Links 10/16/12

New Zealand’s ‘Transgender’ Bellbird Could Be The World’s First Huffington Post (Carol B). Um, Google “intersex”.

Rising sea levels threaten US coastline Aljazeera (Aquifer). From the renown scientist Jay Leonhart:

Carbon monoxide is spewing from cars
It blots out the sun, it blots out the stars
Heating the atmosphere scientists say
Melting the icecaps away.
As the ice melts, it is not surprising
The oceans are ever so steadily rising
Steadily rising through high tide and low
Florida will be first to go.

Goodbye Miami, goodbye Lauderdale
Pass me a bucket, pass me a pail
Old folks and condos are up to their knees
With the wind and the salt and the sea.

Goodbye Miami, goodbye Sarasota, the
Gulf Coast now reaches Pierre, North Dakota
Tampa is dampa than ever before
And Key West ain’t Key West no more.

They’ll be no need to worry about air pollution
When you’re up to your neck in a saline solution.
The tide she comes in and she lingers about, but the tide
She don’t want to go out.

Bill McKibbon on Bill Maher LiveLeak (Joel B)

Illegal Scheme Exemplifies Threat of Geoengineering Common Dream (Aquifer)

Male Shoppers Outdo Women as Web Offers Haven From Mall Bloomberg. Who are these people who like shopping, or worse, fashion? Fashion is an abuse inflicted on women. I’m at a loss to understand why men would embrace it. Plus Galbraith pere was right, consuming is work.

Signature vs. seal Language Log (Lance N). Ah, yes, I used a seal at Sumitomo, it was satisfying in a peculiar way.

How a single DMCA notice took down 1.45 million education blogs ars technica (Lambert)

World View: Beware ‘robust’, ‘remnants’ and ‘anecdotal’ – just three of the terms deployed to hide or mislead Independent

Fukushima citizen, “We didn’t see bugs this summer, children are made carry a portable shrine in black rain” and Infantile disease respiratory syncytial virus infection is spiking up in Japan, “Highest in past 10 years” Fukushima Diary (martha r)

Ground under Fukushima Unit 4 sinking, structure on verge of complete collapse YouTube (furzy mouse)

Giant Walmart vs the small farmer Asian Age (Aquifer)

Good bean counters? Starbucks has paid no tax in UK since 2009 Independent (Chuck L)

Rebekah Brooks received £7m pay-off Financial Times

The labor market is not self-regulating; governments must support worker’s fight for higher wages Real News (Aquifer). An interview with Heiner Flassbeck, who I’ve seen speak and am sure readers will enjoy.

The Week the World Stood Still, The Cuban Missile Crisis and Ownership of the World Noam Chomsky, Tom Engelhardt

Matt Taibbi: The Romney-Ryan tax plan should be laughed at Raw Story

Ryan and Romney’s Secret Plan to Cut the Deficit – and why Romney opposes it Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives. Surreal.

Hippie punching for dummies Susie Madrak. These bears are getting better and better….because the underlying situation is getting worse and worse.

Four Questions About Retirement For The Presidential Town Hall And Debate Helaine Olen

Study suggests privatized Medicare would raise rates Associated Press. Look, I don’t understand why this is so hard to figure out. The plan in both parties is to have old people die faster, and I’m not talking about the last two weeks of life dehumanizing and costly medical interventions.

NYT Admits: We Have Not “Aggressively Challenged” Obama on Drones Common Dreams (Aquifer). The last time I checked, the Pope was also Catholic.

United States Only First-World Country Without Mandatory Paid Medical Leave: ‘A Human Rights Issue’ Huffington Post (Carol B)

Why Youth Shouldn’t Try Until They’re 35 Captain Capitalism

Romney is shocked to learn how the Fed creates money Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

Housing Recovery in Perspective Taegan Goddard (furzy mouse). And that’s before you get to the manipulation of inventories by servicers…

What is Socialism? Look No Further Than Your Public Library Ohio Barbarian, Firedoglake (furzy mouse)

Student Loan Servicing Complaints Are ‘Early Warning’ Huffington Post

What JP Morgan’s release of VaR has in common with sex and computer viruses Nick Dunbar (Richard Smith)

Unemployment Stories, Vol. 12: ‘The World Is Filled with People Who Just Don’t Give a Crap’ Gawker

* * *

Mission elapsed time: T + 38 and counting*

Usura rusteth the chisel

It rusteth the craft and the craftsman

It gnaweth the thread in the loom –Ezra Pound, Canto XLV

Montreal. Corruption: “Lino Zambito says he passed thousands of dollars to Benoit Labonté in 2009 and to Line Beauchamp for a fundraiser and he’s currently talking about mayoral kickbacks in Laval. His testimony has also now touched Loto-Quebec. Every time the guy opens his mouth, somebody takes a fall. It’s amazing.”

CA. Corruption: “Port [of Oakland] commissioners met in an emergency closed session Maritime Director James Kwon and his $4,537 bill for a ‘drink and dinner reception’ at Treasures, an upscale gentlemen’s club [in Houston].” … Gaffe: “Assemblyman Mike Morrell’s opponent released videotaped remarks of a campaign speech in which the R incumbent said that government officials ‘should be shot’ for how they handle tax money.” Is this the withering away of the state part?

FL. Charters: “A Miami newspaper reports that [here] Chinese investors are pouring millions of dollars into Florida charter schools. By investing, they get a green card under a federal program that rewards investors who put up large sums.” I never know which synonym to file these stories under: “charters” or “corruption.”

IA. Handmaid’s Tale: “Merlin Bartz is an IA State Senator who carries around an unusual picture of his opponent, State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm. The photo is a life-size legless paper doll. At public events he sets his creepy companion in a chair next to him. If Senator Wilhelm arrives at the event, she has to move it so she can sit down.” Nice! … Demonization: “‘I’m convinced that if we had more potlucks in Congress we would get more done,’ U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley said Monday. ‘If you get to know somebody, it’s harder to go out onto the floor and demonize them.'”

IL. Charters: “OK, charterheads–let’s have a truce… I’ll stop comparing charters with unionized special-enrollment schools–which limit enrollment to the highest-scoring test takers–if you stop comparing charters with unionized neighborhood schools.” Heh, snark watch: “Charterheads.” … Corruption: “U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s campaign finances are the subject of a federal probe after the congressman allegedly improperly used campaign money to decorate his home.”

MD. Corruption: “Developers and shopping-center owners have contributed more than $225,000 to efforts to challenge zoning decisions in Baltimore County through referendums, financial disclosure forms show.”

ME. Ladies of negotiable affection: “The Kennebunk Police Department on Monday released a partial list of men summoned on charges of soliciting a woman accused of running a prostitution operation out of a Kennebunk Zumba studio. The list includes just the first and last names of 21 men.” So why release them at all, then? How many “John Does” are there in the Northeast? Hundreds? … Democrats: “As a Democratic ‘activist,’ I had no uncertainty about who I’d pick for U.S. Senate: independent Angus King. [Cynthia Dill] is the Dennis Kucinich of our party: correct on the issues but without a snowball’s chance of being elected.” Tells you all you need to know about “Democratic activists” and Democrats generally, doesn’t it? Don’t turn your back on them! … Bellwether: “‘If Romney does have a chance in Maine’s Second District,” Mr. [Ethan] Strimling [of the BDN] said, ‘then Obama is in a lot of trouble'” (pretty good for Izvestia!)

MI. Banksters: “The class-action lawsuit [against Morgan Stanley] filed today on behalf of [five current and former Detroit residents] by the American Civil Liberties Union and others claims the company violated state and federal civil rights laws and was the principal financier ‘to one of the most aggressive and dangerous predatory lenders,’ a now bankrupt company called New Century” (HB). And by “bankrupt” we mean “the executives got away clean with the loot.”

NV. Water: “[Lawncare owner Gary] Hirsch says he’s also seeing more and more homeowners change to xeroscaping in order to reduce water and maintenance costs.”

NY. Corruption: ” A former St. John’s University student testified Monday that she cooked, cleaned and did laundry for her former dean [Dr. Cecilia Chang] because she feared losing her scholarship.” … Socialism & Liberation Party: “[PETA LINDSAY]: It’s strange to me the Ds feel so entitled to the votes of progressive people when they don’t do anything that progressive people want them to do. As Eugene Debs said, ‘I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it than vote for what I don’t want and get it.” …. Fracking: “Like others who favor hydrofracking, [Chinese immigrant Douglas] Lee believes that preventing someone from leasing land for the mineral rights was equivalent to a government seizure of one’s property.” … Fracking: Jobs!

OH. Corruption: “OH’s state watchdog hasn’t yet released an investigative report on the investment scandal that engulfed Ohio in 2005 — and critics want to know why. The Coingate scandal began in 2005 when reporting by The Blade showed that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation was investing $50 million in rare coins through R donor Tom Noe. Noe is now serving 18 years in prison for theft and other crimes.” (Interestingly, Noe’s wife, Bernadette, was responsible for Diebold e-voting machines not leaving a paper trail in Lucas County, 2004). … Swing state Keynesianism: “So why has Mitt Romney not been able to move the numbers in OH? OH voters support the auto bailout by a 54% to 37% margin, and with independents that number is 58% to 35%. 79% consider it to be an “important” issue, and 42% consider it to be a “very important” issue. Think it is impacting this race? The President used his weekly address to talk about the reemergence of the American auto industry.”

PA. Obituaries: “May the Scottish Haggis have many laughs wherever he may travel” (the post, and the source, will surprise you. Unless you’re a sociopath, compassion is a virtue. (Then again, “moderate”? Or just annoying?) … Scranton writes Obama a letter: “I know you hate it when I bring him up, but why can’t you be more like Bill? He doesn’t visit often, but when he does, it’s a party. When he says he loves me, I know he doesn’t mean it, but I just don’t care. If you bump into the big lug out on the trail, tell him to call me. And Hillary doesn’t need to know, OK?” … Unions: “[Philadelphia’s] Mayor Nutter has been getting lots of national attention lately as an Obama surrogate, while [sic] battling at home with one of the party’s biggest constituencies – labor unions.

TX. Pipelines: “[T]he Winnsboro tree blockaders are resupplying their friends in the trees with fresh food, water and cameras despite the threat of a newly-expanded Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) by TransCanada and criminal overcharges by local law enforcement. Due to the SLAPP suits’ outrageous claims, the tree sitters have by-and-large felt too threatened to safely reveal their identities, despite their protest being nonviolent.” … Corruption: “In 2007, the state’s voters elected to create [the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas], authorizing the state provide it with $3 billion over 10 years. After [its] chief scientist, [Nobelist] Dr. Alfred Gilman, [resigned] in May, the agency’s eight principal scientific reviewers all followed suit last week. Gilman’s resignation followed a decision by the institute’s oversight committee to set aside scientific grant proposals and rush approval of an $18 million commercialization grant led by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.” Good for Gilman!’ … MOOCs: ” As expected the University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously approved a new systemwide partnership with edX, a provider of massive open online courses, on Monday.”

VA. Public goods: “‘[The UVa putsch] stands out as the most abrupt and the most opaque and the only one with presidential reinstatement at its conclusion,’ [said Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities.] ‘Money was at the center of the maelstrom. The old public compact we had in this country is now close to broken. After a certain point, the public stops listening and we’re very close to that point now.'”

VT. Food: “About 1,500 jobs would be created over the next decade if residents double their consumption of locally produced food, [the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund] report estimated. Between 2010 and 2011, about 497 jobs were added, said the group, which is expected to release new figures in January.” This too is supply chain activism.

Outside baseball. Ladies of negotiable affection: “Dania Suarez will recount the chain of events that ensnared more than a dozen agents and members of the U.S. military in the upcoming memoir, which is tentatively titled ‘Room Service.'” How a propos. I still think Suarez should run for President of Columbia. … Fracking: “The World Bank estimates that in ND alone, natural gas flares produce the same amount of global warming pollution as 2.5 million cars. Across the board, the oil and gas industry wastes two to three percent of all the natural gas in the country, according to the EPA, due to flaring, leaks and other waste. Other experts think this number is even higher, and that unconventional gas production, like fracking, wastes up to 8 percent.” Because freedom! … Fracking: “There is not yet an integrated worldwide system for moving natural gas wherever the price is highest. In North America natural gas is essentially a regional product. It can be moved via pipeline between the United States, Canada and Mexico, but there it stops. For that reason the glut of natural gas caused by overdrilling of newly available shale gas deposits has brought prices down dramatically.” So we’re building pipelines why? (This is another “supply chain justice” issue.) … Charters: “Because charters are now an organized ‘movement’ on behalf of ending public education (plus every other public enterprise?) without any interest in carrying out a nearly 60-year-old U.S. Supreme Court mandate (to integrate schools), it’s important to expose them. They are also strong supporters, as a movement, for testing, high stakes, merit pay, and ending unions.” Because the children! … Voting: “There have been a growing number of claims that political elites have used a false residence to vote, often to insure their own elections in a district where they do not reside.” (“Residency fraud is an elite fraud because you’ve got to own at least two homes to do it!)

The trail. Polls: “Romney has opened a 5% lead over Obama in the 12 battleground states that are critical to determining the outcome of the 2012 election, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday” (true, just one poll). … Women: “[F]emale voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favor Romney.” Nice going, Joe. … Polls: ” Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College are now 66.0%, according to the FiveThirtyEight model, up from 63.4% on Sunday” (Nate Silver).

Obama/Romney Debate II. Format: “The 90-minute Hofsta showdown will be a ‘town hall,’ with questions on foreign and domestic policy coming from Crowley and an audience of about 80 uncommitted voters from around the Hempstead area selected by Gallup.” … Moderator: “[N]either campaign is looking for Ms. Crowley, a veteran political journalist, to press their candidates with tough follow-ups to whatever questions are put forth by the audience of undecided and persuadable voters at Hofstra.” … Expectations: “Watch for an ‘Obama Comeback’ narrative to drive the Wednesday through Friday news cycles. There’s no way that the president performs as poorly as he did in Denver.” … The political class: “Both campaigns are terrified at anything even remotely spontaneous happening.”

The Romney. Ryan: “Ryan walked into the dining hall on Saturday to take a picture and according to the president of the St. Vincent De Paul Society, it was without permission. Ryan made the appearance after a town hall forum at Youngstown State University. Brian Antal told the Washington Post the organization’s bylaws do not allow them to get involved in politics. But he said the pictures were staged and are not accurate, and that all Ryan did was pick up a clean metal pan, pretend to wash it and then leave after the picture was taken.” (There’s a history here: NC 2012-06-09.]

The Obama. Money: “Despite the fact that Paul once raised almost twice as much as Obama did from the military, the president has received $536,414 from military donors, compared to Paul’s $399,274 and Romney’s $287,435, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. These numbers are based on donations greater than $200.” … Money: “[BIDEN: With “the guy I serve with, it depends on only one thing: his word. What he says, he does.” Well, for the audience of donors, this could even be true.

* Slogan of the day: The Whole Country Is Singing With Joy!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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  1. gregg

    Lithuania election: Voters ‘dump austerity government’

    Unlike Estonia or Latvia, the Russian minority in Lithuania is relatively small (~12% vs. 30%+ in the other two). Consequently the right-wing austerians do not have a complete lock on a plurality of the electorate as they do in the other Baltic countries.

    1. polistra

      Wow. That’s a serious eye-opener. I had recently written a little tribute to CR Anthony, which used to be my favorite store in Oklahoma. Anthony’s always knew what local customers needed, and always satisfied them.

      Anthony’s originated in the ’30s as the EXACT OPPOSITE of Bain. It was something like a co-op. Its stock was owned by its store managers, so each manager had a direct stake in the success of the chain. No New Yorkers allowed.

      I couldn’t figure out from existing sources what happened to Anthony’s in the end. Stockman’s article fills it in: weakened by WalMart, slaughtered by Romney. Damn.

  2. taunger

    I keep seeing articles on the private student loan market. Umm, this is like 5 years too late. Just as private MBS basically went extinct after 2008, so too did private student loans. Granted there is still enough debt in this bucket to cause huge problems, but the article certainly didn’t put the necessary urgency if this is actually like subprime mbs.

    So any ideas on why draw attention here?

    1. Walter Wit Man

      And now they probably won’t issue loans unless the parents co-sign.

      So the Boomer Parents could get their Social Security payments garnished to pay off student loans 10 years into the future when Jr. defaults.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        WWM – “they probably won’t issue loans unless the parents co-sign” — they’re just following the real estate “debt” rules of Latvia (see Michael Hudson’s work).

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          “Globalization! Sis boom bah!”

          “We are ALL Latvians/Chinese peasants/debt serfs now. Debtor’s prisons shall be PRIVATE Profit Centers.

      2. different clue

        So let the parents refuse to co-sign. In fact, let the parents begin informing Junior from his 10th birthday onward that they will not co-sign any loan he takes to pay for college, and let them begin instructing him on the concept of least-cost community colleges for a paying trade
        or technical specialty. Junior can then get a job in that trade or technical specialty near the University of his dreams if he wants to go there when he is older. Junior can pay for 1 or maybe 2 courses per semester out of his trade/technical job earnings.

  3. Ned Ludd

    Steve Benen, writing at Rachel Maddow’s blog, brags that the Democrats are the party of deficit-cutting. If Obama is re-elected, I think we’ll see liberal blogs and MSNBC pundits embrace austerity – just like they embraced hippie-punching, bank bailouts, and dropping bombs on foreign nations without a declaration of war.

    1. tom allen

      But these progressives are trying to change the Democratic Party from the inside! That’s why they have to support everything they used to oppose. Once 75 Democratic Senators and 300 Democratic Representatives are elected by embracing right-wing positions, *then* we’ll see some real liberal action!

      1. Bev

        They are beholding to the voting machines, not the voters.

        “How to Rig an Election” — Victoria Collier’s BREAKTHROUGH article in Harper’s!

        Those of us who’ve faced the ugly truth about America’s voting system,
        yet still believe it possible to wrest that system from the clutches of the
        right (despite the criminal inattention of the Democratic Party, and most
        progressives), suddenly have something we can cheer about at last, and
        send out far and wide ASAP: ”How To Rig an Election,” Victoria Collier’s
        excellent cover story in the November Harper’s.

        If you’ve not been paying attention to the radical subversion of electoral
        democracy in the United States these last 12 years, this piece will blow
        your mind, and probably depress you; but if you don’t shake that off, and
        move to spread the word right now, by sending everyone you know this
        must-read article, you’ll have to share the blame for what will very likely
        happen (again) on Nov. 6, whether it befalls the presidency, Congress
        or some statehouses (or all of the above).

        Brava to Victoria, then; and hurray for Harper’s, whose editors and
        publisher have shown us once again that they are brave enough
        to face an issue as important as it is neglected. (This new piece is
        a sort of sequel to “None Dare Call It Stolen,” the cover story I wrote
        for them six years ago.) The only other US magazine that’s shown
        the same intelligence and courage is Rolling Stone.



        Harpers Magazine cover story: “How to Rig an Election”
        by ivorysteve

        My copy of the November Harper’s Magazine arrived today, with a surprisingly front-and-center article on the state of America’s vote-counting technology. It’s a well-researched piece, with much of it depressingly familiar to many progressives who followed the tin-foil-hat-tainted theories of the 2004 election. It reviews the recent history some of us know: the ESS&S / Diebold coziness, Bev Harris and hackable GEMS system, the Help America Vote Act Trojan horse, Chuck Hegal, Max Cleland, the exit poll disparities in Ohio and elsewhere in 2004 that all exhibited a “red shift” to the Right.

        The article then brings things up to date.

        Some argue that the Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008 disprove the existence of the red shift. However, this may be a misinterpretation of complex political upheavals that occurred in each of those election years…. Post-election analysis did in fact suggest extensive red-shift rigging. But in both election cycles, these efforts simply failed to overcome eleventh-hour events so negative that they drastically undercut the projected wins for the G.O.P.

        Those events were Mark Foley’s exposure (and G.O.P. leadership cover-up) in 2006 and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. But in 2010, the article details how the victories of Scott Brown, Rick Scott, Scott Walker, and Jim DeMint each left evidence that the computer-counted tallies were suspect.



        PAPER BALLOTS ONLY THIS ELECTION DAY! (emergency petition)

        Petition for immediate emergency action to withdraw all electronic voting technology and replace with paper ballots for the November 6, 2012 election

        Sign the petition:

        By Linda Rosch (Contact)

        To be delivered to: The United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting

        The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees U.S. citizens the right to vote for their president and congressional representatives. A hacked vote does not comport with the constitutional guaranty.

        Since the year 2000 there have been documented, widespread, severely serious problems with electronic voting and scanning equipment during U.S. elections. Such problems have resulted numerous times in reversal of U.S. citizens’ actual voting choices during critical elections. Such problems have resulted in incorrect total-vote counts in critical elections, with declaration of incorrect election results. (References shall be provided in a second document.)

        This is an intolerable situation. In this compromised voting environment our constitutional rights are profoundly jeopardized. We demand the department of justice (USDOJ) rectify the situation immediately. The November 6, 2012 election must be protected.

        We, the undersigned citizens of the United States of America, hereby demand that the U.S. department of justice immediately take proper, necessary steps. Remove all electronic voting machines and related scanning, counting and aggregating machines/software from all voting precincts in all states in the United States of America. Such equipment shall not be used during the presidential and/or congressional elections on November 6, 2012.

        Simple paper ballots complying with the model ballot (to be issued by the USDOJ) must be used in all voting precincts, in all states, and are the only acceptable media to be used in voting.

        All ballots shall be counted by hand in an open venue, in full view of the public, in a fairly designed, controlled situation (outlined in a second document, along with provisions for disabled voters). The entire process shall be captured on videotape, the tape to be available as a legal reference.

        1. Ed

          If you look too closely at how elections are actually run in the US, its quite depressing. Basic safeguards that are the norm in other countries tend to be absent (to be fair, election bureaucracies in the US are state and local affairs and some places are better than others). American elections are pretty easy to rig.

          Where these stories that appear periodically go off base is the sssumption that all the rigging is done by Republicans against the Democrats, even during Democratic presidential administrations or in states with Democratic governors and legislators. Actually American election bureaucracies tend to by bipartisan, so if any vote rigging takes place, both parties have to agree. Thats not to say that elections are never stolen from candidates with a Democratic (or Republican) ballot line, but when that happens its because their state party wants it to be stolen.

          1. TK21

            It is depressing, no doubt. But I think we should work to have a candidate worth voting for, then make sure votes are counted correctly.

      2. Ned Ludd

        At Daily Kos, probably the largest Democratic blog, they’ve made it clear that the change they seek is more political power, not a more liberal party.

        This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog… Liberal? Yeah, we’re around here and we’re proud. But it’s not a liberal blog. It’s a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory… The battle for the party is not an ideological battle.

        In other words: They are shills for the Democratic Party who value power above all else.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Sadly, the bears are trapped in the debt/austerity paradigm, too. Even if everything that comes out of the pro-Obama bear’s mouth, including “[long pause to compute] You’re a racist,” is true.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Please go look at the video. The bears have been around for a while, in case you didn’t know that.

          1. TK21

            Which video? I’ll gladly watch it. I know people like this have been around for a while, I was just curious as to why they are called “bears”.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            It was up there, plain as day:

            Hippie punching for dummies Susie Madrak. These bears are getting better and better….because the underlying situation is getting worse and worse.

            You can go back up and find the link….

    3. Bernie Loomis

      Pull the string in Benen’s back, and he repeats what the Dems make him say in a crackly little chatty-cathy voice, over and over and over. He’s a toy – you don’t have reasoned discourse with him, you just play with him, and when you get tired of hearing it, then you rip his arms and legs out and drag him behind your bike.

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Don’t “cut the deficit.” CUT the DEBT OUT, root and branch. Start over with Real Greenbacks, issued and printed_without debt_by the We the People’s Treasury. “Eliminate the Middleman” for Maximum Efficiency.

      Michael Hudson, please realize your vision on We the People’s behalf.

  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘Ah, yes, I used a seal at Sumitomo, it was satisfying in a peculiar way.’

    You shouldn’t abuse aquatic animals.

    Oh wait, you meant a ‘chop’ …

  5. But What Do I Know?

    Not to be a pain in the a**, but Pierre is in South Dakota (the rhyme will work just as well).

  6. vernon

    “Carbon monoxide is spewing from cars” Not from cars sold in the US since 1975 when catalytic converters were mandated.

  7. gonzomarx

    Alternative Economic Cultures
    Paul Mason interviews renowned sociologist Prof Manuel Castells about the rise of alternative economic cultures since the financial crisis.

    “The financial crisis which has unfolded since 2008 marks more than an economic downturn, according to Prof Castells. The problems which caused the crisis are so deep rooted that they have provoked a profound reassessment of our economic beliefs and institutions. They have also given rise to social movements such as Occupy and alternative economic cultures opposed to financial capitalism. These ideas are explored in “Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis”, a book edited by Prof Castells.”

  8. TimR

    Re John Kenneth Galbraith on Veblen
    In that video posted here a few days ago, JKG seemed to be saying that Veblen was mainly useful as a satirist, that his “analysis” was not really meant with a completely straight face. I’m wondering how other readers of Veblen view his books? Which do you recommend reading (or not)?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      TimR, Veblen knew liars, crooks, and fools to the marrow. His stark dark truth in reality reads like satire at times, the way the Deep Reality of the words of Michael Hudson and William K. Black do.

  9. Deb Schultz

    The link to the Miami paper’s story on EB-5 investment in Florida charter schools and aquaculture is actually a link to Diane Ravitch’s blog. She is only interested in the very brief portion of the story that mentions the investment in charter schools. Ms. Ravitch herself was, at one time not so long ago, a fervent supporter of the charter movement and the weakening of the teachers’ unions’ presumed control of public education. While this about-face does not make her suspect, it does raise the possibility that she is a bit too quick in her judgements. I think that could very well be the case with regard to the EB-5 investment in charter school holding companies.

    Florida has serious funding problems. Property values have plummeted and sales have dropped. Revenue for the public school systems has certainly decreased. The political and demographic realities of that state make efforts to replace that funding with new taxes or other fees extremely unlikely to be successful.

    Charter schools were and are, in my opinion, a profoundly ill-conceived idea. But the responses to Ms. Ravitch’s post show few of her readers making the connection between privatization of public infrastructure and the loss of public support and revenues. Her readers appear to be mostly concerned with the Yellow Peril, the potential for money-laundering, the loss of sovereignty. Charterization itself opened the door for vested interests and perverted the idea of public ownership into that of personal control.

    It’s hard for me to get exercised about the Chinese ‘taking over our schools’ when we’ve been quite willing to let assorted groups and corporations do that for a number of years now.

  10. Walter Wit Man

    Re Paid Leave . . .

    Can you imagine working for minimum wage at a fast food restaurant for example, and losing your wages during the time you were out to give birth?

    You wouldn’t be able to support yourself and your child and it would be miserable to try to go to work with a one week old. Who is going to take care of it? Why rip child from mother at such an early age?

    Think of the damage it does. I guess formula companies probably like the situation.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think the cat is reacting to political campaign commercials, and therefore distracted.

      I heard the AMA was thinking of using them to sedate their brain surgery patients, instead of anesthesia. This will show the Chinese that while they have accupuncture, we can be just inventive.

  11. Aquifer

    Cat- “Man, that guy is fast, he was just inside a moment ago …, but my TMJ got stuck again, rats …”

  12. synopticist

    Rebekah Brooks may get a 7 million pound payoff, but she’s also looking at a year or two of jail time.

    1. BondsOfSteel

      I have to say… I have very little sympathy for him. He acted horriably and supported terrible things.

      As I post here “anonymously”, I’m still realize that the internet is not really anonymous. You can be held accountiable for your actions. Right now, the cost to unmask you is high enought that your actions need to be bad enough to warrent the time/energy. This balence between Anonymity and Accountiblity is something that is constantly changing…

  13. Aquifer

    That Flassbeck guy IS really good – good old German “let’s get to the point, no messin’ around …”

    1. Susan the other

      Flassbeck was the messenger. The market as we know it (pushing productivity for elite profits) kills itself. Funny they think they are striving for global competitiveness when it is global suicide. So monetary policy is powerless to create any more bubbles for the rich, well powerless because they see it doesn’t work. Need to balance the labor market now with fiscal policy: raise wages – RAISE WAGES – to reflect produtivity plus the inflation target. This balances the economy.

      So here’s my question: what are we going to produce? I’d like to suggest Cleanliness. A massive education project to apply technology to the conservation and protection of clean air, water, broad tracts of pristine forest and grassland, city parks and streets, underground aquifers, rivers, lakes estuaries, oceans, wildlife preserves, cities, garbage dumps, recycling operations, and sustainable energy…

      If you don’t know what you want to produce, what good is an economy in the first place?

  14. docg

    “Carbon monoxide is spewing from cars
    It blots out the sun, it blots out the stars
    Heating the atmosphere scientists say
    Melting the icecaps away.”

    And all the king’s carbon credits
    And all the king’s biofuel plants
    Won’t freeze those icecaps together again.

  15. docg

    It amazes me that people are talking about committing such enormous resources to (temporarily) forestall effects of global warming that won’t be seen for 50 to 100 years at least, yet seem unwilling to do much about Fukushima, which could precipitate a far worse disaster within months.

    1. Mark P.

      What specifically do you imagine it is possible to do about Fukushima?

      And what would this potential disaster at Fukushima be far worse than? Because, believe me, it is not worse than the eventual onset of another Eocene era.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Exactly. I’m not as on top of it as I was when the crisis was happening, but my impression is that there is nothing the Japanese can do at this point, or not much that will make a meaningful difference.

    2. psychohistorian

      You must not watch enough TV or otherwise be brainwashed. Every time I bring up Fukushima in groups I am seen as a naysayer, tin hat, crazy lunatic.

      Gawd, the brainwashing is so effective…..look, over there….bright new shiny thing!!!

    3. BondsOfSteel

      Don’t count global warming out… the effect are non-linear. The 50-100 year esitmate is based on linear estimates of a non-linear system.

      In other words, the earth is a complex system and X amount of carbon emmisions X amount of warming. There could be hidden tipping points (or hidden sinks).

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why youth shouldn’t try until 35.

    The world is full of people who don’t give a ****.

    Well, the math is about right. I would say around 50% for peole under 35.

    That’s why we see a lot of seniors, in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s trying…to survive.

    They try.

    1. skippy

      Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush -Don’t Give Up

      Don’t give up

      In this proud land we grew up strong
      We were wanted all along
      I was taught to fight, taught to win
      I never thought I could fail

      No fight left or so it seems
      I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
      Ive changed my face, Ive changed my name
      But no one wants you when you lose

      Dont give up
      cos you have friends
      Dont give up
      Youre not beaten yet
      Dont give up
      I know you can make it good

      Though I saw it all around
      Never thought I could be affected
      Thought that wed be the last to go
      It is so strange the way things turn

      Drove the night toward my home
      The place that I was born, on the lakeside
      As daylight broke, I saw the earth
      The trees had burned down to the ground

      Dont give up
      You still have us
      Dont give up
      We dont need much of anything
      Dont give up
      cause somewhere theres a place
      Where we belong

      Rest your head
      You worry too much
      Its going to be alright
      When times get rough
      You can fall back on us
      Dont give up
      Please dont give up

      got to walk out of here
      I cant take anymore
      Going to stand on that bridge
      Keep my eyes down below
      Whatever may come
      And whatever may go
      That rivers flowing
      That rivers flowing

      Moved on to another town
      Tried hard to settle down
      For every job, so many men
      So many men no-one needs

      Dont give up
      cause you have friends
      Dont give up
      Youre not the only one
      Dont give up
      No reason to be ashamed
      Dont give up
      You still have us
      Dont give up now
      Were proud of who you are
      Dont give up
      You know its never been easy
      Dont give up
      cause I believe theres the a place
      Theres a place where we belong

  17. charles sereno

    Zumbagate: “Ladies of negotiable affection”
    So far we seem to have only a single “lady” and almost 2 dozen “johns,” only ambiguously identified. This is unfair in so many ways. What about the 100+ other johns left in the shade? Don’t they also have a right to claim ambiguity? Hmm, how about normal police practice? Oh, it’s in the hands of the courts and prosecutors. That happens sometimes.
    Moral: Flying (high with cannabis) can be (more) dangerous (than you know what).
    Disclosure: I tried joints twice (for cultural and medical research) and discovered I was a hopeless subject.

  18. charles sereno

    Usura rusteth the chisel

    It rusteth the craft and the craftsman

    It gnaweth the thread in the loom –Ezra Pound, Canto XLV

    IMO, a great thought overwhelmed by attractive word associations.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        It’s “dangerous thought” couched in poetry. Deleuze: thought is dangerous, especially when conveyed by artists.

  19. charles sereno

    An important link —
    The Romans and Greeks did it — “Divide and conquer”
    The latest events in the Mid East and now in the Chinese/Japanese rivalry make this conspirialist (sic) point, that the US is behind all of this. Obviously, in self interest, the US has employed this strategy, particularly after WW II. However, there have been failures or near-failures, perhaps the worst being the dragged out handling of the Soviet threat. Nevertheless, what happens now when a Steamroller confronts (numerous) Cockroaches? Could this become a 2nd “mushroom” event?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      charles, behind this is: Throne+Crown in the City>Chatham House (RIAA)>U.S Unitary Executive/Commander and the Tavistock Institute for the “right” propaganda assault on We the People through “media.”

      ARREST Traitors in Government and the FIRE sector. American Revolution 2012 is our right and our duty, according to our Constitution.

      1. charles sereno

        LBR, First, in regard to Pound, I think he was a poet plagued by politics, one step above a politician plagued by poetry. Why? Because a poet is shackled by his calling. Do we understand then that the poet devoted to truth stands above the politician devoted to action? Not always, IMO.
        Your later youtube link was interesting, although nowadays, who has time? I persisted to Coleman’s definition of “paranoia” as the ability to link events seemingly not connected. I have long used that as a definition of “poetry” which I had attributed to a remark of Pierre Reverdy. Interesting guy.

  20. Max424

    re: Matt Taibbi

    The United States of Fairy Land. I like it. Has a ring to it.

    Amerigo Vespucci, who was he? Nothing against Italians, but I’ve long wondered why my land mass was named after one. Hell, there’s more Irish here –half of all Americans, er, Fairy Landers, can trace their ancestry to Ireland. Why are we not called, the United States of Matthew McConaughey?

    Better to offend no one, and call our wondrous melting pot, Fairy Land. We do all share one common trait, we all believe in Pixie Dust –the stuff our guardian fairies have spreading on this great nation, from sea to shining sea, since the Immaculate Inception.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Max, see:

      “STALKING IRISH MADNESS: Searching for the Roots of My Family’s Schizophrenia” by Patrick Tracey (New York, A Bantam Book, 2008).

      I guess it wasn’t a stretch to sell “the immaculate conception” to them. When you hate women or the power of women, but know that they are necessary (so far) for reproducing the species, “the immaculate conception” of the Divine King is just what the doctor ordered, since long before Holy Roman Mithras.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Max, both “the immaculate conception” and “the Immaculate Inception” eliminate “sin” just as CDOs “eliminate risk.”

          1. Max424

            The ball touched the ground. No catch. Franco trapped it. An end zone camera picked it up, this angle right here:


            Freeze it several times at 1:21. Can’t tell, right? Can’t see the football, the object that the expert camera man is tracking, could easily track in a deep REM sleep, but for some reason, fails!

            He didn’t fail. You could see the football in the old days. You could see point of the ball scraping the turf as Harris tries to gather it in.

            The NFL has been cropping this footage for decades. Am I saying it’s a conspiracy? Yes I am, and one that goes to the highest organs.

            Not that I care, in fact, I’m all in favor. I hated the Raiders then, and I hate them now.*

            *Actually, now, I try to hate them, but it’s tough, because they suck so bad. It’s hard pour visceral hatred on the downtrodden (unless you’re a banker, of course).

      2. Max424

        Irish Catholic women have had a rough go, no doubt.

        Did you ever see the movie, The Magdalene Sisters? True story. It’s 1964, and all over Ireland, young women are being sent to prison to do slave labor.

        Their crime? Well, for most of them, it was something like: they let a boy gaze too long at their knickers, before they scolded him.

        Note: Repression, not good for either sex, really. I’m guessing if I was an skirt chasin’ Irish lad back in the day, I’d be so sexually frustrated I’d turn to harrying the Brits.

    2. charles sereno

      Never ever discount fairies. They’re alive and well in their endless incarnations — “Bernanke turns India and Brazil into seasonal Halloween pumpkins.” But who’s gonna perform the fun miracles?

    3. Valissa

      Look who believes in fairies!

      Fractured fairy tale – Part 1

      Fractured fairy tale – Part 2

      A real Fractured Fairy Tale (for all you Rocky & Bullwinkle Show fans)… Ridinghoods Anonymous

      The latest fairy tale research… Bigfoot Research Gets Lift from Stealth Airship

  21. Susan the other

    Bill Black. Two Romney pieces. BB doesn’t condemn R for earning an obscene and immoral fortune by “harvesting” US corporations. I can’t quite get past that pass. But anyway, BB really is saying R is just BS’ing his base. Romney opposes cutting the deficit, is in favor of cutting taxes, and will increase military spending. Realize that the military is really the only bipartisan vehicle we have for stimulating the economy. (Why is that?) Well anyway, that’s OK with me if we turn the military into a giant peace and reclamation corp. Cool. Still, it’s discouraging to read that Fed bankers (Whitehead) are as dumber than the Tea Party. We need a timely satire, one for Rob Reiner. Alotta Baloney. I’m tired of saying and not saying things to appease hysterical twits.

  22. craazyman

    The Top

    It’s occurring to me more and more that all the economic nay sayers, erudite uber-bears, recession-is-here chicken littles, banks are insolvent blowhards, housing is gonna crash gain hustlers — basically all the stuff I’ve been reading here for, Oh, I don’t know, THREE YEARS!!! Non stop. EVery day. Are all wrong. Wrong. WRONG! Shedlock, Hussman, you guys in particular. And Panzer too. And all the other sky if falling savants I believe like they’re my mama.

    Each day now is just Another day. Another day out of the market. Another day getting poorer, relatively speaking. Another day of dreams deferred, my life ground like hamburger on the wheel of work, when all I want to do is lay around like a lazy bonehead and do nothing without having to worry. Is that so ambitious? No. It’s a picture of modesty.

    So I’m thinking of saying, f*ck it, and just plowing everything I have into some hot stock that can double or triple in a few months. That’s about all the patience I can muster up for this sort of thing. How much is too much reading about macroeconomics? I can tell you if you want to know.

    And when I do, I’ll let everybody know, because then you can all go short. Cause when I do, it will certainly be The Top.

    1. Bert_S

      Comrade craazy! A vodka to drink your health!

      The Bernank has your back. Go for 10 bagger! It like stealing candy from capitalist baby out there. Can’t loose. No more work for you! Just play vith all the Moscow girls in Manhattan there!

      1. Valissa

        Today, while touring the Bureau of Engraving & Printing the tour guide told us that they print money per the budget agreed upon, but this can sometimes change due to how Bernanke is feeling. Somehow I managed not to shriek with laughter and scare the other tourists. No shit, true story, she really said that!

        We are in DC on business/vacation. After the tour I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy $1,000,000 worth of Gold Certificates (Woodrow Wilson is on those, verrrrry interesting) and other high denomination bills for a mere $11! Afterwards we walked over to the Federal Reserve building and my husband took a photo of me with me and my new money. Now we’re goin’ out drinkin’s to celebrate!

        1. Bert_S

          I’ve been wondering where you’re supposed to get the stuff.

          If you lend me $5 I’ll buy you a drink too!

  23. kevinearick


    The three primary determinates of GDP under monetization are demographics, capital accumulation and productivity growth. The demographic bomb has been ignited, and as you have observed, empire decoupling is a myth. Don’t stick around inside the black hole to watch the chain reaction.

    Those numbers are generated to enslave children to the past, with the self-fulfilling prophesy of biased regression. Ignore them. Get out into the real world and find out for yourself what the real numbers are. The only one that can take care of you is you, and only you can use the key we have left behind for the purpose. Shut the door behind you.

    If there is above the law and below the law, there is no law; there are only shades of corruption…


    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all ONE in Jesus Christ. The law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified in faith. Therefore brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

    So, also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so he might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son.

    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by slavery.

    Simply change direction at the margin. Do not be fooled by the current of symptoms you were born into, only to cling to the nearest superstition, one to the next as each is submerged. You may only be enslaved of your own free will, choosing not to exercise responsibility. The serpent attacks the woman first, and then her man, holding the children hostage.

    Middle class and capital are derivatives of labor in time, existing in event horizons for capital accumulation and temporary anxiety relief, which is why capital will strangle itself attempting to control labor, to maintain its status quo, increasing the weight of debt on the unborn with majority vote. Because adaptation is essential, this behavior incrementally loads quantum spring action, as natural variability increases in response, increasing middle class event horizon anxiety, and then capital misdirection, in positive feedback loops. That gives you lift potential.

    To release the energy, labor changes direction at the margin, beyond capital measurement, which you can see if you look, Apple back. Normally, this change in direction would increase system anxiety further, but QE infinity tells you it’s already maxed out into denial, and, although the Fed has topped up corporate digital accounts, the corporations, along with their co-dependent small businesses, are locked up, because the Law can no longer deliver increasing return on decreasing risk with exponential demographic expansion, all on the back of labor. Welcome to the unknown country.

    There is de facto and de jure. If the powerful cannot get their way with the Law, they apply force, upon private bargains, “so fine is the line between law and policy preference that anything fits within the law, properly conceived.” ”Words have meanings and majorities have expectations, and when majorities expectations converge on specific meanings…”

    So, from the perspective of labor, if you want to restore equilibrium, you do so by adjusting the variability of nature, with capital’s own stupidity. “The challenge is to make way for the new without remaining wedded to the old, while not doing any damage to elements common to both.” So long as state sovereignty is based upon religious or scientific superstition, the only possible outcome is war, recycling the middle classes, in a sausage factory.

  24. charles sereno

    Zumbagate Update:
    Kennebunk Town Manager is reportedly shocked by the scandal. He thinks it’s unfair that the names of the “johns” that have been released have not been tagged with addresses because people might think they’re all from Kennebunk. There has been no report yet on his views regarding the earthquake visited upon his part of Maine.

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