Links 4/27/10


  1. VenusVictrix

    The chocolate study was flawed. Anybody eating chocolate bars is bound to be depressed.

    The most decadent chocolate comes in truffle form, so happy people eat truffles. And truffles make people happy when they eat them.

    Belgian – of course.

  2. attempter

    Re Panzner: The Caterpillar story is typical. In two years of (admittedly unsystematic) glancing over MSM accounts of alleged “profit” reports, I can’t recall seeing a single one which looked legit.

    Every one was either burning the furniture for heat (laying off workers, shutting divisions, etc.) or accounting scams (I especially like the way you can often write off what in reality are disasters and often end up with a paper “profit”).

    So in this sense the fraudulent Bailout-looted bank “profits” are the extreme of a general trend.

    So not only is this not a “recovery” by any reality-based standard, that is the standard of the well-being of the people, but on the contrary an incipient Depression; but it’s also a lie even by their sham paper standards, since it’s all a wall projection of accounting fraud.

    The only thing real is the looting.

    1. DownSouth

      When I read Panzner’s piece it very much reminded me of something Carlos Fuentes wrote regarding Mexico’s adoption of LANie (Libertarian-Austrian-Neoliberal) policies in the period following the economic crisis of 1982:

      A minority centered their lives on the New York Stock Exchange, and a majority on the price of beans. One economy was all gilded wrapping paper, the other all huts and untilled land. The former was the minority’s, the latter the majority’s.

      1. Jimbo

        Carlos Fuentes is a Useful Idiot for the RightWing crowd in Mexico. When he had an opportunity to address many of his concerns, by actively supporting the center-left candidate in Mexico in the 2006 election, AMLO, he refused to do so. I lost so much respect for him at that point.

  3. michel

    The story about the weapon in a container had a link to the story of the polygamous French butcher. This is really worthy of Monty Python.

    One of his wives was arrested for driving in a burka, at which it emerged that there were several of them, all claiming single parent benefits. At this point he was arrested for polygamy, and came out with the immortal line that only one of them was a wife, the others were mistresses!

    It reminded one of the UK teenager who had an anti social behavior order taken out against him, forbidding him from being sarcastic. When accused of breaching it, he replied that this was false, he had been not sarcastic but ironic.

    1. charcad

      Foreign weapons salesmen have been promoting the imminent demise of carriers by cruise missile for four decades now.

      For those who do not wish to buy Russian weaponry, try Swedish:

      If you want to die. It’s subsonic. Point defense against slow anti-ship missiles has been around for decades.

      Phalanx was first fielded in 1980.

      The promo behind Russian anti-ship missiles such as the Granit are that – presumably – they’re invulnerable to existing kinetic warhead point defenses due to its supersonic speed. These have also been around for decades.

      However, USN also has anti-missile missiles:

      The fact that over 20% of DoD’s budget is now “black” is well known. Yet so many people assume everything is published on the internet. Some things are.

      These are publicized programs. If you want to assume that USN never thought about “Advanced Carrier Battle Group Defense Laser” for use against supersonic cruise missiles, do so.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        It would be foolish to assume such a thing. It would be similarly foolish to assume that just because smart people have approached a problem that they have concocted an infallible solution to such problem. Well, then again, no military has been undone by overconfidence, so you have that going for you.

        1. charcad

          The Chinese may well have devised a secret method to sink super carriers, with or without Russian help.

          But the little seed story about the hidden Russian cruise missile is a canard. It’s a variant of the “cruise missiles sink super carriers story” that surfaces periodically. Ignorance lends it credibility.

          Antique. The problem was recognized four decades ago. Since then several generations of increasingly capable defenses have been deployed.

          This is the real milieu generating all these stories:

          “Russian bureaucrats have created many myths and legends about the survival of the nucleus of Russia’s defense sector. Actually, its present condition is critical, and the reasons are well known. One is the aging of highly qualified production personnel, many of whom are approaching retirement age. Engineering school graduates are unwilling to take jobs in the defense sector because of low wages. No worker replacements are trained anywhere in the country either. Earlier, it was taboo to draft workers from defense factories into the army. Now this privilege is abandoned, and graduates of the few surviving vocational schools seek employment elsewhere, but not in the defense sector where receiving a foreign travel passport is a problem.

          Another problem is the aging of the equipment in the defense industry: its production lines and machine tools have long passed the 30-year limit. Many key technologies have been lost as have co-production links. The uncontrolled growth of energy costs is outstripping inflation and is well above the deflators provided by the Economic Development and Trade Ministry. It is obvious that the 2006-2015 government defense order will fall short in both the range and quality of products ordered.”

          1. Keenan

            charcad:“Antique. The problem was recognized four decades ago. Since then several generations of increasingly capable defenses have been deployed.”

            Their capabilities have not been required to be demonstrated in actual combat. Let’s hope that situation continues.

          1. charcad

            Naval anti-missile missile warfare has been demonstrated in combat. In 1991 the Iraqis fired two Chinese-made Silkworm missiles at the USS Missouri. HMS Gloucester intercepted one with a Seadart. The other Silkworm’s homing lock was broken by chaff clouds from the USS Missouri. It fell into the sea.

            And here’s another story on the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System. This one specifically identifies ship anti-missile defense and US Navy participation in the development:


            So if anyone’s minded to try their luck, they better buy and shoot off their three containerized anti-ship missiles soon.

          2. Smells like chapter 11

            If you think these weapons should make us nervous, I suggest reading Richard Clarke’s new book on cyber warfare.

            Frankly, it makes me more nervouse than when I was a kid in the fifties and they told to duck and cover becuase the Russian were going to start a surpise nuclear attack.

  4. Richard Kline

    Andy Stern is . . . a strange dude. He cares passionately about organizing, more than anyone else in organized labor. He’s put in decades organizing workers whom nobody else cares about, getting generally better contracts for them then they had before. The inner tier of organized labor leadership is, and has been, punk wood at the very best, and he wasn’t afraid to call them out, and in fact to leave their moribund organizations and do his own thing. Much of that organizational debt was acquired through taking on tough organizing missions, not all of which succeeded. On the other hand, he’s turned around and cut private deals with industry figures over the heads of his locals. He has fought viciously with several major locals, on the whole because they had things good and didn’t want to rock the boat in the service of other locals less well placed. Whatever his reasons—sometimes good—that’s been bad process, and earned him the antipathy of many he ostensibly works for. He cut a big organizing deal with another major union which had more money than members to use their funds and supply the troops for joint ventures. Funny thing, though: the leader of the other half thought he’d be calling the shots. When that didn’t go, he pulled out, taking his side’s money with him and leaving Stern’s side holding the bag. Stern put _a lot_ of capital and personal credit behind getting Barack Obama in the White House—only to find that the only thing Bo Prez is going to do for labor is hold out his hand again two years on.

    It’s not always clear whether Andy Stern has cared about things _not_ run by Andy Stern. He’s a fighter, but his judgment is at least questionable, given the track record. Having followed more than a few of the controversies surrounding him, I’d say on the whole those on the _other_ side of those controversies have come out of them looking shabby to sleazy, which is not to say that Stern’s come out of them smelling like a rose, either. I think it’s symptomatic of the miserable and declining state of labor in the US that more money, time, and human capital is spent on power fights than any substantive agenda. Stern at least has tried, which is more than one can say for most of his detractors.

    The thing with a certain indicted ex-governor in the Pay-to-Play state doesn’t hunt, walk, or cut bait, though. The only thing between Blagojevich and a decade long vacation in the Window Bar Hotel is a desperate attempt to smear enough folks in High Places to get them to call of the lawyers— the tried and true Chicago way. If Ready Money Rod is the source, the statement is fact free in my view.

  5. joebhed

    Bill Mitchell tears the mainstream central banking model a new one in his post.
    Remember Washingtonians and near-so, Bill is on the agenda with Marshall Auerback, Warren Mosler, Randall Wray, Stephanie Kelton, et al at TOMORROW’s free Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In at George Washington University, Marvin Center, Room 310(Elliott Room).
    Bill is on at 8AM so be there early.
    The times they are a-changing.

  6. mark

    Where is Comrade Stiglitz bemoaning the speculative attacks on Greece? It’s all the speculators fault, right?

    1. charcad

      Plus the Germans fault. The racist fascist bastards most unreasonably refuse to raise their minimum retirement age to 80 so Greeks can retire at age 55 on 110% pensions.

      1. Jimbo

        charcad, in the same fashion as our fascist non-union US private sector workers refuse to accept more tax hikes and a later retirements so that city and state workers can retire at 50 with 120% pensions. If the Dems lose the House this fall, it’s going to be because of the service unions.

        1. Anonymous Jones

          While your ultimate sentence may very well be accurate, the first sentence seems to indicate that your sense of proportion might need a little examination (not to suggest that public pensions don’t need some serious revisions, but surely, there are other problems…look at a budget sometime).

        2. charcad

          The public employee unions battles will be fought out at state and local level. The Dems don’t like this a bit. This issue acts just like acid on their local political base. This is what’s producing the string of Surprise! GOP upsets in usually Deep Blue coastal states.

          And the Youtube vids this is producing! Priceless. We’re a long way from the days of oligarchic lapdog media with their mendacious pretenses of neutrality.

  7. Jimbo

    Question. If Greece unilaterally extends the maturity on its bonds, at the same interest rates, does that constitute a “credit event” for CDSs?

      1. Jimbo

        Mark, I think you may be wrong. FT, quoting a BNP Paribas report,

        Scenario 3: Restructuring. Under this scenario, whether a Restructuring credit even be triggered or not would depend on how the restructuring of debt is carried out. For a credit event to be triggered, the Greek government would have to: (1) reduce the rate or amount of interest payable on a sovereign bond; (2) reduce the amount of principal payable at maturity on a sovereign bond; (3) postpone a principal payment due on a sovereign bond; (4) subordinate the sovereign bond; or (5) change the currency of a sovereign bond – in each case in circumstances directly or indirectly resulting from a deterioration in the creditworthiness or financial condition of the sovereign.

  8. Doc Holiday

    This image of Blankfein, the narcotic/derivative dealer, the Goldman/Al Capnoe being saved by taxpayers is priceless — there are two sides to every floating gangland deal and in this case, Blanfranenstein needs to just go under and float away…

    Also see: The chain of command on the levee started at the top with committeeman Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna and Alderman Bathouse John Coughlin, bosses of the First Ward, the wealthiest plot of real estate (it contains the Loop) in the Midwest.

    @ –>’s-outfit-chicago’s-first-ward-democratic-organization-and

    1. Cynthia

      There’s no doubt that Wall Street has turned into one big giant casino where gambling addicts get a high by slicing and dicing up stocks and day trading the livin’ stew out of them. So I think that slapping a sin tax on these glorified day traders will go a long way towards taking the casino out of Wall Street.

      Then maybe Wall Street can get back to the business of investing in companies for the long haul, thereby stimulating job creation in the real economy where actual goods are made and services are actually delivered. And if Wall Streeters refuse to kick their gambling addiction, they can very well pack up their bags filled with all sorts of money-making slice’n’dicers and day-trading sauces and move to a sleazy place in the world where they’re free to gamble away like there’s no tomorrow, while hanging out with other sleazy characters like themselves, namely prostitutes, drug dealers and gunrunners.

      And I swear if Obama reneges on his promise to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the rich, as he is reneging on his promise to enact meaningful health care and financial reform, I’ll head up a left-wing tea party and see to it that Obama and his pack of Blue Dogs are all thrown in the pound and never allow to roam the streets of DC again!!!

  9. Doc Holiday

    Wouldn’t yah love to be a flea or a lice in Blankfein’s hair piece during those meetings/practice rounds in Aspen where he talks with Senate members in advance of these TV shows, where the drug dealer in the Senate pretends to ask challenging questions — as the clock ticks down, and their boy walks away after being well trained …. go get um champ — your untouchable…. baby!!!!

  10. Doc Holiday

    Th truth is Senator, masterbation almost blinded our firm…

    * The author realizes this may be off topic and off color, but pffft (is that how that’s spelled?) …

  11. Doc Holiday

    Legally speak’n, when Blankfein goes through the metal detector while in the capital buildings, he waives his right to a polygraph (and other stuff) — so why not toss the bastard on a table and grill him like the financial terrorist he is … huh, anyone … why not put the Senate under investigation for bribes??? Huh, huh?

    Ok, that’s all…

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  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Bloop: A Mysterious Sound From the Deep Ocean.

    It’ no mystery at all. I have no doubt it’s from Bankers’ Hell, where bankers go after they are done here.

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