Links 9/28/15

Sorry for the lack of original posts. I do not feel well.

Why some scientists are worried about a surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean Washington Post (Chuck L)

There’s a One-in-Four Chance the Fish You Just Ordered Contains Plastic Alternet

China’s economy is stumbling, but by how much? BBC

Rainbow beach sinkhole at Inskip Point beach may still be growing Daily Mail (Chuck L). Oz news.

Rare Australian jellyfish carried to California coast by warm El Nino currents Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Containing the inevitable Chinese slowdown
Japan Times

G-4 chiefs push tangible reform in U.N. Security Council Reuters

Victorious Catalan separatists claim mandate to break with Spain Reuters. Wow. Note Podemos only got 9% of the vote.

Refugee Crisis

Forget Germany. Refugees in Croatia First Have to Figure Out Where the Hell They Are Mother Jones

Corbyn Panic

Ann Pettifor invited to join Labour Leader’s new Economic Advisory Committee Prime Economics. Yeah! Along with Marianna Mazzucato, Stiglitz, Piketty, Blanchflower and others.

Grexit?

SYRIZA’s Pyrrhic Victory, and the Future of the Left in Greece Richard Fidler (Sid S)

Ukraine/Russia

More human remains found at MH17 crash site 14 months after it was ‘shot down’ over Ukraine Mirror Online. Lambert: “Hmmm.”

Over 440,000 Dutch call for referendum on Ukraine EU treaty DutchNews

Syraqistan

Iraq military to share security and intelligence information on Islamic State group with Syria, Russia and Iran Associated Press

U.S. support for Syria rebels illegal: Putin Reuters

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Edward Snowden Inspires Global Treaty for Online Privacy Rolling Stone

Boehner Defenestration

Boehner Exits House of Shards American Prospect

Greater Fools and Bigger Liars Ilargi

2016

NBC/WSJ Poll: Trump and Carson Lead GOP; Clinton Loses Ground NBC News. Sanders is up to 35%!!!

Fox host corners Bush for giving tax cuts to the 1%: ‘Does Jeb Bush need a $3 million tax cut?’ Raw Story (furzy mouse)

Round ‘Em Up in a Nice, Humane Way: The Best Parts of Donald Trump’s 60 Minutes Interview Gawker

Play the Video and Feel Good About Having Trump for Dictator – er – President! Huffington Post (furzy mouse). OMG, too funny!

Volkswagen

The Decadence of the People’s Car Project Syndicate (David L)

Something is rotten in the state of Germany Bloomberg

Junipero Serra statue at Carmel Mission vandalized days after he was made a saint Los Angeles Times

Carlyle Group is learning to manage adversity Washington Post

Et Tu, Janet Yellen? Robert Kuttner, Huffington Post

FDA Nominee Served on Portola Pharmaceuticals Board PEU Report

Website 10th Anniversary: 10 Things I Got Right Thomas Palley

Guillotine Watch

Hermès’ new Apple Watch How To Spend It, Finnacial Times

Class Warfare

Airbnb spending more than $8 million to fight new rental rules SFGate

Maine mayor: ‘Name and shame’ welfare recipients so special needs kids will stay out my state Raw Story (furzy mouse)

The era of cheap labour is over Paul Mason, Guardian. Furzy mouse: “​Hmmm…..mebbe not…..”

Please sign the petition: Tell the administration to declare a moratorium on garnishing Social Security benefits to pay student loans People for the American Way. Readers know I just about never promote petitions, but garnishing Social Security (as in making old people eat out of garbage cans) to pay student loan debt is heinous. And if you are young and think there is nothing for you in signing this petition, think twice. It’s key to start chipping away at the horrible notion that student loans deserve to be in a special class and that borrowers will be kept in debt servitude even when they don’t have the income to pay it off.

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk. New York Times (resilc). Important.

Antidote du jour:

cute pony and dogs links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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110 comments

  1. Haven Monahan

    Wow, that Gawker article on the Trump interview is telling. Gawker is 100% down with the neoliberal elite. Trump revealed himself to be a flaming Leftist and all Gawker can do is throw some snark around on deportations.

    Hillary Clinton is going to have a huge headache after this interview. Trump is wisely assuming the GOP Primary sale and now turning towards the general election.

    –Trump said he would tear up NAFTA!
    –He is against “free” trade and instead openly discussed tariffs and trade wars with China!
    –Trump talked about destroying privatized ObamaCare and replacing it with a universal system of health care.
    — Trump calls for repealing taxes on the poorest Americans and raising taxes on the Wall Street parasite class.
    –Trump talked about increasing infrastructure spending.
    –Trump talked about not cutting Social Security.

    But his most important issue is immigration. Bernie Sanders himself admits that Open Borders is a right wing Koch brothers scam to lower salaries by importing illegal cheap labor. Sanders and many Democrats want to solve this problem by legalizing the illegals in order to put upwards pressure on wages. But this is ridiculous; any upward pressure on wages will be met by waves of new illegals ready to do the work cheaper than any immigrant on the path to citizenship would be willing to do. It’s like trying to pump air into a leaking inner tube. There cannot be any upward pressure on wages as long as illegal immigrants can flow over the border.

    Working class left wingers like Cesar Chavez used to understand this. But Democrats are now the party of wealth and the rich love them some cheap labor.

    So Trump’s deportation plan is actually a form of touchback amnesty. Many illegals will be allowed back in but most importantly as legal immigrants with the goal of becoming citizens. This is why immigrants will like the Trump plan. It is the most basic play from the neoliberal playbook to undermine citizenship in a nation-state as something approaching racism. And allowing illegals to flow into semi-slave conditions in the US is just what neoliberals want. Their ultimate dream is to ban citizenship and the nation-state everywhere.

    Trump understands immigration will be a negotiation and he must stake out a strong position. Here is a link to a recent report on declining real wages for America’s poorest workers. Wages for immigrant heavy positions such as cook, janitor, food prep, maids, home health workers, etc are getting pummeled. The only way these salaries turn the corner and start rising is by stopping the flow of cheap labor immigration.

    http://www.nelp.org/content/uploads/Occupational-Wage-Declines-Since-the-Great-Recession.pdf

    1. tegnost

      Your analysis tends to controlling somehow the flow of immigrants into the usian economy but leaves out the role gov’t could play in punishing those who hire the illegal aliens. Also, minimum wages, but by your analysis this would only increase the incentives to hire or be an undocumented worker. Personally I’ll take the mexicans over the jerks that hire them any day…

      1. Haven Monahan

        Controlling the flow, punishing the employers, introducing a national ID card, cutting off benefits, all these policies can and will work in combination with each other. There is absolutely no combination between them.

        On the other hand absent these controls, the higher minimum wage is, the higher the incentive is to hire illegals. Because by definition hiring an illegal immigrant means you can ignore the minimum wage laws as well as all the other employment laws. By refusing to enforce immigration laws, one is refusing to enforce minimum wage laws.

        1. tegnost

          I don’t want a national id card. Controlling the flow, well lets face it that’s state of affairs description (as in thats what we do now), cutting off benefits well I don’t think illegals get much in the way of benefits unless you count being able to flee the jurisdiction to another country after a car accident or major medical event to dodge the bills as being a benefit. Also I presupposed your antagonism to the minimum wage as being an incentive to cheat. I don’t see how these things you suggest will be effective responses. Absent a disincentive to do so the minor kings will continue to seek the cheapest labor.

    2. fresno dan

      Trump exposes a great contradiction in the republican base – a good many people not well off with declining prospects, who are not nearly as enamored of tax cuts for the wealthiest, any “reform” of social security, and “free” trade. They are incredibly angry, and the buffet that serves Obamacare and Planned Parenthood as the cause of their 40 years of misery is getting to be thin gruel for a significant number of them.

      I wish Trump really would use his independence and go full on populist – and note that under both parties more and more of the incessant yammering about growth is useless, as most of the benefit goes to the 0.1%. Such a strategy would mean that he could really start messing with the democrats (i.e., Clinton) as well.

      Does Trump, or did Trump ever, really believe who could win the republican nomination? I had thought it was just some extra free advertising for his brand. But when the polls stop decreasing, or even going down, will Trump accept obscurity??? I’m thinking Trump’s ego may, just may, compel him to go full populist to keep getting attention. What would happen if Trump, really, really, starting pointing out how corrupt the US political system is? Probably just a fantasy of mine….

      And this:
      Fox host corners Bush for giving tax cuts to the 1%: ‘Does Jeb Bush need a $3 million tax cut?’

      Wallace also noted that the middle class would only see a 2.9 percent increase in income with Bush’s tax plan. But the top 1 percent of earners would see an 11.6 percent increase in income.

      ======================================================================
      And of course, if we get the vaunted inflation that the bankers – whoops! – I mean the FED wants, it nets out to 0 for the middle class, and the rich get richer….(nominal gains for the middle, REAL gains for the wealthy).

      40 years of gains for the 0.1%, and 40 years of declining wages for working men. When FOX even starts noticing the unfair distribution of tax cuts, maybe this portends, after 40 years, that it is BEGINNING to dawn on some in the republican base (but really, would they be any better off going to the Clinton/Rubin democrats???) that the republican establishment isn’t really interested in a profit and loss system, but only in making the rich richer….

      1. Haven Monahan

        Trump is indeed driving a Mack truck through the internal class contradictions of the Republican Party. The base are rejecting the usual red meat of social issues and now are now demanding economic justice instead. And they want it through economic nationalism. Trump has obviously studied Marine Le Pen very closely but instead of starting a third party he is leading a working class takeover of the supposedly right wing party.

        Fox is suffering through a Trump-led boycott which I have heard is driving ratings down but I would like to see more evidence of this. But don’t believe those 250 sample polls showing Trump at 25% — he is much closer to 30% and when second choices are included is at 50%, He has succeeded in pummeling into single digits his one true rival ¡Jeb!. Carson is not a serious threat and the rest of the clown car are at best running for Vice President.

        There is also the very entertaining spectacle of the comment sections of respectable Republican outlets like the National Review. The base is very very angry and are not listening to the sage utterances of George Will anymore!

        With the political establishment running such a narrow selection of Bush and Clinton, there was a huge amount of space created for candidates like Trump and Sanders. I am sure Trump is serious about this but only time will tell. He mentioned that he would get Republican funding in the general election and it is clear he hates the media and so he will not want to feed the beast by running huge ad campaigns. And the media know this which is one reason they attack him so hard. Apparently 70% of a Presidential campaign budget is fundraising and attack ads, neither of which Trump has much need for.

        Trump is definitely pushing a pro-growth agenda — he’s not a solid-state kind of guy. The theory seems to be that if offshoring well-paid jobs and inshoring cheap labor was deflationary and anti-growth, then it would be logical that inshoring the jobs back home and cutting off the cheap labor will be inflationary and pro-growth. And if China is cut off from American markets they will be forced to increase consumption in their domestic markets which would also increase growth. And a Trump victory in the US could lead some parts of Europe to adopt more economically nationalist policies which could also lead to more growth — but that remains to be seen.

        But the same class internal contradictions that exist with the Republicans also exist in the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton is going to have a hard time explaining to her working class voters why she is fighting for NAFTA, cheap labor immigration, and against universal health care.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Listening to the ‘sage utterances’ of Will (or others).

          That’s the way it works now.

          But we have to listen to ourselves.

          Believe in ourselves and our own greatness.

        2. bob

          Mack truck!

          How about some reality- the Rotary Club Nihilists are driving a bumper car.

          Good Fox news parody.

          Are you now, or have you ever been known by the names roger stone or dick morris?

    3. James Levy

      Problem for you: illegal immigration has DECREASED since the great recession, so how the hell is it driving down wages at this time?

      The idea of rounding up millions of people for deportation should send shivers down your spine, as people will desperately seek any means to avoid that and the government/cop abuses will be, if everything we’ve witnessed in recently years is an indicator, terrifying.

      You have the same “I’ve got mine, fuck you” attitude towards immigrants as the rich do towards the poor. We should be UNITING with immigrants to fight the powerful, not punching down at the most vulnerable people in out society. We are all WORKERS, and should be uniting against capital, not picking on other workers.

      1. MPLSSean

        Thank you! The righteousness of some to denigrate an entire sect of society due to some perceived benefit is beyond gross.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Immigrants are refugees are welcome.

          When righteous imperialists and neoliberal travelers blow up a country, they should step forward and acclimate the newcomers by letting these victims stay with their families, in their comfortable neighborhoods and compete for their jobs.

          Those already down and out, if they worry about the immigrants and refugees, they shouldn’t be (for they and we are in the same boat), just as they shouldn’t worry about the government not taking care of them, or not preventing the rich from accumulating more wealth at their expense.

      2. Haven Monahan

        First of all no one knows how many illegal immigrants there are and what the flows have been. The cheap labor neoliberal media may invent stories about the number dropping, but no one knows what the real numbers are.

        The deportations will be for the most part voluntary. Let’s say there are 10 million illegals. You set up a first gone-first return system where the first 3 million get touchback rights, and then after that the touchback rights are by lottery depending on labor needs. You subsidize the self deportation at say $2000 a person. You phase out welfare payments, etc, introduce Draconian laws against hiring illegals, etc, etc. and in a year or two most will have self-deported. After a certain time, basically if you have to hunt the illegals down, that means they can never come back. You will get the vast majority to self deport. Once salaries start rising and true shortages appear people can come back as full fledged legal immigrants with a path to full citisenship. The ideal is to avoid a powerless helot class of non-citizens. Of course since no one knows how many illegals there are no one will ever know when most of them are gone. The point is to symbolically end the viscous cycle of illegal immigration, followed by amnesty, followed by more illegal immigration, followed by more amnesty, etc.

        Yes, the old “punching down” line. Elites punch down on the working class for sport but suddenly when the elite’s masses of cheap labor are threatened suddenly the punching down law is haughtily invoked. Marx said “The proletariat of each country must first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie” which means Mexican workers should be fighting their own bourgeoisie and leave American workers alone to fight theirs. Worker solidarity means not crossing a border to undermine the salaries of another nation’s workers.

        1. Alejandro

          That’s quite a fantastical policy prescription you got there. I’m not sure you realize that most of the cheap labor crosses the border in the form of products made elsewhere…you may be reading this on such a product right now.

          Since you have such an active imagination, how would a policy to deport those that deport jawbs look like?

          1. Haven Monahan

            If you look at my first comment you will see I agree with you on “free’ trade.

            That is a great idea to deport the CEO’s who deport jobs. First step is to create the crime of economic treason (criteria to be decided by how many jobs are overseas, etc), punishable by deportation or a long jail term. The slightly tricky part of deportations is that the deportee must have citizenship in another country. You cannot normally deport someone and make them stateless (it did happen not so long ago to John Demjanjuk). So you set up an incentive for economic traitors to get citizenship in the countries they betray American workers with. For example if we take Apple’s Tim Cook, and he gets convicted of economic treason; he gets offered to either serve a long prison sentence or he can get citizenship in China and accept to be deported and never be allowed back in the States. Hopefully the Chinese would house him in the workers quarters of those who produce Apple products.

            1. cnchal

              . . . Hopefully the Chinese would house him in the workers quarters of those who produce Apple products.

              He can spend his time working different positions on the assembly line getting paid $3.00 per day, and be a sport and test the nets surrounding the building.

          1. hunkerdown

            That was a bit harsh but I was under time pressure at that moment.

            James says: “Problem for you: illegal immigration has DECREASED since the great recession, so how the hell is it driving down wages at this time?”

            Disregarding outflows and other inflows for a moment (let q = 0), is the number of unauthorized workers in this present period, according to x(t+1) = x(t) + n(t) + q(t) not greater than x(t) for any positive n(t), however less n(t) may be than n(t-1)? Is the sum of all n since the epoch (1/20/1981 is as good as any, I suppose) not still positive? Are there not still more dogs at t+1 than at t, chasing after an approximately constant or decreasing number of bones (w = labor share of GDP)?

            James appears to have mistaken the slope for the value.

            1. James Levy

              If the number of jobs overall was constant, that would make sense. Problem is, the number of jobs has increased over the last 5 years, so, with fewer people coming in, and more jobs, the downward pressure on wages would abate.

    4. Carolinian

      While I agree that Trump is in many ways helpfully stirring the pot, the account I saw said he wanted to raise the SS age to 70. In my book that is definitely “cutting” Social Security.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Increasing it to 70 and lowering the adult age to 16 (kids are precocious these days) will simply add more workers to the pool.

        Not sure the economy can handle that.

        What is Trump’s position on military industrial complex? Hopefully better than Sander’s.

    5. Oregoncharles

      I’ve noted before that Trump’s position on immigration is populist, but it’s also extremely inhumane and likely to be very disruptive to the economy. You offer a clever way to go about it; is there any reason to think Trump would do it that way? Is that his position?

      I would add that, with Trump as with Obama, it’s important to distinguish between personal style and positions. But what reason do we have to think his positions are genuine? Or that he’d be able to get laws passed?

      One problem for most of us: it would be really embarrassing to have a reality-TV star for president. And another: his foreign-policy pronouncements have been beyond hawkish. Again: style or substance?

      He illustrates an important point: his positions draw indiscrimately from left and right – and evidently a lot of people like that. The traditional lists are not written in stone, and a lot of people have little respect for them. That could even be a good thing.

      1. Haven Monahan

        I work in the same industry as Trump so I know the way he thinks. But by just going through the effort to project manage his immigration project certain aspects become obvious. First he has to build a wall / secure the border. There is obviously no point deporting someone with an open border. How long will this take? Will Trump need Congress or can he do this on his own. The wall he is discussing is not that quick to build — he could start with a temporary fence, etc. In any case it has to take at least a year if not two to get a properly secure border.

        So during this time he will call on illegals to self-report. Perhaps they will get temporary work permits. But you can see where this will go. For the touchback people, the “deportation” will take on a virtual aspect — is it really necessary to fly them back to wherever just to let them in again? For the non-touchback people there could be real deportations, but with a lottery number for the right of first legal return.

        As for getting his ideas past a Congress, Trump needs to build up leverage in areas he controls which is for example deportations. Once he has Congress’ attention, he may be willing to compromise if they give him what he wants on Fair Trade. Also since Trump is not really a Republican he can build cross party alliances. Also during the election he can use his coattails to support candidates from both parties who pledge to support him.

        The reality show personae pays huge dividends in appealing to normal Americans and in terms of presentation and subliminal communication. The reality is though, as that famous political philosopher Eddie Murphy kind of said, “to a starving man, a simple Ritz cracker looks like a gourmet meal” So in a sea of neoliberal candidates, the nationalist stands out despite any apparent flaws he may have.

        On foreign policy I am reading an isolationist, America First, or anti-imperialist, which are all names for basically the same thing. He’s not a neo-con, that’s for sure. We will have to wait for him to name his national security team but I expect it will have a paleoconservative bent to it. He blusters on about building a huge military but that is to cover up for his isolationist ways.

        Yes I think it is important for people to break out of the limits of the two partisan tool boxes the oligarchs give each side. Besides lots of social issues fluff one side gets the economic gun but the other gets the economic bullets and the two party system with its encouragement of partisan purity insures those bullets never get anywhere near the gun and so can never threaten the oligarch’s power. Trump (and Sanders) seem to be trying to get the economic gun and the bullets together in one tool box.

  2. JTMcPhee

    …so what’s the beef with The Only Front Man For The Aristocracy of Enormous Weather We Have bring to install Califf às head of FDA? Just like Geithner and Paulson and Petaeus and Mary Jo White, he is indubitably an expert, “a man out standing in his field…” Gee, will it ever happen that the decent sensible residuum of the “American citizenry” might actually take the Figurehead in Chief up on his Idiot’s Challenge to “If you want it so bad, MAKE ME DO IT!”?

    And gee, how many other neocons and ñeolibs and just plain crony thieves has ” this administration” embedded under Article III or Civil Service protection in “our your my bwahahahahaha government”?

  3. allan

    Stop Googling:

    … when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel.

    And the same goes for classrooms and lecture halls, where it is close to impossible to engage students who are one swipe or tap away from what might as well be another universe. As with globalization, the wireless networking of the world was an experiment that can only be run once, and the outcome for the generations that follow will be just as dismal.

    1. Katiebird

      I was thinking about this as the Pope shook hands with people on the way to his plan last night. Most people on the second row were holding up phones to record him as hw went by. And I kept thinking, “You are with the Pope … But your only memory will be seeing him through your tiny telephone screen. You might as well be at home looking at YouTube!!” …. But no one listened.

      1. ambrit

        The teleprompter, and it doesn’t have to be mechanical, is the opposite of the slave who held the laurel wreath above the Roman general’s head during his triumph. The slave was supposed to whisper in the generals ear; “Thou too are but mortal.” Keep them feet firmly on the ground bud! The teleprompter says; “You are one of the anointed!” The prompter speaks not, but it’s message is a shout.

    2. Vatch

      Another useful quote from that article:

      We thought that online posting would make us bolder than we are in person, but a 2014 Pew study demonstrated that people are less likely to post opinions on social media when they fear their followers will disagree with them. Designing for our vulnerabilities means finding ways to talk to people, online and off, whose opinions differ from our own.

      People fear being perceived as nonconformists.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And worse, and more pernicious, this:

        Even a silent phone disconnects us.

        In 2010, a team at the University of Michigan led by the psychologist Sara Konrath put together the findings of 72 studies that were conducted over a 30-year period. They found a 40 percent decline in empathy among college students, with most of the decline taking place after 2000.

        Across generations, technology is implicated in this assault on empathy. We’ve gotten used to being connected all the time, but we have found ways around conversation — at least from conversation that is open-ended and spontaneous, in which we play with ideas and allow ourselves to be fully present and vulnerable. But it is in this type of conversation — where we learn to make eye contact, to become aware of another person’s posture and tone, to comfort one another and respectfully challenge one another — that empathy and intimacy flourish. In these conversations, we learn who we are.

        And us oldsters keep hoping for another Magical Mystical Convergence to spring forth from our offspring… My guess is that it has,but it’s called “ISIS…” The war will not be televised, but it will sure be “shared,” what an abuse of a formerly kindly and decent word…

    3. tongorad

      Right on. From this public school teacher’s perspective, I can’t help but be judgmental about parents who provide their kids with these toys.

      1. lylo

        My sister-in-law has her toddler glued to a cell phone already. He’s in diapers and watches Youtube all day. I don’t think he’s three yet. (Needless to say, his development is going slowly…)
        I can’t help but judge either.
        Good luck, public school teachers! You are really, really going to need it.

  4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘…the horrible notion that student loans deserve to be in a special case…

    Educational systems that serve as farms to professional basketball, baseball, football teams and to corporations, that produce and train future machine parts for the system are not special either.

    When learning got mixed up with how much money one can make with a degree, it is no longer special.

    We have to stop treating that kind of learning as special.

    1. Sammy Maudlin

      We have to stop treating that kind of learning as special.

      It’s not the learning or even the educational institutions that are being given special treatment here. It’s the debt that is being given special treatment. The vast majority of which is owed directly to the federal government.

      The federal government should not be allowed to create the money, essentially force people to incur debt to attend college (because of the over-prevalence of student loans it creates, along with the primary school over-emphasis on attending four-year college which it mandates, causing inflationary pressure on college costs), and then game its own court system to protect its interest as a “creditor.” It’s the ultimate loan sharking scheme.

      1. Truthaddict

        ^ this. File under “Ridiculously Obvious Scams” lol. Feds should not be in the student loan business.

      2. Tertium Squid

        I don’t think it’s even the debt, specifically, but credentialism. It’s never been easier to acquire learning or skills, but universities still stand as gatekeepers to convincing the strangers around you that you have any idea what you are talking about.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I agree it’s the debt is being given special treatment.

        The ‘over-emphasis on attending four year college’ is the other exception/specialness here, particularly when that learning should be provided by corporations/billionaires’ professional sports teams.

        Students think, for example, a medical degree will let him/her earn more money. But why should doctors make more than, say, nurses? Because capitalism and free market. Not because all jobs are noble and not because one becomes a doctor to help others, to heal people, animals and plants.

        So, it’s because free market.

        Why should senators make more money than their constituents? Well, in this case, because central planning. A few people voted to make it so.

        So, we have the other choice covered – because central planning.

        1. tongorad

          “Central Planning.” One of those glibertarian phrases that’s supposed to cause us to clutch our liberty-loving pearls and swoon. Good luck in finding that fairy-tale land in which nothing is ever planned.
          It ain’t the plan that’s the problem, it’s who is doing the planning. Working class need more agency, not less.

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        Most mortgage debt (Fannie, Freddie, VHA) is guaranteed by the Federal government, which results in the same level of loss exposure (recoveries on foreclosures have been dreadful in the new rapacious servicing regime).

    2. fresno dan

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/opinion/sunday/the-real-reason-college-tuition-costs-so-much.html?_r=0

      “Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor. Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970. Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of post secondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970.

      By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

      Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

      The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments. Even the explosion in administrative personnel is, at least in theory, defensible. On the other hand, there are no valid arguments to support the recent trend toward seven-figure salaries for high-ranking university administrators, unless one considers evidence-free assertions about “the market” to be intellectually rigorous.”
      ==========================================================

      It is a flaw, that “reform” pretty much always consists of buying off the providers of what is being “reformed”. Besides getting lots and lots and lots…OH, did I say lots – it generally includes that the person who is being “helped” has to have “skin in the game” – so that the supposed beneficiaries are actually worse off than before “reform.”
      Reform is first and always to make sure those with plenty of resources get more resources, and their resources grow much, much, much faster than inflation.

      Superficially, these reforms are sold as a nifty way to supply health insurance or education. But just like my privilege of buying health insurance, which is no more than the cost of admission to the theme park (you can only have a doctor if you have “health” insurance, and provides no actual rides (medical care), the “benefit” of ever more funding just means costs go up far, far more than the benefit.

      (I just had to include medical care as I had my third “adjustment” to a lab bill. So the insurance company had some left overs for me to pay – (which is NOT TO BE CONFUSED with my SKIN IN THE GAME) – Which I paid. Than, somehow, no one can actually explain it, but somehow there were adjustments to the adjustments, and I had to pay some more. Than there were adjustments, to the adjustments of the adjustments. Its unclear to me as to whether all adjustments are just insurance payment portion adjustments, or whether there are adjustments to the skin in the game portion. Perhaps it has ended, but no one can say for sure…)

      1. cwaltz

        Professors work. Did you really think the gains were going into the pocket of anyone who actually does anything remotely productive?

        C’mon now why would education be an anomaly when the working class, as a whole, has not benefitted from gains made in the economy for around 40 years now?

      2. James Levy

        Much of the administration of colleges and universities was done up to the 1970s by faculty members themselves on leave for 2-5 years acting as assistant deans or deans for various functions. Of course, these were people with tenure and university presidents and their boards made up of local real estate gonifs and car dealers found such people tough to handle, so they were all replaced with full-time administrators who held their jobs at the whim of the president. The growing star system among faculty that encouraged profs to become free agents, moving from one job to the other up the academic pecking order rather than accepting a career at one university added to the mess by devaluing time spent in “service” in favor of publishing as much as possible so that you could trade in a job at Rutgers for a job at NYU or Penn. Thus the most influential profs were disinterested in fighting to keep those slots in administration, which was just fine with the presidents who didn’t want to fill them with troublesome profs in the first place. And that’s how we’ve gotten to this lousy place.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That reminds me that tenure is part of what makes education special, something that is only shared by, and I hope I don’t get it mixed up with someone else, but I believe MTPhee corrected me, federal judges (not just Supreme Court justices).

          1. JTMcPhee

            And as I pointed out, “tenure” is being exterminated, and was never more than a right to due process in “non-retention,” and to even get tunured you had to endure seven years of fearful at-will status and then were either up, or out.

            Special? Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              What was once special is slowly disappearing.

              Yet, the factory continues to churn out parts for the system.

              All those educated college graduates in China…no (not much) student debt, but no suitable work either.

              1. JTMcPhee

                At various times, I recall, that thing we personify so grossly as “China” was supposed to have had a pretty effective civil service (a phrase that pre-Reagan or maybe earlier used to connote a very positive feature of the political. economy.)

                Maybe greed and selfishness and clannishness and tribalism and so many damn people crushes the vestiges of the tradition, or maybe it was all mythology. But you have to wonder if a lot of educated people could not be brought to resurrect or create such a construct. Of course, most young people there and here don’t get a classical dose of Confucius and other wisdom. Trade schooling, cog-machining… More’s the pity.

            2. ProNewerDeal

              without Prof tenure, I would imagine that the research quality/innovation would decline.

              For example, how would Prof. Noam Chomsky, resist being fired by MIT, if not for tenure? From the little I know, Chomsky was hired as a linguist Prof, but in addition to that research, he research & wrote books on an entirely 2nd field, on the US political economy. For instance, Chomsky criticized the MIC, which happened to be a source of funding for MIT research. If Prof. employment was at-will, some “Manufactured” reason would’ve been invented to fire Chomsky.

              Murica is steadily becoming more like the movie Idiocracy.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I think tenure is good and more should have it. The current trend is very unfortunate, but it should be less special.

                For example, investigative reporters should have it.

      3. Cynthia

        Dan, you write,

        “Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.”

        The same sort of problem exists in the hospital industry, and it particularly does in academic hospitals. I like to refer to overpaid and overly plentiful administrators employed in hospitals as “red ink” people. They cost healthcare a lot of money and they provide NO healthcare. Doctors and nurses do that. We are the “black ink” people.

        1. Gio Bruno

          …actually the black ink people are the hospital administrators that find a way to bill patients $400 for a visit from a certified dietician. The one who stepped into your room for a minute and asked, “how’s the food?”.

          1. Vatch

            According to Wikipedia, Michelle Obama’s salary as the University of Chicago Hospitals Vice President for Community and External Affairs was $273,618. I don’t think she treated many patients.

  5. Sammy Maudlin

    Garnishing Social Security to pay for outstanding student loans is especially heinous when you consider that it can be due to grandma co-signing on a student loan for her deadbeat grandkid. I dunno, maybe it’s more heinous to think that the cost of college is growing at such a rate that people will still be paying off student loans 43 or so years after they graduate from a four-year college.

    Student loan debt that is owed to the federal government should be in a special class – that which is easiest to discharge. The federal government should be last in the bankruptcy line when collecting student loan debt. If student loans are going to be given out by an omnipotent governmental entity that can create its own currency at will, without factoring in creditworthiness or student achievement, then it shouldn’t be allowed to protect its interests above those of private creditors, who actually have incurred risk.

    Perhaps there needs to be a new limited bankruptcy claim created relating solely to student loans. If a person could pay all of their private bills but for a crushing federal student loan debt, some form of relief from the defacto college student tax makes some sense. What doesn’t make sense is having these loans be the the uberdebt of all and acting as a federal subsidy of the debt-collection industry.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Agree with most of what you say in both your comments with the VERY notable exception of “deadbeat grandkid.”

      Wanting, or maybe more to the point believing that you NEED, higher education to get ahead and being unable to come up with the money DOES NOT MAKE ONE A DEADBEAT.

      If you’re looking for “deadbeats,” start at the beginning–with the ruling class. “Deadbeat” politicians like Scott Walker who take money from the “public” education system to give to the “job creators” for sports stadiums and, coincidentally, political support. This “governance” raises the price tag and delivers young aspirants and their families into the arms of the money changers.

      The rest is just slimy money changer history.

      Stop blaming the victims for taking the bait and then getting snared in the trap.

      1. Sammy Maudlin

        Sorry if the comment wasn’t clear on that issue. In no way was i stating that someone is a deadbeat for seeking higher education with the assistance of a student loan. That’s not only justifiable, it’s absolutely necessary given the cost of higher education and when an overwhelming number of job applicants, even for Starbucks jobs, have four-year degrees. I was in no way “blaming the victim.”

        The purpose of the statement was simply to illustrate that an elderly person on Social Security can have their only income devastated by the federal government simply because another individual decided that they would rather not pay their student loans. In the case of a “deadbeat grandkid,” by choice. In most cases, the problem arises because people are simply financially unable to service all of the debt with which they have been saddled in order to try and “get ahead” in our economy, with little return on that “investment.”

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          “,,,,,would rather not pay,,,,,”??????

          Still having some trouble with the construction of your argument. A bit too much Joe Biden for my taste.

          Having said that, accepting a “cosigner” whose principal means of support is social security is about as predatory as it gets

          1. Jess

            Given the interminable length of time that it takes for many student loans to be paid off, the co-signed might have been a decade — or several — away from collecting SS at the time they signed the loan app.

          2. Sammy Maudlin

            Joe Biden was a key player in the passing of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) in 2005. He worked hard to see that it was harder to get rid of student loans in bankruptcy.

            I, clearly, am arguing that it should be easier to get rid of student loans. Not Biden-esque at all.

            To the extent you think i am applying the “moral hazard” paradigm to this issue, that’s incorrect as well. That is a trope often used to to deny relief to debtors. I am arguing for greater relief for debtors and their co-signers.

            The point is that, given the state of the law, a well-meaning person can face dire consequences if they co-sign for someone who either fits the description of deadbeat (a person who can, but chooses not to pay), or simply cannot pay. The “deadbeat” example was used to emphasize the fact that, even when collection efforts are truly justified against the primary debtor, the real victim is the person whose (perhaps only) income the federal government can easily reach: the Social Security recipient.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Begs the question why collection efforts are ever justified, even against “deadbeats,” in such a predatory and fraud-ridden scam.. The “moral judgment” Meme runs so deep in us mopes, has almost been bred into us by generations of Consumer Education and media-stuffing… Gee, who gets to be the judge of who are the “deserving poor”?

              1. JTMcPhee

                …the courts and cops in Ferguson, MO are in the same kind of collection business… And clearly there, and mostly everywhere, it appears there are no “deserving poor” (except ourselves, when Murphy hits us upside the head with a copy of his Law…)

  6. rjs

    the BBC article on China says their investment is excessive because “it diverts resources from other sectors of the economy including household spending”

    can someone explain to me how investment diverts from household spending?

    1. cwaltz

      From a logic point of view if I put my husband’s wages into a 401K or into an investment vehicle it’s money that I don’t have to spend on things like vacations or any other immediate household expense.

        1. cwaltz

          That would counter the view of it being “household spending.” I don’t live in China and am not familiar with their social spending programs but maybe they meant domestic spending.

          I was unable to open the IMF document to see if it would be helpful on why economists feel investment there is problematic.

        2. cnchal

          The article is fluff, and nowhere do they talk about rail or roads. There is a question that begs to be answered.

          So hard or soft landing really is a big deal. Which can we expect?

          I say hard. And the reason I think it’s going to be hard is because the Chinese Leadership want to suck and blow at the same time. They want the people to transition to a consumer economy, and you see that pretty young Chinese sewing machine operator, and realize she makes, from the perspective of someone here, essentially just a little more than zero.

          Contrast that with some Chinese having so much money, or a combination of money and debt, tied up in empty concrete shells that decline in value if you want to actually, live there. These represent vaults of wealth, and instead of consuming the things made in their factories, Chinese household spending has literally manifested itself as poured concrete.

          Ahead of his visit to the US, President Xi told the Wall Street Journal: “The Chinese economy is still operating within the proper range.”

          I wonder if that means it sucks or blows?

  7. allan

    High-tech mammogram tool doesn’t boost cancer detection

    A high-tech tool now used on more than 90 percent of U.S. mammograms doesn’t improve breast-cancer detection and may lead to missed diagnoses — all while adding at least $400 million to the nation’s annual health-care tab, a study by investigators in Boston and Seattle has found.

    Computer-aided-detection (CAD) for mammography, which aims to double-check radiologists’ screening results, didn’t improve accuracy by any measure, according to the largest study to date of the controversial tool, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. …

    Additionally, among 107 radiologists who interpreted mammogram results with and without CAD, the study found they were more likely to miss cancers when they used the computer-aided review.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “This new agreement with GE Medical Systems, the industry leader in
      mammography imaging, will greatly expand our distribution capabilities and
      further confirms the value of our technology,” said Steve Rogers, CEO of CADx
      Systems. “But the real winners are the thousands of women who will gain
      broader access to this proven early breast cancer detection technology.”

      Wouldn’t you just know that GE had something to do with this.

      http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ge-medical-systems-and-cadx-systems-inc-introduce-new-technology-for-detecting-breast-cancer-70799792.html

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Mammograms are a long-standing pet peeve of mine. They are a terrible test. They are good at detecting slow-moving growths that women will die with and bad at detecting the fast-moving growths that are lethal.

      A manual exam by an experienced practitioner or thermal imaging are MUCH better at detecting dangerous growths.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Yesterday the well-informed NotTimothyGeithner characterized Hillary’s email plight as a ‘tabloid scandal.’ Today, former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli concludes a point-by-point draft indictment of Hillary for unauthorized possession of classified materials with this claim:

    Simply put, Mrs. Clinton is already in just as bad — or worse — of a legal situation than Petraeus faced.

    Does this mean she’ll be charged? FBI Director James Comey has a long history of ignoring political pressure. So it’s likely that the FBI will recommend prosecution, and then it will be up to President Obama’s Justice Department to decide whether to proceed. Stay tuned.

    http://nypost.com/2015/09/27/yes-hillary-clinton-broke-the-law/

    Cuccinelli of course has partisan motivations for seeing Hillary marched into the dock, while the Obama admin has partisan reasons to let her skate.

    Ultimately it depends on whether the steady drip-drip-drip of emails excluded from Hillary’s submittal but now being retrieved from other parties (and Hillary’s email server) turns up a smoking gun — material that was obviously official correspondence, but got filtered out by Hillary and her staff.

    In a population of some 60,000 emails, of which 30,000 were turned over (on paper, no less), this is almost certain to have occurred. ‘Stay tuned,’ indeed. I’m guessing she withdraws her candidacy next March.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I just had this abhorrent vision of the future: the SS Hillary goes down next March as per your prediction. As with her husband, the Team Blue faithful attribute her fall not to her own god-awful policies, but rather to a vast Republican conspiracy. Years later she posthumously goes on to be the next JFK: the rabid right wing Democratic saviour who was somehow secretly going to save us from the ensuing disasters following her demise.

      Commenter on Politico, ca. 2028: “If only the right wingers hadn’t sabotaged Hillary, this country wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in…”

      Blech.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Good catch!

        “I didn’t look at them,” she said. “I wanted them to be as clear in their process as possible. I didn’t want to be looking over their shoulder. If they thought it was work-related, it would go to the State Department. If not, then it would not.”

        Uh huh. This is the stage where prosecutors give those lawyers immunity to testify as to the degree of supervision they were under.

        From my own corporate experience in responding to a Congressional subpoena, we sifted through tons of documents. Anything ‘sensitive’ was turned over to top management to review.

        1. wbgonne

          Well, it’s legally complicated because: 1) the DOJ would have to decide to grant immunity and there will be, ahem, a wee bit of pressure not to do that; and 2) there is still attorney-client privilege, which can be pierced by the crime-fraud exception but, again, that will require DOJ to press the issue. OTOH: there are a lot of people trying to get those emails and I won’t be at all surprised if they surface one way or another. The fact that Hillary is already throwing the lawyers under the bus tells me she has a major problem and she knows it.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Yep. Hillary’s absurd claim that “I didn’t want to be looking over their shoulder” — when that was the whole point of having a private email server — shows that it’s later than we thought. Circle the wagons!

    2. optimader

      An unindicted crime is a crime, just not one that is prosecuted.
      Unfortunately the spin easily goes the way of there was no crime if there is was no indictment and it indeed is freely characterized s nothing more than tabloid scandal used to persecute her.

      I think BHO lets it slide as his MO is to do nothing with out ” further study”. IE: run the clock out on this one.

  9. Bridget

    “this is almost certain to have occurred”

    It’s a lead pipe cinch. Plus, some of the ones she turned over (on paper, no less) will have been electronically doctored. There’s no other explanation for her behavior.

    At this point, she is simply trying to run out the clock until she has secured the nomination, at which point in time her party will have to close ranks behind her.

    1. ambrit

      This strategy is certain to further erode the Parties’ support. It looks quite like a real world example of “The Iron Law of Institutions” at work.
      “Forgive them Electorate, for they know not what they do.”

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘some of the ones she turned over (on paper, no less) will have been electronically doctored’

      Now that is so evil, it didn’t even occur to a wide-eyed innocent like myself.

      But yes, yes … it sounds entirely plausible.

      And it would definitely earn her an indictment.

  10. shinola

    Re: Stop googling. Let’s talk.
    A good (& I agree important) article. Particularly about how constant connectivity can lead to a lack of empathy.
    BUT, the author makes a statement early in it that has me baffled:

    “I’ve been studying the psychology of online connectivity for more than 30 years…”

    Huh??? Just what was there in the way of “online connectivity” in 1985?

    1. hunkerdown

      BBSes or CompuServe, for example. It didn’t have the customs of availability and immediacy that today’s forms do, and it probably didn’t speak IP, but I think it still qualifies.

      1. shinola

        Yes, my office had a dumb terminal connected to an off-premises mainframe at the time. But there was nothing like the internet as we know it now. No chat, blogs or social media – strictly electronic business records.

        So just what was she studying the psychology of in 1985?

        1. hunkerdown

          Usenet began in 1980 or 1981, and its more anarchic alt.* hierarchy was born out of the 1987 Great Renaming. AOL began life in 1985 as a Commodore-only, Microsoft Bob-like virtual world called Quantum Link. IRC came to be in 1988. All of these have recognizable community elements to them, and all (but Usenet) had interactive, real-time chat. While not all of them were mass social media, one did become world-famous for their fine coasters and FREE* 750-hour months.

      2. jrs

        I don’t think you can make a very meaningful study of computer technology used only by a self-chosen niche and then pretend that says anything about the meaning of the widespread use of technology. The 30 year figure is almost certainly wrong. And for smart phone connectivity even 20 years is too long.

  11. Oregoncharles

    A straw in the wind on a topic (IT rigidity) we’ve discussed quite a bit:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/brooklyn-woman-selma-cohen-declared-dead-loses-benefits/. The key line: “After a call to Medicaid, Cohen said she found out it was a computer error – a mistake easily made, but not easily fixed.”

    She went in in person, which you would think is sufficient evidence of aliveness; the people there “couldn’t help her.” So there’s no human override (which, granted, would be its own source of errors).

    Somebody called the paper, but how often do you suppose this happens without being reported? I remember it used to happen back in the days of paper, too. But it was fixable.

    1. hunkerdown

      The trouble with machines and management is they tend to preserve the (fantasy of the) Order at the cost of the (reality of the) People. Requirements tend to fixate on the Order and as for the people, let them eat EBCDIC.

  12. giantsquid

    While the Podemos-backed leftist bloc (Catalunya Sí que es Pot) didn’t do particularly well in the Catalan election, down two seats, from 13 to 11, it performed just as well as the ruling Popular Party did (also 11 seats; the fewest since 1992). In fact, with the secessionist Junts pel Sí garnering 62 seats; the anti-independence Ciutadans 25; the Socialists, 16; and the pro-independence leftist CUP, 10, overall, 97 of 135 seats went to parties focused primarily on the issue of Catalan independence. Perhaps this election, being presented as essentially a referendum on Catalan secession, does not provide us with an accurate measure of Podemos appeal in Spain at the moment.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We predicted that Syriza would set what was left of the left in Europe back by ten years. Podemos moved to the center in April and that still wasn’t enough to reverse the slippage in their poll ratings.

      1. tony

        Fidler wrote this in the link:

        “European left responses to the Greek events have varied widely. Gregor Gizi, outgoing president of the German left party Die Linke, has supported Alexis Tsipras and attacked Popular Unity. Similarly, Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spain’s Podemos, gave full support to SYRIZA, even speaking at its closing election rally. ”

        SYRIZA imposed austerity harsher than what was originally demanded, never prepared any alternatives, and disregarded the vote they set up. Why should anyone trust a party that still supports SYRIZA. I think it is clear that Podemos would act exactly like SYRIZA if they got power.

  13. JEHR

    Re: Stop Googling….: Similar to reading the newspaper while eating. Nothing cuts conversation more quickly than that!

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