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Links 5/4/12

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Stray parakeet tells Japanese police where he lives Raw Story

Pythons Swallow Whole Deer in Florida, $6 Million Tab Bloomberg. A wonderfully inept headline.

Wall Street escort reveals how the clients she flatters are ‘really small and bad in bed’ Daily Mail (May S). I can’t resist: 1. A hooker should probably not expect men visiting her to be good in bed, they are there to be done, not to do her. But 2. Mr 0.1%’s shopping view of matrimony says that these men probably carry similar attitudes in bed towards their significant others….

How work boredom is the new stress… and it affects everyone from office workers to those on the Afghan frontline Daily Mail (May S)

NEW STUDY PREDICTS FRACK FLUIDS CAN MIGRATE TO AQUIFERS WITHIN YEARS Catskill MountainKeeper (hat tip Aquifer)

Chen appeals to US Congress for help Financial Times

U.S. Highlights Concessions From China in Talks New York Times

Draghi predicts 2012 eurozone recovery Financial Times. What is he smoking? I want some.

Water Guns Banned, Handguns Allowed at GOP Convention ABC

Mitt Romney’s Neocon War Cabinet Nation

Mitt Romney’s Partner in Crime: Ed Conard’s Unintended Consequences Dean Baker, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Too Hot Not to Notice? Bill McKibben, Tom Engelhardt

Three Step Plan to Completely Fix the Judicial Crisis Jon Walker, Firedoglake

Unmasked: Meet The FBI’s Bridge Bomb Plot Snitch Smoking Gun (May S)

US Health Care Still Radically More Expensive Yet Not More Effective Firedoglake

A glimpse into Medicaid’s future Incidental Economist (Aquifer)

Economists’ Malign Influence on Taxes Lee Shepperd, Forbes

Small US banks unlikely to repay bailouts Financial Times

Schneiderman may be redeeming himself: Eric Schneiderman sues racehorse nonprofit Democrat and Chronicle and Bank Loan Bundling Investigated by Biden-Schneiderman: Mortgages Bloomberg. Notice the Bloomberg piece indicates this is taking place outside that super duper Mortgage Fraud Task Force.

Banks face tougher trading capital rules Financial Times. A backdoor Volcker Rule. There may be hope for regulators yet.

For Craftsmen, Fragile Lifeline From Craigslist New York Times. Wow.

Can Occupy Wall Street Replace the Labor Movement? Bloomberg (Joe Costello)

* * *

D – 127 and counting*

“If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here.” –Jesse M. Unruh, on lobbyists

Robama: Whacking OBL “most important single day”. (To be fair, Robama whipped for TARP and sold out on retroactive immunity for the telcos for warrantless surveillance under FISA “reform” while he was only President presumptive.) For a generation, the country went about its business with thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at it, and now, suddenly, whacking an unarmed guy in a bathrobe whose own organization exiled him to the boonies because they didn’t want to hear his crazy talk any more is the greatest act of raw courage since He-Man raised his Power Sword for the first time. It makes me sick. Then again, T.S. Eliot scholars give Robama high marks. So there’s that.

Obomney: Everybody’s giving America’s Favorite Dog Lover (down, Rick!) advice. Obomney reacts to Robama instead of putting him on the defensive. (And I can’t believe I’m linking to Philip Anschutz‘s house organ.) Obomney needs better branding. Obamney needs to learn how to tell stories. “I met a guy who worked for the city and he was working, I think, in the landscape division for the city.” A guy. This pudding has no theme!

As the R losers bow out, Shepard Smith wanders off the reservation: “Politics is weird and crazy.” Loser Bacham says Obomney can never win “because his policy is the basis for Obamacare”. Yep, the Ds stole the R’s clothes on HCR! Warren continues to flail. Ron Paul is still winning caucuses, so the RNC tries to muscle the state parties. Green’s Stein in Portland ME advocates a debt jubilee for student debt, and free higher education, like the GI bill.

Below are lists of the top five bundlers for each legacy party Presidential candidate. Yes, Corzine bundled for Robama, and an LPS employee bundled for Obomney, but they’re not in the top five. I used two tools: Open Secrets for the bundler list, and Muckety for the bundler links. Open Secrets explains that “Bundlers are people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who’s willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate in one big ‘bundle.’” Muckety “maps the paths of power and influence” with a nifty interactive tool. (Click one of the bundler links below to try.) Each bundler listed below is linked to a Muckety page that shows their connections. They are listed in order of lifetime contributions since 1990, a better metric for influence than a single campaign. Rs reveal only bundlers who are registered lobbyists, so I have linked to the lobbying firm. Ds reveal individuals, so I have linked to the individual. Enjoy!

Robama: Jeffrey Katzenberg (DreamWorks Animation): 2,059,292.00; Peter Buttenwwieser (Peter L Buttenwieser & Assoc), $1,714,632.00; Paul Egerman (Escription Inc), $1,488,650.00; Peter Q. Thompson (Ariel Capital Management), $1,473,789.00; Wayne D. Jordan (Jordan Real Estate Investments), $1,454,453.00.

Obomney: Ogilvy Government Relations, $1,013,008.00; Altria Client Services, $658,589.00; Fierce Isakowitz & Blalock, $453,431.00; Ogilvy Government Relations, $230,400.00; Barnes and Thornburgh, $137,729.00.

And here’s a list of issues that neither legacy party candidate is running on:

1. The restoration of Constitutional government, in particular the First and Fourth Amendments

2. Breaking up the TBTF banks

3. A Debt Jubilee (though there are rumblings of student debt)

4. Extending Medicare to the general population

5. Lowering the age of eligibility for Social Security**

6. Concrete policies to end to war on women (Robama)

7. Ending the empire

Oh, and 10% nominal (20% real) DISemployment as far as the eye can see. Can’t both these guys lose?

– Horse race-related tips, links, hate mail to lambert

* 127 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with a collective ritual of tearful effacement by D operatives in Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Yeah, I feel like that guy in 127. Who doesn’t? Cross-posted to Corrente.

** How about we get all those elders who lost their retirement savings or homes to the kleptocrats out of the workforce so the young people can get jobs?

Antidote du jour:

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89 comments

  1. rjs

    re: The FBI’s Bridge Bomb Plot Snitch Smoking Gun

    the kids had originally planned to blow up a bank billboard in downtown cleveland; the FBI hired this felon to convince them to make an attempt on the noncritical suburban RT 82 bridge (basically over the river, from one shopping center to another) which, by the way, crossed over national parkland…hence, a Federal crime…

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Don’t worry. I’m a cop from out of town. Just get in the car, and I’ll take you to the airport for an “eval.” You hungry? We can get a burger.

          You on drugs son? It’s okay, don’t worry. You won’t get in trouble. I don’t care. I won’t tell.

  2. Jack

    Yves, uh… As of yesterday, I thought that you were going to post fewer links and spend more time sleeping???

    1. Up the Ante

      Try not to worry about it, ‘Jack’, it’s inevitable at some point, lol.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Has anyone checked lately to see if the frackers are also investing in bottled water companies?

      1. Up the Ante

        They will only do so when the cost of their product has become ‘punishing’.

      2. Aquifer

        Rats, just the other day i read somewhere about water companies being tied up with fracking because of all the water the process requires and it occurred to me that this was a bonanza for them – sell the water to the companies that use it to pollute the natural supplies, then sell it to the poor schmucks whose water was polluted …

      3. eclair

        Well, ex-PFC Chuck, I don’t know about oil and gas companies investing in water, but here in semi-arid Colorado, beloved Nestle is doing so.

        Chafee County is not happy about Nestle’s attempt to buy water rights: http://stopnestlewaters.org/communities/chaffee-county-co

        And, the city of Aurora, just east of Denver, has sold some of its water rights to Nestle in 2009. You have to read through the following article to find the action of the Aurora City Council, buried down in the final paragraphs: http://www.aurorasentinel.com/news/metro_aurora/article_87e1e148-ff3c-5269-b2dd-26d328bd3292.html

        And, yeah, many Colorado communities are fighting fracking.

        1. Otter

          Easy solution : publish the terms of the best (for us) contracts; then, offer to sell Nestles at (our) best terms waterrights in fracking areas.

    2. redleg

      I am less concerned about what is going in as fracking fluid than I am about what is escaping after fracking. There are orders of magnitude more oil, gas, and related stuff in the fracked strata that are hazards by themselves than there is in the fracking fluid. The goal of fracking is to get the product out of the formation, and every publicized report of contamination I have seen appears to be from sucessfully liberating oil and gas rather than the fracking fluid.

  3. jsmith

    For anyone interested in show trials:

    Kahlid “Waterboard” Sheikh Mohammed and friends are heading back to court…er…tribunal.

    From the article:

    “Mohammed, a Pakistani citizen who grew up in Kuwait and attended college in Greensboro, North Carolina, confessed to military authorities that he planned or carried out about 30 plots around the world. He admitted personally killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and said he conceived the plot to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight by would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reid in 2001. Mohammed was captured in 2003 in Pakistan.”

    He also later admitted to stealing my morning newspaper everyday for the last two years, causing the US financial crisis, killing Dick Clark, setting fires at Occupy Oakland and other assorted masterminding.

    http://news.yahoo.com/sept-11-case-returns-guantanamo-tribunal-071656418.html

    I bet Barry just wishes he could have OBL’ed his ass instead, huh?

    What a f*cking joke.

    1. Up the Ante

      “He also later admitted to stealing ..”

      He’s probably been stealing your parking space, too. Being the Master at mind control he is he even convinced you it wasn’t happening all along.

  4. CB

    Yves, Lambert: The sages at DKos say that Williams at Shadow Stats doesn’t know what he’s talking about, his site is “garbage.” I looked around the web and there is some chatter about him: some people purporting to be experts hammering him for faulty premises and mistaken mathematics. What’s the story? Is he on point or not?

    1. Up the Ante

      “some people purporting to be experts hammering him ”

      Someone should flip their coins and begin presenting them as Birchers.

    2. ohmyheck

      The Dem Party Gatekeepers, er, “Sages” at DKos, are mostly Obama Apologists in denial, and since they generally have nothing, they always go for “shoot the messenger” and “fuzzy math” strategies. Facts be damned, if they don’t support The Illusion. If you are looking for objective information, DKos is not the place to find it.

      1. tom allen

        “Advocating for third parties is not allowed on Daily Kos.”

        “I understand the above warning (posting is no longer allowed until this is acknowledged).”

      2. CB

        I’m well aware, but that doesn’t answer the question: is Williams at Shadow Stats the real deal or phony baloney? Just because the DKos front pagers are (mostly) Obama echo chambers doesn’t invalidate all their opinions. And I have to tell you, I’ve had some very interesting and civil conversations on DKos.

        So, is Willaims to be believed or not?

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Informed speculation from a knowledgeable source is one thing . . . . but baseless speculation from Daily freaking Kos backed up with nothing other than a desire to protest Barry and the fascist Democrats doesn’t even merit further inquiry.

          Unless Daily Kos has specific examples I would presume Shadow Stats is the real deal based on the baseless allegations coming from known perp websites, like Daily Kos.

          Where’s your proof? Instead of conjecture make your case. What evidence do you have for these allegations?

          Also, you had a positive conversation with someone DESPITE you both hanging out at a known perp site designed to run interference for the criminal elite.

          1. ScooterLiddy

            You sound like the “shoot the messenger” type. Don’t think anyone is going to have a “civil” discussion with you. Why don’t you just provide some evidence?

          2. Walter Wit Man

            You’re confused about who is employing a “shoot the messenger” strategy.

            Daily Kos is shooting the messenger, Shadow Stats, and are failing to back this up with evidence. That is a classic case of shooting the messenger.

            Nice try at a 180 turn though. Typical Daily Kos maneuver by the way.

            And if you wish to debate the subject further I can actually back up my views of Daily Kos with evidence. This is yet another example, apparently, of Daily Kos shooting the messenger of bad economic data. There have been many instances of this and I’m still waiting for your evidence that Shadow Stats is garbage . . .

        2. patricia

          CB, I have no joy of numbers, so I don’t know, but ShadowStats makes better sense to me than other configurations. Certainly it’s not full of ignorant garbage, as DKos is flaming for obvious reasons.

          But that’s no real answer and I hope someone here will address the question.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      1. Williams is meticulous in documenting how the statistical underpinnings of many important official benchmarks have changed over time. So his information about that, his critiques, and his general conclusions are solid.

      2. HIs attempts to come up with his own versions of official statistics are another matter. In particular, his adjusted inflation figures are pretty dubious.

  5. ex-PFC Chuck

    Like many folks I get sometimes amusing internet graffiti via email. My car dealer friend sent me this yesterday regarding ShCitiBank:

    WHY DOES THIS NOT SURPRISE ME… PRICELESS!

    Cancel your credit card before you die.
    Be sure to cancel your credit cards before you die! This is so priceless, and so easy to see happening, with
    customer service being what it is today. A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to Citibank.

    Here is the exchange:

    Family Member: I am calling to tell you she died back in January.

    Citibank: The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.

    Family Member: Maybe you should turn it over to collections.

    Citibank: Since it is two months past due, it already has been.

    Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?

    Citibank: Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!

    Family Member: Do you think God will be mad at her?

    Citibank: Excuse me?

    Family Member: Did you just get what I was telling you – the part about her being dead?

    Citibank: Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor.

    Supervisor gets on the phone:

    Family Member: I’m calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.

    Citibank: The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.

    Family Member: You mean you want to collect from her estate?

    Citibank: (Stammer) Are you her lawyer?

    Family Member: No, I’m her great nephew. (Lawyer info was given)

    Citibank: Could you fax us a certificate of death?

    Family Member: Sure. (Fax number was given)

    After they get the fax:

    Citibank: Our system just isn’t setup for death. I don’t know what more I can do to help.

    Family Member: Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won’t care.

    Citibank: Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.

    (What is wrong with these people?)

    Family Member: Would you like her new billing address?

    Citibank: That might help….

    Family Member: Odessa Memorial Cemetery , Highway 129, Plot Number 69.

    Citibank: Sir, that’s a cemetery!

    Family Member: And what do you do with dead people on your planet?

    Priceless!
    And you wondered why Citibank needed help from the Feds?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think Apple is trying to get apes to use the iPad – enlarge the use base, if you will.

      I expect Citi to start allowing cats and dogs to open accounts soon, after lobbying Congress to declare they should be paid for the entertaining and psychological comforting services, which, like housework, are unconscienably ignored in the GDP calculation, they provide at homes across the world, after subtracting, of course, food/shelter and the time and materials you put in to clean up after them.

      Perhaps Citi will also get to manage their privatized retirement plans as well. I know my cat is looking forward to retire in a rat-infested REO house.

      1. Fiesty

        My master says I am not allowed to get a credit card until I get a paying job.

        He says I’m too small and cute to be a guard dog so I will probably have to walk cats or hamsters or something.

        I asked why not a banker? But master says they don’t hire pooches yet even tho we can hump the leg of an escort just as well as any banker.

        But anyway, Mitt’s pooch sent me an e-mail with a joke.

        What do you call an airhead monkey that buys an iPhone on a 18% Citi credit card?

        An iMonki

        ahahahaha arf! wooof!!!!!

  6. Credence

    “most Wall Stret guys are small and bad in bed…”

    Most women seeking a well hung man would need an elephant to satisfy their tired, stretched and worn out orifices.

    As to “bad”, what are they looking for, a one man band?

  7. Up the Ante

    “Japan managed to get through the summer last year without any blackouts by imposing curbs on use in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. Factories operated at night and during weekends to avoid putting too much stress on the country’s power grids. A similar success this year would weaken the argument of proponents of nuclear power. ”

    “Japan’s liquefied natural gas imports climbed 18 percent in volume and 52 percent in value to 5.4 trillion yen ($67 billion) in the year through March. ”

    http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/04/11532584-can-it-be-the-end-of-nuclear-power-japan-to-shut-down-last-reactor?lite

    these should be seen all over Japan,

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110713131644.htm

    ” “The available wind energy at 30 feet is much less abundant than that found at the heights of modern wind turbines, but if near-ground wind can be harnessed more efficiently there’s no need to access the higher altitude winds,” he says. “The global wind power available at 30 feet exceeds global electricity usage several times over. ”

    be sure to site some of them right next to the Ancestors’ Tsunami warnings

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am just curious.

      As we harvest wind power more and more, will we at some point start to disrupt the global wind patterns, creating unforseen local or even global eco-disasters?

  8. Up the Ante

    “Most women seeking a well hung man would need an elephant to satisfy their tired, stretched and worn out orifices. ”

    lmao

    That comment will be sure to go over well on this site.

    And a word of advice, when attempting, or even suggesting, use of the phrase “worn-out” be sure to use that dash between the words else Tremendous ambiguity arises, lol.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      They only get stretched out by giving birth. So he has issues with mothers.

  9. Tertium Squid

    At first I wonder so which one is Robama and which one is Obomney. And then I realize, yeah, that’s the point.

    1. Literary Critic

      Does this mean we may have wife swapping going on in the White House too?

      1. Neal Deesit

        No, neither spouse in either couple will consent to having sex with someone who looks like “the help.”

  10. TradesJoe

    The New York Times article about tradesmen is spot on except for one glaring ommission. Not one mention of immigration or “undocumenteds” who not only ‘compete’ for these scarce jobs, but who drive down the level of pay to that approaching Central American standards.

    Just wait until the “immigration reform” extortionistas have their way.

    There will be another 12 million new legal job applicants competing for the scarce jobs and public welfare out there plus another wave of illegals pouring in to take the jobs the illegals abandoned and to await the next amnesty.

    — Illegal immigrants can be found working in many sectors of the U.S. economy. About 3 percent work in agriculture; 33 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (16 percent) and in production, installation and repair (17 percent).

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4703307

    Any politician who moves to please the ‘immigrant community’ is stabbing American working men in the back and so they shouldn’t be surprised when those American men simply stop voting and/or turn to right wing extremism.

    OWS expects some of the most affected, the working class to support them? Not when they tack on ‘immigration reform’ and open borders to their otherwise worthwhile cause.

    I’ve marched with OWS as have my friends. It’s a hard sell to the American Working Class when the demands for yet more “undocumented” is tacked on as a package deal however.

    Posted this before and it didn’t go through…sorry if both show up.

    1. Aquifer

      Well, here’s a couple of thoughts …

      Establish a mandatory living wage for all workers – so no one can “drive down” the level of pay … Remember, it is employers who drive the race to the bottom by paying as little as they can get away with – Reduce “overhead” – Business 101

      Revisit our “trade” deals which dump subsidized products, especially agricultural, on foreign markets driving the locals out of business. Folks don’t leave their home lands, their families, their culture if they can make a decent living at home. They do it because they are hungry, for Pete’s sake … And if you say, “That’s not my problem”, well guess what, it is, whether you like it or not.

      This is precisely the kind of “interanal” squabbling, the divide and conquer strategy, that TPTB love to see – all workers, i.e. the 99% of us, have a common bond …

      1. knowbuddhau

        Well said, Aquifer.

        Once upon a time, I had a living-wage job here in my own home town, painting new houses on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (in Washington state). I worked from February to September, 2007.

        During that brief time, I witnessed 3 separate ICE raids that took place on the work site: a gate-house guarded former seaplane base. I had never seen one before in my life.

        Tell me, TradesJoe, how did undocumented workers find their way onto a guarded military base — on an island, no less? Obviously, with a lot of help from companies holding federal contracts.

        I grew up in this town. And I’m a Navy brat. So when I finally got one of the most highly sought after jobs in the area (because they pay prevailing wages), I thought I had the last job I’d ever need. Since it was with a big company, on a Navy base, I expected everything to beabove-board and proper. What a let down that was!

        Guys with flags and yellow ribbons on their over-sized trucks, building houses for our troops, couldn’t be bothered with concerns for quality. As a painter (both interior and exterior), who became the punch-list guy, I saw every cheap cheat. The things we built were house-shaped, yes, but I wouldn’t want to live in one.

        Toward the end of summer, we were told the next site would be on the mainland, and that it would keep us busy for the forseeable future. Astute NC readers can surely guess what happened next.

        After months of being told “the Marysville site is tied up in permitting,” we were all but done with clearing out of the NAS Whidbey Island site. On the last day of August, I got a call, telling me to expect to re-paint a front door the next day.

        I went to work the next day. But work wasn’t where I left it.

        5 years later, still no call. Turns out, the 400 houses were never built. “American Eagle Communities, a politically connected Dallas company,” stole the money. Then someone in the Department of the Navy made it all go away.

        Crony capitalists, not the undocumented workers they exploitied, stole my living-wage job, on a Navy base in a Navy town.

        http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Delayed-Lake-Stevens-military-housing-plan-takes-1294263.php

        Which brings me to Craigslist. That could be me in that NYT article.

        I’ve gone bankrupt and moved in with family. I’m typing this, at the ripe old age of 48, in the same bedroom I had 30 years ago. And of course, people assume I’m a low-life loser who’s never left home at all.

        That’s why I get so irate when well meaning people ask, “how did you lose your job?” I didn’t! My job, worth about $500,000 if I worked it to retirement as I fully intended, was stolen.

        Back in February, I found on Craigslist what appeared to be my lifeline: going into business as an independent contractor for property preservationists.

        I worked maybe six days all of last month. Even if the California-based company pays me in full and on time, it will barely be noticeable. The fact that some of the properties are themselves likely stolen by fraudclosure just makes it worse.

        I went back to Craigslist and found more of the same kind of work, and it looks real promising. But I’ve felt that kind of hope before, like when I thought I had the last job I’d ever need, only to have it stolen by crony capitalists.

        1. F. Beard

          I used to live on Whidbey Island.

          Talk about dull (but beautiful)! The K-Mart in Oak Harbor was the most exciting thing there.

          1. knowbuddhau

            HA! Too true. Add Wal-Mart and Home Depot to the list.

            Here’s something almost too depressing to tell you. In this land of spectacular natural beauty, it costs money to go walk the beach in Deception Pass State Park, but you can aimlessly wander the aisles of the big-box stores that are impoverishing the area, for “free.”

            ALso, for obvious reasons, I really like your idea of bailing out the citizenry. When I try to imagine what our country would look like, had we invested in things like parks, schools, and infrastructure the trillions upon trillions we’ve wasted on war and crony capitalism, it literally makes me cry.

          2. John L

            I live on Whidbey now. South end. I love it. I do computer work from home. Others are less lucky.

          3. Up the Ante

            “When I try to imagine what our country would look like, had we invested .. it literally makes me cry. ”

            It seems, knowbuddhau, that some number of people no longer believe in the American way. Their Guy Fawkes mask is that of the Looter.

        2. Lidia

          Wow, knowbuddhau. I’m very sorry to hear you got caught up with American Eagle scumbags. These beneficiaries of military outsourcing/privatization were profiled years ago in a Bill Moyers show I listened to as a podcast:

          ww.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12192008/transcript3.html

          Soon a bevy of companies started competing for housing contracts, one was American Eagle. It won contracts in Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Missouri. But its biggest deal was to build homes in the Seattle area at three Navy bases: Kitsap-Bangor, the Whidbey naval station, and Everett naval air station.

          It was a lucrative contract that would total $3.2 billion over its life. The contract worked like this: American Eagle would form a partnership with the Navy, each putting in some investment money – for American Eagle it was $5.5 million. Then the partnership borrowed hundreds of millions more to build military homes. As part of the deal, American Eagle also gained the right to become a landlord – collecting rents on some 3,000 Navy homes in the Seattle region for 50 years.

          ERIC NALDER: It’s a very good deal, because you get homes for free to manage, and to collect rents on, you get up front money from the taxpayer and the rents are provided by the taxpayer because those are in the form of housing allowances given to military personnel. They are going to control that property for 50 years.

          SYLVIA CHASE: Nalder found that Kathryn Thompson, American Eagle’s managing director, had led a developer in California which defaulted on a multi-million dollar public housing project and then was sued by Orange County, the suit was ongoing when American Eagle got the contract in Seattle.

          ERIC NALDER: Another thing is that in the early part of this decade she went into bankruptcy proceedings, and during those bankruptcy proceedings it was revealed that she owed millions of dollars to the IRS.

          SYLVIA CHASE: Then there was Carabetta Enterprises, a low income housing developer in Connecticut, and one of American Eagle’s owners. Nalder would learn that Carabetta had a past problem with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – HUD.

          ERIC NALDER: It was a big problem. Carabetta Enterprises, Inc had violated scores of HUD regulations and steered money the way they were not supposed to steer money in a HUD project, so badly did they do so that they were banned from HUD projects for quite a while.

          SYLVIA CHASE: Then why would the military partner with American Eagle? Pouring through civil lawsuit records, Nalder found a potential clue: Carabetta appeared to have agreed to pay retired four-star Air Force General Merrill McPeak $200,000 to help American Eagle with its first military contract.

          1. F. Beard

            Then the partnership borrowed hundreds of millions more to build military homes. Lidia

            More likely a bank created those millions from thin-air with the homes as collateral.

            As usual, the banks are a major part of the problem.

          2. knowbuddhau

            O.M.G. I’m just stunned. Thanks for the info, Lidia.

            Way back when (it seems like an entirely different life), I was a psychology major at University of Washington. In a primatology class, I learned of a male chimp who took over his group by brandishing and banging together two empty gas cans, frightening the rest of the troop into submission.

            The only difference between that chimp and American Eagle Communities and their ilk is that the latter have stenciled flags and eagles and such on the empty cans. And they probably used underpaid undocumented workers to do it!

            Come to think of it, same MO reliably jacks us into war after war. Bogus holy wars for false profits; it’s what we do.

      2. Klassy!

        Revisit our “trade” deals which dump subsidized products, especially agricultural, on foreign markets driving the locals out of business.
        If NAFTA has been a raw deal for American workers, it is a positively bloody deal for our brothers and sisters south of our borders.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Establish a mandatory living wage for all workers – so no one can “drive down” the level of pay … Remember, it is employers who drive the race to the bottom by paying as little as they can get away with – Reduce “overhead” – Business 101

        —-

        I agree, but will it result in no one driving down the level of pay, if, people are not hired workers but ‘independent’ contractors? Perhaps no one will drive down the levelo of pay of company workers, but will companies get out-competed by those ‘indies?’

    2. F. Beard

      It’s a hard sell to the American Working Class TradesJoe

      Every US citizen should receive equal bailout checks till all private debt is paid off. In addition, there should be generous infrastructure spending. That should get the economy humming to the point where foreign workers will be welcome or at least not resented.

  11. Aquifer

    i really like the “Countdown” segment here – much better than Olberman’s. It’s like a complete menu for ALL the political meals we are offered – and just about the ONLY place where one can get other than the processed stuff – we can get R-BGH and D-GMOs AND organic …

    Kudos!

  12. ep3

    yves, an acquaintance is currently in bankruptcy. the courts will subpoena him every couple months and he has to document his expenses. and if the court finds he is spending too much on gas, they have the right to increase his bankruptcy payments (he lives 3 hours from his children and has a truck). he pays the courts who then pay the debts. So we have the courts acting as debt collectors for private business.
    i acknowledge there is more to the story (claims his attorney did not make him aware of this).

    1. F. Beard

      I reckoned that to be a lady squirrel being stylish and warm.

      BTW, it’s obviously just a coincidence that the tail is just long enough to serve as a convenient hat/cloak combo?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it’s just me, but that looks like a Hiroshige woodblock print.

  13. Anonymous Jones

    Like the list, Lambert.

    Not sure about 5 and 6, and as much as I think *procedure* is important, I want *results* out of my #1. The root of a lot of these problems seems to be financial inequality. In my experience, people care a lot about (i) relative consumption and (ii) doing something meaningful with their lives. And the present inequality is kinda sh*tting on both those things. So let’s start with something else they’re both not talking about, raising the top marginal tax rates in order to start whittling back the gap that’s formed over the last 30-40 years. At least, that’s where I’d like to start (or a straight up wealth tax). Where do I sign up for that (imposing higher tax rates on myself, by the way)?

    Actually, I think there’s a way to avoid making it worse, but you don’t want hear about that. Doesn’t fit in your narrative. Oh well. To each his own.

  14. KFritz

    Re: Craftsman on Craigslist (CL)

    The information in the article is all correct, but it’s woefully incomplete.

    From CL’s POV, the “Skilled Trades” heading is among the worst for overposting, mostly because there’s no community of users to tag overposters. (CL is mostly user-moderated, and the efficiency and fairness of moderation varies by category and location). The ‘gentleman’ who posts 3 times per day is violating the Terms of Use (TOU)–but there are others who game the system far more than he does, at least in major metropolitan areas

    In states with strong contractor licensing law, CL is a major nuisance for the licensing agencies–a free place for the unlicensed to advertise for with no regulation. During the ‘Yellow Pages/Print Ad Era,’ tracking unlicensed advertisers was much easier. In California a LICENSED contractor could be fined $1500 for advertising in the Yellow Pages without a license number. The ease of posting at CL, the transitory nature of the ads, and the difficulty of tracing the advertisers without a warrant all work against the regulators.

    Small contractors, those most hurt by unlicensed competition , have very little clout with the licensing authorities. Contractors’ organizations are dominated by major contractors and suppliers, which have little to zero interest in the problems of small contractors–and so use none of their clout with the authorities to deal w/ unlicensed advertisers at CL and elsewhere.

    CL links to a very useful website which gives an overview of licensing laws in all 50 states.

    http://www.contractors-license.org/

    The ostensible craftsman interviewed for the article were/are almost certainly violating the laws of Arizona and Florida.

    If (repeat IF) the author is based in New York, it’s not surprising that he/she didn’t know much about contractor licensure–NY has one of the weakest laws of a major state. Only Illinois and Pennsylvania compare.

    As a preemptive strike, I acknowledge that the licensing bureaucracies are very imperfect instruments, but if a ‘craftsman’ damages your home, property, etc, and he/she doesn’t have liability insurance, can’t be located easily, etc, etc, etc, the results can be disastrous to say the least of it. Caveat emptor is too mild a statement.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Check this out. The California-based property preservation company I found on Craigslist (see my comment above) required of me a million-dollar insurance policy, with themselves as a named insured.

      AYMK, making changes to the structure of a building requires a license and a bond. Since my credit is crap, thanks to having a living-wage job stolen by crony capitalists, no one will sell me a bond. So I’d have to pony up the $6,000 myself, and not be able to touch it for two years after I go out of business. Instead, I settled for becoming licensed & insured only to mow lawns and do jantiorial work.

      When I explained the delay to my recruiter, I was told that I was doing that (going for the bond) for me, not for them.

      IOW, they’d be quite happy to save the money a licensed & bonded locksmith would cost by having me take the risk for them. If I was stupid – or desperate – enough to do that, I’d be stealing from the legit contractors who just so happen to be my neighbors.

      I’m convinced they know they’re using illegal contractors so they can save money for the same big banks that got us into this mess in the first place.

      1. John L

        Needs to be a craftsman’s union or similar to help out with these bonding issues. Collapse of housing has led to a glut of unlicensed unbonded contractors unfortunately. The mexicans have stopped coming and are starting to go back.

  15. Georgie de Morenschildt's talking skull

    8. Implementing legislation to ensure the enforceability of the treaty obligations of the UN Charter and core human rights conventions (including but not limited to the CCPR, CESCR and the Convention Against Torture*). Withdrawal of US reservations to the CCPR and the Convention Against Torture.

    9. Joint resolution of accession to the CESCR, for passage by bicameral majority, to acknowledge the state’s duty to respect, protect, and fulfill rights to housing, education, health, environmental hygiene, and other means of life.

    10. Signature and joint resolution of accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to end the impunity of the military industrial complex and get it under control.

    11. Erect Stalinist-style monuments like MLK’s to the candidates supporting 8-10 when JSOC blows their brains out.

    * http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/index.htm#instruments

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Stray parakeet tells Japanese police where he lives.

    —-

    The lesson here is that if you travel a lot with your parakeet, it helps that you teach him a few foreign languages.

    1. craazyman

      At first I imagined the parakeet speaking the address in English, until I realized it said it in Japanese. That’s really amazing!

      If it spoke English, do you think it would have a Japanese accent?

      bowahhahahahahah

    2. craazyman

      If that parakeet spent a quiet night at home in the cage watching Kurosowa’s Seven Samurai, do you think he’d listen to the dialogue or try to read the sub-titles? I don’t know why I keep thinking it’s an English-speaking Parakeet.

  17. b.

    “Can’t both these guys lose?”

    Not if you keep trying to glue our eyeballs to your re-rebuttals of their BS. How about using those resources for a suggerstion as to what to do instead? I think we can safely assume a vast majority here would like to do something more constructive than choosing how and who will extract the gold from our teeth, or – if true poverty should accidentally be represented under these digital bridges bearing the ‘tubes – the marrow from our bones?

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How work boredom is the new stress.

    —-

    I don’t think Neanderthals ever got bored at work.

    I imagine, with their Zen no-mindedness, their total identification/absorption with their work, they never had time to let their minds wander like Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens.

    1. Susan the other

      I thought that article on boredom was interesting too. When I used to get unbearably bored I rearranged and cleaned the living room down to the last spec of dust. And loved every minute of it. Housecleaning might be one of the solutions. I can think of others. THey used to say that a change was as good as a rest. But how can you change anything if it is all formula?

      1. craazyman

        do you want to come over? you could clean the kitchen too, while I surf the web!

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Draghi predicts…

    When he’s proven wrong, he can blame it on the Mayans, I believe.

  20. abelenkpe

    And here’s a list of issues that neither legacy party candidate is running on:

    1. The restoration of Constitutional government, in particular the First and Fourth Amendments

    2. Breaking up the TBTF banks

    3. A Debt Jubilee (though there are rumblings of student debt)

    4. Extending Medicare to the general population

    5. Lowering the age of eligibility for Social Security**

    6. Concrete policies to end to war on women (Robama)

    7. Ending the empire

    ———————————————————-
    Who wouldn’t vote for that? Shows that both parties are seriously out of touch and have no interest in connecting with the needs or wants of voters.

  21. Lidia

    OT but file under “paranoia, state-induced”:

    I was hanging out at the US Embassy in Rome for a visa matter, when I overheard a chipper Dale-Carnegie-type dude quizzing a young lady who had lost her passport. He asked if she had registered for an absentee ballot, and she said “no”. Then what I thought was wierd was that he asked her why, did she not intend to vote? And she said that indeed she did not. And he then asked her WHY she didn’t want to vote, was she “against the system”? I didn’t hear her answer, but I thought it was a very strange exchange, in that he kept pressing her for a reason.

    While I can appreciate their wanting to inform US citizens of their voting rights and options, it’s really no business of theirs why someone might choose not to exercise those rights/options. With TIA, I can just imagine her answer going on some “permanent record”.

  22. EH

    Hah, yeah. I can’t wait until the Democratic Convention provides me with an Obama candidate. I’m going to be so happy then! I should get some champagne now in case it sells out.

  23. Susan the other

    Links good. Re Muckety and Open Secrets. Good info. Thanks Lambert; I think i understand this because my neighbor is listed on Muckety. Yuckety. This is how I know the index is eponymous.

    Re: Can’t both these guys lose? Yes. If there is a third candidate required to form a coalition democratic government and the process requires at least 4 parties – say D, R, Green, and something new that is not totally insane.

    “How do we get all those elders who lost their retirement savings or homes to the kleptos out of the work force so the young people can have jobs?” You subsidize them (us old farts). Now.

    Re Dean Baker on Conard (and Mittens): It could all have been absorbed if homeowners had had good jobs. Or any jobs for that matter. A long betrayal.

    Big Pharma. Is obscene. Period. But one remedy is to import medical clinics and good cheap drugs from India, Cuba, China and etc. – from basically EVERYWHERE.

  24. p78

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,830972,00.html
    Millions Left Behind in Boom – The High Cost of Germany’s Economic Success

    “Only a few are benefiting from the boom, while stagnant wages and precarious employment conditions are making it difficult for millions to make ends meet.”

    Wage Dumping for Temp Workers
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/bild-830972-347454.html

    Better Prospects with Collective Bargaining(Unions)
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/bild-830972-347455.html

    Discrepancies between Business Income and Wages
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/bild-830972-347453.html

  25. Sundog

    Destruction of the US industrial base by acquiescence to East Asian mercantilism has been normalized for many decades now and is usually characterized as a “market outcome” best for us all, whether justified by the unsinkable aircraft carrier or Walmart’s business model.

    Cracks in the facade maybe can be analogous to the pathologies Oliver Sacks argues have advanced our understanding of cognition.

    Ken Dilanian, Fears of spying hinder U.S. license for China Mobile
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-us-china-mobile-20120505,0,4550705.story

    Those officials, known collectively as “Team Telecom,” review FCC applications by foreign-owned companies. They could advise the FCC not to issue the license, but may instead demand a signed agreement designed to satisfy security concerns, the people said.

    Considering that for decades now USG has been heavily influenced and not infrequently dominated by people committed to the destruction of effective regulation, and the financial resources of the CCP, it seems unlikely that any legaleze would mitigate potential downside.

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