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Links 12/16/12

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By lambert strether of Corrente

Have Scientists Found Two Different Higgs Bosons? Scientific American

UN tells Ghana to release Argentine ship FT. A defeat for Elliott vulture fund.

Central bankers give voice to a revolution FT

UBS faces $1.6 billion fine over Libor rigging: paper Reuters. Cost of doing business.

A Light in the 401(k) Tunnel Gretchen Morgenson, Times

The Geography of U.S. Gun Violence Atlantic

On the Guns Thing, I would Just Like to Point Out… The Global Sociology Blog

CT Mass School Shooting Suspect’s Mom Was Gun Enthusiast, Taught Him To Shoot Gothamist. Ironists, check the postal address here.

Thank you, teachers Pharyngula (also too).

Our Moloch Gary Wills, NRYB

Some Observations on the Gun Control Debate Center for a Stateless Society. Dunno about the Borderers, but the rest seems unexceptionable.

Fracking’s Future Harvard Magazine

The Number of Fracking Trade Secrets in Texas Will Likely Surprise You StateImpact’

Obama to Run Most Health Marketplaces as States Opt Out Bloomberg

The positive power of negative thinking  Globe and Mail. “Negative visualization generates a vastly more dependable calm.” Stocking stuffer for NC readers?

Saving Economics from the Economists Ronald Coase, HBR

Sowing Scarcity The New Inquiry

Being in a global value chain: Hell or heaven?  VoxEU

Basketball Isn’t a Sport. It’s a Statistical Network Wired

Inequality: power vs human capital Stumbling and Mumbling

Expect Much More Budget Crises Matt Yglesias

Arizona funnels business to CCA through its school-to-prison pipeline Guardian

You Hate “Right To Work” Laws More Than You Know. Here’s Why NSFW

The National Intelligence Council’s (NIC) Global Trends Report Appallingly, available digitally only in proprietary data formats.

The Woes of an American Drone Operator Der Speigel

Hackers backdoor the human brain, successfully extract sensitive data ExtremeTech (Aquifer). Kinda sorta.

The UN’s telecom conference is finally over. Who won? Nobody knows. Ars Technica

Taking a tip from tech, food incubators launch startups Reuters

Beef’s Raw Edges Kansas City Star

Special report: Police revisit the grim mystery of Elm Guest House Independent

The impossibility of tablet-native journalism Felix Salmon, Reuters. Bloggers take note.

Ring Cycle New Yorker

Defying Gravity Dan Froomkin, Nieman Reports

Antidote du jour (scarshapedstar):

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78 comments

  1. Butch in Waukegan

    No wonder Wall Street is salivating at the possibility of capturing Social Security. From Defying Gravity:

    The familiar story of the decline of guaranteed pensions and the rise of retirement accounts nevertheless carries a new emotional wallop in Smith’s telling. Get ready for waves of retirees who run out of money long before they die not just because they didn’t put enough money into their 401(k)s but because of the huge bite taken by mutual fund managers, whose fees and transaction costs average 2 percent a year.

    At 5 percent a year, $1 over 40 years becomes $7.04—but at 3 percent, it only comes to $3.26. Smith quotes Jack Bogle, founder and CEO of the Vanguard Group, explaining that “you the investor put up 100 percent of the capital. You take 100 percent of the risk. And you capture about 46 percent of the return. Wall Street puts up none of the capital, takes none of the risk, and takes out 54 percent of the return.”

        1. Bill Murray

          but they will be enjoying a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe, so at least the poor dears have that

    1. Wendy

      And this is just one reason 401K’s are a big scam – and government-funded, to boot, don’t you know, by being tax-deductible.
      and government-funded of course actually means funded by citizens.

    2. lucky

      “you the investor put up 100 percent of the capital. You take 100 percent of the risk. And you capture about 46 percent of the return. Wall Street puts up none of the capital, takes none of the risk, and takes out 54 percent of the return.”

      FDR, June 27, 1936

      “The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor—these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small business man, the investments set aside for old age—other people’s money—these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.”

    3. Aquifer

      Now here’s a great use for MMT – let folks buy US bonds in their 80-auty-80 plans with a guaranteed rate of return sufficient to give them enough bucks – the heck with the Formula 401 thingys guaranteed to clean you out ,,,

      I’ve said this for some time – get the heck out of WS, it’s never been anything more than Las Vegas writ large …

  2. Goin' South

    Re: Sowing Scarcity–

    This article was not written by a farmboy. Roundup is not a pesticide aimed at creeping things. It’s a herbicide aimed at weeds. The idea isn’t to prevent crops from being eaten but to eliminate the labor and fuel used to get rid of weeds that compete with crops for water and nutrients.

    I’m sympathetic to the viewpoint of the author, but damn, learn a little about your subject before you write about it.

    1. spooz

      Actually, pesticides include both herbicides and insecticides, so Roundup would be included in the category.
      Per the EPA:
      “Broadly defined, a pesticide is any agent used to kill or control undesired insects, weeds, rodents, fungi, bacteria, or other organisms. Pesticides are classified according to their function: insecticides control insects; rodenticides control rodents; herbicides control weeds; and fungicides control fungi, mold and mildew. Herbicides are the most widely used type of pesticide in agriculture, although pest problems and their management vary widely throughout the country, depending on climate, soil types and other factors. ”

      http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/securty.htm

  3. Goin' South

    Re: You Hate Right to Work Laws—

    Ames doesn’t know much about labor history. He paints FDR and the Wagner Act as the big saviors of labor. In fact, the CIO was doing just fine organizing workers without the National Labor Relations Act. They used militant tactics like the plant occupation at Flint. The UAW was growing by leaps and bounds before there ever was an NLRB. It’s more accurate to understand the NLRA as a way to corral the unions rather than empower them. Taft-Hartley just finished the job that the NLRA and the courts had already begun–neutering the labor movement.

    What killed the unions was their growing reliance on the government rather than organization and direct action.

    Yes, dues checkoff is another slap at workers carried out by despicable right-wingers. But the truth is that the current model of unions based on conceding all management decisions to the bosses, giving up the right to strike during the life of the contract and relying on the Democratic Party as its “muscle” is already moribund. If the unions were really run by their workers rather than bureaucrats, they wouldn’t have to worry about dues checkoff.

  4. Ep3

    Re: Higgs

    Yves, I am not a believer in the Higgs boson. As einstein said, energy and mass are interchangeable. So to me, we have a bit of the chicken and the egg problem. What came first, energy or matter? And since the universe started as an unbelievably small quanta of energy, we are just chasing our tails. Recall 100 years ago, as we were learning about light, we discovered this conundrum that it seemed to act both as a particle and a wave. Then we discovered it was unique in this property. So I think we still have a long way to go.

  5. from Mexico

    @ “Saving Economics from the Economists”
    by Ronald Coase

    • Ronald Coase said:

    Today, production is marginalized in economics, and the paradigmatic question is a rather static one of resource allocation. The tools used by economists to analyze business firms are too abstract and speculative to offer any guidance to entrepreneurs and managers in their constant struggle to bring novel products to consumers at low cost.

    That’s because of the triumph of finance capitalism over industrial capitalism. Classical economics was the stealth religion that gave the industrial capitalists moral and intellectual legitimacy, and neoclassical economics is the stealth religion that gives finance capitalists moral and intellectual legitimacy.

    • Ronald Coase said:

    Since [contemporary] economics offers little in the way of practical insight, managers and entrepreneurs depend on their own business acumen, personal judgment, and rules of thumb in making decisions. In times of crisis, when business leaders lose their self-confidence, they often look to political power to fill the void. Government is increasingly seen as the ultimate solution to tough economic problems, from innovation to employment.

    Economics thus becomes a convenient instrument the state uses to manage the economy, rather than a tool the public turns to for enlightenment about how the economy operates.

    Laissez faire, from the very moment that Adam Smith formulated the notion, has never meant anything but anarchy for the capitalists and the jack boot of the state against the neck of labor.

    • Ronald Coase said:

    But because it is no longer firmly grounded in systematic empirical investigation of the working of the economy, it is hardly up to the task.

    The discipline of economics, from its very inception in the 18th century, was never about anything but magical thinking. It was never anything but cosmology, as defined by Stephen Toulmin in Cosmopolis:

    The function of cosmopolitical arguments is to show members of the lower orders that their dreams of democracy are against nature; or conversely to reassure the upper class that they are superior citizens by nature.

    • Ronald Coase said:

    During most of human history, households and tribes largely lived on their own subsistence economy; their connections to one another and the outside world were tenuous and intermittent.

    I think that would be news to anthropologists who have actually undertaken to study primitive societies. Within-group connections between households are extremely strong in these societies:

    Moreover, there is a great deal of variance among men in both family size and productivity (note the size of the standard deviations for this age profile). Family size is inherently stochastic, due to both infant and child mortality and to individual differences in fecundity (see Hill and Hurtado 1996). There are also large differences in hunting ability among men. For example, there is a five-fold difference in the long term average hunting returns between the best and worst hunter in the sample of Ache men (Hill et al. 1987). Similar discrepancies in hunting ability across men have been found among the !Kung (Lee 1979), Hadza (Hawkes et al. 2001), Hiwi (Gurven et al. 2000a), Gunwinggu (Altman 1987), Agta (Bion Griffin 1984), and Machiguenga (Kaplan unpublished data)4. Therefore, even among men of the same age, there must be net transfers over the long-term from families producing a surplus to families producing a deficit…

    If families had to ‘balance their budget’ at every period, they would either have had to lower their fertility or force their older children to fend for themselves. This would most likely increase childhood and adolescent mortality and lower rates of skills acquisition. Adolescent males could not afford to hunt, because their returns are so low during the learning period. Moreover, there would be no way to buffer the risks associated with the stochasticity of family size and child demands. If families needed to support all of their individual food needs, regardless of whether few or many children survived, they would be forced to lower fertility or reduce child subsidies.

    http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/gurven/papers/kaplangurven.pdf

    • Ronald Coase said:

    Market economies springing up in China, India, Africa, and elsewhere herald a new era of entrepreneurship, and with it unprecedented opportunities for economists to study how the market economy gains its resilience in societies with cultural, institutional, and organizational diversities.

    Yep, the free market Utopia envisioned by the 18th-century industrial capitalists is still alive and well. The lords of capital dreamed of authoritarian regimes where the long arm of the state is used in the most violent, brutal and arbitrary way to smash labor and browbeat it into submission.

    • Ronald Coase said:

    But knowledge will come only if economics can be reoriented to the study of man as he is and the economic system as it actually exists.

    If only. Could the pseudo-scientific, special interest pleadings by Nobel laureates like Ronald Coase have something to do with the following statements from the Nobel family?

    The yawning gap between the real world and the discipline and profession of economics has never been wider. The ever-increasing abstractions in finance and its models based on “efficient markets” and “rational actors”: capital asset pricing, Value-at-Risk, Black-Scholes Options Pricing, have been awarded most of the Bank of Sweden prizes since they were founded in the 1960s and foisted onto the Nobel Prize Committee. Most of these abstract models, based on misuse of mathematics, contributed to the financial crises of 2007-2008. Now, the family of Alfred Nobel, led by lawyer Peter Nobel, has disassociated itself from the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economics In Memory of Alfred Nobel.[1] They point out that Nobel never would have approved of a prize in economics since it is not a science – and would have disapproved even more that most of the prizes were given to Western, neoclassical economists using mathematized, abstract models – far from Nobel’s wider concerns.
    http://steadystate.org/real-economies-and-the-illusions-of-abstraction/

    ANOTHER QUOTE (from Peter Nobel):

    I can imagine Alfred Nobel’s sarcastic comments if he were able to hear about these prize winners. Above all else, he wanted his prizes to go to those who have been most beneficial to humankind, all of humankind!

    http://rwer.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/the-nobel-family-dissociates-itself-from-the-economics-prize/

      1. from Mexico

        I think you’re reading is right on the money.

        Coase is fighting a rear guard action because he senses there has been a sea change in public opinion and knows that it is no longer possible to defend the forward line, that is the orgy of speculative investment and debt bubble economics that is the raison d’être of financial capitalism and neoclassical economics.

        I found a short 1:33 minute clip the other day that served as a great metaphor for the transmogrification from industrial capitalism to finance capitalism:

        “Park Avenue – Money, Power and the American Dream”
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p010jx3m

        Thirty years ago Manhattan’s most prestigious address was inhabited by the industrial capitalists, the oil tycoons.

        Today it is inhabited by the finance capitalists, the hedge fund guys.

        The first actually played a role in producing something. The latter produce nothing, their only activity being playing zero sums games.

        1. Ms G

          “The latter produce nothing, their only activity being playing zero sums games.”

          I would be even more specific — “… their only activity being the looting and expropriation of value/wealth created through the labor and communal property doctrines of taxpayers and (some) voters.”

    1. psychohistorian

      YES!!!!!
      +100000000

      Economics is the propaganda cover for our class based world controlled by the global inherited rich who maintain their control through ongoing inheritance and accumulating private ownership of everything.

      Hey Krugman, are you ever going to talk about our private monetary system? We need to laugh shills like Krugman and other traitor humans into their early graves.

    2. Hugh

      Of course, the “struggle to bring novel products to consumers at low cost” is not what economics is supposed to be about. Rather economics is supposed to be about delivering to the members of society, all of its members, the basic building blocks for a good and decent life.

      The trick in a lot of propagandistic argumentation is to slip in as many loaded terms as possible as givens. It is a form of begging the question since these terms presuppose their conclusions. Perhaps the simplest way to view Coase’s article is as a class war tract. It ignores, as I said, what economics should be about but it also ignores what our current economy is, a kleptocracy that is rampantly looting We the People, denying us the necessities for leading good and useful lives, and generating unparalleled levels of wealth inequality and political corruption.

      Coase does this by trivializing us as consumers. We cease to be citizens and with this the social purpose of the economy is lost. We become a market, not a society. Our needs and basic human rights are replaced by the next novel gadget. And he is lying at several levels that this will be delivered to us at “low cost”. If we must give up our hope for a decent life and our rights as citizens, if we must surrender the social purpose of our economy, then we have already paid far too high price. But even if we choose to play on Coase’s field, he is lying. As usual among this brand of propagandist, he ignores all the externalities involved in what he calls “low cost”, the loss of American jobs, noxious deregulation, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. And of course, cost is not price. While manufacturers seek to lower their costs, they often have little incentive to lower their prices to us. Take the iPod and similar devices. Forget for a moment that to a homeless family, iPods at whatever price are likely not a real high priority. An actual home is. But as their prices and Apple’s high profits show, the discrepancy between cost and price is not being passed along to the consumer. And when you add in various phone and data plans, again there is a disconnect between cost and price which does not favor the consumer. There is the planned obsolescence aspect to this as well, that many of these novelties in a few years won’t just work more slowly than their newer counterparts but they won’t work at all. This often is portrayed as a result of rapid technological innovation but it is inbuilt to create a return market and recurrent demand. In essence, Coase’s whole paradigm is a con. He pretends that the object of entrepeneurs and business is to create new products at the lowest cost to consumers possible but the reality is they are out to maximize profits, without thought or limit, at the expense of workers, consumers, and the environment, –and by negating our power as members of society and our priorities for the basics of a meaningful life.

    3. Aquifer

      Thanx for the citation to the Steady State cite – I have read Herman Daly’s stuff in the past and liked it, but wasn’t aware of this site, and the article by Henderson on it was excellent, IMO – good summary of a lot of the stuff that has been talked about here – but also, ISTM, another indictment of “models” along the lines of Whitehead’s Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness – one of my favorites :)

  6. LucyLulu

    Who won the Internet telecom war? Practically speaking, we did. Without the major developed countries, and esp. U.S. signing on, no treaty can have any teeth. Individual nations can institute individual policies governing traffic within their country if they choose, as they already can, but there will be no global-wide changes. One bone of contention of foreign countries has been having ICANN being a US entity rather than international. Apparently that remains unchanged. Whether there are actual grounds for complaints that ICANN has abused their power, e.g. denying requests for address blocks, is unknown to me. Apart from that, without essentially universal acceptance, because of the very nature of the internet and its robust architecture, it doesn’t seem feasible that regulations could be imposed on more than a regional network. Even those who live under authoritarian regimes that impose strict controls will have clever engineers who can bypass their nations authorized gateways to access the broader global content on an alternate network. When Egypt shut down internet access to its citizens, it did not shut down all traffic flowing through the country, only gateways serving the four ISP’s providing service. The government remained online to run essential services.

    When the internet was first implemented, the primary goal was to design a network that could continue to route communication should major portions be destroyed in a nuclear war, through its remaining infrastructure. The same feature that provides its primary utility also would ultimately make the internet so difficult to impose controls on. In addition, large players in the industry want to keep the internet free of restrictions and control, and have the clout to enforce their wishes, as when popular sites shut down in protest of SOPA last year. Google decided not to shut down but imagine if it did? Is there even an alternative search engine anymore? (Anyone remember days of Lycos and Altavista, or better yet Gopher?)
    I don’t know about today’s young engineers but traditionally there has been a fundamental belief, almost fervently religious belief, among old time computing folk that the internet is one domain that must allow free access to content for all users. Unlike other media, contribution to its development were funded with public money. (Only later was backbone infrastructure turned over to telecoms.) It’s as fundamental a right as free speech. I’ll be sick that ever changes.

    1. j.s.nightingale

      >Is there even an alternative search engine anymore?

      Try DuckDuckGo.

      Get the answers to your queries, without the commercial skew.

  7. Ep3

    Re: shootings

    Yves, If I may, I would like to add my 1 cent to the shootings. What bothers me is that we send $1.2 trillion overseas to fight oil wars n the middle east while our officers’ pensions and pay are cut. I once commented on a social media site about how u would rather have the soldiers over here making the streets safer than over there. How I felt more scared by the strangers in my neighborhood than by some religious fundamentalist living in a cave in Persia. Then I threw out the crumb that my shotgun in the closet was doing more to protect me than those soldiers. Which of course banned me.
    But let me reestablish my point. Why can’t our soldiers be here in this country protecting our children? Or instead of soldiers, we have civilian police officers who do more than handing out speeding tickets and arresting drunk drivers just to get promotions. These “civilian soldiers” could work together with their communities to clean up their communities. Unlike my parents community where due to low tax revenue, police could no longer patrol the neighborhood. Only in an emergency would they be allowed to patrol.
    Now, I am not asking for a police state. I want to feel safe walking down the street at anytime of the day. And I don’t feel threatened by another country. I feel threatened by drug dealers, and crack houses, and mentally ill persons that are prematurely released from their care facility due to lack of funding. and then they are unable to afford their medicines due to darn govt sticking its nose in their Medicare. Or something…

    1. Nope

      Thanks for making the point, even if you’ve got it ass-backwards. Our thoroughly militarized, might makes right culture is the problem, not the solution. It’s probably no coincidence that a culture that indiscriminately rains down senseless violence on third-world children routinely every day with little or no press coverage has spontaneous outbreaks of insane and senseless violence on its own at home. But not to worry, the NFL is responding today with helmet stickers, pink ribbons, and catchy notes on players’ shoes. Just another f***ing marketing opportunity. We’ve gone so far off the rails that we can no longer even see the tracks. One can only surmise there’s some serious karma issues being played out here.

      1. petridish

        Excellent comment! Newtown, CT is what the “collateral damage” that we so easily shrug off looks like when it comes home to roost in the violence-loving, murderous nation we have become.

        Actions really do have consequences.

        1. psychohistorian

          And now that it has happened in the front room of the puppets of the global inherited rich they are forced to confront its reality…..but will anything change or will we just get more repression of the 99%?

  8. b,

    An observation on “Our Moloch” by Gary Wills – if you read his words with “drone” and “war” as stand-in for “gun” and “Moloch”, there is a telling ease with which the words fit either. A society that thinks it is “worth it” (Albright on half a million Iraqi children killed by sanctions) is lilely to think so pervasively.

    One could also insert e.g. “car”. There are always trade-offs, and we will always die. That does not mean that the choices we make, collectively and individually, do not make a difference. As we “Support our Drones”, it might be worth considering how many “school shootings” we have financed with our taxes and endorsed with our votes, over the decades. Terrorism, like war, makes only occasional vacations in the homeland, their “beat” is out there, far away from our sights.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Well said. Interesting that Wills cites the Old Testament [a 3,000-year-old prototype for V for Vendetta] as his moral authority.

      Any culture which elevates this depraved nonsense to the status of a holy book, used to swear in its public officers, naturally is going to feature violent mayhem and dead kids out the wazoo. Yahweh told us to kill them infidels!

    1. Ms G

      What a pip this Doctor is. What on earth possessed him to get into the medical-fraud racket at 60, for God’s sakes!

      Well, it couldn’t be clearer at this point that High Frequency Trading by Wall Street Banks and Insider Information based Trading by Hedge Funds are the main forces moving equity markets (not, as the financial press, financial advisors and goverment regulatory agencies continue to falsely claim, the “invisible hand” of the “free markets.”)

      So I am waiting for the SEC, the FTC, Treasury, Congress, Obama to take out full page ads in all of the country’s main daily newspapers and the internet MSM “financial news” shows advising any working person who is even thinking about putting a penny in the equity markets, be it via 401(k)s, personal investment account, or other, that

      “INVESTING IN EQUITIES IS LIKELY TO RESULT IN THE LOSS OF MOST OR ALL OF YOUR HARD EARNED DOLLARS TO ARTIFICIAL MARKET MOVEMENTS AND PREDATORY FEES BY YOUR MONEY MANAGER.”

      Oh, wait. It turns out that a lot of regular Joes and Janes have already figured out that the stock market is a crock and have fled in droves. That’s one reason Bernanke is holding rates at 0% and — *more importantly* — the Finance-Government Complex is desperately trying to take all the money in the Social Safety Net and shovel it into the deservedly declining American investment in equities.

      Well, retail investing in the markets has been a con by financiers and their government lackeys against working pepople from the beginning (see Pecora Hearings for the early version). So who is surprised anymore.

      1. Synopticist

        “What a pip this Doctor is. What on earth possessed him to get into the medical-fraud racket at 60, for God’s sakes!”
        Yeah, that was my initial reaction too. Maybe it’s part of the societal rot that set in at the start of the last decade, when anyone smart who wasn’t creaming it from the financial sector felt they were missing out.

        The thing is, up intil, say, 12 or 15 years ago, there wasn’t THAT big a difference between what most professionals made and what money managers made. If you were a scientist, a doctor, a lawyer, an academic or a psychologist, you made roughly the same amount as most mid-level Wall streeters, at least if you figure in the longer holidays, perks and pensions.
        I remember listenning to an architect in her mid-forties a few years ago, bitterly regreting not going to work in the City. Her group of high-acheiving, tory friends was split between the merelly upper-middle class professionals, and the few very rich who’d decided to work for City banks instead.
        I had no doubt she’d have eagerly participated in some crooked land deal if the oppotunity had ever come up. That would only have been “fair”, because some of her freinds were so much richer than she was, although they’d been no smarter when they were at school together.

        1. Ms G

          Yes, the “fairness” expectation benchmark has quietly crept into corrupt territory amidst the the moral compasses of white collar types who didn’t go into finance or feeding inside information to finance or legally representing (and lobbying for) finance, or shilling as “newsmen” and “newswomen” for finance, or (as preparation for any of the above options) Not Enforcing criminal laws against finance and Creating Regulations to Enable criminal finance.

    2. Klassy!

      I read the article and when I read his attorney’s name I thought “Mukasey, Mukasey… why does that sound familiar?”. Well, it sounds familiar because his father preceded Eric Holder as AG.
      From Mukasey the younger’s page on his firm’s web site:
      Mr. Mukasey specializes in crisis management and has represented corporate and individual clients in some of the most high-profile and complex cases of recent times, including the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Madoff matter, the CIA tapes investigation, the “Pay to Play” cases, the stock options backdating cases, and a variety of political matters. A former federal prosecutor and SEC enforcement attorney, Mr. Mukasey regularly defends corporations and executives facing allegations of securities fraud, antitrust violations, environmental crimes, FCPA violations, money laundering, bribery, mail/wire fraud, tax offenses, embezzlement, and other business crimes. He also conducts internal investigation work on behalf of corporate clients that has been noted in The Wall Street Journal and Business Week Online.

      Over the course of his career, Mr. Mukasey has tried an array of criminal cases involving allegations of securities fraud, investment advisory fraud, mail/wire fraud, money laundering, RICO, and murder.

      Mukasey has also been successful – behind the scenes – convincing prosecutors to abandon investigations before the investigations are made public and before charges are filed.

      surely, he has exactly the credentials to secure the AG position.

        1. Klassy!

          They’re all cut from the same cloth. That is a bio that any human being with a conscience should be deeply ashamed of. He should be begging for forgiveness from the American people.

          1. Ms G

            @ Klassy!.

            “That is a bio that any human being with a conscience should be deeply ashamed of. He should be begging for forgiveness from the American people.”

            Yes, especially “deeply ashamed of.”

            And that goes for: Messrs. Holder, Breuer, the Lady That Just re-Migrated from Gov Health Inc. to Big Pharma (she worked on Obama Care), the Dishonest Progressive Shill Brigade (we’ve seen a lot of those bios exposed on NC) and so many others, including Blankfein, Dimon, Schneiderman, Mr. Diamond (of London Shame Fame), and so on.

            There is a serious lack of shame embedded in our polis. That has to change (despite whatever record attendance by the .01% is being experienced by all of the organized religions’ local houses of worship.)

          2. Klassy!

            Yeah, let’s see.. Fowler (of Obmacare fame) went to J&J, a former client of Mr. Holder’s at Covington & Burling.. that’s of the top of my head. It’s a small world– one packed with riches if you play your cards right (and don’t have much concern for ethics or morality. OR you’re a master self deceiver.)

          1. Ms G

            Argh. Starting with Negative Eleventy-Billion in expectations does blunt the nasty surprises encountered daily in reality, but then ya hafta balance that out so as to avoid the inhumanity of total nihilism!

  9. b.

    Greenwald on Thirty Dark Zeroes: better, but still burying the lede:

    ‘Emily Bazelon is right when she says that “we opponents of harsh interrogation need to remember that we can make the moral case against torture . . . without resorting to the claim that torture never accomplishes anything.” In all the years I’ve been arguing about torture, I never once claimed it never works – because that claim is, to me, both untrue and irrelevant. Torture – like murder – is categorically wrong no matter what benefits it produces.’

    The issue here is still *falsity*, as in irrelevance. In a society where 40+ percent of The People claim in polls torture is justified, some moviemakers’ moral and intellectual corruption matters a lot less. In fact, the latter only matters because of the former. Nobody needs propaganda to be a hollow shell, we can endorse torture all by ourselves.

  10. b.

    Shorter Bigelow: “I wanted a boots-on-their-face experience.”

    To the red courtesy phone in Room 101, please.

  11. MIWill

    “The Woes of an American Drone Operator”

    ‘I often can’t sleep. And when I do, the sheets aren’t satin.’

  12. kevinearick

    Keynes Core Empire Assumption
     
    The irrational market, direct divide and conquer, will outlast the rational individual, including those employing alternating current, those that swim upstream, against the majority’s currency, to have their children. I am old and feeble now, relative to my youth, but I can still kick the empire’s a- on my worst day, and I am not alone. But you go ahead and prove us all wrong.
     
    We have had our children, we have trained many of your children, and we can more children, 30 years from now. At worst, we will clean the empire slate for the next generation of Newtons, and capital sees it end coming, which is why it is allowing Bernanke to experiment with time. The only exit from implosion is effective labor transformation of capital, at a market clearing price, who will remain when the music stops.
     
    Labor is effective parents, not unions. The unions increase their own pay at the opportunity expense of everyone else. The data clearly shows that they could not exist without slave labor from China and elsewhere, which must be employed to monetize their artificial tax base supply, to do really stupid sh-, like fracking, stadium construction, and slow motion “bullet” train development, to feed the likes of Dimon, Buffet, and Gates.
     
    The empire majority, including every single person in it, assumes it can apply sufficient pressure to take from me and others in the minority that which we are not willing to give it freely, on the false argument of equal rights to our production. All three of my wives fell for that malarkey, at the cost of homes, cars, careers, etc., all of which are now nonperforming assets in line for recycling. I am mobile, they are not, and I can always advance technology by whatever increment I choose, to adjust empire gravity.

    Wealth is not an empire trinket, or a digital bank account. Wealth is in your head. Sentient human beings are not an accident. They are required to balance the system. No balance, no platform. Encinitas was an effective community, until the hedge fund managers and the cops following them showed up. Now look at it. The Port of San Diego was an effective municipality, until the rocket scientists shipped industry to China, to feed the public unions and associated pensions, to be leveraged by Wall Street.

    What they thought, what they thought, was that they were going to run the global economy remotely, through dc architecture, and like the idiots that dismantled domestic plants to erect them again in China, only to lose their livelihoods thereafter, the participating upper middle class engineers would be disposed of as well. That all worked out just as planned, but the problem for the empire is that not everyone was so stupid. While the Dimons, Buffets, and Gates were busy conquering the known empire, turning humans into dc robots, all in love with their remote controls, the rest of us were busy building the foundation for the next stage of technology, making all their work, FIRE, obsolete. Have a nice fing day.

    So, here I sit, in line, waiting to sit in another line, so I can wait in another line, theoretically pursuing the “American” dream/nightmare, with those around me assuming that I cannot jump out and into another line at will. I am the enemy of all, the old nasty white man, yet cars come up, people pop out, and I get coffee, food, clothes, whatever I need. Those new to the line are pissed off, but those who have stood in line with me are happy, because they know from experience that I will give much more away than I keep. That’s economics, and why I choose to have nothing, rather than a flock of seagulls surrounding me, passive aggressives constantly planning to take my output.

    I didn’t walk out of Fort Bragg three times by accident, and the middle class economy is not collapsing by accident. I have more parents and more children than anyone else, because I have been doing the homeless thing since I was 9, and I have always given away more than I kept. The 7 union cards and four college degrees were just pieces of paper along the way. Keynes assumption is only true for those who assume it to be true, which is always the majority, paid by capital to do so, all of whom return their DNA to the churn pool, in return for tokens, quickly and irretrievably spent.

    Labor can and does choose both its parents and its children, for the long haul. When the hill becomes vertical, it simply cuts the wagon loose, at the astonishment of those who have come to assume a free Keynesian ride, assuming tomorrow will look like today, until it doesn’t. Physical houses, those without love, are designed specifically to retard you. The greater the house, the greater the economic retardation. That’s what I learned, at 7, simple algebraic reduction. Dividing by zero to provide the bridges was instinct. Ruling out is the easy part. Let the seagulls rule themselves out of your life, and be about God’s business, exploring the unknown, rather than dissecting the known, “to infinity and beyond.”

    The memory I never lose is 1-yr-old Kristie walking off down the beach, like her parents are immaterial, much to the chagrin of her mother, stopping in temporarily to play with each group of kids, and running out into the ocean as if there is no risk, only to turn around at the last possible moment and run back. Buffet, Gates and Dimon can play with all the monopoly money they want, along with all the slaves that go with it. A labor of love requires neither. An empire cannot put people to work; the best it can do is provide make-work jobs for robots, to buy time.

    It’s the memories you choose to keep that serve as your foundation. Sinning is choosing to do the same stupid sh- repeatedly, harboring ill-will because of the sin of another, robots pinging each other to convergence, best business practice. I run into a veteran amputee, wheel-chairing it from Portland to San Francisco, in and out of the black hole he goes, while the yuppie joggers go round and round, thinking, hoping, that they are human, proud of their black hole, and everything it contains; “I will fly away…to the rugged cross.”

    I never fail to drop the load on the those least capable of shouldering it, and I am not knocking on doors in the financial district of San Francisco by accident, but only you can redirect the energy of the falling load to the favor of your children. You are the church, not the building, not the government, not the corporation. Seek the unknown and serve, as an example of encouragement. That’s about as plain as I can make it.

    1. kevinearick

      “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:” by all means possible, deny me employment across the board, especially with the drivers license one, because that one ignites FIRE most efficiently. I have no interest in becoming part of the middle class; my faith simply required me to offer it a hand up, and San Francisco is the end of the line.

      1. kevinearick

        they just don’t make them like they used to….nowadays, most think work is for idiots, and they want as many idiots as they can get their hands on….

  13. Jim Haygood

    Gérard Depardieu’s parting shot at the French socialist PM who called his voluntary expatriation to Belgium ‘pathetic’:

    Pathetic; you say ‘pathetic’? So it is pathetic.

    I was born in 1948. I started working at age 14 as a printer, as a warehouseman, then as a dramatic artist. I always paid my taxes regardless of the rate under all governments of the day.

    At no time have I failed in my duties. The historical films in which I participated reflect my love of France and its history.

    More illustrious characters than I have been expatriated or left the country.

    Unfortunately I have nothing more to do here, but I continue to love the French and the public with whom I shared so many emotions! I’m leaving because you consider that success, creativity, talent — actually, any difference — must be punished.

    I do not ask to be approved, but I could at least be respected.

    All those who left France were not insulted as I have been.

    I do not have to justify the reasons for my choice, which are numerous and intimate.

    I leave after paying, in 2012, 85% tax on my income. But I retain the spirit of this France that was beautiful and which I hope will remain so.

    I give you my passport and my Social Security, which I’ve never used. We no longer share the same country; I’m a true European, a citizen of the world, as my father always taught me.

    I find pathetic the hard justice against my son Guillaume, judged by judges who condemned a kid to three years in prison for two grams of heroin, when so many others escaped prison for acts otherwise more serious.

    I do not cast stones at all those who have high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, or drink too much alcohol or sleep on their scooter: I’m one of them, as your beloved media so like to repeat.

    I never killed anybody, I don’t think myself unworthy. I paid 145 million euros tax in forty-five years; I have 80 people working in companies that were created for them and which are managed by them.

    I am not complaining or bragging, but I reject the word ‘pathetic.’

    Who are you to judge me this way, I ask you Mr. Ayrault, Prime Minister of Mr. Hollande? I ask you, who are you? Despite my excesses, my appetite and my love of life, I am a free being, sir, and I’ll remain polite.

    French text:

    http://www.lejdd.fr/Politique/Actualite/Gerard-Depardieu-Je-rends-mon-passeport-581254

    English article:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-16/depardieu-says-he-s-paid-enough-french-taxes-in-letter-to-pm.html

  14. Hugh

    I note that Depardieu never said how much he was worth or if his fortune was a true measure of his contributions to French society, or if the concentration of wealth which his and other such fortunes represent was worth high unemployment, a stagnant economy, and millions of stunted lives.

    In the US, we see this a lot, and it is particularly striking in areas like show business and sports, where even B grade actors and players get paid millions and, if they don’t blow it, can amass fortunes in the tens of millions, where A listers get paid tens of millions and acquire fortunes of a few hundred million, and where the wealth of producers and team owners is counted in the billions. For some reason, this wealth is easier to comprehend as senseless and unmerited, perhaps because we still understand that entertainment is different from basic needs like food and shelter. But it remains difficult to condemn the hundreds of millions of a corporate raider like Romney, monopolists like the Koch brothers, financial looters like Lloyd Blankfein, or any of the countless execs who drive companies into the ground and are rewarded with golden parachutes.

    The real story here in my view is that the basics for a good and decent life should be fundamental rights. If we as a society wish to reward some beyond this, fine, but not at the expense of those fundamental rights. At some point, we have to be able to say, something is too much. I am open to suggestions on this point, but I have always thought that anyone who can’t live “well” on a fortune of $20 million is too big an idiot to be worth $20 million, and that at the end of life, virtually all wealth beyond a few million should be returned to We the People from whom it originated. I would be interested in what others thought on these points and what numbers and rationales they had for them.

    1. TK421

      Well there was one study which showed that increased income increased happiness…up to $75,000. After that, more money did not lead to any more contentment.

      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/08/27/1011492107

      This makes sense to me. That’s an amount that provides for all the necessities a person could need, as well as plenty of wants.

      I agree that people should have a right to what they need. This goes all the way back to Aristotle, and was a viewpoint that influenced the US Constitution.

    2. psychohistorian

      Hugh asks a question that needs to be debated, then answered and implemented…..what are human fundamental rights?

      Hugh goes on to assert that, “… at the end of life, virtually all wealth beyond a few million should be returned to We The People from whom it originated.”

      I agree wholeheartedly with the assertion about limiting inheritance and believe this is one of the key positive structural changes we could make to our society to make it better. I believe this change alone could drive a stake in the heart of greed and corruption as well as foster more cooperation and sharing.

      1. Aquifer

        OMG1 A Death tax1 Good Grief1

        On second thought it occurs to me that in the spirit of taxing things we wish to discourage, maybe taxing death might be one way to discourage people from doing it – it will be just too damn expensive … Course it is pretty expensive now, but obviously not prohibitively so …

        Then again, the planet IS getting rather highly populated – perhaps we don’t want to discourage death, at least that is the stand our armed forces seem to take …

        Maybe we could tax it over a certain age, and use the proceeds to help take care of folks who die “too soon”

        There is much to ponder here ,,,,

  15. Hugh

    Newtown is just a different kind of Sandy. Looked at individually, both are random events. In the context of our society, however, both are outcomes of the kind of society we currently have and tolerate.

  16. They didn't leave me a choice

    “The news is not particularly surprising, but it would be wrong to simply dismiss it as a Murdoch folly which holds few lessons for anybody else. Rather, I think that The Daily has taught us all an important lesson — which is that tablets in general, and the iPad in particular, are actually much less powerful and revolutionary than many of us had hoped. Specifically, far from being able to offer richer content than can be found on the web, they actually find themselves crippled in unexpected ways.”

    Sheesh, you don’t say, I’ve been absolutely horrified by this drive to replace desktop computers with mobile crapware before they actually have their UI in order. And make no mistake, until the day we have direct brain connections, it is highly unlikely a tablet of any sort will offer even a pittance of competition for the classical keyboard + mouse combination. In addition to having awful input lags, typing on a virtual keyboard is slow as all hell, everything takes more time since everything has to have these nice “snazzy” animations and the software is technically less powerful by default than the desktop equivalents. Awkward-as-hell GUIs that work, or don’t in this or that resolutions, huge buttons taking tons of space so that even the most sausage fingered people can fondle the interface without misclicking… And best of all; this is all inherent in the touchscreen technology and is unlikely to be alleviated under the current control paradigm.

    Oh, and don’t even get me started on the filthy closed source walled garden mentality going on with all tablet makers. Tablets, perfect disposable anti-tools for the new generation of slaves.

    And we are supposed to ditch our desktops so that we can all join the timewasting (wasting of our own time with bad UI) crowd of tablet zombies? Fuck. That. Shit.

    1. psychohistorian

      Being a techie since the late 60′s I am less than impressed (sorely offended would be more accurate) with the hell bent selling of whiz bang technology.

      What we seem to have is brainwashed consumption of the next greatest things as solutions to our societal problems rather than these gadgets isolating most of us further and limiting future societal resources.

      I have no FAITH that our direction as a society has any future and none seem to want to have reason based discussions.

    2. Aquifer

      ‘ …until the day we have direct brain connections,…”

      I’ll pass on that one, thank you very much …

    3. different clue

      I just hope that if/when I ever get around to buying a real computer, that some company still exists to make real computers.

  17. WorldisMorphing

    ["Inequality: power vs human capital"]

    We are too often sidetracked into futile debates of symptoms rather causes.
    This post put the sight right on the right goalpost again. The issue will have to be [re]dug out until people face the fact and deal with it.

  18. JTFaraday

    re: You Hate “Right To Work” Laws More Than You Know. Here’s Why, NSFW

    “The Freakonomics author also was an early major advocate of turning prisoners into cheap private labor farmed out to corporations, and he advised prisons to pack and overcrowd their cells with prisoners as a way of saving money and increasing efficiency.

    And that’s the problem with Levitt: He can’t be trusted.”

    Oh, but it sounds cool, this Freakonomics.

    1. JTFaraday

      Oh, even worse than I thought:

      “Freakonomics peaked at number two among nonfiction on The New York Times Best Seller list and was named the 2006 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Adult Nonfiction category. The book received positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator Metacritic reported the book had an average score of 67 out of 100, based on 16 reviews.

      The success of the book has been partly attributed to the blogosphere. In the campaign prior to the release of the book in April 2005, the publisher (William Morrow and Company) chose to target bloggers in an unusually strategical way, sending galley copies to over a hundred of them, as well as contracting two specialized word of mouth (buzz marketing) agencies.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freakonomics

  19. different clue

    That little article on the people being profitably denied access to their own 401ks so that revenue harvesters may keep harvesting revenue from them illustrates what the real purpose of 401ks really always was.

    I know it sounds dreadfully risky to young people to just not allow any of their money into a 401k to begin with, but I would really suggest that any young person today who even makes enough money that putting some of it into a 401k even exists for them as a theoretical possibility . . . should instead find some way to keep that money up front for themselves and invest it in their own personal self and wealth, one way or another. And by wealth, I mean the means of personal survivalism, not just turning it into some other form of “munny” where it can still always be held hostage for draining or stealing by the
    manipulators of money.

    I know that young people today are instructed to believe that SS “won’t be there for them”, but they have a better chance of collecting some SS IF! . . . we can swing the tire iron of justice into the mouth of the Grand Bargaineers . . . than the paltry chance they have of realizing anything from the money-held-hostage in a 401k.

  20. diptherio

    Re: UBS fined for LIBOR fixing

    Strictly chump change. And you know why they call it that, don’t ya? ‘Cause only chumps think it’s gonna change anything.

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