Links 8/17/11

Telescope search for ET revived BBC. I think we have too narrow an idea of what forms intelligent “life” might take.

Essex police charge man over water fight planned on BlackBerry Messenger Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Fired techie created virtual chaos at pharma company IT World. Frankly, I’m surprised that this doesn’t happen more often, certainly in a less crude manner (like letting nasty viruses in).

Candid photo of new U.S. ambassador charms China USA Today (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Nicolas Sarkozy Just Announced Plans For A New Tax On Financial Transactions Clusterstock (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Pledge for Euro Unity May Not Be Enough to Satisfy Markets New York Times. This could be a generic headline on the Eurozone for at least the last year.

Dangerous Merkel-Sarkozy Spin Credit Writedowns

Obama Presses His Case in Crucial Iowa, but Perry Is Close on His Heels New York Times. The Times uses the same word for Obama that I use for Bank of America: beleaguered.

How the Political Right Bullied the Department of Homeland Security Into Ignoring the Threat of Right-Wing Extremism Alternet (hat tip reader May S)

Perry compares Fed stimulus to treason Financial Times. I’m no fan of the Fed, I think the QEs were desperate and ineffective measures, but this is deranged. It looks like the strategy among the Republican contenders is to try to outdo each other in hyperbole.

The dual-taxation meme Felix Salmon (hat tip Richard Smith)

Child Labor Rules Stalled At White House As Farm Accidents Continue Huffington Post

Behavioral Finance Lecture 03: Debunking CAPM and conventional Behavioral Finance Steve Keen

The Systemic Risk Industry Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Walmart warns on US weakness Financial Times (hat tip Joe Costello)

Fitch maintains US’s triple A rating Financial Times. On corporate bonds and RMBS, Fitch is usually faster to downgrade than S&P and Moody’s

President Obama Still Likes Big Government: When it Helps the Banks Dean Baker

Nudging us into giving up on our Social Security Lambert Strether

Lawsuits reveal the doublespeak of mortgage bond sales Housing Wire (hat tip Lisa Epstein). This is more entertaining than you might infer from the headline.

BofA Said to Consider Foreclosure Deal That Leaves Securities Probes Open Bloomberg. This story is pure BofA PR and I though posting it to debunk it would dignify it more than it deserved. “BofA to Consider”? This “deal” is running on fumes. There is no momentum, and the other AGs are getting cold feet (if they didn’t have them already) since if NY’s Schneiderman and Delaware’s Biden find real dirt (almost certain), the rest look like bank cronies for signing a deal without doing document discovery. If they are in a state where a big bank is a big employer, they might get away with that, but it is a risky strategy. And Mr. Market doesn’t buy it either. The stock closed down over 4% when this story broke during the trading day.

Knights of Columbus Add New Claims To BNY Mellon Mortgage Suit Wall Street Journal

Poverty’s Not Just for Cities: America’s 10 Poorest Suburbs Daily Finance

Antidote du jour:

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  1. attempter

    Will people who believe in democracy ever achieve even the rudimentary discipline necessary to agree that the DHS has to be completely done away with, and not keep being shepherded into stupid arguments which agree on the premise that police statism necessary or desirable, and it’s just a matter of where to focus it? “Police statism, Yes! – But more over there. Those guys are worse than these guys. No – over there! Those guys are worse.”

    Here’s breaking news: The DHS, Patriot Act, and the rest of the prison/police/surveillance complex is infinitely more dangerous to the individual citizen and to democratic society than all non-governmental “extremists” put together.

    Or is it just that no one believes in democracy anymore?

    Re agricultural child labor:

    As always with agricultural issues, the problem isn’t what’s nominally being discussed, but commodification itself. Certainly every type of factory farm and field is in fact a commercial factory and should be treated as such. The measure could be acreage, animal concentration, etc.

    But that’s the same obvious truth everyone ignores everywhere else. No matter what’s the proximate problem – food safety, terrorist threats (the DHS is also increasingly asserting theoretical power over our food supply), child labor – the real problem is always centralized, corporatized agriculture and commodification itself. Therefore the solution is never new kludge legislation/regulation, but relocalization of food production and distribution.

    As a rule the old legislation and regulatory authority is perfectly sufficient if it were simply enforced against the big corporate actors. Food safety is a clear-cut case. No new legislation was needed. But because the government refuses to enforce the law against Big Ag, and because on the contrary it’s embarked upon a campaign to suppress food relocalization on behalf of Big Ag (the persecution of raw milk is meant to serve as the template for a far broader assault), its disaster capitalist response to the recent avalanche of corporate-caused food outbreaks was to step up Orwellian “Food Safety” policy-making, which should be seen in its slogans and its substance as another version of the War on Terror. It has nothing to do with its nominal purpose, but everything to do with expanding corporate welfare and the police state.

    So when I see this alleged attempt to rein in child labor at corporate farms, you’ll have to forgive me for being immediately skeptical and assuming its real goal is to further burden small farms.

    Just like this which I just read yesterday:

    1. Bill

      “The DHS, Patriot Act, and the rest of the prison/police/surveillance complex is infinitely more dangerous to the individual citizen and to democratic society than all non-governmental “extremists” put together.”

      This was one of the first thoughts I had when
      DHS was first proposed. (Even the word
      “homeland” sent chills of fear up my spine,
      too reminiscent of “Fatherland”.

      Our country’s founders also believed our own
      govt would be more a threat to freedom than
      foreign threats; now we know how right they
      were !

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Uh-oh, you forgot(?) to capitalize Homeland! Though inadvertent, I’m sure, consider this a fiendly reminder. And always wear your flag lapel pin.

        1. Bill

          heh heh, you jest Doug Terpstra, but I
          actually have a flag pin, given to me for
          20 years of govt service……with DOD no less.

          I hope you won’t hold that against me.

  2. M.InTheCity

    Re: Telescope search for ET revived. Your point is excellent on that. About four years ago or so I read Solaris (after watching the Clooney version) and fell in love with the book. One of the several points made very clearly is – what are we looking for in space? We are looking for ourselves and have no ability to conceive of that which is not our own reflection. What is communication? The planet in Solaris wouldn’t communicate with the humans in the way they wanted it to. Emotions would be assigned to the planet, but of course that was our own limited conception of the reality of the planet’s “actions”. Humans are only capable of looking in a mirror…

    1. Sock Puppet

      … and suppose one of these life forms – a super intelligent shade of the color blue for example (Douglas Adams) – has a God. What would that God look like – an old white man with a grey beard? Or a shade of blue?

      1. aet

        Perhaps it will consider God to be all and have all that it itself is/does not, but yet considers important – as the Ancient Greeks attributed immortality to their Gods, while they well knew that all people, by and in contrast to those Goods, are mortal.

        Which is a way of saying, that thinking that “God is in our own image” (or is it vice-versa?) is itself a specifically Judeo-Christo-Islamic conception; and not a “default”, or necessary, religious conceit which must arise, as if by logical necessity, wherever there is considered to be a belief in a Deity, whether that deity be believed to be “transcendent” or “immanent” by those believers.

        Life may take forms which we would not recognize as such: imho the same may be said of religion.

        1. aet

          Actually, Greek gods where neither “goods” nor “bads”: they had their own, quite inhuman, agendas. They were literally considered to be “beyond good and evil”, as Nietszche pointed out.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The sculptures show Greek gods look like humans.

          It’s claimed by those who believe that we are the image of God.

          Greek gods are immortal, unlike us.

          The Christian God is beyond mortality, unlike us.

    2. ct

      Who’s the ‘we’ in ‘we have too narrow an idea of what forms intelligent “life” might take’? A science fiction book like Solaris is at the tip of a huge, huge, pile of work trying
      to think about the boundaries and permutations of what life
      might be. Perhaps by “we” you mean “Hollywood producers”?

      Or are you criticizing the SETI people? Contrary to the previous “Solaris” poster seems to imply, we aren’t actually yet landing on other planets poking around “looking for ourselves” and being befuddled by lifeforms we don’t expect. SETI looks for radio signals for pretty much any pattern which doesn’t look like a natural phenomenom. Sure, even if the universe is teeming with weird life, perhaps only a tiny fraction with very special characteristics is likely to be detectible in this way. So what? What else would you constructively suggest one do, here in 2011?

    3. Mark P.

      @ M in the City –

      Well, SOLARIS is good. But Stanislaw Lem wrote a far better novel around some of the same themes called HIS MASTER’S VOICE.'S_Voice_(novel)

      IMO, it’s not just Lem’s best, but a towering achievement — one of the four or five greatest science-fiction novels ever, though it doesn’t get the attention it deserves because Lem was Polish and contrarian.

  3. LeeAnne

    Candid photo of new U.S. ambassador charms China USA Today (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

    That is a beautiful story.

    Thank you Yves, and thank you Gary Locke for being the representative we Americans need and deserve.

    1. PQS

      Locke is the former governor of WA state….this incident captures perfectly the ethos of our Northwest, and the backpack is the perfect Northwestern touch. Many in America would think it too down-market, but a backpack would be utterly accepted anywhere in Seattle. I would be even Bill Gates carries one around…..

      I find it deeply ironic that Communist Chinese officials “have people” to fetch and carry for them.

  4. russell1200

    If you look at the “right wing extremist” report, you can see why people were upset.

    They basically said that the extremists were only talking and not threatening action, and then pretty much gave them a description that could be construed to fit your typical tea party member, or possibly Yves Smith with her disgruntled comments toward our current governance.

    They then noted the dangerous threat of returning veterans because of their military skills. Which sounds plausible. Except that the military does not usually make its bombs out of fertilizer and fuel.

    All of which would be O.K. if they actually had any substance in their report: but there really wasn’t any. They noted that a number of people were likely to get really upset if more gun control restrictions were put in place: You think? We need a fancy report to tell us the NRA exists?

      1. aet

        “Not threatening action”?

        So some threats are OK? Depending upon whether or not they involve “action”?

        I don’t understand…either it’s a threat, or it’s not.
        And criminal liability may result from uttering threats.

    1. KFritz

      Did you find any misstatements in the report? If not, then why not publish it? Will some folks tender feelings be bruised? You think?

  5. LeeAnne

    ” …It looks like the strategy among the Republican contenders is to try to outdo each other in hyperbole.” Yves

    Alternative media could make the best of this coincidence with Murdoch’s current notoriety by labeling such over groomed exhibitionists as Bachmann and Perry et al a ‘Murdoch candidate.’

    It could stick; and it could help get some of these wackos off stage. We need serious candidates, not these narcissistic tools.

    1. Jim

      Didnt President Roosevelt also engage in hyperbole against the monied class?

      One thing is clear to me. The US electorate, after over one decade of stagnant wages, is furious. We’ll see which party does a better job of channeling that frustration to the voting booth.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      And to think Rick Perry was deranged enough to suggest the Criminal Reserve Cartel, AKA The Creature from Jekyll Island was “almost treasonous”. Quelle Horror! This breach even got Karl Rove’s panties in a twist. Perry forgot that the bankster cabal for TPTB is not to be questioned by either party, ever.

      Of course Perry only said “almost treasonous” as nothing more than crumpets for the Tea Party . . . eh, Karl? (wink-wink, nudge-nudge). Go ahead and blast me for it, burnish my fringe credentials, just spell my name right and don’t mention that guy, Paul, who has made destruction of the creature his central mission.

    2. alex

      Those are scary PPI numbers (although what I don’t know is what they’ve looked like in the recent past – any links appreciated).

      The “inflation would be good” idea floated on the left is ridiculous (and I lean left, so this is no right wing rant). It will hurt savers/investors who are already getting meager returns, but unless we have sustained 1970’s style inflation, it won’t be enough to put a big dent in our private debt overhang.

      It won’t encourage productive investment any more than the excessive amount of cash sloshing around for the last decade has. The big money will go into speculation and various financial scams like CDO’s. A few insiders and criminals (oops, I mean financial people) will cash in big and everyone else will get stuck with the bill. Now why does that sound familiar?

      Moreover since labor has zero bargaining power these days, it will just further erode real incomes as nominal incomes stay the same (and staying the same is the optimistic scenario). Ergo people struggling to pay off debt won’t have any more money to do it with, while the little they have left over after debt servicing will buy them even less. It amazes me that people like Krugman, who I’m generally a fan of, can’t appreciate these simple boots-on-the-ground issues.

      The debt overhang has to be reduced and the only way to do it is default, principal reduction or forgiveness. Too much money chasing too few returns is, along with the financial police having gone on permanent holiday, exactly what got us into this mess. “A hair of the dog that bit you” is an excuse used by drunks, not a good policy idea.

      Taking insolvent financial institutions into receivership has got to be part of the solution. Gave a $500k liar’s mortgage to somebody who makes $50k/yr and is now unemployed. Don’t be surprised when he defaults. And yes the bank and their bondholders can eat the loss. That’s real debt reduction.

      1. gmanedit

        “Too much money chasing too few returns is, along with the financial police having gone on permanent holiday, exactly what got us into this mess.”

        At some point (in the eighties?), I read that there were more mutual funds than stocks.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is something wrong with those numbers.

      We shouldn’t have inflation if enough people switch from

      1. beef to chicken to dumpster dining

      2. living in a mansion to living under a bridge

      3. low deductible health insurance to high deductible insurance to 100% reliance on praying.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg has helpfully listed nine ‘defense’ industry parasites which stand to get whacked the most from cuts in this area:

    Nine of the biggest names in the U.S. defense industry receive more than 70 percent of their revenue from the federal government and have the most to lose in the budget cuts approved by Congress this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Nine companies with a market capitalization of $1 billion or more receive at least 70 percent of their revenue from the U.S. government, according to data compiled by Bloomberg:

    ManTech International Corp. (MANT)
    Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (BAH)
    Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC)
    Raytheon Co. (RTN)
    CACI International Inc.
    Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)
    Oshkosh Corp. (OSK)
    Harris Corp.
    General Dynamics Corp. (GD)

    Three of those — ManTech, Booz Allen and Northrop Grumman — count on the federal government for more than 90 percent of their revenue.

    No wonder Kurgman thinks we need another war. Why should these worthy mendicants be made to suffer?

    1. Doug Terpstra

      This is why the unconstitutional cat food super-politburo has been staff on the Dixiecratic side with Dixiecrats from utterly safe seats in districts with big defense contracts. “Defense” spending is the sacred cow that cannot, must not be touched. And Baucus again?, who presided over the very conspicuous and tortured death of single-payer or even a weak public option in the health racket bailout? Please, how much more in-your-face transparent can this fix get? It’s almost treasonous.

    2. justanotherobserver

      “No wonder Kurgman thinks we need another war”

      I hope that was snark, otherwise it’s a ridiculous and incorrect interprertation of the column he wrote.

      1. NOTaREALmerican


        The new Space Alien Defense Program is only preparing for war with space aliens, it’s not actually expecting them to show up.

  7. Ignim Brites

    The Perry comment on the Bernanke isolates (and dooms) Romney as the lone corporate progressive among the top Republican contenders. Ron Paul is really driving the debate on this front and it looks the status of the FED will be a major partisan issue next year. Of course the antipathetic corporate progressivism (what is more familiarly know as progressivism) can now, with MMT, afford to take an anti Fed attitude. But progressives (both corporate, think Silcon Valley, George Soros, etc, and anti-corporate) will be loath to abandon such a non-democratic bastion (Temple per Greider) of progressive ideology and power for the vicissitudes of democratic or market accountability. Certainly they do not have to worry about Obama or any other Democrat for that matter (which suggests that maybe the logical person to take a primary challenge to Obama would be Romney). Well it is going to be very interesting and with many surprising twists and turns to come. One might begin to think of the Tea Party as the Andrew Jackson wing of the Republican Party.

    1. joebhed

      Sorry, just confused here.

      Is the takeaway that there may be a Tea Party wing-driven push for an End-the-Fed debate in this election?

      Then, speaking of the Fed –
      “But progressives will be loath to abandon such a non-democratic bastion of progressive ideology and power for the vicissitudes of democratic or market accountability.”

      Are you saying that the Fed is a bastion of progressive ideology and power?
      Please explain.

      Are you saying that the alternative to the Fed is resort to ‘market-accountability” for our money system? Something like Free-Banking or such?

      What about the true progressive alternative to the non-democratic Private Fed ?

      That of Congressman Dennis Kucinich –


      1. Ignim Brites

        Thanks for the link to the Dennis Kucinich document. Dind’t realize he was still alive.

      2. Ignim Brites

        “Are you saying that the Fed is a bastion of progressive ideology and power?” Progressivism stands for the improvement of the material conditions of life through economic progress guided by a central and mostly technocratic elite. The FED certainly fulfills the central and technocratic part; and, its importance to the maintaining and expanding the economy is almost religiously adhered to by the entire spectrum of the political establishment.

        Free banking would indeed be one form of exposing corporate progressives to market accountability; although just ending TBTF would enough for me. But TBTF will not end so long as the FED is around.

        Just scanned Kucinich’s proposal. Sounds like he is headed in the direction of abolishing the FED and folding its functions into the Treasury. Sounds good to me.

    2. alex

      “Tea Party as the Andrew Jackson wing of the Republican Party”

      Panic of 1837 here we come!

      And will they also adopt Andy’s attitude towards the Constitution and the Supreme Court: “they have made there decision, now let them enforce it”. IIRC the Indians weren’t too happy about the Trail of Tears either.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe someone will rant something about the need for a Strongman to put the Fed on trial for Crimes Against Humans, instead of just for Treason.

      You get all kinds of stuff here.

  8. pj

    Just a suggestion, but it would be helpful if your links opened in a new window. It gets annoying having to push the back button several times to get back on your delightfully informative site, rather than simply closing an open window and returning.

    1. wunsacon

      Yves, I agree with pj’s suggestion, as well. (Do you think we want to leave your site? NOoooo!)

      1. wunsacon

        “That’s *TWO* clicks instead of one!” ;-) (Seriously, I would prefer one click instead of two.)

        1. toxymoron

          To Yves and her webmaster.
          The anchors on the ‘Links’ page all have a ‘target=_self’ tag, while the anchors elsewhere don’t seem to have this tag. Not putting the ‘target’ tag, or putting ‘target=_blank’ yields the requested behavior, and opens the link in a new window.
          (On the other hand, I don’t have this problem, as my RSS reader forces always a new page).

    1. Jim Haygood

      Yeah, I’m getting pretty tired of his big-haired mug.

      In normal countries, you can pull a variety of note denominations out of ATMs. But the US bank cartel has decreed that the serfs can only get twenties.

      Take any significant amount of cash out of an ATM, and you end up with a wad as big as a grapefruit.

      By the time thousand-dollar bills become the ATM standard, they might appropriately bear a portrait of Porky Pig: ‘Th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks!’

  9. wunsacon

    I suspect Parry’s — that’s “Parry” with an “A” for “A”merica — rhetoric is meant to either:

    (a) steal some thunder from Ron Paul, to replace the idea that “RP dislikes the Fed” with the idea that “Republicans *generally* dislike the Fed” and

    (b) tarnish the legitimacy of criticizing the Fed by “going over-the-top” in rhetoric, so that — even if Parry loses — voters will be leery of any politician that bashes the Fed.

    1. wunsacon

      For point “b” to make sense, you have to suspect (as I do) that the GOP’s corporate masters (and, hence, the GOP) want to keep the Fed around. Anything that upsets the status quo might end their gravy train.

  10. wunsacon

    I love Washington’s blog. But, his recent interpretation of Krugman is wrong. Krugman does not say “I want a war”. Krugman uses the example of WWII to support the argument that large government stimulus (to laborers) works.

    Can’t people articulate a thought experiment without being accused of pining for war?

    And, of course, it doesn’t help that someone else (another blogger I like) repeated GW’s misinterpretation on ZH.

  11. Karl

    What the Chinese really like about the Locke story is that he paid for his coffee with a credit card. Imagine a cashless society where the government can turn off
    your credit card–that’s control baby!

    I imagine the Chincoms are promoting the story with
    that subtle agitprop hidden in the story.

  12. eric anderson

    In the lingo the Democratic Party leadership has now become fond of, the Federal Reserve has become a monetary terrorist.

    I see no reason why Rick Perry can’t fight rhetorical fire with rhetorical fire.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      No matter how short your comments are, eric, they still contain an enormous amount of inanity on which to comment.

      Who in world would say there is reason that someone cannot be stupid in response to someone else’s stupidity?

      Reality, of course, dictates that you are free to be as stupid as you want to be, as stupid as (or even more than!) the next person.

      But you do realize, eric, that just because you are free to be stupid, you’re not actually not stupid for choosing to be stupid, right?

  13. Karl

    Regarding suburban poverty:

    One thing not mentioned by the article is that there are few jobs in the suburbs and that usually there is no mass transit so that cars must be owned, serviced and gassed to get to distant possible employment elsewhere.

    Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield are all stamped out of the same mould, dead level mile square semi-desert ag land was instantly turned into cheap housing in the bubble.

    Merle Haggart and the remnants of the Dustbowl Oakies have around Bakerfield have moved on leaving the land to the reconquista.

    The demographics are depressingly similar, Mexican American field hands, many illegals, handed keys to these houses after being courted by banks, such as Wells Fargo, that accepted Matricula Consular cards as an accepted form of I.D. in lieu of a drivers license.

    Yes, that’s right, an illegal alien with no form of I.D. other than a Mexican Government I.D. and an alleged social security number could get a loan, sometimes with
    cash back. You can’t blame them for snatching at it.

    The key to the development of these suburbios…which just happens to be the Spanish word for slums, is water.

    The Beverly Hills dwelling “farmers” get huge taxpayer subsidies for their agricultural water which then then parlay into “water rights” and then sell off to the corporate home developers who are listed on the NYSE.

    The entire scene is sickening and is merely another
    lesion on the body politic here.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Merle Haggard famously commented that he was more free while on probation from California state prison in 1960 than a law-abiding citizen is today.

    1. Karl

      God, what a shame that Building 7 housed all the
      ENRON documents. Talk about a lucky break! Or a

    2. alex

      Taibbi is always worth reading. No disrespect to the esteemed journal “Rolling Stone”, which I’ve long enjoyed for a variety of reasons, but does anyone find it odd that one of the country’s best and most straightforward financial reporters writes for them instead of some more “mainstream” news publication? Edit out some of the profanity and Taibbi is the kind of guy who should be getting Pultizers writing for something like a Watergate era WaPo.

      Meanwhile, another of the country’s best financial reporters and analysts, who shall remain nameless but writes a blog you may be familiar with, is tacitly forbidden from appearing on American TV.

    3. Foppe


      Under a deal the SEC worked out with the National Archives and Records Administration, all of the agency’s records – “including case files relating to preliminary investigations” – are supposed to be maintained for at least 25 years. But the SEC, using history-altering practices that for once actually deserve the overused and usually hysterical term “Orwellian,” devised an elaborate and possibly illegal system under which staffers were directed to dispose of the documents from any preliminary inquiry that did not receive approval from senior staff to become a full-blown, formal investigation. Amazingly, the wholesale destruction of the cases – known as MUIs, or “Matters Under Inquiry” – was not something done on the sly, in secret. The enforcement division of the SEC even spelled out the procedure in writing, on the commission’s internal website. “After you have closed a MUI that has not become an investigation,” the site advised staffers, “you should dispose of any documents obtained in connection with the MUI.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Under a deal the SEC worked out with the National Archives and Records Administration,


        That’s the problem, I think. Congress should make that a legal requirement, instead of just a deal between two agencies. I don’t know, but how binding is that? Myabe we’re, or Taibbi is, barking up the wrong tree.

        1. alex

          “Maybe we’re, or Taibbi is, barking up the wrong tree.”

          No. Taibbi calls it “possibly illegal”. Obviously that warrants further investigation into whether it is. If it’s not, then of course congress should act.

          The bottom line though is that corrupt is corrupt, regardless of whether it’s illegal. You can’t absolve the executive branch, regardless of whether it’s the Obama or Bush administration (and probably the Clinton administration too).

  14. Tommy

    “right wing terrorists”…Anytime the
    Southern Poverty Law Center is quoted for anything,
    it immediately places the author in the same league
    as the grant sucking, donation baiting, self appointed
    ‘experts’ that run that fraud mill. Self sustaining
    phonies that send out enough mailers to clear-cut
    a square mile per solicitation.

    Morris Dees is a parasitical tumor on the
    conscience of (some) Americans IMHO.

    Alternet is a pretty good source for news but when
    shackle their credibility to that outfit they become

      1. Frank

        Point is my wooden friend, real people think for
        themselves instead of parroting what the string
        pullers say.

        1. charlie mccarthyd

          I know lots of string-pullers. Some of my good buds are string-pullers. SPLC are not in the big league of string-pullers. Not in the triple As, even. Your apparent notion that there is something bad about them is vague and unsubstantiated.

  15. Hugh

    I found the story on child farm labor regulation delay interesting because of Cass Sunstein’s involvement in it. Sunstein was touted early on in this Administration for his legal reputation and his name was even suggested for the Supreme Court. Sunstein popularized the line that investigating Bush era illegalities would be to “criminalize policy differences” and should be avoided. He also pushed the line of minimal regulatory intervention in his book “Nudge”. This was significant for two reasons. He wrote it against the backdrop of the failure of 8 years of the Bush crusade against regulation. And the book came out in 2008, after the housing bubble burst and the same year as the meltdown. In pre-kleptocracy days, you might have thought that a point of view that was so spectacularly wrong might have taught him a little humility and disqualified him from any serious office, but of course we live in a kleptocracy and Sunstein was put in the place where he could best facilitate the looters and damage us: the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) through which all of the government’s regulations must pass, and be judged. Sunstein exemplifies the continuity between the Bush and Obama Administrations in terms of their anti-regulatory, pro-business stances. Sunstein exists on the level of ideology. If kids get killed or maimed due to his inaction, I am sure he can rationalize it away with a nudge.

  16. Hugh

    Re the 2012 horserace, the “horses” are all corporatists so really who cares which one wins? Obama “beleaguered” all the way to bank; Perry dumber than a box of rocks and slower than molasses in January; Romney, a man of the people as long as those “people” are Exxon and Goldman Sachs; Bachmann doing the Palin ignorance is bliss shtick. We are royally screwed no matter what.

  17. Frank

    “Nudging us into giving up on our Social Security”

    Subtract from your income tax what they
    shortchange you in your Social Security.
    Or have your kids subtract it
    from what they “owe”.

  18. avgJohn

    About taxing the rich. Who really ends up paying the corporate income taxes. I maintain it is the consuming public in the form of higher prices, and I think Mr. Buffet knows it.

    Those that own the capital to produce the goods and services are in the enviable position of passing the tax costs on to the poor and working stiff consumer. Let’s face it, an income tax is an industry wide tax, faced by the company and it’s competitors alike and by and large will be reflected in the price of the goods. When a company decides to produce a product they will first analyze the projected “after-tax” cost of producing and pricing the said product, and only if it meets it’s projected profit threshold will it commit to production.

    Who will the poor and working stiff pass this additional cost on to? Wages have stagnated for decades in the U.S., due to the global labor arbitrage used to destroy us..

    To make matters even worse, an on-shore company will be at a distinct disadvantage because the will have to include a heavier tax burden in their product price than their off shoring competitor, who hides or shelters the profits in overseas or off shore accounts.

    The solution is to offer on-shore companies that provide jobs and capital investment here at home a handsome tax credit to offset the subsidy given to global off-shorers.
    Maybe this would violate WTO agreements, I don’t know, but if so then we need to pull out of the WTO.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Comments by the NYT’s Tyler Cowen to an Argentine newspaper [in translation]:

    Europe is what worries me most. I do not think that the euro zone has ever been an idea that makes any sense. Why should Greece, which has one of the worst credit ratings in the world, be put on a par with Germany, which has one of the best? That can never last, just as tying Argentina’s currency to the dollar could never last.

    At the same time, dismantling the euro could bring the greatest financial crisis of all time. At this moment a “silent bank run” exists in all the peripheral countries in trouble.

    It is not just a matter of obtaining sufficient funds for a bailout, because what we are experiencing is like a great hole in the bathtub through which everything is escaping, to describe it in some way. I think it will end up in financial devastation but, fortunately, Europe has such a high quality of human capital that it will recover.

  20. propertius

    Re: Perry and the Fed

    I tend to take his word for it. After all, who would no more about treason than an advocate of secession?

  21. Externality

    From Daily Kos:

    There’s a reason that Washington, D.C. is the only part of the country that thinks the economy is doing just fine. It’s because that’s the reality that people there see. The town is booming, and it’s booming in large part at taxpayers’ expense, because of the growth in federal contracting.

    [block quote and graph omitted]

    A good part of the greater Washington, D.C. area is not living the same reality as the rest of America, or even the rest of D.C., where income inequality is in sharp display if you look for it. The problem for our policymakers and opinion makers inside the Beltway is that they tend not to go looking for it, outside their comfort zone.

    It’s particularly galling, however, that this largesse has been funded by the rest of the country, those of us who are now going to be forced into austerity by a political class that doesn’t live in reality.

  22. kravitz

    Case against MERS reaches Supreme Court

    “If the Supreme Court agrees to hear Gomes v. Countrywide, Gomes’ attorney, Ehud Gersten, says the court will have to decide whether a lower court stripped his client, Jose Gomes, of due process by allowing MERS to foreclose without ensuring the registry had the noteholder’s authority to foreclose.”

    can’t wait to hear what Y&R have to say about it

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