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Links 1/31/13

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Dear patient readers,

I’m juggling keeping normal blogging up along with soldiering on with the Bank of America series. Although I have only one more piece planned, that one requires additional sleuthing. In the meantime, more whistleblowers are surfacing (I’m continuing to interview them) and that may add a post or two beyond what I had originally envisaged. I’m really tired (and actually I’ve been pretty sick for over a week, didn’t even leave the apartment for three or four days). I may be a post short tomorrow.

And what was it with you guys with Links yesterday? Lambert had a great set but there were hardly any comments. Were you boycotting because you didn’t like yet another camouflaged owl?

Tortoise ‘survives in locked store room for 30 years’ Telegraph

Homing pigeon ‘Bermuda Triangle’ explained BBC (John M)

Bullet kills driver after ‘freak rebound’ off boar ConsumerReports (Robert M via Paul Kedrosky)

Vegetarian Diet Cuts Heart Risk by 32%, Study Says Bloomberg

Will Your Waiter Give You the Flu? Mother Jones. A hidden cost of low labor bargaining power.

China Averts $482 Billion in Local Bank Defaults via Massive Rollover Scheme; Extend-and-Pretend Chinese Style Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Chinese hacked us, says New York Times Guardian

Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter slap-down has big implications – and not just for News Corp editors Independent (Chuck L)

Banks mis-sold more than 90pc of rate swaps Telegraph

Mis-sold swaps may cost UK banks billions Reuters (Richard Smith)

Italy risks political crisis as MPS bank scandal turns ‘explosive’ Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Implicates both Draghi and Monti. What fun!

German Retail Sales Plunge In December Clusterstock. Hhm. Germany was supposedly doing not so badly, but apparently Germans don’t think so.

Julian Assange | Sam Adams Awards | Oxford Union YouTube. Lamber has a transcript….but he didn’t think readers were interested enough for it to be made into a post. if you tell me otherwise, we can run it.

Political Power Needs to Be Used New York Times. Editorial. The willful blindness of Good Dems continues to amaze me. Obama did not want filibuster reform. He didn’t want it because he wants to be able to blame the Big Bad Rs for selling out his base. That is his plan, not the result of a lack of will or foresight. Notice the lack of agency in this piece? “Democrats” not “Obama”.

Jobs Deficit: Austerity Politics Threaten Obama’s Economy Huffington Post. When we see this type of headline somewhere beyond the HuffPo (and the New York Times on its liberal credential burnishing days) we might be getting somewhere. But no one is worried: 2013 Sequestration Likely To Happen Despite Ominous GDP Report Huffington Post

Pro Gun Rights Crowd Packs NY SAFE Act Meeting in LaFayette Syracuse (bob)

Don’t mind the helicopters, it’s just practice, Miami-Dade police say Miami Herald (furzy mouse)

Money Issues Drive Down Law Schools’ Applications New York Times. This is a sea change.

Exclusive: JPMorgan bet against itself in “Whale” trade Reuters. This came out last year but amusing to have the spotlight on this again.

Economic Recovery is Impossible Whilst Oil and Gas are Risk On Assets OilPrice

Don’t Expect Consumer Spending To Be the Engine of Economic Growth It Once Was Big Picture

Surprise! Citi Economic Index Flashes Warning Signal WSJ MarketBeat

US house prices lift. But for how long? MacroBusiness

Martin Pfinsgraff Named Acting Head of Large Bank Supervision OCC. One head has rolled. Looks like a big time demotion dressed up nicely to aid in job search. The old head oversaw the foreclosure reviews.

GDP falling again Jim Hamilton, Econbrowser

What’s wrong with this picture? Sober Look

Lessons for Entrepreneurs in Rubble of a Collapsed Deal New York Times

Banks Don’t Commit Fraud; Banksters Commit Fraud: Response to Yglesias Randy Wray, EconoMonitor

Hitler came to power 80 years ago. I remember it like yesterday Guardian

Crap detection 101 NewsTrust (Lambert)

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

Bonus antidote (Clive). This video is amazing. The shards of ice shown in the video are in some cases three times taller than the Empire State Building.

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143 comments

    1. JohnL

      Agreed. No way it bounced off a boar at 90 deg with enough energy left to travel 2km. A bad shot, period.

    2. evodevo

      Yeah, last time I looked, boars weren’t wearing armor. On the other hand, I live in Ky and it’s not unusual for a 30-06 bullet from a deer rifle to travel a mile or more and still penetrate a trailer/house wall – it’s happened. But NOT a ricochet.

  1. dearieme

    “Money Issues Drive Down Law Schools’ Applications”: Dissolution of the Monasteries, Part II.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On the one hand, they should make law education more affordable. But that would just mean we get more lawyers.

      On the other hand, they could make it more expensive. But it could mean lawyers would have to charge more (or “broaden their product lines”) to recoup their money.

      1. different clue

        There are different kinds of law. There is Corporate Law and there is Anti-Corporate Law. There is pro-Labor Law and there is anti-Labor Law. There is Dewey, Cheatham and Howe Law and there is National Lawyers Guild Law. If law school were more affordable, more people who would like to go into pro-Labor, anti-Corporate, National Lawyers Guild Law would be able to do so.

      2. Trish

        Maybe if we had more or better regulation, we wouldn’t need so many lawyers. But then again the 99% can’t afford them anyways. Just another way the game is rigged.

  2. JGordon

    I have a question that I have not seen you all addressing yet: just out of curiosity, how do the adherents of the various flavors of Keynesian ideology account for the fact that while the government has been doing it’s proper job of stimulating demand by running trillion dollar+ deficits in a very correct counter-cyclical fashion, we are still getting a nominal shrinking GDP?

    This is ignoring the fact that in real terms the GDP of America has been shrinking for years now.

    1. Ms G

      The “stimulus” was given to financial institutions (banks), who have (as expected) done nothing with it that is either productive (except to fuel another orgy of dangerous speculation and boost their own narrow profits via the formula “borrow from Fed at 0%, park in Treasuries paying 1% – 2.5%). Instead of to [fill in the blank with recipients who would have used the money to revive the Real economy.]

      That may be one reason.

      1. dolleymadison

        Correct as usual, Ms G. Can you imagine how many cars would be bought, homes repaired, nails painted, vacations taken, meals eaten out, appliances replaced, etc. had the Fed spread the wealth to the folks who have really suffered and who are REALLY bankrolling the most massive transfer of wealth to the Banks in the history of the world? WHERE are the 85 BILLIONS PER MONTH for “MSB” really going and WHY is NOBODY (save NC) mentioning it???

        1. different clue

          One hopes it would have been old cars repaired, not new cars bought; old appliances repaired not new appliances bought, all debts paid down to zero not debt maintained or expanded to pay for turning more energy into waste heat in order to turn more matter into waste crap. But those are mere details. Anything would have been better than giving the imaginary money to the gang banker class so they could use it to Yeltsinize every distressed asset in America when the time is right.

        2. PublicPersona

          45B MBS purcheses are from Fannie and Freddie. Bailing out those now public firms. F&F are secondary lenders keeping funds available to mortgage lenders to make more loans.

      1. Thor's Hammer

        Does anybody bother to do the simple math that defines the result of a 3.3% growth rate as they blindly repeat it as a slogan? Yet we continue to behave as if doubling energy use, water consumption, food production, and CO2 emissions in a few decades is not problem.

        Sustained exponential growth is mathematically and physically impossible. That which is impossible will not occur. Human economic activity and population growth at its contemporary rate inevitably lead to overshoot and collapse. There is no evidence that our species has developed the collective political/social wisdom and behavior that suggests our fate will be different than any other species that exhausts its ecological support base.*

        Delusion is the opium of the masses—.

        *as tens of thousands of cars sit in endless traffic jams in Beijing, engines idling and occupants breathing and dying from the fumes of progress.

        1. different clue

          Indeed. China and then India will provide the final and visible Reductio ad Absurdum to the pursuit of economic growth. And they will, too. For who is going to stop them?
          They have atom bombs and the missiles to deliver them should anyone care to try.

          A raging flood of Global Burning is what will stop them, along with everybody else; in the fullness of time.

      2. JGordon

        Nominal GDP as in without inflation adjustment. I thought there was only one way that phrase could be interpreted. Sorry.

        So Ben Bernanke is expanding his balance sheet by trillions of dollars, the government is running trillion dollar deficits, and meanwhile inflation is running at around 10% –as John Williams of Shadowstats has calculated, using the government’s own formulas. And factoring all that in, all that could be accomplished last quarter was a lousy -0.1% growth? Or 3.3% for the year? That does not add up.

        1. Roland

          The official inflation rates obviously understate the real rate of inflation, and understate inflation for obviously political reasons: i.e. reduce the real cost of indexed payments, make GDP growth appear better, and help keep interest rates near zero for the benefit of whatever bubble is currently being blown by our financial elite.

          Nevertheless Williams’ alternative index doesn’t seem to be any more accurate.

          That might not be Williams’ fault. It might not be easy to singlehandedly perform the work of an entire government bureau.

          We do need people to ruthlessly and relentlessly criticize the bogus official inflation rates–but with better accuracy than Williams.

      1. JGordon

        That’s a great way to avoid critical self evaluation–just say everything you don’t want to read is “trolling”. Very convenient for the intellectually incapable.

    2. Cynthia

      Given the ample history of the destruction and misery caused by rentier economies, I’m still trying to understand whether this “neo-classical” financialization push was all part of a grand scheme to return the financial elites to full power by dismantling the New Deal and post-war social democracies using debt peonage. Or, whether the likes of Friedman and Hayek were just plain stupid, unintentionally but recklessly leading everyone down the hellacious path to state-sponsored serfdom.

      But regardless of which scenario is right, one thing has become apparent: Financialization is what will kill Capitalism as we know it.

      1. different clue

        Hayek may have been stupid. Friedman seems more open-eyed evil to me, from the little I know of him. How sad it will be that Hayek and Friedman and etc. and their OverClass backers and users will make Soviet/Maoist/NorKor Gulag Marxism relevant and appealing all over again.

      2. Glenn Condell

        ‘whether this “neo-classical” financialization push was all part of a grand scheme to return the financial elites to full power by dismantling the New Deal and post-war social democracies using debt peonage’

        I believe so, but I don’t think in terms of ‘grand plans’ so much as the results of having groups of wealthy, powerful, increasingly interconnected and therefore increasingly untrammmelled elites worldwide pursuing their interests. This doesn’t require top=down co-ordination, just like-mindedness and the suborning or corruption of civic institutions to eliminate non-elite protections while beefing up their own. The ground is thus prepared for a take-over which looks like a coup.

        ‘But regardless of which scenario is right, one thing has become apparent: Financialization is what will kill Capitalism as we know it’

        I think it is democracy as we know it that will be killed. Capitalism, perhaps in a deformed laissez-faire soft fascistic version, will survive.

        ‘How sad it will be that Hayek and Friedman and etc. and their OverClass backers and users will make Soviet/Maoist/NorKor Gulag Marxism relevant and appealing all over again’

        Whichever alternative appeals most, basically anything that poses a threat, will be neutered or if necessary destroyed by ‘full spectrum dominance’

        Speaking of which, did you see the Greenwald piece on Mike McConnell? He quotes a McConnell WaPo op-ed from 2010:

        ‘”we need to reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis and impact assessment – who did it, from where, why and what was the result – more manageable.” As Wired’s Ryan Singel wrote: “He’s talking about changing the internet to make everything anyone does on the net traceable and geo-located so the National Security Agency can pinpoint users and their computers for retaliation’

        And: ‘Regarding the report’s plan to “provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum”, the BBC noted: “Consider that for a moment. The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.”

        Of course this is all placed under the terrorism figleaf, but the main target will be opposition to the status quo, foreign for sure but particularly domestic.

        What hope reform in a future like that? Our only chance is through connection. If that is lost, so are we.

    3. different clue

      Ms G is correct. If that money, or “money”, or “munny”, or however we like to think of it had been strictly spent on paying people to rebuild stuff . . . bridges about to fall down, water and sewer systems about to collapse and explode, etc.; people would have earned and re-earned that money several steps down the stuff-doing chain.

      The “money” is given to gang bankers and similar OverClass institutions so that they can use it to buy distressed people and assets at a penny on the benjamin or less when the time comes. That money is “Yeltsinization” money, not “stimulus” money.

    4. bob

      The banks are using the “stimulus” to cover over bad “assets”. This has been the CB plan since day one.

      Instead of the money being ‘spent’, it’s being used to cover over the lies that accumlated on bank balance sheets. Money that never really existed but was assigned a value on a balance sheet.

      This is TBTF. If the banks were to admit that their assets were imaginary, they would fail immediately. Too big to fail means that you have enough imaganary assets to take down the bank.

      Because the banks still claim these assets are real, the aggregate of “new” money and old assets seems to be increasing. It’s not, the “new” money is just being used to cover over past sins, and allow the banks to write off (subtract) imaginary assets over time.

      Net- they still aren’t “stimulating” enough to cover old, bad assets.

      I don’t think this is “stimulus”, it’s the CB’s and banks covering over fraud.

  3. TJ

    “compared with nonvegetarians, vegetarians were slightly younger, had a lower BMI, had a lower intake of alcohol, and were less likely to be current smokers”

    Also note that sugar and refined food intake was not measured.

    People with healthier lifestyles are less likely to have heart disease? Shocker! Of course, the authors (one of which is “a member of the Vegetarian Society, United Kingdom”) jump at the bit to imply that it is the meatless aspect of the diet driving the lower risk – and the media follows.

    Bleh.

    1. Inverness (@Inverness)

      TJ, good points. The vegetarians studied were also in Great Britain — your typical Brit probably doesn’t eat that much better than your typical American.

      So, vegetarians in the UK distinguish themselves by making sure they eat better choices. Also, are they less likely to smoke, drink, sleep more, exercise…there are so many factors.

      1. Stephen Nightingale

        My wife and I are running an experiment. She’s a vegetarian and I’m not. We both (like to think we) make healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction choices, but mine include meat and hers don’t. One of us will let you know the results of the experiment, anytime between tomorrow and about 30 years hence.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s interesting.

          Maybe someone can run one to compare organic and non-organic diets.

        2. different clue

          Interesting. Is your meat strictly organic grass-fed and therefor leaning more towards the omega-3 fatty acid profile that cattle pick up from eating greenleaf plants? Or is your meat strictly toxic-waste petro-corporate grain-fed meat leaning more towards the omega-6 fatty acid profile
          that corn and soybeans deliver to the forcefed feedlot victims of the cornsoy diet?
          I am just a layman but I have begun reading and hearing about suggestive observations and even some data about omega-3 oils being arteriosclerolytic and inflammalytic and so forth. Whereas omega-6 oils (in modern present day excess) may be arteriosclerogenic and inflammagenic drivers of many of the metabolic decay processes which lead to heart disease. So . . . are you eating shinola meat or shit meat? Are you eating shinola eggs or shit eggs? Are you eating shinola butter or shit butter? It might make a difference to your experiment.

          1. TJ

            Two thumbs up to you! I agree that this is a hypothesis definitely worth taking a serious look at. Can you share your readings?

    2. different clue

      TJ,

      My lunch break is about to end. I will find and leave a few-couple links after work. Bear in mind that I am just a total layman and this stuff just intrigues my brain and seems worth thinking about. I have no last word to offer.

      Meanwhile, a valuable talk for us all to read about while assessing all different kinds of things that purport to be “science” is this talk by Richard Feynman, called Cargo Cult Science.
      http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm

      1. Glenn Condell

        ‘a valuable talk for us all to read about while assessing all different kinds of things that purport to be “science”

        Great stuff. You could replace the word science with economics and would ring even truer, though I suppose it falls into the category of ‘things that purport to be science’

    3. different clue

      Here is an interview from Acres USA with someone who claims to have found evidence that modern-day excess omega-6 oils relative to omega-3 oils in the diet drive the in-body production of inflammatory prostaglandins as well as driving other problems . . . and a return to pre-modern balance of omega-3/omega-6 oils would over time restore in-body production of inflammoneutral and inflammolytic prostraglandins. Why might this be important in blood vessel disease? There is a theory that cholesterol in itself would be harmless if blood-vessel (especially artery) inner linings were not inflamed and inflammation-damaged. When they are, the body uses cholesterol as a kind of bio-spackle to try repairing or plastering-over the inflammation sites. Here is the link.
      http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/April08_Allport.pdf

      If this is true, one wants to avoid excessive intake of omega-6 oils and also intake of oils which go rancid fast and subject the body to free-radical cascades of damage. Its been years since I actually read this interview, but I believe I remember it going into all that stuff. It can be googled about from there. And if there isn’t the mainstream peer-review backed multi-experiments to support this, then those experiments should be performed. Because I suspect there aren’t the experiments to disprove this either then.

    4. different clue

      TJ,

      I once read a little book hypothesizing aNOTHer process which might drive heart disease, called Coronaries, Cholesterol, Chlorine by Dr.(MD) Joseph Price. In briefest, he was intrigued by how suddenly heart disease/stroke has emerged in America as a crippler/maimer/killer set of diseases. It didn’t exist so much when a younger America lived on all kinds of salted meat, hog lard, etc. etc. He noticed it correlated neatly in time with the rise of municipal water chlorination. He did some experiments on captive chickens . . .gave some chlorinated chickenfood and others UNchlorinated chickenfood, and produced heart disease in the chlorinated chickenfood chickens. He concluded that “more experiments surely deserve to be done.” Here is a link to the book.
      http://www.amazon.com/Coronaries-Cholesterol-Chlorine-Joseph-Price/dp/9962636892

    5. different clue

      Here is another theory on what might drive inflammation to make a bad actor out of otherwise innocuous cholesterol.
      Before Linus Pauling popularized the notion of vitamin C megadoses against colds, most Americans were running subclinical deficiencies of vitamin C. Sublinical C defficiencies might lead to sub-clinical pre-scurvy, causing
      blood-vessel inner-lining connective-tissue damage which the body would try to spackle-over with cholesterol.
      http://www.paulingtherapy.com/
      Again, experiments deserve to be done in plausible “animal models” if there are any animals which share humans’ lack of ability to synthesise their own vitamin C. I think I read somewhere that guinea pigs are also unable to synthesize vitamin C. They might be the only animal model we have for such hi C/ lo C experiments.

        1. TJ

          Just remembered about this thread! Thanks for following up with the links, I have indeed read several of them and agree totally. You and Glenn are on the right track. At times I imagine a day that Yves Smith takes on the debacle that is nutrition, at some point, with the same ferocity that she takes on economics (I think Nassim Taleb has done some personal research into human nutrition, and changed his diet substantially as a result). Cheers!

      1. Glenn Condell

        ‘Here is another theory on what might drive inflammation to make a bad actor out of otherwise innocuous cholesterol.’

        We had house guests about this time last year, a couple. Both have been linked here and are super-literate financially, but the lady’s background was in biology. We had a bit of trouble with dinner because she was on a variant of the paleo diet. We had mostly carb-based food on hand, pasta, rice, bread and taters etc so we decided to go out. Even that was problematic but eventually we found a place where she enjoyed fish and vegies.

        Next morning she ate a huge bacon and egg fry-up with half a block of Australia’s strongest cheddar cheese. I said something about how I loved cheese but tried to keep the consumption down knowing how bad it was for me. Nonsense she said, and delved into her bag to fish out a photo of herself 5 years before. She was unrecognisably fat, the result she said of faithfully following ‘healthy diet’ commandments in the press and media – lots of rice and pasta and wholemeal bread, hardly any meat and especially no fat.

        Using her learning she dived deep into the science herself and subsequently decided to eliminate carbs (all sugars actually) and processed foods – reducing inflammation being one of the principal aims, and to embrace fatty meats, fish, eggs, vegetables (only some fruits made the cut) and that’s about it.

        She is a tall, big-boned lady but the padding has gone and her eyes (always a good bellwether) are sparkling and clear.

        Of course, we are all made differently and what worked for her might not for you and me.

  4. Peter Pinguid Society

    One thing I forgot to mention, at yesterday’s staff meeting Robert Dreyfus gave a PowerPoint presentation. Robert Dreyfus is chief foreign policy correspondent for the Nation magazine.

    That might sound like a fancy title but all it means is he does whatever the f*ck we tell him to do. So we told him…Bob, write an article for the Nation’s progressive readers…Bob, defend Brennan as head of the CIA….

    Oh, and while you’re at it, Bob….say good things about drone assassinations, the disposition matrix, extrajudicial murder, etc…. And be sure to mention Joe Klein’s argument if we don’t use drone attacks to kill 4-year-old mooslims in the Middle East, then mooslims are gonna come here and kill 4-year-olds. Got it, Bob?

    Mission accomplished.

    You can read the result at the Nation’s blog, or find it summarized and translated from progressive speak below:

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/26/drey-j26.html

    Nice work, Bob!

    To reward him for good behavior, we let him ride along while we snatched a suspect off the street, smacked him around until he passed out, stripped and dumped him into a cell with a hood over his head, then subjected him to enhanced interrogation techniques. Bob got so excited watching he reminded us of Lance the surfer in that “Charlie don’t surf” scene of Apocalypse Now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLEjr4eg8rA

    Once the suspect passed out for the day, we took Bob downtown for a 3-martini lunch at some upscale restaurant. Like most progressive bloggers, Nation journalists love that sh*t, makes them feel like insiders, instead of what they really are….servants obeying orders.

    We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent.

    1. Ms G

      Darn it, Pinguids, if it weren’t for your bulletins I’d be walking around thinking that everything the Nation says is gospel truth and totally, eleventy percent, just! I’m going to have to let all my friends know about this incredibly crucial source of info!

      Boffo job, as always, Pinguids. After that lunch Bob Doofus Dreygus is definitely good for another year of servile stenography.

        1. Ms G

          C. Hayes “Dreamy and Fearless” — ha ha!

          I hear that Hayes and them receive xmas baskets from the Pinguids that include fresh artisanal shaving kits and gift cards to men-spas … must be true! (Katrina gets all expenses paid Winter holidays at private Caribbean island and Whistler.)

          1. Klassy!

            Ha! funny you should say that because I do think “male grooming products” when I see Chris Hayes (not that often though. I have watched his show once. I guess he speaks truth to power because he had 2 guests that were anti Iranian sanctions to balance out the two that were. And they were allowed to speak every once in a while too. After the serious people spoke of course.)

          2. CB

            By me, Chhris Hayes is a snotty elitist. He embodies all that’s repellent about ersatz liberals, including the references to “low information voters.” Chris, dear, we don’t all get paid to follow every twist and turn of politics, so you must forgive us not having your encyclopedic grasp.

          3. Klassy!

            CB,
            does he really talk about “low information voters?’ But isn’t that his bread and butter? He’s on MSNBC for chrissakes.
            What a snot.

          4. CB

            http://chrishayes.org/articles/decision-makers/

            The issues I have with all the political junkies is 1) they don’t acknowledge their own emotional responses, e.g., to the siren call of Obama, and 2) they don’t acknowledge that many people have busy lives and not much time for anything beyond family and work. That’s just the way it is for most people and Chris Hayes laundry challenged life style wouldn’t fly in their homes.

            I also object to people who only value their own expertises and have no respect for anyone else’s: how’s Chris at car repair, plumbing, electricity, accounting, doctoring, etc? Completely out of his depth, I should guess. Maybe he should consider his political information as a form of barter–if anyone will take it in lieu of cash.

          5. Ms G

            @Klassy! The guests with the anti-sanction views were even allowed to speak a couple of times: Wow, that *is* remarkable!

          6. Ms G

            @CB and @Klassy!

            I agree about the snotty contempt (plus it’s not even temperered with “noblesse oblige,” e.g. “low information voters.”) I see him as a “low information human.”

        2. different clue

          For the price of a Nation Cruise, one could attend several Acres USA Conferences in a row. And though I have never taken a Nation Cruise, I suspect one gets more paradigm-rattling politics (over and above the agronomic science) at an Acres USA Conference then one would get at a Nation Cruise.

    2. Brindle

      For Dreyfus, Brennan cannot lie, he’s just “blatantly false”.

      “Not long ago, Brennan got into trouble for saying that the intensified drone attacks in Pakistan, hadn’t killed civilians, a claim that was blatantly false.

      1. Ms G

        Good catch. Also the “got into trouble for.” Makes it sound like a kid who played hooky from 2d grade.

      2. Dan

        If by in trouble you mean promoted to CIA Director I totally agree.

        Only the best for our lying war criminal scum under Obomber.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Regarding ‘Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter slapdown,’ none of the MSM articles that I’ve seen offers a link to the cartoon by Gerald Scharf which ignited the kerfuffle. Revealingly, Haaretz ventured a heavily-cropped version, with the lower two-thirds (the faceless Palestinians, as it were) disappeared.

    You actually have to go a-googling to find the cartoon on obscure blogs:

    http://honestreporting.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/sundaytimes270113.jpg

    Actually it’s not one of Scharf’s better efforts. The concept is simplistic, and illustrated in a heavy-handed manner.

    But the questionable taste of the cartoon isn’t really what got Scharf (and Murdoch) into hot water. It’s that even legitimate, respectfully-framed criticism of Israel simply isn’t tolerated by its fiercely partisan Lobby.

    Thus the lack of links … that crude drawing is malum prohibitum, comrades.

  6. AbyNormal

    re: Mis-Sold Swaps

    The key remedy that the customer of the bank will have, if misrepresentation is proved, is rescission, which will mean an ***unraveling*** of the ***consequences*** of the swap and will usually result in the bank having to repay the customer the swap charges that the bank has debited and the customer having to give credit for any swap profits that the bank has credited to its account. If the bank has charged exit fees (and these will normally be quite substantial) these must be refunded to the customer.

    In some cases the effect of unraveling the swap may extend beyond the simple repayment of money by the bank; the existence of the swap may have caused the customer to enter into transactions which it would not have entered into had it not signed up for the swap. If so, the unraveling of the swap and its consequences will be complicated.
    http://beforeitsnews.com/environment/2013/01/claiming-against-a-bank-for-interest-rate-swap-mis-selling-2460230.html

    ‘complicated’ = we’re gone need a bigger rave party venue

  7. Brindle

    Re: NYT Editorial on Dems.

    It’s not that the Dems in D.C. are experiencing “fear” it’s that they really don’t care much.
    They are primarily concerned with not upsetting their corporate benefactors–they want their aides as well as themselves to be well compensated by the private sector when they leave office.

    —”The reason was fear: Fear that they might return to the minority one day, fear that a weakened filibuster might hurt them, fear that Republicans might change the rules to the disadvantage of Democrats if they regain a majority.
    Similarly, fear is preventing many Democrats from fully embracing President Obama’s sensible and long-overdue proposals on curbing gun violence.”—

    We have just one political party in Washington and it is a Right Wing party. The Dems just take up the more moderate positions in that party.

    1. Ms G

      Two sides of the same propaganda coin:

      (A) Fear-mongering re War (justify national security state)
      (B) Imputing fear to Democrats (justify death of Democratic party or politicians/conceal reality of one government with two arms, both hugging the Pinguids)

    2. different clue

      Look on the bright side. The only reason that Obama and the Catfood Democrats wanted “filibuster reform” is because they were afraid that Social Security Democrats might use an unreformed filibuster to delay and deny the BS Obama Catfood Plan. With “filibuster reform” prevented, Obama and his Republican-Catfood Democrat Coalition remain worried that the two or three remaining SS Democratic Senators yet remaining might filibuster the Catfood Plan.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Yes, Lambert, thank you for the post from the Oxford Union. The average age of the members of the audience was of particular interest to me, particularly when contrasted with that of the man who recently said at Davos that there would be war with Iran this year.

      Who should the future belong to?… and who does the future belong to?

      1. Lambert Strether

        And thank The Unknown Transcriber as well. Without a transcript, all those terabytes of YouTube data are pretty much useless, because it’s hard to find them, let alone cite to them.

    2. Carla

      Yes, thank you Yves and Lambert, for the link to the Assange video. I hope you will run it as a post so more readers will see it in both video and transcript form. And, like a previous commenter, I was struck by the youth of the audience.

  8. ohmyheck

    What’s with us guys? Yesterday we were busy chewing the fat on the subject of “Iran On the Offensive”. Good stuff!
    Now back to our regular programmming of Linky Goodness.

  9. alex

    re: Don’t mind the helicopters, it’s just practice, Miami-Dade police say

    Practice for what? An invasion? Especially scary is that it’s unclear whether these are military exercises that the police are clearing the way for, or joint military-police exercises. Shucks, we weren’t serious about the Posse Comitatus Act anyway.

    Even if it’s a purely military exercise, it’s nuts. I’ve never heard of anything like this before, and the US military has engaged in plenty of urban warfare. I thought we were getting out of that business anyway, or does Miami resemble Tehran in some way?

    Unlike some smaller countries, in the US the military has thousands and thousands of square miles to use for training. Better to take your tanks and helicopters to some restricted patch of desert (and airspace) than play over a major American city.

    And what about safety? They were firing blanks from machines guns, but the first thing I was taught about gun safety is that there is no such thing as an unloaded gun, and you never point a gun at someone unless you’re prepared to kill them (a lesson originally taught to my father by an outfit called the US Army). What it means is that lots of people have gotten killed because somebody thought a gun was unloaded or held only blanks. And what about flight safety? Military pilots on exercises are of necessity a wee bit more risk taking than commercial pilots. And over a city? Bad news when one crashes. Not to mention the panic induced in some people. Under the circumstances it’d be hard to blame someone for taking shots at a helicopter flying over their city at night and firing machine guns.

    P.S. Slashdot had a story on this which included links to a story about it being done in Houston too: http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/01/29/1346237/machine-gun-fire-from-military-helicopters-flying-over-downtown-miami

    1. neorealist

      They may be rehearsing in the event of a George Zimmerman acquittal. Remember the riots that happened in Liberty City over 30 years ago after Miami Dade Cops were acquitted for beating African American businessman Arthur McDuffie to death. An unpunished shooting death of an harmless AA teenager with a bag of candy might provoke a similar upheaval.

      1. different clue

        Perhaps people should think in terms of mass diffuse economic rebellion and obstruction rather than providing targets at demonstrations.
        Economic attrition against selected bussiness and social class targets. Uncivil obedience (grudging obedience without any compliance with any wishes), etc. “Leading the money around by the nose”.

        Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

    2. juliania

      This from Yves’ final link goes with the helicopter story:

      “… At the front and the back of the march were police cars with search lights, carefully scanning the walls of the buildings opposite our school buildings for political opponents of the marchers…”

      We have been warned.

      1. different clue

        Hmmmm . . .

        There are no trees where the snowy owl lives. There is lots of snow, though. Are snowy owl prey-animals the enemy of snow? (he asked tongue-in-cheek . . .)

  10. Brindle

    Interesting….Twitter has been down for 20 minutes and the WhiteHouse has Obama’s schedule for today essentially blank.
    CT’ers are having a field day right now.

  11. dolleymadison

    Yves I hope your sleuthing includes the atrocities by BofA against Service members…and a “where are they now” of top mortgage execs who recently “resigned to spend time with family” and have literally disappeared…

    1. jrs

      Illumanati meetings (Twitter is a part of this) and visits to Roswell to discuss 50 aliens being held in a Fema camp on the schedule today. You know it.

  12. Klassy!

    Low information? And how would you describe the writer of this line? “I tried to steer him towards a political discussion about how Kerry would stand up for workers’ rights and protect unions, but it never got anywhere.”
    What is with the veneration of “political junkies”? “Political junkies”. Now that is something I don’t get. Junkie junkie, sure– I get that. Heck, I even get NFL junkie. But political junkie?
    Two words for Mr. Hayes: Joe Bageant.

    1. different clue

      Hunter S. Thompson was the first person to introduce the phrase “politics junkie” into print . . . referring to himself. He wrote about that sometime during the Fear And Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972 reporting for Rolling Stone.

      Now all the most ungonzo people think it is groovy and cool to call themselves “politics junkies” and so forth. I too am most ungonzo, but at least I am self-aware of it and don’t call myself a “politics junkie”.

      1. Maximilien

        “During the early 1920s, a number of New York City addicts supported themselves by picking through industrial dumps for scraps of copper, lead, zinc and iron, which they collected in a wagon and then sold to a dealer. Junkie, in its original sense, literally meant junkman.”
        From Online Etymology Dictionary

        Political junkies pick up scraps of worthless information which they then hope the rest of us will buy.

  13. ex-PFC Chuck

    Some of us come here, among other reasons, to fill in gaps in our understanding of various economic and financial issues. Would someone here be so kind as to give me a succinct definition of the term “risk on trade” as used in the piece at the Oilprice.com link? Thanks!

    1. AbyNormal

      forgive my rude definition(s)…

      RO-RO is basically price manipulation(s) derived from Ben Tools
      rule of thumb: Risk Off the dollar is demanded worldwide.
      Risk On the dollar is falling against other currencies (higher returns but harder reverse possibilities)

      here’s a new theory that might shed some light
      http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50625154/ns/business-oil_and_energy/

      as for future Oil moves, keep an eye on ICE!
      “$2.5 Trillion – That’s the size of the global oil scam”
      http://seekingalpha.com/article/172797-the-global-oil-scam-50-times-bigger-than-madoff

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Thanks, Aby. The ICE piece is an eye opener. Now I have some idea why gas pump prices vary by 30+ cents a week.

  14. juliania

    “Hitler came to power 80 years ago. I remember it like yesterday.”

    Thank you, Yves, for all you do, and especially for this link. It is a must read.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Tortoise in locked room for 30 years.

    I think they are good candidates for space travel…until we actually know how to build a warp drive.

    1. juliania

      You beat me to this one – (I was going to round off with the turtle!)

      My surmise is that the polite thing to say was termites, but my bet would be cockroaches, the large ones. I could manage a turbary of turtles in one of my closets if the summers get hot and wet here, especially if the occasional field mouse wanders in as they are want to do.

    2. craazyman

      Makes you wonder whether he looked up after about 20 years and thought to himself, “Wow. I’m lucky this isn’t an acquarium.”

    3. evodevo

      Tortoise ‘survives in locked store room for 30 years’
      Wow! I guess I don’t have to worry about the box turtle I have overwintering in my root cellar …..

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Outside of birds, cold-blooded creatures like the tortoise own the record for longest lifespan-witness Lonesome George.

  16. fresno dan

    “Banks Don’t Commit Fraud; Banksters Commit Fraud: Response to Yglesias Randy Wray, EconoMonitor”

    No, no, no. It was a completely unforseeable, uncaused event…like a hurricaine, or earthquake. Or an asteroid hit!!! Yeah, asteroids. No one’s fault. The banker’s are doing God’s work, selflessly growing the economy, at great peril to their own well being, and are being villified, like they’re suppose to know if someone is likely to pay back a loan – which is like, golly gee, unpossible!

  17. Ernesto Lion

    Hey Yves, what about a smartphone app for NC that will provide the content ad free?

    You can sell it on a subscription basis for a small monthly fee. It’s a common model and there are app builders with pre-existing software to make it happen.

    1. Carla

      “Hey Yves, what about a smartphone app for NC that will provide the content ad free?”

      Hey, Ernesto–Luddite that I am, I have only a dumb phone. Would a smartphone app like the one you propose also work on a laptop?

      I would consider paying for an ad-free version of NC.

  18. diane

    Yves (re BofA),

    Speaking of B of A, lovely that Jerry Brown, whom out of state Dem voters love to praise, allowed those in California who were/are on disability or unemployment to be illegally forced into a contract with a bank they would never have signed a contract with:

    01/28/13 Report: Unemployed people pay millions in needless fees under state-run payment-card programs

    In five states — California [via BofA], Indiana, Kansas, Maryland and Nevada — unemployed people aren’t offered direct deposit at all. The report says that setup is illegal under a federal law that bars states from requiring benefits recipients to open an account at a particular bank.

    Interesting, the fact that the referenced National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) Report, in that WAPO piece, made no note of any action over those five states Breaking The Law. In fact (in the sadistic Bizarro World we’re surrounded by), the NCLC, had the unmitigated gall to note the forced prepaid California BofA disability and unemployment card, as one the best!, along with New Jersey’s prepaid ‘safety net’ BofA card, and Pennsylvania’s ‘safety net’ JPMorgan Chase card.

    Disturbingly, Common Dreams, in a recent piece: snipped that most egregious aspect of: States Breaking A Law which protects the most vulnerable, in those State’s punitive measures against those with no ability to fight back in that Common Dreams made no mention of the Law Breaking of those five states, instead, they referred to a link to read more at WAPO, which most people likely didn’t, for the usual and general WAPO stench.)

    (and I only which I had the fortitude to address the seemingly deliberate ‘revenue’ devastation the prepaid card actions have had on the US Postal Service.)

    1. ginnie nyc

      I hate to tell you, but those are not the only states pulling this type of scam. In New York State, the benefits card is state-issued, but the funds can only be accessed through a bank ATM. This means if you are too poor to have an account, you pay fees each time you withdraw money. Unless you use a check cashing place, which also charges fees.

      If there is a problem accessing the funds, you call an 800 number which turns out to be a Morgan Chase customer service center.

      So the card doesn’t appear to be allied with a bank, but it most certainly is.

      1. diane

        So New York also doesn’t either mail a check, or allow a direct deposit into a credit union, or bank, someone chooses?

        If so, you may want to contact the NCLC and ask what’s up about the omission of New York as a Breaker of Federal Law which was meant to protect its citizens. There are phone numbers on the contact page, which you can access from a contact us link at the bottom of their main page, http://www.nclc.org/ .

  19. diane

    Yves (re vile BofA),

    Speaking of B of A, lovely that Jerry Brown, whom out of state Dem voters love to praise, allowed those in California who were/are on disability or unemployment to be illegally forced into a contract with a bank they would never have signed a contract with:

    01/28/13 Report: Unemployed people pay millions in needless fees under state-run payment-card programs

    In five states — California [via BofA], Indiana, Kansas, Maryland and Nevada — unemployed people aren’t offered direct deposit at all. The report says that setup is illegal under a federal law that bars states from requiring benefits recipients to open an account at a particular bank.

    Interesting, the fact that the referenced National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) Report, in that WAPO piece, made no note of any action over those five states Breaking The Law. In fact (in the sadistic Bizarro World we’re surrounded by), the NCLC, had the unmitigated gall to note the forced prepaid California BofA disability and unemployment card, as one the best!, along with New Jersey’s prepaid ‘safety net’ BofA card, and Pennsylvania’s ‘safety net’ JPMorgan Chase card.

    Disturbingly, Common Dreams, in a recent piece: snipped that most egregious aspect of: States Breaking A Law which protects the most vulnerable, in those State’s punitive measures against those with no ability to fight back in that Common Dreams made no mention of the Law Breaking of those five states, instead, they referred to a link to read more at WAPO, which most people likely didn’t, for the usual and general WAPO stench.)

    (This was a third (no edits) try, after: a second very, very slightly edited (ergo: typo correction et al) attempt at a post which failed (I’ve switched my admittedly anonymous (for quite valid personal reasons) email address in this one, to another). Also, I only wish I had the fortitude to address the seemingly deliberate ‘revenue’ devastation the prepaid card actions have had on the US Postal Service.)

    1. Ms G

      KleptObama Justice Math:

      Steal $100 Million = 50 years in jail (aka life sentence)
      Steal $1.6 Billion = 0 years in jail

      There should be hell to pay.

    2. skippy

      Possession is 9/10th of the Law has a hole new meaning, when you own 99$/% of everything, and I mean everything, to include a large part of the future.

  20. Hugh

    The argument that the filibuster should be retained because someday the Democrats might be in the minority is deceptive for a couple of reasons.

    First, we live in a kleptocracy and the threat of the filibuster is a useful smokescreen to justify the passing of all kinds of legislation that harm the Democratic base and ordinary Americans in general.

    Second, if the filibuster was done away with (and if we did not live in a kleptocracy), then the majority party would be responsible for its legislative record. If it was a good record, then it would get re-elected. If it was a bad record, it would get the boot. Eliminating the filibuster would foster accountability. No wonder Senators and the larger Washington Establishment want to keep it.

    Now of course divided government would still be possible, but even here getting rid of the filibuster would sharpen the debate and remove an important excuse for no action or bad actions.

    Note how the NYT editorial ascribes the Democrats’ failure on the filibuster to fear and timidity and not bad faith. Or how fear and timidity echo similar claims about Obama. The NYT is not a liberal publication but it is propaganda directed at a liberal audience. So despite the results being the same, Democratic kleptocrats act as they do out of “fear and timidity” while Republican ones do so out of malice or pig ignorance. I expect conservative publications use similar language to describe the failings of their own as opposed to the malice of the other party.

    The mis-sold swaps is just another reason to scrap the present banks. Too Big to Fail means Too Big to Jail means Too Big to Exist. They have a whole string of issues like this one that would be better and more fairly addressed (if we did not live in a kleptocracy) in bankruptcy/resolution than by the current means of joke settlements and small cost of business fines.

    China is just as much a kleptocracy as the US and Europe. Why should its Ponzi finances surprise?

    As for the GDP numbers, I can’t help but be amused how only a week or so ago I saw the MSM talking up for the umpteenth time how it looked like the economy had turned a corner and recovery was really beginning to take hold. I thought these reports were in part anticipating tomorrow’s jobs figures. January is one of those month’s where there is usually a huge difference between the seasonally unadjusted numbers (big job losses after Christmas) and the adjusted “official” ones that erase this cliff dive and the spring rebuild reporting solid but at the moment non-existent job gains.

    1. different clue

      In a kleptocracy, are some forms of wealth kleptimmune?
      Are some at least klepto-resistant?

      I mention again how not one kleptocrat has been able to suck one single sardine out through the side of a single one of my cans of sardines. And I have eaten my way through several hundreds of cans of sardines.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I cannot forbear from quoting: “Life, you know, is rather like opening a tin of sardines. We are all of us looking for the key. And, I wonder, how many of you here tonight have wasted years of your lives looking behind the kitchen dressers of this life for that key.

        Others think they’ve found the key, don’t they? They roll back the lid of the sardine tin of life, they reveal the sardines, the riches of life, therein, and they get them out, they enjoy them. But, you know, there’s always a little bit in the corner you can’t get out. I wonder — I wonder, is there a little bit in the corner of your life? I know there is in mine. “

        1. different clue

          I remember when sardines had keys. Sardines have come in pull-top cans for so long now that whole generations of young people are growing up not even knowing what a sardine can “key” is . . . unless they watch Late Night Black and White on the Cartoon Network (assuming that still exists).

          As to getting the last little bit of oil and/or sardine meat from the farthest up-under-there edge of the can . . .
          put a small piece of bread on a fork and jam it up in there to absorb/adsorb all the sardine shreds and/or oil, and then pull it back out and eat it. (I always eat the oil. I PAID for the oil. Am I just to throw it away then?)

        2. Mark P.

          “Life, you know, is rather like opening a tin of sardines. We are all of us looking for the key.”

          Alan Bennett, by God.

  21. Maximilien

    Re: NYT hacked

    Maybe. But if you have a master key, why would you use it to break into the local sewage treatment center?

    Surely the Chinese know the Times is garbage-in, garbage-out.

    1. different clue

      A radio report I heard said that China wanted the emails from a reporter doing a story on how the family of a Chinese leadership bigwig harvested billions of dollars.

      The NyTimes problem is more subtle and pernicious than predictably GIGO. The NyTimes lays out a mixed buffet of caviar and crap. They hope that enough people will like the caviar enough that they will hang around and eat the crap too.

    1. Ms G

      What a h-o-o-t!

      Loved the coda “and Lacan liked to use weird algebraic forumla…”

      The part about if we ever meet reality our brain will explode … some interesting parallels or applications available …

      Excellent last laugh of the day, thanks SR.

    2. Ms G

      It looks as though there is one for Julia Kristeva as well, which I am going to check out.

      This little video does prove that most things can be explained in 60 seconds or less. (And maybe the corollary: anything that attempts to explain itself in more than 60 seconds should not be trusted.)

      1. Ms G

        Fausse piste. No Julia Kristeva in 60 seconds (that I found), but a real winner on Jacques Derrida (he gave a lot of people in academia something to do for a while …)

      2. SR6719

        Ms G,

        Glad you enjoyed the Lacan video. For some reason I thought it was much funnier than Derrida in 60 seconds, although I agree “he gave a lot of people in academia something to do for a while” is a pretty good line.

        1. Ms G

          SR,
          I agree — the Lacan in 60 seconds is tighter than the Derrida one. Still, this guy is onto a good format!
          Ms G

  22. DolleyMadison

    The description of the OCC article cracked me up – reminds me of that song about the “big head listening to the little head” if you know what I mean…

  23. different clue

    TJ,

    I left three comments way up above in the meat/veggies/health part of this thread. I tried leaving a fourth, but it didn’t print. I may have reached a quota for comments. I will try leaving that fourth comment tomorrow.

  24. Keygen

    Thanks for the good writeup. It if truth be told was once a enjoyment account it.
    Glance complex to far introduced agreeable from
    you! However, how could we communicate?

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