Monkeys protect Indian government officials Christian Science Monitor (hat tip reader furzy mouse)
Sending data to the cloud? Stick it in the post New Scientist (hat tip Lambert Strether)
Bill Keller’s blind spots Felix Salmon
Constitutional Rights a Casualty of Endless “War” Jon Walker, FireDogLake
The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic TruthDig
A Country Without Libraries New York Review of Books
A Favorite Emerges for Helm of I.M.F. New York Times
China candidates enter IMF leadership race MarketWatch
IMF Director Resigns, Denying Allegations Wall Street Journal
ECB goes ballistic on reprofiling, and Strauss-Kahn resigns Eurointelligence
Japan’s Nominal Economy Approaching 20 Year Low EconomPic Data
Koo says QE2 drove speculation, but what about the real economy? Ed Harrison
Longtop Financial: lessons in the morphology of sin, loss of virginity and your 17 year old daughter John Hempton
Why Do Opponents of Social Security Have So Much Difficulty Getting Their Facts Right? Dean Baker, CEPR
The Chart That Should Accompany Every Discussion of Deficits The Atlantic (hat tip reader furzy mouse)
Hopes for ‘short sales’ of US homes falter Financial Times (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)
SEC Aims to Tighten the Rules on Raters Wall Street Journal versus Ratings agencies react favorably to SEC’s proposed rules Housing Wire
Benmosche 9% Yield Hunt May Mean AIG Got Junk, Mortgage Bonds Bloomberg
All hail the negative repo regime FT Alphaville
Don’t close the lid on bank fraud John Gapper, Financial Times
“Evidence of a Dark, Self-Destructive Impulse” Mark Thoma
Will the US Have a “Debt Crisis”? Simon Johnson, Project Syndicate (hat tip reader furzy mouse)
Anxiety keeps the super-rich safe from middle-class rage Guardian (hat tip reader May S)
Antidote du jour:
Re “Anxiety keeps the super-rich safe from middle-class rage”:
Or to put it in classical terms, how the petty bourgeois consciousness continues to cause the sheep to let themselves be herded into the slaughterhouse.
This generation of the middle classes has internalised the values of individualist aspiration, as zealously propagated by Tony Blair as by Margaret Thatcher. It does not look to the application of social justice to improve its lot. It expects to rely on its own efforts to get ahead and, crucially, to maintain its position.
As psychologists will tell you, fear of loss is more powerful than the prospect of gain. The struggling middle classes look down more anxiously than they look up, particularly in recession and sluggish recovery. Polls show they dislike high income inequalities but are lukewarm about redistribution.
This is historically true – the stagnant or downwardly mobile who still have a little tend to cling conservatively to it, no matter how obviously suicidal this is. It’s more evidence that we have to hit rock bottom, and the faster the better. (The more slowly the total liquidation proceeds, the more likely the kleptocracy can simultaneously prop itself up politically while gradually introducing feudalism through debt intenture and the police state. Again we see how harmful reformism is.)
BTW, we see an example of the internalization in this article. Even the infrequent MSM piece which discusses these facts is still prone to reserve a term like “redistribution” for restoring (and restituting) more of the wealth to those who produce it. That’s not properly redistribution at all. Meanwhile a major point of the piece is the truly artificial and aggressive redistribution, i.e. robbery, of wealth from producers to parasites.
But even the “liberal” media is still elitist and still believes that this parasitic redistribution upward is the purpose of society, while if government were to allow the producers to keep more of what they produce, that would be “redistribution” downward.
Of course, getting rid of parasitic elites completely would render distributionism a moot point, as a term and as a reality.
Instead of “re-distribution” maybe we should start saying “de-distribution” – to make it clear that we’re really just talking about letting the people who did the work keep the money (rather than handing it upward to their parasitical ‘owners’).
Very well put.
Also emphasize how it is the wealthiest who benefit the most from government spending – whether it be the infrastructure, an educated work force or police and courts to enforce their property rights.
Excellent point. I use the word “restitution” since the government enforced counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, has allowed businesses to steal their workers’ purchasing power. Furthermore, they have used that stolen purchasing power to automate or outsource their workers’ jobs away.
So you’re saying that people have irrational ideas about property rights and thus misuse the word “redistribution”?
No! That cannot be true! People do not believe in absolute ownership when there is in fact no such thing! I do not believe what I’m hearing! People are rational! They understand that life is temporary and that any true concept of ownership must envision a complex bundle of rights regarding use, disposition and/or consumption! This is elemental!
Yes, I jest. Life is what will happen as you wait for people to finally be rational about this issue.
Hi Anonymous Jones,
Thank god I’m not the only sane person here.
These left-wing ideologues are complete f**king morons. Like a pack of ravenous psychopathic dogs.
I work for one of the I-banks in Manhattan and for all those idiots who think banksters are nothing but scum, listen to this.
Yesterday I had lunch at Masa, nothing special just the $350 prix fixe. I was feeling kind of tipsy after a bottle of hauntingly good 1996 Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne, a grand cru white Burgundy (price tag $700). And coming out of Masa, I saw this homeless bum at Columbus Circle at Broadway, just sitting there with his McDonald’s coffee cup held out for change. And I was feeling generous and in touch with humanity, so I gave this miserable creature 25 cents!
And a colleague of mine (who sometimes comments here under the name J) told me he gave one of these bums $1 dollar to wash the windows on his 2010 Super Sport Version Bugatti Veyron (price tag: $1,700,000). Even though the windows were *already* clean, for Christ’s sake! He was just doing the guy a favor. What more do these people want?
It’s called Trickle Down, could you try and explain it to them? Water runs downhill and money trickles down. The slow march of progress, the more money, the more trickle. A $14 trillion bailout of the banking sector and they already got $1.25 back, so STFU already! (Speaking to all the ideologues, of course, not my man Anonymous Jones)
Not all banksters are criminal scum. Just look at me.
So speaking to all you morons out there let’s cool it with the anti-bankster comments!
As a real I-banker, I am not amused at your ridicule of my charitable giving. I gave very generously to a variety of charities last year including my alma mater, the Harvard Business School, the Metropolitan Opera (for future productions of the Wagner’s ring cycle), and a charity that allows African AIDS patients a chance to experience life in New York City for one week. At my country club in the Hamptons, we have regular fund-raisers where 1% of the money raised goes to the United Way. Without us, where would any of these charities be?
Without us, where would any of these charities be?
Without you, how much charity would be needed in the first place?
“You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest.”
“You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess.” Deuteronomy 23:19-20 (New American Standard Bible)
And aside from usury there is the issue of government backing for fractional reserves via the Fed. That amounts to legalized counterfeiting which equals theft of purchasing power from all money holders including and especially the poor.
OK, I admit it. I went off 1/2 cocked.
Good parody! LOL!
Thanks for clarifying what Jonesy always wants to say but is too incoherent (or cowardly) to say flat out.
It sure is comical, the way he flip-flops between accusing people of being not rational enough or else too rational, depending on which smear is more convenient for his pro-criminal agenda.
Re: Fourth Amendment being destroyed in the War on Drugs.
Hollywood is pushing through legislation that would further eviscerate the Constitution for the War on Movie and Music Piracy.
Other legislation includes the federal PROTECT IP act, allows the government to shut down file-sharing, and sites that link to file-sharing, sites. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110518/11311114322/google-points-out-that-protect-ip-would-be-disastrous-precedent-free-speech.shtml
Both the government and, upon court order, private companies, would also be able to force domain name servers, advertising companies, banks, credit card companies, etc., stop doing business with sites suspected violating intellectual property rights.
It’s even worse than that
suspected violating intellectual property rights
Great idea! I like shutting down industry in other people’s countries using other people’s money. Is this the perfect time to invent new ways to block USA employment, prevent poor workers from pulling themselves up by their bootstraps as in “a few good men”? Is the middle of a modern-day-depression-that-looks-like-a-recession-because-we-are-all-so-rich the very best time to put on more of brakes?
Them’s the brakes
Toucan play at this game!!
On the repo rate: is this because of tightening UST actions or overblown banker demand? If the former, its bizarre for conservatives to complain about deficits when the treasury isn’t meeting demand.
I would love to see Canada’s Marc Carney or Michael Pettis head up the IMF.
Re: The Afghan Crash
Boo-hoo! Those poor starving war profiteers. Something must be done to bail them out. Quick, more stimulus.
Please, oh please be careful what you even jokingly ask for. Do we smell the Hashish like whiff of “civil disturbance” in Pakistan? Requiring the deployment of the 20th to Karachi, Islamabad, and the fondly remembered Khyber Pass to help prop up our “fellow fighters in the War on Terrorism.”
PBS’s article on the Afghan crash sent me into a meltdown. I posted an angry, non-linear response and I was immediately deleted. Was anyone else infuriated by the article? Or am I just an old nutcase?
No, you are not an old nutcase, and, you are not alone. When someone as well connected as Eisenhower warns the nation against the “military industrial complex” you can be sure there is still something powerful and dangerous to worry about.
Look a bit on the bright side, of life. (Cue whistling in background.) Afghanistan has well earned its’ nickname, “The Graveyard of Empires.” Not to worry, just look at England and Russia. That’ll be us in twenty years.
Thanks Ambrit for the Monty Python image. I’m beginning to cool down. So is the Afganistan region also where the saying “Whoever owns the heartland, owns the world,” got its meaning?
My Dear Mz Truxes;
Re: “Whoever owns the heartland owns the world”; Offhand I’d say we’ve been playing too much Risk lately. Seriously though, when the aforementioned England and Russia were vying for hegemony in Central Asia, someone, I’m not sure, but I think it was Kipling, called it “The Great Game.” This was the perfect embodiment of the imperialist mind set. It’s all a “civilized” conflict, with subject “peoples” as the pawns. And of course, your own working classes as the cannon fodder. It ended bably for those two Imperial Powers when each tried to impose their wills on the “peoples” of the region. Now America is repeating the futile exercise. I predict that the result will be the same for us as it was for them. I refer you to Bacevitch and Galbraith for the scholarly analyses of the process. Bacevitch’ “The Limits of Power” is particularly good on the subject.
I know what you need, a chase! (For the long and venerated history of chase scenes in English humor may I refer you to The Goon Show?) Be of good cheer.
After Dean Baker of CEPR devotes a string of paragraphs to ripping the evil right wing for its misanthropic conspiracy to starve Granny, he delivers this howler:
HA HA HA HA — laughter is the best medicine for these achin’ bones! I have no idea whether Baker means nominal or real wages. But either way, the claim is absurd. The growth rate of real wages have been dismally depressed ever since the first oil shock in 1973. To argue that from today’s quasi-depression conditions, real wages are going to boom 42% by 2036 is a real long shot. Not impossible, mind you. But I’d put the probability of Baker’s fantasized 2036 Worker’s Paradise at under 10 percent.
Bruce Bartlett penned a far better summary of the state of entitlements, at the NYT of all places. He offers the most succinct explanation of the trust fund which has ever seen print:
Not that I endorse Bartlett’s quasi-populist-sounding recommendation of allowing the scheduled 29% cut in Medicare’s physician reimbursements to take place. That would accelerate the mass defection of doctors which is already happening, and produce instant rationing. Bartlett’s sound point, though, is that entitlements are so deeply insolvent — to the tune of several years worth of GDP — that even scorched-earth tactics such as pauperizing physicians would barely begin to fix them.
Dean Baker, meet Harry Dent. Prosperity is just around the corner! Yes, happy days are here again for the lucky workers of 2036. Too bad about the decrepit Boomers. Here, take your Soylent Green, Gramps.
“merely accounting devices best thought of as budget authority”
Not quite, Social Security surpluses were essentially a regressive tax levied on American workers to increase general revenues, but that was not how they were sold to the American public. Typifying those funds as just budgeting authority is deceptive. As Bartlett should well know, there can be a world of difference between what the Congress authorizes and what it, in fact, funds. That is Congress has both authorization and funding bills, and they are not the same.
You’re right though about Dean Baker’s income estimates. I have always found him particularly weak on the topic of Social Security.
“…Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to? That was on a personal level.” ”
–Cornell West describing his experiences in campaigning for the Obomber
Cornell West seems a sad little man who mistakenly thought he was big-time. I sense that if Obama had just called him once or twice, West would still be on board.
“…when I ran into him in the state Capitol in South Carolina when I was down there campaigning for him he was very kind. The first thing he told me was, ‘Brother West, I feel so bad. I haven’t called you back. You been calling me so much. You been giving me so much love, so much support and what have you.’ And I said, ‘I know you’re busy.’ But then a month and half later I would run into other people on the campaign and he’s calling them all the time. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. He doesn’t have time, even two seconds, to say thank you or I’m glad you’re pulling for me and praying for me, but he’s calling these other people. I said, this is very interesting. And then as it turns out with the inauguration I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother.”
I noticed that too, and what’s the deal with “brother obama”?!
On the other hand, it’s not just Cornell West. Obama dissed his whole base like that.
West seems too slow to judgment and to anger, but I suspect for blacks, the wishful thinking went deeper than most. Having a black Pharaoh in the palace, far beyond the houseboy in the plantation mansion, was an enormous coup with tribal power far more than symbolic.
I suspect West was savvy to Obama’s game for some time but was reluctant to pop the bubble and undercut the psychological boost his ascent afforded his brothers and sisters. Now that Obama is finally revealed as an active, kiss-up-kick-down collaborator, not a mere eunuch, West has come out of the closet.
Unfortunately, he still supports lesser-evilism:
“I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama. If it turns out in the end that we have a crypto-fascist movement and the only thing standing between us and fascism is Barack Obama, then we have to put our foot on the brake. But we’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties.”
Oh please, Cornel, falling for such duopoly theater is exactly what got us a false prophet, wolf in sheep’s clothing predator in the White House. Like a rabbit “caught” in the briar patch, Obama is playing his dramatic role to the hilt, while pretending to be the people’s great protector from bogeymen like Boehner, Ryan, and Cantor. I imagine they all enjoy perverse chortles about us sheep in the flyover corrals.
The use of “Brother” I suspect goes back to both the Trades Union movement and the Black Power movement. Each movement used the term as a means of inculcating group solidarity. It’s like the old protest song, “Which Side Are You On?” “You can either be a Union Man, Or a thug for James G Blair.” That was in the days when union organizing was a literal combat opperation.
So, I would think that Prof. Wests’ use of “Brother” in this context projects both the hope of reformist movements everywhere, and a sly cynicism about the bona fides of the present denizen of the White House.
For what it’s worth.
The article in the The Atlantic presenting a chart of future deficits alludes to the same issue that Bartlett does:
They also add this stunner, which rather undermines the idea of using the chart in a Ross Perot-style teach-in for the benefit of beetle-browed Tea Partiers:
DOH — so if you can’t estimate it, just ignore it, while publishing a misleading chart claiming that the deficit will go away if other policies are changed?
I sure wouldn’t do my personal budgeting that way — e.g., ‘I can’t estimate future food and fuel costs, so I’ll just leave them out. Everything zen!’
Thank you Professor Wilde!
This is where the semi decentralized nature of American politics becomes an asset. With individual states AGs beginning to stir, Rep. Levin beavering away, and now some county Registrars of Deeds flexing their muscles, our Pecorra Moment is coming up.
As the Professor so ably demonstrates, Regulatory Capture extends all the way to the top. May I suggest that the new motto on the Great seal be “Anuit Co-optus.” [sic]
Gee, Cornel West “sounds a lot like a Republican”? Ding.. Is it unrequited love from the campaign detritus in Obama’s byzantine hall of mirrors, or just a guy that sees things as they really are? I’m guessing some of the former and mostly the latter. In the final analysis tho, Obama has proven to be a sellout to the Plutocracy and a war monger.
The most fundamental differentiation between george jr and BHO seems to be that the latter can convey platitudes in whole sentences and he would score higher on a scholastic aptitude test. Ah, but health care reform! Shoot me.
Re: the Fallows’ piece in The Atlantic (‘The Chart That Should’) seems the issue of “cutting the deficit” could be tackled by asking “which one”?
Rethugs are happy to focus on decimating both individuals and their communities under the rubric of phoney “deficit reduction”, just so long as their own supersized portions of the pie ain’t touched.
So how ’bout a concerted effort at cutting the “war deficit” for a change? Or the “tax deficit”?
(Remind me, if the Bush tax cuts were so good for growth, why is the economy so screwed?)
Once you remove the obligation for the rich to pay any tax at all and require that all taxes be paid from the poor to the rich, then you will achieve economic nirvana a.k.a. the feudal system.
I suggest that the proper question is, whos’ economy?
No more libraries? I know I’m quibbling, but the author’s case suffers near the end:
“I heard some politician say recently that closing libraries is no big deal, since the kids now have the Internet to do their reading and school work. It’s not the same thing. As any teacher who recalls the time when students still went to libraries and read books could tell him, study and reflection come more naturally to someone bent over a book.”
I LOVE libraries, and I hate reading long things on the internet. But let’s call a spade a spade – this is a nostalgia-based argument for maintaining libraries. We are dinosaurs, conditioned to best absorb information through inefficient methods.
“Yes, reading books is a slow, time-consuming, and often tedious process. In comparison, surfing the Internet is a quick, distracting activity in which one searches for a specific subject, finds it, and then reads about it—often by skipping a great deal of material and absorbing only pertinent fragments.”
Now, I agree that actual learning doesn’t come without thinking, but the worst thing she can say about the internet is that it provides what you are looking for TOO QUICKLY.
I found out just recently that my local library uses Google moderate safesearch to supposedly keep patrons from accessing porn. What this means is that if you type in “Naked Capitalism”, this site will not be in the results because the word “naked” has been stripped out of the search. Now of course you can still access the site by typing in its URL or using a different search phrase like “Yves Smith”, but then I suppose if you could do that for this blog, you could do it for a porn site as well. What struck me though was how blasé the librarians were about this. They were using a Google setting basically to cover their asses. It didn’t matter that A) it probably didn’t keep people from accessing porn or B) it made it harder to get to a site like this one. But who knew that Naked Capitalism would be deemed by Google and the local library to be too racy for primetime?
The acronym for this is GSIGSO. “Garbage System In Garbage Society Out.”
Lunchtime (east coastie here…)
The Worst Banking Regulator in the USA
This is a day or two old, so apologies if any of it was posted before — but Dean Baker ran an article on a recent quote-unquote ‘study’ claiming that the stimulus cost more jobs than it saved. Yeah… pretty dubious stuff, alright.
Just want to point out that Bill ‘Billy Blog’ Mitchell ran a post on this too and came to broadly similar conclusions.
If you want an all too typical example of junk economics, here it is. Funny that Greg Mankiw — a self-proclaimed ‘New Keynesian’ — would be running this trash on his blog. But I guess his so-called ‘Keynesianism’ only goes as far as the massive top-end tax cuts that the Bush Administration ran while he was in their employ…
It’s a ‘new’ Keynesianism alright. One that claims tax cuts for the super-rich generate output and employment — while fiscal stimulus packages destroy jobs. It’s so ‘new’ that I don’t recognise it at all.
Actually it is class warfare that keeps the rich safe from middle class rage. As long as we are at each others throats, we are not at theirs. As long as they can keep us distracted (or anxious or whatever) and not focusing on them, they can and will loot.
How many here are surprised that Benmosche has taken AIG back to the crap (literally and figuratively) table?
Just on general principle, I can’t fault any article that bashes an idiot like Bill Keller.
I am bemused by the whole Cornell West thing. Like many here, my reaction is: It took him this long to realize that Obama was bad news? Better late than never, I suppose, but isn’t this just another example of an opinion “leader” coming in years behind the curve? Doesn’t such tardiness undercut the whole notion of leadership? I mean leadership should mean being out in front of, not embarrassingly behind, the discussion.
“whole notion of leadership” THAT’s an important point. What kinds of leadership are prevalent in today’s world? Looks pretty piss poor to me… and I think it’s one of the many reasons the natives are getting restless.
The Cornell West story reads like a relationship breakup, and his slowly dawning realization that his ideals and supposed insideriness were being cheated on, and that he had fallen in love with what he projected onto Obama rather than the real Obama, mirrors a process many otherwise well-educated and savvy people I’ve known have gone through. The koolaid was strong and the anti-Bush era revulsion only made it stronger.
being out in front of, not embarrassingly behind, the discussion.
We got the out-in-front-channel, no problem. For all things ahead of the curve you got to pay $99 / month extra, sign a contract and buy our extended warrantée. Plus you got to have life insurance, reinsurance, non-owner liability insurance, and note from you mom.
Anyone notice the severe amount of spam on here recently.
Yves, I suggest a ‘Flag’ button to tackle this…
Dear Philip Pilkington;
To continue the infinite regression: (Cue the Pythons Spam Song.)
“Leaked paper reveals ministers want to raise retirement age to 66 and increase contributions by 3.3 percentage points”
*Tick* *Tick* *Tick*
Is that a bomb ticking in Danny Alexander’s briefcase… oh! I think it is.
Raise the retirement age, lower the minimum wage, lower the minimum worker age – anything so long as the usury class can be paid.
Someone please tell Junker that if ‘profiling’ is illegal, it is still illegal if you do it again (‘reprofiling’).
We will not be fooled twice.
Re: Strauss-Kahn: Sigh. I must have Tinfoil hat disease. How come I can’t shake the feeling that Strauss-Kahn has been Spitzered by Int’l Banksters and their enablers (like Geithner)?
Further attacks on the Constitution:
Congressional leadership reaches deal to extend Patriot Act four more years
Former President Clinton wants to set up a US or UN agency to fight “falsehood[s]” on the Internet
@A Good Bankster and Real I-Banker
I like the way you guys think, and I can relate. Almost.
On the same day I sold my 640 Park Ave. apartment for $25.87 million to some art collector, I was walking down 5th Avenue and saw one of those homeless bums holding out his McDonald’s coffee cup for change.
I started to give him a $1 dollar bill, but when he reached out to take it, I had to grab the bill back.
I figured what’s the point, if I told the guys back on the golf course at Sebonack or The Bridge, they wouldn’t believe me anyway and then I’d be $1 down with nothing to show for it.
OK, I get a spoof when I see one, but for goodness sakes, walk, anywhere? And what are you doing with actual money in your pocket anyway? Isn’t that your Private Secretaries job? Besides, you should have had your bodyguard give the bum the cash. And do you really know how it felt to see you pull that dollar bill back out of my hand? I just couldn’t look you in the eyes, for fear of what I might’ve seen there.