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Links 9/13/12

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Apologies for lack of my own posts tonight. I’m having trouble reading. It came on this evening and may just be fatigue. But I will need to visit to the eye doctor if I’m in the same condition when I get back up, which will mean no/few new posts for the following 24 hours. Please be patient.

Virgin snake births found in wild BBC

Star Trek Tech that Exists Today Input Output

‘Social Voting’ Really Does Rock the Vote Science

In San Francisco, a secret project bears fruit Los Angeles Times

Hyde Park mansion on sale for £300m Financial Times

Europe inches forward MacroBusiness

Power Grab: The Noose Tightens On National Sovereignty In Europe Wolf Richter (Chuck L)

Can ECB really save the eurozone? Guardian

Is China’s productivity miracle over? MacroBusiness

Bears at the heart of the dragon Financial Times

Obama vows justice after Libya killing BBC. “Bring to justice” used to mean a judicial process. I doubt that that is what our Terminator in Chief has in mind.

The tragic consulate killings in Libya and America’s hierarchy of human life Glenn Greenwald, Guardian

Libya Attack Brings Challenges for U.S. New York Times

Meet the TPP: A Worldwide Corporate Power Grab of Enormous Proportions Understory (furzy mouse)

Sick Money: How Mitt Romney’s Bain Investments Are Exploding the Deficit and Harming Our Health Alternet

Inside Karl Rove’s Secret Kingdom: Craig Unger on Stolen Votes, Political Attacks, Billionaire Ties Democracy Now (Lambert)

Gang of Eight Discusses Six-Month Punt for Fiscal Cliff Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

The Pay of Chicago School Teachers and Selected Others Dean Baker

Two Visions for Chicago’s Schools New York Review of Books

Pimco’s Gross Slashed Treasury Holdings in August Wall Street Journal

The Problem with Finovate Helaine Olen, Forbes

Freddie Mac to recover billions extra from loan reviews: regulator Reuters

* * *

lambert here:


Mission elapsed time: T + 6 and counting*

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Montreal. Victoire! “Even if she has a minority Pauline Maois has the firm intention to act rapidly to cancel the rise in tuition, and repleal Bill 101.” Victory…. Or a good start.

Chicago Teachers Strike. Strike spreads: “For the first time in the district’s history, teachers in Lake Forest High School District 115 went on strike today after failing to reach an agreement over salaries during negotiations that ended just before midnight.” … Sympathy strike? ” SEIU Local 1 today informed companies that employ about 1,800 of its members as custodial workers in city schools that those workers might go out on strike with teachers in 48 hours.” SEIU?! … Andy Rotherham, worst person in the world: “Part of this strike, it’s pretty clear, is that the union needed to have some theater for its members, let them blow off some steam, and that’s increasingly obvious.” … Organization: “At another Lane event, Smith and colleague Steve Parsons gave a presentation on Eli Broad, the billionaire whose leadership institute trains business people to run school districts with a privatization agenda. Among the Broad graduates is Jean-Claude Brizard, whom Emanuel appointed CEO of Chicago Public Schools.” … Legacy parties: “Let’s stop kidding ourselves. This is what Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and Arne Duncan and Paul Ryan have in mind when they promote charter schools and the right to fire teachers with tenure: Slash teachers’ salaries and bust their unions.” … Where Rahm’s kids go: “[University of Chicago’s Lab School director David Magill:] ‘Measuring outcomes through standardized testing and referring to those results as the evidence of learning and the bottom line is, in my opinion, misguided and, unfortunately, continues to be advocated under a new name and supported by the current [Obama] administration.’” … Democrats: “Chicago-area Ds — including several who have relatives in the school system — refrained from taking sides in the strike on Tuesday, saying that both they and the White House should give city leaders space to hash out an agreement.” Solidarity! … Progress: “Both [CPS President David] Vitale and [CTU leader Karen] Lewis also said they were hopeful the strike could end and students could be back in class by Friday.”

CA. Refinery fire: “A corroded pipe that failed and triggered a leak and massive fire at one of CA’s largest refineries [(Chevron's)] had walls as thin as a penny in some areas, federal investigators said.” … No helicopter? “During a high-speed chase, alleged bank robbers threw handfuls of money out their vehicle’s window. The pursuit began after four men robbed a Bank of America in Santa Clarita.” … Air: “Air samples collected near the Salton Sea clinched inspectors’ suspicions of the 376-square mile, murky body of water as the source of the pervasive smell. [I]nspectors collected air samples that contained hydrogen sulfide [from dead fish].”

CO. Abortion: “The CO SOS’s office says the so-called ‘personhood’ amendment will not be on the November ballot, despite any legal action from proponents to prove they collected enough voter signatures.”

FL. Charlie Crist: “In the case of Digital Domain — biggest loser in the history of Florida’s incentives program — Crist had plenty of facts to make a more responsible decision. He could have listened to Enterprise Florida. He could have listened to now-former Rep. Carl Domino, R-Jupiter, who tirelessly detailed Digital’s bad-risk history.” … Disemployment: “A shrinking workforce — not job creation — accounts for 91 percent of the drop in FL’s unemployment rate so far this year, according to new projections from state economists.” … Charters, corruption: “In one case, a K12 manager instructed a certified teacher to sign a class roster of more than 100 students. She only recognized seven names on that list.” … Poverty: “What we are finding is, our calls have much more intensity to them and are taking a lot longer” (crisis hotline)

LA. Fracking, corruption: “[Charles "Chip" Groat] led a study of fracking that was released in February. When it was presented at this year’s meeting of the AAAS, Groat pointed out that it had been paid for by the [University of Texas] and its independence was therefore guaranteed. Groat is on the board of Plains Exploration and Production, which paid him $413,000 in cash and stock last year. Since 2007 Groat has received $1.6 million in stock alone from the company. So UT research money is down the drain and [Groat's] Water Institute [which is entrusted with the preservation of the coast] is dragged collaterally into the mud.” … Corruption: “For the third time in his congressional career, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has made Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s annual list of the ‘most corrupt members’ of Congress.”

ME. Occupy: [M]ore than 20 [Occupy Augusta] protesters stood outside the Diamond Building along with picket signs and handing out flyers that denounced Colby’s support for its board of trustees Chairman[, Barclay's] Bob Diamond.”

MI. Cars: “Parking is not a right, but a privilege. We should not feel entitled to parking our vehicles in such close proximity to our destination that it erodes our landscape.” … Poll: “A poll done by EPIC-MRA showed Obama with a commanding 10-point lead over Michigan-born-and-raised Mitt Romney.” Swing state Keynsianism. … Income: “MI’s median household income rose by 2.4% in real terms in 2011 — at a time when incomes nationwide fell slightly.”

MO. Akin: “But Akin can see what game the GOP is playing. They want to push him out of the race, and their deadline to get him out is September 25. If he stays in the race until then, at that point they’ll be stuck with him. Todd Akin may be crazy, but he’s not stupid. Wait. Let me rephrase. He may be crazy and stupid, but he’s not unable to spot a bluff.”

NY. Corruption: “Companies associated with luxury real estate mogul Leonard Litwin have funneled more than $900,000 into races for the NY State Senate so far this election cycle — mostly to Rs.” … Corruption: “Assemblyman Vito Lopez demanded the strict confidentiality clause that initially kept secret a $103,000 settlement with two former staffers who had accused him of sexual harassment.” … Fracking: “Officials say right now, the state has no tax structure for state taxes to be recouped [from fracking] and that’s a real concern if New York is even considering allowing gas drilling.”

OH. Referendum: “The Ohio Supreme Court has sided with backers of proposed revisions to the state’s redistricting procedures [and] compelled the Ohio Ballot Board to quickly reconvene to replace the text its members had approved to describe November’s Issue 2.” SoS Husted again.

PA. No longer in play: “The GOP is off the air in PA.” …. Fracking: “The PUC says Pitts­burgh City Coun­cil over­stepped its author­ity by ban­ning frack­ing, some­thing the com­mis­sion says only the Com­mon­wealth can do. the Pitts­burgh City Coun­cil plans to ignore the PUC’s censure.”

OR. Vital bodily fluids: “The City Council has voted to add fluoride to Portland’s water, meaning OR’s largest city is no longer the biggest holdout in the U.S.”

TN. Unswing states: “[AL GORE:] “I’ve seen how these states are just written off and ignored, and people are effectively disenfranchised in the presidential race, and I really do now think that it’s time to change that.” Easiest route to a Constitutional Convention?

TX. Public good: “But rather than let the building become an eyesore, [McAllen] scooped it up and spent $24 million transforming the drab structure into a 123,000-square-foot public library that now serves as a vibrant space for the city’s residents.” …. Management bloat: “The new head of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department plans to [reduce] the number of top supervisory staff by as much as 20%, and has handed out writing assignments to agency leaders.”

USVI. Primary: “In a rare occurrence in Virgin Islands politics, Rs will have a primary for their Delegate to Congress candidate. Holland Redfield II will face off with Vincent Danet for the chance to run against the winner of the Democratic primary and independent candidates Warren Mosler [here], Guillaume Mimoun and Norma Pickard Samuel.”

VA. Uranium: “VA politicians are better at doing some things than others. One thing they do especially well is doing nothing. And that’s probably what they’ll do on uranium mining.”

WI. Public good: “Lloyd, a former librarian, was entranced by the Little Free Libraries she’d encountered on her bike trips around Madison, and decided to establish one at Brittingham — one of the city’s smallest, but very well used, off-leash dog parks.” Also memorial to Maggie, her dog. … Panic: “The Department of Administration confirmed Tuesday that it installed 482 panic buttons in offices around the statehouse, in an effort to provide a level of comfort for staffers who they say have felt harassed by the presence of protesters in the historic building.” And not one incident of violence.

Outside baseball. Zeitgeist watch: “[Miley] Cyrus played up the grunge look with her slick blond ‘do, an ‘Anarchy’ cut-off tee and chunky boots.” … Libya flap: ” At the very least, the attack in Benghazi should make us a bit more skeptical the next time we hear that the U.S. will gain goodwill by taking the side of an opposition movement.” … Totem and taboo: “The main tactic of both parties, in any case, and of all political camps, is the same: anathematization of the opponent on grounds of taboo-violation.” … MOOCs: “Instead of teaching dozens of students or even a couple hundred, star teachers will reach thousands. What will that mean for the not-so-great instructors and the no-name educational institutions that employ them? Perhaps they will provide supplementary services, as intermediaries or subalterns, to students who crave that face-to-face experience. Perhaps they’ll go out of business. Either way, they will adopt [sic] or die.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood watch. Democrats: “But members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) are warning that they’ll fight to kill any budget package that would cut Medicare coverage, Social Security benefits and safety net programs for the poor — all elements of the Simpson-Bowles plan.” They’ll cave…

The trail. Debates: “Free & Equal is working for a 2012 presidential debate, to be held in Chicago on Tuesday, October 23, the day after the last Commission on Presidential Debates event is held. Candidates who are, or may possibly, be on the ballot in states containing a majority of the electoral vote are invited.” … Son of Ross Perot: “If enough Rs are disgusted with Romney by election time and if enough Ron Paul voters turn out for Johnson, there’s a possibility that a few of the blood-red western states might wind up being competitive for Obama.”

Libertarian Party. Ballot access: “The Libertarian Party reports that Gary Johnson will be on the ballot in at least 47 states, plus the District of Columbia.”

RNCon. Lessons learned: “I’m rooting for a different lesson, however: that it’s a bad idea to base your convention theme around an out-of-context quote, and that it’s a bad idea for your vice presidential candidate to reel off one whopper after another in his convention speech – especially obvious lies that the media can’t help but pick up on.” You never know!

DNCon. Foto Funnies: Romney, Ryan Sneak Into DNC While Posing As Caterers.

The Romney. Libya flap: Timeline (WSJ); Timeline (TPM). … Libya flap, Nooners: “Sometimes when really bad things happen, when hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to go.” … Libya flap, Frum: “The Romney campaign’s attempt to score political points on the killing of American diplomats was a dismal business in every respect.” … Libya flap, WaPo editorial: “Mr. Romney’s rhetoric on embassy attacks is a discredit to his campaign.” … Eastwood, Newsmax loon: “It is beyond belief that seasoned political pros would allow Eastwood, whose political views and loyalties have been all over the map through the decades, to take the stage right before the nominee’s speech and ad lib a speech.”

The Obama. Walter Russell Mead: “9/11/12, the day the roof fell in. The Chicago teacher strike raised doubts about the President’s domestic leadership, the publication of Bob Woodward’s new book raised questions about his economic management and political skills, and 11 years to the day after the 9/11 attack, radical America-hating Islamists stormed the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, assassinated the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others even as U.S. and Israeli relations sank to another low point.” Well, when you put it that way… Srlsy, did somebody take Romney aside and say “Kid, this ain’t your night”?

Slogan of the day: “Salute workers, peasants, intellectuals, and cadres in the Swing States!”

Dear supporter of the Chicago Teachers Union,

Here is the information on how supporters can donate to buy lunch for the striking Chicago teachers:

You can show your solidarity with striking Chicago teachers by donating to pay for their lunch. For however long the strike lasts, striking Chicago Teachers Union activists and supporters will meet at their strike headquarters after morning picket lines and before a mass picket downtown in the afternoon.

The Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign has made arrangements with Primo’s pizza, a locally owned and teacher-friendly restaurant near the strike HQ, to deliver pizza, pasta, and salads. You can help defer the up to $1,000 a day cost by calling Primo’s and asking them to take a donation with your credit card. At the conclusion of the strike, any unused funds will go toward the ongoing campaign to defend public education and fight for an elected school board in Chicago. (Consider pooling donations with others and making just one phone call.)

Call Gus or Daisy at Primo’s Pizza at (312) 243-1052. Primo’s is at 816 W Van Buren Street, Chicago. Open 11 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday, but try not to call during lunch rush 11:45 to 1:15.

* * *
Antidote du jour (Marc C):

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129 comments

  1. Ned Ludd

    Yves – I hope your vision problems clear up. Best of luck.

    Regarding the election, Kade Crockford, privacy rights coordinator for the ACLU Massachusetts, had this interesting conversation on twitter about the Romney campaign:

    Glenn Greenwald: The Romney campaign is that thing you’re sure can’t get worse and every day it keeps proving you wrong http://is.gd/vh55c2

    Kade Crockford: @ggreenwald they want to lose, i swear. i mean, they will lose. but it feels like they want to.

    @ohtarzie: @kade_ellis @ggreenwald i think that may be true. I think the campaign itself is authentically clueless but there is no intervening going on

    @ohtarzie: @kade_ellis but the people pulling the strings. I mean, if you were an oligarch, would you want to give up Obama and his placating effect?

    Kade Crockford: @ohtarzie hellllllllll no

    Kade Crockford: @ohtarzie yeah the decisions have been made. he’s the one. the republicans have four years to find someone right for the moment. they will.

    Of course, there’s a lot of competing interests. Plenty of Republican campaign consultants are free agents who simply want to line their pockets; they are going to shake down as much money as they can from the fund-raising tree. But many of these advisors are morons and the intelligent ones appear to be sitting this one out and letting Romney fail.

    This election feels a bit like the health care fight – a lot of political theater going on for the audience, but Republicans miss every opportunity to “win”. Regarding the ACA, when the Democrats passed Obamacare, they forgot to include funding for the civil servants needed to run the program. Democrats: both stupid and corrupt. Obamacare would grind to a halt without this funding. Instead of letting Obamacare die, the Republican leadership – after they took control of the House – added this funding to another bill. When some of the Tea Party members tried to strip this money out, the leadership lined up enough Republican votes to join Democrats and keep the funding in there: funding to hire government workers to implement Obamacare.

    1. Lambert Strether

      The reaction of the real old-times like Nooners and Frum is very, very telling. They are, very gently, writing Romney off (unless, in the inner circles, Romney has already been written off, although only those in on the joke know it. (After all, from the standpoint of Romney as Bishop, simply making the run was enough; victory is not necessary for legitimacy)).

      * * *

      So, unless you live in a swing county in a swing state, feel free to vote Green (or even libertarian) so we have better choices in the future!

      1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

        I live in Ohio, and voted for Obama in both the primary and general in 2008.

        I’m voting for Jill Stein this year.

        (I’ll also be voting for Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, and Sherrod Brown for Senator, because both of them have been much better than Obama on the things that matter.)
        ~

      2. mk

        Daily Show said it best – RNC 2012: The Road to Jeb Bush 2016

        Fake place holder candidate that RNC doesn’t expect to win, they have other plans.

      1. LucyLulu

        I agree. That’s very interesting indeed, if true. Equally interesting is that no mainstream media picked up the story. Though the Republicans were threatening to “defund” Obamacare before they took over the House. Just like they said they would laser focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs”? Instead, per the Congressional Record, it was abortions, abortions, abortions (and PP/women’s health care).

      2. Ned Ludd

        Okay, this is embarrassing. It looks like I got the details completely wrong. Instead of funding civil servants to implement the ACA, it was about preventing civil servants from implementing the ACA as part of the FY 2011 continuing budget resolution.

        The Republican leadership didn’t originally include the defunding language, but conservatives pushed for a vote on “at least five different amendments to block federal agencies from implementing the health care law or crucial components of the law. Four of them were approved easily and the fifth was defeated on parliamentary grounds.”

        The defunding didn’t happen, though, because the amendments blocking implementation were later stripped out in the conference committee. Sorry, all, for the screw-up. I should have searched for the specifics to refresh my memory before writing my comments about what happened.

    2. LucyLulu

      I’m with Kade Crockford. With all the expensive consultants available, no campaign could be this bad unless it was intentional. This horse race has been fixed from the beginning. Romney’s jockeys are holding him back. They may have broken his leg with his latest faux pas on the Middle East.

      1. Synopticist

        This is Mitt. The way he runs his campaign is a reflection of the man.

        He’s a lying, egotistical, dissembling plutocrat with no real beliefs or convictions save an overiding sense of entitlement, and the certainty that his Dad lost the chance to be president because he was a little too honest.

        He’s NEVER had to listen to advice he didn’t like. He fires people who tell him things he doesn’t want to hear. This is a guy who’s been running for pres since 2006, and didn’t even pay the absolute 15% minnimum of taxes.

        1. Nathanael

          Indeed. The fact is that Romney really *is* that stupid.

          The question is, why did the plutocrats allow him to win the nomination? Well, you know what? *They are that stupid, too*.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        LL, maybe his Stepford Software has a glitch? He can’t get English inflection right. His Stepfordness keeps on showing.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/oliver-burkemans-blog/2012/sep/13/romney-ryan-election-bullshit

      There’s just no end to British appropriation, is there? Not.One.Word of credit to Jill Stein, who dared to launch the “bullshit” meme applied to the American Presidential Campaign

      Why not, Mr. Oliver Burkemans? Is this plagiarism? Oh, I see: Jill Stein speaks in terms of the “Uniparty” and you have tweaked this to “Romney-Ryan only. “Good dog.”

      1. ambrit

        Dear LBR;
        Good lord madam, did a Tory take your lollipop away from you when you were three? How many Americans would you find knowing who the Scots Naitional Pairty leaders were? If we consider that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well, Stein and Honkala should feel pretty darn good.
        As to British appropriationalism, just take the Way Back Machine to the Robber Baron Era and check into all the English investors fleeced by the U.S. railroad promoters. Then we gave you all the Purple Code, and you still let the Nipponese sink most of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour.
        No one has clean hands in this fracas.

  2. DANNYBOY

    Yves,

    Hope your eyes need rest. Mine needed reading glasses, and I’m vain, even when alone.

    Maybe read less for a while?

        1. Susan the other

          Yves: There are neuro-opthamologists. I went to one at the U of U for visual migraines and blurred vision. They really give you a complete work up. Expensive but worth it. My diagnosis was that nobody knows exactly what visual migraines are caused by, but lots of people have them and my blurred vision is caused by the gradual change in the shape of my eyes. They told me this after they had eliminated every worse possibility. And he recommended I avoid bright sunlight and see if acupuncture might help my whiplash which could possibly cause vision problems. I’ve been fine since. Also get your thyroid checked. Both high and low levels can make your vision fluctuate.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        rjs, Yves should see both. Could be stress-related diabetes, that seems “suddenly” to affect the eyes, or MD, or RD. Have eyes been assaulted by laser beams somehow? I hope it’s not neurological. I hope for the best diagnosis.

    1. LucyLulu

      I hope you made an appt with an opthamologist if your eyes didn’t clear up. More than likely the problem is relatively benign but when it comes to your vision, it’s important to at least rule out any more sinister causes that, without prompt treatment, could cause permanent vision loss. If you haven’t already, cancel any other obligations and get thee to doctor.

      And then, follow doctor’s orders.

      Nurse’s orders.

  3. Peasant Pinguin Society

    Alternate History Part Three: Wherein Peasant life was Hard, while Lord Dimon and Lord Blankfein Sat Down to Feasts and Banquets, amid much Rejoicing

    In the 11th century, the peasant’s life was hard: it was ordained that he should work. A bishop of the 11th century summed it up when he mentioned the three classes of society: the nobles, who spent their time fox-hunting and feasting, the clergy who do the praying, and the peasants who do all the work.

    Famous 11th-century Nobles included Lord Dimon, Lord Blankfein, and Lord Rubin-Summers (a cross between Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, featuring Larry Summers’ enormous head on Robert Rubin’s anorexic body). Inbreeding amongst the nobility was common in those days, sometimes resulting in unusual hybrids.

    But as for the peasants….We slept on straw mattressses, in dark, airless recesses. The day was filled with work from sun-up until the light failed.

    The community consisted of squalid straw or mud huts, up to the border of Lord Dimon Manor House fields on the Western side, Lord Blankfein Manor House fields to the North, and Lord Rubin-Summers Fields to the East and South.

    An extract of dialogue from the Colloquium of Aelfric the Grammarian, gives an indication of the harsh life:

    “Well ploughman, how do you work?” “Oh Sir, I work very hard. I go out in the dawning, driving the oxen to the field and I yoke them to the plough. Be the winter never so stark, I dare not stay home for fear of my Lord Dimon; but every day I must plough a full acre or more, having yoked the oxen and fastened the share and coulter to the plough.”

    “Have you any mate?” “I have a boy, who drives the oxen with a goad. He is hoarse now, from cold and shouting.” Well, it is very hard work?” “Yes, indeed, it is very hard work.”

    And the life of the peasant women was no easier. For reaping, a man could get 8 pence a day. For the same task, women would get 5 pence. For hay making, men would earn 6 pence a day while women got 4 pence.

    Charged with children and overcharged for rent by Lords Blankfein, Dimon and Rubin-Summers, what they might save on spinning they must spend on rent, on milk or porridge to still the sobbing of the children at mealtime.

    And after a long day of fox-hunting, while the Lords Dimon, Blankfein and Rubin-Summers sat down to wine and dine on their Pig Feast, the peasants suffer much hunger, they have woe in wintertime and they wake hungry at midnight, yes, it is a very hard life, too sad to speak of or to say in rhyme.

    But sometimes at night, in pitch dark, exhausted after working the fields all day, the peasants would speak to each other in hushed tones of that glorious day so long ago:

    August 2, 216 B.C., Southern Italy. A Day to Remember. The day the peasants Revolted, the day they killed many members of the Noble Class. A revolt fueled by the desire for revenge and waged with the calculated intent of bringing about the Noble Class’ utter destruction.

    At the end of the fight, which came to be known as the Revolt at Cannae, at least 48,000 members of the Noble Class lay dead or dying, lying in pools of their own blood and vomit and feces, killed in the most intimate and terrible ways, their limbs hacked off, their faces and thoraxes and abdomens punctured and mangled.

    It was such a glorious day that one thousand three hundred years later the Peasants still celebrated it in song and verse.

    Even 15 hundred years after the Event, peasants remembered Cannae, and at times this memory was the only thing that kept them going. If you observed closely, sometimes you might notice a peasant quietly sharpening his pitchfork to a fine point, dreaming of a Cannae-style attack on the pompous Lords of the Manor House.

    As a noted historian once remarked, if the energy from the Revolt at Cannae could have been channelled into anything more than suffering and loss, waste and pain, it would have lighted up Europe for a ten thousand years.

    Here endeth Alternate History Part Three.

    Disclaimer: Alternate history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

    1. Robin Hood

      Our political commentator, Christian Jerkoff, would never tyre of saying, “If God intended Nobles and Clergy to work…He would have made them peasants.”

      And that was the end of the discussion.

    2. B. Traven

      “Why ask my lineage? The generations of men are like those of leaves. The wind casts the leaves to the ground, but the fertile forest brings forth others, and spring comes round again. So it is that the human race is born and passes away.”

      Iliad, Canto VI.

  4. Joe

    Yves:

    Sorry about your vision problems. If the eye doc doesn’t uncover anything, think about getting your blood sugar level tested. Sometimes blurred vision can be a first indicator of the onset of type 2 diabetes. That is how I discovered mine…

    1. F. Beard

      An co-worker of mine cured his type-II diabetes with a 21-day, doctor supervised water-only fast. Apparently, cells become insensitive to insulin and a water-only fast resets them.

      1. LucyLulu

        Is it the fasting or the loss of weight? Many people with type II diabetes will revert to normal blood sugars if they lose weight. They may also find their blood pressure and cholesterol levels return to normal as well. Obesity is the primary driver behind chronic cardiovascular health conditions as well as type II diabetes, and probably the primary reason Americans are less healthy than their European and Asian counterparts. It also drives the cost of US healthcare higher. Somebody who is obese spends on average $1500 more per year. Most recent figures place the rate of obesity in the US at 35.7% (50 years ago it was 13%). Another third of US adults are overweight (BMI 25-30).

        http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

        1. F. Beard

          Water fasting has benefits apart from weight loss. I did a 17-1/2 day water-only fast when I weighed about 140 lbs. It cured my chronic allergies for a solid year despite the fact that I did nothing to restrict my diet afterwards.

          Here’s the best link I’ve found wrt to the benefits of water-only fasting: http://www.gaianstudies.org/articles4.htm

          I should do another one myself – maybe mañana.

  5. Bert_S

    Meet the TPP: A Worldwide Corporate Power Grab of Enormous Proportions

    Why do I get a bad feeling about this.

    “The TPP essentially proposes to establish a parallel system of justice where companies can sue countries in a tribunal of judges composed of unaccountable international trade lawyers with little to no process for appeal.”

    Corporations always have lots of faith in their legal team, but enforcement of the verdicts is problematic worldwide too.

    What if a nuclear power says “FUGETABOUTIT” ?

    Will we send in the drone enforcers to the 3rd World?

    You would think they would be cooking up some rules that could be enforced domestically, like it’s illegal to NOT eat corn and the enforcement of mandatory shopping days.

    But like the article says, I hope we/Congress at least get to read the text before congress votes it into law.

    1. Susan the other

      It is nice to read that there are a lot of groups coming together to “flush TPP.” Just wondering what ultlimate authority will enforce TPP justice? It sounds like a fantasy. The big corporations want taxpayer handouts for all of their failures and a free reign with exports and imports and they think they’re in a strong enough position to make anyone consume something they don’t want? I think it’s hubris.

      1. Bert_S

        I think they way it would naturally work is it gets enforced in the US and nowhere else. So multinationals with mfg. in China can figure out devious ways to hamstring domestic companies and the consumer with “free trade” laws -that are really a legal moat against competition and consumer choice/protection.

  6. Jill

    Something Obama supporters and legislatures have in common-fear and hatred of protesters. In Ann Arbor many of the wealthy shop owners have Obama signs plastered on everything. One told me how much he and the others hate the anti-war protesters. “You’re too strident.” (Meaning we won’t sauve your conscience about voting for someone how kills civilians and imprisons the innocent.) He never said that about us when we protested Bush’s wars!

    From Frederick Douglas: “Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.” (via Webwalker at Common Dreams)

    To Yves: feel better!

  7. mark

    You may want to consider EMF’s(electromagnetic fields from the WI-FI) Iyves. They have been giving many people a hard time lately.

    1. Anchard

      The best sentence from that article:

      “Beckmann also disputed assertions that the MERS database was riddled with errors, but conceded that the registry lacked the means to prove that it wasn’t.”

        1. Bert_S

          Actually, in the IT world we have to “prove” the corporate DB is accurate all the time. Mucho SQL statements to write and mgmt. report writing.

  8. JTFaraday

    re: MOOCs: “Instead of teaching dozens of students or even a couple hundred, star teachers will reach thousands. What will that mean for the not-so-great instructors and the no-name educational institutions that employ them? Perhaps they will provide supplementary services, as intermediaries or subalterns, to students who crave that face-to-face experience. Perhaps they’ll go out of business. Either way, they will adopt [sic] or die.”

    This whole discussion is driven by cultural illiterates. We already have “star teachers.” They already write books– and text books– and show up on the History Channel and Discover. Transforming the textbooks into History Channel form and moving it to the internet, with low production values, does not that much to alter teaching and learning.

    We already have “not-so-great instructors” who write “supplementary” academic materials for a little thing called “textbook publishing companies,” that other “not-so-great instructors” use to teach students. Hello out there?

    The hallmark of teaching and learning is productive literacy. Show me how academic stars-on-the-web participate in literacy acquisition in a new way, just as a by-product of their new internet TV presence– as opposed to getting them in old fashioned print form– and then we can begin class discussion.

    1. JTFaraday

      “Idealistic higher-ed officials see online learning as a way to disseminate knowledge to millions of students in developing countries who cannot afford a traditional degree. Perhaps it also will become a way as well to disseminate knowledge to millions of Americans who can’t afford a traditional degree!”

      Oh puh-leeeze.

    2. JTFaraday

      “Either way, they will adopt [sic] or die.”

      Anyway, it’s funny that they should say “adopt” or die, because the decision to use one star evolutionary biologist’s textbook over another star EB’s textbook is called a “text adoption.”

      What this is primarily, is a grab for the textbook business opened up by the new technology. ie., it is a known fact that Rupert Murdoch wants his cut of Pearson’s business.

      http://paidcontent.org/2011/05/24/419-look-out-pearson-murdoch-is-serious-about-online-educaiton/

      But some people simply can’t pass on an opportunity to teacher bash. As for “free,” you can forget it. Disincentive teaching even further, however, turning the story of the bad teacher into a self-fulfilling prophecy, we’re all for that alright.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        JTF, Will TEXAS choose the “Stars” for all of us, and the textbooks?

        All of this is theatre anyway. The Shock Doctrine Plan is in place.

    3. LucyLulu

      Education will be turned into a private business, and like all businesses, it must cut costs and increase profits. If a teacher can reach thousands, think of the number of teacher salaries saved!

      Does anybody know how employers currently view online degrees? And are they all equal or do some incorporate more traditional class methods as well? I took one online course I was missing over summer break way back when, except it was called a “correspondence course”. It was a joke and not at all equivalent to a course taken in university. While there is little individual attention in the large lecture halls of some freshman and sophomore classes offered on campuses, no online course can duplicate the interactive atmosphere and face-to-face challenges to thinking and feedback that one gets in smaller classes (some lower class level courses and the norm in 300/3000 level courses and above). Students are forced to consider perspectives foreign to their own experiences and reflect on how their own values color perception. This is where the true value of upper education lies, IMO. Online courses with large numbers of students could never offer the same benefits (and if offered, should be free).

      If its being considered to offer these same courses in public primary and secondary schools, teachers would still be needed to monitor the classrooms during online courses, right? Would we replace teachers with behavior control specialists?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        LL, “Public” pays retail per student head; One Teacher rules them all–at say, 3000/1 pupil/teacher ratio to start. For-profit-Corporation (or “Religious Institution) Extracts MAXIMUMALLY LEVERAGED PROFIT. Once “education” monopolized, increase leverage to 100,000/1. Why stop leveraging ever?

        Such “sweet” sorrow.

  9. MontanaMaven

    From the article on the £300 m “home”of Lebanon’s former prime minister for sale on London’s Hyde Park: the London real estate guy says that the buyer will have to pay a premium for “the unusual size in that location.”

    Yeh, it should be unusual to be able to store your ill gotten gains in the middle of London by having a house made up of combining four family homes into a “home” the size of a football field. Meanwhile, it drives up the prices of regular homes and drives people I know out of the city.
    The real estate guy says that it will be a long time until something like this “home” of the buddy of the Saudi princes comes on the market again.

    Would that were true. These prices are inflated by too much funny money with no where to go but buying up the world’s land and water. So it drives everybody’s rent or home prices to ridiculous and unsustainable levels.

    And shouldn’t the money from the sale go to the Lebanese people? There is always theft somewhere in these stories. I think it’s time to make that phrase “redistribution of wealth” a popular one and not one that is not allowed to be uttered. There is plenty of “money” and plenty of food for everybody. It’s just not being shared in a more equitable manner.

    We need to come up with a term for “share the wealth” that combats this foolish “austerity” meme. Something like “Haul them to the tower and take their stuff.”?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      here is plenty of “money” and plenty of food for everybody. It’s just not being shared in a more equitable manner.

      It’s great to know that more and more people are saying this.

      To Yves: Hope everything is well with the eyes.

      1. F. Beard

        Beefy, why doan you want to end this Depression? France is trying your solution (high taxes on the rich) because it is non-monetarily sovereign. The result is capital flight from France to avoid taxation, I’d bet.

        However, if new money was given to the non-rich and not to the rich* then the new money would constitute a non-escapable “inflation tax” on the rich.

        So it appears you don’t really wish to tax the rich.

        *Assuming the rich were not allowed to front-run the price inflation via loans from the counterfeiting cartel, the banking system.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You print more money that will just go to the 0.01%.

          With the Dow hitting over 13,000, you know having enough money in the system is not the problem.

          1. F. Beard

            Credit is new money and it mostly benefits the rich since they can borrow the most cheaply.

            Also, as I keep explaining, a 100% reserve requirement on new lending would mean that a lot of the new money would NOT go to the rich; it would not go anywhere after paying off debt except to backing banking deposits with 100% reserves.

            And money given to non-debtors would not go the rich; it would go to their bank accounts where it could be lent out for honest (100% reserve) interest rates.

            So it seems your excuse is very lame.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Before modern banking, there was wealth inequality. With 100% reserve, there will still be wealth inequality.

            Do you see there is more to it?

          3. F. Beard

            I am proposing a universal* bailout in addition to a 100% reserve requirement for new loans. How can that not reverse a lot of wealth inequality both immediately and in the longer term?

            And you oppose that?! So you are not only against abolishing theft by banking but also just restitution for it.

            But luckily, I don’t have to convince people like you which is probably impossible anyway.

            *except for the rich and yourself and Skippy.

          4. F. Beard

            Well, don’t expect me to work out every last detail but a $7 trillion payout at 3% average APR would allow every US adult to receive about $270/mo ($540/per couple) for the next ten years just to back deposits 100% with reserves.

            The $270/mo should not cause price inflation but if we wanted to tax the rich with an inescapable “inflation tax” the amount could be increased and/or the term extended. The rich have taxed us with money creation via the banks so turnabout is fair play.

  10. monday1929

    Yves, sudden difficulty reading can indicate a Stroke. Please check yourself for other symptoms and seek immediate care.

  11. two minutes hate

    Rove is our Emmanuel Goldstein, an infuriating porcine face that serves to divert reformers from the binding constraints of our fake democracy. Your real bosses are not stupid enough to preen for the cameras. Your real bosses are bankers that got through the last two crashes with zero trouble, imagine that, and zero public scrutiny – zero point zero zero. They have one key asset that doesn’t appear on the balance sheet: the covert operations capacity of the US government. http://www.bbh.com/wps/portal/ourfirm/thepartnership . The Bush family firm.

    There’s some pluralism among ruling elites, but none for you.

    1. synopticist

      Rove is something spectacular, the guy is amazing. He’s had as much influence on the course of the last couple of decades as anyone alive.

      Reading about him puts me in mind of learning about German Generals in world war two. I think “hey, this man is soooooooo good, waaaaaaaay better than his opponents”. He’s just absolutelly brilliant at what he does, which is using money and messaging to shift the overton window ever further rightwards.

      It’s hatred mixed with admiration for me. As a political operative, Rove has no equals.

      1. curlydan

        Same for me. I hate that guy with a passion, but he’s one hell of a strategist and not just on the macro-issues. He can get down into the minutae of state issues and county demographics. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s an excellent data analyst.

  12. Valissa

    Trying again…

    The latest pirate news…

    Couple held hostage by pirates for 388 days to set sail on new journey http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/05/13657409-couple-held-hostage-by-pirates-for-388-days-to-set-sail-on-new-journey?lite

    No Duty to Secure Wi-Fi from BitTorrent Pirates, Judge Rules http://torrentfreak.com/no-duty-to-secure-wi-fi-from-bittorrent-pirates-judge-rules-120912/

    Today’s Pirate Punch recipe http://www.drinksmixer.com/drinkk180j00.html

    It’s only 6 days ‘til Talk Like A Pirate Day – Wednesday, September 19th http://talklikeapirate.com/ !

    1. Bert_S

      Aye Matie, pirate punch. Much better than donuts. We pirates don’t like holes in anything – ‘cept an english warship an’ ‘er captain’s ‘ead.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Bert_S, not even gold coins w/ central holes to facilitate stringing onto your “add-a-bead”-type neclace?

  13. briansays

    ironic sf concerned with the mess from fruit trees when they create a homeless industry employing poverty pimps/activists in government and ngo’s who create a magnet with the result–streets and sidewalks with feces and urine

  14. Lambert Strether

    Montreal: I want to draw attention to that.

    Assuming that Marois and the PQ follow through, the carre rouge made demands and won.

    So victory can happen. On our continent, and in an UK-derived political culture/political economy like our own.

    1. JEHR

      Marois is a sovereigntist who wants to separate from Canada but first her party wishes to reinforce usage of the French language which is already the official language of Quebec and which now severely limits the use of any English in the province. In the rest of Canada, we have tried to accomodate the French language so that even small poor provinces like New Brunswick call themselves bi-lingual and translate all English government documents into French at a very high cost. At present, New Brunsick cannot afford to teach immersion French to all students so it is not really bi-lingual in practice.

      I am beginning to think that separation might be the best thing that ever happens to Canada except that Atlantic Canada will need a new road to get to Ontario without going through Quebec. When Quebec becomes its own country, we must insist that they pay their own debts, have their own currency and quit asking the Federal government for constant special considerations.

      1. alex

        I thought that a number of the southern most counties in Quebec were primarily English speaking. Just keep them for your road. You’ll also have a Northern route. The Cree have made no secret of their intent to stay part of Canada no matter what. And since they have the territory where the big Hydro Quebec facilities are located, I guess they can rename it Cree Hydro.

  15. JTFaraday

    free eBook: ‘Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs’ by Wharton Prof. Peter Cappelli: September 10-17, 2012

    “To stimulate discussion on the jobs crisis during this presidential election season, Wharton Digital Press and author Peter Cappelli, Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, are offering his ebook, “Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It” free for one week.

    In his book, Cappelli confronts the myth of the skills gap and provides an actionable path forward to put people back to work.”

    http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/free-ebook-why-good-people-can-t-get-jobs-wharton-prof-peter-cappelli-september-10-17-2012

    I haven’t invested in a fancy reading device but if you have, something free from the proverbial “Star Professor.”

    1. BobW

      I invested (time) in a free multi-format e-book reader called Calibre. About all this 60-yr old unemployed homeless man can afford.

  16. Carla

    Re: Inside Karl Rove’s, etc.: if Rove’s goal was to create a one-party country, he succeeded quite a while ago, I would say with the election of Bill Clinton. (Was Rove an advisor to daddy Bush? I don’t remember.)

    Anyway, wise friends here in Ohio say that the whole voter fraud nonsense is just to divert attention from what’s really going on: election fraud. Rove stole Ohio in 2004.

    In 2008, there really is no need to steal swing states for the Republicans. We already have one in the White House and all Rove needs to do is keep him there.

    1. synopticist

      If Rove stole Ohio in 2004, which he may well have done, it rather blows a hole in your “Rove’s already created a one party state by the election of Bill Clinton” argument, don’t it?

      The people backing Rove don’t want a lightweight gutless pussy centre-right democrat like Obama in charge. They want proper, red in tooth and claw, hardline, pro-super rich, programme slashing conservative like George Bush. Someone who knows he owes the plutocrats big time for winning power, someone like Mitt Romney.

      1. Neo-Realist

        It’s too difficult to sell austerity and pro-corporate policies with an in your face corporatist bandit, e.g., Romney, but you can sell it with a center right smooth talking figurehead like Obama who not only tells the left he’s with them then has the bad cops like Geithner, Bowles and Simpson do the dirty work, but does it in an incremental fashion so the mob doesn’t perceive all that well what it’s being hit with.

    1. LucyLulu

      From the link above: “According to a DHCS report assessing the quality of health plans in the Medi-Cal Managed Care (MCMC) Program, seven of the eight plans received a global health plan rating of 1 out of 5 stars.”

      Keeping a consistent philosophy to health care: Provide more low-value care with poor outcomes.

      Medicaid is a mess but this is not the solution. Private insurers have no clue what they are getting into. Medicaid patients are a different critter than private insurance or even Medicare patients.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      LS, “dual eligible” = “Medicare Advantage?” So nice to have rich accomplices on Medicare, to help shovel public money into private pockets.

  17. barrisj

    Send in the drones! Guaranteed to make a bad situation worse, but given the predilection for death by missile fire, Obama no doubt will have the Predators up and running over Libyan skies the next several days/weeks…moving vehicles, apartment buildings, gatherings on the ground, much of the Bengazi area will be a free-fire zone in order to snuff the evildoers. The late Chalmers Johnson termed this sort of anti-American behaviour as “blowback”, and the brutal fact remains that any sort of meddling by the US in Middle East affairs – whether for good or bad – inevitably redounds poorly upon the US.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      b, Oh, but it’s a “Clean War,” it’s thrilling to order the guys on joysticks in CO to rack up the “kills” — just they way they’ve been taught to kill since birth, via all those “computer games” designed by Uncle DoD.

    2. Roland

      Won’t be Benghazi. I expect some Touareg towns in Niger or Mali to get bombed instead, since they’ll claim that “Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” was to blame instead of the cell of Qaddafi loyalists who actually did the raid.

  18. Susan the other

    The Guardian. Can the ECB save the EZ. I think the real question is can the ECB lay the foundation to create the real EZ. Supposedly this is a huge conflict of interest – administering both a currency and promoting fiscal politics. But I’m pretty sure this infamous conflict of interest canard is the way financiers have always insured they have the upper hand. It is instructive to look at our own Fed. Say Bernanke went to Illinois and told the state budget committee that the Fed would buy Illinois bonds and munis if they met certain conditions. Then they wouldn’t have to gut their education system. In fact, Bernanke can do just that. The Fed can buy state and muni bonds. But they do not… But then we do have both a political land financial culture of deep inequality. No conflict of interest here! Whereas, in a more socially flexible Europe, they will face any contradictions and resolve this regulatory mandate conflict with….regulations. Imagine that.

    1. Jim

      Heck, let’s just dissolve Congress and allow this “small group of far sighted statesmen” to craft and impose fiscal policy from their perches at the Fed and ECB. Do we even need a president anymore?

      After all, if Draghi believes he knows better than the German citizen, why not believe that Bernanke knows better than the Executive and Legislative branches of the US.

      As to the Judicial Branch, why not dissolve it, too?

      Seriously, I’m shocked that any progressives would sign off on what Draghi has done, and dare to suggest that Bernanke should do the same.

      How would these “progressives” respond if Bernanke decided to slash entitlements by fiat “becausee the country is about to implode.”

      1. Susan the other

        I said that in all seriousness when congress couldn’t do anything to turn the recession around. That the Fed was the only organization that was doing anything to help the economy and I wondered why we even needed congress at all. I’m still very down on congress. And I’m not crazy about the judicial system either.

        1. Nathanael

          This is important to rememember: if elected government fails to deliver the basic needs of people, people will be happy to try dictatorship on the “well, it can’t be any worse” principle.

          The same applies to court systems: if they don’t deliver what they’re supposed to (justice, fairness), people will be happy to take vigilantes instead.

          As Susan the other shows, we’ve gotten to that point already for a lot of people in the US.

  19. OMF

    This cat box project is a fine example of the concept of “Value Added”.

    Even to Rufus the cat, individually or collectively, the boxes had little value. A minutes distraction perhaps. But with the investment of planning, effort, money and time, those boxes became a cat’s dream play fort.

    Our modern economic theory would have us trade in boxes, run options on them, create synthetic box CDO futures and sell them to cat owners on the grounds that because cats love them, they will always increase in value. No-one would actually bother building cat box forts like this, or make them of quality boxes, or put any real effort into the fort at all. Why bother when your cat will never play in it anyway; you’re only going to flip it to the next man.

    The net result would be a nation of shoddy cat box forts, teetering and rotten, leaving behind a legacy of paupauried cat oweners and investors, enriched box con-artists, and a nation of very bored house cats.

    Eventually, the Fed would probably end up buying back all the boxes.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      OMF, the antidote was a trap of some kind, maybe eye-mind control. Clearly “bullshit” (Jill Stein’s word) propaganda of some kind, so “subliminal” something? Do the “three sets of three” at the bottom of each and every box speak code?

  20. psychohistorian

    Between now and 2014 when they plan to add fluoride to Portland OR water I suspect the people will once again say NO, and I with them.

    I think it is a great idea to have Portland as a long term test site of non-fluoride water. The worst that can happen is all out teeth will fall out!!!!!

  21. B. Traven

    By trying to run away from Death, our global system is merely rushing to its appointment with it, not unlike the legend of Samarkand.

    In one variation of the legend of Samarkand, a servant encounters a woman in the market place at Baghdad, and recognizes her as Death. The ominous figure looks into the face of the servant and makes what seems to him a threatening gesture. Trembling with fear, the servant runs home, borrows his master’s horse, and rides like the wind all the way to Samarkand so that Death will not be able to find him.

    The master commands that Death be sent to him to explain why it has terrified his servant. And Death says, “I didn’t want to frighten him. I was merely startled to see your servant here in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarkand.”

    1. B. Traven

      Thanks LBR. I’d have to look up the source, but here’s another variant of the same story:

      On the town square a soldier sees death beckoning to him. He takes fright, goes to see the king and says, “Death has beckoned to me, I am going to flee as far away as possible, I am fleeing to Samarkand.”

      The king orders death be sent to him, to explain why it has terrified his captain. And death tells him, “I didn’t want to frighten him, I merely wanted to remind him we had an appointment tonight – in Samarkand.”

    1. F. Beard

      $40 billion/month = $160/month for every US adult = $320/month for every US couple.

      Question 1: Wouldn’t just handing out $160/month to every US adult not only help those adults but also the holders of MBS?

      Question 2: If the Fed creates new reserves to buy MBS then why shouldn’t the mortgages backing those MBS be forgiven?

      1. Valissa

        Self-fulfilling prophecy perhaps?

        Why Wall Street Loves Quantitative Easing http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/rick-newman/2012/09/12/why-wall-street-loves-quantitative-easing
        One of the first beneficiaries is Wall Street, since rising stock prices draw more buyers off the sidelines, boost sales commissions at brokerages, and generate more investment banking activity. And the Fed’s plan has generally worked, with an unmistakable correlation between its QE programs and a stock-market rally that’s now in its fourth year.

        All this QE always reminds me of this story… except I don’t think there’s a master wizard to counteract the liquidity spell…

        The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Mickey in Walt Disney’s Fantasia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XChxLGnIwCU

        1. Bert_S

          I keep wondering what if TBTF banks really do start trading in all their treasuries and MBS for zero interest cash from the Fed and buy stock with it.

          TBTF banks with all their balance sheet in overpriced stock and leveraged to the hilt? IIRC, that’s what Jap banks did in the 80s just before they – and Japan – made that great big whooshing sound.

          1. Valissa

            I try not to wonder about such things anymore ;)

            In my wondering, wandering imagination the planetary financial system is like an ecosystem full of niches and the various critters occupying them and all playing their games of co-opetition, and going through birth-death cycles (birth/growth of new forms, decay/collapse of old ones). It’s multidimensional, non-linear and full of complex webs of relations. It is too large and complex for any one person to understand/know it all – sometimes I sit back in awe of the whole damn thing! Meanwhile we confused (but unwilling to admit it) humans search for simpler models so we can try and get our heads around this financial vastness, and attempt to control or guide it.

            While I try to always keep learning as much as I can about the bigger financial and historical picture (I love learning & observing), I don’t have a strong personal opinion on how the TPTB should be “fixing” things, or big predictions about how things will end up. I can merely observe the chaos and instability in the current situation and do my best to survive and enjoy life as best I can.

          2. Bert_S

            Yup. Whenever I think I have anything figured out, I know it’s a sign I’ve been sitting in front of my computer screen too long.

            So I go outside and I begin to feel smaller again. Works everytime.

            So today is tennis night, and I’m sure to get better soon!

      2. Jim

        I prefer Bernanke’s manipulation of the market to Draghi’s. At least Bernanke has a mandate to engage in the actions he has undertaken.

        Draghi has violoated the ECB’s mandate and undermined German democracy.

        And let’s not forget that Bernanke’s imapacting the US of A. Draghi does not yet have a US of E to manipulate.

        Of course, I imagine that many in Brussels are betting that, with every bond bought by Draghi, their US of Europe becomes more and more inevitable, regardless of democratic legitimacy.

  22. Matt

    Re: Salton Sea. Yet another chapter in the history of California’s immense water works. The fundamental problem, of course, is that the lake is endorheic (and receiving ag runoff from the Imperial and Coachella Valleys doesn’t help).

    The state does have a plan, which at a cost of $2.2 billion is really a bargain. Stimulus funding?

  23. Kokuanani

    I have a question:

    just saw an entry on HuffPo [sorry] about Bernanke’s latest move to “combat unemployment.” Calls for . . . . more QE, with the anticipated result:

    ***The Fed hopes buying billions in mortgage bonds will boost the housing market, stock prices and other areas of the economy, helping speed up growth and bring down unemployment.***

    Could someone please tell me WHO thinks that “buying billions in mortgage bonds” will boost the housing market or any of the other fantasies? The banks just pocket the money, refuse to loan it. Where’s the “stimulus”?

    I am serious. Hasn’t this hokus pokus been shown to be totally ineffective — at least in the “help the economy” sense. It’s clearly effective in helping the rich. Why isn’t there more outcry over this?

  24. Fiver

    Yves,

    I can certainly understand your ailment being caused by reading if you felt compelled to immerse yourself in the latest bag of lies surrounding the Libya Embassy attack and the false trails already oozing out of such “journalists” as Jeff Goldberg at the Atlantic preparing the ground if need be. Saw Mr. G on CNN with Blitzer – does Golberg always look so intensely angry when discussing Israel?

    I’ve been fully enaged with my own health issues for the bulk of the summer (new medication and exercise regime for my severe chronic pain condition. I find it has me thinking much more quickly and clearly – which is a big deal for me, as I had in the months before these changes discovered that some of my posts were becoming difficult to understand or not well enough written for my liking.

    I may also have missed your fund-raiser, so made sure to tip today.

    Now, Yves, you may recall that I’ve argued from last year on that we would see a number of things:

    1) A handily re-elected Obama.

    2) The ECB would cave in completely and swing for the fence in terms of a virtually unlimited bond-buying program (though the claim is it will be “sterilized”, I do not subscribe to the theory that it matters if the purchases are “sterilized” or not – it’s a money print no matter which way you cut it.

    3) That Bernanke would do the same if there was any sign whatever that the US economy was going to seriously stall again. As it happens, August this year was better by a number of measures than Auguest last year, so I don’t think it was needed at all. This is just a bit of Obama re-elect insurance, plus of course several hundred billion for banksters’ speculative minions to play with some more commodity and currency mayhem.

    Would like to see some hard-headed analysis of what QE3 will mean for the US and world.

    Again, hope you’re well soon.

    1. SR6719

      Fiver,

      As a long time reader of NC, I’d just like to say that I always look forward to reading your posts and I’ve always considered them to be interesting and extremely well-written.

  25. skippy

    Now for something completely different…

    Self-funded retiree Ivor Badfeeling tells Clarke and Dawe he lives off interest rates, through gritted teeth.

    Transcript
    LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: We’ve heard a lot in recent years about the vagaries of the global financial system. This week it’s caught the imagination of John Clarke and Bryan Dawe.

    BRYAN DAWE: Now, your name is Ivor?

    JOHN CLARKE: Ivor. My name is Ivor, yes. Good evening.

    BRYAN DAWE: Alright. And what do you do, Ivor?

    JOHN CLARKE: I’m a self-funded retiree.

    BRYAN DAWE: Ha ha, whoopee.

    JOHN CLARKE: Mmm.

    BRYAN DAWE: How’s that going?

    JOHN CLARKE: How’s it going?

    BRYAN DAWE: Yep.

    JOHN CLARKE: Well you know potato peel?

    BRYAN DAWE: Yeah.

    JOHN CLARKE: Really useful.

    BRYAN DAWE: Yeah, they are useful, aren’t they?

    JOHN CLARKE: Yeah. And just as good the second day.

    BRYAN DAWE: Correct. And what do you put on them, Ivor?

    JOHN CLARKE: What do ya put on them?

    BRYAN DAWE: Yeah.

    JOHN CLARKE: Other potato peel.

    BRYAN DAWE: That’s right, yes.

    JOHN CLARKE: Coupla layers of potato peel. Gives a bitta body.

    BRYAN DAWE: What’s your surname, Ivor?

    JOHN CLARKE: Badfeeling.

    BRYAN DAWE: Ivor Badfeeling?

    JOHN CLARKE: Yeah, so do I.

    BRYAN DAWE: OK, Ivor, your special subject tonight is the GFC, the Global Financial Crisis.

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3589450.htm

    Skippy… do watch its a ripper… love these guys….

Comments are closed.