Links 3/22/10

Stray Dogs Master Complex Moscow Subway System ABC (hat tip Tracey). We’ve mentioned the subway dogs before, and this piece has a short video.

How atom bomb tests could help detect wine fraud Guardian (hat tip reader Steve L)

If ET Calls, Who Speaks For Humanity? Slashdot

Ludicrous claims about the renminbi Chevelle

Budget 2010: Bankers react with fury to ‘bonkers’ plan for levy Telegraph

Netanyahu says ‘no concession’ on Jewish settlements BBC and Cut off the Cash and Israel Might Behave Avi Shlaim, Independent

Finding in Foreclosure a Beginning, Not an End New York Times

China to lose ally against US trade hawks Financial Times

A Novel Explanation for Rising Inequality International Political Economy Zone

The Final Health Care Vote and What it Really Means Robert Reich, Huffington Post. You may already be on health care bill overload, but this is a good piece.

Antidote du jour:


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  1. attempter

    Who would speak to ET?

    Everybody would try to. Everyone would presume to speak for humanity as a whole, and/or for some group of it.

    The fascinating unknown is, given the fact that ET could listen to anyone it chose, would have carte blanche to consider anyone, from the most powerful government or corporation to the lowliest agriculural laborer or homeless person, authoritative, who would they listen to?

    The answer would depend on their own wisdom, ideology, and intentions.

    1. craazyman

      I channel the Pleidians on a daily basis. Once you get past the concept and the flying saucers, there’s really not much there to talk about. They have their lives. We have ours. After a while you’d rather read about Wall Street looting and get all pissed off, or go for a hike someplace. It’s all like a big spiral.

  2. attempter

    You may already be on health care bill overload, but this is a good piece.

    That rah-rah gibberish was a good piece? I knew Reich had caved in on this reactionary assault which only further entrenches corporatism and can only further discredit government, but I thought Yves opposed it. Et tu?

    1. giggity

      Agreed. This is the official corporate takeover of the government, more obvious and draconian than any before it, yet it’s amazing those that we thought progressives and anti-corporatist have just caved and fallen for it.

      I don’t get it.

    2. curlydan

      Reich probably will do a voice-over of this for one of his “rah-rah” op-ed pieces for that business program on NPR where you’ve got to up your Prozac before listening to it.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not happy with the bill, but you are choosing to miss the point of Reich’s article. He depicts the bill as being “conservative” meaning designed not to change the status quo much (that is polite liberal code for it entrenches the problem) and the passage is more significant POLITICALLY. I don’t see piece as rah rah at all. Read Krugman for the contrast. This is damning with faint praise, particularly by the standards of the cheering elsewhere.

      1. attempter

        Yes, it’s the political part I was especially referring to, like this:

        The significance of Obama’s health legislation is more political than substantive. For the first time since Ronald Reagan told America government is the problem, Obama’s health bill reasserts that government can provide a major solution. In political terms, that’s a very big deal.

        But when this monstrous thing fails to restrain costs, while imposing this tyrannical mandate, it will discredit government once and for all. It seems to be designed with that purpose. (Which is why I’ve sometimes called it a “Republican” bill.)

        So in spite of Reich’s tepid tone otherwise, here he’s in Krugman-style Pied Piper mode. He’s telling the audience, “here is where you must stake your faith”.

        And therefore, implicitly, where they should renounce it once it turns out to be faith in a lie.

      2. Cynthia

        Here is something else about the bill that makes my blood boil! The IRS will serve as a collection agency for policy holders who fail to pay their health-insurance premiums. Look at it this way, if health-care insurers really want to prove to us that they can survive in the free market without being heavily subsidized by the taxpayers, then they should, at the very least, pay out of their own pockets to track down and penalize insurance dodgers. But as long as they own Congress and the White House, and have convinced the American people that they are very savvy businessmen doing God’s work, this will never happen.

      3. i on the ball patriot

        The political significance is that the government continues to discredit it self and further reveal that it is a one party charade owned and controlled by the wealthy ruling elite. To read any other political significance into this is folly. Screw ‘polite liberal code’, Reich is a butt sucking system twit.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  3. LeeAnne

    From a commenter on Huffington Post Robert Reich health care bill article:

    ” wikwox I’m wikwox

    My wife and I have no insurance and we’re in our mid fifties, for us this bill is an answer to our prayers. Thank you President Obama, thank you Democrats, Curse you Republicans!”

  4. kevinearick

    How ‘bout that three-pointer by Northern Iowa:


    The law is a tiny little vortex in the landscape of the universe. It in no way limits the creation of other vortexes, and the vortex collapses on re-coherence at the event horizon.

    There is no such thing as representative government. No one is capable of looking out for your interests, but you. The direction of any economy is the net liberty expressed by individual participants, effective democracy.

    Agency naturally represents its own bias; it can only replicate into a gravitational force of inertia. It is the net responsibility not taken by individuals. It is the brake.

    A constitution prescribes the limit of capital formation / allocation, the speed in which natural resources are drawn through the government load, toward its own end, speed of individual liquidation to capital.

    Greed is seeking something for nothing, gain at no risk, for more of the same. Investment is the intelligent reorganization of current assets into future assets, with the release of energy, economic profit, in the process.

    No regulatory regime can protect the individual, or group of individuals, from ignorance, seeking something for nothing; reliance on government for education can only lead to ignorance and bankruptcy, for the resulting passive participants who can provide no unique perspective to the market.
    (end skip)

    The Energy Show

    Gravity, artificially increasing demand and restricting supply, crowding out natural demand and supply, in a supply-side economy, has its uses. The AMA is like a plague. Next up, the big show – the cartel articulation through education indoctrination, secular definition of divine providence, and religious war.

    After congressional recess, we see who has trump … to avoid the black hole of vertical integration – objective-based replication of black-box control, through expert industry practices … reorgs in a box – hp, ibm, peoplesoft, ernst & young, etc, etc, etc.

    The difference between the whole lot of ‘em is the same as the incremental difference between black boxes, due to the global gigo, education and certification, filtering mechanism, required to protect the multi-national layer from more adroit upstarts, which are not burdened by all the dead inventory from the associated positive feedback loop.

    Is a non-performing federal loan to a state an asset, part of the federal deficit, or a foreign investment in recursive reserve IOUs? Funny how DC failure tends to send current to other components, and how symbiotic systems resonate, like a pot calling a kettle black.

    Congress is looking at a $2 trillion deficit, while it seeks to extort the Chinese into un-pegging the currencies, buying time with forgone opportunities.

    The next session should be interesting, with all the parties locked in a room, all the chips clearly visible on the table, and the entire world watching from the galleries above, after just witnessing the same s— show for the last year and a half.

    The entrenched Democrats will argue government, the entrenched Republicans will argue business, neither is capable of steering, and the blind (the energy consortium) is leading the blind (the education consortium), all in a self-reinforcing loop, mirrored by all the economies captured by inductive replication.

    Economic Motors

    Economies are three-phase demographic motors; all three legs have to be up, running, and in synch in order to create economic profit; otherwise, the system discharges.

    Out-sourcing parents shorts out the system, from the bottom up, until the resonant symptoms outsource the economy in its entirety. Children are the most demanding investment, beyond the means of many, and well beyond the means of government, as property taxpayers can attest.

    No society, no empire can withstand inadequate parenting for long, because the long-term costs spiral exponentially out of control. And no teacher can raise someone else’s child, let alone thirty of them

    Government should stick to what it is competent to do, which is limited replication. Kids are not a replicative function, and they are much more important than a job. The economy is shedding jobs because the cart has been placed before the horse. Until that changes, the economy will only get worse.

      1. kevinearick

        the abutment has identified the variables and done the algebraic reduction up to and including part of the multi-national layer.

        now, we watch for unique outcomes that may explain the behavior relationship between the multi-national layer and the cartel layer.

        1. kevinearick

          an appropriate resonant feedback signal system to induce the weave / handshake, then it becomes a simple transformer problem, the multiplier effect of government for example, and work your way up from the bottom.

          1. kevinearick

            the economy with the most productive employment of talent wins the economic future.

            labor mobility is what balances capital’s inherent tendency to employ immobilized labor to increase returns and income disparity. accepting immobility, therefore, demands a premium over a mobile family, which is expensive.

            the kids are doing their job; they have cut off circulation to big business and big government, which are dragging the cartels to the precipice, resulting in higher return to unprotected labor (which is systematically replacing protected labor); falling assets prices; and a reduction in the workweek. the fulcrum is re-balancing back toward small labor.

            we have the technology to reduce the workweek to 20 hours, if it’s implemented correctly, to restore the necessary relationships between the generations, to get that motor back up and running, so the multiplier effect of government (residing in the denominator), is positive instead of negative. Physical government has begun to shrink, but the virtual numbers in the computer are growing, reflecting the entitlement deficit.

            a significant percentage of the middle class has to abandon its non-performing assets and physically move to smaller communities, where small capital is motivated to increase the return to unprotected labor and drop the cost of immobility. once there, they need to install the necessary infrastructure.

            if current home A is sold for $300k, at a $100k loss (400k asset), in a community with no future, and similar home B, in a good community with a future, costs $200k, that is a significant profit (+100k + npv future wage advancement) for small labor.

            the law, stated and unstated, actually constricted the vortex, cutting off its own circulation.

            the kids have already moved into a virtual economy; that’s a done deal. big business and big government will be locked out until and unless the middle class reorganizes, to rebalance the demographics in sustainable communities.

            once the npv window re-opens, finance, which is a function of confidence in the future, will not be an issue. the law follows established behavior, first informally, then formally, and the established behavior of government replacing new family formation (exponentially increasing the negative multiplier effect, by reducing the numerator and increasing the denominator), to the benefit of older, less adroit families, who control the accounting system, is crashing the system.

            the balance of power is between old families(capital, which was once small labor) and new families(small labor); the branches of government were designed to keep agency fighting itself, which it has overcome by shorting the constitution. the battle between government and capital is theatre.

            anyone waiting for the actors on the stage is going to be waiting for a long time.

          2. kevinearick

            the cartels can’t win, because the price of oil is now elastic, there is an inverse relationship between price and volume, and their own entitlement and finance infrastucture exceeds any price x volume. all they can do is minimize losses, which continue to increase, regardless of price, because the global economy is fully integrated.

            too-big-to-fail always fails.

  5. velobabe

    WOW what a day for obscure news. this is quite interesting, being in the wine business. fraud being discovered at every juncture in life, of course. it takes so much human physical work to produce a bottle of wine. than to only get $15. for it and these europeans command $300. for a blend. glad the atom bomb can do some good, i guess.
    How atom bomb tests could help detect wine fraud. Guardian

    here is another O/T but it has made my day.
    Bill Marolt Arrested: U.S. Olympic Ski Chief Suspected Of DUI

    this man, bill marolt single handily dictated this: The latest scandal coming out of the Vancouver Olympics involved snowboarder Scotty Lago. Lago, who won bronze in the half-pipe, regarding some suggestive pics which emerged on the internet: apologize and leave, or be ejected from the Olympic Village.

    bill marolt is the reason
    that bode miller went private.
    why julia mancuso was so dissed at the 2010 olympics because, her dad was a dope dealer.
    why kristina koznick went private.
    why jake zamansky went private.
    chris tache never got to the olympics.
    raoul wille was kicked off the U.S. ski team.
    many many more young aspiring athletes that were judged by bill marolt not on their merit but their morals.

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Bottle of red,
      Bottle of white,
      Check my morality,
      When the wine starts to bite …

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  6. IF

    Owing 650k after paying a loan for 15 years for a house that is now worth 250k leaves a lot of questions that are not answered in the article. Like cash out financing or if they could afford it in the first place etc. Honestly, this non-profit is in for a rude awakening. But they also don’t say who capitalized it. All smoke and mirrors.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am sorry, but I am not your dentist. So, don’t bare your teeth at me. Besides, you could use some Listerine.

  7. Dave of Maryland

    Do you actually listen to the Listen Now links? Punctuation helps the reader a lot.

    1. Sundog

      Cheers for that link Sam. I liked this bit:

      Belts are tight all right and pips are squeaking; but the country whose public pay once led the EU league has not imploded into the chaos of suicidal strikes, unburied bodies, closed schools and garbage mountains, which the UK or France would expect as a matter of course if a government did any such thing.

      Said thing being to cut pay in the public sector pretty much across the boards by 13%. This is far better than cutting jobs by an equivalent amount, which is the course I expect most of the US state and local public sector to take. So far here in California I’m hearing about early release from prison and teachers being let go; not much about cuts in pay or benefits.

      The remark you quoted, about hard times being not so far in the past, reminds me of Dimitri Orlov’s take on the Russian experience.

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