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Links 11/26/12

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Dear patient readers: posting will be lighter than usual Monday and probably Tuesday. I need to be up early tomorrow (endodontist visit :-(, but may be a false alarm, wish me luck) and have family obligations later. Tuesday I am up early-ish again and flying, which even when the WiFi on planes works is a major productivity reducer. We should be back to normal, or close to it, on Wed.

Smoking ‘rots’ brain, says King’s College study BBC

Why Current Methods to Combat Climate Change Don’t Work OilPrice. NC readers may be surprised to be in agreement with his take on the real remedy.

Courts Divided on Allowable Searches of Cellphones New York Times

Argentina and America – of Vulture funds and Justice Golem XIV. This first part, as much as I am sympathetic with the Argentinian position, is political. I’d like to see whether and how he integrates it with the legal and economic issues in his later posts.

Who’s to blame for Dutch disease? MacroBusiness

Offshore secrets revealed: the shadowy side of a booming industry Guardian. This is major. The paper has busted a international network of sham company directors. It even names some of the real owners, including a Russian oligarch.

Shell Company Embarassment Grows For New Zealand Stuff.co.nz (Marc C)

Police fire tear gas at anti-government demonstration in Bangkok Telegraph (furzy mouse)

Iran Positioned to Threaten Oil Lanes OilPrice

In the Ultimate Media War, Governments Target Reporters George Washington. A Gaza update of an old story.

That Other War: The bloody conflict you didn’t read about this week is in Congo, and it threatens to redraw the map Foreign Policy and Silence Over The New Congo War Countercurrents (May S)

Ukraine is ripe for US gas exploration John Dizard, Financial Times

Obama Administration Was Not Willing to Trust Romney With a Secret Kill List Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Catfood watch:

Fighting Fiscal Phantoms Paul Krugman, New York Times. Good that he fingers a new astroturf organization, Fix the Debt

Bargaining Among Thieves, Thugs, Cheats, Liars and Naïfs masaccio, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Another anti-propaganda post from NotYourSweetie Riverdaughter. Carol B flags a key sentence: “And stop listening to rich people who want you to think that pensions are something you pay for instead of deferred compensation.”

Washington must stop the creeping rust Financial Times. Key sentence: “According to the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness report, US infrastructure ranks below 20th in most of the nine categories, and below 30 for quality of air transport and electricity supply.”

Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Internet Cafe FBI (martha r). The FBI is emulating the Stasi

Anchors Quit on Air, but Reason Is Unclear New York Times (martha r)

Early Push for Sales Undercuts Black Friday New York Times. In store sales down year to year, but online sales were quite strong, so Mr. Market is happy.

Alleged shoplifter dies after being subdued by Walmart workers Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Terrible, and even this sketchy account does not quite add up. The “preliminary investigation” says the security guard contractor used a chokehold. Hhm, who leaked that detail? The victim was alive with three people “on top” of him when the police arrived, with blood coming from his nostrils and mouth. That says more happened than just the chokehold (and that could still be the doing of the security guard), but Walmart is sure to do everything in its power to shift blame for this death to the contractor, if that is at all possible. And if Walmart has any sense, it will buy off the family, pronto.

BlackRock eyes infrastructure debt market Financial Times

Regulate U.S. Markets Like the Nuclear Industry Bloomberg

To All the Mewling, Itty-Bitty Pissants Arthur Silber (Lambert). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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62 comments

    1. JohnnyGL

      Whoa, good call. It’s hard to tell if he’s completely sold on the whole thing, but the text below sounds like a substantial move in an MMT direction.

      “For we have our own currency — and almost all of our debt, both private and public, is denominated in dollars. So our government, unlike the Greek government, literally can’t run out of money. After all, it can print the stuff. So there’s almost no risk that America will default on its debt — I’d say no risk at all if it weren’t for the possibility that Republicans would once again try to hold the nation hostage over the debt ceiling.

      But if the U.S. government prints money to pay its bills, won’t that lead to inflation? No, not if the economy is still depressed.”

      I may not like the fact that he’s brazenly partisan (go try to find criticism of the Democrats), but at least the guy keeps hammering away against the ‘austerity bomb’ crowd (I really like that term).

      1. Matt

        Selective memory. Read Krugman from 2008 when progressives (and I’m guilty here) were swooning over Obama. Or read Krugman from 2009 regarding the size of the stimulus, and nationalizing the zombie banks. Krugman may be shy about criticizing the admin when it comes to housing and financial “innovation”, areas that are not his strong suit, but I don’t think anyone can really say he’s been a cheerleader.

  1. Jim Haygood

    From Golem xiv:

    In 1976 before the military and their neo-liberal experts took over, Argentina’s external debt was $8 billion. After 7 years of their financial prudence and free-market can-do the debt was $43 billion. And not a socialist to in sight to blame it upon.

    By 1991 the free-marketeers had been forced to dispense with their dictator.

    Eh, what is this lyin’ flake talking about? The dictators left in 1983, when Raúl Alfonsín was elected president in a return to democracy. Unfortunately Alfonsin’s six years in office were marked by repeated bouts of hyperinflation. By the time Carlos Menem was elected in 1989, people wanted a stable currency, something Argentina hadn’t had in decades.

    Argentina’s ten-year experiment with pegging its peso to the dollar turned out to be a precursor of Mediterranean Europe’s experience in adopting the euro. A strong currency meant that Argentina’s manufactured exports were not competitive. But it also provided the external buying power to fuel an import binge. The resulting trade deficit was funded with escalating amounts of international debt, on which Argentina defaulted after several years in recession starting in the late Nineties.

    Argentina’s inability to escape recession during 1998-2001, owing to its uncompetitiveness and pegged currency, rhymes with southern Europe’s plight today: devaluation is unavailable as a safety valve, except by unpegging and defaulting.

    Golem xiv is determined to shoehorn these events into his preconceived neoliberals vs socialists morality tale. But they don’t fit, so he resorts to absurd fabrications such as claiming that the “free-marketeers’ dictator” left in 1991. That would be stunning news to those who voted in the 1983 and 1989 presidential elections.

    1. Larry Barber

      He didn’t say that the dictators left in 1991, only that they were gone in 1991, which is the truth.

    1. Valissa

      That article is one of the most sensible things I’ve read in a while. It only discusses one aspect of why current proposed solutions aren’t really (solutions, that is).

      commenter by Michael Kurilla on 11/26/12 makes a good point:

      As is typical of most articles discussing global warming, the focus is limited exclusively to methodologies for reducing emissions. Attempts typically encompass economic, legal, and regulatory approaches (reducing the population is a creative twist; good luck with that). The problem is that they all involve placing restrictions on human activities either directly or indirectly and so induce at the least unintended feedback loops and at worst a strident backlash. Either way, impact is minimal.

      What is missed is that CO2 levels are the net of production (emissions) and natural removal. Removal of CO2 is always completely ignored as if CO2 were a deadend substance with nothing to do after entering the atmosphere. In reality, CO2 is being recycled constantly. The real solution to global warming will be to identify a business opportunity that requires atmospheric CO2 (which will essentially be free) as an input. Linking biomass to production of carbon based matter that has long term usage (rather than a short term function like burning or eating for energy) can provide the needed shift to tip the CO2 balance to a lower steady state. The problem up to now has been one of focusing only on energy production with an eye to lowering CO2 emissions.

      What’s amazing to me is one aspect that’s rarely discussed. Do people really believe a group of politicians having meetings is going to “solve” global warming? Doesn’t it make people nervous when almost all of the MSM is beating to drum to believe in climate change or apocalypse? Do people not recognize the whole pre-disaster capitalism game being played? At this point I’m way more afraid of the UN solutions for climate change (and all the associated power and money games being played) than I am of climate change itself.

      I hhave always thought that some combination of conservation and new technologies*, and increasing awareness in those areas, is the best approach. I used to think that government policy incentives could move those along, but now I’m starting to think the “green” game at the national gov’t level is just another part of the looting spree.

      [*technologies: (1) better/lower cost alternative energy technology, (2) technologies that make it easier to conserve,(3)technologies that utilize CO2 and other pollutants as a "manufacturing resource."]

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        The buzzword you’re looking for is “carbon neutral” – it recycles carbon in a closed loop.

        Here’s example – they have “bio fuel producers” (my term), which is like bringing the industrial revolution to the present biomass world.

        http://www.jouleunlimited.com/

        1. Valissa

          Thanks for the link! The more companies that try different technological approaches, the better. Eventually some of them will pay off, and it will be interesting to see what kinds of things end up “working.”

          As for buzzwords like “carbon neutral”… ugh… there are so many marketing and propaganda techniques used in the climate change wars, that I have developed a revulsion to much of the terminology.

          1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            I think “carbon neutral” was invented by real scientists; it is descriptive so probably one of the good terms.

            Hopefully they can get this to work and be economical. The pilot plant is in construction now and intended to demonstate feasibilty, cost and commercial readiness.

          2. Valissa

            Well then… I’m so glad it wasn’t invented by fake scientists ;) I was just grumbling, btw. I know the scientists who came up with it meant well.

            I would love to see this type of technology to be successful. What I like about it is crudely analgous to the way petroleum is formed in nature… it’s also based on biomass http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum#Formation .

          3. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            Better actually. The algae stay alive and continuosly convert CO2 to fuel (they excrete it) using photosythesis. The process is way more efficent overall than corn ethanol.

            The other algae they developed excrete bio-diesel which is also more direct than any other bio-diesel schemes so far.

            Being a biz and needing cash flow, they intend to go after the existing corn ethanol market first.

            But longer term, the bio-diesel is the big win. Ethanol has only 70% the energy density of gasoline (and same decrease in mileage) but diesel engines are 30% more efficient than gasoline engines.

            And half the cars in Europe are clean diesel. It would work in buses and trains too.

            Electric cars sounded good at first blush, but battery tech still sucks big time (needs at least 5X improvement) and we still really don’t have a good way to make lots of electricity.

      2. different clue

        Here’s a bullet point paragraph which really caught MY eye . . .

        “2. Unless there is a high tax on imported products made with fossil fuels, the big impact of a carbon tax is to send manufacturing to countries without a carbon tax, such as China and India. These countries are likely to use a far higher proportion of coal in their manufacturing than OECD countries would, and this change will tend to increase world CO2 emissions. Such a change will also tend to raise the standard of living of citizens in the countries adding manufacturing, further raising emissions. This change will also tend to reduce the number of jobs available in OECD countries.”

        Our Free Trade Agreements forbid us from imposing any such coal-carbon tax-tarriff against coal-made goods from carbon-dumping countries. If we don’t abolish Free Trade and restore Protectionism, we have no hope of stopping global warming or even slowing it down. Our only consolation in a Forced Free Trade world will be that the coal-carbon-dumping perpetrators will burn to death along with the rest of us.

    2. Susan the other

      People, living, breathing people, cause global warming; dead people would too if we didn’t embalm them. We gotta reduce global population. We gotta reduce global trade frenzies. If world leaders already understand the seriousness of this situation, it would be so much better if they would fess up. Tell us what they know and understand. Ask us for our solutions and cooperation. Faking it with a world wide economic collapse, totally choreographed, is just making things worse. One of my solutions would be for everyone in the northern hemisphere to practice a 4-month hibernation from mid November to mid March. Shut down all business that is not essential. Go home. Catch up on our reading during the daylight hours. Turn the heat off or down to 45. Eat food that requires no cooking. Take spit baths. Learn to read the sky. Perfect a hobby. Write a book. That would include a shut down of at least 3 billion people from Russia, Mongolia, Alaska, Canada, the USA, most of China, all of Europe, northernmost mid East countries. For 4 long months. I’m serious. Go crazy. Global cooperation!

      1. Roland

        Population isn’t that big a problem, actually.

        For the past couple of decades, fertility rates have been plummeting worldwide–falling faster than was ever anticipated by experts.

        Phenomenally, even relatively poor countries, such as Egypt, have witnessed a rapid decline in fertility rates, controverting old theories.

        It now looks like world population will max out at just over 9 billion, and then start to decline fairly rapidly.

        To best understand the significance of what has been going on with world population growth during our time, recall that in the 1980′s, it was believed that the we would hit the 14 billion mark. The best that the Brundtland Commission hoped for was for us to max out at 12 billion.

        But reality is turning out much better than anyone could have ever reasonably projected. World population growth, environmentally speaking, is a good-news story.

        Only those who were hoping for an eternity of cheap labour will be disappointed with these developments. In thirty years, all the talk might be about Peak Labour.

  2. jsmith

    Building upon Lambert’s evisceration of phony “socialist” Bernie Sanders in the above thread, here’s another phony “socialist” Francois Hollande telling the world that he’s willing to turn back decades if not centuries of international law so that France can re-colonize the ME.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33144.htm

    “However, France continues to entertain its dreams of re-colonising Syria. At the UN, François Hollande had requested that the Security Council give him a mandate to administrate “the zones liberated by the rebels”, on the model of the mandate awarded to France by the League of Nations for the whole of Syria, between 1923 and 1944. According to this same logic, France and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf recognised the Syrian National Coalition as “the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people” accredited to “set up a provisional government”. Moreover, Paris asked the European Union – which recently received the Nobel Prize for Peace – to lift their arms embargo in order to supply the “liberated zones”.

    It seems that the French officials, swept along by their dreams, have not realised the gravity of their proposals if they were to be put into effect. They propose no more or less than challenging the sovereignty of Nation States, a principle which has been the foundation of international law since the Peace of Westphalia Treaties of 1648, and which became universal in 1945 with the United Nations charter and the decolonisation which resulted.”

  3. wapeta wapeta wapeta

    Sco-o-o-re!!! Fuckin A, Floyd made Atkins say one! The funniest thing about party politics is the way it makes ass-kissing mediocrities try to get all lofty. Atkins is the perfect Democratic punching bag that way. The Dunning-Kruger pomposity. The reflexive condescension in defense of his exquisite home-skooled self-esteem. The cheerful acceptance of industrialized torture and murder. It tugs at one’s heartstrings when Atkins tries to think, it’s like when Freddy does his homework in the comics and puffs and grunts and sweats with exertion. There’s nothing sadder than a dumb rich kid.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      NC Link: “To All the Mewling, Itty-Bitty Pissants Arthur Silber (Lambert).”
      http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2012/11/to-all-mewling-itty-bitty-pissants.html
      //. . . Except for a few rare individuals who recall, if only vaguely, the meaning of a phrase such as “the honor of being human,” the behavior of liberals and progressives even before Obama begins his second term is something to behold — something to behold, that is, in the lower reaches of a museum that exhibits hideous deformities of the human mind and spirit./
      . . .
      You will take those lessons from this true story that you think appropriate. For me, Robert La Follette is the blazing embodiment of what is possible. He demonstrated throughout his public life the grandeur and courage that can be reached when we fight for what we know to be true, for what is right. This is “the honor of being human” in the highest and best sense./

      /Especially when we understand the supreme value of a single life, we must try to fight the way La Follette did. We will certainly fail sometimes, and we may fail completely. The forces arrayed against us may be too powerful for us to overcome. We still must try. And in that effort, a man like La Follette shows us what we can do, if only we have the courage.//
      http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-world-as-slaughterhouse.html
      //. . . Dead children are now a commonplace of the ceaseless death campaigns conducted by the United States and Israel. That alone reveals a great deal, more than anyone decent cares to know, about the nature of the “civilization” involved. But … a pregnant woman. That’s a new and creative touch. Does someone in Israel get extra points for that? A special medal for extraordinary heroism? I suspect so./
      . . .
      /The story also has this:
      President Obama spoke with Israeli leaders on Friday night reiterating Israel has a right to defend itself./

      /Israel’s “right to defend itself” — to defend itself from what exactly? The prisoners of a concentration camp? This is reality and morality turned upside down and inside out. This is the reality and morality of a serial murderer, who ceaselessly and repeatedly kills innocent human beings and who is proud of what he does.//
      ——————————
      http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2012/11/to-honor-value-of-single-life-first.html
      //And thus we arrive here: the State and the ruling class have told all Americans, repeatedly and with great care, that they systematically, regularly and routinely murder innocent human beings, including American citizens. Except for a vanishingly small number of people, no one cares. No one cares about the unimaginable suffering, about the bodies torn apart, about the growing number of lives to be endured in unbearable pain. No one cares about the horror, the blood, and the agony./

      /The State and the ruling class were interested to know if anyone cared about these matters. They now have their answer: No. Almost no one cares. The full truth is still worse. To the extent they are aware of these horrors — or easily could be aware of them, if only they chose to be — most Americans support them./

      /It was important to the State and the ruling class to have this information — because of what’s coming.//
      ——————————
      http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-rage-is-life-force-you-miserable.html
      //I decided to write this piece as I looked out over the post-election landscape. Of course, the meaning of the election was perhaps the primary factor that led me to write “The First Murder”: in particular, my view of the spectacle of roughly 120 million Americans voting for men who direct (or would enthusiastically direct) a Murder Program intentionally and systematically targeting innocent human beings as one of the worst imaginable indicators of what lies in our future. Before proceeding further, I should spell out an additional aspect of what the election means./

      /In several recent posts, I’ve made this point: In addition to pursuing its goal of global hegemony, the United States government uses foreign countries as a lethal laboratory in which to practice the techniques it intends to use domestically, at home within U.S. borders.//
      —————————————————
      CONNECT:
      “THE SHOCK DOCTRNE: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein;
      “HITLER’S BENEFICIARIES: Plunder, Racial War, and the NAZI Welfare State” by Goetz Aly (tr. Jefferson Chase);
      “ARCHITECTS OF ANNIHILATION: Auschwitz and the Logic of Destruction” by Goetz Aly and Susanne Heim (tr. Allan Blunden);
      “BLOODLUST: On the Roots of Violence from Cain and Abel to the Present” by Russell Jacoby (2011).
      ———————————
      Yep, we’re next.

  4. kevinearick

    Witches & Warlocks: Live the Fantasy

    …until it becomes a nightmare of tyranny. The more control the empire exerts, the less it controls, which is what you are observing, a collapsing middle class completely controlled by its false assumptions, with an infrastructure collapsing around it, captured in a ponzi of ineffective habit, addicted of its own free will.

    The Law, “you can’t fight city hall,” is a lie, and the accounting system is a positive feedback signal designed to perpetuate it. If you fight city hall, it grows, with monetary expansion. If you work for city hall, it grows, with your spending habits, AC into DC.

    The obvious solution, to any laborer, is to ignore it and be about your business, beyond the empire’s false assumptions, into the unknown. If you have a sufficient magnet, you don’t have to sift through the gravitational haystack to find the needle.

    To save itself, at the demographic wall, the empire must accept assistance from beyond its control; it must break its habit, which it cannot do, leaving it in a catch-22. So it reaches out with more and more government “assistance,” accelerating the collapse, buying less and less control on the margin with monetary expansion, as labor moves farther and farther away from the implosion.

    Each catch-22 invariably leads to another upon deleveraging, reversion to natural law. Empires live and die with fear. “When the pain exceeds the fear,” hence zombification, self-medication for the masses, increasingly desperate to capture the wayward traveler. Careful what you wish for.

    If you’ll notice, the middle class will surround you, with inquisition, assuming majority control. It will not accept the truth, ignoring it completely at the conscious level, but instead seeks tidbits, one after the other, to assemble its puzzle, its conception about you, compiled to enslave or destroy you. Simply tell them the truth, by doing, and walk away. Their system will begin to implode immediately, do to Asimov’s Laws. Robots cannot tolerate unknowns, and “freeze” accordingly.

    Asimov: with their horrid world and short lifespan, they have so little to lose, I thought that they would surely welcome the chance, especially if we help them technologically…They would build a world so well, you see, that when they are done and Auroreans are finally willing to leave, our human beings will step out of Aurora and into another Aurora. They will have never left home; they will simply have a newer home, exactly like the other one, in which to continue their decay…Some of you, I think, will insist on remaining imprisoned…Of course. Perhaps most of us will.
    —-

    No participant wants to wake up to their imprisonment, destined to remain captured by the momentum of their addiction, passive aggressives running corporations, complaining about other corporations, for equal rights, which mathematically can only result in bifurcation, a race to the lowest common human behavior for the majority, and one step up to tyranny for the minority, with a few escaping the system all together, as the orbiting fulcrum implodes. Basic physics.

    If you have some requirement for gravity, you have to give the corporation every advantage, and tend to it yet again just to get it through each day, because all it has to go by is a rear-view mirror, its own History, by design. Love is the only bridge to the future, and corporations, upon which their participants depend for their livelihood, cannot love. The middle class is incorporated accordingly.

    In short, being a laborer is a major pain in the a-, for which there is no just compensation. You do it because you love your children. Not so ironically, if you think about it, the empire must take your children and give them to a homosexual couple, with ever-increasing energy expended on the process of misdirection, to keep its false promise of entitlement, equal rights.

    So, the first year, you spend 7/24 training your newborn, and, the second, you withdraw over time. By then, nearly all children have assessed their situation and decided whether being unique is a worthwhile proposition. At that point, those who choose to become part of the herd begin to choose the false assumptions that will control their lives. In irony of ironies, they choose to forget that they chose, creating the looking glass, the false ego.

    Depending upon your perspective, the empire makes a big mistake kidnapping the children of labor, or it doesn’t. Opinions vary, into a distribution, left behind in the past. By breeding, the middle class isn’t happy unless it can have what it cannot have, return of love without investing love, which the empire simulates in a demographic ponzi, until it can’t, when the middle class collapses, and throws itself under the bus, which tells you that labor has finished constructing the necessary magnet to find the needle, the new heading on the compass.

    Ewald: and God be praised for it! Think what good luck it is that he did not know the danger, when he made his promise, that he does not understand now, when he is keeping it. What a lucky beggar! By the time he is big enough to know his danger, it will be an indispensible habit with him.
    —–
    Unless you can deliver a better fantasy than Wall Street, there is no point in arguing against it. You have two years to help install a sense of responsible independence in your children. If you fail, Wall Street, History, pretty much owns them. Call it capitalism, socialism, or witchcraft, corruption is corruption.

    What do you expect when you give an empire an entire age to perfect its control system? Africans are not nearly as dumb as their multiplying rejects would have you assume.

  5. CB

    ” a collapsing middle class completely controlled by its false assumptions, with an infrastructure collapsing around it…”

    Could have said it all right there, the rest is screed.

    1. ambrit

      Dear briansays;
      What’s even more interesting is how the local news presented it. The cell phone shot of the rolling brawl was repeated, four times? In a minute and a half? This is journalism?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        ambrit, They’re always keen to show “women” at their worst, as if they represent all women: monsters, idiots, sluts. It makes Mars Without Venus look so good.

        1. ambrit

          Dear LBR;
          Yes, too true, but, why do status conscious women buy into that brand of insanity? A lot of the producers of local news programs are women. Some sort of “I’m better than them” thinking? Stockholm Syndrome for fun and profit? Or, my preference, the Lowest Common Denominator business model?
          A thought experiment is in order. What if the Media suddenly decided to present its’ wares to the public geared to a Fourth Grade reading and comprehension level? (I believe that at present it works at a Third Grade level.) Would the public try to gear up to the new level of discourse? The possibilities are intriguing. The new conformity level would require some dispassionate cognition. Hooray! The Millenium!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We should encourage people, including ladies, to make/produce/manufacture their own things, to avoid this kind of chaos.

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Well pardner, thinking back to when we were dirt poor, and we were, I remember with great disquiet the time my wife had to make her own ‘feminine sanitary products’ for a few weeks. This brought on a quite understandable Scarlett O’Hara with the red earth of Tara resolve. Needless to say, we keep tons of staples around the house now. If we had a basement, neigbhours would swear we were LDS.

    1. Observer

      From the article: “But Forbes’s Helaine Olen raised another possibility: Perhaps Goldman (and other banks) discriminate against their female employees either overtly, through promotions, or through fomenting an atmosphere that makes it harder for women to do their jobs.”

      Gee, do ya think? Replace “Goldman and other banks” with “just about any workplace you can think of” and it will still be a true statement.

    2. craazyman

      Lower level employees get abused in so many ways.

      But it’s sad to see editors treated like that. Back when I was an analyst in the early to mid 1980s, research department editors were considered intellectual peers.

      In my first job, at a small independent research firm, the editor was a dude named “Jack” with a mustache, broad shoulders and a grizzled face. He must have been 60 and we were all under 25. He wore a wrinkled cheap gray suit like he came out of his momma with it on.

      He’d take our reports and cross out whole paragraphs with a red pencil and write new words above the words he’d crossed out. You’d get it back and you’d think “Jack wrote that, not me.” It was a source of pride if you could recognize your own writing. That meant he didn’t touch it.

      If he didn’t think we wrote well, he’d tell us our report read like “a monkey” wrote it. There was no discussion or debate.

      I think he might have been capable of throwing a punch if he was pissed enough at us, for fouling the written word with our banality and incoherence. He probably would have knocked any of us out, and we were all at least 6′ and 175 pounds.

      I doubt he would have lasted at Goldman Sachs. There probably would not have been one analyst there who could have met his standards, and he would have quit in disgust.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Smoking ‘rots’ brain.

    Does it apply to smoked salmon or just smoking salmon?

    How about smoking marijuana?

      1. Valissa

        There are so many good medicinal marijuana cartoons… why am I not surprised?

        Good question! http://www.glasbergen.com/wp-content/gallery/pharmacists-prescription-medicine-medical-drugs/toon247.gif

        Of course, the concern is all about the children http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5302/5638438429_9d065c1725_z.jpg

        It’s different for older folks http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-tCWcllE04W0/UEaa6ntvR5I/AAAAAAAAFaE/Tg30Z7lqrAo/s1600/joints.jpg

        The legalities of medicinal marijuana, part 1 http://www.intoon.com/toons/2001/KeefeM20010518.jpg

        The legalities of medicinal marijuana, part 2 http://absterabbi.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/431989_397728323589960_205344452828349_1444839_182305670_n.jpg

  7. b.

    “I don’t see that there is any way that we can impose our will on people living 10 or 50 years from now.”

    Yeah, like we never tried that before. The temporal version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, just another convenient excuse to Do Nothing at the highest levels of refinement and sophistication. No matter what we do, surely our children will fail just as utterly as we prefer to fail today.

    There are two really annoying responses to climate change on this side of the spectrum – One, the disgruntled closet conservative of the Kunstler mold, who can’t wait for all of us rubes to get our just desserts in a world that looks a lot like a past that never was, except w/o oil, lice and cockroaches – apocalypse lite, with slippers. Two, the localibertarian approach of backyard autarky, where every man runs his own rainwater collection and solar cells in splendid isolation. There are a lot of competing strains and offshoots – e.g. Olduvai on one end, tribal versions of the localibs on the other – but there is always that common ground. All of these have in common the rejection of the proposition that, one, human beings have the ability to occasionally collectively respond to collective challenges, and two, that sometimes a collective response is the only way out. Politics, unwashed masses and all that.

    Current approaches to climate change are not working because we have not made them work yet, and we have not even tried yet. If the prescription is “apres nois, le deluge” – as in “Nature will solve it”, then I am afraid the plodders among us will just have to continue with the insanity of trying the same approach over and over again – progress depending on the unreasonable man and all that. There are the enlightened, and then there are the merely lit, but it is sure hard to tell one from the other….

    1. different clue

      If millions of suburbanites were to install waterfree composting toilets, roofwater collection systems, high powered microgardens/microorchards/etc.; they could do so in splendid collaboration. They could move on to splendid collaboration in other areas. Even political areas.

      Not to say that they would. But they could. Splendor need not isolate.

  8. rich

    Congress Damns Corzine but Lets Him Off the Hook

    Perhaps we should no longer be surprised by the arrogance of Wall Street executives. Still, the level of hubris and bullying displayed by Jon Corzine during his 19-month tenure as chairman and chief executive officer of MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MFGLQ) — as described in a recent congressional report about the company’s 2011 collapse — stands out for sheer offensiveness.

    The 97-page report prepared by the staff for Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee panel on oversight and investigation pulls no punches when it comes to blaming Corzine for the MF Global disaster, which wiped out thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of customers’ and creditors’ money. “Jon Corzine caused MF Global’s bankruptcy and put customer funds at risk,” the report concludes flatly.

    New Division

    A month later, though, Corzine had set up a new division at MF Global, the Principal Strategies Group, to make big wagers with the firm’s capital, the very thing he said MF Global would not do. He fired a bunch of the firm’s traders who he thought were not capable of swinging for the fences and brought in a slew of new hires, many from Goldman Sachs, to get the job done. He also had his very own proprietary-trading account at MF Global, even though company policy required that a more senior executive always sign off on personal trading — an impossibility in his case because he was the most senior executive. (Corzine got around that requirement by creating a subcommittee of the board of directors to oversee his personal trades.)

    Tepid Law

    The report makes a number of tepid recommendations about how to prevent a recurrence of what Corzine wrought at MF Global. Among them is encouraging Congress to enact a law “to restore investor confidence in the futures markets” that imposes civil liability on the officers and directors who sign a company’s financial statements or “authorize specific transfers from customer segregated accounts for regulatory shortfalls of segregated customer funds.”

    Unfortunately, civil penalties have done little to deter bad behavior on Wall Street. The report lamely sidesteps the issue of criminal liability in the MF Global debacle, and the New York Times reported that “federal investigators do not expect to file criminal charges against top executives.”

    To anyone who has read the House report, this is a head- scratcher.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-25/congress-damns-corzine-but-lets-him-off-the-hook.html

  9. Synopticist

    “The report lamely sidesteps the issue of criminal liability in the MF Global debacle, and the New York Times reported that “federal investigators do not expect to file criminal charges against top executives.”

    So he’s beaten the rap. I can’t say I’m suprised any longer, he’s a top Obama bundler and a Wall Street plutocrat, so both sides would have died in a ditch for him.

    Incidently there’s a quality bit of trolling in the commnets…
    “While it sounds like Corzine screwed up, I’m still looking for the criminal activity that this article seems to be implying…. I lost money in this bankruptcy, so it’s silly that I should be the voice of moderation in this case, but apparently I’m the only level-headed person on Bloomberg”

    Yeah right.

  10. ambrit

    Re, “potential indicators of terrorism..” At the bottom of the Feds advert it gives ‘contact’ numbers and says “mention Tripwire!” Where, oh where, have we heard that name before?
    Emulate the Stasi? I think any self respecting Stasi agent would be jealous. “Their people don’t even suspect!”

  11. WorldisMorphing

    Say what you want about it, but, truth be told, there’s no denying these tumultuous times are reaching a pivotal point for such an awkwardly surreal move to take place…
    [Like there's a shortage of experienced bankers in the City...]

    As the main page’s headlines states: “Bank of England Poaches Canada’s Top Banker”

    WTF ?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/26/mark-carney-appointed-bank-of-england_n_2191908.html?utm_hp_ref=canada

    I think it will be interesting to keep an eye on the fallout and the reasons for it (the real ones)…

  12. Up

    Wow, Mark Carney (head of Canada’s central bank) is going to be the head of The Bank of England. Saw this at FT.

  13. charles 2

    “Why Current Methods to Combat Climate Change Don’t Work OilPrice. NC readers may be surprised to be in agreement with his take on the real remedy.”

    I didn’t expect you to be in the population control camp Yves. It was only recently that you sneered as a 0.1%er who was advocating tradable rights to procreate.

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