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Links 3/29/13

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How did dinosaurs do it? Very carefully, of course NBC (Valissa)

Pesticides ‘damage brains of bees’ BBC

Collision course? A comet heads for Mars PhysOrg

Study finds saliva testing predicts aggression in boys MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

Drier climate will spread diarrhoea Climate News Network

How hard is it to ‘de-anonymize’ cellphone data? MIT News Office (Chuck L)

New e-mails reveal Feds not “forthright” about fake cell tower devices ars technica (Chuck L)

How To Become a Teen Millionaire: Be an Insufferable Startup Brat Gawker (Lambert)

“The First Honest Cable Company” YouTube (furzy mouse)

‘This Is Working’: Portugal, 12 Years after Decriminalizing Drugs Der Spiegel

IMF Report Calls for Governments to Drop $1.9 Trillion Energy Subsidies OilPrice

North Korea ‘readies rocket force’ after US stealth flights BBC

Japan suffers decline in factory output Financial Times

World from Berlin: Turkish Media Exclusion in Neo-Nazi Trial a ‘Global Embarrassment’ Der Spiegel (May S)

Even more Cyprus:

Cypriots show patience and pragmatism as banks reopen Guardian

What happened in Cyprus Economist. Notice the heavy dose of blaming the previous administration. I can’t imagine a neoliberal government would have regulated the banks more than the outgoing group did. It looks like their biggest mistake was not taking a bailout at the same time Spain was being rescued.

Cyprus is very special case, found right solution-German finance minister Reuters (David P). “Special case” = “Don’t even THINK about Luxembourg.”

Cyprus crisis: cash limits to last ‘about a month’ Guardian

Italy in limbo after Bersani loses government bid The Journal (Richard Smith). Expected but increases pressure.

Bad loans mount at Monte dei Paschi Financial Times

Meet Bernd Lucke, The German Professor Who Might Be Responsible For Europe’s Harsh New Strategy Clusterstock

Lucke Claiming Greek Bankruptcy Might be Only Weeks Away GQJFTW

Turkey Takes Advantage of Cyprus Desperation OilPrice

Moderate Path on Gay Marriage Could Be Disaster Bloomberg

Ships Costing U.S. $37 Billion Lack Firepower, Navy Told Bloomberg

Public Comments on Keystone XL Pipeline to Be Kept Secret by State Department Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

EPA report: More than half nation’s rivers in poor shape Washington Post (Carol B)

Lanny Breuer Cashes in After Not Prosecuting Wall Street Execs, Will Receive Approximate Salary of 4 Million Dollars TruthOut

Customers Flee Wal-Mart Empty Shelves for Target, Costco Bloomberg

Something is rotten in the state of Walmart Corrente. You HAVE to read this. Insane.

Jobless claims rise. More than 5 million on unemployment rolls. Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Why So Many Jobs Are Crappy heteconomist

Kotok: Complete Report from Dubai Barry Ritholtz (Lambert)

Guest Contribution: “Is the Federal Reserve Breeding the Next Financial Crisis?” Menzie Chinn

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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99 comments

    1. AbyNormal

      “In the US, depositors have actually been put in a worse position than Cyprus deposit-holders, at least if they are at the big banks that play in the derivatives casino. The regulators have turned a blind eye as banks use their depositaries to fund derivatives exposures. And as bad as that is, the depositors, unlike their Cypriot confreres, aren’t even senior creditors. Remember Lehman? When the investment bank failed, unsecured creditors (and remember, depositors are unsecured creditors) got eight cents on the dollar. One big reason was that derivatives counterparties require collateral for any exposures, meaning they are secured creditors. The 2005 bankruptcy reforms made derivatives counterparties senior to unsecured lenders.”

      The thief, as will become apparent, was a special type of thief. This thief was an artist of theft. Other thieves merely stole everything that was not nailed down, but this thief stole the nails as well. t. pratchett

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I did point out immediately after that discussion that the US does have deposit insurance that takes care of that, but that it has proven to be insufficient at times in the past (S&L crisis) leading to the need for Congressional appropriations (aka taxpayer hit). Taking this out of context makes it sound like insured deposits are at risk. They aren’t. Deposits in the US aren’t so large that they can’t be backstopped. The risk is taxpayer losses due to possibility of large derivatives losses + derivatives being senior to deposits.

        1. AbyNormal

          my apologies for posting it out of context…i stay confused in this area. case in point:

          The principal investments group, which buys bonds with the bank’s own money and ***excess customer deposits***, has been among Wells Fargo’s most profitable units, said three former employees who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on the lender’s behalf.
          Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/links-32713.html#lzkk6YDFghVYEIK0.99

          ‘excess customer deposits’ runs a chill thru me…

          1. F. Beard

            Yep, government deposit insurance is an ill-conceived substitute for the monetarily sovereign ITSELF providing, as it SHOULD, a risk-free fiat storage and transaction service for its citizens.

          2. Glenn Condell

            ‘Yep, government deposit insurance is an ill-conceived substitute for the monetarily sovereign ITSELF providing, as it SHOULD, a risk-free fiat storage and transaction service for its citizens.’

            True, but surely in the absence of the latter the former is required. If not ‘next best thing’ then at least more acceptable than the likely alternative…

        2. F. Beard

          leading to the need for Congressional appropriations (aka taxpayer hit). Yves Smith

          The Fed should cover any FDIC shortfalls or the US Treasury should simply create some new GreenBacks for that purpose. Taxing an economy that is already short of money to replace deposits is not very smart.

        3. Ellen

          Thanks Yves. I don’t understand though. If derivatives are senior to deposits, then all the derivatives bets have to be paid off first before the depositors get paid, right? And if it’s a gigantic derivatives hit, that means a lot more money than the $25B FDIC has available, so the Treasury will have to step in; but Dodd Frank says the taxpayers aren’t going to underwrite bank derivatives losses. So doesn’t that mean the FDIC will have to leave the depositors to their fate? They’ll be bailed in like everybody else.

      2. from Mexico

        There’s a video that has gone viral here in Mexico.

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

        It takes place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and shows a thief, Mauricio Fierro, alias El Pepita, leaving his car parked outside a pharmacy which he enters and robs. After El Pepita enters the pharmacy, another thief appears on the scene and steals El Pepita’s car. El Pepita then emerges from the pharmacy with his bag of stolen loot only to discover his car has been stolen. Then a third thief appears on the scene and steals El Pepita’s bag of stolen loot.

        When police arrested El Pepita, they allowed a local television news crew into the station for an interview.

        “These days the violence is so great,” El Pepita bemoans, “that one goes out to steal and returns poorer than ever.” “We can’t even conduct a dishonest life,” he laments, “they stole my new car.”

        To which the reporter asks: “But tell me one thing, you just bought the car?”

        “Bought?” responds El Pepita. “I didn’t buy anything, man. I stole the car yesterday.”

        “Let me tell you how things are,” continues El Pepita. “These thieves don’t let one enjoy the things we earn with our own sweat. That’s the way things are, man.”

        “But wait,” interjects the reporter. “If the car wasn’t yours, what are you complaining about?”

        “Bah!” exclaims El Pepita. “This robbery of my robbery is a lack of respect, sir.”

        “Then the money wasn’t yours either?” follows up the reporter.

        “What do you mean it wasn’t mine, sir?” El Pepita rejoins. “It was my money. I stole it. It’s mine.”

          1. from Mexico

            The sad thing is I don’t see a great deal of difference between El Pepita’s thinking and that of the masters of the universe.

        1. Glenn Condell

          If that story hadn’t existed someone would have had to make it up. In fact I wonder if it was made by a Mexican analogue of The Chaser, the team that performed the Tony Abbott household/govt debt ambush that featured on a thread here he other day:

          http://www.chaser.com.au/about/

          But if it is ‘fair dinkum’ it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry – both probably.

      3. 3

        The crucial point here is not that deposits can be backstopped but that deposits can be confiscated. To restructure bad residential mortgage debt, banks did not need to carry out illegal mass evictions, but they could, so they did. And the variety of simple options for preserving social security hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from trying to cook the books and seize our lifetime FICA contributions.

        The risks here are compounded by the uncertainties of corrupt rackeetering organizations interacting with a criminal state. The Germans are right. In this kleptocratic bloc you’d be crazy to trust deposit insurance for anything more than walking-around money.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Deposits are taxed…or confiscated if one believes taxation = confiscation.

          So, here we are – we have a preemptory move against non-existing wage inflation (we are not talking about food/energy inflation) by a Big Brother in collusion with other Big Brothers.

  1. AbyNormal

    1 ringing dinging
    2 ringing dinging

    14 ringing dinging

    Hello Welcome to Walmart How May We Help You?

    Customer: ah yeah I’d like to place an order for delivery
    Walmart: Of course, Item No. Please.
    Customer: ah yeah 0073667601103
    Walmart: Okay, is there anything further we can add to your order?
    Customer: ah yeah can you include the ammo in this order or do I have to wait?
    Walmart: No Sir we cannot ship the ammo with this order but as a 2nd order and same day will be no problem
    Customer: Cool. ah I won’t be around to sign for it that day.
    Walmart: Thats okay Sir, Any dependent can sign for it.
    Customer: Cool, go ahead and add a 3 cases of 0001820000834 and will they be Cold?
    Walmart: ICE COLD SIR

    1. Can't Help It

      The problem as someone pointed out in the original article’s comment section is that the delivery man might be a meth addict with a gun, and he’ll use the ammo that you ordered to rob your house while bringing you your carton of eggs.

      But you have to give Wal Mart some credit though since without them robot love will not be possible in the future or so WallE will have you believe.

      1. Dave of Maryland

        Pay for delivery vs: cost of merchandise ratio means anything worthwhile will be stolen and fenced.

      2. craazyman

        there’s another way of looking at this. there might be 20 million un-employed earnest honest desparate people willing to work Wal-Mart delivery for free “in hopes of getting considered for a full-time job there”.

        You deliver for a year for free and you get first dibs on being “invited to apply” for a greeter position.

        There ya go. It may be so competitive that not just anyone has the skills to be a deliverer. No. YOu need the B.A. degrees, car, car license, car insurance, criminal background check, credit check, 4 interviews, drug test, writing test, spelling test, vision test (for road signs), urine test, etiqutte test, temperment test (so you’re polite) which consists of 3 hours of role playing and situational reaction in front of a team of company-hired psychologists, and blood test. Then, after 6 months, you hear if you’re in the running.

        If by that point you haven’t committed suicide or murder and you’re a narcotized docile sheep on a legal pharmaceutical to keep you from total mental depressed dysfunctionality, the job might be yours.

        This is the way an efficient corporation separates the talent from the mass of job applicants. How can anyone complain about it?

        And then because of all the medication and abuse, you “go Postal” on the first day ’cause some shopper complains to your manager that your tires ran over a 3″ section of their grass when you parked your car.

        It’s hard to be a good worker bee. :)

        1. craazyman

          note that this is just a hypothetical scenario I made up on the spot with no knowledge of Wal-Mart’s practices or any other potential employer or company anywhere. I made it all up. But the funny thing is, depending on how bad things get, reality somewhere might actually be worse even that that.

          You might get shot by a SWAT team who thinks you’re a predator of some kind.

          1. craazyman

            that’s a real song? I guess it is.

            suddenly i see
            that I was born to work
            in this world for free

            Yeah now I see
            that I gotta pay a daily fee
            for being me

            Yeah I’ll go to slave
            each day so happily

            haha hahahahaha I’ll stop.

          1. AbyNormal

            “It works in Mexico”

            They Do It in Mexico.

            fixed it for ya…the effects of its ‘accomplishments’ is obvious, when considering the awards to the teens self worth and future ability to do more than just survive

    2. Anon

      Wonder how widespread this Wal-Mart balloon of our-customer-base-is-also-a-source-of-free-labor is likely to become?

      It appears to be a trend, as Britain’s Royal Mail recently did a thing whereby you were asked if you minded having undelivered mail to your address – a parcel, while you are out at work, say – being dropped off at your neighbour’s, rather than the traditional filling of a notification card by the postman, and you going to collect your parcel later yourself in person at the depot, with said card.

      IANAL, but as far as I understand it, the RM is required to deliver mail from the postbox to the addressee, not to the neighbour of the addressee.

      One may love and cherish one’s neighbours, but that is not an excuse for a delivery business to try to cut its own costs by using them as a free depository for parcels that haven’t quite made it to their intended recipient.

      Also, who is liable when items go astray, as they surely will?

    3. Aldous

      I’d be willing to bet money that some of the more intelligent Walmart customers are going to incorporate and we’ll see regional Walmart delivery corporations emerge (If people can start a business with the sole intent of constructing IKEA furniture for customers, this doesn’t seem so far-fetched). I call this type of organization a Remora (fish) Business. Shortly after that advertisements, similar in style to those of regional car dealerships will start popping up during the 6 o’clock news hour.

      Man o man o man, not only do the job creators keep creating jobs, they are now creating entire markets which create even more jobs. :D

  2. craazyman

    wow, another day of sex links, this time it’s dinosaurs. the women around here must have something on their minds ‘cuase that’s all they’re yacking about evry day now. I guess spring is in the air, I’ve noticed the sun is warmer now too

    Dionne Warwick went bankrupt. Holy Cow, how did that happen? I saw it in the paper. You’d think she’d be rolling in royalties,

    here she is with Boy George doing “Say a Little Prayer”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NdeiaRqMMmg#!

    wow they are good! that’s what everybody needs, somebody to say a little prayer for them, just like Dionne and BG says. It sounds nice. what wonderful world that would be.

      1. Valissa

        I found more dinosaur sex cartoons than I expected…

        The evolution of triceratops http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/rrs/lowres/rrsn69l.jpg

        Hey, it’s all about the math! http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs30/f/2008/055/6/6/dinosaur_sex_by_altffour.jpg

        Ain’t anthropomorphization grand? http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/183/f/1/Dinosaur_Mates_Demotivator_by_Noguy.jpg

        Truth or photoshop? http://www.herpy.net/gallery/data/media/5/dinosaur_mating_stamp3.jpg

        Afterglow? http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_aiBq9tbmzT8/SODVU7lB6RI/AAAAAAAADtk/Shh2d09CG9Q/s400/dinosaur_sex.bmp

    1. Anon

      Ms Warwick apparently has a large, unpaid tax bill with the US authorities, in the millions.

      The traditional narrative is usually the artist being scammed by management over a long period. Not sure if that applies here or not?

      Sad state of affairs for a truly great artist.

  3. Ben Johannson

    I’m calling bullshit on the saliva study. It’s well-known male testosterone levels rise and fall with mood, meaning the “research”, if you can call it that, tells us nothing about whether testosterone is causing aggression or aggression is causing heightened testosterone levels.

    I’m at the point of suspecting most medical research is junk science.

    1. dearieme

      “All medical research is rubbish” is a better approximation to the truth than almost all medical research.

      1. LucyLulu

        Are there science-deniers on NC too?

        Using words like “all”, “always”, “never”, and “none” almost invariably leads to one being proven wrong.

    2. MacCruiskeen

      Well, most science reporting is junk, and this seems to be a good example. Unfortunately, the article itself is behind a paywall, but what’s in the abstract seems to say something significantly different from what the report says about it. It only suggests a correlation between saliva levels and another rating system based on observation of patients being admitted to hospital. And they seem to be saying the results are only applicable to patients in hospital. Which seems to be the point: they’re trying to predict who’s going to act out while they’re in hospital. Apparently this is a problem. I don’t see any reason to doubt the results, they’re just much less significant than the headline of the article would lead you to believe.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Let’s for a moment assume the research is not bogus, we might ask if saliva can predict aggression in girls as well.

          How about saliva testing cats? I think that would be very useful for some of us.

    3. LucyLulu

      Animals that have been given steroids that elevate testosterone levels display increased levels of aggression. Specifically I’m thinking of horses fresh off the race track that I’ve worked around that have been given steroids as performance boosters. While not all are equally affected, and some seem to not be affected at all, in general they are more likely to pin their ears, bite, kick, rear, and charge. And don’t athletes that abuse anabolic steroids also display personality changes, e.g. increased irritability and aggression? If so, that would tend to support a causal relationship.

      1. Ben Johannson

        Steroid abusers displaying such aggression (‘roid rage) expose themselves to exceedingly high levels, well beyond what a boy’s body will produce. It’s like dosing a rat with a vitamin at many times the level of exposure anyone could conceivably encounter and then declaring the vitamin is toxic when the rat gets sick.

  4. Jim Haygood

    From the Guardian article:

    The Cypriot government has warned that banking curbs to prevent money from leaving the country will apply for longer than expected, in a blow to the island’s attempts to revive its paralysed economy.

    The country’s foreign minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, said the regime, including a limit on cash withdrawals at €300 (£253) per day, would last for “about a month” – just 24 hours after the population was told they would only be in place for a week. The capital controls, the first ever to be imposed on a eurozone member state, have been introduced to prevent a cash exodus that would destroy what is left of the Cypriot banking system.

    Kasoulides said: “A number of restrictions will be lifted and gradually, probably over a period of about a month according to the estimates of the central bank, the restrictions will be lifted.”

    What part of ‘Greece needed two (2) bailouts’ did the Cypriots not understand? Let’s just get a couple of things straight entre nous:

    1. CapControls 1.0 will not be over in a week, and they won’t be over in a month, either.

    2. Until Cyprus leaves the euro zone, controls will only tighten to plug leaks, as Cyprus slides inexorably toward a second bailout.

    Currently southern Europe resembles a group of condemned wretches, trundling their heavy crosses made of dense Black Forest hardwood up Golgotha.

    At any moment, they could invoke their password (Shazam! I’m outta here!) and leave. But martyrdom in this macabre euro passion play will at least confer posthumous fame.

    As Uncle Joe Stalin might have observed, ‘No depositors, no problem!

  5. Stephen Nightingale

    I’m extrapolating a bit from Paul Krugman’s article du jour:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/opinion/krugman-cheating-our-children.html, in which he inveighs against trade deficits.

    So I get that debt-that-shall-never-be-repaid stands as a basis for money in this MMT-free zone. But now if there is a large and growing trade deficit, but the actual dollar volumes into and out of the country are several multiples of that trade deficit, could that not constitute America’s attempt at a leveraged buyout of the entire World economy? The end result being that the dollar becomes the actual currency of the World, and people who accumulate lots of them get to own anything, anywhere, dump it anywhere they want and spirit the capital to another feast.

    1. rjs

      not to disagree with the premise of krugman’s column, but the blog post he links to suggesting the trade deficit & budget deficit are decoupled indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of sector balances…

    2. rjs

      to clarify: as long as the private sector is deleveraging and we’re running trade deficits, the government sector has to run deficits…

      where krugman goes wrong is when he says “In a famous analysis, Martin Feldstein pronounced them “twin deficits”, linking the external deficit to the budget deficit, a proposition that made sense at the time”, implying that the linkage no longer makes sense…

      & our budget deficits arent being “financed by foreigners” either…in that the private sector buys goods from China & oil from the Saudis, the Chinese & Saudis end up holding the Treasury instruments that the private sector has used to pay for those purchases…

      1. Bill Smith

        Anyone who talks about sectoral balances doesn’t get the current state of globalization – which would be the norm among macro economists, I think. It’s like talking about what the water line should be on the Titanic.

        Here’s short summary of sectoral balances:
        http://pragcap.com/updated-sectoral-balances

        Here’s definition of current account (mostly trade balance)
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_account

        But “balance of payments” is the sum of current account and capital account. Here’s definition of capital account:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_account

        But sectoral balances ignores capital account!

        Inflows in the capital account are FDI in US based capital expenditure, and/or dollars being recycled by bilateral trade surplus partners recycling dollars into Treasuries.

        Outflows are investment in foreign countries – mostly done by real US multinationals moving production there, banks “expanding” foreign banking operations, or hedge funds and small investors doing passive investments in foreign bonds and stock.

        So even if these cap flows netted out to zero – you can see the inflows are an increase in taxpayer liability and the outflow are jobs disappearing, or liability to banking shocks increasing.

        Since corporations are controlling much of the outflow in real investment, combined with the fact that they only pay about 20% of total federal tax revenue, there is not much reason to believe that government deficits would be temporary, or the consumer will deleverage without a job, or that the trade deficit would decline ’cause, well, entrepreneur, and, well, SUV!

        IMO this has been a steadily worsening problem for 30-40 years now.

          1. Bill Smith

            Yup. He’s charting he same thing Roche showed in equation form. Also, Hatzius speak with forked Goldman tongue, but I digress. (Likes NGDP targeting – which is codespeak for the Fed to give boatloads of interest free money to banks even if the Fed’s already cooked numbers do show high inflation -because yobs!)

            Also, he ignores capital account – and more importantly what composes it because that leads one to understand whom owns what and whom in the world – in case you were still wondering.

            Also, looking at his curves, they look mirror image, except there is an offset. If you look at the area under the curves, government dis-saving has cumulatively increased more than private sector savings – meaning the government is getting broker faster than “we” are all getting rich. Or a few of us anyway.

  6. taunger

    The gay marriage article does nothing other than quickly illustrate the difficulties living in a “Our Federalism.” It seems the author thinks that such concerns should lead to decision without complications, which begs the question that the difficulties of our federalism aren’t intentional when they always, explicitly have been.

    1. Garrett Pace

      I think I agree with you, but also I think it’s valuable to have a clear-eyed understanding of the consequences, intended or un-.

      This was fascinating, though. I’m amazed that, with all the other changes going on around us, people are still so squeamish about polygamy:

      “Suppose I married someone of the same sex in New York and that marriage wasn’t recognized in Pennsylvania. If I then decided to marry someone of the opposite sex in Pennsylvania, the state would presumably recognize that marriage while New York recognized my previous one. And both marriages would be recognized by the federal government, which would treat me as a lawful bigamist. That would be good news for 19th century Mormons, who were denied a federal constitutional right to plural marriage — but most people today would find the conclusion truly bizarre.”

        1. Garrett Pace

          Polyandry has not ever been a permitted practice of the LDS, as far as I know.

          Currently, avowed polygamists of any variety have their church membership revoked. As I understand it, this is the case even in nations and communities where more creative marital arrangements are accepted.

        2. butterfly42

          Polyandry was only allowed in Mormonism for the first prophet, Joseph Smith (who married 11 already-married women) and Brigham Young (who married two).

          1. Garrett Pace

            I thought somebody might bring that up.

            One of the wives, Zina Diantha Huntington, is my great aunt.

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

            Since she was married to both Smith and Young, I suppose you have counted her twice. I didn’t include her or the others because their situations were pretty different from what is typically understood as polyandry, and from the practice of polygamy in the LDS church.

            The contemporary LDS practice of “spiritual marriages” and unrecorded, handshake divorces or outright abandonment muddies the waters about this topic. Anybody assuming an air of authority about them probably shouldn’t.

          2. Garrett Pace

            Uh, I should point out that as far as I know divorce and abandonment were not “contemporary LDS practices”, at least not more so than for any other population. The “spiritual marriages,” ceremonies which may or may not have been viewed by the participants as binding, earthly arrangements, were an LDS gig at the time.

            Sorry for being unclear.

  7. David Petraitis

    Text of IMF report on oil subsidies:
    http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2013/012813.pdf
    Salient quote from Exec Summary:

    On a ―post-tax basis—which also factors in the negative externalities from energy consumption—subsidies are much higher at $1.9 trillion (2½ percent of global GDP or 8 percent of total government revenues). The advanced economies account for about 40 percent of the global posttax total, while oil exporters account for about one-third. Removing these subsidies could lead to a 13 percent decline in CO2 emissions and generate positive spillover effects by reducing global energy demand.

  8. rich

    ”I went to sleep Friday as a rich man. I woke up a poor man’

    ‘Very bad, very, very bad,” says 65-year-old John Demetriou, rubbing tears from his lined face with thick fingers. ”I lost all my money.”

    John now lives in the picturesque fishing village of Liopetri on Cyprus’ south coast. But for 35 years he lived at Bondi Junction and worked days, nights and weekends in Sydney markets selling jewellery and imitation jewellery.

    He had left Cyprus in the early 1970s at the height of its war with Turkey, taking his wife and young children to safety in Australia. He built a life from nothing and, gradually, a substantial nest egg. He retired to Cyprus in 2007 with about $1 million, his life savings.

    He planned to spend it on his grandchildren – some of whom live in Cyprus – putting them through university and setting them up. There would be medical bills; he has a heart condition. The interest was paying for a comfortable retirement, and trips back to Australia. He also toyed with the idea of buying a boat.
    Advertisement

    He wanted to leave any big purchases a few years, to be sure this was where he would spend his retirement. There was no hurry. But now it is all gone.

    ”If I made the decision to stay, I was going to build a house,” John says. ”Unfortunately I didn’t make the decision yet.

    ”I went to sleep Friday as a rich man. I woke up a poor man.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/i-went-to-sleep-friday-as-a-rich-man-i-woke-up-a-poor-man-20130328-2gxab.html

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s unfortunate indeed.

      I wonder if he had paid all cash for a house, that house last night would still be the same house this morning.

  9. briansays

    the markets are closed for a reason, at times harder and harder to grasp

    “AND MY BIBLE TELLS ME THAT GOOD FRIDAY COMES BEFORE EASTER. BEFORE THE CROWN WE WEAR, THERE IS THE CROSS THAT WE MUST BEAR. LET US BEAR IT–BEAR IT FOR TRUTH, BEAR IT FOR JUSTICE, AND BEAR IT FOR PEACE. LET US GO OUT THIS MORNING WITH THAT DETERMINATION. AND I HAVE NOT LOST FAITH. I’M NOT IN DESPAIR, BECAUSE I KNOW THAT THERE IS A MORAL ORDER. I HAVEN’T LOST FAITH, BECAUSE THE ARC OF THE MORAL UNIVERSE IS LONG, BUT IT BENDS TOWARD JUSTICE.” MARTIN LUTHER KING

  10. Howard Beale IV

    How the Monsanto Protection ACt snuck into Law: http://www.salon.com/2013/03/27/how_the_monsanto_protection_act_snuck_into_law/

    Here’s the jucy part: Sec. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.

    1. different clue

      It would be good to get that Monsanto Privilege paragraph repealed and stricken from law if possible. Meanwhile, a spreading movement-load of people will just have to publicise to eachother and to others the name of every Mosanto-GMOd bulk agricultural commodity input so that more people can boycott Monsanto and “buycott” Monsanto’s enemies enough to keep those enemies in bussiness. Assuming the Corporate Front Government forbids the repeal of that law, the Monsanto-resisters’ goal might evolve into an effort to “extermicott” Monsanto.

      An “extermicott” is a “boycott” designed to exterminate the target and wipe it off the face of the earth. Even if the word “extermicott” doesn’t take off and enter the language, the concept will enter the language under some other label as evermore people understand that we are in a zero-sum war-of-extermination to the death with black hat Corporate perpetrators like Monsanto.

  11. Jim S

    Those with an interest in unorthodox science will find this interesting: Earthquake Prediction System on the Suspicious0bservers channel.

    From having kept track of the channel, this is built on an older idea that planetary alignments are the major factor in causing earthquakes. A year ago I might have laughed this off, but you may get some mileage out of watching the channel, like I did.

  12. PeonInChief

    Hmm. Maybe WalMart shoppers could unload the trucks, stock the shelves with the items they were looking for, and go to the “each one check one” checkout system.

    I actually thought this was taken from the Onion.

    1. Lambert Strether

      And if we crowd-sourced the management, we could take all the Walton family’s money away from them. Maybe there’s something to be said for socializing the means of production after all.

    2. different clue

      One hopes the Walton kids are emotionally wedded to keeping their money tied up in Walmart. One further hopes that Walmart goes extinct slowly enough for more worker-friendly competitors to fill the vacated space even while it goes extinct completely enough that the Walton kids end up riding their inheritance all the way down to zero.

      Maybe the Walmart commanders’ ongoing “out of mind experience” will lead to that result.

  13. Cletus

    I don’t go to Walmart much, but from now on, when I do, I’m going to start picking up non-perishable items and “deciding” I don’t need them when I’m in a completely different department in the store. One of two results to this:

    1. Walmart “gets” the monetary velocity being part of a vibrant capitalism idea, and hires more people to restock the shelves, or;

    2. Walmart continues to implode on itself — having abandoned sustainable capitalism for unsustainable oligarchy, and leaving a vacuum behind that will be filled by the return of mom and pop stores.

    Just fulfilling my role as a job creator. Somebody has to do it.

    1. mario

      So volunteer labor + restocking problems due to labor shortage… I’m going to head on down to my Walmart and just start stocking shelves for them. Shouldn’t be that hard to do. Cheese with the bread for sammiches…hamburger behind the the charcoal for one stop grilling..fish with the kitty litter… meow! There are lots of ways to improve things at MY Walmart!

      Also some of the Walmart volunteer delivery vehicles will be easy to spot. There is a gallery here.

      1. mario

        Mitt Romney will be doing some consulting for WalMart soon. First it will be traffic jams to get into the parking lot to do free deliverys (think daylabor back before the RE crash at Home Despots in major bubble markets), then it will fences be just like at that Chinese factory Mitt bought.

        Walmart will need to be putting up some fences to keep the employees out soon. Dare I suggest Walmartis probably already using prioson labor at it’s stores? What could go wrong?

      2. Sufferin' Succotash

        The next step is to include “volunteer” work for Walmart as part of the purchase price for every item. If the local Walmart is the only sizable retailer in the community, then most of the local work force will naturally be working for Walmart. Combine that with credit card debt.
        Result? Serfs up!

        1. ambrit

          Dear Sufferin’;
          After that, the ugly mob with pitchforks and torches “Hangs Ten!”, (store managers that is.) [Is that a perfect Libertopia or what?]

  14. David Petraitis

    Biology’s Ikea?
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21729104.300-quality-control-opens-path-to-synthetic-biologys-ikea.html

    Seeing as these are all patented blocks, this should make someone a billionaire just like Ingvar Kamprad:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingvar_Kamprad

    Kamprad is (in)famously stingy: ” He always travels economy class in planes, and if he goes by train, if possible, he will sit in second class. He never stays at expensive hotels…” and he was known in the Swiss village (near where I lived) which housed a large IKEA superstore to be seen pushing shopping carts from the parking lot into the store like any lowly employee.

  15. b2020

    Re: Walmart delivery crowd-sourcing. This makes an interesting complement to the Kunstler/Greer closet conservative crowd awaiting the return of “community Amercia”, die-off optional. It would appear that all our problems, as a species, are entirely tractable if we weren’t such an assembly of assholes, at all levels of society.

  16. spooz

    Wolf Richter on Citi’s new shipping derivatives, through which they hope to pass off risks for $500 billion in loans:

    “But shipping loans are a doozy. After its bubble, the shipping industry fell into a deep crisis. It’s such a problem that Andreas Dombret, member of the Executive Board of the Bundesbank, listed it as one of the four risks to overall financial stability in Germany—in Hamburg alone, there were over 120 shipping companies. He fingered two causes: shipping rates that had plunged during the Financial Crisis and never recovered, and continued overbuilding of ships of ever larger sizes, driven by “cheaply available financial means,” a direct reference to the easy money handed out by central banks.”

    http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2013/3/28/wall-street-craziness-is-back.html

  17. Valissa

    Jellyfish robots on the move…

    It’s just for research (nudge, nudge… wink, wink)… Giant Robotic Jellyfish Readied for Sea Patrol http://news.discovery.com/tech/robotics/giant-robotic-jellyfish-readied-for-sea-patrol-130329.htm

    The real scoop… Autonomous robot jellyfish being developed for military surveillance http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/autonomous-robot-jellyfish-being-developed-for-military-surveillance-20130329/

    I’m betting they’ll also be used for placing and/or detecting underwater mines.

      1. ambrit

        Don’t worry too much. I’m sure there are some places down in Soho where you can get Financial Experts and other ‘elites’ to give you a “golden shower.” It’s the essence of trickle down economics, dontcha know?

  18. ambrit

    Friends;
    How about that? UPS pays $40 million to end DoJ action over transhipment of “illegal” pharmaceuticals. As in, that overlooked part of “Obamacare,” no that’s “Romneycare,” uh, it’s really “Heritage Foundation Care,” that enjoins the importation of drugs from overseas. You know, the ones made at FDA inspected plants overseas that are in competition with the outrageously overpriced ones foisted on the American public?
    Time to invest in Patagonian Beefsteak Mines!

      1. Bill Smith

        Obviously UPS and FedEx need to apply for a banking license if they want to traffic in illegal drugs….

  19. barrisj

    Headline on the Telegraph’s (UK) website:

    North Korea: Kim Jong-un ‘targets George W. Bush’s home state of Texas’.

    Yes, I checked – not from The Onion!
    I wonder indeed if the DPRK government isn’t a principal investor in the “action” film, “Olympus Has Fallen”, and they are just doing some typical Hollywood hyping to boost theatre takings.

    1. heroic spirit of Songun Korea pressing forward to a bright future with the might of its people's single-minded unity

      Wow, if Kim nuked Bush’s McMansion, DPRK would instantly go from pariah state to universally beloved Leader of the Free World.

    2. LucyLulu

      While it doesn’t have the capability to hit the US mainland, did anybody tell their dear leader how grateful Americans would be if N. Korea would hit Texas since they refuse to follow through on threats to secede.

  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the article about Lanny Breuer and his post-”public service” $4 million “job” at Covington & Burling, as well as other members of that firm’s corporate criminal defense team.

    Very telling, and disgusting.

    Meanwhile, we are treated to the fallout from the massive fraud and theft that has been perpetrated on the American people, coupled with their related Austerity initiatives:

    Inadequate Food & Nutrition: http://www.independent.com/news/2013/mar/27/starvation-american-style/?on

    Attacks on Public Education: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/03/27/school-closings-protest-could-shut-down-loop-during-afternoon-rush/

    http://blackagendareport.com/content/lords-capital-seize-detroit

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