Links 10/20/11

How the Media Will Cover the Ohio Zoo Escape: Our Official Predictions VFDaily

Clash of Rights on a Brooklyn Bus New York Times. Yours truly would not cooperate.

Fat Replaces Oil for F-16s as Biofuels Head to War Bloomberg. So we kill people more efficiently, via ethanol subsidies and then by shooting them?

Cheney’s Fracking “Halliburton Loophole” Mark Thoma

China’s whacky GDP MacroBusiness

Doubts Grow on Euro Fund Wall Street Journal. Duh.

Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective VoxEU

Pentagon lawyer warns of militarized approach to counterterrorism Washington Post (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

When an Excel spreadsheet runs wild Bill Mitchell

Supercommittee’s lack of progress on debt reduction raises alarms on Hill Washington Post

Former Florida Congressman Readies Hedge Fund Finalternatives. Proof that the market for hedgies is past its sell by date.

Why Rush Limbaugh Is Freaking Out About Occupy Wall Street Matt Taibbi

A Report from the Frontlines: The Long Road to #OccupyWallStreet and the Origins of the 99% Movement David DeGraw. In case you missed this history.

MoveOn, please stop SignOn. I’ve had readers make offended observations in comments on the way various establishment liberal groups (yes, that is an oxymoron) are fundraising off the back of Occupy Wall Street, particularly MoveOn. Please sign the petition if you are bothered by this, as I am.

NPR Gets Producer Fired for Occupying David Swanson. This is outrageous. Give NPR a piece of your mind at 202-513-2300 or

Not with a Bang, but a Whimper: Bank of America’s Death Rattle Bill Black

Trading Rebates on Exchanges Should End, ICE’s Sprecher Says Bloomberg. From last week but points to a way marketmakers aren’t benign middlemen as Lloyd Blankfein would have you believe. And a more recent, related piece: Constraints Seen for Market Makers Under Volcker Rule on Trading Bloomberg (hat tip reader Ted K)

California reportedly subpoenas BofA over toxic securities Los Angeles Times (hat tip MBH). Sure not lookin’ like Harris is going to rejoin Tom Miller’s less than 50 state attorney general whitewash. The article mentions “false pretenses,” which is a very weird formulation that doesn’t map readily onto any legal theory I’m familiar with. One correspondent said that some states are relying on theft law (!) rather than securities law as the basis for prosecution.

Some homeowners regain properties after foreclosure Sun Sentinel

Citigroup to Pay Millions to Close Fraud Complaint New York Times. Citi disgorged profits, paid interest on them and also paid a fine. But I see nada on investor losses. You can’t judge the adequacy of the deal without that.

Massachusetts Supreme Court Blows Whistle on How the Banks Broke the Housing Market Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Rush to Drill for Natural Gas Creates Conflicts With Mortgages New York Times (hat tip Debra C). Eeek.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Jesse

    Protests Are a Payday for Security Firms

    They call when they make the Forbes 400 list. They call when annual hedge fund rankings appear, when their names are mentioned on CNBC and when their children travel abroad. And, these days, they call when protesters camped in Lower Manhattan grow uncomfortable with the idea of their existence.

    The ultra-rich bankers, hedge fund managers and private equity executives of New York City have long enlisted private security firms to help safeguard them and their wealth.

    1. wunsacon

      That’s good news. This forces the fraudsters to spend some of their loot and marginally reduces the profitability of continuing fraud.

  2. rjs

    if you missed the details of the ohio slaughter, among the animals killed were 18 severely endangered Bengal Tigers…less than 500 remain on the planet…

    1. MikeJake

      For the life of me, I cannot understand how some crazy hick in Ohio could manage to gather 18 tigers (not to mention bears, leopards, lions, and monkeys). How is it even possible?

      1. LucyLulu

        In Ohio, like 10 other states, exotic animals are not regulated and can be sold on the open market. They have auctions where they sell these animals. Apparently the last governor had passed a temporary restraining order on the sales but Kasich allowed the order to lapse. I believe it may have been due to the Ohio Dept Natural Resources not having the facilities to confiscate and house the animals until they could be appropriately placed.

        I had heard there are 1400 Bengal tigers remaining. In either case, they are an endangered species and its heartbreaking that they had to shoot all these tigers. Its heartbreaking they had to be shot whether endangered or not, but I understand why there was no choice. There should be laws in all 50 states, forbidding anybody to own these animals unless they can demonstrate appropriate staff and facilities to care for them, and that they have been legally and humanely obtained. They do not belong in cages, but need room to roam on land that resembles their natural habitats. These animals are NOT pets and can not be domesticated.

        There’s a documentary out about a gay couple many years ago, maybe the 60’s, who bought a young lion cub at Harrod’s that’s a great story. They raised her like a pet and she was very affectionate but they lived in an apt. As she got bigger, they realized the apt was too small so they found somebody outside of London with some land and kept her there for a while. Eventually they decided that wasn’t appropriate either, that it wasn’t a good life for her. She’d run up and jump on them when she saw them, in glee, but she had gotten rather big for this and would bowl them over, full grown lions weigh hundreds of pounds. So they took her to Kenya and left her with the man from the move ‘Born Free’ (who had turned Elsa back into the wild), and he did the same with their lioness. They didn’t return for a couple of years, not wanting to interfere with her de-domestication. When they finally went back to see her, they assumed she wouldn’t recognize or acknowledge them. Instead, she ran up to them, jumped on them and bowled them over, and started wrestling and licking them as if they were still old friends.

        I’m an animal lover, in case anyone couldn’t tell.

  3. owenfinn

    From New Scientist “Revealed – The Capitalist Network that Runs the World”–the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html#bx283545B1

    “AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters’ worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.”

  4. Bill G

    Could be the NPR firing was of a conservative protester. I think the common ground between the extremes is on the failure of our government to end TBTF, to bail out speculators, failure to prosecute near certain banker/other fraud, failure to regulate 1.5 Quadrillion in derivatives, eliminating conservative mk2mkt accounting rules, refusing to audit the fed, etc. etc. etc……

    1. YankeeFrank

      NPR is NOT the liberal media. Socially, perhaps, but their economic reporting is complete neoliberal propaganda. And OccupyDC is not a conservative movement. I cannot stand a lot of their reporting, even the social stuff, as it represents a staid upper middle class elitism that is all too comfortable with the neoliberal economic worldview. If they represent “the public” then Obama is fighting hard for “the people”. I’d like to see them loose their license frankly as they do more harm than good. They are what Chris Hedges identifies as “the dead liberal class”.

      1. dcblogger

        Lisa Simeone is with Stop the Machine, which is an occupation, but distinct from Occupy DC.

        NPR got her fired because she is protesting the wars and inequality. This is how the right wing maintains control over our public discourse, everyone who stands for justice loses their job, scaring everyone else into submission.

        We need to fall on NPR like a ton of bricks.

        1. DP

          See my comments on this further down. I suggest you copy your local NPR affiliate when you email NPR. They are the ones who will bring the heat on NPR. I got an email response from the director of my local NPR affiliate 15 minutes after I sent the email. He said he’d only heard about the issue this morning and didn’t think NPR had done anything. I sent him a link to the article that said she’d been fired from one of the programs she hosted.

          NPR broadcasts are filled with people whose political views are pretty apparent. Garrison Keillor is one who comes to mind. I’ve heard Lisa Simeone hosting Chicago Symphony and Metropolitan Opera broadcasts and she provides background and commentary on the music, the composer, the musicians, etc. Nobody who listens could possibly have any idea of her politics and the idea that she can’t have political views and express them as a private citizen without risking her employment is an outrage.

          1. Bill G

            Agreed. Everyone is entitled to have and express their opinions on their own time and it’s an outrage to get fired for speaking your mind on your own time.

    2. Moopheus

      The link provided doesn’t provide much clarity on who did the actual firing, or who was asked to do what. It notes a firing and a vague post from NPR. It makes claims about the connections but does not really show clearly what actually happened.

  5. juneau

    re:Ohio animal slaughter
    I am genuinely surprised that the media hasn’t picked up on the possibility that this man might have wanted to kill his neighbors with his pets-sort of a modified murder (failed fortunately) suicide (tragically). Rumor has it (per MSM) that his neighbors really resented his presence, I wonder how much bad blood there really was there.

    So sad. How he got so many tigers and then let them get killed….. Maybe it will draw much attention to the horror that is exotic animal trade. In the meanwhile tigers are on their last legs. I feel bad for the people who had to do the killing, I don’t doubt it will haunt some of them for a long time.

  6. DP

    Alan Grayson starting a hedge fund? He’s such a sophisticated investor that he put $20+ million of his own money into an offshore tax shelter scam and it turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

  7. Geo-environmental Engineer

    re: Natural Gas Drilling vs Mortgages

    I work in the environmental remediation business on legacy sites. I can assure you that these mortgage lenders are acting responsibly regarding their own interests and their MBS investors’ interests.

    This is what the people who constantly belittle regulation don’t get. One of the primary reasons for regulation is to provide rational, current approaches to basic problems along the lines of Don’t Kill; Don’t Steal; Don’t Pollute.

    Simple rules that say that you need to clean up after yourself before you leave a site with simple enforcement of that is a key element of sustainable development to avoid impairing future values in unintended ways. The future societal costs need to be built in upfront in our resource extraction and property development industries. We are only now really seeing the costs of rampant wetland destruction, floodplain development, agricultural run-off etc. that has occurred over the past century.

    The price of future clean-up on something is much higher than handling efficiently at the time of generation as these mortgage holders know very well. The “Cat in the Hat Comes Back” should be required reading for policy makers until we have invented “Voom”.

  8. Jim Haygood

    True desperation from New York’s inimitable Senator Chuck the Schmuck:

    The reeling housing market has come to this: To shore it up, two Senators are preparing to introduce a bipartisan bill Thursday that would give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy houses in the U.S. The provision is part of a larger package of immigration measures, co-authored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah), designed to spur more foreign investment in the U.S.

    Foreigners have accounted for a growing share of home purchases in South Florida, Southern California, Arizona and other hard-hit markets. Chinese and Canadian buyers, among others, are taking advantage not only of big declines in U.S. home prices and reduced competition from Americans but also of favorable foreign exchange rates.

    To fuel this demand, the proposed measure would offer visas to any foreigner making a cash investment of at least $500,000 on residential real-estate —- a single-family house, condo or townhouse. Applicants can spend the entire amount on one house or spend as little as $250,000 on a residence and invest the rest in other residential real estate, which can be rented out.

    While a $500,000 floor price may capture most middle-class dwellings in NYC and Silicon Valley, in typical US cities such a floor will exclude all but 5 or 10% of luxury homes at the top end of the market.

    Presumably the peasantry are to benefit via ‘trickle down.’

    Pimp my house, Chuckie!

    1. Moopheus

      “Foreigners immigrating to the U.S. with the new visa wouldn’t be able to work here unless they obtained a regular work visa through the normal process. They’d be allowed to bring a spouse and any children under the age of 18 but they wouldn’t be able to stay in the country legally on the new visa once they sold their properties. ”

      So they want to find 500,000 wealthy foreigners who can pay cash and live without working here? And who also can’t get a visa some other way? I.e., are from China?

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Umm, gentlemen, if you don’t know that this sort of thing is happening and *has been* happening for decades (through back doors), you’re not up on this topic.

        This just in! Money buys things. It has also been known to purchase, *gasp*, visas and citizenship.

        At the very least, this type of bill pulls it into the sunlight and reduces the bribe factory (or redirects it, I guess).

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s not a small sum, $500,000, especailly in many foreign countries.

      Isn’t this beggar thy neighbors policy in that we are stealing other countries’ wealthy (maybe even educated) class?

      I wonder if an extended family of, say, 100, pool their resources together to get one married couple to the US. Once they get the visa, they then apply to bring their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, etc over.

      I wonder if foreign governments can send their spies here that way…’let budget $500K for that house in Washington DC.’

      Maybe we should fear that well-financed terrorists will be able to take advantage of this.

      This proposal seems to discriminate against the young, as it’s more likely that older foreigners will have $500,000+ than young, educated 20-something foreigners with innovative ideas.

      On the other hand, if you run a slave factory or are hiding an economic crime, this is a good chance to get out.

      What happens when the husband divorces the wife after the purchase? Does one of them get sent home?

      How many foreingers would have to participate in order to make an impact on our excess housing supply? 1 Million? 2,000,000?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Apparently some states don’t ask about assets when qualifying food stamp applicants.

        I wonder if these $500,000-investing new residents will qualify in those states.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Good news, comrades — the Obama/Clinton jobs plan (i.e., expanded war) is taking shape:

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Setting the stage for a high-level diplomatic showdown, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly warned Pakistan’s leaders on Thursday that they would face serious consequences if they continued to tolerate safe havens for extremist organizations that have crossed the border to attack Americans and Afghans.

    “There’s no place to go any longer,” Mrs. Clinton said, referring to Pakistan’s leadership, in some of the Obama administration’s most pointed language to date. “The terrorists are on both sides” of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “They are killing both peoples,” she said.

    “No one should be in any way mistaken about allowing this to continue without paying a very big price,” Mrs. Clinton said before leaving for Pakistan for what is certain to be a tense visit by an unusually powerful American delegation sent to demand greater Pakistani cooperation in fighting Al Qaeda and other extremists groups.

    Send your contribution today to the Committee to Re-Elect the Executive Peace Laureate (CREEPLE), so that he can implement his Drones For Peace program.

    1. Susan the other

      Also yesterday on South Asia TV there was an extended report on all the disgruntled Pakistani generals. They are telling the region that if the US starts a war with Pakistan that the US will be sorry because Pakistan is a nuclear power. God, that’s a stretch. But they are saber-rattling all over the place. Pakistan does not want to be told by NATO to clean up its border with Afghanistan because they do not think it is anybody else’s business. They must think they are defending something more important than hostile, dry, mountainous terrain with no value… maybe they think they have vast mineral resources… or vast poppy fields. I guess it is a toss up which country will be dumb enough to ignite the first nuke. But at least ours will go off.

      1. Mark P.

        Unfortunately, Pakistan is very much a nuclear power and has been building the things at a faster pace than anybody in the world for the last few years.

        As Pakistan’s self-definition seems to be primarily bound up in its enmity to India — certainly this is the excuse the Pakistani army uses to maintain its grip on power — most of its nuclear weapons are aimed at its giant enemy.

        And because Pakistan likes to think itself the poor, bullied, unfairly targeted “David” in relation to its “Goliath” neighbor, India, it ostensibly maintain a hair-trigger nuclear posture of ‘launch on warning’ with the possibilities for false alarms that entails —

        The trove of wikileaks from the US State department includes material that shows the US ambassador to Pakistan freaking out about all this a couple of years ago.

        If one ever has occasion to talk to Pentagon consultants/analysts, the North Koreans are generally considered to be dangerous but adept players of the brinkmanship game. Conversely, bringing up the subject of our erstwhile ally Pakistan can push these consultants’ tones of complacency over into barely-suppressed, genuine disturbance.

  10. Rex

    Bill Black’s article on BoA death is one of the clearest descriptions of complicated interactions that I have read. I don’t often LOL from things I read on NC, but this sentence did it…

    “BAC’s request to transfer the problem derivatives to B of A was a no brainer – unfortunately, it was apparently addressed to officials at the Fed who meet that description.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We really need a Victims of Taxation Musuem as the burden or potential burden on the taxpayers get heavier everyday.

      1. lambert strether

        Hoping to be corrected, but it doesn’t look like it to me. This looks like a trial balloon to me on another story, and the settlement amount is different.

        That said, it’s all one big story….

  11. DP

    Here’s my email to NPR for going after a free lance host of opera programs for daring to be involved with OWS:

    NPR’s actions against Lisa Simeone, a free lance host of opera programs who does no political commentary on NPR, for exercising her first amendment rights, is an outrage. But I guess if NPR is going to be incredibly stupid yet again (after the Juan Williams fiasco) it’s appropriate to do it during a pledge drive.

    This is the same NPR that has been running the show of Garrison Keillor for years?

    “I’ve always been a Democrat. Never tried to hide it, never thought I had to. “A Prairie Home Companion” isn’t a political show, and by and large I hate preaching on the show. I’ve done it a few times and never felt easy about it. The show ought to be entertaining in every sense of the term, to people of any political stripe, my people and also ignorant fascist bastards.”

    Why is Mr. Keillor free to express his political opinions off the air (and sometimes on the air) and Ms. Simeone is not?

    1. DP

      To anybody who is going to email NPR over the firing of Lisa Simeone for being at an OWS demonstration at the address provided by Yves, I suggest you include your city and copy the local NPR affiliate, which is likely to be highly sensitive to this stupidity during a pledge drive.

    2. Moopheus

      A little further digging suggests that the reason is that NPR has been taking heat from conservative groups over Simeone’s appearance at these events. So this heat got transmitted down the line, and she got burned. So it’s about political pressure, to which NPR cravenly caved. OWS has clearly become a hot point in a way that say, an opinion piece in Salon could never be.

  12. Bill

    @Yves: The article mentions “false pretenses,” which is a very weird formula…”

    I was just thinking how redundant the phrase is;
    is there any such thing as “true pretenses” ? And
    you’re right, if you’re implying that it’s another way of avoiding the F word.

  13. Kathleen4


    Thank you for all your time and energy you put into NC. As I was reading David DeGraw’s post, I liked Anonymous’ musing of looking into the mirror to find a leader. Look into the mirror today and with a touch of sarcasm say to yourself, “I’m good enough, smart enough, and doggonnit- people like me”.


  14. ambrit

    The link to the NYT Brooklyn bus article keeps coming up “Error 404” on my screen. Any info here? Is this news interesting enough to suppress or simple incompetence on thier part?

      1. ambrit

        Thank you Rex. It appears that I’ve suffered another flare up of my endemic ‘Foot in Mouth Disease.’ Sorry.

  15. ambrit

    Just another step down the slippery slope, re. the “Pentagon lawyer” story. At one point he talks about domestic law enforcement having to hand over suspects to military authorities so that they can be sent across the Event Horizon into offshore custody. Down south of us, our Latin neigbhors have a name for that: Los Desesparecidos, The Disappeared Ones. Considering that we’ve been training the armies of the South in just such tactics for decades, did anyone really think we’d avoid having it all come back to haunt us?

  16. Jackrabbit

    Didn’t the Obama Administration make a big deal about their support for small business (the biggest employer in the US) when the Small Business Lending Fund passed last year?

    Of the $30 billion authorized, it seems that only $4b was dispersed (they had to be approved by … the Treasury Dept!) and most of THAT was used to pay back TARP loans.

    Geithner: TARP Refinancing Under Lending Program ‘No Mystery’

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended the Small Business Lending Fund program in hearings this week, saying Treasury officials had expected that about half of the banks receiving cash under the fund would use it to repay previous government bailouts.

    Of 332 banks that received a total of $4 billion under the program, at least 137 used $2.2 billion to repay their Troubled Asset Relief Program obligations, according to a recent analysis of Treasury Department data by the Wall Street Journal.

    “It was basically a bailout for 100-plus banks,” said Giovanni Coratolo, vice president of small-business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    1. Jackrabbit

      FYI: It seems that TARP loan interest rates rise to 9% (from 5%) after 2 years. These small business loans that the banks used for themselves are fixed at 5%.

      Apparently these are smaller banks not Too-Big-To-Fail banks. I’m not sure what exactly qualifies as small business under the program, maybe having less than a certain number of employees (I’d guess something like <2,000 employees)

  17. Susan the other

    Mayhem and murder aside, I liked the article about the military using biofuels. I realize it was a PR piece, and obviously sought to avoid the undisputed environmental destruction issues facing the military which are in addition to its huge consumption of toxic fuel. But the article made me stop when I got to the part about how the military can make its own market. Duh. Nothing could push us into a green economy faster than the military. I for one would like to see the military go whole hog and pursue environmental clean-up as zealously as they now pursue scarce resources.

    1. alex

      I fully agree. If we’re going to dismiss things because of their military provenance, let’s give up the Internet too.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Chicago 1968, comrades! Bring your Hubert Horatio Humphrey mask:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Almost every day, police in Charlotte are getting ready for the Democratic National Convention.

    Almost every one of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s 1,700 officers are going through three days of intensive riot training. Police allowed Channel 9 a behind-the-scenes look at how they’re doing it.

    “It’s a very controlled, measured response with a lot of practice,” Deputy Chief Harold Medlock said. Medlock is overseeing the training, which also includes hundreds of officers from nearby police and sheriff’s departments.

    ‘Citizen participation’ means you get your skull smacked with a riot stick.

    Let them eat tear gas!

    1. Valissa

      Choosing Charlotte as the site for the 2012 Dem convention is very telling of who that party supports, as well as how clueless party leaders are. According to Wikipedia it is the 2nd largest banking center in the US after NYC.,_North_Carolina

      Charlotte is also the home city of Bank of America. Given the collective rage against the bankster machine, no wonder the local cops are nervous. They should be.

  19. Susan the other

    The Bill Black article from NEP citing Yves on BAC terrorizing B of A and the taxpayer: Please tell us how to get rid of all those toxic CDS contracts. They aren’t good for anybody! One commentor said to just declare them null. But so many contracts and so little time…declarations have to go through the courts. And since the Fed is the banks, the Fed is not going to propose this. Can the FDIC? We should empower the FDIC say no way to every CDS now at B of A, or in any other bank vault.

    The Systemically Dangerous Institutions aka the TBTF banks, along with their leader, the Fed, have done the best they can do. It was better than all of the Western banks blowing up but it has still been god-awful. The banks can’t do anything more. It would be against their sacred self interest. The whole set-up is dead in the water because we all know they can’t possible do any less. So it is time to say enough. Nationalize the Fed. It was because Bernanke poured trillions into the system (even tho nobody knows what it is), that we are steady enough now to do this. We really should move forward with it.

    Make the banks utilities. And just laugh when the sleazeball holders ask to be paid out on their CDSs. If they collected we would surely have to send them all to jail for fraud, no?

  20. barrisj

    Another gem plucked from “London Banker”…he links to a paper authored by the leader of a small Slovak political party, SaS, which is a centre-right, nominally “classical liberal” in its precepts. The author of this document is Richard Sulik, a trained economist, founder of the party, and who designed Slovakia’s “flat tax” system, and the paper details his objections to approving EFSF 1.0. Agreed, Sulik’s philosophy may not sit well with many who post on NC, but the paper is worthwhile for its indictment of the EU and “faux democracy”, and how the EFSF is yet another scam for wealth transfer to banks, bondholders, the other usual culpable suspects, and why EFSF would be a disaster for the smaller Eurozone countries. Well recommended, and kudos to LB for posting this.
    (from the introduction:

    European Financial Stability Facility: A Road to Socialism

    Just like it is impossible to extinguish fire with a fan, it is equally impossible to solve the debt crisis with new debts. The only thing that will help is to face the truth. Greece must declare bankruptcy, Italy must start saving and the rules set up by the eurozone upon its establishment must finally start being observed. It will hurt, but it is the only solution. . .

    I would like to point out that this is not the same eurozone we entered in 2009. There are rules that should have been observed but all of them have been violated. Temporary EFSF and permanent EFSF will cost us 1 to 1.5 the amount of our annual state budget! Moreover, there is no guarantee that the attempts for the EFSF increase are over. . . .

    EFSF ratification by the National Council will be a decision that will harm the citizens of Slovakia in the long run and to a great extent.

    SaS will simply not sign up for something like this.

  21. c

    RE: NPR

    I happened to be running around in the car the other night and caught a piece on NPR about OWS. It specifically mentioned the sign a protester had about the mortgage backed securities and that the original quote was on an Atlantic blogger’s story.

    The gist of the whole interview was that a) the guy from the Atlantic didn’t have a clue as to what OWS was actually about and b) NPR was repeating the establishment’s party line because they cannot think through the analysis of what is actually going on.

    At the point that I realized NPR of all “thinking” places didn’t get it I realized that there is a cultural shift happening that is beyond what the media realizes. It will take many more firings and many more losses of jobs and the dirt will take 10 years to uncover before anyone realizes how bad it was/is now.

    There is a generation that just doesn’t get it. I don’t wish to be simplistic but the speed at which internet memes move means that traditional media will not be able to digest nor explain this for a number of years. Which makes me sad.

    1. Mark P.

      It’s not much to do with the speed of internet memes. It’s that the MSM are invested in things as they are now. Structurally and as individual agents, they’re completely unready to discuss the reality that our operating social regime has become dysfunctional and effectively fraudulent from top to bottom.

      That’s a bitter pill to swallow, after all.

      Not only were most of us happier during, for instance, the boom of the latter 1990s. Also, it’s disheartening to contemplate the idea that you as an individual will have to try to survive one of those world-system-terminating historical moments that come every century or so with no guarantee that anything but chaos and doom lies on the other side of the breakdown.

      Easier to believe in the return/continuance of BAU.

  22. Peterpaul

    To C –
    Why get sad about a cultural shift? It’s not like the greatest generation didn’t get the boomers?

    1. c

      Good point. It’s more a sadness at watching someone on the outside of the fun. I think, on some level, that I was built and educated for this and the sadness is that they’re grasping at straws, and grasping some more.

      Mark P. – you probably have an excellent point their about who is invested in what. The 90’s for me were horrid. I was born and raised outside of the system but educated within and by the system so have a different experience of this. Thanks for pointing out to me the obvious ;) I think I needed that.

      1. aletheia33


        your sadness is touching. (i mean this seriously.) and your sensitivity is lovely.

        some day, those of a newer generation will feel a certain sadness that you, of an earlier one (however enthusiastic your sympathy with their way of changing the world), cannot truly understand and fully join them.

        perhaps this is just part of the sadness of being human, aging, and death. there is also a certain sadness that a generation that is passing feels toward one that is coming on. among other things, it has to do with the older ones’ experience of just how having and raising children and enduring the travail of surviving in a harsh world have pressured them, as parents and in their work, to compromise in ways that have been impossible for them to resist.

        living through those years of pressure and compromise of one kind or another is the long, hard test out of which one may try to form some kind of sense of one’s integrity–to the extent that one may be able to manage it.

        when you see your own humanity and fearfulness apparent in those for whom you feel sad, your sadness–the sense of separateness–may dissolve. i hope you discover this. (like you, i grew up outside the system, have had to learn how to negotiate life within it, as i did not choose to live off the grid.)

        and i hope the current generation, to which i assume you belong, will have strength that an earlier one has lacked to make life in society less fraught with compromise for people as they raise their children and earn their livelihoods. may you set your world to rights, as those who have gone before you have failed to do. and i hope you will find something of prior generations worth knowing about and preserving (however alien it may seem now to the current ways), as you invent better ways to live than have ever been imagined by any generation before now.

        forgive me if i presume too much on the basis of your postings. this comment is meant as friendly. if it doesn’t resonate, just disregard it.
        don’t ever give up or be discouraged.

  23. Valissa

    RE: MoveOn, please stop SignOn.

    OK, so I signed up and included a note to MoveOn about how I was an ex-member and why (basically about clueless they are in regards to playing in the money and power game, and how they sold their soul to the Dem party and got nothing in return). Then I get this reply to my signing of the petition in my inbox.

    Thank you for being among the first people to sign a petition on—a new tool that lets anyone start their own MoveOn-style petition. Now, can you try starting your own petition? is a revolutionary approach to online organizing. Instead of MoveOn staff organizing just a few big campaigns, we’re turning the keys over to grassroots progressives like you to run thousands of campaigns on local, state, and national issues.

    Whether you’re a seasoned organizer or a first-time activist, you can create a petition in minutes, and then invite your friends to sign it. We’ll send the most popular petitions to other MoveOn members to help build support for your cause.

    Click here to start your own petition on right now. Thanks for all you do.

    –Michael, Elena, Mark, Tim, and the rest of the team

    Subscription Management:
    This is a message from Civic Action. To change your email address or update your contact info, please visit:

    If I had known that MoveOn was the source of SignOn I would never have signed it. As far as I am concerned it’s CYA astroturf and another way to corral dissent.

  24. evodevo

    I feel sorry about the loose animal situation, but I fully understand where the neighbors were coming from. Back in the early 90’s our drug dealer neighbor had the bright idea of buying a lion as a “watchdog” to impress his “customers”, and I suppose, discourage them from offing/robbing them. At the time there were NO state or local laws in Ky. to keep him, or anyone, from housing exotic wild animals. All he had to do was take a two-week course from the Feds and he was “licensed” to keep lions, tigers, whatever. No one ever checked up on the animal or its horrible housing conditions (it was log-chained to a BIG dog house). It broke loose on numerous occasions and roamed at large over the surrounding square mile – us neighbors were NOT amused. Extensive publicity, drug arrests, etc. were unavailing. He even went to court to recover it after one episode of wandering, when the state tried to confiscate it, and won. Finally, when it reached sexual maturity at the age of 4, and came after him one morning, he shot it, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
    My husband and son had to carry assault rifles with them for 4 years whenever they ventured out on our own farm; you never knew when it would be loose. Our local state rep. got a state law through the legislature regulating “exotic” animals after that.
    I guess we are ahead of Ohio in that respect, anyway.

  25. JimS

    Re: that article about human development in Africa stalling around 1980. 1980 is also the year Reagan and Thatcher were putting the hurt on their country’s labor classes, and Paul Ehrlich was freaking out about population. It’s fashionable to mock Ehrlich for predicting resource shortages that never happened, but if he was wrong about resources (more people can grow more food and mine more minerals) he was on to something about the growth rate of the population.

    The key is another reviled prophet, Malthus. Malthus didn’t predict resource shortage, he predicted that landlords and employers would always be able to screw workers, because no matter how much the human race’s ability to keep itself comfortable increased, and no matter how good the homes tenants could rent or the wages workers could earn, the workers would always respond to their increased prosperity by having children to the limit of their ability. Then the new children would bid up their own rents and bid down their own labor, until the landlords and employers won again.

    So the temporary rocketing increase in humanity’s ability to support itself, thanks to technology, resulted in a temporary rocketing increase in population, and just when the rate was highest was just when (we now see with hindsight) everything was going wrong for the working class around the world: the rulers had us over a barrel. The population is increasing more slowly now because we simply are unable to have children as fast as we could then, because we are relatively less prosperous. The 0.01% are doing great, though, they’ve got more cheap workers than ever.

    1. FlyingKiwi

      Well, it’s true that the Black Death which wiped out around 1/3 of Europe’s population around 1350 also killed off feudalsim as labour became so short the survivors formerly tied to a plot of land they were allowed to farm in return for also working for the lord, were able to break free of their servitude.

      Hell of a solution, tho’.

    1. F. Beard

      Baloney. Full of gold-standard fallacies. Check out the MMT folks, Warren Mosler, L Randal Wray, Cullen Roche for the true story.

    1. Bill G

      Yeah. That’s the ticket! People could never figure out there’s an issue without any ratings. Let’s give the peeps some made up numbers too. Innovative! Clever!

    2. Jim Haygood

      Heh heh — he said ‘downgrade’:

      France is among euro-region sovereigns likely to be downgraded in a stressed economic scenario, according to Standard & Poor’s.

      The sovereign ratings of Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal would also be reduced by another one or two levels in either of New York-based S&P’s two stress scenarios, the ratings firm said in a report dated today. These assume low economic growth and a double-dip recession in the first set of circumstances, and add an interest-rate shock to the recession in the second.

      “Ballooning budget deficits and bank recapitalization costs would likely send government borrowings significantly higher under both scenarios,” S&P analysts led by Chief Credit Officer Blaise Ganguin in Paris wrote in the report. “Credit metrics would deteriorate sharply as a result.”

      Funny that S&P mentions an ‘interest rate shock,’ with both T-bond prices and fiscal deficits near record highs. What could possibly go wrong?

      When inflationists blithely urge ‘Why can’t we all just print?’, we’re likely to find out in a hurry.

  26. Cap'n Magic

    Anybody bother to read the fine print on the “MoveOn-Please Stop” petition? Like it being hosted by portions of MoveOn?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It actually seems to have worked, despite being intended not to work.

      I forgot where I saw it, but MoveOn has issued a mealey-moutned climbdown statement. The proof will be if they do quit fundraising in the name of OWS.

      They may have gotten enough messages from pissed off users that they realized they were playing with fire.

  27. Foppe

    Here is a pretty shocking document containing strategies on how to approach (and con) land/homeowners into signing gas/oil exploration/exploitation leases.. To quote a few sections:

    Know Your Demographics:
    Ohio is a conservative leaning, Mid-west state. The typical Ohio resident will welcome you into their home and allow you to speak. This is critical. Face to Face interaction can make the difference. Most mid-west Americans dislike confrontation. Even if they disagree on a selling point, they are unlikely to confront you over it. Therefore it is critical to obtain a lease signature in the first meeting, or at least the agreement to sign and take the lease to a notary. Drive them to the notary if you have to. If they have time to think it over, they are more likely to decline the offer.
    Stress to the landowner that we are primarily looking for oil resources. Searching for oil is less environmentally damaging than the claims against fracking. Oil exploration has been conducted for centuries, and is safe and effective. Do nor deny that gas exploration may be possible, but do not emphasize it. Distance our selling position from the movie Gasland. We do not want land own linking that image with our development plans.

    Most landowners will not know the difference between hydraulic fracturing and the process of Slick Water Hydraulic Fracturing. Use that to your advantage. Most wells in southern Ohio were drilled and then hydraulically fractured to make a viable source of water. Tell them that. Fracking is safe! There is nothing unsafe about the fracking process, if there was, it would never have been used in their wells.

    Well Spacing — This rarely comes up. Landowners do not realize that multiple wells will be necessary. Wells are most effective if spaced 40 acres or further apart. This sounds like a large number, use it. Some might ask how many wells will he in a square mile. Don’t answer that question. Most landowners will not realize that 10-20 wells can be placed in a square mile. Landowners normally own less than own less than 5 acres, unless it is a farm. 40 acres will be a large enough number that wells will seem to be far apart in their mind.

    6. Lease Life — Our leases are for 5 years with small plots of land or 3 years with an option to renew for 2 years on larger land tracts. If the landowner has brought the lease to an attorney they may know that if the well continues to produce that the lease is extended for the lifetime of the well, which can be as high as 40 yerrz. D o not deny if pressed on chis issue. This extension does not require their approval. If we have an active well then it is within our legal right to continue development until we turn it off. Stress the 5 acres, unless it is a farm. 40 acres will be a large enough number that wells will seem 5 year lease unless absolutely pushed on the details.

    1. bob

      Great link. Where did it come from?

      If genuine it proves that they are past the marcellus and onto the utica shale.

      There is a well set to be drilled in NY into the Utica by Norse energy.

      This link is also a great honey pot for paid hacks. Look through the comments. I’ve followed some of them for a while, the talking points are exactly the same, and presented in the same order.

      The organization sponsoring the propaganda is very well thought out, and thinking years/decades ahead.

    2. bob

      This from the Toma link-

      “Unfortunately, these recommendations do not address the biggest loophole of all. In 2005 Congress—at the behest of then Vice President Dick Cheney​, a former CEO of gas driller Halliburton—exempted fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Congress needs to close this so-called Halliburton loophole, as a bill co-sponsored by New York State Representative Maurice Hinchey would do. ..”

      From my following of the contracts that landowners sign, they have “force majure” clauses. These clauses have allowed leases that were set to expire to continue due to the temporary banning of the drilling method by the NYS goverment. King Cuomo just overturned that ban, so the clock is now ticking.

      I am wondering if they would be allowed to claim “force majure” again if they are suddenly subject to the clean water drinking act. This could put the landowners in debt to the drillers, to pay back any money already paid out to the landowners. Good political ally breeding.

      These guys are YEARS ahead on this game.

  28. Susan LaCava


    I am starting to use the theft and misrepresentation theories in my foreclosure defense practice. Under NY law, if a conveyance does not conform to the instructions in the document that created the trust (here, the PSAs), the transaction is void. NY law also says that when a trust fails, the property goes back to the donor. So, the depositors in the securitizations own the loans that were not conveyed properly. The trusts ought to have given the loans back, but did not do so. Their treating the loans as if they owned them (collecting on the notes) constitutes conversion, a species of theft. The trusts’ telling the makers of the notes that they have the right to enforce the note is a misrepresentation.

    All of this is terribly important to the maker of the note: if they pay the wrong party, their obligation under the note does not decrease.

    Susan LaCava

    1. LucyLulu

      Are you finding that judges are ruling in favor of the conveyances to the trusts being void? Have you run across ANY valid transfers of loans into securitization trusts?

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