Links, 4/13/12

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About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. gronk

    That painting does not look at all like the fallen madonna with the big boobies. It must be a fake.

  2. craazyman

    I gotta hand it to that economist at the dinner party with the physicist. he hung in there a lot longer than i would have before I changed the subject to the NFL or the table’s silverware. I bailed out after about 9 paragraphs

    i suspect there will probably be a huge population decline over the next two centuries, just due to to people having fewer children. that will take the pressure off.

    and probably discovery and evolution of new forms of perception that let people shift between dimensions and make their own energy like electric eels. & they’ll realize the earth is a giant projection device that supports about 20 different reality realms beside the one we can see right now

    i wouldn’t worry about long-term energy limits and growth limits. nobody will care. you gotta think outside the box!

    1. Anonymous Jones

      My thoughts meandered off at about the same time, but I did skip to the end, and I was shocked (not Captain Renault shocked, but genuinely shocked) to find out that they realized at the end that their entire argument rested mostly on a semantic difference that should have been settled at the beginning.

      My first thought after the physicist’s opening foray was, “Well, what do you mean when you use the words ‘economic growth’?” Measured by what? In ‘real’ terms? Per capita?

      And perhaps history is not such a great guide? What if it whatever you are measuring goes up and down but over the next few thousand years averages 0.0000001% per annum of growth? Of course, that’s unlikely, but don’t you realize that every single guess to such a degree of specificity is, though maybe not exactly as unlikely, of such an unlikely degree that it is bascially impossible to distinguish from any other guess its unlikeliness? You think you can divine a range that is more likely? You are a fool, if so. If you could live so long, you might end up lucky and correct or the universe might deal out ‘justice’ and expose your prognostications for what they were.

    2. China Miéville

      “and probably discovery and evolution of new forms of perception that let people shift between dimensions and make their own energy like electric eels. & they’ll realize the earth is a giant projection device that supports about 20 different reality realms beside the one we can see right now”

      I believe you are being a tad optimistic here.

      Please refer to my work, Perdido Street Station.

      Here, a “N” Dimensional spacecraft crashed into the planet, either causing, or because of, a rift in the membrane separting our dimension and theirs. This resulted in thaumaturgikal flows rendering old laws of physiks inoperable and new laws of the oddest and most dangerous sort.

      I did not think of N Dimensional electric eels, but there were some very dangerous dragon-like flying creatures which crept across the divide. They sustain themselves by consuming the conscience of humans, leaving them to aimlesly wander about like zombies. Many were and are bankers, so you can see the horror in that.

      There was also a very, very large spider.

      And a public landfill of discarded computers that networked themselves and became sentient.

      Just say’n.

      1. craazyman

        Holy Cow! That does sound very plausible, the more I think about it. I have seen small spiders crawling on my pillow at night as I fall asleep, with perfectly symmetrical legs and bodies, black as obsidian. They dissolve when I stare at them and when I jump up to turn on the like there’s nothing there. I’m wondering if a tinfoil sleeping helmet will protect me from their energy and keep them out of my reality realm.

        1. China Miéville

          Jeez, that happens to me too, but I found that it improves my writing.

          My really, really big spider is very dangerous, however. Not that it is vicious in the sense that humans understand. It is just so detached from our reality that it may decide to slice a human in two because it feels that improves the look of the spider’s reality.

          At other times it quite talkative and almost social, in a spider sort of way. But it speaks the way you would expect from a being with those multi-faceted bug eyes.

          It does have very valuable knowledge of the universes and sometimes humans brave a visit to its web’o’sphere, knowing full well that some in the entourage may not return alive.

  3. skippy

    Mining boom in Australia.

    BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance is standing by its decision to stop production at one of its coal mines in central Queensland, casting doubt on more than 1,000 jobs.

    Skip here… the mine and town (purpose built) since the 70s.

    Skippy… Rio Tinto is axing too.

  4. F. Beard

    re: Soviet Posters Against Drinking

    Then why didn’t the Soviet Union ban alcohol?

    I for one am tired of “substance abuse” – blaming substances for societal problems.

    But hey, who can stop ex-hippies from being hypocrites?

    1. Procopius

      “Then why didn’t the Soviet Union ban alcohol?” Well, Communists are supposed to be interested in history. Maybe they looked at the history of banning alcohol in the U.S. and decided the cure was worse than the disease (which we still haven’t done with the War On Drugs). Also, banning alcohol would have required diverting a lot of resources to police activity (on top of the large activity already underway) and away from national defense. After the lesson of The Great Patriotic War, and in face of constant military threats from the U.S., perhaps they did not think that would be a wise reallocation of resources.

  5. barrisj

    Pakistan’s Parliament voted to demand cessation of US drone operations over Pakistan territory yesterday…in a response that seemingly was from “The Onion”, US officials praised “democracy in action”, but privately said that the “no-drone” prohibition will be completely ignored in the interest of US national security, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

  6. wunsacon

    >> Soviet Posters Against Drinking

    On the basis of one negative personal experience (while frequenting .ru sites off and on in search of offbeat pictures / artwork), I recommend installing either “Mozilla NoScript” or full anti-virus software (e.g., AVG) before visiting … well, anything on the internet.

  7. EmilianoZ

    Sarkozy uses Obummer to revive his campaign. Readers will remember how he already used Merkel to convince French voters that he’s the only one that world leaders will trust. Now it’s Obummer’s turn.

    In a ridiculous video chatting conference where the French press was invited, you see Sarko and Obummer bantering about their campaign, with Sarko saying: “We will win, mister Obama! You and me !”

    Obummer must still be popular in France where they don’t know how much of a turncoat he is.

    1. LucyLulu

      Obama IS popular in France. When I’ve been there to visit my various relatives who live in different places around France, he is one of the first subjects that always seems to come up. The French know far more about US politics than we know about French politics. I would even go so far as to say that Obama has softened the traditional ‘resentment’ the French have felt towards Americans……. which my grandmother always attributed to cultural differences, the French seeing American visitors to their country as being loud and obnoxious, unwilling to “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”, e.g. attempt to speak the language.

    1. Susan the other

      And who should pay and by what measure when the entire system disintegrates in chaos?

      1. citizendave

        He seems to be talking about economic models: conservative systems and dissipative systems. In a conservative system, the inputs are fixed, compared to a dissipative system, in which all of the inputs are variable. My interpretation is that he was making a point about how economists tend to choose a conservative model when talking about a dissipative system, implying that the conservative model is inadequate to describe the many variables in real life. But he enjoyed this display because even though it was conservative, with a fixed input, they introduced a bit of chaos in the distribution. But I’m out of my depth on this.

        What I enjoyed most was hearing him speak, and seeing his demeanor.

  8. Hugh

    “Why isn’t DOJ seeking money damages in e-books price-fixing case?” I assume, with Obama as President and Holder as AG, that’s a rhetorical question.

    CISPA, son of SOPA, is a reminder that our elites never give up or admit defeat when it comes to screwing us over. They simply repackage their effort and try again.

  9. JurisV

    Yves Smith’s first Question at INET –

    to Antonio Damasio’s dinner talk on the first day of the INET conference in Berlin. She had another fantastic question today (tonight in Berlin) after Adair Turner’s dinner talk. Video is not up yet…

    Yves’ question is at the 46:20 mark of the video — it’s the last one on the page:

    Damasio’s talk was awesome and accessible and entertaining. The live streaming has been a real treat and I almost felt like I was in Berlin.

    1. JurisV

      RE: Yves’ comment. It was the first comment I saw on the live streaming from the last two sessions, and Yves may have had questions/comments earlier on day 1.

      Being on the West Coast USA, the 9 hour time diff is too much for me to be able to watch the early morning and afternoon sessions.
      By the way, Steve Keen is on tomorrow(Saturday) in the 15:15-17:05 time slot (Berlin time) in Breakout Session II. I hope it’s on “live streaming” — but there are 3 sessions during that time slot… So, may have to wait a day or two.

      Can hardly wait for Yves to post on the Conference !!

    2. China Miéville

      I’m just glad Yves didn’t ask, “Do loans preceed deposits?”.

      Sheesh. Even my old brain knows the answer to that by now.

    3. b when

      Thanks for the link. I only had time for the Damasio, the Q&A was enticing and illuminating, especially in the slip from economic to rational system theory, as a system of logic, code, and its effect on the moving pieces, life.
      I’m not comfortable with Domasio’s reduction?metaphor to an emotion as a purchase. Too easy for that to be hung on the horns of a binary determinant, off/on. Where’s room for the arc art orchestrates?
      Did the German commentator disallow bias in rational systems like economics? Rich. Screen for it?
      There is a lot of confirmation bias generated with rewards. Did the colonists let their morality slip slip, or were they doubling down their own bias, and extending it to law, land and folk?

      Having spent today at the first of a two day Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Indian Residential Schools ( It is streamed live tomorrow too.) economic logic seems more an invitation to system bias. It made residential schools a no brainer (as it did monotheism). The Indians put on reserves, or from their own villages or in town, as the conference banner put it, had their children taken, the parents left behind.
      Children abducted, and parents abandoned, what greater emotion could quel the pain? Consumerism? Self, cultural and family abjectification?
      These moral blind spots in economic rational have an analogue in instrumental obliviousness to the ecologic

    1. China Miéville

      At least someone is asking these basic questions after 236 years. Better late than never, I always say.

      Of course in my work, Perdido Street Station, the government was empowered to perform thaumaturgickal surgery as punishment for dissidents and those commiting crimes against their state.

      For instance, a thaumaturgikally trained doc can whack you in half, keeping the upper half alive, and surgikally bond you to a coal fired, steam driven wheelchair.

      This is something to be avoided, if possible.

  10. LucyLulu

    Thanks for the link on CISPA, this was the first I’d heard of it. The link was a little sketchy on details, for one, why tech companies were supporting the bill….. so here are links to a couple of quick articles with good information for anybody interested. Unlike PIPA/SOPA, this bill appears poised to be passed.

    For more information:

    Link to sign petition to stop CISPA:

  11. JTFaraday

    “How to Weaponize Office Supplies (Businessweek)”

    *Sigh.* Now they tell me!

    I also belatedly discovered post-it note origami. Such lost opportunities. :(

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