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Links 8/9/12

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July hottest US month on record BBC

Fossils point to a big family for human ancestors Nature (skippy)

Stress makes men appreciate heavier women: study PhysOrg (Chuck L), I don’t know if the problem is the study or PhysOrg, but based on my experience, it’s PhysOrg. The summary says stressed men also appreciated NORMAL women more AND a broader range of body types. This just means 1. Stressed men want/need sex more than normal men and 2. They are therefore less fussy.

Facebook wants court to rule ‘Like’ button is protected speech Associated Press (Lambert)

How to Spot the Next Big Banking Scandal MIT Technology Review (Chuck L). The flaw is in the assumption that senior management wants to stop fraud.

Chinese telecoms giants are taking over the world. Should we be scared? Maeve McClenaghan (Chuck L)

Special Report – China’s answer to subprime bets: the “Golden Elephant” Reuters (Scott via FT Alphaville)

China’s July disappoints MacroBusiness

Economic growth in eurozone impossible without break-up – Wolfson Prize winner RT (furzy mouse)

Greek Government Could Collapse In These Times (Matt Stoller)

Greece’s Power Generator Tests Euro Fitness Amid Blackout Threat Bloomberg

Southern White Democrats Face End of Era in Congress Wall Street Journal (Joe Costello)

Study: Pretending Everything’s Okay Works Onion. Obama commissioned this study.

The Liar Mitt Romney and a Legacy of ‘Welfare Reform’ Charles Pierce, Esquire

Moment of truth for US grain Financial Times

Median Wages Have PLUMMETED Since 1969 George Washington

Upper-Middle-Income Households See Biggest Jumps in Student Loan Burden Wall Street Journal. So maybe we’ll have to do something about it?

Chase CEO: Placing blame hurts economy Columbus Dispatch. More Dimon principle. Economies are like children, you don’t dare hurt their self esteem. And saying bad things about prominent people, especially big bank CEOs, is very hurtful.

* * *

D – 30 and counting*

“I willingly allow that money does not guarantee happiness; but it must also be allowed that it makes happiness a great deal easier to achieve.” –Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Montreal. Law and order: “Now that demonstrations against his government are back and louder than ever, Jean Charest has challenged other party leaders to condemn any violent act on the part of protesters.” Stinks of a set-up for the Sept. 4 election. … Law and order: “Students marched to Hydro-Quebec Wednesday, seeing it as a symbol of provincial government power, but then police moved in claiming somebody had thrown a projectile. There were no arrests.” … Corruption: “According to [McGill's Daniel] Weinstock, though, the Liberals are going to get the brunt of the public’s anger for two reasons — first, [Charbonneau Commission star witness] Duchesneau has pointed his finger squarely at the Charest government as a font of malfeasance. Second, since the PQ has been out of power for nine years, ‘its slate has been wiped clean.’”

CA. Extractive economy: “The question asked most often [at a Richmond town hall on the Chevron refinery fire] was, ‘What are we breathing?’

CT. Ballot access: “It appears that the only presidential petition likely to succeed in CT is the Libertarian Party petition. The state requires 7,500 valid signatures. The Green Party made a valiant attempt, but seems to only have 7,000 signatures in hand.”

FL. Class warfare: “Pressler [here] draws a picture of [FL D hedgie Jeff] Greene, 57, worth an estimated $2.1 billion, as a man who lives in fear of a populist revolt, a plundering uprising of America’s ‘poor people.’ As a member of the country’s richest 1 percent, Greene claims the nation’s wealthiest people, people like himself, should pay more in taxes willingly — ‘buy a little democracy insurance’ – because one day, ‘if you have 50,000 angry people coming across the river, you think you’re safe?’” … RNCon: “Demonstrators, rather than politicians and media members, will generate the most foot traffic for downtown and Ybor City bars and restaurants not directly involved with the conventio, observers say.”

LA. Transparency: “Louisiana’s education chief has refused to provide records from the deliberations over how schools were chosen to participate in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s new statewide voucher program, which is using tax dollars to send students to private and parochial schools.”

NC. DNCon: “Michael Zytkow, 26, and a veteran of Occupy Charlotte, said he would like ‘to normalize protest culture in Charlotte.’ He looks back as well as ahead, to ‘the long history of protest culture in the South,’ including the sit-in movement during the civil rights struggle. ‘We want to make sure we don’t squander this time.’” …DNCon: “Trucks delivering food, including caterers and food and beverage suppliers, must first go to a remote delivery site at 900 N. Davidson St. for screening. They will then be escorted to their destinations.”

NJ. Emergent parties: “When the Democratic party gets serious again about representing its base, they will let me know in a significant way.Now, you have two viable alternatives: Anderson or Jill Stein.”

NY. Fracking, Cuomo plan: “Home Rule: The rights of local governments to ban shale gas development has been recently recognized by the New York State Supreme Court, which upheld local drilling bans in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield. New York State Environmental Conservation Law, however, states that local governments do not have jurisdiction over gas well development. It will likely take legislation to resolve this key inconsistency.” Good detail…. Fracking, Cuomo plan: “‘[G]reen completions’ would be required [where] feeder pipelines are in place prior to the fracking of a well, so that no methane is vented or ‘flared.’[M]any gas wells end up being dry holes, even after fracking. If the industry must build pipelines to wells in advance of knowing whether or not those wells would produce, it will have costs in NYS far above the costs it would have in, say, OH or PA.” (IOW, no “flowback.”) More good detail.

OH. Demographics: “A new Ohio State University study released Monday shows that the North American Amish numbers are doubling every 22 years, a staggering growth that even researchers didn’t expect.”

PA. Ballot access: “On August 8, two attorneys working for various R officials filed challenges to the validity of the Libertarian Party statewide petition and the Constitution Party statewide petition. No challenge was filed against the statewide Green Party petition.”

TX. Class warfare: “San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth are apparently the nation’s most economically segregated metropolitan areas, according to a new Pew Research Center study.” … Transparency: “A proposal to give Houston City Council the ability to meet behind closed doors is dead.”

VA. Food: “Bringing healthy fruits and vegetables to Richmond’s “food desert” is the easy part of the job at Tricycle Gardens. The nonprofit environmental group grew 40,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce on its ½-acre urban farm last year – basil and sage; berries and melons; beans and squash – and distributed most of it locally through local farmers markets and food banks.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood watch. Media critique: “[Obama] particularly believes that Ds do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security.” Oh, there are “niche online outlets” that give Obama plenty of credit. … Student loans: “[T]he federal government is withholding money from a rapidly growing number of Social Security recipients who have fallen behind on federal student loans.”

“The economy.” Why it sucks: “[JAMIE DIMON:] It’s because of us. We scapegoat each other. We point fingers.’”

Outside Baseball. Happiness: “‘We should seek better and more-direct measurements of economic well-being,’ Bernanke said Monday in a video-taped speech shown to a conference of economists and statisticians in Cambridge, Mass. After all, promoting well-being is ‘the ultimate objective of our policy decisions.’” Oh? …. Big Oil: “The dirty oil from [Keystone XL] would displace three-quarters of all the carbon-emission gains we’re getting from CA’s auto-emissions standards, a battle that took 25 years to win.” … Census: “To keep pace with rapidly changing notions of race, the Census Bureau wants to make broad changes to its surveys that would treat ‘Hispanic’ as a distinct category regardless of race, end use of the term “Negro” and offer new ways to identify Middle Easterners. census data are used to distribute more than $400 billion in federal aid and draw political districts”

The trail. Polls: “A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds Obama has expanded his lead over Mitt Romney, 49% to 42%, even though nearly two-thirds of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction. ” … Polls: “40% of Americans overall view Romney favorably, 49% unfavorably – leaving him underwater, at least numerically, in 10 straight ABC News/ Washington Post polls this year.” …. Polls: “in every state except FL, the polls show that a significant gender gap has opened among working-class whites, with Obama performing much better among white women without a college education than blue-collar white men.” … Supreme Court: “When we’ve reached a point where a Supreme Court Justice [Scalia] floats the idea that the right to bear arms just might include ‘handheld rocket launchers’ it’s definitely time to make the Court a talking point in this campaign.”

Green Party. NY: “‘How long are we going to vote based on our fears and not for what we want?’ [House candidate Ursula Rozum] said.”

Romney. Charisma?! “A family abandoned the bride and groom of an Orthodox Jewish wedding party mid-photo shoot to chase the [Romney] car. ‘At least 10 members of the wedding party’ tried to reach Romney, with one man going so far as to attempt to scale a wood fence.” … Class warfare: “Romney could also have thanked investors from two other wealthy and powerful Central American clans — the de Sola and Salaverria families, who the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe have reported were founding investors in Bain Capital. While they were on the lookout for investments in the United States, members of some of these prominent families — including the Salaverria, Poma, de Sola and Dueñas clans — were also at the time financing, either directly or through political parties, death squads in El Salvador.” … Losing the political class: “Dan Ackroyd: ‘[Romney] wears a girdle, I think.’Earth tones! … Veepstakes: “We [First Read] can say with a high degree of confidence that Romney’s vice-presidential pick has largely come down to three men: former MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. And it’s more than possible that Romney has already made up his mind.” … Veepstakes: “[M]y gut instinct and contrarian nature make me think we could be in for a preconvention surprise. Why not New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, whose down-to-earth sensibility would offer a useful complement to Romney’s patrician persona?” … Veepstakes: “Still, the election is close enough that these marginal effects could matter — and an extra point for Romney in OH [Portman] or VA [McDonnell] would be awfully nice for him right now.” … Veepstakes: “Last night, Stephen Colbert played a snippet of a Fox News report noting the jump in last-minute edits to Sarah Palin’s page four years ago. ‘[COLBERT:] We could be looking at Vice President Season Six of Buffy-the-Vampire Slayer. So, Nation, let your voice be heard in this history decision. Go on Wikipedia, and make as many edits as possible to your favorite VP contender.’” (see).

Obama. War on women: “Obama on Wednesday accused Rs of wanting to take the nation ‘back to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century’ during a campaign stop aimed at securing support from women.” … Money: “President Obama’s reelection campaign is launching another contest, where entrants can have the chance to play in the “Obama Classic” and shoot hoops with ‘some of the best basketball players alive.’ Listed in support are Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Carmelo Anthony, with others to be announced.” … Oopsie: “Obama’s re-election campaign washed its hands Wednesday of an independent group’s vicious (and misleading) ad effectively blaming Mitt Romney for the death of a laid-off steelworker’s wife from cancer.” … Oopsie: “But a new radio ad the Obama campaign is running in OH might be a new low, dinging Mitt Romney for remarking that coal ‘kills people.’ Here’s the thing: the plant Romney was talking about actually does kill people.” … September reach-around: “Speculation is rising that the Fed will take action in September, and that’s led to a rise in stock prices, with the S&P closing above 1,400 for a time on Tuesday. This wouldn’t be an October surprise, but it could seal the deal for Obama despite the bad economic times. Few presidents lose reelection when markets rise in the three months prior to Election” (and see Nate Silver).

* 30 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with vats of iced tea for everybody on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. 30 is the minimum age for US Senators.

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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137 comments

  1. MacCruiskeen

    “I don’t know if the problem is the study or PhysOrg,”

    From the study:

    “Finally, the present results also showed that men in the experimental group idealised a wider range of female body sizes as being physically attractive compared to the control group. As before, the effect size of this between-group difference was moderate by Cohen’s [29] standards. It was notable that this difference was driven by the shift in the experimental group’s upper limit of attractive female bodies. That is, while there was no significant difference in the lower end of the range, the experimental group appear to have shifted the maximum cut-off for attractive bodies at higher BMIs, which resulted in their wider attractiveness range.”

    1. ambrit

      Dear MacCruiskeen;
      One of the comments on the PhysOrg [sic] site askedif there would be a similar pattern among women. The commenter then wondered if the objective standard would be muscles rather than fat. This got me to wondering if the experimenters had focused on body types minus faces, or whole humans. My guess is that, since most infants would associate breasts with mother, food, security and the rest, larger breasts alone could account for the stress related shifts in preference. Since we’re all infants in the beginning, does this shift in preference also apply to women? Absent any Sapphic component, do women also prefer more ‘motherly’ women for companionship during high stress times? The old joke about Mothers and Daughters being “joined at the hip” came to mind. If you have a good relationship with your parents, they can be your best friends when times get tough. If you don’t have that relationship to fall back on…

    2. Lidia

      It would seem pretty normal to me that a guy under stress might find a healthier partner (like the size-14 Marilyn Monroe) to have better reproductive abilities than a size-zero Kate Moss. [Think about that: size zero!]

      There was a reason the Venus of Willendorf was carved…

      In the future, avoirdupois will once again be a sign of wealth and access to scarce nutrients.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Please read again! I’m astonished at the failure to parse how the summary goes beyond the actual findings.

        First, their preference for normal women also increased.

        Second, these “stressed” men weren’t hungry, they were depressed. The authors made an unwarranted link between depression and starvation. In fact, hungry animals are more active (lots of literature on that).

      2. craazyman

        how about all those fat Italian mama-mias Lidia? Do they still get it on when they hit 160 pounds. I guess by that point they can manhandle their cigarette smoking arthritic husbands and the gender roles reverse.

        I think Faulkner wrote once in Sanctuary about Poppy and some obese prostitute. I won’t repeat it here. It had to do with mama.

        I didn’t see that type on Berlusconi’s TV show. They were all pretty hot actually. I think they enjoyed flaunting their hotness. Like at the beach.

        The Venus of Willendorf does amaze me. She was probably a Queen of the Hive sacred embodiment of the tribe’s female energy and may well have been force fed by priests — like something out of The Golden Bough. I doubt she got that way sitting around watching whatever their equivalent of cable TV was and eating Hagen Daz ice cream and popcorn.

        This kind of study reminds me of financial academic research. One wonders about two things: 1) what motivates them to do it in the first place, and 2) How they can possibly believe what they come up with.

        Maybe this is a clever pyschological experiment in which the so-called “study” is just a fake and the real phenomenon of analysis — something wholly unrelated to the alleged topic of scrutiny — is not revealed until after the fact and only initially to a select audience of specialists.

      1. Robin Hood

        Yes. Rosie O’Donnell is the cure for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

        One more reason to join the Army.

  2. JGordon

    I had always wondered how heavy women manage to get guys. I guess they strike when the guys are vulnerable.

    More proof that any kind of stress is bad stress; the quality of my life has improved dramatically since I stopped caring about most things, in a lot of ways!

    1. ambrit

      Dear JGordon;
      Not to worry! A related article to the one skippy identified from Nature about human variability said “Human Ancestors Interbred with Related Species.” Seems the genus Homo has always had esoteric tastes.

    2. EH

      I’m glad you’ve been able to simplify your life down to the important things, like condescending about why people would find certain body types attractive.

    3. Lidia

      I have always wondered how Rush Limbaugh managed to marry several apparent females.

      Wonders will never cease.

  3. DP

    “I actually think the underlying economy is not bad,” Dimon told about 200 people gathered in a tent set up next to the branch.

    Consumers and small and large businesses have healthier balance sheets than before the recession, he said.

    “I can’t prove it in real time,” Dimon said of his thesis.

    Dimon can’t prove consumers and small businesses have healthier balance sheets than before the recession because as he knows it is a bald faced lie, his bank is turning down loans to them every day.

    1. Klassy!

      Please take time to study the photograph of the fawning audience in the accompanying article about the rollout of new product for wealthy clients.
      These are the people that write letters in support of the (not even supported by Kasich) Republican plans to drug test food stamp recipients.
      They like their welfare queens white male and banker style.

      Hilarious quote from Dimon’s minion: “This is solely driven by the need of clients,”

  4. jack hepler

    Re the Golden Elephant:
    This looks to be from the Onion…… hilarious stuff
    My favorite meme for predatory capitalism: it’s a virus, called More-is-Better

    1. Susan the other

      No kidding. I thought the Golden Elephant should have been named the “Holy Fucking Cow.” Some direct quotes about this Chinese RMBS (which really is not a security): It is offered by the China Merchant Bank (rich guys) under the aegis of the China Railway Ministry which is 2.2Tr Yuan in debt, which debt exceeds the combined worth of all the major US banks. The article goes on to mention that this investment is better than the recently terminated financialization of Chinese Pawn Shops (!). But it did mention that the peasants of the province in question were offered flats.

  5. CB

    Obama’s not the only one bankrolling that Pretending Everything’s OK Works study. Seen Christie’s Everything’s Great in NJ ads? I can tell you, Christie’s getting his political money’s worth. With taxpayer money, of course.

    1. Aquifer

      Methinks the suggestion of jealousy is unwarranted, cheap shot?

      However I do question whether one might want to rethink the idea that heavier women are not “normal” ….

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I point out that there is a gap between the findings of a study and the conclusions it reaches, and you go off on some personal jealousy fantasy? You’ve just revealed your own biases, that you think all women are heavily (pun intended) invested in competing with other women for men.

      If I wanted to be heavy, it would be easy. Eat more.

      1. F. Beard

        You’re fine the way you are. Being thin is a rare accomplishment, at least where I live.

      2. Lidia

        Yves, it’s NOT that easy.

        I dated a guy for several years who weighed less than I did: he was about 130 pounds.

        He did EVERYTHING to gain weight. He tried lifting weights. He lived on a diet of cheeseburgers and ice cream, frappes, french fries, etc. He ate twice what I did and never gained a pound.

        Individuals do have different metabolisms.. I’m not sure why intelligent people like those on NC can equanimously analyze other aspects of life, EXCEPT when it comes to irrationally criticizing those who are overweight.

        1. F. Beard

          I was like your friend; until I was 30 I could never get over 145 lbs which is very thin for 5’10″. Then I discovered Nardil, an MAOI. That stuff was fun but boy did it make food taste good! In no time at all I was above 150lbs and was happy about it but the pounds kept on coming. Eventually I peaked at 210 lbs.

          Now losing weight is my problem but before the Nardil it was putting it on. So one’s metabolism is not set in stone.

        2. Lidia

          You all understand growth curves, right?

          Well, let’s say that I eat 100 calories *more* per day than I need to. That’s 3000+ calories/month which translates to almost 1 pound per month weight gain.

          100 calories is the equivalent of one apple, or one spoonful of oil.

          So, if I, an ostensibly overweight person, were to actually have been eating more than I could burn off each day, my weight would keep growing.

          If, over the last 35 years, I had eaten one apple’s worth per day of extra calories — 1,277,500 calories more than I needed to get by over the last 35 years — I would have gained 365 pounds.

          But I didn’t gain 365 pounds; I weigh the same as I did in high school.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          With all due respect, you use ONE GUY as an example? Did you miss the fact that the entire American population is dramatically fatter than it was a generation ago, and that’s due to portion sizes (lots of stuff on that, fast food venues serve much bigger portions here than aboard, true of most upscale restaurants too), lots of sugar in the diet (sugar is the biggest source of calories in the American diet, 25%, which is huge), fats, and corn (corn is high glycemic index, it produces a spike in blood sugar levels, which is conducive to weight gain).

          The entire US population disproves your one person example. Same patterns seen in the UK, Australia, even Japan due to a shift from a Japanese diet to a more Western diet.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Whenever I return to this country, not just from Asia, but from Europe, one of the first and most obvious things to strike the eye is the extreme rate of obesity.

            * * *

            Anecdotally, as Krispy Kreme and MacDonalds and 7/11s begin to penetrate Thailand, I’m starting to see American-style obesity there as well.

          2. Robin Hood

            We have fat Asians here. Fat aerobics instructors too.

            I suspect we have fat anorexics too, but we just don’t notice them.

          3. Lidia

            This is against a background of relentless criticism of women’s weight (as opposed to obesity in both sexes), which I didn’t expect to find at NC.

            Here female Olypmic medalists are accused of being too fat:
            http://www.reuters.com/london-olympics-2012/articles/weightlifting/2012/08/05/holley-mangold-us-competes-womens-75kg-group-snatch-weightliftin-0

            Americans have been gaining weight not only because they eat too much (supersized portions not just at McDonald’s but at most restaurants) but due to changes in the quality of food itself (more highly processed and GMO foods). Foods have the nutrients taken out but the calories left in.

  6. LeeAnne

    “Chase CEO: Placing blame hurts economy Columbus Dispatch. More Dimon principle. Economies are like children, you don’t dare hurt their self esteem. And saying bad things about prominent people, especially big bank CEOs, is very hurtful.”

    Yes, and it takes a local newspaper to call out the phony.

    … dressed in casual clothes -sneakers, etc., costumed for deception -he addresses the crowd as an equal, referring in his prepared speech to ‘we’ and ‘us’ and departs, conspicuously, on a bus.

    Its not for nothing that Bush’s words “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job,” are his most memorable. Those words exemplify the touchy feely words that have replaced crimes, criminal, law, arrest, fraud, prison, etc. in the made for TV face of power since the SCOTUS/BUSH coup. Dimons words in this little talk against his critics is proof positive that these guys have got to go to jail.

    I think its Paul Craig Roberts who recently pointed out that these people have to be stopped because they are never going to stop. There is no limit.

    1. Susan the other

      Agree. Look on the bright side. Pretty soon the banksters and their fellow travelers are going to want to be so innocuous that they will offer your 5m for your bungalow with a bad roof.

    1. Robin Hood

      In my much younger days, my friends and I noticed that we were attracted to a larger range of body types the closer it got to bar closing time.

      But the relationships never did last past morning.

  7. F. Beard

    Steve Keen’s idea gains more traction:

    One such radical measure is too controversial for any policymaker to mention publicly, although some have discussed it in private: Instead of giving newly created money to bond traders, central banks could distribute it directly to the public. Technically such cash handouts could be described as tax rebates or citizens’ dividends, and they would contribute to government deficits in national accounting. But these accounting deficits would not increase national debt burdens, since they would be financed by issuing new money, at zero cost to government or to future generations, instead of selling interest-bearing government bonds. from http://blogs.reuters.com/anatole-kaletsky/2012/08/01/how-about-quantitative-easing-for-the-people/ [emphasis added]

    1. alex

      Giving away free money may sound too good to be true or wildly irresponsible, but it is exactly what the Fed and the BoE have been doing for bond traders and bankers since 2009.

      If he keeps writing like that, Kaletsky may find himself at the bottom of a river. Truth is a dangerous thing.

      1. F. Beard

        Lying is far, far, far more dangerous:

        and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

        Strangely, I was taught that lying was a venial* sin by the RCC. It took me a while and a bit of courage to leave lying behind.

        * Venial sins = burn in Purgatory awhile then Heaven.

        1. skippy

          Could you pass this on…

          “On her radio show, Dr. Laura said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Schlesinger, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as quite informative:

          Dear Dr. Laura:

          Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

          1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

          2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

          3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

          4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

          5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

          6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

          7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

          8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

          9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

          10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

          I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

          Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

          Your adoring fan,

          James M. Kauffman,

          Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

          Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

          P.S. (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian.)”

          Skippy… hay your not a countryman, can I buy you, do I get a discount for old folks too? This collapse thingy might not be so bad after all, biblical life ummmm, if your not in my mob its free game!

          1. F. Beard

            Dem Jews, deys got’s a problem. No Temple for one thing.

            It’s too bad their ancestors didn’t recognize their own Messiah.

            Btw, have your read Isaiah 53?

          2. skippy

            So confused…

            Was Jesus Jewish and, if he was, how would that have influenced his experiences as a young man growing up in Galilee?

            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/bornliveddied.html

            ———

            Then you have this mobs view.

            “Christians have been duped by the unholiest hoax in all history, by so-called Jews. This is considered their most effective weapon.”

            “This ‘big lie’ technique is brainwashing United States Christians into believing that Jesus Christ was “King of the Jews”, in the sense that so-called ‘Jews’ today call themselves ‘Jews’. This reference was first made in English translations of the Old and New Testaments, centuries before the so-called Jews highjacked the word ‘Jew’ in the 18th century A.D. to palm themselves off on the Christian world as having a kinship with Jesus Christ. This alleged kinship comes from the myth of their common ancestry with the so-called ‘Jews’ of the Holy Land in the Old Testament history, a fiction based on fable.”

            “American Christians little suspect they are being brainwashed twenty-four hours of every day over television and radio, by newspapers and magazines, by motion pictures and plays, by books, by political leaders in office and seeking office, by religious leaders in their pulpits and outside their churches, by leaders in the field of education inside and outside their curricular activities, and by all leaders in business, professions and finance, whose economic security demands that they curry the favor of so-called “Jews” of historic Khazar ancestry. Unsuspecting Christians are subjected to this barrage from sources they have little reason to suspect. Incontestable facts supply the unchallengeable proof of the historic accuracy that so-called “Jews” throughout the world today of eastern European origin are unquestionably the historic descendants of the Khazars, a pagan Turko-Finn ancient Mongoloid nation deep in the heart of Asia, according to history, who battled their way in bloody wars about the 1st century B.C. into eastern Europe where they set up their Khazar kingdom. For some mysterious reason the history of the Khazar kingdom is conspicuous by its absence from history courses in the schools and colleges.

            “The historic existence of the Khazar kingdom of so-called “Jews”, their rise and fall, the permanent disappearance of the Khazar kingdom as a nation from the map of Europe, and how King Bulan and the Khazar nation in about 740 A.D. became so-called “Jews” by conversion, were concealed from American Christians by censorship imposed by so-called “Jews”, of historic Khazar ancestry, upon all U.S.A. media of mass communications directed by them. Then in 1945 this author gave nation-wide publicity to his many years intensive research into the “facts of life” concerning Khazars. The disclosures were sensational and very effective but apparently angered so-called “Jews” who have continued to vent their spleen upon this author since then solely for that reason. Since 1946 they have conducted a vicious smear campaign against him, seeking thus to further conceal these facts, for obvious reasons. What have they to fear from the truth?

            “In an original 1903 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia in New York’s Public Library, and in the Library of Congress, Volume IV, pages 1 to 5 inclusive, appears a most comprehensive history of the Khazars. Also in the New York Public Library are 327 books by the world’s greatest historians and other sources of reference, in addition to the Jewish Encyclopedia, dealing with Khazar history, and written between the 3rd A.D. and 20th centuries by contemporaries of the Khazars and by modern historians on that subject.”

            Jesus was a ‘Judean’, not a Jew.

            During His lifetime, no persons were described as “Jews” anywhere. That fact is supported by theology, history and science. When Jesus was in Judea, it was not the “homeland” of the ancestors of those who today style themselves “Jews”. Their ancestors never set a foot in Judea. They existed at that time in Asia, their “homeland”, and were known as Khazars. In none of the manuscripts of the original Old or New Testament was Jesus described or referred to as a “Jew”. The term originated in the late eighteenth century as an abbreviation of the term Judean and refers to a resident of Judea without regard to race or religion, just as the term “Texan” signifies a person living in Texas.

            In spite of the powerful propaganda effort of the so-called “Jews”, they have been unable to prove in recorded history that there is one record, prior to that period, of a race religion or nationality, referred to as “Jew”. The religious sect in Judea, in the time of Jesus, to which self-styled “Jews” today refer to as “Jews”, were known as “Pharisees”. “Judaism” today and “Pharisaism” in the time of Jesus are the same.

            Jesus abhorred and denounced “Pharisaism”; hence the words, “Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites, Ye Serpents, Ye Generation of Vipers”.

            http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/jesusjew.htm

            Skippy… will the *real* Jesus please stand up for FFS. I don’t know whats worse, religious history or derivative finance, people just make it project their needs and wants more than any thing else. Self reinforcing loops are a bitch… eh.

          3. F. Beard

            Well, there’s no doubt Jesus is Jewish, that is of the tribe of Judah as per Biblical Prophecy.

            As for the Khazars, one could/can convert to Judaism so I see problem with calling them Jews. Of course, their claim to Israel is considerably weakened if they are NOT descendants of Jacob. There have been genetic studies but I forget the results.

          4. skippy

            ” There have been genetic studies but I forget the results.’ beardo.

            skip… well it seem the mob down in Ethiopia is the purest DNA, Sheba’s kids. But Euro centrism during the last 500ish years has that sorted or not depending on ones ocular bias.

            Skippy… anyway thanks for not answering my main question… is it cool for you to be my slave as were not country men?

          5. propertius

            Skippy, you’re probably thinking of the study referenced in this article:

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000509003653.htm

            I used to have the entire original paper, but I can’t seem to lay my hands on it right now.

            Azhkenazi and Sephardic Jews are both genetically quite close to Palestinians and southern Lebanese. The theory that Azhkenazim are descendants of the Khazars has been pretty thoroughly discredited by genetic studies.

          6. F. Beard

            is it cool for you to be my slave as were not country men? skippy

            No because as a Christian I have been grafted into the status of “chosen.” Even if you were a fellow Christian or a Jew, you could at most have me as a indentured servant for 6 years.

            OTOH, I reckon you might be fair game … :)

          7. skippy

            I can get around that little technicality beardo… I have been baptized into the Christan faith.

            I’ll claim backslider status! I wonder what the premium on any of your debt is ummm.

            Skippy… actually I’d rather – up lift – humanity from the thousands of years of incessant intercine warfare created by the ramblings of the ignorant. By those that wished to serve only themselves or some ambiguous master for some overblown sense of grandeur.

      2. Mark P.

        They’re going to have to do something, because just giving money to the banks isn’t working (except for the banksters and the pols they pay off, so I guess it is).

        See this little piece of truthfulness, forex, from the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW site of all places –

        “The Last Days of Pushing On A String”
        http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/the_last_days_of_pushing_on_a.html

        “…Back when Eccles and Keynes thought about the limits of monetary policy they assumed that any decent government would readily take up the fiscal challenge allowing the monetary authority to put away the ineffectual string. They could not foresee a time when fiscal policy had fallen so far from grace that authorities in the U.S. could not conceive of using it while their European equivalents managed to build an entire economic system without reference to it. The result is that we are still pushing on a piece of string 80 years after we figured out how useless that policy can be.”

        1. F. Beard

          The problem is some falsely equate government MONEY with big government. There need be no such controversial connection as GW Bush proved with his “stimulus checks”; even those on the Right did not send them back, I’d bet in 99% of the cases.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s good Keene is looking at one aspect of the money distribution problem and not just money creation.

    2. Jim

      But wouldn’t that fall under fiscal policy? Couldn’t Congress immediately challenge such an action?

      Then again, you have the ECB doing what it wants in clear violation of the German constitution, and the ECB isn’t even part of the German government.

      So, if an unelected, pan-continent of Europe consctruct like the ECB can impose its will on others, then, I guess there’s nothing to stop the Fed from doing the same?

      Democracy, so quaint.

      1. F. Beard

        But wouldn’t that fall under fiscal policy? Jim

        Yes, I suppose so since it would be a clear giveaway unlike the Fed’s stealth bailout of the banks.

  8. ambrit

    Friends;
    Re. “The Golden Elephant.”
    Is it me, or does this story sound very much like descriptions of Robber Baron Era financial panics in the making? The similarity to historical accounts of the Roaring Twenties is striking. Everyone is rushing to get on the bandwagon. No one is doing meaningful diligence. Happy days are here again. When the American bubble popped in 1929, the world fell into “The Mother of All Depressions.” Can China do the same? They’re number two and trying harder.

  9. drugstoreblonde

    Definitely PhysOrg.

    These scientific “abstract aggregators” leave much to be desired.

  10. Klassy!

    “Clean coal” radio ad– does anything more perfectly illustrate how little this presidential election matters (in terms of consequences).

  11. spooz

    And for a Chris Whalen piece without the libertarian spin, (not written by Whalen, but posted on his Institutional Risk Analytics website),

    “In this issue of The Institutional Risk Analyst, veteran attorney Fred Feldkamp opines on the lattest twist in the Madoff bankruptcy litigation. Most recently, the spouses of the fellons have claimed immunity from claims by the bankruptcy trustee for the Madoff firm. Read and learn how current bankruptcy law helps Wall Street’s worst actors steal from investors with impunity.”

    http://us1.institutionalriskanalytics.com/pub/IRAMain.asp

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A big human ancestor family.

    Not to be outdone, we also had a big family – us, the Neanderthals, the Hobbit (Homo Floresiensis), and the Denisovans.

    The question is, did we have a hand directly in their dissaperances, or is it common in nature that a species’ closest relatives, spread over a wide geographical area, just died out fairly rapidly?

    1. Antifa

      Hobbits taste like chicken, with overtones of truffles and savory. Neanderthals taste like boiled buffalo butt, but they’re easy to catch and last all winter. Denisovians are best served with a salad of mixed forest greens and those delicious orange spiceberries that are extinct now.

          1. Lidia

            Not true. There are studies showing that genetic material from GM crops now resides in humans who have eaten those crops.

            “The only published human feeding experiment verified that genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of intestinal bacteria and continues to function.[36] This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us.”

            [36] Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.
            http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11361.cfm

          2. Robin Hood

            I still don’t think that means “eating smarter” means we should cook up a Mensa for dinner.

  13. JEHR

    Yves, I was surprised to see your advertisement at the top of the page for CPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers). Do you choose who are your advertisers? This is one you should probably bypass.

    1. Aquifer

      Your comment piqued my curiosity – i have been running AdBlocPlus for some time now on Firefox and have been blissfully unaware of what ads are run on various sites ….

      Seeing the ads does give one a slightly different perspective – sometimes induces a fair amount of cognitive dissonance …

      The one that took you aback relates to petroleum – I confess the one that takes me aback is the one “Why investing in water can lead to massive profits”. The funny part is not so long ago i e-mailed a link to NC for an ad like this and said it made me want to barf! LOL

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I have said many times I have an ad service that sells NC and other blogs as a package (a “vertical”) I have no control over what they place. I actually think it’s funny when bad guys waste their money supporting a site that undermines their message. You should waste their money more by clicking on their ads. I don’t get paid for click throughs, but it encourages them to waste even more money on content that is at odds with their priorities.

  14. CaitlinO

    Big human family: “With as many as four Homo species (H. rudolfensis, H. habilis, H. erectus and whatever KNM-ER 1802 turns out to be) co-existing in one period of evolutionary history, researchers are wondering how different hominins may have behaved in each other’s company.”

    Working backward from our high current levels of aggression and competition with each other and perennial mistrust and active dislike of the other, I would guess that those times with multiple hominid species sharing the same ecosystem involved fierce competition for survival and built the patterns of intra-species violence that we struggle with today.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It was not too long ago people in Siberia and people in the Sahara did not share the same ecosystem.

    2. punchnrun

      Think about how hyenas, wolves, coyotes and foxes get along, where they share environments. Or don’t. Why would these hominids have been any different?

  15. Up the Ante

    Anti-Compliance Departments

    Standard Chartered’s anti-compliance dept. has a new employee, Mervyn King ?

    “U.S. Senate hearings later revealed that in 2007, before the financial meltdown, Goldman Sachs employees wrote e-mails bragging of selling blatantly terrible investments to clients. Estes says his software could have helped compliance departments catch such activity. ”

    “HP, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle have all developed similar text analytics software. ”
    And LexisNexus, tsk tsk, still allows their ‘client’, Standard Chartered, Deloitte, to be ‘found out’ so easily.

  16. Up the Ante

    “I just hope something breaks the back of this political environment.”, Jamie Dimon said.

    Perhaps I can be of assistance, Jamie.

    Your friend, Peter Sands of Standard Chartered, has utttered a similar ‘cry for help’ as the one you vocalized some several weeks ago.

    “Look no further than the mirror if you want to know why the economy remains so sluggish, says the CEO of the JPMorgan Chase & Co.

    “It’s because of us. We scapegoat each other. We point fingers,” Jamie Dimon said yesterday .. ”

    So Jamie, stop it. Stop blaming Mr. Sands, same as Sands must stop blaming Mervyn King and Richard Meddings must stop blaming you, Jamie. You are the “fucking American” he was referring to, right ?

    “I can’t prove it in real time,” Dimon said ..

    And with that ^^, all the above-named perpetrators spun Up and Out of sight, arms bound tightly, is it ??

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2012/08/08/chase-ceo-placing-blame-hurts-economy.html

    1. Robin Hood

      Ah. Bankers soul searching out loud in public.

      Let’s not forget “Sandy” (Sandie?) Weill and his “we shouldn’t ‘a done that” confession earning himself a spot in heaven.

      The humanity of it all. Warms my heart to hear it.

      1. Up the Ante

        Banker ‘cries for help’ w/Little John and his stout staff for cracking pates ?

        :)

  17. Cynthia

    First the internet bubble went bust and everyone went broke (except the banks). Then, the housing bubble burst and everyone went broke (including the banks but we decided they were important and we bailed them out). Now, the student loan bubble is about to break and everyone is screwed again (except the banks). Seems what’s bad for us is good for the banks. Therefore, if we reverse the equation (math!!!), what’s bad for banks must be good for us. That’s the way out of this mess. We have to kill the banks before they kill us!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would agree though math could be tricky.

      If decades of GDP growth results in median wages plummeting since 1969, to reverse the equation, does it mean we shrink GDP?

      I have mentioned the possibility of shrinking GDP and improving the lot of the 99%. But it is more than just reversing the equation.

      1. Lidia

        It is pretty much almost that simple.

        My ‘percorso’ to fiscal enlightment began with the book, “Your Money or Your Life”.

        It should now be clear that shrinking GDP will result in overall greater individual well-being (all else being equal).

        GDP increases merely measure the quantity of surplus transformed into waste.

        If I buy nothing, and waste nothing, I don’t contribute to GDP, even if my personal consumption and/or my personal contribution to society is high.

        Women, I think, have a better basis for understanding this than men, if you will permit me this sexist diversion. Historically, women’s services have been invisible to the economy at large: the work of a wife, cook, mother, and caretaker of the elderly has rarely, if ever, been calculated. It counts in GDP terms as zero. Only when a woman pays third party individual or company, a babysitter/school or a private nurse/nursing home to wipe the asses of her children and her parents does GDP come into play.

        1. Robin Hood

          Some of us men are sincerely trying to get better. I’ll go as far as to say I now understand that it may be better to measure the economy in “Happiness Quotient” rather than GDP.

          And maybe Hershey’s Kisses should be legal tender. There is precedent for this – the Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency.

          Recently Krugman got in the spotlight again when he said (maybe tongue in cheek) that we would be better off if Congress decided we are in imminent danger of attack from Space Aliens and mobilized the economy in a massive defense buildup to fight the Space Aliens.

          Really.

          Now Krugman may know lots more than me about what lurks between the covers of econ books – and has much more faith than I do that any kind of demand is good demand.

          But when he starts talking Space Aliens, he is treading on MY turf.

          But at any rate, that is what inspired me to throw together this web page.

          Enjoy.

          http://myhomecloud.yzi.me/SpaceAliens/SpaceAliens.html

          1. Lidia

            Hershey’s Kisses are crap.

            Krugman is deluded: one of the many remaining on the center/left whose touchstone is economic growth, i.e., illogical and ecocidal (read: homocidal) unsustainability. I think he is smart yet autistic as are many people I knew at MIT.

            Really, to heal the planet, by and large the best thing humans can do is to DO NOTHING. Do not “drill, baby, drill”. Do not mount forces against space aliens. Do not build wind turbines on every promontory, and solar farms in every desert. Do not breed in order to beat out perceived racial competition.

            Just.

            Stop.

            ——–
            Stop and think: do you NEED THAT!?!

            My mom is an ancient New Hampshire Yankee. Her “mantra” (she wouldn’t be able to actually define that word if her life depended on it) is “You Don’t Need That”.

            I want to print up a boat-load of “You Don’t Need That” stickers and plaster them all over the shit in the supermarket and the Rite-Aid…

      2. F. Beard

        If decades of GDP growth results in median wages plummeting since 1969, to reverse the equation, does it mean we shrink GDP? flabbybeef

        No, but I’m not surprised you might think so.

        To reverse it requires a universal bailout and abolition of the counterfeiting cartel, the cause, at a minimum.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The government’s money is the people’s money.

          To inject money to the system through the people, instead of through big banks is a good start.

          Please don’t, though, insult the people by calling it a bailout.

          Government’s debt is people’s debt. The goverment debt to the people is like debt to itself, except it helps the individual savers and imposes discipline on borrowing, when done equitabbly, by the people, who are the real sovereign of the nation.

          1. F. Beard

            except it helps the individual savers flabby beef

            It helps the rich, those who can afford to save the most. Meanwhile the poor pay taxes so that usury can be paid to the rich.

            and imposes discipline on borrowing, flabby beef

            The Federal Government has NO need to borrow.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The people are the sovereign and they can and should exercise control of the government.

            Borrowing from the people is good. If you worry about borrowing from the rich, just set a limit.

          3. F. Beard

            Borrowing from the people is good. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            No it’s not. It’s welfare disguised as honest lending. If people need welfare then just give it to them; let’s not waste it on people who do not need it.

            OTOH, the government SHOULD provide a free (up to normal household limits) risk-free fiat storage and transaction service that makes NO loans and pays NO interest.

      3. Lidia

        “more than just reversing the equation.”

        Yes, it is more than just reversing the equation. Because people need to reject the framing that no longer works: in this case, the framing of growth, progress, and the contributory “job”.

        People have, for millions of years, had plenty of work, but few recognize how recent the “job” is as a social construct. People need to stop looking to the private/pirate sector or to The State to provide them with “jobs”. We need to Occupy Ourselves.

        The private sector and The State is already (paradoxically) helpfully indicating the WAY OUT, which means not only the way out of employment and its erstwhile benefits, but the WAY OUT FROM UNDER the loving ministrations of State/Private Sector Oligarchs.

        Can’t get blood from a stone?
        We should all aim to become stones, to the extent possible.
        That’s my plan, anyway.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Yes, we agree it’s more than just reversing the equation (shrinking the GDP).

          Not just shrinking the economy, but making sure the smaller economy is more equitablly distributed.

          Beyond that, we can live more spiritually, consuming less, as you pointed out.

          1. skippy

            Bravo… Lidia and Beef

            Skippy… the aboriginals have a saying… “embrace the small” me wonders why.

    2. Maximilien

      @Cynthia: “Seems what’s bad for us is good for the banks. Therefore, if we reverse the equation (math!!!), what’s bad for banks must be good for us.”

      I’ve believed this for several years now. And I go further: Whenever someone in government or business tells me something is good for me, I instinctively believe it must be the reverse. This hardening skepticism leads me quickly to simple conclusions, but I’ve seldom been proven wrong.

      If everyone were to refuse to blindly believe the statements of those in power, good governance would be difficult. But bad governance would be impossible.

      1. Lidia

        Maximilien, absolutely. This is now true in almost every sphere of modern life. Education no longer educates; the health system cures ills but grudgingly; lawyers flout and pervert the law, etc.

        Turn everything inside out and backwards and you will see the real truth of its nature.

        I recommend Ivan Illich to everyone. Many of his works are free on the Internet. One of his exercises was to calculate the effective speed of traveling by motorcar, by tallying up all the costs. Dividing the costs by the number of hours worked to pay for those costs yielded an effective speed of 3-4 miles/hour.

        We are most of us running flat out just to end up standing still, if not lagging behind. The banking system and the industrial economy are united in creating a situation by which -mathematically- we can only end up worse off than before once externalities are figured in.

        Illich explores many aspects of the modern predicament, most particularly the concepts of counterproductivity, diseconomy and radical monopolies.

        Another phrase that I came across (not from Illich but someone else; maybe a NC commenter will recognize it) was that of “time conquering space”, which is related to Illich’s Energy/Equity work. The notion that speed can not only conquer but Occupy space, removing it from the commons.

  18. Valissa

    Profits on Carbon Credits Drive Output of a Harmful Gas http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/world/asia/incentive-to-slow-climate-change-drives-output-of-harmful-gases.html?src=me&ref=general&pagewanted=all

    Greenhouse gases were rated based on their power to warm the atmosphere. The more dangerous the gas, the more that manufacturers in developing nations would be compensated as they reduced their emissions. But where the United Nations envisioned environmental reform, some manufacturers of gases used in air-conditioning and refrigeration saw a lucrative business opportunity.

    They quickly figured out that they could earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but could earn more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas. That is because that byproduct has a huge global warming effect. The credits could be sold on international markets, earning tens of millions of dollars a year.

    That incentive has driven plants in the developing world not only to increase production of the coolant gas but also to keep it high — a huge problem because the coolant itself contributes to global warming and depletes the ozone layer. That coolant gas is being phased out under a global treaty, but the effort has been a struggle. So since 2005 the 19 plants receiving the waste gas payments have profited handsomely from an unlikely business: churning out more harmful coolant gas so they can be paid to destroy its waste byproduct.

    The high output keeps the prices of the coolant gas irresistibly low, discouraging air-conditioning companies from switching to less-damaging alternative gases. That means, critics say, that United Nations subsidies intended to improve the environment are instead creating their own damage. The United Nations and the European Union, through new rules and an outright ban, are trying to undo this unintended bonanza. But the lucrative incentive has become so entrenched that efforts to roll it back are proving tricky, even risky.

    1. Jim

      Great find, Valissa.

      Calls to mind the ethanol experiment and its impact on corn prices. Despite the price hike, ethanol proponents are insisting that the ethanol content of gasoline be increased 50%, from 10% to 15%.

      Not only would that precipitate ever higher corn prices, but it would accelerate corrosion of the US automobile base.

      1. Valissa

        Ethanol sucks for sooooo many reasons…. here’s some interesting wonky articles on it’s EROI.

        Energy Independence Goes Awry: Why the Ethanol Boom May Turn Conservation Land into Corn Fields http://www.alternet.org/story/149830/energy_independence_goes_awry%3A_why_the_ethanol_boom_may_turn_conservation_land_into_corn_fields?paging=off

        New Perspectives on the Energy Return on (Energy) Investment (EROI) of Corn Ethanol: Part 1 of 2 http://netenergy.theoildrum.com/node/6760

        New Perspectives on the Energy Return on (Energy) Investment (EROI) of Corn Ethanol: Part 2 of 2 http://netenergy.theoildrum.com/node/6761

  19. Up the Ante

    Uh oh, we’ve criticized their ‘quality of life’ too many times, It’s Time for the Death Squads, lol,

    “Romney “is one of their own, and Obama has been attacking the way they make money [he has ?!?] ,” said Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College .. ”

    “A switch in party preference of this magnitude is virtually unheard of among major companies with an established presence in Washington,” said Rogan Kersh,

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-09/goldman-sachs-leads-split-with-obama-as-ge-jilts-him-too.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/mitt-romney-death-squads-bain_n_1710133.html

  20. JTFaraday

    re: Upper-Middle-Income Households See Biggest Jumps in Student Loan Burden Wall Street Journal. So maybe we’ll have to do something about it?

    No worries. Once real higher education is again strictly limited to upper middle class meritocrats, school will be free.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are several kinds of real higher education.

      You got real low higher education.

      You got real lower higher education.

      You got real not-so-high higher education.

  21. Jim

    F. Beard at 10:15 A.M.

    I would argue that in order for such a reform to even be seriously considered it would first be necessary to dismantle the, at least, 160 year relationship between the U.S. State and Private Financial Capital—which is the foundation of our modern structure of power.

    A Brief History

    A more formal American currency system (the Greenback) emerged during the Civil War. At that time a series of reforms (in 1861-1863) centralized the monetary system by outlawing local currencies (often originated by the States or locally chartered banks) and largely transferring monetary power to the Federal level.

    A careful examination of the historical record seems to indicate that the emerging Federal State then played a key role in bringing private financial capital into the U.S. Monetary system. The Federal Government placed a large part of the national debt with private finance through their newly nationalized banking system by forcing private banks which issued standardized bank notes to hold government bonds, which in turn, created an instant market for these bonds to finance spending requirements.

    The eventual explosion of government bonds served to create a more formal partnership with private finance capital. Private capital thus came to have a powerful financial interest in the health of the State and the State, in turn, became extremely sensitive to the interests of private financial capital.

    The interpenetration of private financial market players with the newly emerging State (back in 1861-1863) appears to be the historical origins of our present set of corrupt authority structures.

    What is your strategy for dismantling this now corrupt structure of power?

    1. F. Beard

      What is your strategy for dismantling this now corrupt structure of power? Jim

      1) It was always corrupt. The word is getting out.

      2) Borrowing by a monetary sovereign is “corporate welfare” according to Bill Mitchell.

      3) The debt of a monetary sovereign is ITSELF a form of money so replacing it with non-interest paying reserves should not be price inflationary.

      4) The population desperately NEEDS a bailout.

      5) The population DESERVES a bailout since credit creation is a form of counterfeiting that cheats both debtors and non-debtors.

      6) A bailout with new reserves could be done without changing the total money supply (reserves + credit) IF further counterfeiting (credit creation) was banned and IF the bailout was metered to just replace existing credit debt as it is paid off.

      7) A universal bailout would greatly reduce wealth disparity without taxation or significant price inflation risk.

      8) A universal bailout would allow honest (100% reserve) lending without deflation.

    2. Robin Hood

      We presently have somewhere between 6000-7000 private banks in the US. So we could turn back the clock which would result in 6000-7000 local currencies for business and consumers to “choose” from. The “strength” of each currency depending on our collective analysis of banking balance sheets, derivative positions, scale of off balance sheet activities, and whether anyone else is counterfeiting the stuff.

      But, no thanks.

      1. F. Beard

        Your objection is bogus. Most people will be content to safely store and transact in fiat – safe from the predation of currency debasement by a government backed counterfeiting cartel. And in case the government itself is tempted toward currency debasement then I also advocate (per Matthew 22:16-22) coexisting private money supplies for private debts only. And yes, some private banks might try to issue credit without government privileges but who will want loans that are not insured by government? So as soon as a bank issues credit, its reserves are likely to be drained away to the government-provided fiat storage and transaction service where they would be 100% safe.

        I’ve thought this out a bit more than you have.

        Away amateur!

        1. F. Beard

          But if some choose to gamble by trusting their fiat with the banks, I suppose that is legitimate as long as they are informed they are gambling.

        2. Lidia

          I’m suspicious of folks who turn up all of a sudden with topical monikers. “Robin Hood” wants to stir up trouble, Beard, IMNSHO.

          Lots of people are out there, paid, to waste our time and to sidetrack discussions, and NC is a prominent target for those who would sidetrack.

  22. kevinearick

    Self-Fulfilling Prophesy, Nirvana, & Armageddon

    Breed for life if you want abundance. Participate in idle gossip if you want scarcity. Adjust gravity accordingly.

    Capital gets what it wants, control. It resists change. It resists nature. It employs government, a delay of growing delays, to maintain its perception of the status quo.

    Capital’s implementing algorithm is scarcity, AI. All it knows is that it cannot survive in a world of abundance, so government defines prosperity as Government Directed Production, and employs civil marriage as the means to its entitlement.

    Everything government does is a cheap replication of what labor did yesterday. For capital, it’s always a battle, in a war against time. For labor, it’s critters being critters.

    Labor employs nature, through marriage, under God. That is labor’s union, and it is a line beyond which capital may not pass. Labor employs capital to windrow its ranks, which becomes the middle class, in event horizons, like ripples.

    Labor’s rights do not come from government, nor does it require government unions. If you want a job, don’t cross the line. Resisting a resistor only increases the resistance. Armageddon is a self-fulfilling prophesy, and others are welcome to it.

    Populations are always choosing life and populations are always choosing death. By all means, get a mortgage on a McMansion, a BMW, and an abortion, but don’t bother preaching nirvana or Armageddon to labor, or go to war with the unknown and expect abundance any time soon. The trick to life is recognizing black holes and maintaining distance to suit.

    Labor looks to nature for its input, not government. GDP has always been self-fulfilling bullsh-, paying people to be stupid, “grown-ups” playing with toys on TV as an example to their children. Labor has much better things to do.

    The manufactured majority always chooses cheaper labor at inflating prices, following the company line that it can replace labor, with a computer in this iteration, and the bank is more than happy to issue the debt as credit, to be part of the global crowd. Nose to nose at its own wall of scarcity, the middle class still believes it doesn’t need labor, that it is labor. GO figure.

    Capital chose to liquidate the entire global middle class rather than take its lumps in the US. California is a derivative of the gold rush. If you bought gold as a temporary transmission mechanism, you are in good shape. If you bought it as a solution to the problem, you are part of the problem, being ADDRESSED by the computer. Silicon Valley was just the egg shell.

    Labor gets paid, one way or the other, which makes no difference to the few, but a great deal of difference to the many. There is never a shortage of anti-Christ at any level, all competing to lead the parade, for ever greater devalued dollars. Thankfully, labor requires none but nature.

    Capital is a remnant of labor from bygone eras, always and everywhere subject to decadence. Those who seek it are de-graded to maintain it. When they choose to recognize their loss, makes no difference to labor.

    Marriage has withstood every government in History, and the manufactured majority distorting its value has failed every time, but bet any way you like; it all ends up back on the table. Gossip, raising the level of stupidity, doesn’t work in the real world, so it always finds its way back home.

    The empire’s primary mission is to filter your genes out, by discontinued use or viral replication. When you calculate NPV, which would you prefer, $1M X 1, $50k X 3, $20k X 7, or $150k X 49? Employ the black hole of war accordingly.

    The emperor’s position is always open. If you cross the line, expect labor to stand aside when capital eventually cuts off your oxygen, which it must do, to preserve itself.

    Labor lives on omelets, Caesars, and tobacco, exercising its prerogative at will. Enter any town short on cash. Pull out tobacco, pot, and pills. See what you get in barter. Choose your vices accordingly, be up with the sun, and get lots of exercise. Travel as needed.

    If you are not where your children can find you, you are not the tip of the spear. Whether they choose to find you is up to them. Liquidate the casino once in a while, just to remind them, that work is play and play is work.

    Talent is priceless, precisely, because it is timeless. Accordingly, it has no use for Harvard.

    “The federal government is withholding money from a rapidly growing number of Social Security recipients who have fallen behind on federal student loans.”

  23. scraping_by

    “The flaw is in the assumption that senior management wants to stop fraud.”

    Well, sort of. The algorithm could be used to identify evidence of fraud, not to get all anti-profit and give it to legal authorities. No, to be separated from the rest of the emails and kept safe while upper management studies it and considers its strategic implications.

    Avoiding fraud, avoiding getting caught for fraud, really all the same at 30,000 feet.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You haven’t thought enough steps out. They need plausible deniability. The software would prevent that.

  24. barrisj

    Now for something completely different:

    USA-A-A-A-A-AIN BOLT! A global sports icon rivaling Mohammed Ali or Pele…Michael Phelps??? WHO???
    Usain gets consecutive Olympic double-Gs in sprints, with another Gold Medal to come in 4x100m relay to make it 6. Nothing like this ever seen in Olympic Athletics competition in ages.

  25. Jim

    Yves, I really appreciate the daily election round-up.

    There are indeed days when I believe that the President, with nothing to lose in a second term, would push through policies that hurt the Dem base.

    Wasn’t it reported that Clinton was about to introduce a national sales tax proposal during his seceond term until Lewinsky got in the way?

  26. Jim

    F. Beard

    Historical evidence seems to indicate that an evolving Big State and an evolving Big Capital have been joined at the hip since, at least, the early 1860s.

    In 1861-1863 the emerging Federal Union took the initiative to bring private finance capital into federal monetary management and simultaneously created a client group which had a strong interest in the continued existence of a powerful State.

    Flash forward to 2008 where an even more powerful U.S. State chose to rescue an even more powerful Big financial capital because its own indebtedness and interests were so tied up with 150 years of interpenetration and cooperation–and realized– that if Big Financial Capital went down Big State might also threatened.

    Your hope for a debt jubilee must confront the historical evolution of a political order which gradually forged strong links between the State and Private Finance Capital. Both spheres of authority are responsible for our present crisis—and both must be challenged and restructured.

    1. F. Beard

      Your hope for a debt jubilee must confront the historical evolution of a political order which gradually forged strong links between the State and Private Finance Capital. Jim

      A monetarily sovereign nation like the US has NO need to borrow in the first place. It has NO need for private finance capital. When that sinks in, when people realize that “Private” Finance is a tick on the body politic, things should change.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The government may issue money but it still has to earn it.

        The government may write laws on contracts but it also should honor any contracts it enters.

    1. neo-realist

      Sometimes men are attracted to specific characteristics on women regardless of their girth: Long Hair or a unique, hip hairstyle, Breasts, Feet, Prominent cheekbones, full lips. Where any of those on display?

    2. Robin Hood

      If the dummies in government would actually legalize prostitution, rather than just participate in it, then the rest of us would at least know whom to ask?!

  27. Ms G

    Lambert’s Class Warfare Squib from New York Magazine.

    Ya can’t make this stuff up!

    “This is my fear, and it’s a real, legitimate fear,” Greene says, revving up the engine. “You have this huge, huge class of people who are impoverished. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we will build a class of poor people that will take over this country, and the country will not look like what it does today. It will be a different economy, rights, all that stuff will be different.”

    Yes, a different economy, rights and “all that stuff” . . . no 3000 feet of privatized beaches, private swan ponds, moaning because you can’t spend enough time at the Sag Harbor manse because “we have so many great houses.” And maybe, just maybe, value and wealth created at a human scale for many human beings, and not necessarily derived from copying a short bet on mortgage bonds that your pal turns you onto, or “real estate development.”

    Special bonus: no more need for that pricey “rabble insurance.”

    Actually, it is really not funny.

  28. Francois T

    Couple of observations:

    1) July hottest US month on record. Astonishingly enough, no less a liar extraordinaire than Anthony Watts (of the wattsupwiththat trash) found the time and energy to deny this simple fact. He simply used a different adjustment to the raw data, then proceed to question in a paranoid and conspiratorial tone why wasn’t NOAA and all other scientists using HIS method. (duh!)

    Since his method gave a result that was cooler than other scientists and pretty much any agency dealing with climate science (Note that Anthony Watts is a meteorologist, NOT a climate scientist) he thereby peremptorily concluded that NOAA et al were not only wrong, but boneheaded and acting in bad faith by publishing an “alarmist” data point.

    How much do they pay guys like Watts to constantly lie like that? Must be a pretty penny.

    2) DOJ finds it too difficult to prosecute Goldman Sach for fraud. Anything more I would try to write would get me expelled from NC web site, and I know that Yves is rather tolerant in that respect. That should tell you what I think about Obama and Holder.

  29. L-Cysteine

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