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Links 8/1/12

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Seal flu virus worries scientists BBC

The Pacific Ocean is becoming caffeinated Grist (Aquifer)

The Humble Origins of the NEXT Global Economy. Don’t Miss Out. Resilient Communities (Lambert)

FDA clears edible medical sensor for human consumption The Register (John M)

Olympians Hanging Up Cleats Risk Drug Addict-Like Ills Bloomberg

TransCanada gets final OK for last leg of Keystone pipeline down middle of U.S. Grist (Aquifer)

700m without power in India Guardian

China Manufacturing Teeters Close To Contraction Bloomberg

Chinese rail cargo still sinking MacroBusiness

China prepares vast stimulus as slump threatens Asia Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

European lenders take Libor scandal hit Financial Times

Eurozone crisis live: how the markets reacted to proposed ECB intervention Guardian. This is a terrific feature.

Our opt-in opt-out solution for the euro Financial Times

Draghi is set to disappoint MacroBusiness

Congressional leaders reach budget deal Financial Times

Extremism normalized Glenn Greenwald

National Debt? There’s No Such Thing Common Dreams (Aquifer). Good piece, but misleading headline. About tax evasion.

Given tremendous demand for ABS paper, a surprising spike in ABX spread Sober Look

JPMorgan Chase fails to end US mortgage modification lawsuit Reuters

Wall Street Now Almost Certain Fed and ECB Will Act CNBC. Um, this reads like a demand. Translation, per Credit Bubble Stocks: QE is priced in.

Bond Markets Control Governments masaccio, Firedoglake

Bank official admits economists were to blame for recession Telegraph (Richard F)

A Question Answered Bob Lawless, Credit Slips. Ugh.

Charles Murray: Panderer to Fraudulent Plutocrats Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

* * *

lambert here:

D – 36 and counting*

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” — Anatole France

Today, in short form that maybe this time will actually be short, I’d like to call out the Campaign Countdown theme of “Tinpot Tyrants.” People placed in office have always had a tendency to inflate their own self-importance and boss other people around, which is why we have the word “officious.” But it feels to me like the exercise of petty authority in public space has radically increased in the last decade or so. In Campaign Countdown, we’ve taken notice of people being arrested for dancing on subway platforms, school administrators handcuffing students, homeowners facing huge zoning violation fines for growing vegetables in their front yards, police arresting mothers in front of their children for unpaid library fines, and a judge jailing a Vietnamese honor student, who was working full time and part time to support her family, after she missed a few too many days of school. To make an example of her. And that’s before we get to normalizing tasers, mass incarceration, and militarizing the police with the same heavy weaponry that had such success in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also too drones.

I can’t help but think that making compliance the operational definition of citizenship has troubling implications for the country. The feeling of not especially legitimated authority lifting from one’s shoulders may partly account for the joy that many have described, en passant, as if it were not an absolute essential, on entering into and participating in an Occupied space.

I’m shortly to return from the spectacular, soaring Suvarnabhumi Airport — architecture is a high art in Thailand — to JFK. Re-entering my country, I’ll be welcomed by a low-ceiling-ed, slightly squalid, dimly lit area that smells of cleaning fluids, and progress through a long slow line over shabby carpet. The signage will be terrible or missing. The passengers, whether coming or going, will be ill-clad, as if they didn’t care what they looked like. Many will be obese. Almost all will look worried or unhappy. The fluorescent lighting will make their skin look dead. In fact, the only fit, energetic, and happy people will be the tinpot tyrants at the desks and the X-ray machines, which are greatly over-staffed. Why, it’s almost as if I’ll be entering a cheesy second-world security state!

* 36 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with cocktail wienies specially imported from K Street for everybody on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. A roulette wheel has 36 positive numbers.

* * *

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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138 comments

  1. dearieme

    An odd usage: “the Willy Brandt government in Germany decoupled the D-Mark from its link to the dollar … The British … “.

    Why “The British” not “The John Major government in Britain”?

  2. dearieme

    “Alternatively, if we limit the eligible list of our rulers to U.S. citizens”: birther!

    1. Foppe

      huh? that rule exists already, does it not? It’s why, iirc, Arnie can’t run for president..

  3. dearieme

    He said the error was not driven by Climate Scientists seeking financial gain but “the quest for certainty”. But their error was to think of the assumptions used to build climate models as cast-iron laws.
    “A concept gets formalised and then gets socialised and then believed as an almost theological doctrine,” he said. “The notion of not knowing, of imperfect information, of uncertainty, got lost from Climate Science or the better part of 20 or 30 years.

    There’s a lot of it around.

    1. JohnL

      Follow the financial gain and the funding. If I was a clmate scientist looking to make a buck I’d be denying it. Meanwhile the very oil companies looking funding climate change denial are insuring against climate change.

    2. Rex

      Dearie,

      Non sequitur?

      Does this climate blurb relate to something I didn’t see? Who is the ‘he’? Is there a context that would make the point clearer?

    1. Susan the other

      I caught that story in the Oregon papers too. Jackson County. In the southern part of the state where it is hot and dry sometimes. There is a similar rain law in Utah too. It is an example of what government can deprive you of in favor of the commons. Which is a necessary evil.

      1. JohnL

        Alas not in favor of the commons. In the whole of the western US, water is owned by who grabbed it first. The principle of prior appropriation. In this case it’s a water company, but it could just as easily be a mine or a rice farmer 100 miles downstream. Water does not belong and never has belonged to the commons in the Westerm US. See the movie “Chinatown” or this: http://hughholub.com/10_water_laws_of_west.htm

      2. Midwesterner

        My friends who build a new house installed an underground cistern to collect rain, snow melt and grey water. They have a large lot in a municipality with a huge sustainable garden, fruit and nut trees.

        They saw this kind of government over-reach coming some time ago. They are saving a bundle on the front by re-using their own water and and on the back end since they are also sewer metered.

        They recently removed the solar pump as to not cause suspicion from any utility workers or meter readers and installed low profile drip irrigation which does not attract attention. Only a few close friends know about their system since we help install it.

        Yes…it’s come to this.

  4. owenfinn

    Re: Lambert`s America and JFK observations. Neither I, nor my two young, half-Japanese sons will ever forget the experience of getting screamed at by an incredibly ignorant and power-mad Kennedy Airport customs goon after arriving in NY after the earthquake last year.

    This person hired to work in immigration at one of the world`s busiest airports, actually had no idea that a child could have two passports and dual citizenship, and my attempts to inform her of this only infuriated her. She insisted that we get off the US citizens line and onto the foreign visitors line.

    What can you do? Continue to argue and get stun-gunned? We obeyed.

    The terrorists have won.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      Yes, they won at the moment of the establishment of the Department of Homeland (Fatherland ?) Security.

        1. different clue

          And made possible to begin with by CheneyBush whose deliberate LIHOP-HIHOP at the very least made the 9/11 attacks succeed, thereby setting the stage for mass-mind acceptance of Dept. of Homeland Security.

          And CheneyBush were made possible by many things, including to a minor extent Nader’s desperate effort to defeat Gore in order to elect Bush. Without Bush’s election and post-election support for LIHOP-HIHOP to make sure those planes could get through, Lieberman’s opinions on Domestic NatSec would have remained moot. Not to say that Nader had a major hand in achieving all this, but in all honesty, it IS what Nader and the Greens and every one of Nader’s voters wanted and hoped for.

          And blaming Gore for “running a bad campaign” treats an election like an Olympic diving contest where the voters are Olympic judges awarding points for who ran the better campaign, rather than interest-protecting citizens making choices on which candidate would better serve the voters’s own post-election interests . . . regardless of the quality of the campaign.

          I remember a blogger named Politex screeching and screeching about this in the months running up to Election 2000. And I like what David Emory said on one of his For The Record radio broadcasts about possible links and ties between elements of the so-called “progressive” movement, expecially the so called “Green” Party . . . and the Green Nazi eco-fascist movements in America and Europe. I like his takeaway quote about Nader and Nader’s supporters: ” remember their names . . . and Make. Them. Pay. ”

          There. And I’ve been ever so much more behaviorally respectful than I was the other times.

  5. Middle Seaman

    Airports appearance demonstrates cultural preferences. American airports, if one can generalize enable selling as much as possible to a rushing and captive audience. The stores and eateries are functional American style. Artistic touch? Almost never.

    European, Asian and many other airports have some artistic flare. The massively surprising Madrid-Barajas, the enormous Beijing, the comfortable Lisbon, the new Tel Aviv, even the tiny Faro (Algarve Portugal) is a piece of art, etc. Functionality is built in but it lives in harmony with colors and shapes.

    Heathrow and JFK are way too much alike; what a mass.

    1. different clue

      On two separate occasions I travelled to Europe as a hanger-on to a small pack of tourgroup tourists on an arranged tour. I linked up with them at JFK but did my own separate getting there and getting back.

      The first time JFK reminded me of the more uriniferous back-tunnel-ways of the New York Subway System. The second time (after renovations) it reminded me of a sterile and hostile New Prison (or what I imagine a new prison would be like).

      I don’t know if other airports are as bad as JFK. If they aren’t , then JFK is well worth avoiding.

  6. Foppe

    Yves: If you’re bored, this is kind of like some of the more feckless VoxEU posts you sometimes link to. Two academics (1 working at a dutch uni, 1 at Cambridge) have been granted €1M to answer the following 4 questions:

    The overall aim is to assess ways to restore trust and trustworthiness in banking by answering the following four questions: (i) what virtues do banks have to possess in order to be trustworthy (the motivation requirement of trustworthiness); (ii) what skills and knowledge do banks have to possess in order to be trustworthy (the competence requirement of trustworthiness); (iii) what obligations do banks have to trust their clients (the duties required by well-placed trust); and (iv) how can citizens ensure that they trust only those banks that are trustworthy (the evidence required by well-placed trust).

        1. F. Beard

          Yes, that’s a common error; the belief that theft, credit creation, is OK if only “regulated” properly.

          One cannot cheat an honest man it’s said. Is that why the banks continue to cheat us? Because so few are honest?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You make thieves not exist any more, instead of reforming them?

            Death penalty?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            One can be wrong making assertions.

            One is not wrong asking right or wrong questions.

          3. F. Beard

            Your assumptions are wrong. Don’t put words in my mouth and then ask stupid questions.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Here’s a litmus test for when to trust the banks:

      The C*O’s make $100K, tops, an Ivy League degree isn’t a requirement, and they’re rarely seen playing golf.

      In other words, when the banks have become public utilities, or are as tightly regulated.

      I keep wishing Occupy the SEC would set up a online bank that works like a mattress. Have a staff about the size of CraigsList (like six?), pay them about the payscale above, and forget about the whole usury thing. Don’t pay interest and don’t collect it. Just charge a nominal monthly sum to maintain the account. Period. Heck, PayPal operates that way now, for a lot of things. I can pay my server costs via email, so I don’t need a bank to do that at all. The more things that work like that the less that any bricks and mortar are needed…

  7. Tiger

    Yves, Lambert,

    I am still in shock over that libertarian can of worms that was opened. I think that you, the staff of NC need to put up a post to clarify what you believe in. I am really confused.

    Top economic minds believe, for example, that the bond market and Internet rates are manipulated and that this is 100% bad for the economy. Do you agree that the market should set rates on its own?

    1. Foppe

      Sorry, I don’t quite get how your first and second paragraphs are connected. What does libertarian thought have to do with this bond rates being or not being set by ‘the market’?

      1. tiger

        It’s just an example for argument sake…just to highlight the fact that I don’t know what to believe anymore.

        I believe the federal government is too intrusive in very important ways, including the way in which it acts on behalf of the entire crony capitalist apparatus like the banks, the health care ‘insurers’, big oil and all these people dictating policies and dictating our future.

        I don’t believe that these companies deserve special treatment, they should be allowed to fail and they should not be playing around with people and with the planet, nor getting special favors from the executive branch that bypass asking the people’s opinion.

        If someone is so opposed to libertarianism (whatever that means…) and to, for example, Ron Paul, one should explain exactly what it is they are opposed to. To endorse this ridiculous Kilpatrick article is, in my view, quite an extreme act, not the least because of the poor way in which it is written and in which arguments are laid out and constructed.

        Seeing her endorsement made my perception of Yves shift from “completely level-headed angel” to “crazy partisan” and yet I know that at least one of those is wrong (probably the latter of course) so that’s why I feel some explanation is needed. This is explosive and it doesn’t make sense.

        Every intelligent being knows that American society needs to socially become more liberal and fiscally become more conservative. so what THE HECK is wrong with saying “I’m socially liberal but fiscally conservative”? I am VERY proud to say that I am in that category of people.

        1. F. Beard

          Every intelligent being knows that American society needs to socially become more liberal and fiscally become more conservative. tiger

          The question should not be “liberal” versus “conservative” but “ethical” versus “non-ethical”, justice versus injustice.

          1. F. Beard

            Then you should be opposed to banks since they have issued about 97% of the money supply by lending it into existence for interest.

            But you most likely aren’t.

        2. Susan the other

          If capitalism and democracy are both synthetic, what are we all either liberal or conservative about?

        3. F. Beard

          I am VERY proud to say that I am in that category of people. tiger

          You should be ashamed since you combine the worst of liberalism with the worst of conservatism.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s good if people are more tolerant and open minded.

            As for fiscal matters, if it costs more to shop local, so be it.

        4. YankeeFrank

          Tiger — I don’t pretend to speak for NC, obviously, but the things you discuss as being negatives are pretty much agreed upon here. Its the “solutions” ostensibly provided by libertarianism that are at question. The idea that a government captured by corporations should be weakened even further, so that those corporations will then gain even more power, is a ridiculous way to lessen corporate control. Libertarians frame the problem as government, when the problem is that government has been taken away from the people and is now almost completely controlled by corporations and the wealthy. I think libertarians believe that government was ever thus, and they don’t see it as a matter of degree. They throw out the (govt) baby with the bath water and think that will solve our problems when it will only set us back to some kind of corporate neo-feudal existence with NO freedom and NO liberty for anyone but a tiny few who run the show.

          Libertarianism hides a very authoritarian mindset behind its shiny white curtains. You can see it from those folks over at “Reason.com” when they whine about how lazy people don’t want to work and only work out of fear of poverty. When, in the real world, the vast majority of people want to be productive (and are) but in many cases a lot of garbage — unfair wages, mass firings, undignified treatment by bosses, etc, etc — pollutes the air and makes it hard to be fulfilled in work. The libertarians don’t have an answer to that because they don’t see it as a problem. Just like they don’t see the way wealth has been stolen in our society as a problem (at least I don’t read much of that and when I do, its as an afterthought — as a reason to dismantle government even more, which in the libertarian fantasy will lead to less stealing of wealth!!!???). Its a thin bait and switch project, libertarianism; and the proof is in who funds its “think tanks” and websites.

          One last point. I don’t think the NC position is that society has to become MORE fiscally conservative at all. The main thrust of what I read on NC is that the money needs to be spent in better ways, and be created in better ways (by government fiat instead of private bank debt), and that it should be used to boost demand, a la Keynes, and that we don’t need to create debt (corporate, plutocrat welfare) in order to print money. And that banks should not be bailed out the way they are. We are certainly not a fiscally conservative bunch, as a whole, here on NC. If this doesn’t make sense as a coherent point of view to you I think it is your assumptions that need some examining.

          1. Kyrie Eleison

            I get into this kind of circular argument all the time: corporations/wealthy interests vs. government.

            Hearing people shout back and forth “It’s the rich!” and “It’s the guvmint!” like a bad Bud Light commercial.

            A hypothetical:

            Suppose someone is being burned with a hot poker. Would you go on and on about the poker itself and how evil such a thing is, or would you direct your vitriol at the d-bag who brought it and is pressing it to their flesh?

            I suppose one’s answer to this would be whether or not they identify with the victim, the hot poker or the d-bag, and any proposed solutions are likely to precipitate from that.

          2. F. Beard

            Just like they don’t see the way wealth has been stolen in our society as a problem (at least I don’t read much of that and when I do, its as an afterthought YankeeFrank

            Correct. I see no libertarian support for Steve Keen’s universal bailout, for example.

          3. tiger

            “They throw out the (govt) baby with the bath water and think that will solve our problems”

            Ahhhh….!! now you’re getting close to the heart of what I think we should be discussing as a society.

            Let’s say we purge everything, we press a big reset button. Get rid of the complex tax code, maybe the SEC, DHS for sure… etc etc. Get our Federal gov. out of everything, and then start from scratch.

            Now: do you believe that as a society we will be able to rebuild something better than what we have, and that the before/after difference is so big to warrant taking the risk inherent is this mass elimination of all these agencies and programs?

            My answer is YES. I’m optimistic about what humans can build.

            Now, some of what we end up building might eventually be a Federal government, in other words, the libertarian view is good NOW, but not forever. Once we eliminate everything surely voices will rise in favor of welfare, minimum wage etc etc…. and I wouldn’t be opposed (I’m just one person… but I actually support single payer health care, basic health care for everyone and basic support for seniors).

            My point is: I support all these things, and yet I like Ron Paul better than the other 2 clowns.

            An anecdote to end: We are immigrants in Canada. My parents were watching a republican debate one night and they have NO CLUE what libertarianism is nor do they even know that Ron Paul is supposed to be ‘different’. But guess what? Around the dinner table they said “that old guy actually seemed to be the smartest guy, he actually said things that makes sense”…in reference to Ron Paul.

            If I were American I would vote for Paul way way way before Obama or Romney

          4. Kyrie Eleison

            Tiger, not to sound argumentative, but with the huge disproportion (and misallocation IMNSHO) of already existing wealth, how can you suggest that simply getting rid of government is a “reset” in any way, shape, or form?

            Would it not just remove any and all impediments for those who control said disproportion of wealth to just steamroll any fledgling society that might try to form in its wake?

          5. F. Beard

            and then start from scratch. tiger

            You mean after all the property and money has been equally split among the entire population?

          6. tiger

            “We are certainly not a fiscally conservative bunch, as a whole, here on NC. If this doesn’t make sense as a coherent point of view to you I think it is your assumptions that need some examining.”

            OBVIOUSLY I know that and i do not expect you to be fiscally conservative, but Kilpatrick’s piece basically says that anyone who somehow identifies with libertarianism or who says they are “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” is a retard or liar or a super-rich conspiring to take over the world with this “3rd way”, instead of what he should have done: acknowledge that it is a completely valid point of view. It’s not Nazism or anything!

            And then NC endorsed Kilpatrick’s piece, and this is what I take issue with. I think it was a low-quality piece that argued weakly and insulted people for their views. Kind of how Hitler in that CBS made-for-tv movie when he yells at people because they don’t believe enough in his Arian superiority theory.

            btw, I may have gone overboard myself earlier… so for the record I think that there are things fiscally that need to be made more liberal than they are. Not everything needs to be reduced. But overall I let the debt/GDP guide me.

          7. F. Beard

            But overall I let the debt/GDP guide me. tiger

            It’s guiding you astray. One way to end this Depression would be to greatly increase government debt so that private debt can be reduced.

            Are you new here?

            Learn some MMT first, I suggest.

          8. Kyrie Eleison

            Tiger, I will not sling barbs at you.

            However, I would ask you to at least *acknowledge* that it can be a very clever vehicle for the “super-rich” to “take over” with this “3rd way”.

            That’s all we can ask for, really.

          9. tiger

            “You mean after all the property and money has been equally split among the entire population?”

            Yes actually. Speaking purely for myself, I wouldn’t mind that. Maybe not totally equally communist style, but definitely a HUGE 1-time net worth tax, if we took half of what anyone who is worth more than $25mm has I wouldn’t mind at all (of course, it would have to be done under some kind of emergency law that most people agree to so as to prevent the whole place going wild, and therefore practically speaking we would have to wait for significantly more distress than what we see now).

            And yet, even though I am a person who is amenable to such a thing, I AM STILL INSULTED by the Kilpatrick piece.

            and on this comment:

            “Would it not just remove any and all impediments for those who control said disproportion of wealth to just steamroll any fledgling society that might try to form in its wake?”

            You know something, if they hadn’t had allowed the economy to go down the tubes back in 2001, the social stresses would be so large that many people in the 1% would very quickly feel bad and help others. Sure, there are a heck of a lot of sociopathic bankers and politicians but there are also a lot of Warren Buffetts and Mark Zuckerbergs out there who, although currently selfish, can have their minds change *IF* we can actually prove to them how bad the economy is. Instead, we get this economy that is growing GDP at 1-2%, and still ruled by the MSM, while food stamp usage is making highs that no one cares to focus on.

            If we show why the conversation deserves to be changed, the result of the new conversation will be good. Humans are fundamentally good, not evil.

          10. Kyrie Eleison

            If it takes coming to the brink of utter chaos to suddenly “care”, do you think it is “care” for the plight of their fellow citizens, or “care” for their own necks?

            I picture quite a few of them renouncing citizenship and fleeing the country before ever admitting that they were at least in part responsible for the mess created. I see a lot of that in history, actually. Can’t think of one instance where your version has happened.

            Also, if they truly do “care”, why do things have to get so bad before doing anything? I have a hard time believing that they are totally ignorant of cause-and-effect.

          11. JTFaraday

            “You can see it from those folks over at “Reason.com” when they whine about how lazy people don’t want to work and only work out of fear of poverty.”

            So? What the hell business is it of theirs why someone works?

            Not being tickled pink over what the folks at Reason.com dump in the public toilets is some sort of crime against humanity?

            In fact, this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. Tell you me you made that up.

          12. Lambert Strether

            @tiger’s “[W]e press a big reset button” is an elegant reformulation of the fact that there is literally no society we can point to that’s run along libertarian lines, and so there’s simply no way to tell what the outcomes would if libertarian [whatever that means] principles became society-wide principles. I mean, at least the anarchists have 30s Spain.

        5. lambert strether

          “Every intelligent being knows that American society needs to socially become more liberal and fiscally become more conservative.”

          Gee, got any evidence for that rather sweeping statement? (Especially when “fiscally more conservative” is code for forcing elders to a catfood diet and the poor to die prematurely without medicare care.)

          Personally, I consider the MMT proponents quite intelligent (they are, at least, highly credentialled) and they certainly don’t “know” America needs to become more “fiscally conservative.”

          1. tiger

            “Gee, got any evidence for that rather sweeping statement? (Especially when “fiscally more conservative” is code for forcing elders to a catfood diet and the poor to die prematurely without medicare care.)”

            see… that’s your whole problem. You think it’s code for forcing elders to eat cat food but it isn’t!! And in a prior post I already said I support free health care for all. You think every Ron Paul supporter or people who LOOSELY identify as libertarian (whatever that means) believe that elders need to eat cat food? No way! And it’s precisely this depiction that I am so disapointed with. It’s really close-minded. You making libertarians out to be something they are not necessarily.

            There are many people like myself who are coming in and saying “look, one thing we have not tried so much is LESS government intrusion”. And while this is a respectable argument (I’m not saying it’s for sure right but it’s at least respectable!) it is being treated with zero respect, as if we’re animals talking nonesense. Let me tell you something: as Canadians, every time we cross the border into your great country we always have this 10 minute quick conversation either at home or in the car about what we’re gonna tell the DHS border guards when we get there. We feel like we’re all terrorists until proven otherwise.

            Correct me if I’m wrong but never in history has a *superpower* government (not a small/medium country) exercised so much intrusion, so much regulation, had so many redundant agencies that most people hate, many of which are there to fight “terrorism” or some other lame excuse. Why not try to go a bit in reverse?? just a bit… and see what happens.

            And as for my statement that you refer to, I already admitted that I went overboard so, yes, I take that back. But within CERTAIN important areas, I still say that without a doubt we need more fiscal conservatism (namely, explicit and implicit subsidies of big banks and loans to solyndra).

  8. Foppe

    Oh look, more free money (with really dumb strings attached):

    The government’s £80bn scheme to kickstart the economy by encouraging more lending to homebuyers and businesses has launched, but experts have warned the new cash may not reach those who need it the most.

    The Funding for Lending scheme, which was announced in June, will offer cut-price loans to banks and building societies who will be expected to make the money available through mortgages to homebuyers and loans to small businesses.

    The money will be lent by the Bank of England for a period of up to four years at a cost of just 0.25% a year (below market rate), but banks or building societies whose lending declines between now and the end of 2013 will be charged more. The rate on the loan will rise by 0.25% for every 1% fall in lending to a maximum of 1.5%.

    1. F. Beard

      So why doesn’t the BoE lend directly to businesses and individuals at zero interest?

      1) That would bypass the banking cartel.

      2) Only the so-called “credit-worthy” are worthy of new money. They get the loans; the rest of us get the inflation.

        1. F. Beard

          Not the same. If it’s a truly private school then it’s none of my business. But banking is far from a truly private business; it is a government backed money creation cartel that should be abolished.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If we privatize airports and give all passengers big vouchers, who will make a lot of money?

          2. Ms G

            If you think that there is such a thing as a purely “private” school, you’d have to believe that not one iota of tuition at such a school is payed with loands financed bby taxpayer-backstopped banks. Bridge sale territory, I’m afraid.

          1. MLS

            and also, sometimes, smart people work really really hard, and despite having no “elite” family background, nor being connected in any way to any institution, they get into top schools.

            I’m not denying that lots of people end up at schools where they don’t belong simply based on who they know or who they are related to, but don’t overlook that some people actually deserve to be there, regardless of their background.

          2. Kyrie Eleison

            The problem is that the ones who don’t earn it are riding on the coat-tails of those who do.

            If you want your precious reputation to actually mean something, then by God take it seriously.

          3. Kyrie Eleison

            I thought the discussion was about academic integrity.

            And people chide the concept of buying a degree from Sally Struthers, this is no different it’s just in a fancier box.

          4. F. Beard

            MLS, you are right that some people work hard and save, and are credit worthy. flabby beef

            Translation: “you are right that some people work hard and save, and are worthy of stolen purchasing power.”

            UR worse than dumb, UR perverse.

          5. F. Beard

            Actually, I don’t like to judge people, just ideas. But since you oppose me at every turn then one of us is very wrong. I’m pretty sure it’s not me.

          6. Kyrie Eleison

            I’m still having difficulty understanding how being able to “purchase” your degree somehow implies the hard work and academic discipline it represents.

            I worked as a cop for 10 years to save up and go to college. Does that mean that I should just be handed the degree because I had the cash up front?

            Graduating with honors, getting inducted to the local chapter of an engineering honor society, and being chosen to do project work at Argonne I suppose had nothing to do with my ability, I just bought all of it.

            I suppose if my school had top Ivy “branding”, I would not have to work so hard to prove myself? *wink wink, secret handshake*

          7. Kyrie Eleison

            Ah, I see. I suppose one could also ask why a ‘top student’ like me was not admitted to one of those ‘elite’ schools, if academic performance is the sole qualifier. Correct?

          8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Correct, Kyrie.

            The ‘correct, Kyrie’ above should be here…it was hard to see from a ‘not-too-smart’ phone.

          9. MLS

            Hard to follow all of the comments since they don’t right-justify, so I’m not entirely sure which ones were directed at my post.

            That said, my interpretation is that some of them are asserting things that I never said. To wit:

            - I said nothing about saving or credit-worthiness, to bring it up is a non-sequitor
            - I made no commentary about “purchasing” a degree
            - I never said that academics was the only qualification
            - I made no judgement or comment on the value of the education from a so-called “elite” university

            For those that directed comments like these towards my post, please read more carefully what I wrote. My point is that some people deserve to go to the school they got into, regardless of who they know or who they are related.

  9. JTFaraday

    re: Bank official admits economists were to blame for recession, Telegraph

    Really? and here I keep thinking the banks are to blame for the recession.

  10. jsmith

    Since I couldn’t post yesterday on the fecal refuse that is libertarian thought I just wanted to say:

    If you espouse/spew libertarian
    “philosophy”, you are invariably a greedy, selfish ahole who is searching desperately for a rationalization to ameliorate your anti-social/anti-human tendecies and urges.

    That’s it really.

    No more needed to be said.

    Just as neoliberalism has provided the needed justification for sating the bloodlust and avarice of our current elite, libertarianism is nothing more than a framework by which lowlier greedy bastards can – at the end of the day – justify their own sociopathy and uncaring personas.

    It is the infantilized sociopath that libertarianism caters to and so if one is unfortunately arguing with a libertarian and it begins to get testy one should keep in mind that a diaper change may be all that is needed to clear the air.

    Cue the baby chorus: “Ad hominem…can’t argue the facts…”

    Adults don’t need to argue or debate with children and that is precisely why no adult should ever argue with a libertarian.

    1. punchnrun

      Argue? Agreed. Discuss? To be encouraged.

      But true discussion and dispassionate analysis is so rare that I think I’ve seen or heard it about twice in my lifetime (60 yrs). It’s exactly the attitude that is evidenced here — the other guys are all wrong/evil/moronic and therefore must not be engaged — that disunites those who should be uniting in their own common interest. Which would be to, in my view, make fundamental changes in the control structures of US governmental and corporate organizations.

    2. Peter Pinguid Society

      Here at the Peter Pinguid Society we support libertarianism and are working on ways to overthrow the state, privatize the air supply and promote sex tourism to third world countries.

      Caring us sociopaths or uncaring is not such a good idea, that is, not if you want to keep your spleen.

      1. Peter Pinguid Society

        Umm, that should be “calling us sociopaths or uncaring is not such a good idea….if you want to keep your spleen”.

        Dammit, I have to stop typing with one hand while sharpening my switch blade with the other.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Olympians hanging up cleats.

    If a society is better judged not by how her top 1% live but her bottom 1%, then a country is also properly seen by not how well her top athletes compete but her least nimble couch potatoes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One of the many yardsticks of a healthy society … Especially when looking at those other than the top athletes/ hunters.

        1. Kyrie Eleison

          I always thought of it as the simplest form of finding a common denominator among nations, not the be-all and end-all of our existence.

          Tesla could dig ditches, but is that what he’s remembered for?

          1. Kyrie Eleison

            So why bother with the games then? Is it even thinly-veiled in something that makes us common as human beings? Or is it just about the gold?

  12. F. Beard

    re National Debt? There’s No Such Thing :

    I agree. The debt of a monetary sovereign is ITSELF a form of money but one that pays interest. To pay off the National Debt would thus not be inflationary even if brand new fiat was used for the purpose. In fact, some say it would be deflationary because no interest is paid on fiat. This is similar to why QE has failed to stoke inflation.

      1. F. Beard

        A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left. Ecclesiastes 10:2

        Note that a coin toss is wiser than a fool.

          1. F. Beard

            On the contrary:

            “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. Proverbs 1:32

  13. Hugh

    A fish rots from the head, but the rot doesn’t stop at the head. The proliferation of tinpot tyrants is a natural consequence of tyrant elites. This is closely allied to the appearance of a two-tiered justice system. Punishment, justified or not, is reserved only to the lower tier.

    This was brought home to me recently when I came across two stories from the same community of toddlers being left in the back seat of a car and dying from the heat. In the first, it was a businessman, his wife a doctor, from the wealthier side of town. The prosecutor called it a tragic accident. The second was a single mother from the not so wealthy side of town. She’s on trial for murder.

  14. Hugh

    Re massaccio, bondholders are just another name for the kleptocratic rich, and yes, they do control governments because they effectively own the elites. Governments don’t need to issue bonds to cover their deficits. They do so because the rich enjoy an interest subsidy from the bonds. Again if speculators drive rates up, it is because governments allow them to do so. This is as true in the US as it is in Europe. The Fed can cover any US government deficit just as the ECB could do for the euro-sovereigns. The limitations on the central banks doing this are in both cases political, not financial.

  15. Susan the other

    Charles Murray: Panderer to Fraudulent Plutocrats. Bill Black. Hello Professor Black! That was killer – bordering on Terminator. More please. And thanks Yves.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Good link about the ‘yarden.’ I thought this was interesting in light of the discussion about libertarians:

      The harassment continued and Tricamo brought in the legal help of the libertarian Freedom Center of Missouri to go before the Board of Zoning Adjustment to fight. “People have been gardening since the beginning of human civilization, and the First Lady has even been setting an example by gardening at the White House! I never expected it to be so controversial,” Tricamo said.

      Can’t argue with helping to provide a tangible benefit and fight for good policy.

  16. Cynthia

    Thanks to a new physics prize sponsored by Russian zillionaire Yuri Milner, 6 string theorists, 2 inflationists, and a quantum computist are now rather rich – $3 megabucks each:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/science/9-scientists-win-yuri-milners-fundamental-physics-prize.html?_r=1&src=rechp

    Yuri Milner has become fabulously wealth by investing in internet stocks, specifically social-networking stocks. But he couldn’t have done this without the necessary seed money that he received from his boss and Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who’s now sitting in jail for stealing billions in oil wealth from the former Soviet Union, back during the late 80s to early 90s when the former Soviet Union was privatizing most of its most prized public assets.

    Despite his uncanny resemblance to Lloyd Blankfein, the squid of squids, I’m sure that Yuri Milner is a very nice and honest guy. ( He must be if he’s willing to give away $3 million dollars a piece to nine very gifted and hard working physicists.) But for anyone to suggest, as the Wired article has done (see link below), that he a self-made billionaire is flat-out wrong! None of his wealth could have been possible had Mikhail Khodorkovsky NOT been able to pass his wealth, his ill-gotten gains, to him.

    All nine of these physicists are very lucky no doubt to be handed $3 million a piece, especially with no strings attached, not that I expect any of them to be dumb enough to blow it on one too many nights of hookers and blow, as many football stars have done. But Yuri Milner is extraordinarily lucky not to be sharing a jail cell with Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    Now if any of these lucky physicists are looking to invest some of their millions, I would suggest that they do so in companies that have tangle value, perhaps even Milner’s macaroni factory, and stay away from his less tangible investments, chief among them Zynga, Facebook and Groupon. I’ll bet money on it that these three social networking stocks won’t be flying high much longer. They are already showing signs that they lack the staying power to stay above ground.

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/10/mf_milner/all/1

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I see he gave the winners paper currency and not medals made of gold like the ones given in Sweden.

      By the way, Olympic medals are not made of paper money, but gold (a very small fraction), silver and bronze.

    2. Hugh

      For me, string theory is to the real world what modern economics is to the economy. It’s not falsifiable. It’s not predictive, and it’s wildly popular in the profession.

      As for Milner, this prize sounds like the counterpart to vanity foundations, like the Gates foundation. It is about private individuals accumulating huge wealth, and rather than that wealth, if we did not live in a kleptocracy, being recycled back to the general public with the general public having say so over how it was used through its government, we have these immensely wealthy individuals usurping that function however they and their vanity see fit.

  17. Tim

    “I can’t help but think that making compliance the operational definition of citizenship has troubling implications for the country.”

    Careful Lambert. You’re starting to sound a little like a libertarian. If Yves get’s a whiff of it she’ll kick your a** with the full force of her libertarian hatred.

  18. Tim

    “Why, it’s almost as if I’ll be entering a cheesy second-world security state!”

    Lambert are you insinuating that the internation arrival terminal at JFK resembles North Korea? If North Koreans to experience JFK for themselves they’d be insulted.

    I couldn’t imagine bringing my stereotypes of America from a foreign country only to have that be my first impression. I’d think I got on the wrong flight, it’s terrible!

  19. Hugh

    Charles Murray is the co-author of The Bell Curve and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His work product is what we always used to call intellectual masturbation. He exemplifies the contradictions at the heart of libertarianism. He is about as far as you can get from the libertarian ideal of the freestanding individual. He is a creature of the wingnut system of think tank welfare. For him, the rich are entitled to all the wealth they can steal while the rest of us have no right to any of the wealth we earn.

    It’s really pretty easy pickings for Black to go after Murray, but a useful exercise nonetheless.

    1. Ms G

      Well, and obviously (as has been discussed often on NC), the boys and girls at the AUSA and DOJ offices are (for the most, but not all, part) aiming to do their 5-6 years and then land a partner gig at one of the big white collar defense firms. Imagine wrecking that job prospect by going after Covington and Burling clients — nah.

      And, I forgot to add as well, just as the defendants in the Drugs-and-Guns cases do not look like the prosecutors (except the odd insider-trading fall-fish picked off to bolster DOJ P.R. that “we are tough on financial crime”) whereas the defendants in the finance-bank fraud arena would tend to look a lot like friends, family and professional colleagues. I never understimated this aspect of what can only charitably be called a “blind spot” in the range of cases these offices chose to pursue.

      1. Ms G

        Double apologies — this follow up was to a comment posted under the “incompetent SEC” story. –Ms G.

  20. Ms G

    This was meant as a follow-up to a comment I posted in response to the main article which initially appeared but now has disappeared.

  21. Up the Ante

    Fukushima I Nuke Plant “Roadmap” Monthly Progress Report (1): Workers Picking Up Radioactive Debris for Future Testing, Getting 0.3 Millisievert for 1-Hour Work

    “.. the concrete bits are not very “radioactive” in Fuku-I standard (it would be considered extremely high outside the plant), at 2,000 microsieverts/hour (or 2 millisieverts/hour). ”

    “.. The former Prime Minister Naoto Kan was busy trying to re-invent himself as champion of “ordinary citizens” who are against nuclear power plants and as key man who can connect these citizens with the power[s] that be ..”

    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/08/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-roadmap-monthly.html

    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/08/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-roadmap-monthly.html?showComment=1343805362189#c6951517693617478696

    ” .. They’ve known – not since day 1, but certainly since day 3 that the situation is uncontrollable. There is nothing they can do to control the slow, steady advancement of contamination.

    Therefore 100% of the effort is to control people’s understanding of the facts, to disburse the radiation as widely as possible, to hide the truth; to deflect responsibility; and to keep the flow of money incoming.

    In that context, everything they have done makes sense.

    Recently they’ve actively involved the US government. I believe this will accelerate the coverup and misinformation campaign. If I were Japanese, I would reject this outright, because the US will certainly leverage this situation to exploit whatever assets Japan has left.

    In the end, the Japanese will pay dearly for this disaster. With their wealth, with their health and eventually with their national pride – but not before the vultures come in to pick over their meager belongings.

    James ”

    [???]
    June 10, 2012
    1,000 US High School Students to Do Volunteer Cleanup, Tree-Planting in Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Ibaraki and Observe Japan’s Recovery

    “and stay for 2 weeks ”

    “I almost forgot – this “Kizuna strengthening project” will invite the total 10,000 high school and college students from the US and Asia-Pacific region over 1 year period.

    For your information, the original meaning of “kizuna” in Japanese is a “rope that ties down the legs of a horse so that it cannot escape”. ”

    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/06/1000-us-high-school-students-to-do.html

    Would be interesting to see how many of these students were children of nuclear plant workers.

    Such a complete lack of clue in letting their children do such a thing can only be described as ‘industrial-strength stupid’.

      1. Up the Ante

        TEPCO Avoids the Light of Day

        “The Skilled Veterans Corps for Fukushima (SVCF) of which Yamada is the founder presently boasts 700 retired engineers and technicians, all of whom are willing to work at cleanup at the nuclear facility to reduce radiation doses for younger workers. Older people have less risk than those younger given the same amount of radiation exposure. .. They were allowed to visit the destroyed plant and although the government approved their offer, they were refused by TEPCO. ”

        http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/ci_21206667/fukushima-disaster-tour-visits-ukiah

        good coverage detail, Ukiah Daily

        Skilled observers can’t be threatened and written off as easily as Yakuza.

      2. Up the Ante

        Your Govt. Won’t Lie to You, lol

        London, April 13 (IANS) “French President Nicolas Sarkozy Friday admitted he did not visit Fukushima during a trip to Japan after the tsunami last March, but had told an election rally he had visited the stricken nuclear plant.

        Election rival Francois Hollande questioned Sarkozy’s claim that he had been to the nuclear plant, BBC reported.

        Sarkozy admitted that he had not. “I’m not an engineer, I don’t need to stick my nose in the situation at Fukushima,” he was quoted as saying ..”

        http://in.news.yahoo.com/sarkozy-lied-visiting-fukushima-135209342.html

  22. Aquifer

    Interesting how the XL pipeline issue seems to have dropped out of site(s). When it was a big headliner for McKibbon and a reputed example of how Obama could be made to “respond” to those circles around the White House it was a big deal, now that it is rather clear O ran circles around McKibbon and crew, it seems to have faded away ……

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