Recent Items

Links 7/5/13

Posted on by

The site was down for unscheduled maintenance. My new host rents space from a data center and they just pulled the cute trick of announcing three hours (and that of course assumes it really is just three hours) of “scheduled” maintenance 5 minutes before starting it. This is either some dog-ate-my-homework excuse for a problem they had or incredibly unprofessional. I’m really outraged and we are moving off this data center. This has also ruined my holiday. I stupidly got excited about the EU security row and wrote a real post instead of loafing, and it meant I got caught in the outage mess and lost sleep as well as got extremely aggravated.

As for comments, we are experimenting with trying to find a solution that will result in less spam and less weirdness for users. We were using this weekend because it is a low traffic period. However, some of the things you folks are doing are not only generally not helpful, they are increasing the odds the tools we use will designate you as a spammer. Please read this comment from Lambert on how not to get in your own way.

Miniature human liver grown in mice Nature

The Immortal Life of the Enron E-mails MIT Technology Review

Japan: Conflicted Policy Global Economic Intersection

Egypt army allows ‘peaceful protest’ BBC

It is capitalism the Arab world needs, not democracy Telegraph. The new neoliberal scheme: “property rights” in return for aid.

Egypt, Brazil, Turkey: without politics, protest is at the mercy of the elites Seumas Milne, Guardian (martha r)

Egypt orders arrests of top Islamist officials Washington Post

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Parliament to launch in-depth inquiry into US surveillance programmes EU

European firms ‘could quit US internet providers over NSA scandal’ Guardian. Ed Harrison saw this coming early on.

Bolivia Warns U.S. Embassy Closure on Snowden Diversion Bloomberg

South American leftist leaders rally for Bolivia in Snowden saga Reuters

Snowden citizenship bill rejected by Icelandic Parliament, 33 against, 24 for, 5 abstained, 1 absent reddit (martha r)

Federal Judge: Only Powered-Off Cell Phones Deserve Privacy Protections ACLU. Note this decision precedes the Snowden revelations.

James Clapper, EU play-acting, and political priorities Glenn Greenwald

State Department bureau spent $630,000 on Facebook ‘likes’ Washington Examiner

Permits for Concealed Guns Soar Wall Street Journal

Oregon legislature passes bill to give free tuition to in-state residents Raw Story (furzy mouse)

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: How is another year going to fix the employer mandate? Corrente

Draghi-Carney Seek Independence Day Break From Bernanke Exit Bloomberg

US non-farm payrolls likely to disappoint Financial Times

BP compensation fund for Gulf oil spill victims at risk of running out Guardian

SAC’s Cohen Likely to Avoid Criminal Charges Wall Street Journal. So the SEC spent all this money and effort trying to nail Cohen rather than go after mortgage abuses or CDOs in a more serious way.

Prosecutions of offshore banks may help turn tide against secrecy McClatchy

Stop worrying and breathe the zeitgeist in America Gillian Tett, Financial Times. More evidence of how disconnected our elites are.

Warren Mosler, a Deficit Lover With a Following New York Times. Congrats to Mosler, but of course, the NYT runs this piece on one of the slowest news days of the year. And it’s \a hatchet job on MMT (notice it doesn’t even attempt to explain it? Profiling Mosler allow them to finesse that) And shame on Thoma for completely misrepresenting what MMT says (they NEVER have denied that you can generate too much inflation, they just argue that we are so far away from having that happen that we should mobilize resources and then monitor outcomes as we get closer to full employment). But the fact that the NYT has had to take notice at all says MMT is getting traction. MMT looks to have gone from the “first they ignore you” to the “next they ridicule you” stage.

Antidote du jour:

bird-rest

Print Friendly
Twitter12DiggReddit0StumbleUpon0Facebook8LinkedIn1Google+1bufferEmail

96 comments

  1. efschumacher

    “Japan Conflicted Policy”: If Abe’s object is to stop Japanese consumers postponing purchases in anticipation of future price reductions, then the threat of price increases a year ahead will surely be a stimulus to consumers to binge in advance, and thereby provide a quick stimulus that will eliminate the need for a rate increase quite so swingeing. In this context perhaps staging the tax increase a quarter percent at a time should have the opposite effect to the long running deflationary history.

  2. Inverness

    Re: South American government’s outrage concerning Morales: “Morales welcomed the show of support. He said regional unity was needed “to defeat North American imperialism” and raised the possibility of closing the U.S. embassy in La Paz.

    “My hand would not shake if it came to closing the embassy,” he said. “Without the United States we are better off politically and democratically.”

    Morales is obviously telling the truth. What would it take for him to actually close that embassy?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He sees clearly with a little Ayahuasca.

      To act, he will need to be fortified with some manioc beer.

  3. Craazyman

    I never had problems with comments. A few got eaten but remarkably those were all pretty stupid if I’m honest about them. I marveled at that, as it seemed to be both fortuitous and totally inexplicable by any form of rationality we are familiar with on earth. Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.

  4. sd

    Iceland is not the liberal haven it is often projected as.

    The country recently elected a right wing government of what can only be described as raging sociopaths – one of whom is affectionately referred to as the ‘Sarah Palin of Iceland’ for her incoherent rants. The parties in coalition (Independent and Progressives or ‘Fish’ and ‘Farmers’) align more closely with neoliberal elements in the US. Their two leaders (Sigmundur and Bjarni) are from some of Iceland’s wealthiest families and have been dubbed the ‘Silver Spoon Coalition’. They have no idea what it means to work for a living.

    The two parties form a majority that is aggressively pushing neoliberal policies. These are the same two parties responsible for the financial deregulation shenanigans that lead to the collapse in 2008.

    They were elected in May and are doing a pretty good job of pissing off everyone in Iceland.

    They want to eliminate environmental regulations at a time when tourism is thriving because of its pristine wilderness, they are attacking state support for the arts which accounts for 6% of Iceland’s GDP, they refuse to address the fishing quotas (monopolies controlled by a handful of ‘quota kings’) which are harming independent fishermen, etc. They ran on helping homeowners with their mortgage problems (adjustable rate, indexed to inflation, foreign currency, etc).

    Just after they were elected:

    “…..alas, the budget is worse than we thought so we will have to put helping out Icelanders on the back burner. Meanwhile, we’d like to give tax breaks to Alcoa, damn more rivers and waterfalls in pristine wilderness with historic significance so we can build two new power plants. Then we’ll just give away more geothermal energy to foreign companies so they can build more smelter plants that pay no taxes. It’s just a coincidence that any of our party members get cushy consulting jobs in the private sector upon leaving politics…”

    1. Invient

      Thanks, I’ll be sure to copy that to my notes file so the next time someone brings up Iceland giving the finger to the banks I can burst their bubble.

  5. from Mexico

    @ “State Department bureau spent $630,000 on Facebook ‘likes’ ”

    I hardly ever use Facebook so I’m not familiar enough with the workings of Facebook to know exactly what this article is talking about, but isn’t it offering palpable evidence that the government pays hired propagandists to create the appearance that favored positions are more popular than they really are?

    1. Lambert Strether

      Cass Sunstein, Obama’s appointment to OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, on “cognitive infiltration”:

      Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Outsourced to Peter Drucker: “Whenever anything, anywhere is being accomplished, it’s by a monomaniac on a mission”.

        The question now becomes which monomaniac is going to succeed.

  6. Paul Walker

    The only thing Snowden will change within the federal judiciary is that there will now be no expectation of privacy, ever .. except for the state and its corporate sponsors and partners. Next the bar will rule the government can remotely power up your electronic device, mobile or not, since purchasing the item automatically confers your blanket acceptance of government monotoring. Remmember, it is also problematical (subject for immediate placememnt upon numerous person of interest lists) for an individual to refusre to purchase such items as that will be viewed as refusal to support your government during a time of armed conflict.

    Happy Independence Day weekend!

  7. from Mexico

    @ “It is capitalism, not democracy, that the Arab world needs most”

    When it comes to chosing sides, should we be surprised to see the neoliberal true believers throw their lot in with Morsi and the Islamic radicals? Probably not. As John Gray put it, “Like…neo-liberals, radical Islamists see history as a prelude to a new world. All are convinced they can remake the human condition. If there is a uniquely modern myth, this is it.”

    Apparently there was some agreement between the neoliberals and the Islamic radicals as to what this new world would look like.

    1. OIFVet

      Hayek: “Personally, I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking in liberalism.” Scratching my head and trying to figure out how exactly this fits with the “libertarian” pursuit of “freedom” which is in large part informed by ‘The Road to Serfdom’. Hypocrisy, thy name is “liberalism”

  8. Denis

    For comment spam, consider using the following two plugins if you don’t already:

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-hashcash-extended/

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/cookies-for-comments/

    They’re js-based, and two combined essentially guarantee that only “real” users using a “real” browser post anything to your site.

    They won’t stop 100% of spam, since there some spammers out there actually pay real people to manually post comments. But they’re mightily efficient at blocking automated spam before it even reaches WordPress.

  9. diptherio

    An oldy but a goody. Stumbled across this in the comments section of the Golem XIV article. As relevant today as when it was written (1997), if not more so.

    Subcomandante Marcos Nails It

    Towards the end of the cold war, capitalism created a new military horror: the neutron bomb, a weapon which destroys life while sparing buildings. But a new wonder has been discovered as the fourth world war unfolds: the finance bomb. Unlike the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this new bomb does not simply destroy the polis (in this case, the nation) and bring death, terror and misery to those who live there; it also transforms its target into a piece in the jigsaw puzzle of the process of economic globalisation. The result of the explosion is not a pile of smoking ruins, or thousands of dead bodies, but a neighbourhood added to one of the commercial megalopolis of the new planetary hypermarket, and a labour force which is reshaped to fit in with the new planetary job market.

    [snip]

    Unlike nuclear bombs, which had a dissuasive, intimidating and coercive character in the third world war, the financial hyperbombs of the fourth world war are different in nature. They serve to attack territories (national states) by the destruction of the material bases of their sovereignty and by producing a qualitative depopulation of those territories. This depopulation involves the exclusion of all persons who are of no use to the new economy (indigenous peoples, for instance). But at the same time the financial centres are working on a reconstruction of nation states and are reorganising them within a new logic: the economic has the upper hand over the social.

  10. Steve Baker

    “We don’t need them, we’ve got other allies,” Morales said

    As more Americans are screwed out of jobs, housing and exist at nothing less than a constant strggle for housing, jobs and basic needs, what are we supposed to think when foreign leaders tell the Kleptocracy to go f$%k themselves? Sadness? Inspiration?

    1. from Mexico

      – EVO MORALES, upon his arrival back in Bolivia:

      But this fight has not only been in Bolivia and other continents, but also within the United States. It is important to make alliances with those people inside the United States who attempt to do away with politics which seek to continue the domination and humiliation of the peoples of the world.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsviH-z0L1o

    2. from Mexico

      After doing some investigation, it appears that not only did Bloomberg mistranslate Morales’ words (I would call their translation an outright lie), but there is other disinformation in the Bloomberg article as well.

      The article states, for instance, that Morales made the quoted statement “yesterday at an emergency summit of Latin American leaders,” and that “Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chile’s Sebastian Pinera, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Peru’s Ollanta Humala skipped the summit.”

      However, as this news report from South America notes, the summit was a UNASUR meeting of social organizations that had been planned well before the incident involving Morales ever occurred. The various presidents did not convene an “emergency summit,” but merely used a pre-existing summit as a platform from which to express their views on the Morales embroglio.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=3oSLxvj1Icg#t=222s

      As to the quote that Bloomberg cites, Bloomberg reports that “Bolivia threatened to close the U.S. embassy” and then quotes Morales as saying: “We don’t need them, we’ve got other allies.” However, here’s what Morales actually said, in Spanish:

      A mí no me temblaría la mano para cerrar la embajada de Estados Unidos. Tenemos dignidad, tenemos soberanía, sin Estados Unidos estamos mejor políticamente, democráticamente.

      Here’s the video recording of what Morales said:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abwmx0DMF9U

      TRANSLATION:

      It would not make my hand tremble to close the embassy of the United States. We have dignity, sovereignty, and without the United States we would be better off politically, democratically.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Unfortunately, that was from an “unscientific online survey”, according to the article.

      In the U.S., a plurality “think Snowden’s leak of top-secret information about government surveillance programs to the media” was “the wrong thing to do”. 48% support prosecuting Snowden, with only 33% opposed. According to the Huffington Post, which helped commission the poll:

      Much of the drop in support for Snowden’s actions since the earlier poll appears to have taken place among Republicans, who were divided, 37 percent to 37 percent, on whether Snowden did the right thing in the previous poll, but in the latest poll said by a 44 percent to 29 percent margin that he did the wrong thing.

      In the new poll, Democrats said that Snowden did the wrong thing by a 46 percent to 26 percent margin, while independents said that he did the right thing by a 40 percent to 28 percent margin. Neither of those margins were significantly changed from the previous poll.

      The Huffington Post links to the full cross-tabs. Snowden’s highest support comes from people under 30 (45% think he did the right thing, with 23% opposed). The most opposition to Snowden’s whistle-blowing comes from African Americans, people with post graduate degrees, and people who did not complete high school (46%, 46%, and 56% opposed, respectively). Among people with post graduate degrees, 62% want to see Snowden prosecuted, the highest of any demographic.

      1. ScottW

        It would be interesting if they added the names Clapper, Bush, Chenney, Rumbsfield et al. to the list of people Americans would like to see prosecuted. Do more people actually want Snowden prosecuted than those criminals? Of coure, you could add many financier’s names. I don’t recall ever seeing the same type of poll run for the Bush criminals before, or after, Obama told us we had to look forward, not backward.

      2. Bruno Marr

        The change in poll numbers may reflect the intensity of misinformation by MSM. Hell, even NPR uses the Federales lingo about treason and espionage, while wholly ignoring the air piracy by proxy in the Morales Affair.

        1. Ned Ludd

          I turned on the local public radio station about a month ago, the first time I have listened to NPR news in quite awhile. They focused on Snowden, not on PRISM or the collection of phone records or Clapper lying to Congress. From listening to this report by Jennifer Ludden, I learned that:

          • Snowden’s parents are divorced.
          • He is a socially awkward. “When you would walk by him and you would say hi, he would never look you in the eyes. Hi, but he’d be looking down.”
          • He “never graduated from high school” and “while he did attend community college, he never graduated from there, either.”
          • “[T]he college dropout joined the Army in 2004.”
          • “[S]omehow his computer programming skills fueled a fast rise in the intelligence world.”

          Ludden reported that “[Snowden] saw some intelligence gathering as abusive, as when CIA operatives, he claims, recruited a Swiss banker by getting him arrested for drunk driving.” Her bemused tone, at around 2:15, sounds like a kindergarten teacher making fun of a silly character in a children’s story. She fails to mention that the CIA operatives “achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car.”

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        I’ve done survey research. Subtle changes in how the question is phrased make surprisingly large differences in results. For instance, “What do you think of the job Obama is doing” will elicit approval ratings typically 10 points lower than “What do you think of the job Obama is doing as President?” The “as President” both elevates him in stature and reminds respondents of the importance/difficulty of the job.

        The HuffPo questions are biased against Snowden. The second question is “Based on what you’ve heard, do think Snowden’s leak of top-secret information about government surveillance programs to the media was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do?” The “based on what you’ve heard” is an appeal for the listener to think of media coverage and/or community opinion. The “top secret” reminds respondents that the information is supposedly important, a national security item. And “government surveillance programs” positions them as authorized and completely bypasses the issue that they may not be permissible and snoop on pretty much all citizens.

        The third question is “Would you support or oppose the United States prosecuting Snowden for leaking classified information?” Look at the formulation: Would you support or oppose the United States” is implicitly “do you stand with or against our nation?” And “United States prosecuting” emphasizes the legitimacy of the state in exercising its powers. Again, the information is “classified” hence presumed important, as opposed to calling it “information about NSA surveillance programs”.

        If the question was something like:

        “Do you think that the efforts the US government is taking in order to try to
        apprehend Edward Snowden are

        (a) Completely appropriate
        (b) Well motivated, but not carried out particularly well
        (c) A bit on the excessive side
        (d) Excessive
        (e) Ridiculous”

        You would get completely different results.

        And note I have yet to see a single poll worded anything remotely like that.

        1. ChrisPacific

          The third question also conflates “the United States” with “agencies of the government of the United States.” This automatically excludes the possibility that the government might not be acting in the best interests of the country as a whole.

      4. Andrea

        Both the very poor and the roughly 20% who are part of the elite, working for it, dependent on it, enmeshed in it, etc. have powerful motives to support the State and condemn dissidents, whistleblowers, conspiracy theorists, mavericks, any fringe politics, unusual view points, new initiatives, and so on.

        The first because any non-conformity will cost them dearly as they know from life experience, and they are used to mouthing what the Man wants to hear, with sincere glazed over eyes, in any case they are no accounts, so what they say has no importance whatsoever, they are not afforded the luxury of having an opinion, and must spout obligatory conventionalities to even be accepted as a person.

        The second because their livelihood depends on being cozy with the PTB, keeping that contractor’s job, that University post, the great Doc post, the Pol nomination, the upcoming artist gig, etc.

    2. Ned Ludd

      According to a poll conducted this week by ARD-DeutschlandTrend, 49% of Germans see the U.S. as a country that can be trusted, down from 65% in December 2011. However, 58% of Germans oppose asylum for Snowden, with only 35% in favor.

  11. financial matters

    Nobody likes paying taxes and the interesting part is that taxes aren’t even necessary to fund government spending. Governments can print as much money as they need. The limitations are actually inflation and currency exchange (will other countries accept our money for their products).

    But the fact that people have to come up with money to pay their taxes is what gives our money value to make it useful and necessary in economic transactions. So tax evasion is a threat to this value.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/03/195737/prosecutions-of-offshore-banks.html#.Uda8yOAkP4Z

    “”"”"Successive efforts to combat money laundering, drug trafficking and later terrorist financing have spotlighted the risks from offshore accounts. The recent prosecutions cap an effort that began in earnest in the mid-1990s, and many large global banks think they’re now being scapegoated.

    “We’ve radically improved reporting and account monitoring,” said John J. Byrne, the executive vice president of the trade group Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, adding that many offshore havens have done what the United States asked yet face tarnished reputations. “I do think the offshore connotation has dramatically changed since the 1990s, generally for the good.””"”

  12. Andrew Watts

    RE: Oregon legislature passes bill to give free tuition to in-state residents

    This was also a big win for the unholy alliance of Republicans and Democrats. It will be a challenge for the state budget to fund this scheme, but with the gulag reform bill and this there will be a significant shifting of money away from prisons to education in the state budget in the near future.

    The “public safety” reform bill that will help accomplish this feat didn’t pass with the necessary 2/3rds vote. Which would’ve made it immune to legal challenges. Thus making this less than a total victory. As it’s likely there will be legal challenges even though the majority vote only fell short by one person.

    We’ll see how this all goes in 2015. When and if the pilot program begins.

    1. Massinissa

      Making tuition free for many students but not doing anything to increase the funding…

      Sounds like a nightmare for the college management. And possibly out of state students who will have to foot the bill.

      And I assume that even if tuition is free, they will find ways to add shitloads of other fees onto the students to make up for it.

      Where theres a will to profit, theres usually a way.

      1. Andrew Watts

        It isn’t free in any sense or meaning of the word. It’s an effort at providing a college education that doesn’t burden college graduates with onerous student loan debt. They pay a portion of their future earnings at a fixed rate over a fixed amount of time to make good their education. The overall amount is dependent on how much they make in their post college career. If they’re unemployed they pay nothing over the period of their unemployment.

        “Sounds like a nightmare for the college management. And possibly out of state students who will have to foot the bill.”

        Possibly. I mentioned the existence of other efforts that will provide more state funding for education for a reason though. Particularly at a time when prison spending is roughly triple the amount spent on education on a prisoner per student basis.

        It isn’t perfect by any means, it’s still a step in the right direction.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I wonder if the old way (very old way) of the student paying his ‘real’ education by giving his/her Socrates eggs and goat milk would still work today…

        2. Massinissa

          Pardon me, I wasnt quite aware.

          I suppose this is better than I thought it would be.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Lambert: ‘Not a word on the Federal data hub [for Obasmacare], so that’s either working great or it’s a complete catastrophe nobody’s told management about yet.’

    Love the faux naif rhetorical device of contrasting the utterly impossible with the dead certain, as if they were equally probable.

    Burn, baby, burn!

  14. tongorad

    The future invisioned in the movie Idiocracy, or real life?

    The rapper Pitbull gave the opening speech at the 2013 National Charter Schools Convention this past week. He came to the podium to the strains of his hit, “Feel This Moment.”

    The rapper Pitbull is now an education expert and the darling of people like Gates, Duncan, DFER and the charter movement. Of course he and his partners are opening their own charter school. On top of that, he promotes Walmart’s caffeinated “strips” to kids.

    I want, I need, I like to get
    Money, money, money, money
    I want, I need, I like to get
    Money, money, money, I like

    Remember: Pitbull is endorsed by Democrats For Education Reform! –

    See more at: http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2013/07/pitbull-speech-at-ntl-charter-schools.html#sthash.OQzvxZpn.dpuf

    1. Massinissa

      *facepalm*

      It honestly sort of amazes me that Democrats are even more in support of school privatization than the Republicans are these days. Bloody useless bastards. I dont think im ever going to consider myself a Democrat again. Not, of course, that that will mean I will ever consider considering myself a republican either.

      1. Emma

        Choosing evil Tweedledee over evil Tweedledum is like the end of the world these days but what other options are there?
        Sadly, it comes down to which party is able to promise the most while convincing the majority of voters that they will be on the receiving end of the deal and not the paying part.

        1. Massinissa

          Me, im happy voting Green.

          That way, whichever party destroys America, I can truthfully say its not my fault, ’cause I didnt vote for them.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What is the Green Party position on consumers consuming more in order to stimulate the economy vs sharing what we have with the billionaires consuming much less?

            1. Emma

              With regards to the US Green party, who knows?
              I have the impression that in the US, the Greens are quite passive (when compared with the Greens in other countries) and are neither sufficiently vocal nor influential enough, to educate us all, impose a viable alternative, and provide real commonsense solutions.

            2. Massinissa

              Honestly? I dont really give much of a shit. Its better than voting Repub, Dem or Libertarian, and all three socialist parties in America are incredibly unimportant.

              Theyre imperfect, but if I have to choose between Stein and Killary Clinton, I sure as hell know which I would choose

  15. rich

    Are Things Too Cozy In London’s ‘City’ Within A City?

    “It runs its own police force, it has its own mayor, and … most importantly, it runs its own foreign policy,” says Ronen Palan, a professor at the City University London.

    The City has fewer than 7,500 residents. Yet, it has 125 elected officials. Its Lord Mayor travels the world promoting business. And, it has a cash account worth roughly $2 billion.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/07/05/198389370/are-things-too-cozy-in-londons-city-within-a-city

  16. Seal

    I TOLD u consult an astrologer b4 u do stuff like this! Mercury is retrograde until mid-month

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We migrated before the retrograde. And since I’ve spent time in Santa Fe, I have buddies who know a lot about astrology, and they tell me that “do nothing on the retrograde” is bunk. If you are really serious about this sort of thing, I am told there are good electional days. And I am also told Mercury retrograde is good for research and repair, which our looking into and experimenting with comment fixes presumably is.

      1. Seal

        is the birth of the NC site 11/13/2007? what time of day?
        if so NC should expect foreign travel and legal affairs unexpectedly 8/13, 1/14, 4/14 with mitigating negative factors which I don’t have time to analyze now.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No our site was born in December 2006. But thanks for having a look.

  17. charles sereno

    Tidbit:
    “Spain’s Foreign Minister said his government was told Snowden was aboard. The incident led the plane to make an emergency landing in Vienna after a fuel gauge stopped working correctly, Morales said.” (Bloomberg)

    NC readers, do airliners have backup fuel gauges? My old VW Microbus didn’t have a gauge, just a lever that opened up an emergency supply once the motor started sputtering. Never failed.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Note lack of agency in “was told.”

      Note also that if the chain of information went:

      Snowden -> X -> [intel agency] -> Spanish [and French and Portuguese] Foreign Minister

      Snowden now knows X is not trustworthy (or at a minimum, has insecure communication). Flies to the honeypot?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Oops that should be on it’s own.

          In any case, for me, GDP sharing > MMT.

          Let it not be said in the future that no one talked about sharing GDP in the 21st century.

        2. F. Beard

          So everyone gets the same income? There is unjust inequality but there is also just inequality.

          But since you like “sharing”, you should love the idea of abolishing the banking cartel and encouraging the use of common stock as private money?

          1. MLTPB

            It’s case by case.

            Wealth sharing – good.

            Wife sharing? – its personal choice.

      1. LucyLulu

        Gee, it COULD be fun.

        Hmmmm…… How would foreign relations be affected if somebody started a rumor that Snowden was on, say, Merkel’s or Pena Nieto’s plane?

      1. Emma

        Great stuff.
        It’s highly amusing that the NSA thinks WE’RE all kept in the dark like mushrooms….

    1. LucyLulu

      There’s hope for this country yet, if there are many more like these U Wisc. students and their instructor. Who says a college education needs to be Ivy League to be invaluable?

      Thanks for the link. I’d seen the Guardian’s article but their transcript wasn’t as complete as this version. I wonder if this will launch Ms. Tahir’s career as a journalist, though she may be more valuable as a teacher and role model.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Except for one big fly in the ointment: all governments lie/deny, or claim state secret/D-Note privledge. Why else haven’t the full un-redacted Kennedy Assassination docs been released?

  18. RanDomino

    “The new neoliberal scheme: “property rights” in return for aid.”

    There’s nothing new about it. If anything, that’s the very definition of neoliberalism.

  19. KFritz

    Re: NYT MMT Hatchet Job

    The Title, “Deficit Lover” may be the biggest hatchet job, a variant of “Label & Dismiss.” By labeling Mosler as a “deficit lover,” it encourages any reader with the necessary predisposition to ‘dismiss’ Mosler’s ideas and MMT.

    1. F. Beard

      Deficits should be the NORM for a monetary sovereign since that’s where new fiat comes from* and new fiat is needed to pay the interest to the counterfeiting cartel, the banks, if for no other reason.

      But blame Hamilton for conflating new fiat with a “National Debt” since the former does not require the later.

      *Ignoring the central bank since it is an abomination and should be abolished.

  20. rich

    Diarmaid Ferriter: History will ask how we could be so docile in face of such betrayal

    Ultimately, again taking the historian’s long-term perspective, the [Anglo] tapes illustrate a supreme irony of Irish history: the Irish social revolution of the late 19th Century, during which the political and social power of landowners was broken by their tenants through a land war, was replaced 130 years later by a native class of bankers and land speculators who abused their domination of the Irish economy in an even more invidious way than the most wretched of 19th Century landlords; but this time, there was no war fought against them.

    The tapes provide us with evidence of how a few individuals caused public indebtedness on an unprecedented scale. But it is also likely that historians in the future will contrast the wave of protests and mobilisations in other countries where incompetence and greed were exposed, with the absence of such activity in Ireland, even when the extent of the bankers’ betrayal and contempt for their fellow citizens became public.
    Taking an even longer view, other questions will be asked. Was there nothing that would bring the Irish to the barricades during the financial meltdown? Why did a country that fought a war of independence in the early 20th Century become so compliant and docile in the face of the exposure of systemic corruption and the destruction of that independence nearly a century later? And why were those responsible not made accountable and punished?

    http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/anglo/diarmaid-ferriter-history-will-ask-how-we-could-be-so-docile-in-face-of-such-betrayal-29385047.html

  21. tongorad

    Counterpunch: The Snowden Affair and the Destruction of Effective Democracy in Europe

    The Servility of the Satellites

    “…this disrespect for the law is linked to a more basic institutional change: the destruction of effective democracy at the national level. This has been done by the power of money in the United States, where candidates are comparable to race horses owned by billionaires. In Europe, it has been done by the European Union, whose bureaucracy has gradually taken over the critical economic functions of independent states, leaving national governments to concoct huge controversies around private matters, such as marriage, while public policy is dictated from the EU Commission in Brussels.

    But behind that Commission, and behind the US electoral game, lies the identical anonymous power that dictates its desires to this trans-Atlantic entity: financial capital.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/05/the-servility-of-the-satellites/

  22. Economystic

    Good summation of the er, legal situation of the Banks:
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n13/john-lanchester/are-we-having-fun-yet
    [snip]
    In the midst of this cacophony of largely justified accusations, the banks have had a strange kind of good fortune: the noise is now so loud that it’s become hard to hear specific complaints of wrongdoing. That’s lucky for them, because there’s one particular scandal which really deserves to stand out. The scandal I have in mind is that of mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI). The banks are additionally lucky in that there’s something inherently unsexy about the whole idea of PPI, from the numbing acronym to the fact that the whole idea of a scandal about insurance payments seems dreary and low-scale. But if there hadn’t been so much other lurid wrongdoing in the world of finance, and if mis-sold payment protection insurance had a sexier name, PPI would stand out as the biggest scandal in the history of British banking.

  23. rich

    Elizabeth Warren Tackles Wall Street

    The labor force has shrunk by nearly 4 million since the recession began—people so discouraged they’ve stopped looking for work. The conventional assumption is that they’ll come back once the economy picks up steam, but Posen and others doubt it. “We have destroyed some of our labor market capacity,” he said. “The real reason people like me were fighting so hard for more stimulus was that we didn’t want this to happen.”

    When the Fed created trillions of dollars to rescue Wall Street, skeptical citizens began asking, “Where’s my bailout?” They correctly identified the fundamental contradiction facing the central bank, which refused to provide a similar kind of emergency aid to producers and consumers. Authorities claimed that was impossible, even illegal, and most of the media dismissed the question as uninformed. People were not told, however, that in the shadow debate on Fed policy, experts like Posen were asking the very same question. The advocates for more aggressive alternatives insist the country would have had a stronger, faster recovery if the Fed had responded to their pleas.

    Posen points out the political impediments to greater Fed action. “The Treasury was not encouraging,” he said. “That’s part of it. If the Treasury and White House had said, ‘We should do this’… but the Treasury wasn’t putting itself out there to do more mortgage restructuring.” Why didn’t Bernanke act? “It’s just a self-imposed political barrier,” Posen said of the Fed chair, with whom he wrote a book in the 1990s. “It’s not historical. It’s not economics. If anything, the economics tells you that the more you buy assets with cash, the bigger effect you are going to have on the real economy.” The Fed was afraid to act boldly, Posen surmised, for fear that Congress would take away some of its power. “The Fed would say to itself, ‘OK, we’re already under attack. We do need to stand up and fight for more quantitative easing, but there’s an argument that this is not our core mission. So let’s stick to our core mission.’” To put it bluntly, Bernanke choked.

    Read more: Elizabeth Warren Tackles Wall Street | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/article/175084/elizabeth-warren-tackles-wall-street#ixzz2YDKFFgQG

  24. skippy

    The discretion banks use in judging the riskiness of their long-term assets can overstate their capital ratios by up to 20%, global regulators said in a final report on the subject Friday.

    The long-awaited report, by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, appeared to confirm what many outside the banking industry had long suspected: that banks have a structural bias to understate the risk embedded in the vast majority of their investments, so as to make them look better-capitalized and protected against possible shocks than they actually are.

    As such, the report may provide the regulators with the empirical ammunition to impose new and tighter rules on the banks, which may in turn put pressure on them to raise their capital levels yet again. Any such discussions would only formally begin in September when the BCBS next meets.

    “While some variation in risk weightings should be expected with internal model-based approaches, the considerable variation observed warrants further attention,” said Stefan Ingves, governor of Sveriges Riksbank in Sweden and the chairman of the Basel Committee.

    Banks in Europe and the U.S. have spent much of the past five years trying to meet new and tougher capital standards imposed by their regulators to try and prevent a repeat of the crisis that erupted in 2008.

    The report, based on data from over 100 banks world-wide, focused on the degree to which banks use the freedom allowed under existing rules to determine for themselves the riskiness of their business.

    The principle of such “risk-weighting” is the cornerstone of both pre- and postcrisis rules for determining capital needs, and Mr. Ingves has already made clear that it will remain so.

    However, the committee, which comprises the national regulators for all the world’s major banking jurisdictions, have fretted for a long time that banks have been using loopholes in the rules to make themselves look stronger than they are.

    The report found that differences in risk-weighting approaches from bank to bank could cause a bank’s capital ratios to deviate by up to 20%. That means a bank that, under standardized measure, had a risk-adjusted capital ratio of 10%, could report one of either 8% or 12%, depending on how conservatively it worked.

    However, the BCBS noted that most of the banks involved in the survey showed a deviation of no more than 1% from the standardized norm.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324853704578587682790680120.html

    skippy…. Boy[!!!]…. if only names were committed… but naw~

    As finance is only simple math – input = output – its a hell of a thing to use… the camouflage of vastness… time and space thingy… bias always fooks the mathematical observation… when will we learn~~~

  25. scraping_by

    Re: Arab Capitalism

    Nice try at political hijacking. Reframing the events sometimes gets people confused, and is always useful noise drowning out the real cry of the people.

    The small merchants were in despair not at the lack of functioning commercial opportunities, but at their powerlessness in the face of criminals operating through official positions. In that way, they’re far less like those poor, poor bankers who have to stop forging mortgage documents, and more like the women in Texas who are getting pulled over and hand raped on the side of the road under the pretext of a cavity search for drugs. The point of torture is torture, whatever level of torture’s being used.

    And remember, the ultimate point of oppression isn’t oppression. It’s profit from oppression.

  26. skippy

    Because myself must…

    Nintendo CEO: 90% of New Gamers Unable to Finish Level 1-1 in Original Super Mario Bros
    Friday, July 05, 2013 – by Seth Colaner
    During a Q&A at Nintendo’s recent shareholder’s meeting, Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata said several things that are alternately painful, amazing, and sad in response to a question from a stockholder about how games seem to be getting easier, and how that may be contributing to the Wii U’s lackluster sales.

    First of all, Iwata agreed that games have gotten easier, and he affirmed that the trend could be a reason that interest in the Wii U hasn’t been as strong as it could be. Still, he defended the company’s strategy for making games easier by revealing the results of gamer testing that Nintendo has conducted that demonstrates gamers’ decreasing ability to do well in games.

    “It may come as a shock to some of you that most gamers today cannot finish the original Super Mario Brothers game on the Famicom,” he said. “We have conducted this test over the past few years to see how difficult we should make our games and have found that the number of people unable to finish the first level is steadily increasing.”

    At this point, a whopping 90% of participants couldn’t finish the level. (We presume that means they used up their few available lives before having to restart the game.)

    He also noted that most didn’t understand basic game mechanics such as the run button, or that coins are to be collected and aren’t enemies, or the concept of a bottomless pit. About 70% died at the first enemy, and half of those died at that same spot twice. (Twice! At the hands [or lack thereof] of the first Goomba!)

    Participants said that they wanted the game to be easier, and that Mario should perhaps start the game with a sword or a gun. Some didn’t even realize that Super Mario Bros was an actual vintage game.

    If we can put on our old fart hats for a moment: What on earth is wrong with kids today? Mario was a famously tough game to beat, for sure–saying that you beat Mario was a legitimate boast among the neighborhood youths–but not being able to finish off the first level is ridiculous, and suggesting that the game should be made easier instead of begging to try the level again is offensive to our sensibilities. (Now if someone would hand us a handkerchief to wipe the soup off our chins, we’d appreciate it.)

    All joking aside, that’s a sad state of affairs for the gaming community in general and Nintendo specifically. Iwata, to his credit, sounds just as downcast about it as everyone else.

    “As a stockholder, you should be relieved to know that our games are easier in order to attract a wider audience,” he told the crowd. “As a gamer, you might feel a little sad, and you should be. It is quite sad.” Indeed.

    http://hothardware.com/News/Nintendo-CEO-90-of-New-Gamers-Unable-to-Finish-Level-11-in-Original-Super-Mario-Bros/

    skippy… Devolution is every where… and its a intentional programing defect~~~

    Dare To Be Stupid

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

    1. Massinissa

      Thanks skippy. As a gamer myself (Although I mostly play historical strategy games these days), this honestly is pretty depressing. Though to be fair hard games will always be around for those willing to play more indie titles. Its mostly just the mass marketed games that are getting easier. Hard games will always be around for those who want them, they just wont be the ones with big budgets and expensive graphics.

      1. psychohistorian

        I started my techie life with paper tape and punch cards and never got enthralled by the gaming stuff. For me it was a tool for a job more than a plaything. I like my playthings more in the real world.

        It sounds like the gaming world might have peaked and will look for its niche as both training/play tools.

        1. skippy

          Grooming the herd… dumbing down… design defect flaw in the intentional design of a product that makes it
          unreasonably dangerous… thingy~

          skippy… all this consumerist behavioral shite will come home to roost, hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary development increasingly fiddled with 365/24/7 for what[???]… electrons of choice… for some…

        2. Howard Beale IV

          The only reason why I bought a PS3 was for a ‘future-proof’ BluRay. Now I think I would have been better off buying an Oppo BDP-93.

  27. p78

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/us/us-sends-government-an-arrest-warrant-for-snowden-1.1453364
    Fri, Jul 5, 2013, 01:00
    US sends Irish Government an arrest warrant for Snowden
    The provisional arrest warrant received by the Irish Government from the US authorities is being handled by the extradition unit in the Garda’s crime and security branch based in Garda headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
    The warrant has been issued as a pre-emptive strike against any effort by Mr Snowden to evade the US authorities by flying from Moscow to Havana on a commercial flight that stops off at Shannon for refuelling.
    The warrant would enable the Garda to arrest Mr Snowden under the Extradition Act 1965.
    He could be brought before a District Court where a judge could detain him in custody for up to 18 days during which time the Americans could execute a full extradition process to bring him back to America to stand trial.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/06/us-usa-security-venezuela-idUSBRE96500420130706
    Venezuela’s Maduro offers asylum to Snowden 8:42pm EDT

  28. psychohistorian

    You have to give Snowden credit for showing how far the plutocrats will go to quash the nascent cracks in the armor of hidden social control.

    They will not let him live because to do so would encourage more like him.

    It is not if the house of cards is falling down but how long before another structural point gives way…..but when it all falls down, who is going to take the playing cards away from the plutocrats?

  29. peace

    Yves,
    I’m sorry your attempted holiday was spoiled by tech issues. Your work is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

Comments are closed.