes to describe, and as sleeping in that park is the essence of what it expresses, if you are not willing to undertake that, you cannot acquire that knowledge.

    also, the great slumber party, as naomi calls it, is fun, it’s fascinating, it’s moving, it’s family-friendly, and why not? what’s keeping you? it’s there on the weekends, too.

    falling asleep and waking up (not to mention sleeping and dreaming) are very important aspects of human consciousness. meditation, in all its forms and histories, is closely related to these moments. mediation gives rise to history. (to trace it back a little–Western enlightenment philosophes, thoreau, gandhi, mlk is one direct line.) what does it mean to fall asleep, and to wake up, even just once in your lifetime, on an expensive pavement across the street from 9/11 ground zero nyc, looking up at trees and skyscrapers through the open air, 2 blocks from the millenium hilton, at one of the major power nexuses of the human world, amid pigeons and a calm sea of inert sleeping bags filled with the invisible bodies of exhausted, anarchistic-romantic, hardworking, visionary, groping-forward, incredibly brave and determined young (mostly) people who are learning how to use the energy of their anger to change “everything” that the majority of the world’s citizens know is wrong with the current world order? sorry, that sentence ran away with me. but anyway–if you’re not interested in finding that out, what exact use is your reporting and commenting serving?

    (also, there are some really sweet dogs.)

    are you going to see OWS through the lenses you’ve worn all your life, or since you got your training in your metier, or are you going to try wearing for a little while a new set of lenses offered you gratis by OWS, along with a little snack, in case you happen to be hungry right now?

    admittedly not for sissies.

    (as for myself, i come away from the experience with this question, and many, many others about how i want to be a part of what is coming and bid goodbye to what is going. change will come. how do i want to live and live through history? the invitation to make the inquiry has now been extended to everyone. how is one going to RSVP? a movement works its way into the individual and that is the ground where the most difficult battle is experienced, in privacy and in the quiet dark within the living person. this has always been the case.

    meanwhile, of course, it’s not hard to think of ways to contribute a bit of this or that.)

    the occupation movement publishes a “field manual” (a wiki):
    http://occupytogether.wikispot.org/Front_Page
    they call their action an “occupation.” these military terms are not accidental.

    traditionally, journalism reports the movements of armies (following them from nearby hotels where journalists bed down; treated as political or current events reporting) separately from the “personal” experiences of soldiers on the ground (treated as “human interest”). this separation is part of how in the modern age, media has enabled governments to round up adolescent males by the millions to be willingly converted into pawns as needed.

    left journalism surely tries to break down these power structures. but if any such journalist has actually spent a night down there, they’re keeping quiet about it. why? journalists in wars who want to get the “real story” camp out with soldiers. how is the real story different for this army of the heart?

    ***

    a larger nyc church in or near downtown should offer its space for the occupiers to winter in.

    the great gothic cathedrals’ original purpose of shelter (not to mention sanctuary) to people who are in need of protection should be revived. (and the last i looked, the cathedral of st. john the divine has a big roof and a big floor. but it may be too far uptown.) it’s been sad to see these soaring old structures of europe, especially, turned into mere museums with a residual church function. now they may function again as buildings in one of the most important purposes they were built for. may the clergy of st. paul’s in london realize this–or some suitable church somewhere–and become the first to offer winter shelter. as for the occupation becoming tainted by association with religion–this need only be a seasonal offering of shelter and need imply no sponsorship or cooptation.

  25. scraping_by

    Re: Amazon

    Book publishers act as the gatekeepers for their fields. They probably get off on the role, or at least, the ones I’ve listened to on C-Span seem to.

    So, what do we do when a small group of experts no longer define the mainstream? The NY Times bestseller rankings may have power into the future, or might only be a vestige of an earlier day. We’ll have to talk to each other now, one way and other, and figure out our books that way.

    I always buy local authors when I’m driving through the nation’s towns and villages. It encourages my kind of people, my peeps, and I’ve had some pleasant surprises.

    1. Typing Monkey

      So, what do we do when a small group of experts no longer define the mainstream?

      I don’t know, but sometimes you really need experts to filter out a lot of BS. Peer-reviewed journals, for example, have **plenty** of flaws, but I don’t look forward to an influx of medical quackery (especially if it increases the likelihood that I will be on the receiving end of some of it).

  26. Francois T

    “A saying I learned in Caracas: “A politician is someone who gets in front of a mob and tries to call it a parade.”

    A politician is like a condom: Giving you a sense of security while getting screwed.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Humans will solve complex problems from scratch that robots can’t crack one day…maybe even today.

  28. barrisj

    Yeah, OWS clones busting out in Seattle and Bellingham, WA!
    Mark Bolan sez, “Bang a Gong, Get It On!!!”
    From waaaaay back in the day, when my wife and I did all the Berkeley/SF demo/marches, the notable accompaniment was…MUSIC! Whether it was Phil Ochs or Joan Baez live, or everybody along the march route sticking their speakers out their apt. windows and hammering away with The Stones, Hendrix, Doors, T-Rex, whoever. Where is DA MUSIC?? Right, at Zuccotti Park, bring on Lou Reed and the VU…”Waiting for my man”…how absolutely cool would that be!!

  29. Typing Monkey

    Re: Occupy Wall Street supported by 2 in 3 New Yorkers:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-17/wall-street-protesters-backed-3-to-1-by-new-yorkers-quinnipiac-poll-says.html

    –The surprising thing (to me) is that even 1 in 3 Republicans support it. This really doesn’t bode well for the bankers…

    (as a side note, It’s interesting to note how poor the general leel of discourse is on the FT.com and bloomberg message boards. NC’s and the Big Picture’s comments are vastly superior)

    And some Big Picture posts that I thought were excellent (nothing new, but well illustrated):

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/dept-champions.jpg

    Debt accumulation by president:

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/10/us-debt-accumulation-by-president/

    1. Maximilien

      Yeah, Bloomberg’s commenters seem to be a sad bunch. Maybe whacked-out gamblers killing time between trades?

  30. Typing Monkey

    I wonder if we’re going to see any t-shirts like this soon? (replace “in the Great War” with “during OWS” or something similar…)

    http://www.google.ca/imgres?q=what+did+you+do+in+the+war+daddy&hl=en&biw=1680&bih=867&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=QvLEzX2KKbzTCM:&imgrefurl=http://aztecology.pbworks.com/w/page/9154167/Anthony%2520Appino&docid=6tHiXlcFWusEYM&imgurl=http://aztecology.pbworks.com/f/pp_uk_07.jpg&w=400&h=623&ei=_t2cTp_ZMYqiiQK6qJ32CQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=953&vpy=131&dur=2989&hovh=280&hovw=180&tx=124&ty=98&sig=111219012808748657652&page=1&tbnh=184&tbnw=118&start=0&ndsp=35&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:0

  31. Expat

    So, Yves, what’s the deal with Cryptonomicon? Electro-magnets to wipe out memory? Data vault destruction (nukes?)?
    Van Eck Phreaking? Organ pipes used to smash phones? Condoms with “OWS” printed on them? or a few thousand gallons of diesel fuel poured over the protesters and lit by a kamikaze Marine?

    Please. What is it?

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