Links 3/13/12

Apologies for thin links. I need to turn in early tonight to go to DC tomorrow. And on top of that, Lambert did most of what is here, so thank him! I think his links are on the whole cheerier than mine.

Gorilla Reported At Large in Alabama ABC

Why It Took So Long to Invent the Wheel Scientific American

Viagra Pills Would Need Sex Therapist’s Approval in Ohio Bill BusinessWeek

Holy Cow! What’s Good For You Is Good For Our Planet Annals of Internal Medicine. “Is red meat bad for you? In a word, yes.”

Darlinghurst Theatre Company is moving to the Eternity Playhouse. OK, I know this is silly, but one of the things that was totally cool about where I lived in Sydney was there was a little theater company a two minute walk from my apartment, and the ticket were cheap, the performances were good to very good, and the theater was itty bitty. Now they’ve grown up and gone to a big beautiful venue.

Germany Fails To Meet Its Own Austerity Goals Der Spiegel

The US labour market is still a shambles Joseph Stiglitz FT

Rise of the ‘maker movement’ Al Jazeera

Google’s moves raise questions about ‘don’t be evil’ motto San Jose Mercury News

Silicon Valley’s undeserved moral exceptionalism Reuters opinion

Fear as death squads hunt Iraq’s gays and “emos” Reuters

* * *

Obama warns against rush for exits in Afghanistan AFP. Sixteen Afghan civilians killed in rogue U.S. attack and Afghans Skeptical Over Shooting Account. Afghans: More than one guy. US: Just the one guy. How it happened: Massacre in Kandahar BBC timeline. So did the one guy bring the fuel to burn the bodies with him in a jerrycan when he walked from the base? And the one guy’s home base, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, has had a lot of other problems. –lambert

* * *

Approval Ratings, Gas Prices and Statistical Noise Nate Silver Times

In Obama campaign ad, Bill Clinton praises Osama bin Laden raid Yahoo News

2012 GOP primary shaping up to be cheapest race in years WaPo

Specter says Obama ditched him after he provided 60th vote to pass health reform The Hill. Quelle surprise.

Government asks judge to approve landmark settlement over banks’ foreclosure practices. We don’t commit perjury. The little people do.

Georgia Joins Other States in Diverting Foreclosure Fund Settlement Money for Non-Housing Purposes and Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs Finally Released With Long List of Liability Releases Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

How Far Have Home Prices “Really” Fallen? HPI Upcoming Changes; HPI and the CPI Michael Shedlock

Whistleblowers drawn by tip-off payouts Financial Times. This is the lead story, and posted the night the Linda Almonte/JP Morgan story breaks, in which the SEC ignored her whistleblower letter. This does not look like a coincidence.

Late Night FDL: Pensions Are Good for You Firedoglake (hat tip reader Carol B)

Antidote du jour (hat tip Furzy Mouse):

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85 comments

  1. Leviathan

    Let’s talk about the foreclosure deal, shall we? The bottom line is that these large banks have been investigated, found to have committed widespread, daily fraud that ruined the lives of millions and destroyed the nation’s economic health for a DECADE. They neither deny nor admit any wrongdoing and no one will be prosecuted.

    How the hell does THAT wash?

    Secondly, the redress for these crimes-that-will-never-be-punished is to help one in every twenty victims.

    Let’s imagine a similar mass crime in which 5% of victims were in any way compensated for their losses.

    What? That’s not good enough for you? Screw you, America.

    The next few months should be very interesting. Millions of homeowners will have to face up to a very grim future. Millions of investors will understand that their property rights have been stripped by their own government in the name of the “greater good.” And the banks will roll on, waving their carte blanche at the peasantry.

    Not my country anymore.

    1. jsn

      Yep,
      I’m working on the renovation of a farm in a former communist country where my client has aggregated his 300 acre olive grove and orchard by purchasing dozens and dozens of bizarre gerrymandered parcels. Each one takes him and his lawyers about a year to get through the due diligence to close.

      This process is an artifact of the perturbations wrought on Austro-Hungarian title records by seventy years of communism. The geniuses of Wall Street visited the same wasteful cupidity/stupidity on us in a mere seven years. All hail capitalist efficiency!

  2. DL

    So, Obama dumped Specter after health care reform. Ironic. That’s when I dumped Obama. Perhaps it was a tipping point all around.

    1. tom allen

      That whole article’s just pathetic. Arlen Specter’s feefees were hurt? And that influenced his decision making in the most powerful legislative body on the planet?

      “Obama ditched me.” “I didn’t get my seniority.” “McConnell was nice and professional.” “Bob Dole told me I did the right thing.”

      My God, it’s not high school, it’s life and death for millions of people. But apparently that doesn’t matter unless Arlen Specter’s ego is massaged.

      What a Senator. I mean putz. But I repeat myself.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      Speaking of Specter, will he come clean with what he knows went down with the Warren Commission WhitewashInvestigation before he goes ten toes up? I’m not holding my breath.

      1. Neo-Realist

        Re: Warren Commission – Specter has two sons and four grandchildren. I’m sure he wants nothing to happen to them.

      2. Maximilien

        Yeah, I remember reading a book about the assassination of JFK and the subsequent Warren Commission (sorry,it was long ago and its name escapes me). The author portrayed Spector as a bully who delighted in badgering witnesses who were saying things the Commission didn’t want to hear. And there were quite a few of those.

  3. Leviathan

    And about the Heart of Darkness killing spree in Afghanistan, I have this to say. First of all, I apologize deeply to all the victims and their families on behalf of the US.

    Secondly, I await further details about the killer, though I will treat all official statements about him as suspect documents. That is what the Ministry of Disinformation approach of this and several previous administrations has taught me.

    But at the end of the day I am inclined to take a Jungian approach to the crime. This man was channeling a collective rage and despair I cannot begin to comprehend. Three tours in Iraq, and your reward is to be sent to an Afghan hellhole? What are we doing to our soldiers? And their mission: to support an Afghan government that is little more than a crime syndicate for funneling US taxpayer dollars into the gaping maws of connected families; to train an army whose main mission appears to be killing Americans; and to withdraw in a manner and on a timetable dictated by US political theater rather than actual battlefield conditions.

    The troubling aspect of this horrific crime is that it really can’t be seen as the act of lone gunman. We all bear some responsibility for it.

    1. vv111y

      2 documentaries I watched:

      – army psych docs are instructed to essentially put troubled soldiers on a cocktail of drugs and ship ’em back out since they need the bodies. Apparently a variety of psychological drugs are regularly used in the forces.

      – I watched part of the PBS show about life on an aircraft carrier. When doing the monologues I could hear the trouble many of the recruits had wrapping their heads around what they were doing and why. A lot of sighing and wondering and hoping. Pretty insecure. That’s a big impact on ones psyche.

      1. Jim S

        RE: drugs. To my knowledge a soldier placed on personality- or mood-altering drugs is classified as non-deployable and hence can’t be sent overseas as long as they have a prescription; after the prescription expires there’s a “cooling down” period before the soldier is classified as deployable again. Some individuals get on drugs and stay on drugs and never do deploy, merely being bounced around from unit to unit to fill bodies during training. Perhaps these individuals ought to be simply discharged, but in a sense this is just dumping the problem back on society; make up your own mind about it.

        As to your second comment, My belief is that the military has been inducting maladjusted youths–as it always has–but basic training is increasingly less effective at straightening them out and the level of maladjustment is increasingly higher. The result is that basic training graduates a trained, maladjusted individual who is then sent overseas to see or do hard and/or terrible things. When such an individual is subsequently diagnosed with PTSD, it may be that this stress has further warped his already fragile personality or that the diagnosis is only identifying the fact that he was maladjusted to begin with. You can see how this ties in with the case of the over-medicated soldier. Again, my personal belief. Note too that military service does straighten out some people, and many more never needed much straightening out to begin with (everyone needs a little).

        1. LucyLulu

          My understanding is that PTSD is indeed on the rise. The Iraq and Afghan wars have seen an unprecedented number of head injuries which increases the likelihood of a subsequent diagnosis of PTSD. I wonder how much the increased number of head injuries and inadequate treatment and especially followup monitoring is responsible for the rise in PTSD seen. There is not necessarily a correlation between the severity of acute symptoms of traumatic brain injury, they can be relatively mild, and resulting long-term deficits. Also, in situations with multiple injuries, symptoms of head injuries can be overlooked as the medical team is focusing on treating more obvious and life-threatening issues.

          Rep. Giffords is a classic and high profile example of somebody suffering from a traumatic brain injury though obviously her long term deficits are severe. My only issue, being educationally oriented, is that the media portrays her as calm, altruistic, and courageous (which I’m not saying isn’t true), and while the reasons are understandable, they don’t portray the less flattering side, thus present a glorified picture. Assuming she is typical, her family and rehab staff have seen moody behavior, personality changes, some uncharacteristically angry and aggressive outbursts, and things such as a low frustration tolerance. Of course, its certainly an extreme departure from the norm to go out and shoot a bunch of people, but inhibitions against antisocial behavior are lowered. Domestic violence, for example, is a more commonly seen in those who have suffered TBI.

          We need to make sure we are taking care of these soldiers after they return and providing them adequate care. With the trend towards budget cuts, controlling the rise in medical expenses, and our past history with the vets who returned from Vietnam and combat since, its hard to have any confidence that this will happen. Young lives, along with their families, forever suffer the effects and for what reason?

          My hope is that this shooting tragedy will rev up the anti-war sentiment enough that we avoid engaging in more senseless wars, in Iran and Syria.

    2. Nathanael

      The soliders who are remotely psychologically secure refuse to participate in these wars at this point. They either end up in prison or they get discharges or officers murder them.

      The people who are left are, by definition, suggestible and not strong-willed, and are prone to crack in this particular way.

    3. LucyLulu

      Morning Joe had a retired military officer and long-time war correspondent this morning as guests. They agreed that nobody can leave the base without being noticed and that walking off in the middle night with an assault weapon and several clips was unusual behavior and would have, or should have, sounded alarms. They also said that even having only been there three months, they live and work in such close quarters that any unusual behavior doesn’t escape notice. It’s being reported that he suffered from a traumatic brain injury in 2010 in Iraq which can cause aggressive and violent outbursts, problems with impulse inhibition and judgment, and mood changes and paranoia. While they say he passed mental health assessments prior to redeployment, symptoms of TBI can appear to be episodic. A couple of the local witnesses reported that he exhibited bizarre behavior, suggesting further he was suffering from mental changes, either TBI-related or emotional breakdown, also rumored in some reports.

      As more comes out about this story, more questions are raised. Assuming this was the work of one soldier, one can’t help wonder if this was a failure on many levels …….cries for help that were ignored. What an awful, awful tragedy. Let’s hope it doesn’t lead to more senseless killings.

    4. CB

      We need a draft. We’re not going to get a draft. Thank you, Richard Nixon, for another contribution to the dissolution of America.

      1. Leviathan

        Just curious, why are you blaming Nixon? The armed forces don’t want draftees. Draftees are unmotivated and ill-suited to a professional modern army. There’s NOTHING wrong with an all-volunteer force. But you can’t throw them into unwinnable wars for a decade and hope it’ll all work out.

      2. Eureka Springs

        The last thing we need is restoration of the draft. We need to restore rule of law. Particularly law which honors/requires War Powers Acts instead of AUMF’s, honors Geneva Conventions, utilizes the Hague, and on and on. We need to reduce our MIC budgets by at least 85 percent. Outlaw all government secrecy. Close 90 plus percent of our bases. And we need to do these things without offering up millions of young soldiers lives to the alter of neo-liberal and neo-conservative war mongers in order to get it.

        1. Maximilien

          Restore the draft. Then raise the draft age to 40. That’ll end the senseless wars for sure.

        2. LucyLulu

          Just partially restore the draft by requiring the legislators who insist the wars are necessary to serve in combat. If they are too old, their children or grandchildren can serve in their place. In fact, perhaps their children should also be required to serve in any case, on the front lines, in the same battalions they belong to, so they can watch their children as they are fighting enemy troops.

          Most of these war hawks have never served, nor has anybody in their family ever served. Military service is beneath the status of the 1%.

          1. Neo-Realist

            If our government needs more cannonfodder for Afghanistan and any other hot spots, they’ll simply drain the reserves and the national guard if they haven’t done so already then offer illegal aliens and convicts amnesty in exchange for military service.

            A draft will cause massive White (suburban middle class) Flight to Canada.

      3. Externality

        To the see how the draft worked in reality, read the following article from the January 21, 1967, edition of Stars & Stripes: http://www.stripes.com/news/is-the-draft-unfair-1.141416

        Students attending public universities often had their draft deferments denied or revoked to meet military manpower needs, while students able to afford private colleges could remain students for the duration of the war. The boyfriend of LBJ’s daughter received a “‘hardship’ deferment on the grounds that his socialite mother depends on his $250,000 [$1.7 million in 2012 dollars] annual income to support her in her 39-room Beverly Hills mansion.” (Ibid.)

        Were the draft reinstated, we would see the same patterns reemerge. Do you really think that the 1% would let their children be drafted and sent off to die in some nameless valley in Afghanistan?

        1. Stufmp

          I’m with the guys suggesting the restoration of the draft, at least of the draft as we knew it under the Vietnam war. No, it would not affect the 1%, as you point out. But it WOULD affect the 10-20% – the middle and upper classes. And the revulsion of the wars this would cause might change things.

          Right now we have a default draft based on financial means, once that disproportionately punishes the poor. A draft would tilt the table backwards (although not completely, I agree).

          When an empire relies on mercenaries, things have gone bad and will continue to get worse.

    5. Lambert Strether

      FWIW, I think the Army is broken, but nobody can admit it, least of all Obama or the political generals. This is not quiet imperial garrison duty, these are hot wars, and three tours can’t be the norm for a relatively small volunteer army. This incident, as well as the Koran-burning incident, are symptoms of failure in the command structure that go all the way up to the top. One commenter said this incident reminded him of the Tet offensive, another famous tipping point, and I think they were right.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Not the same. The defense establishment is about letting contracts, i.e. looting. The Army is or should be about taking and holding ground. If the Army can’t to do that….

          1. Susan the other

            … then we are just aiding and abetting looters who are unethical and greedy enough to orchestrate the killing of a village full of women and children to keep themselves in Afghanistan.

            Children.

          2. LucyLulu

            Our military is “supposed” to be to protect the country against invasion by foreign countries, not to be the aggressor and establish our presence on foreign lands.
            If nothing else, Ron Paul gets this part right.

  4. Gareth

    Ten consecutive years of deployment in combat will turn anyone into a mass murderer. Shame on our military leaders. Shame on our polticians who lied us into two Imperialist wars and seem to take delight in shooting up wedding parties and funerals with remote drones. Disgust is all I can feel. How many more incidents like this have taken place in the remote regions of Afghanistan but have not been reported?

    1. Jessica

      “How many more incidents like this have taken place in the remote regions of Afghanistan but have not been reported?”

      How many more incidents like this were reported locally, but filtered out by our media?

      1. Leviathan

        I think, at the end of the day, your point is the one that really matters. This atrocity is noteworthy because of its scale, not type. And this raises a question about whether or how “mad” this guy is. He clearly knew that no army or Washington spin doctor could ever explain away cold-blooded murders on this scale. He pulled kids out of bed, for God’s sake!

        No, we have to read the act as a manifesto. Its possible meanings vary but are actually quite limited in number. 1) It could be a protest against the military’s policy of redeploying vets endlessly until they snap (you wanna see snap, I’ll give you snap). 2) It could be a protest specifically against the war in Afghanistan, where we push the Taliban out one day and try to negotiate a truce the next. What soldier wants to die for such a slippery aim? And 3), it could be a commando style retaliation for the murders of American and NATO soldiers over the past few weeks (but really, since day one) which are papered over and explained away by the brass and in DC (i.e.: hey Mr. President, you apologized repeatedly over an accidental burning of a few Korans–but no one has said “sorry” about deliberately murdering these US and allied troops–so, I’ll give you something to apologize for). It could even be a combination of all these.

        There is a message in the madness, if only we choose to see.

        1. aet

          It could also be cruelty: the taking of personal delight in causing others to suffer.

          As simple as that, maybe.

          1. Leviathan

            But think about it: if you believe your country has gone off the rails, for whatever reason, what can you do as a single person? It may turn out that this guy’s actions, cruel and evil as they were, could change US policy in Afghanistan, hasten our exit and force the president’s hand.

            Look at how muted the Afghan response has been to this incident, and compare it to the manufactured hysteria that followed the Quran burnings. Clearly Afghan officialdom in all its Byzantine awfulness is worried that this could doom US operations and leave them high and dry.

            This all gets curiouser and curiouser.

        2. aletheia33

          it seems very strange, but a similar thought occurred to me right away.
          what easier way to tip the scales toward u.s. pulling out?
          what if you really don’t care anymore?’
          there are so many movies about “one man” who exercises his skill at killing to turn around an impossible and horrific predicament.
          i’m not saying i buy my own imagination on this. just it’s curious to start reading nc and right up front someone is making this speculation.
          odd.

          so now i’m also expecting down thread discussion on how the lone gunman proposition doesn’t quite fly.

    1. F. Beard

      Worse, it is a puppy being dragged by the neck until wet – animal cruelty.

      I once took my cat to the Pacific Ocean. He was terrified even at a 50 yards so I stopped and just buried him a bit with damp sand to calm him down.

      1. LucyLulu

        Animal cruelty??? C’mon.

        It’s not a cat who hate water. It’s a golden, and they love swimming. I’ve had goldens and at first they are afraid of the waves if you take them to the ocean. You have to push them to get them to go in, but then, unless they are timid, they end up loving it and you can’t get them out of the water.

        This puppy is a bit too young though than more than an initial introduction, and its better to initially start with a lake or pool and throwing out some sort of toy to fetch. I had a female that would never go in the water unless I went in with her but then she’d love it. Another would not get out of the water until it was time to leave, would swim until she dropped. My mother had trained her dog to stay in the yard but occasionally she found the neighbor’s pool an overwhelming temptation.

        Goldens are great dogs, esp. if you can find a reputable breeder that avoids hyperactivity in the temperament of their pups that has become so common since the breed has become popular. (Now I only get rescue dogs, have only one pitbull or bull terrier mix and she may be the best dog I’ve ever had, except she exits and re-enters my fenced in yard at will!)

  5. walt

    The links contain about as much trash as Yves’s, but I appreciate the Silicon Valley slant. They and their competitors elsewhere have contributed most of the real growth we have had in the last 50 years.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Growth in the number of people commenting on internet blogs.

        It went from nearly zero in the 60’s to where we are right now.

        That’s ginormous growth in 50 years.

  6. Jim3981

    Wasn’t Google the one company with enough power to stand up against Murdoch and lobby to stop the “SOPA” act?

    I think that was an excellent thing to stop SOPA. Enacting the SOPA law would have taken away internet freedom that allows us to share the truth.

    In a world rife with media deception, the only chance people have to avoid more slavery is the internet.

    Glad to have Google keeping the hollywood media machine in check to some extent.

    1. Mel

      There is a battle going on between Microsoft and Google, so anything you read about either you should treat like psyops. (According to Groklaw.)

    2. Kukulkan

      Jim3981 wrote:
      I think that was an excellent thing to stop SOPA.

      Because it would be so awful if content producers got paid for the products of their time, effort, skill and talent. Let them make a living from their labour and next thing you know they’ll start getting all uppity, begin thinking that a labourer is worthy of their hire and acting as if they were real people or something.

      In a world rife with media deception, the only chance people have to avoid more slavery is the internet.

      Avoid more slavery? So a certain amount of slavery is tolerable?

      I begin to see where I went astray. I thought any amount of slavery was wrong and something that would arrest the transformation of content providers to a status of effective slavery was a good thing. Perhaps not perfect, but basically a good thing. Clearly that’s not the case. That amount of slavery is perfectly acceptable — even welcome — but you just want to avoid more slavery than that.

      Thank you for clearing that up.

      1. bob

        Poor monks that made their money copying manuscripts lost their jobs. The horror!

        The actual.cost of copying any digital good approaches 0. Therefore, any business model built around charging for copies is doomed. You can still make money selling content, but with dramatically different models. For instance, look at what Ron Gilbert and Tim Schaffer just did: They raised millions to make a game in kickstarter. Yes, millions.

        You just have to start getting paid for either side services, or for the creation itself, instead of the copying.Those models do not go against the basic economics of digital works, and will, if anything, work better than they used to. Trying to make the old model work instead will just lead to costs that will make people choose the death of traditional media ahead

  7. Hillary

    “It’s a close call, Mister President. Take a dump on Rome Statute Article 8.2.c.iv for the extrajudicial execution of Osama bin Laden when rendered hors de combat by detention… or commit the equivalent crime (murder of prisoners) under universal jurisdiction.” Ah what the hell, we can just bomb the Hague and get you off.

    1. Hilllary

      Though the UNSC can force the US to veto referral of charges, discrediting the unequal justice of the P-5 veto and generally coming across like phony little weasels.

  8. BSD

    Presumably the FT hopes to impugn whistleblowers with mercenary intent. Good luck with that. Soon the ultimate banker one-upmanship boast will be, “Bonuses sucked this year but my qui tam bounty more than made up for it.”

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Diverting Foreclosure Settlement Money for Non-Housing Purposes.

    What do cities do with traffic/parking ticket money?

  10. Brent Eubanks

    I am compelled to point out something about the “red meat” study. I don’t question the validity of their results (although the legitimacy of how it’s being reported is another question entirely). But please understand what they have demonstrated:

    Raise animals in confined, filthy conditions. Feed them a diet entirely unnatural to them (cows are grass-eaters – not grain-eaters, and certainly not carnivores). Give them regular antibiotics so that they don’t get too sick to keep growing, and give them hormones to accelerate their growth.
    What they have demonstrated is that eating these animals is bad for you. Big surprise.
    Modern meat is an industrial byproduct masquerading as an product which is masquerading as food.

    My response to this is not to become vegetarian, but to buy and eat meat from pastured operations such as River Dog Farm and Markegard Farm.

    Their product is, nutritionally, an entirely different food than the industrial crap. Is it better for you? The fat profile if nothing else is clearly superior, but we’ll never know because no one is studying the health effects of eating this kind of meat.
    In the meantime, the meat tastes far better. And it’s much lighter on the planet – all the stuff you read about how horrible meat is for the planet is based on the assumption of industrially-produced, grain-fed meat. A properly managed pasture operation will actually build soil (which sequesters carbon) and restore fertility to damaged land.

      1. Mel

        Things that go through my mind. A sequel — Soylent Green II — around the new discovery that Soylent Green has come to have no nutritive content due to the poor quality of the people used to make it. Don’t know that that could be relevant to anything — the high demand for and short supply of secure investment vehicles, maybe.

    1. Susan the other

      I agree completely about our modern beef industry. It is way beyond disgusting. But I still eat my share of beef because I like red meat. It is most delicious. Our county is starting a local, decentralized beef industry. I hope this is happening in many other placesl across the country. And I would like to see mutton/lamb and smaller pig farms. And some poultry besides chicken and turkey. We could all cut back on meat and also spend a little more for quality meats. But the cheap nutrition it now provides would have to be subsidized in other forms. In England they process a fungus which everyone agrees is “delicious” and nutritious. Maybe some of that. Certainly mushrooms. But since Fukushima, fish is too dangerous.

    2. Anonymous Jones

      I agree with your points as well. I don’t eat much red meat, but when I do, I try to go with pastured operations.

      Two other points:

      What is “bad” anyway? I’m sure drinking and carousing are “bad” by this standard, but I like them nonetheless! Sign me up for more “bad” things, as many as possible, please!

      Anyone who answers a complex question with a “yes” or “no” has told you all you need to know about what they have to offer you, which is (if I had to pick *one* word) nothing…

    3. Meateater

      What do you want? It’s by Ornish. The guy has been on a crusade against red meat for years and will use anything and everything to convince everyone that his high carb low protein diet books are the savior of mankind. He is to be ignored as he has repeatedly refused to consider any evidence contrary to his pet theories.

      1. Accrued Disinterest

        There’s probably some validity to the processed meat claims; pumped full of nitrites. But sorry, a couple million years of evolution can’t be wrong.

  11. Lambert Strether

    Bank Officials Cited in Churn of Foreclosures”. Not putatively arm’s length processors, but the banks themselves. Managers, and not “bad apples.” IN violation of state laws.

    It sure seems odd that the “settlement” finally appeared on the same day as this report, and that this story only appears after the report.

    UPDATE Then again, the OIG’s report was input to the settlement. The decision to ignore criminal violations was above their paygrade I suppose.

    1. Susan the other

      I for one, as a taxpayer, would be willing to get this ungodly mess behind us with some very, very, very long bonds. Relieve the banks of their self-destructive burden, pay off the pension-investors, help out the homeowners, clear all the goddamn titles and go forward. But with the express condition that the banks become totally regulated utilities and know and acknowledge that they will suffer criminal prosecution if this ever happens again.

      1. F. Beard

        Lame!

        Let’s take this opportunity to kill the banks forever or to reduce them to where they “could be drowned in a bathtub”.

        Or let’s continue to believe that a society based on usury and counterfeiting can long endure.

        We in the West assumed we were right. It’s turns out that we were only the least wrong.

      2. Jim

        I would concur only if the banks committed themselves to a ROE of no more than 7.75%, much as the utilities were in the 70s. They would also have to agree to compensation limits, with no one earning more than the president of the USA.

        Otherwise, Susan, I say no.

  12. Hugh

    I had always heard that in WWII the rule of thumb was that a soldier could only take about 100 days of combat without going crazy. Nowadays soldiers face multiple year long or near year long combat tours.

    I find the trope of “backing the troops” obscene. If you honor them and their service, you don’t send them to fight, die, or be traumatized in stupid, pointless imperial wars, with neither any definable end nor purpose.

    It’s interesting how no one ever brings up the Powell Doctrine anymore, perhaps because America’s wars fall violate all of its precepts: war as a last, not first, resort, popular support, no lies, clear goals, and a definite exit. When you don’t have these, you get what I call mission rot. This has devastating effects on professionalism and discipline throughout the chain of command. It isn’t just that a sergeant went beserk and killed a bunch of civilians. It’s that no one really believes the story because it has so many holes in it. And we have been hearing stories like this for years with the archtypes being Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman at the individual level. But these stories go up the chain of command as well, to the very top. The stories about WMD in Iraq or Saddam Hussein’s connections to al Qaeda, Abu Ghraib being an aberration, the work of a few bad apples, war cheerleading by war correspondents like Michael Gordon and John Burns, and countless turning points belied by their sheer number.

    So you can and should condemn the actions of this sergeant and whoever else was involved, but what about the generals who talk about discernible progress and how they need to be given more time as if the war began 6 months, and not 10 years, ago? And what about the President and the Washington political class who have kept a 100,000 man army in a country for that years and yet to this day still aren’t able to enunciate a coherent policy reason why those troops are there?

  13. Hugh

    I am tired of liberal economists like Stiglitz. He sounds very Keynesian calling for more stimulus. But he has to know that such stimulus is not in the cards. What irritates me about him is that he can’t be bothered to examine why stimulus won’t happen. Like all liberal economists when it comes to kleptocracy he is nowhere to be found. At most, he makes indirect reference to wealth inequality via the different savings rates of the top 20% vs. the bottom 80%.

    And then there is his sloppy citing of stats. The noninstitutional population over 16 increased by 1.695 million from December 2010 to December 2011. If we applied a 58.6% employment-population ratio to that, the number of jobs needed to keep up with the growth in population would be about 83,000 a month, not the 125,000 Stiglitz alludes to. In part, this comes about for the very reason Stiglitz calls 58.6% a “miserable” number. Because this rate is depressed, you don’t need as many jobs to account for population growth.

    This leads Stiglitz to make another error when he says that 23 million Americans would like to have a full time job now. This is essentially translating the U 6 measure of un- and under employment from a rate to a number. But this number is based on a depressed participation rate, which like the employment-population rate is also depressed, and it is depressed by economic conditions. If you really want to know how many Americans want a full time job now if one were available, you have to look at where the participation rate would be if it weren’t depressed. And that is more in the neighborhood of 28.5 million.

    Stiglitz has the name, the fame, the Nobel Prize. Is it really too much to ask, at this late date, that he begin to look at what is really going on in the economy or for him to understand the numbers he is using?

  14. kevinearick

    Children, Resource Allocation, & Currency Centrifuges

    So, Fort Bragg CA has relabeled its dump as an archeological preserve, hoping to tap the global taxpayer again, through Fed stimulus, to pay Mendocino’s taxes on increasingly empty, levered up multi-million dollar houses it refuses to sell at market clearing prices, in a government foreclosure free zone, with nary a captain or logger in its so endangered species act, while its loudest politicians decry similarly recycled homeless impediments to their plan of replicating Carmel, waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Only a fool would plant a seed in that soil. Wow, East Oakland and Greece are not participating in the “recovery,” surprise, surprise. Keep building Hotel California on the sand of Silicon Valley as a model for global development to juice the market.

    Children are not born projecting the empire through the mirrored behavior of self-reinforcing bias, which is why they must be rounded up and fed through its multiplexing filter, on their way to assigned unearned income event horizons per class. In school, the legacy kids are trained as bullies, to induce artificial crises, and the others are spoiled, to ensure that they snap to upon the slightest wind from these crises. Why else would a class of kids participate in bondage at their teacher’s direction, and superiors feign ignorance for so long? Sound familiar?

    Government is an artifice, gravity, which has its uses. Natural Law ensures resource allocation to equilibrium, in a relativity circuit with diversity as a system given; it does not require a stadium filled with 100k people, or a written constitution. Government exists as a convenience to abstract out least common denominator activities, shared false assumptions of fulcrum position between legacy asset and organic income valuation, under test. Central planning has no productive effect upon resource allocation beyond that limit. You can tithe 10% of your time productively, or pay interest and penalties in the form of productive currency devaluation as government grows accordingly.

    DNA, solar systems, and economies are vortexes, and the periodic table is similarly populated with false assumptions, but for sake of brevity we will employ the amusement park gravitron, which rotates the cylindrical wall and drops the floor, leaving most individuals pressed against the wall where they began. The bonds of the nuclear family emerging from the churn pool not only create the eye of the drill, but they also form the wall surfaces to eject the spoil, creating niche event horizons in the process. Because these niches are formed upon the foundation of false assumptions, their inhabitants cannot see the value of nuclear family.

    Natural Law is a funny thing. Just when you are sure a course will continue, it changes direction, into a new dimension prepared implicitly for the occasion. The “error” corporate superintendents make is assuming that the current product, sail to trim, is the goal, rather than timing of new induction, trim to sail, which narrows participation to replication in a positive feedback loop to income disparity. Promotion is based upon accepting cultural false assumptions as fact and profit is guaranteed by the resulting symbiotic growth in government cost, until it’s not, in what can only be a rigged lottery of ponzi economic activity.

    The universe provides the power. All you have to do is tap into it, to supply current to the gravitron, or not. When the gravitron slows, economies fall of the walls and back into the churn. Empire, government of governments, artificially expands headwind, not for artificial crisis, but for space, to provide trim on either side, turning one way with capital intensive consumption and the other with labor intensive investment, in a weather wave, which may be compressed at will, like a spring.

    The problem for singles is that they are dependent upon government, which is compounded in the artifice of civil marriage, to define profit, which becomes a loss in quantum time when trim is required. Gay marriage is not a pleading for marriage, over which government has no real jurisdiction; it is a pleading for entitlement. Homosexuality is largely a function of majority rule. Equal opportunity is a function of intelligent individual adaptation. The only path to equal outcomes is turning downwind, increasing loss or profit depending upon perception, the timing of recognition.

    Try as it might, corporate, which is an above-the-law criminal enterprise by nature, take a look at your History book again, which the empire employs at the beginning of each new iteration, will never influence the hiring decisions of real business, because the latter is all about new family development at the tip, and its root always resides within the black/white market of flux beyond corporate grasp.

    Corporate is entirely dependent upon the replication of existing knowledge, which is sufficient if you can read between the lines. That ability depends upon intent. Are you looking in the rear-view mirror to maximize absolute individual return on shrinking access to natural wealth, or are you looking forward to minimize individual percentage return on growing access to natural wealth? A constitution merely grants government the power to recognize itself. It in no way impedes the direction of quantum development, and its incremental gravity works against itself. It’s an option contract, terminated at will.

    The empire cannot deny your free nature. You deny your own liberty out of fear of the unknown, which projects the empire. The role of parents is to provide children with the necessary discipline, as the source of confidence to pursue the unknown. Children are born in God’s image, with no false assumptions, which is the spring of imagination. False assumptions are stepping stones in the trial and error process.

    Relative government size is a function of parental absence in a feedback loop. The first thing kids “learn” in the controlled school environment is the peer value of money, in a Pavlov swap with nature, pieces of paper as the goal, to get more pieces of paper, which represent empire conformity. The last, if ever, is the physics beneath the surface. If both men and women are going to be working for a check to maintain the empire, the 40 hr workweek, which was based on one male breadwinner, is stupid.

    The middle class employs inbred pets as status symbols now. At least they aren’t breeding children, or are they? Criminals are not criminals because they are intelligent, and, sooner or later, they break down the wrong door, to the strongest union on the planet, and the empire accounts are reconciled. Once you understand DNA, you can breed unicorns, but why would you?

    A constitution balances majority and minorities, and the majority always becomes tyrannical, which means the universe will backstop the surviving minority, which will become the next majority, through nuclear family. The time to weather variability, economic inelastic obfuscation, “…so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so inconvenient that they cannot be understood,” determines when you will require a mechanism to clear the books. How do you want to employ backlash.

    The bosses will call when they have had enough of stupid, which is usually after a war or when the universe begins to wipe them from the face of the planet with disease. If it’s war of tyranny the tax-exempts want it is war if tyranny they will get. Don’t employ German technology against liberty and expect a happy outcome.

  15. Tara Varanese

    Yes too small but otherwise an excellent summary. Data ties in with what I’ve read elsewhere. Some dates for when the data applies would be helpful too. But thanks.

  16. wmesquite

    The Foreclosure settlement has finally been sent to a judge for approval. Anybody know much about the judge? Is it worth making entreaties that this settlement is not in the public interest?

  17. abprosper

    Now while I agree that the US military is listless and not running well as it could, people doing horrible things in wartime is nothing new and in the case of this war is a sign of nothing in particular.

    In long past wars it would have been standard operating procedure in fact and so long as the person could differentiate between friendlies and not, few would care.

    The problems were are facing come when we stupidly decide to try our hand nation building in Afghanistan. They don’t want our civilization and we ought not try to force it on them. If we wanted to punish them for 9-11 and not the Saudis for various reasons, it would have been far more effective to simply bomb them flat for months on end.

    This would have run the factories (hey stimulus) and served however cruelly as a kind of punishment that a tribal people would understand, don’t mess with a stronger tribe or they’ll hurt you.

    With precision guided munitions we could even avoid hurting innocents to a good degree as well.

    Instead we played right into UBL’s hands and in the end they’ll bleed us with a some few dead many mentally and physically maimed people and a hellish price tag.

    1. Clinteastwood

      Uhhhh………didn’t you mean we played right into Halliburton’s hand? 911 was an inside job, remember?

  18. Chauncey Gardiner

    So JPM continuing to use QE-ZIRP money to buy back stock and increase dividend payouts:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-13/jpmorgan-boosts-quarterly-dividend-plans-15-billion-buyback-shares-rise.html

    MS also says Fed has no objections to dividend payouts, and Fed says 15 of 19 large banks met its latest stress test per Bloomberg this afternoon.

    Nice carry trade they have engineered at our expense.

    All is well, People… Move along… Move along:

  19. H Sniffles

    “Holy cow!” and PETA propaganda to boot. None of this drivel is based on real science. Boiled or fried, this is all tripe. Whole grains good for you? Whole wheat bread causes a worse insulin rush than TABLE SUGAR. Read the current (real) research.

  20. Zlati Petroff

    I applaud and encourage your policy of posting photographs of cute animals along with these blog entries.

    That would be all.

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