Links 6/14/11

Sheep Diagnoses Woman With Breast Cancer Gawker. Sounds like he has better bedside manner than a lot of NYC MDs (don’t get me started, after my lovely NYC MD quit practicing, my efforts to find a replacement would make for a subplot in a Woody Allen movie)

Second lesbian blogger exposed as a man Guardian (hat tip reader Philip Pikington)

#AlphaFAIL [UPDATE] LOL Greece (hat tip Richard Smith) FT Alphaville and ZH were hoaxed.

Chinese Spying Devices Installed on Hong Kong Cars EpochTimes

Can the oil stabiliser work? MacroBusiness

WikiLeaks cables show worry about Saudi oil security McClatchy (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Secret US and Afghanistan talks could see troops stay for decades Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Almost half of Gaza jobless – UN BBC

Complaints Against Rescue Fund Der Spiegel (hat tip reader freude bud)

The Greek Crisis and the Threat to Political Liberalism: A cautionary tale for Ireland, Portugal, the whole of Europe Yanis Yaroufakis (hat tip reader Don B)

IMF board blocks Fischer candidacy Financial Times

Can the Bank of England tame credit boom and bust? Channel 4 News (hat tip reader Tim C)

Survey: U.S. trails in equal legal treatment of citizens McClatchy (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Cuomo Pick Played Role in Calamity New York Times (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Florida Police Leave The Republican Party In Mass Exodus PoliticusUSA (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Ex-Ohio AG to play role in new agency Housing Wire. This news is at least two months old….where has HW been?

GOP Hopefuls Run Against Regulation Wall Street Journal. The worst is they really believe this twattle.

What QE3 could look like Ed Harrison

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Antidote du jour:

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  1. Anon

    The Missouri River flood – the biggest in US recorded history – meets a 1973-vintage pressurized water reactor at Fort Calhoun, Nebraska:

    So far, “limited flooding on site has not damaged plant safety systems,” is the word on the street.

    Elsewhere, Italians, following the Swiss and the Germans, have tossed nuclear aside.

    The Japanese are not so keen any more, either.

  2. ambrit

    Oh my, re. “Chineese spying devices,” Big Brother IS watching. Considering that such oversight of the public is a great power, Lord Actons observation slides remorselessly onward. What would absolute corruption in the modern world look like? Wall Street?

    1. Moopheus

      Why are people surprised by this? I mean, despite the post-Mao reforms, China is still a Communist police state.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Moopheus;
        (From a dairy state, are we?)
        Not just the Crypto-reform Chineese, but the NSAs data mining programs and communications filtering schemes.

    2. Yackov Americov

      In Soviet America, if you park car in driveway police will install spying device on car too.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Tovarisch;
        Only if you are “Trailer Trash.” The court ruling you rely upon made a distinction between ‘easily acessable’ and ‘securely secured’ sites. If you are ‘nemen klatura’ and can afford Dacha behind high walls, state security cannot ‘invade’ your privacy to help defend the revolution. If, on other hand you are glorious Proletarian and must live in constant state of social dialectic, even Saint Trotsky understood the chances of you being KR were much higher. Hence, to save you from own revisionist tendencys, the ‘Organ’ must be unsparing in surveillance. Is all to save you from backsliding and hurting yourself in trying to go against the natural progress of ‘History.’ “With folded hands we wait, sure in the knowledge that History will give us the Call.”

  3. Tiercelet

    Okay, this might seem spammy, but — if you’re looking for decent doctors in NYC, you might try I’ve actually had excellent experiences with most of the 6-7 doctors I’ve found there — which I think is due to a selection effect, in that a doctor who’s willing to sign up for a new, somewhat disruptive (to the office staff at least) service is a doctor who’s more likely to be open to newer practice methodologies, to listen more to patients, and to be more committed to the practice generally.

    If you’d like specific doctor recommendations, I have a few I can mention — my email should be visible on the back-end. Commenters, I guess I can post recs publicly if YS doesn’t mind . . . ?

  4. Max424

    Here’s an oil stabilizer for ya:

    Here’s another one:

    Has the world hit peak production of crude oil? Yes it has. There might be one or two more crags above us, but for all intents and purposes, we have reached the summit.

    Is there 25 bucks of speculator froth sitting on the current price of oil? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m not a bettor. I’m a concerned earthling, with hopefully, a 20 year — or more;) — stake in the future.

    Consider this: if the middle-East oil spigot suddenly plugs up, for any reason, the price of oil moves to $1,000 per barrel, overnight, and bingo; we have the mega-doom scenario for the global economy taking center stage, and the mass die off scenario, the talented understudy, slipping furtively into the wings.

    Peak oil is going to crush us, slowly, gradually, like a constrictor, no matter what, but, at any time, it’s hybrid nature allows it to strike at us like a viper — to kill us instantly.

    And that’s how fragile it all is.

  5. joebhed

    Re: Ed Harrison’s QE3 observations –

    The most significant factor regarding any level of QE activity remains its relative ineffectiveness on the real economy.
    The impotence of all Fed monetary policy initiatives manifests in the obvious result that they end up in the commercial banks’ excess reserves. Witness growth of $450 Billion of Excess Reserves over the past year.
    However, very little ends up in the M-1 an M-2 part of the broad national economy where we all live and work.
    Yes, Benny, pushing on a string gets you nowhere.

    The only solution to the ineffectiveness of our current quasi-public monetary initiatives is contained in Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s NEED Act of 2010, which ends the era of debt-based and so-called bank-credit monies, with a replacement by a permanent government-issued money system, and the economic stability that can only come from fully-reserved banking.

    1. ambrit

      To this ‘unenlightened’ yokel, ‘fully reserved banking’ sounds suspiciously like the back door to ‘Gold Standard.’
      Re-read Bryans “Cross of Gold” speech. Like him or hate him he was voicing the opposition of the ‘working classes,’ (and no one can seriously claim that farming is not labour intensive,) to restrictive policies of the time. He also, I would suggest, was laying the groundwork for our modern economy, which eventually caught up with reality and abandoned “Gold Standards” of all types. This is generally viewed as ‘progress.’ The opposite is quite rightly seen as ‘regress.’

      1. F. Beard

        The gold standard is certainly bogus but limited leverage is not unless you think counterfeiting is good.

        Full reserve banking is ideal but if not then at least the banks should be completely on their own for any leverage they risk.

      2. joebhed

        Jeezum, there’s a link.
        It’s Dennis Kucinich, who happens to understand the money system more than ANY of the other 534 numbskulls, including Sanders and Ron Paul.
        Full-reserve banking happens to be something that both Austrians and progressives had right before both the Cross of Gold speech and the run to Keynes.
        Best thing could happen is if Paul and Kucinich (same Committee) backed a Bill to end the legalized crime of fractional-reserve banking and the private central bank known as the Fed.
        Then we could have an honest political discussion on the merits of other components of the money system, like how is money created and whether free-banking would be more stable than a monetary authority.

      3. Toby

        ambrit, don’t be afraid of steady state growth, it’s very natural. ;-)

        It’s perpetual growth, forced on us by usury, that we should see as the enemy. And, gold is a metal. Kucinich is proposing ‘money from air,’ just not backed by debt, with private banks as recyclers of existing money, rather than money-creation-for-profit businesses. This would mean we’re not tied to some physically fixed amount of shiny stuff as permanent representation the world’s ‘wealth,’ but are flexible and adaptive. In short, less freedom for the banks, more freedom for humanity.

        (‘m not a total supporter of this direction, but believe it would be an enormous improvement on today’s criminal system. It also has the advantage of being very understandable and in quite easy reach, culturally and technically speaking.)

    2. Philip Pilkington

      Kucinich’s economic adviser is Michael Hudson. So, I’m assuming that Kucinich’s proposal is somewhat MMTish.

      Regarding Bryan’s ‘Cross of Gold’ speech, it should be dug out of the archives and given to Obama — just replace ‘silver-backed currency’ with ‘debt-free paper’ and we’re rolling.

      1. joebhed


        While true that Michael Hudson and Kucinich are very close, I’m afraid that the true MMTers fail to embrace either the Kucinich Bill or full-reserve banking.

        Below are links to two of Dr. Bill Mitchell’s blog entries on these matters.

        The first deals with the “sort-of-full-employment” nature of the NEED Act and the second deal with Bill’s views on full-reserve banking.

        Being that he and Mosler stand high atop the hierarchy of MMT, there is a long way to go to marry up the MMT community with the monetary reform community that supports the Kucinich Bill. But I’m trying.

        My conversations with Bill Mitchell leave me believing, like the commentor, that he sees full-reserve banking ONLY as part of the Austrian theory, failing to recognize its progressive history (Remember there were 30+ Greenback Party Members of Congress) as well as it being far more progressive in nature than the MMT construct.

  6. Another Gordon

    Re the GOP hopefuls reun against regulation.

    One UK report noted that all that was missing from the meeting was Snow White.

  7. Valissa

    re: Secret US and Afghanistan talks could see troops stay for decades

    Of course Pax Americana wants outposts in Afghanistan. Empires always place outposts in strategic areas. This reminds me of what John McCain said during the 2008 campaign… that the US would be in Iraq for a hundred years… and he was laughed at. He was right though. I’m pretty certain the US will have bases in Afhanistan for a very, very long time.

    Historical example- The result of the Spanish-American war of 1898 was that as part of the Treaty of Paris, the US took over the Phillipines. Guess how many years the US has had bases in the Philippines? Naturally the Phillipinos resented the US being there and did their best to resist (guerilla warfare). Torture first became a big issue in the media and with the average American citizen during this time.

    From “Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq”, by Stephen Kinzer (published 2006)

    [circa 1901] Until this episode, many Americans had believed that their soldiers were different from others, operating on a higher moral plane because their cause was good. After Balangiga, however, a flood of revelations forced them out of their innocence. Newspaper reporters sought out returned veterans and from their accounts learned that American soldiers in the Phillipines had resorted to all manner of torture. The most notorius was the “water cure,” in which sections of bamboo were forced down the throats of of prisoners and then used to fill the prisoner’s stomach with dirty water until they swelled in torment. Soldiers would then jump on the prisoner’s stomach to force the water out…

    Filipinos remember those years as some of the bloodiest in their history. Americans quickly forgot the war ever happened.

    The leading thinkers and academics of the day (such as William James, Mark Twain, the President of Stanford, etc) were horrified by the US’s actions and policies, and condemned them vociferously but to no avail. Sound familiar?

  8. Valissa

    re: Florida Police Leave The Republican Party In Mass Exodus

    This is great news! Now, the next headline I would like to see is “progressives leave Democratic Party en masse.” The only way to de-legitimize the Demopublican-Republicrat parties is to stop supporting them.

  9. XRayD

    There’s close to a $1 trillion waiting to be unearthed beneath the rocky soil of Afghanistan. The massive deposits of iron, copper, gold and lithium could potentially turn the troubled nation’s economy around.

    “Afghanistan, with certainty I can say, in 20 years is going to be a mining country,”…

    What would be the point of all the blood and treasure we have poured in there, and not take advantage of this?

    1. paper mac

      Neither ISAF nor the Karzai gov’t has any meaningful control over the areas which are thought to have extractable minerals. The “1 trillion dollars” thing is just a straight up multiplication of the number of tons of estimated metals from a MAD survey by the current market price- it has nothing to do with the ease of extraction, transport, protection of mining operations, etc. The reality is that security and transport costs alone make mineral extraction in Af effectively impossible. If those metals and minerals are ever pulled out of the ground, it’ll be by Afghan artisan miners, not by Western majors.

      1. XRayD

        If it is not us, then it will be the Chinese or the Indians.

        Extractors are busy in all kinds of inhospitable and difficult places.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      We wrote about this months ago. The deposits were not news even then. The PR about them is hype to justify our presence there (which you seem to be doing as well…hhm,…and since when to we have the right to exploit other nation’s resources? I mean, we do it all the time but that does not make it good conduct).

      1. ambrit

        It also leaves us in the ‘difficult’ position of being quite plainly hypocritical whenever we talk up the ‘local interests’ arguement to oppose Chineese ‘investments’ in third world resources. (Just look at what they’re doing in Africa. Who says Colonialism is dead?)

  10. Philip Pilkington

    Oil article:

    “There’s an opinion at large that the current slowdown in the US and, increasingly, global growth can be turned around if the globe’s automatic stabiliser, the oil price, eases.”

    Seriously doubt this.

    The article notes that consumer spending (aggregate demand) is by far the most important factor here. So, how much is realistically being pulled out of consumers’ paychecks every week?

    Okay, I drive a reasonable amount in a German car with a big engine — not by US standards, but still — which means fairly high petrol consumption. So, let’s say I spend about €35 — which is quite high considering many people drive cars with roughly half the fuel consumption of mine.

    My house uses about €50 a week more in fuel and gas — but that’s between five people. So, my ‘weekly bill’ is about €45; which, as I’ve said, is probably above average.

    Now, say fuel prices come down by about 30% at the consumer level (that’s VERY optimstic). That means I have an extra €15 a week in my pocket. And that’s going to lead to a recovery? With all the rest of what’s going on in the world economy? Get real.

  11. Philip Pilkington

    On Ed’s QE3 piece:

    “Read the Invictus piece because it is clear from Bernanke’s writing there that he really thinks fiscal policy is more effective than quantitative easing to the degree you want to add stimulus.”

    I’d suggest that people be very careful about what they derive from Bernanke’s writ. He seems to have a very idiosyncratic view of what the term ‘fiscal policy’ means — at least, to me it’s very idiosyncratic. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but let’s just say that, like that of a good lawyer, Bernanke’s use of language has a certain flexibility.


  12. Susan Truxes

    Is it me or is the news coming fast and furious now? I can’t keep up. Some thoughts:
    1. Do Androids Dream of Psychic Sheep? Also established is that dogs can sniff out the location of human cancers in no time flat.
    2. Found at Mercola: take your Boron.
    3. Why do we “need” to be based in Afghanistan for “decades?” Because a. Saudi Oil, b. the new Silk Road, c. Caspian Oil, d. rare earths, e. gold, f. to control both India and China, g. to protect Iran (begs the next question why protect Iran), and h. etc.
    4. re Der Spiegel article, Germany better hurry and get this one ruled on while it still can.
    5. re Bank of England quelling boom and bust credit. Cool. Of course hindsight is 20/20 unless you are an idiot like Rush Limbaugh. But still what a refreshing article. Maybe we can outsource our national banking to England so it can also protect the United States’ economy from both household and business devastation caused by incompetent banking.
    Thats all.

    1. Cedric Regula

      The neighbor’s dog here has diagnosed the entire neighborhood with colon cancer.

  13. Jumpjet

    Protesters said they would surround the Greek parliament on Wednesday to prevent debate, putting new pressure on the government to drop its austerity plan, and two ruling party lawmakers said they would vote against the measures.

    Yes, yes, THIS is what I want. Block the legislators’ access to Parliament. If they’re going to vote to ignore the will of the people, stop them from voting. If the government works against the people then it deserves to be shut down.

    1. ambrit

      As I’ve said before, Libya is the creation of late nineteenth century European Colonialism. Demographically, it deserves to be ‘deconstructed’ and parcelled ut to neighbouring states. Then Tunisia could have some respectible oil fields and start real economic development. The Egyptians could expand into the Western Desert and satisfy the Pharohnia Irredentia Party. That bunch in the middle of the Sahara would have more sand for the Tauregs to wander around in. The UN would become somewhat more manageable. Extra aded bonus: one less country for cartographically challenged school kids to not be able to find on the test map.

  14. Externality

    Fraudulent (but attractive) women frequently appear in conjunction with American campaigns to demonize other countries.

    Remember the “Kuwaiti nurse” who claimed that Iraqi troops stormed into her hospital and threw babies out of incubators? “Nurse Nayirah,” as she was known, turned out to be a member of the Kuwaiti royal family who was not even in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion and occupation. From Wikipedia:

    Among many other means of influencing U.S. opinion, … the firm arranged for an appearance before a group of members of the U.S. Congress in which a woman identifying herself as a nurse working in the Kuwait City hospital described Iraqi soldiers pulling babies out of incubators and letting them die on the floor.[56]

    The story was an influence in tipping both the public and Congress towards a war with Iraq: six Congressmen said the testimony was enough for them to support military action against Iraq and seven Senators referenced the testimony in debate. The Senate supported the military actions in a 52-47 vote. A year after the war, however, this allegation was revealed to be a fabrication. The woman who had testified was found to be a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family, in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S.[56] She had not been living in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion.

    The details of the Hill & Knowlton public relations campaign, including the incubator testimony, were published in a John R. MacArthur’s Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War (Berkeley, CA: University of CA Press, 1992), and came to wide public attention when an Op-ed by MacArthur was published in the New York Times. This prompted a reexamination by Amnesty International, which had originally promoted an account alleging even greater numbers of babies torn from incubators than the original fake testimony. After finding no evidence to support it, the organization issued a retraction. President George H. W. Bush then repeated the incubator allegations on television.

    (emphasis added)

    1. ambrit

      My dear Sir;
      You want fraudulant but attractive? Try Page Three at Englands Sun newspaper. Some of the ‘attractions’ are quite obviously fraudulent, but the campaign, to keep the ‘lower orders’ safely distracted is working quire well, thank you.

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