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Links 12/6/12

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Pianist behind one of the world’s most famous jazz tunes takes his final five Independent

Man’s home a 14-foot canoe in Boston Harbor Associated Press. If you have ever been in Boston in the winter, you know this is NOT romantic.

Deepwater Horizon Chemical Dispersants 52 Times More Toxic than Oil Oil Price

Peter Mantius: Doctors’ fracking concerns being ignored Corning Leader (Aquifer)

Smartphones to light up Sydney’s New Year show PhysOrg. I was in Sydney one New Year. I recommend it highly.

Swimming robot reaches Australia BBC (John L)

How to get targeted ads on your TV? Try a camera in your set-top box ars technica (Carol B). Another reason not to watch TV.

European data still poor MacroBusiness

Depression Deepens Greek Middle Class Despair With Crime Bloomberg

Does the UK’s AAA rating matter? Robert Peston, BBC

German man locked up over HVB bank allegations may have been telling truth Guardian (Deontos). Holey moley.

Paulson’s bet on eurozone backfires Financial Times

Saudi-Led Oil Lobby Group Financed 2012 Dark Money Attack Ads Nation (May S)

More Than the Navy’s Numbers Could Be Sinking Time (Chuck L)

Liz Fowler Is the Embodiment of Washington’s Revolving Door Problem Jon Walker, Firedoglake (Carol B) and Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job Glenn Greenwald (May S)

Catfood watch:

Briefing for Congress on the Fiscal Cliff: Lessons from the 1930s Steve Keen (Chuck L)

TOP CONSERVATIVE BLOG: Fire John Boehner Clusterstock. Guess that’s not getting traction: Boehner Gains Strong Backing From House Republicans New York Times

How could Washington avoid a debt ceiling default? Mint a few trillion dollar platinum coins. Seriously James Pethokoukis, AEI (letsgetitdone). ZOMG, AEI treats the platinum coin as an option???

Eliot Spitzer: Tax the Traders! It Would Solve Economic Crisis and Stop Reckless Activity Alternet (Aquifer)

Senate rejects United Nations treaty for disabled rights in a 61-38 vote The Hill (Aquifer)

Michael Bloomberg asks Hillary Clinton to be next New York City mayor AllVoices

Renegade Democrats hand control of New York Senate to GOP Daily Kos

Rolling Jubilee and the Pesky Tax Problem masaccio, Firedoglake

NYPD and Occupy Wall Street Worked Together to Prevent Post-Sandy Crime Gawker

Volunteer Program Coordinator Maine Attorneys Saving Homes Purpose Prize Winner 2012 Encore. OK, for once we have a case where a guy who does good gets rewarded. Tom Cox, who blew the robosigning scandal wide open, gets a $100,000 award. Congrats!

Also a reader bleg: does anyone know how to reach a live person at Synthesis? The new webhost I thought I’d be using disqualified themselves on the eve of a site transfer (I suppose better before than after, but it sends me back to square zero). Their reviews look great, and they are bizarrely cheap for what they say they offer, but I’m not signing up with no direct referrals and no answers over the phone beforehand. There seems to be no way for prospects to contact them by phone, and it’s over a week and they haven’t responded to an e-mail query, so maybe I should just take the hint that they don’t want my business. Anyone who has insight, please e-mail me at yves_at_nakecapitalism.com

Antidote du jour:

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170 comments

  1. gonzomarx

    I watched a very moving, powerful and for me insightful documentary last night on BBC4. Really recommended viewing if you can find it. This is from the BBC iplayer.

    Why Poverty? – 8. China’s Ant People
    What does an education get you? Education is the only way out of poverty, as it has been sold to the Chinese population since ancient times. China’s economic boom and talk of the merits of hard work have created an expectation that studying is how to escape poverty. Yet it seems the system only leads to jobs for a few, and debt for all. Weijun Chen’s film, set in Wuhan in central China, looks at the realities of Chinese education through the lives of private college tutor Wang Zehziang, high school graduate and would-be university student Wang Pan, and graduate jobseeker Wan Chao.
    A BBC Storyville film, produced in partnership with the Open University, China’s Ant People screens as part of Why Poverty? – when the BBC, in conjunction with more than 70 broadcasters around the world, hosts a debate about contemporary poverty. The global cross-media event sees the same eight films screened in 180 countries to explore why, in the 21st Century, a billion people still live in poverty.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p010jy3t/Why_Poverty_Chinas_Ant_People/

      1. gonzomarx

        Unfortunately not, Although “in conjunction with more than 70 broadcasters around the world” so hopefully a channel near you will show it or it’ll be somewhere on Tinternet.

        1. Andrea

          So why post on an int’l board something that only 98% of ppl – Brits in their cosy viewing pleasure dome, which they pay for of course – can see?

      2. Aquifer

        When i clicked on it (live in the US) – i got the message that I needed Flash Player 10.2 or higher (which i, personally, can’t upgrade to ..)

        I use Firefox (ancient version) on an old Mac power book, on DSL, no less (or should i say no more :)), so maybe play around a bit and you can get it ….

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Aquifer, you see: this is what they intend to do to “books” once they ALL are in “digital format.” And the “What me worry?” GenC21 will never know what a book was good for: CENTURIES of knowledge: …..GONE! (just like your money).

    1. From Mexico

      Good stuff, gonzomarx, and further confirmation of what Asia Times’s Pepe Escobar says:

      The ususal self-description of the system there as “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is, of course, as mythical as a gorgon. In relaity, think hardcore neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics led by men who have every intention of saving global capitlaism.

      It would be difficult to overstate the level of propaganda and state violence that is necessary to keep the proles in “developing” countries like China and Mexico toiling away on their slave wages.

      Education is both a tool of propaganda in the hands of dominant groups and a means of emancipation for subject classes. When dressed up in the pseudoscience of neoclassical economics, such as Say’s Law, it becomes more of the former.

      Say’s Law, as per Keynes’ formulation, posits that “supply creates its own demand”. Thus if a worker can’t find a well-paying job, it’s because he has insufficient education or training. General gluts cannot exist. Therefore, if a worker can’t find a good job, it’s always due to some inadequacy on his part, and never due to structural factors.

      So what you get is the middle-class creed wrapped up in the pseudo-science of neoclassical economics. The middle classes are proud of their success, which they believe springs from character, industry, continence, thrift and higher education. This credo “sprang so naturally from the circumstances of middle-class life that it ought perhaps, to be regarded as an illusion rather than a pretension,” says Reinhold Niebuhr. But when it is maintained in defiance of all the facts, which reveal how insignificant are the factors of education, virtuous thrift and industry beside the factor of the disproportion of political power in the creation of economic inequality, the element of honest illusion is transmuted into honest pretension.

      The following video helps explain:

      “Why Poverty: China’s Ant People”
      http://www.open.edu/openlearn/society/international-development/environmental-decision-making/why-poverty-study-study

      1. Aquifer

        Thank you very much for this link! – looks like the whole BBC series is on here and looks like a great site for a bunch of other stuff …

        1. From Mexico

          Just to flesh out the subtext a little bit better, there’s this:

          Su Yinyin’s family were thrilled when she won a place at university. As impoverished farmers, they knew it promised a comfortable middle-class life and a giant step up the social ladder for their daughter…

          Graduates are now competing with people made redundant. “I’ve had interviews, but they want people with experience,” said Liu Jing, who has been job-hunting for six months. “There are more graduates, so there are more competitors for every post.”

          Like Su, she hails from a farming family; she had hoped to earn 2,000-3,000 yuan ($320-$480) a month to pay off her 20,000 yuan education bill. Now the 21-year-old will settle for 1,000 yuan ($160).

          “Millions of Chinese graduates out of work after fivefold rise in university places”
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/04/china-higher-education-graduate-jobs?INTCMP=SRCH

          And this:

          China’s elite world of blood connections and dynastic influence has much in common with the European aristocracy or the old monied families of the US. But it is considerably more opaque – until a scandal such as this rips down some of the walls of secrecy and mutual protection.

          Over the past three decades, the party of revolution has steadily transformed into the party of privilege. While once it challenged tradition, authority and championed a redistribution of wealth, it now promotes Confucian values of “harmony” and “stability” even as it presides over a nation of worsening inequality…

          Bo’s family allegedly abused his influence and connections to amass a fortune. Jiang Weiping, an investigative journalist from Dalian – where Bo was mayor in the 1990s – said the family and his wife’s law firm were earning 70 to 80 million yuan ($10.9 million to $12.5 million) a year during that time.

          “Bo’s only legal income was his salary, which was relatively insignificant. The family’s real revenue came through Bo’s ability to get projects and investments..,” said Jiang….

          The hierarchy – and the privileges that flow from it to families – extends down through regional party bosses to township cadres…

          Few think this world of privilege will be overturned as a result of the scandal. While foreign news organisations have dug into the business ties of the Bo family, the domestic media have largely avoided the subject of dynastic influence peddling.
          “Neil Heywood case sheds light on privileged lifestyles of China’s elite”
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/26/neil-heywood-privileged-china-elite?INTCMP=SRCH

          1. Aquifer

            Sounds just like the US – change the names and you couldn’t tell the difference …

            So do you think the Chinese folks’ response will be the same as ours – and what will that, in fact, be?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            But we should welcome them and their investments (buy a house and get a green card) with the jobs they will generate – perhaps hiring goons to be their security guards…more jobs we don’t really want.

            Here is an interesting immigration/emmigration equation:

            get one good person to come here from another coutnry =
            send one bad person from here to that same coutry?????

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am thinking the analogy might like this

            A particle going from here to Mars =
            An anti-particle coming from Mars to here ???

          4. Aquifer

            MLPB – I hate to nit-pick (well, not really, i watched Oscar and realized what a bonding experience it is) but how can you know that you are exchanging a “bad” American for a “good” Chinese?

          5. From Mexico

            @ Aquifer

            Hannah Arendt aruged that they were the same, that there is no difference between state capitalism (where the capitalists own the state) and state socialism (where the politicians own the capital). “What we have here are twins, each wearing a different hat,” she said. Examples of state capitalism are Fascist Italy and modern-day US, UK and Mexico. Examples of state socialism are Nazi Germany and modern-day China and Venezuela.

            I have no idea what the response of the Chinese folks will be. It’s not easy to know what’s going on inside China, that is if one rejects all the rosy reports that issue from Chinese and American oficialdom. But if one looks at the anecdotal information, things for Chinese workers are pretty dismal. Here’s a documentary by Al Jazeera that sheds some light on the situation:

            “101 East : China’s labour pains”
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqGmCq0hUBk

            There are others I can recommend if you are interested.

            You have to keep in mind that workers in China and Mexico have been ground into the dirt for a lot longer than those in the US. Mexico, for instance, has 30 years of neoliberal governance. The minimum salary will now buy a third of what it did in 1982. The salary of the average union worker has lost 50% of its purchasing power since 1982.

            The US is only about 4 years into this type of political economy:

            http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/11/real-median-household-income-in-the-21st-century/

            In 1984, President Reagan’s National Security Council expert on Latin America, Constantine Menges, told William Casey that things in Mexico had gotten worse and that it was on the verge of chaos, if not revolution. Here we are almost 30 years later, and still no revolution. What Mexico has experienced instead is social disentegration, rapidly escalating crime spinning out of control with nearly 120,000 dead since 2006, according to the latest estimates published by the Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas y Geographia.

            I know not everyone agrees with this theory, but I still think Charles Dickens was onto something when he wrote in The Tale of Two Cities: “Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms.”

          6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s a good question.

            Still the equation must balance.

            If you bring a talent here, it leaves a hole there.

            You can achieve the equivalent by sending an ‘anti-talent’ there to patch up a hole here.

            What is a talent then? Well, I will leave it to the human resources departments of our mutli-national corporations. After that, we will try to work out what an anti-talent is.

          7. Aquifer

            FM –

            I realize the “great man theory” of history is dead (maybe it’s time for a “great woman theory” :)), but ISTM that even though a hell of a lot of gunpowder needs to be accumulated before a revolution is “possible” still there eventually needs to be a spark of some sort – it seems that where or even who/what that spark might be is never predictable – for that reason it does seem to me that it is a worthwhile endeavor to find and promote inspiration whenever and wherever we can. Some folks have a talent for it and i would think we ought to encourage them ….

            Mao and his little book seem to have been able to go a long way – one could argue, in the wrong direction – so even if he was a figurehead, he apparently was a useful one ….

            I discover more and more that it is not simply “ideas” that are useful but the way in which they are conveyed – 2 people can promulgate the same idea – one you will toss out the door and the other you may follow, or join, a long way down the road ….

            In my view – all politics is personal – maybe that’s how we need to start – when someone who is screwing you says, “Hey, nothing personal” we must say “Oh yes it is” and after so many of these yesses are swallowed, we will need to throw them all up. Methinks that perhaps not until we sufficiently realize that it IS personal will we finally say “Enough!”

  2. LucyLulu

    Uh oh…..
    “bombs filled with a sarin component have not yet been loaded onto planes, but the Syrian military is prepared to use these chemical weapons against civilians pending orders from Assad.

    The sarin could be delivered in several ways but is believed to have been placed in fracturable canisters that can be dropped from planes, according to a senior US military source.

    “We think they have it in aerosol form,” the source told Fox News.”

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/05/syria-mixes-chemical-weapons-into-bombs/#ixzz2EGkuv3fe

    Syria insists they would never use them on their own people. So, who then do they plan to use them on?

    The silver lining in an otherwise very dark cloud, Hilary/Obama have a reason to form an alliance with (our #1 enemy /s) Russia to deal with what is now becoming a joint problem.

    1. dan

      And you believe a single word your government says why?

      As wb points out, these transparent lies were debunked days ago.

      Try to keep up.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Our MMT friends can and willl happily explain how we can trust the governement to be honest in at least one area – with respect to printing money, not for some ulterior motive, but for the good of all.

          2. Aquifer

            MLPB – you raise a very good point – ISTM that the MMT folks have some very good ideas, but, IMO, they need to coordinate them a bit more with facts on the ground, so to speak – a big one of which is that, at the present time we, the people, have a government that is using its printing press quite badly and before we allow it a bigger press we need to be very responsible about whom we choose to give it to …

            We haven’t done so thus far -

          3. citalopram

            @MLTPB
            Purging everyone who is currently in power would be a good start to a more trustworthy government. Also, you don’t want to let these people back in either. How you go about doing that is beyond me…

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s very puzzling really.

            My left hand: We don’t trust the government (or anyone over 30, but that’s another story for another day).

            My right hand: We don’t want big government.

            My left hand: You shouldn’t say that.

            My right hand: We want a smaller government.

            My left hand: Don’t say that.

            My right hand: Small government.

            My left hand: Don’t trust the government.

            My right hand: No to big government.

            My left hand: Do you trust the government?

    2. Lambert Strether

      The problem here, so far as I can tell, is that all parties, including what we laughingly refer to as our own government, are running disinformation campaigns. Sure, business as usual, but the intensity seems pretty high. Generally, there’s some oxygen in the room…

      1. Aquifer

        STM that, as you say, there may be some kernels of facts (even if only GMOs) somewhere in there – generically speaking it is not impossible to conceive of a “leader” using chem weapons on his own people – Saddam apparently did so … (as an aside, private corps do it all the time ..)

        So i wonder what the elements would be to prevent Assad from doing the same and i suggest there is at least one big one – Saddam was pretty secure in believing that his use of them would not bring down the wrath of anyone who could hurt him – after all we sold him the makings for his s**t and we were enjoying the show as Itaq/Iran beat the crap out of each other. Assad, OTOH, has a pretty good idea that this would be the only pretext the outside powers who are itching to whack the be-jeebers out of him would need to swoop in and pin his posterior to a post … Besides which that would, methinks, ruin any credibility with, or loyalty from, a good chunk of the population – maybe the chunk that is actually keeping him afloat …

        1. Aquifer

          Sorry – on reading this again, i realize i may have misunderstood what you meant by “oxygen in the room” …

        2. Aquifer

          Another thought – considering as how, apparently, a fair chunk of the insurgency is not actually Syrian – and that there is already a considerable history of both sides being pretty brutal – methinks a more likely scenario might be for the insurgency to use the chemical weapons and blame it on the gov’t – the rest of the world being already primed for Assad being the guilty party – nobody would wait around to find out who actually did it. We would find out later, after Assad has had his frasbras handed to him, that he didn’t do it, and, adding insult to injury, the folks we help install are the ones who actually did …. lordy, i do hate to say this, but such scenarios are all too real ….

  3. Richard Kline

    I recommed the Time article on the vulnerabilities of modern naval craft to anyone with an interest in military strategy and strategic policy. A fine quote from the conclusion: “Our contemporary wars have amounted to little more than “clubbing baby seals” at sea. We have been lucky in the past, and escaped with only a few ship casualties. Can we expect our luck to continue?” No.

    Modern naval craft are mass coffins in any real shooting war. There are reasons to maintain a surface fleet regardless, but no on should be sanguine regarding the survivability of our, or any, current naval force. Suppressing the results of innumerable exercises that only confirm the multiple, lethal, vulnerabilities of such craft isn’t policy—except that that helps arms manufacturers purvey more of the stuff.

    Oh, and by the way: Iran and China both have everything they need to wip out any surface force in their waters. They’ve both put their money into what works. Just think aobut that the next time you read blowhards rattling plasic sabers in print . . . .

    1. skylark

      See the Archdruid Report for his recent 5 part series on the end of empire. The vulnerability of our naval forces is a featured part.

      1. MontanaMaven

        I second the recommendation on The Archdruid’s fictional account of the end of the American Empire and the vulnerability of those big aircraft carriers.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      The link above is to the second part of a three-part series. Links to parts one and three can be found at the bottom of part two, and they are equally insightful if not as immediately alarming. The author, Winslow Wheeler, is a member of an informal network of military reformers who come out of the defense establishment. He and his peers are either former uniformed officers, former career civil servants, or both. Their movement has been around for over 30 years, and through most of that time the establishment has been doing everything in its power to marginalize them. Anyone seeking more information on their work can find it in a book edited by Wheeler entitled The Pentagon Labyrinth. Hard copies are available at Amazon, or alternately the entire text can be downloaded in PDF format for free from a link on the page that is linked below.
      http://dnipogo.org/labyrinth/

      1. YouDon'tSay?

        Thanks for the excellent link Chuck. I’m retired military myself (enlisted, the last seven spent in budget at the field organizational level), and much appreciate this wealth of information. Pretty much confirms every thing I knew already, but greatly expands its scope. When it comes to the Pentagon/DoD and budgets the fact that the GAO gave up in frustration and pronounced it “unauditable” a few years back says it all. Although, in fairness to the troops, all the meaningful graft – quite predictably – exists at the upper echelons. Just like the wider American society in general, the rich get rich, and the poor make do.

    3. ambrit

      Someone at work used to be a sonarman in the US Navy and has commented in the past on how vulnerable to “countermeasures” American ships are. He worked on guided missile frigates and mentioned how the Navy installed an older type of anti aircraft system on the deck because, “the new super duper wonder system turned out to be crap.”
      Didn’t U S Grant once threaten to have all the sutlers and hustlers selling supplies to his troops shot if he caught them cheating his quartermasters again? (I think it happened during the Vicksburg Campaign.) When finance takes over “real” endeavours, disaster usually follows.
      But really, this is the crowd who wants to fight Iran? They have well and truly lost touch with reality. Just one thought should get the reality across; the Revolutionary Guard has thousands of sea mines to strew across the Straits of Hormuz. Mr. Wheelers article mentioned that 15 of the 18 navy ships seriously damaged or sunk since the ’80′s did so at the hands of naval mines. The US Navy is retiring most, if not all of its minesweeping fleet. The replacement system hasn’t even been tested yet. And they expect to keep the Straits open?
      I feel like getting Mr. Wheelers book.

      1. Aquifer

        The logic of the scenario you present is so clear and obvious to anyone with any sense that it brings home how our defense procurement policy is obviously not about procuring stuff that would actually be useful for defense, but about supplying corps with make money contracts.

        How intersting that the very folks who mock the idea of hiring folks to dig ditches as a way of providing jobs are just hunky-dory with hiring folks to make useless floating objects – maybe we could combine the two and hire folks to dig big ditches to bury the useless floating objects in …

        1. Susan the other

          No no, Aquifer. We should never waste such beautiful absurdity. We are not technologically backward – we can do both: we can gear up with our own arsenal of sophisticated missiles, making our own big lumbering navy even more obsolete and at the same time we can recycle our big lumbering navy into ships that clean up the oceans, the coastlines, bays etc. Turn the navy into an environmental cleanup enterprise. An enterprise that pays for itself by restoring the environment.

          1. Aquifer

            Well of course your idea is much better, i was just being a smart-ass, as usual …

            But, in the name of “efficiency” which i gather is the business catchword of the day, or decade, or eon, or whatever, why not just eliminate the middle step, the part about making them as weapons …

            OTOH, i understand that sunken ships can act as useful “anchor” points for building new reefs if sunk in the right places ….

          1. Aquifer

            au contraire – Wash hears the rustle of dollar bills just fine, in all their various tones ….

        1. ambrit

          TK421;
          That was Aden. Look into it closely, and you come away with the story of the US Counter terrorism man, from New York I believe, who ruffled feathers, and got the situation figured out, by using good old fashioned policing techniques at the scene of the crime. (Yes, they sent teams out there.) PBS did a very good hour about him and his sad end. I recommend seeing the program.

      2. Expat

        My position is, if we are going to spend half our treasure on such ridiculous things as the Pentagon, we should all pray that nothing works. The better it does not work, the safer everyone will be. The US does not have any enemies it does not fully deserve.

      3. YouDon'tSay?

        I feel like getting Mr. Wheelers book.

        It’s free for the download, with further non-profit distribution highly encouraged. Reading it now. Excellent read.

  4. Christian

    Hey Yves, You should check out AISO for your web host http://www.aiso.net

    100% solar power, real solar power, and their customer support is great. I have used them in the past, personal and honest folks.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks but if all I want is a generalist host, I have that. My current guys are adequate.

      I want someone who does a lot of WordPress because WordPress is so breakage prone on high traffic sites. A lot of the problems are on the software side, so all a normal host can do in a site crash is restart the site and if it’s software, it just crashes again, so I have to wait till my software guys, who are not 24/7, get to it. A WP oriented host could be more pro-active, for instance, recommending config fixes and warning me against not so hot plug-ins.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Hi Yves,

        I’ve put a comment further down with the registrant info culled via a “whois” request on their domain name but this is probably a better place to put it.

        Registrant:
        Copyblogger Media LLC
        1942 Broadway
        Suite 316
        Boulder, CO 80302
        US
        +(303) 800-6734

  5. Christian

    On China and the education scam story, they need to remember their roots. It brings in my mind a story by Chuang Tzu “Gardner Watering a Ditch” which ends with:

    “I have heard from my teacher that those who have cunning implements are cunning in their dealings, and that those who are cunning in their dealings have cunning in their hearts, and that those who have cunning in their hearts cannot be pure and incorrupt, and that those who are not pure and incorrupt are restless in spirit, and that those who are restless in spirit are not fir vehicles for Tao. It is not that I do not know of these things. I should be ashamed to use them.”

    http://www.wisdomportal.com/Technology/ChuangTzu-Gardener.html

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘It’s not that I do no know these things…’

      Here you have – in generalized form: it’s easier to add thoughts than to subtract thoughts.

      Most Zazen practitioners know this.

      Which is harder – to know many things or to simply forget one thing? I still can’t forget my health insurance premium is going up 20%+ next year. I wish I could.

  6. Goin' South

    Re: Brubeck’s death.

    Nice article about Brubeck as a musician and human being. (plus a mention of Keith Emerson!)

    One thing not included in the article is the fact that Brubeck was in a car accident that severely damaged his hands early in his career. His dexterity was quite limited, and while he could still ‘comp, intricate, melodic improvisations were out of the question. That’s why Brubeck developed his distinctive style emphasizing those massive block chords. It also explains why Desmond was so critical to Brubeck’s success.

  7. Brindle

    Good interview by Paul Jay (TRNN) with Col.Lawrence Wilkerson on Susan Rice being a possible Sec-State.

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=9236

    Paul Jay recounts interviewing Rice during the 08 campaign:

    —”And then, at the end of the interview, I said candidate Obama is promising change we can believe in. He’s even talked about a whole think and approach to U.S. foreign policy. And I said, well, doesn’t that require at least questioning the whole role of the United States in terms of being the dominant power and projecting U.S. power around the world? And she took her microphone off and says, I don’t have time for this, I don’t have to do this, and she walked out of the interview.—”

    1. Expat

      Her diplomatic skills are stunning in their absence. Around here, we call her “John Bolten in Drag.”

      1. Aquifer

        Well then she should be just the ticket for a Rep in Dem clothing, but can she top “We think the price is worth it” Albright?

  8. jsmith

    For those of you not reliant upon Fox News for your international information, here’s a nice overview of yet another WMD scare in the Middle East.

    For those posters – ahem – who seemingly aren’t familiar with this rerun, a recap:

    Unnamed sources, horsesh!t, horsesh!t, “humanitarian intervention”.

    Also, here’s another good one concerning the anti-anti-war Left, how to identify and avoid them as they are everywhere now.

    From the article:

    “Ever since the 1990s, and especially since the Kosovo war in 1999, anyone who opposes armed interventions by Western powers and NATO has to confront what may be called an anti-anti-war left (including its far left segment). In Europe, and notably in France, this anti-anti-war left is made up of the mainstream of social democracy, the Green parties and most of the radical left. The anti-anti-war left does not come out openly in favor of Western military interventions and even criticizes them at times (but usually only for their tactics or alleged motivations – the West is supporting a just cause, but clumsily and for oil or for geo-strategic reasons). But most of its energy is spent issuing “warnings” against the supposed dangerous drift of that part of the left that remains firmly opposed to such interventions. It calls upon us to show solidarity with the “victims” against “dictators who kill their own people”, and not to give in to knee-jerk anti-imperialism, anti-Americanism, or anti-Z*****m, and above all not to end up on the same side as the far right. After the Kosovo Albanians in 1999, we have been told that “we” must protect Afghan women, Iraqi Kurds and more recently the people of Libya and of Syria.”

    Gee, isn’t it suwheet how the elite have managed to get supposedly “left” groups in Europe and the U.S. to not only champion neoliberalism economic ideas but its military components as well?

    Come here, Barack, you cuddly war-criminal and let me give you a noogie!!!

    Lastly, here’s a great expose on how US[CI]AID and attendant corps have been “helping” people in Afghanistan and around the world.

    1. matt

      I posted that same Bricmont article the other day. He’s an important antidote to mainstream liberals who have no problem supporting wars for aggression in the name of “human rights”. He should be more widely read.

      And re: USAID in Afghanistan….”Instead, USAID functions primarily as an instrument of counterinsurgency and as a pipeline by which public money moves into private hands.”

      Freedom House is a similar organization. As a NGO, it purports to support freedom, civil liberties, etc, but acts only to support those state actors that are considered favorable to US interests.

      1. jsmith

        Sorry, didn’t see your post but a reiteration of these important points never hurts.

        Here’s a good article on Rachel Maddow, war propagandist.

        http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/12/04/rachel-maddow-war-propagandist/

        Re: Freedom House, USAID, etc:

        I also find it particularly humorous that AI and other “human rights” organization have been screaming bloody murder – or was that “committing”? – over Putin’s latest crackdown on groups such as USAID and others as he shut them down.

        http://rt.com/politics/russia-putin-security-usaid-ngos-elections-402/

        Last month, Russia ordered the closure of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – which had operated in Russian since the collapse of the Soviet Union – after concluding that the organization provided funds for NGOs seeking to “influence the political process, including elections at various levels and civil society.”

        “Many Russians claim a double standard in how foreign-funded organizations interfere in the country’s political affairs while, at the same time, Russia does not fund NGOs to monitor America’s election process.”

        Silly, Rooskies, thinking that the US doesn’t have a god-given right to interfere in their sovereign nation.

    2. LucyLulu

      I don’t usually read Fox for my news. It merely happened that other sources were several hours older when I posted and that link was the most up-to-date by several hours, only an hour old, and the only one reporting the Clinton meeting with Russian diplomats to align forces. Which was the interesting part, IMO. Otherwise it was consistent with all else I read.
      Maybe if I had spent another 45 minutes scouring the net???

      Geez………… I’m not so close minded as to assume EVERYTHING reported on Fox automatically should be dismissed out of hand. Feel free to skip over if you hate a source THAT much. Personally I even like to read what others who have differing opinions are reading though, esp. since I know people who DO follow Fox for their news.

  9. Paul Walker

    Heck, those governing the United States have learned much of what they know by studying Germany’s history of employing various judicial methods. At least Germany’s judicial system has actually convicted SOMEONE of a financial crime and sent them away whereas the US simply sends formerly recognized legal persons away, and/or drone strikes their family members as a means to ensure compliance.

  10. Aquifer

    Glad to see your instincts are the same as mine – do NOT deal with anyone who a) you can’t reach over the phone, and b) doesn’t have a physical address. I figure if they can’t bother to talk to me and i can’t send them any mail, then the h*** with them. It does limit my shopping options :), but that’e OK by me …

    1. Aquifer

      Just occurred to me – maybe the folks at Synthesis started READING your blog and said “Holey, moley! This broad has got to be on the Pres. Tues. list for sure! Let’s skedaddle!”

  11. Aquifer

    Ape – “Hmm, now if E=MC2, and a2+b2=c2, does any of this really help me get that banana?” – theory on trial, the early days of ape pragmatism ….

    1. ambrit

      Dear aquifer;
      I was thinking more along the lines of:
      Ape: “Hmm. If I get Gooro and that gormangi cat to play along we could call ourselves the ‘Blueape Group.’ Now all we need is some lasers and something to bang on.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sad but true – thinking doesn’t pay much these day.

      I suggest our pontificating ape friend here to go into modelling. Maybe he can pose for a sculptor.

      As for yesterday’s antidote and her ‘unrequited love’ look, that dog could be a great actress – I have seen the same money expression on the face of the Oscar-worthy lead actress of many a romance movie.

      1. Aquifer

        OK, i give up – how do you know the ape is a “he” and the dog is a “she”?

        Could be the ape is aping Rodin’s chin scratcher?

        Or wondering whether to shave?

        Or …

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I really do not know.

          They do show my own biases and stereotyping though – that I do know.

      2. JTFaraday

        Oh, see now, I looked into those dreamy brown eyes and thought I saw a boy. There’s no accounting for perceptions, I guess.

        But, isn’t it really like a wolf or a coyote or something?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            She’s BAAD NEWS according to Jewish apocrypha (she’s the one who temps nice married men) but the New Age types have a different take. She’s the woman who won’t take an unfair deal. She was Adam’s first wife, he wanted her to be subservient, she refused and left.

    1. Fíréan

      The bone structure on the animal’s leftside brow seems to be flattened or damaged, and lacks the prominence of the right side brow bone.

      1. Aquifer

        Does look like an old fracture – may be that’s what (s)he’s thinkin’ about – how to pay the vet bill ….

  12. Jesper

    http://www.thelocal.se/44894/20121206/
    “Sweden forced to shut down nuclear reactor”

    Privately run nuclear power plant shuts down during winter when energy needs are the highest in Sweden. The maintenance weren’t done during the times energy was cheap so that the shut down causes energy prices to spike even higher during high energy usage, again…. Ah well, I’m sure the person responsible for scheduling of the maintenance of the back-up diesel generators will be called in to senior management for some talks.

    Some things should never ever be sold out to private interests.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Jesper;
      That’s how Enron did it to California! Send the Swedish prosecutors some links and watch the fur fly.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Swimming robot reaches Australia.

    It’s easy you don’t have to worry about robot sharks lurking around.

    Fair is fair and this is not fair.

    1. Aquifer

      Get ready for the robot Olympics – why should people have to do all that sweaty stuff – heh that’s a lot o’ work – get the bots to do it …

          1. ambrit

            Here’s the break down:
            Aircraft carrier– Billions USD
            Robot mine — Thousands USD
            Robot mines are the ultimate expression of economies of scale.

          2. skippy

            @ambrit,

            No to forget… 5,000ish souls aboard vs, zero.

            skippy… additionally… when one blows up, a cheer go’s up with it and the other… well… gawd and country wrapped up with some ribbon and cloth… sigh.

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          I just felt a disturbance in the Force. Swarms of robot mines overloading the capability of our sub hunting aircraft and minesweepers. Bet they look like dolphins on sonar….

  14. kevinearick

    Monetary Expansion & Economic Growth

    It didn’t take long for San Francisco to bleed the Japanese banks dry did it?

    Capital feeds on RE inflation, compression, which is relatively incremental to labor; labor feeds on RE deflation, decompression, which is relatively quantum. By controlling the price of labor to ensure RE price inflation, the Bank builds a wall of leverage, which the public, private, and non-profit partnership must constantly climb, in a positive feedback loop with Bank credit. To the extent you feed its growth with technology, your tertiary developments, you carve the pipe, height and slope, which you will then traverse with your secondary and primary developments, for the benefit of your children and grandchildren.

    Your job is to position yourself in time and place, when (timing, timing, timing). For example, I was the youngest crane operator for the largest bridge builder in America, by some 20+ years of age. The kids that followed me already had a bridge. In the current instance, at the end of an empire, all of the gates are going to open relatively simultaneously, because labor reversed polarity globally, and both capital and the middle class are on their own, trying to continue scaling the wall, which is now a cliff. We stopped providing the corporation with oxygen, deferring all income. When you want to be depends upon your unique circumstances.

    The ‘only’ difference between an architect and other laborers is that an architect is carving while shooting the pipeline, and the pivots left behind become economic incubators for economic growth. Because corporations cannot think, your development acts like a dye, as it is copied and distributed across the corporate system, which you employ as a feedback mechanism.

    Pay attention to everything, as necessary to see the overall algorithm, and tell the corporate robots nothing, except what you want them to know. It’s better for you and it’s better for them. Pay no mind to the jealous middle age types acting as a filter to your progress. So long as you move quickly, they will never catch up. They sold their soul and expect you to do the same, their idea of equal rights. Ultimately, they want theirs and yours too, by program. You can’t take critters personally and expect to be successful, although it doesn’t hurt to let them think they won the battle.

    The bankers, the prison guards and warden, are caught in the casino, along with everyone else that thinks money is the bridge to the future. Don’t be fooled by the dress and make-up. You are the bridge. As you move beyond the web, the web grows, and, as you can clearly see, the corporation is starving for lack of economic growth. If you came down here, which I do not suggest, you would see that I am not under pressure. San Francisco, and the entire empire, which cast its lot on this prototype, is, which is why the Fed is allowing California to print money on the expectation of expansion, and losing bigger each day.

    I can walk out of here at the time of my choosing. San Francisco, and nonperforming legacy capital in general, cannot. So, you get on GA and become an economic slave for the city, which thinks it is making a profit on every part of the intermediary transactions, and you get a shelter bed, to feed the system, while the operators drive Mercedes and live in nice homes overlooking the bay. Crack me up.

    Have you noticed all the empty hotel rooms?

    The girls had this game when I was a kid. It had transparent clothing that could be overlayed to dress up the models. That is exactly how a city operates. When you walk in, you want to identify each layer and its focal point. For example, where 6th, Taylor, and Golden Gate meet, the entrance to the Tenderloin, is a focal point, the edge of an event horizon, and each event horizon operates on a set easily identifiable false assumptions. When it rains during the week, you see the homeless that will not play the game lying on the streets. On a sunny weekend, you see the tourists, along with the homeless if you look. I have been doin’ this sh- since I was 9 years old. If you can solve problems, money is irrelevant. Just surf the current.

  15. ambrit

    Friends;
    On a closer to home note; the CEO of the DIY Boxxstore I labour in has recently sold approximately 78 million USD worth of stock options into the market. This less than a year after the chain eliminated the sales force commission system. Thus does the reality of CEO Kleptocracy intrude upon the sylvan slumbers of the store workforce. Since most of the oldtimers here have their retirements tied up in company stock 401k’s, the expected tanking of the share price will really raise primal screams of anguish.
    I know it isn’t the philosophy of this site in general to promote “direct action” against neer-do-wells, but some sort of Financial Committee of Vigilance seems to be in order. Methinks it will arise organically, as part of a true social upheaval. Interesting times ahead as the former middle class starts to feel the Iron Heel stomping on their necks.

    1. Aquifer

      “I know it isn’t the philosophy of this site in general to promote “direct action” against neer-do-wells. …”

      Funny, I hadn’t noticed …. :)

      Hard to know how to deal with the “big box” store you refer to when one doesn’t know which one it is, but i can understand your reluctance to name it ….

      Maybe communicating that in some back channel way to someone who does promote such action might be useful??

      1. ambrit

        Dear Aquifer;
        Well now, some sort of stockholder revolt would be nice. But isn’t that captured by the ‘due diligence’ theory? I admit to being baffled.

        1. Aquifer

          But who is supposed to be doing due diligence? We can’t even get folks to do that for their politicians … Granted folks care more about their pocketbooks than their politics, but i doubt very much that the “shareholders”, by and large, even know what “shares” they are holding from day to day, let alone who’s in charge, let alone what the f .. that person is doing with his/her stocks …

  16. Susan the other

    The Guardian story on Munich HVBank laundering money since at least 2002 and sending it off to Swiss bank accounts. Gee, why doesn’t this surprise me? The whistleblower got committed to a high-security insane asylum – really. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And if the Munich VB, who else and for what illicit reason? Drugs, arms, nuclear waste, pedophile child trafficking, toxic grain. It can’t all be toxic “securities.”

    Then a link to a New Zealand story about training dogs to drive. And they can learn how to drive! Amazing. So clearly, dogs can learn to be bankers. Problem solved.

    1. Aquifer

      Sure they can – you don’t they’ve been chasin’ ‘em all these years for nuthin’, do ya?

          1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            Ya, or we have American Lab Retrievers…throw out a wad of cash and they bring back a crack house.

      1. Jack Parsons

        We had a dog (a Samoyed) who brought home 1) a bag of biscuits and later 2) a 6-pack. Sammys are sled dogs- he could have carried the beer for several blocks.

        1. Aquifer

          Hmm – how many cans were empty by the time he got home – is it legal to drink and mush? Or is it drink the mash or …

          We had a dog who used to bring home old nylon stockings …even AFTER he was “fixed” …

  17. Uwe

    So the Mollath case finally made it into the English speaking media. This has been causing some waves here in Bavaria. There is quite a bit of relevant information missing in the article.

    This started out as a war of the Roses where Mr. Mollath sent letters detailing the illegal activity of his wife to the bank where she works and to a local prosecutor. To shut him up his wife takes him to court on assault charges. The only evidence she has is a written statement from a doctor – no pictures, no witnesses. It turns out the doctor does not remember anything. But a relative of Mrs. Mollath happens to work at this doctor’s office. So this statement may well be fabricated.

    Where this gets really hot is that apparently Mr. Mollath mentionend at least one politician for whom his wife illegally transferred money to Switzerland. The name has not come out in the open so far. Is it so far fetched to think that somebody high up contacted the judge about this crazy guy who was causing trouble with his “baseless accusations”. What has come out is that the judge contacted the local prosecutor to whom Mollath sent his accusations to tell him that this guy was mentally deranged.

    Mr. Mollath consistently refused to submit to a psychiatric examination. Because of this and because of his accusations of money laundering several expert witnesses declared that he was suffering from paranoid psychosis. Because of the accusation of his wife which the judge deemed credible he was declared to be dangerous and ordered locked up in a psychiatric ward. During the final trial the judge was quoted as saying “If you continue like this you will never get out”.

    By now the money laundering activities Mr. Mollath documented have come under the statute of limitation. But although many of his charges have been verified by the bank Mr. Mollath is still locked up and the judicial system is resisting a retrial. In his trial he only had a public defender with whom he was not satisfied.

    This has been an eye opener to many people here. Things like that could happen in Russia but not here, so we thought. So if your sanity is in doubt in court get a very good lawyer or you may be locked away.

  18. ginnie nyc

    Re: Guardian story re: HVB money laundering & whistleblower psychiatric incarceration –

    It seemed at least half the new construction in Manhattan between 1998-2008 was financed by Hypoverein Bank. Perhaps those building were the washers and dryers in the laundromat?

  19. Hugh

    Aircraft carriers are about projection of power. I am not sure where or when the myth arose that they were invulnerable. Aircraft carriers were sunk in World War II and were prime targets of the Soviet Union during much of the Cold War. I don’t think anyone had any illusions about their survivability.

    In a strategic sense, aircraft carriers are just large moveable trip wires. From a tactical point of view, it is idiocy to put them in the Persian Gulf where they can be easily attacked by fairly cheap, low tech weapons. But that’s not why they’re there. Strategically, it places a piece of US real estate anywhere the US decides it has a strategic interest. Now just because they are trip wires doesn’t mean they are supposed to be tripped or that they need to wait around to be sunk to prove a point. What they do is deter and up the ante for all concerned. To be clear, I am not advocating this. I am just trying to explain how this works.

    The presence of US warships in the Gulf is actually a reassuring sign. If war was seriously being considered, one of the first things that would happen is that all US war ships would exit the Gulf and head for open water.

    Iranian leaders pretty much know this. Their anti-ship capabilities: missiles, mines, and speed boats, aren’t really directed against US warships. They are there to threaten oil tankers. It is oil we should remember that makes the Gulf strategically significant.

    And in the event of war, Iran’s anti-ship capabilities would be important targets, and carriers would be involved in their destruction but they would be launching their attacks from hundreds of miles out to sea.

    The real question mark about the future of carriers is the movement of the Pentagon away from conventional war capability and one driven by drones and special ops. Most of these operations can be conducted from land bases. Even for those using naval assets, the question arises whether carriers are the best option. You know you can haul garbage in a Rolls-Royce but would you want to? Carriers are expensive. It’s not just them but they need a whole battle group to go with them. And there just aren’t that many states against whom they can be used effectively anymore. So just how many trip wires do we need? Well, that of course depends upon if we want to maintain an American empire and what kind.

    1. Aquifer

      All excellent points well made – but i posit a further “factoid” to be considered in the decision making process – what states are the Senators/Reps that hold decision making offices in Congress from and what weapons, ships etc. are made in those states?

    2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      They’re supposed to launch fighter planes so Jap zeros don’t crash into your battleships. Everyone knows that. sheesh.

      1. charles sereno

        Six Japanese aircraft carriers launched the aircraft that devastated Pearl Harbor (I was there, lost 4 relatives from collateral fire). Six months later in the Battle of Midway, 3(?) stealth American carriers provided the firepower to overcome Admiral Yamamoto’s well-laid plans which turned the tide of the Pacific War. The American Admiral Nimitz had the advantage of knowing Japanese strategy because their code had been hacked (this while Enigma/Ultra was happening in Europe). Brains over Brawn? If so, maybe we ought to reconsider our security strategy???

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          “If so, maybe we ought to reconsider our security strategy???”

          Ya, think so. Start with we aren’t fighting WW2 anymore. Nukes are here now. Next, ending the Cold War was a good idea. Next, our “legacy assets” are still good against Somalian Pirates, and maybe Iran…if Russia and China don’t get involved on the other side….

          1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            While I’m thinking about it, for the life of me I can’t figure out why we haven’t sent the Navy to the Caymen Islands and invade the crooked bastards that are hosting tax dodges which could fund our proud Navy.

    3. YouDon'tSay?

      In a strategic sense, aircraft carriers are just large moveable trip wires.

      Bingo! Invulnerable if left unchallenged, as we assume they will be. Nuclear trip wires if destroyed, immensely useful in the meantime.

    4. YouDon'tSay?

      Continuing small wars (or the threat thereof) are essential for the corporate component of the MICC; these companies have no alternative means to survive. Although they now make up a very substantial part of America’s much diminished industrial base, they cannot convert to civilian production. Many of them tried and failed; they simply do not have the marketing, managing, engineering and manufacturing skills to compete successfully in global commercial markets. In the prophetic words of William Anders, CEO of General Dynamics in 1991, “… most [weapons manufacturers] don’t bring a competitive advantage to non-defense business,” and “Frankly, sword makers don’t make good and affordable plowshares.

  20. ginnie nyc

    Re: Oligarch Bloomberg promoting HRC as next NYC Mayor –

    Ha ha ha. For one thing, she’s not that dumb. No one has ever become president after being Mayor of NY. For another, Christine Quinn, heretofore Bloomberg’s preferred candidate, must be livid. Indeed, feeling stabbed in the back. He’s since made a joint appearance with Quinn, joking about his remarks. These jokes did not go over well.

    Quinn must’ve burned Bloomberg’s dinner one evening (they’re in a mariage blanc).

    1. Aquifer

      Oh hell, let Christine and Bill get together – make it a double date … as long as she doesn’t blow it, things will work out just fine ….

      1. ambrit

        Dear Aquifer;
        Not another ‘Little Black Dress’ joke! (She could wear the dress and Bloomie could wear his SS get up.

        1. Aquifer

          I thought it was a blew dress … oh well, black, blew, black&blew, what’s the difference in the end …

          1. ambrit

            Dear Aquifer;
            Like the Hero in the old cowboy film, they always get the girl in the end. I wish I had a link to that old Devo video about the Texas Nazis going bowling.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cities as for-profit organiations.

    From LA Times about LA city council’s $5 million/year decision to keep ticketing cars at flawed meters – my question is, why would you repair any broken parking meters at all?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why trifle with quarters when you can get $50 or $100 or maybe more each time?

      This is where it shows the private sector can be ‘more efficient.’

  22. sugarplum fairies only ugly

    Re the disabled rights treaty, the debate is more newsworthy than the vote. The way the permanent state choreographs human rights debate, they should make the senators wear tutus. Every noun, every verb, every particle of speech is precisely stereotyped and recurs every time the senate debates a human rights treaty. Whether the treaty gets ratified or not, the purpose of the ratification dance is to keep human rights out of reach of the US population.

    Proponents say the treaties don’t change anything. Bullshit. Opponents say the treaty imposes alien authorities – the UN, or review panels. Bullshit. As supreme law of the land, the treaty sets objective public standards for the state’s treatment of its people, and publicly reviews how well the state meets the standards. Republican, Democrat, the review bodies do not care, it’s the state that’s on the hook to measure up. No buck-passing, no partisan divide-and-rule. Independent evaluation of the state’s performance, not by journalistic asskissers or brainwashed party hacks, but by people this state can’t control. You can see what this would do to our illegitimate mafiya state. The US is a laughingstock in Geneva. They don’t want to be a laughingstock domestically, too.

    1. Aquifer

      I completely agree – these statements of rights ARE a big deal – if they weren’t the US would have no problem with ratifying them …

      I did note that language about giving up sovereignty – and what struck me immediately, though a point not raised in the article, was that that never seems to be a problem for these folks when we ratify increasingly sovereignty ceding Trade Deals – I doubt that that issue will be a “deal breaker” when the TPP comes up … In fact it seem to me that is precisely the point of these trade deals – to cede sovereignty to unaccountable trans national institutions, but not in the name of anything approaching human rights …

      Oh wait, I forgot – corps ARE people, hmmm – the rubber is burning – OK if corps are people and disabled people have no rights then …. the possibilities boggle the mind

    2. potbellied sugraplum fairies

      Interesting, too, that the treaty Obama went for was the easy one, the one for little crippled kids that even GW Bush could sign, and Obama couldn’t even get that. GHW Bush burnished his reputation with the CCPR as he was going over the electoral falls. Reagan acceded to the Torture Convention, whereas his wannabe Obama shits on it every day. Obama’s oozing diplomatic fail out his pores. His name will be mud for all time. So, you pathetic puppet, wanna escape historic disgrace? CESCR with no reservations or GTFO.

  23. ScottS

    Court gives Dotcom green light to sue NZ spy agency for January raid:
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/12/court-gives-dotcom-green-light-to-sue-nz-spy-agency-for-january-raid/

    Kim Dotcom suspects that the government’s surveillance of him may have been more extensive than the government has previously acknowledged, and that some information may have been inappropriately shared with the United States. For example, there are rumors that an FBI official watched a live video feed of the raid from their headquarters in Washington, DC. Now, he’ll be able to put those suspicions to the test.

    The GSCB “must disclose anything they shared with other intelligence agencies in the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance—made up of the US, Australia, UK, and Canada,” according to one news report. “And they must reveal if they carried out surveillance on Doctom’s wife Mona and his co-accused Bram van der Kolk.”

    Pass the popcorn.

  24. smokethebarbecue

    Yves, the platinum coin scheme might be literally the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard in my life, but ZOMFG Lambert posted a link to it a month or two ago, and it didn’t look like he was kidding.

    1. Hugh

      The platinum coin would simply be a way, a perfectly legal way I might add, of creating a deposit account at the Fed allowing the government to draw on it for deficit funding without recourse to issuing Treasuries and having to pay interest on them. What is dumb is paying interest, billions of dollars in interest, when the government doesn’t need to. If you think about it this way, Treasuries are just a subsidy for the rich and provide an interest bearing checking account for countries like China, which to my mind are both dumb ideas.

        1. Hugh

          Nixon went off the gold standard on August 15, 1971. We have had a fiat currency since, but gold standard era thinking continues to predominate in academic and political circles because it meshes so well with neoliberalism. The Fed in its special programs alone had nearly $30 trillion of activity when it bailed out the banks. That was all money created out of thin air, magical thinking you would call it. The platinum coin is just an accounting gambit, but the underlying mechanics of fiat have been around for 40 years and were massively used just a few years ago. Maybe you should re-examine your concept of magical thinking. I do not think it means what you think it means.

          1. smokethebarbecue

            Sometimes magical thinking means believing that we can dump as much carbon into the atmosphere as we feel like with no consequences. Sometimes it means believing we can borrow as much as we feel like, and then print the money to pay it back.

            At some point our foreign creditors will worry whether our future growth will be enough to sustain our borrowing/monetizing. Using an “accounting gambit” is liable to throw up a red flag, making it the worst thing to do.
            But then who are we really trying to kid?

  25. Aquifer

    Forgive my stupidity, once again, but what is “ZOMG”? I’m familiar with OMG but the Z? Zarathustra? Zorro? Zimbabwe?

    1. smokethebarbecue

      The “Z” doesn’t stand for anything, it’s just for emphasis.
      And now the Washington Post is floating the same deranged scheme. All I can say is: we are so F’d.

    2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      It’s MMT codespeak – to decode spell it backwards so it sinks up with the rest of MMT. GMOZ. Good Money OZ. It’s the way they do it in Kansas. Wherever that may be (tornadoes and such).

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        Glad to see the link was to the Urban Dictionary, rather than an MMT definition site. Learned something new.

      2. Aquifer

        Thanx!

        Now if (s)he would just define what a “humiliating fasion” is … I am getting more confased all the time. Looks like a lot of off keys notes in this “word” …

  26. JustAnObserver

    Re: Synthesis web hosting

    Dunno if this helps but doing a quick whois on their web address – websynthesis.com – shows this as the Registrant:

    Copyblogger Media LLC
    1942 Broadway
    Suite 316
    Boulder, CO 80302
    US
    +(303) 800-6734

  27. AndyLynn

    didn’t see anyone comment on Eliot Spitzer’s Tobin Tax pitch; perhaps i missed it. IMHO, this would both “pay back” all the bailouts, and tamp down HFT as well. too simple-minded?

    1. Aquifer

      Too bad Eliot didn’t push for ending the rebate of NY’s FTT to the brokers and traders who paid it when he was Governor – those billions would have kept NY in the black ….

  28. LeonovaBalletRusse

    HFT Study Pulls Back the Veil and the Bride is Ugly
    December 6th, 2012
    in econ_news, syndication

    //Econintersect: A report still in draft form written by two professors and a CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) economist presents detailed analysis of trading data by high-frequency trading (HFT) firms. The report details the study of the market by examination of specific trades. One conclusion is that because HFT that reduces market liquidity (classified as “aggressive trading”) is more profitable than HFT which increases liquidity (classified as “passive trading”). Econintersect estimates from the data presented in the report that the ratio of profitablity for aggressive trades vs. passive trades may be as high as 4:1.//
    MORE AT:
    http://econintersect.com/b2evolution/blog1.php/2012/12/06/hft-study-pulls-back-the-veil-and-the-bride-is-ugly

Comments are closed.