Links 11/17/11

Saved from the pot: Fishmonger rescues stunning electric blue lobster from the dinner table Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). I have lobstermen in my family, including an uncle who got a PhD in lobsters marine biology at the age of 74. For American lobsters, blue lobsters are about one in a million. Oh, and they turn red when cooked.

Congress set to declare pizza a vegetable Palm Beach Post (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

Hot Air and the Fracking Jobs Boom CEPR

Artificial Urban Glacier to Cool Mongolian Capital Wired (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

The Brutal Truth About Penn State Grantland (hat tip reader Carol B)

For Some Companies’ Smokers, a Surcharge New York Times

China reboots money supply MacroBusiness

Monti names unelected government of technocrats and bankers EU Observer

Fresh UBS rogue trading revelations Financial Times

Detroit could run out of cash in December, plan must include layoffs MLive (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

DHS’s Federal Protective Services seen at Portland ‘Occupy’ arrests Minneapolis Examiner (hat tip reader 1 SK)

Police State Tactics CounterPunch (hat tip reader 1 SK)

WHO coordinated the raids? riverdaughter (hat tip Lambert Strether)

Oil vs QE3 MacroBusiness

California attorney general’s office subpoenas Fannie, Freddie Los Angeles Times (hat tip Lisa Epstein). This is a big deal. Harris, who is an opportunist, has apparently decided there is more in it for her to try to get bigger mods than play ball with Team Obama and the Democratic party, at least for the next few rounds.

Top House Democrat demands explanation of penalties for late foreclosures The Hill (hat tip Mike D)

Arkansas Bankruptcy Ruling Slows Foreclosures Total Bankruptcy (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

Setback for US mortgage refinancing plan Financial Times. Reality is catching up with the hype.

Federal Prosecution Of Financial Fraud Falls To 20-Year Low, New Report Shows Huffington Post. Quelle surprise!

With MF Global Money Still Lost, Suspicions Grow New York Times

Culture in Economics and the Culture of Economics The Straddler (hat tip Richard Alford)

I got this report from a colleague who lives right by Zuccotti Park (not the one who provided the NYT embedding intel, NC has several sets of eyes and ears in lower Manhattan) via e-mail at 9:00 PM. If accurate, the NYPD is going way beyond any of the rulings on Zuccotti Park:

At park. NYPD community affairs just told me he’s told (just recently) NYPD policy is you cannot hold a sign within park per Brookfield request.

The ruling specifically acknowledge free speech rights. Signs are not a threat to public safety. Can anyone confirm this new tactic?

Antidote du jour: Some readers asked to see Richard’s new girl cat, Minsky. She has more tan markings than her brother Fisher.

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  1. CB

    On some of the sites I frequent, the (self-declared) progressives were stumping hard for Kamala Harris during the campaign. These are the same sites, and at least in part, the same self-declared progressives, who make snotty references to “low information voters.” As far as I can make out, low information, blindered emotional investment, and denial–which is not, as Twain observed, just a river in Africa–run strongly across the entire political spectrum. Unless, of course, it’s my candidate we’re discussing, in which case, I’ve got my facts well in hand–of course.

    1. K Ackermann

      That’s right; republican voters haven’t cornered the market on stupidity.

      Lunacy, yes… but not stupidity.

    2. Jeff

      They placed the other intellectual marshmallow from San Francisco, the ex Mayor, Gavin Newsom on the ballot as Lieutenant Governor.

      After all the blather about diversity and multiculturalism having done his masters’ bidding at City Hall he then fled to Marin County and moved into his rich in laws manse where
      he is drinking himself to death.

    3. Jim

      Sort of like the criticism from certain American Dems who deride the “low-information” German voter who opposes a bailout of banks (via illegal ECB monetization of Italian and Spanish debt).

  2. Foppe

    I don’t get it.. why are they surprised that the money is gone from MF? Reading it, I’d almost get the feeling that “customers like farmers and small-business owners” are suffering only because of MF Global corruption. And apparently the collapse is bad for “futures markets confidence”. Anyway…

    1. K Ackermann

      The only time the word criminal appears is “criminal investigators”. Nothing about possible criminal behavior, possible theft, fraud, etc.

      There is this gem:
      “The lost money is sort of like a lost child…”

    2. YankeeFrank

      They are surprised because client funds are supposed to be kept separate from firm funds, and without that previously sacrosanct separation, I would expect other commodities account holders to abandon the US fast. It is theft pure and simple — taking money from those who entrusted you with it and using it to pay off your bad bets. If there is no criminal prosecution American markets will take another massive credibility hit.

      1. Maximilien

        Jon Corzine. Goldman ex-CEO. What are the odds of him being put in cuffs and frog-marched into court? Not bloody likely, I think.

        So who’s gonna take the fall for him? And what’s the story gonna be? The uncomfortable squirming of all involved, including MSM, is going to be delightful to behold.

  3. dearieme

    “The European lobster is closely related to the American lobster, Homarus americanus, but is smaller and less aggressive.” There you have it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Lobsters, like jellyfish, tardigrades and bacteria, are biological immortal (see biological immortality, wiki).

      In fact, older lobsters are more fertile than younger ones.

      No, eating lobsters won’t get you their longevity genes, despite the Chinese research.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Biologically immortal.

        I was going to let it slide, but no more tolerating of 0% sloppiness-nontolerance for me.

    1. YankeeFrank

      With Bush I’d assumed that we’d seen the worst AG ever but Holder is the most supine spineless shitheel I’ve ever seen.

  4. K Ackermann

    I need to know if there has ever been a politician as bad a Newt.

    Bad isn’t the right word…

    I was willing to overlook his condemnation of Clinton while he himself was having an affair. Who likes to admit publically they are having an affair, and he’s not capable of shutting up.

    I’ll ignore his temper tantrums, because he’s the kind of person who throws temper tantrums.

    Hey, anyone congressperson can be sanctioned for ethics violations.

    His no-intrest float of a half-mil from Tiffany’s? I honestly don’t care what kind of rake politicians get, as long as it’s not for a vote.

    But this thing with Fraudy and Faily… did he honestly think it wouldn’t come out that he’s banked $1.5 million from F&F recently? He just got through telling people Barney Frank and Chris Dodd should be jailed for dealing with F&F. What does he think should happen to himself?

    And to claim his roll was that of historian for F&F is so insulting I just want to piss all over him.

    He’s not a dick; he’s an ankle, and an ankle is about three feet lower than a dick.

    1. Chris


      You really hate men don’t you?

      “He’s the kind of “person…” instead of “he’s the kind of guy”Ah yes, gender free language will make everything
      equal in our society. Of course it’s then time to talk about genitalia.

      Gingrich is a scum no doubt. It’s really funny to watch
      his defenders try to legitimize his filing of divorce
      papers against his wife in the cancer ward so he could
      marry wife #2, or was it #3? Whatever, she’s history now.

      We need a great moral compass like him in the White House.

      1. K Ackermann

        My name is Keith, not Kay. Normally I’d feel bad about not writing to your exacting standards, but I smoked a big fat splief and can’t seem to muster any contriteness.

        You should try it sometime… you and your nice, big, strong boyfriend.

    1. b.

      I have been waiting for somebody to make this point. This nicely illustrates [sic] the Glibertarian Fallacy: The government, accountable if only we make an effort, is the problem, corporations, unaccountable even to their shareholders, are the solution.

      If Grover Norquist was an honest man, he would have been calling for resolution authority not on the representatives elected by the consent of the governed, but focused on getting corporations cut down to a size where the FDIC could drown them in the bathtub.

      The most staggering aspect of the national cognitive dissonance is the complete inability about what did, indeed, at the time, make the US Constitution and Bill of Rights so special. There is something to be proud of. Yet, whenever a politician – including that dreadful Obama – opens his mouth to spout about an “oath to protect the American People” or “constitution not a suicide pact”, the jerk isn’t laughed out of office.

      Millions of flies and all that.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        The Glibertarian Fallacy. Love it. Dead on. Simple and understandable.

        Sincerest form of flattery and all, I’m going to use that explication as if were my own. Awesome.

        It’s never about the choices we wish we had; it’s about the choices we do have. You can be vigilant about the government, and you can band together with others, or you can be run over by those who band together to enslave you. That’s your choice, whether you like it or not. The sun, it rises in the east and sets in the west, whether you like it or not. Argon has 18 protons, whether you like it or not. No one can change these things; it is foolish to try. Yes, it is not always easy to have the wisdom to know the difference between what we can change and what we cannot, but seriously, the libertarian fantasy of freedom from coercion is not worthy of a 12 year old. It is truly astonishing lunacy and arrested development of the most preposterous kind.

  5. Christopher

    Minsky for President!

    My father was from a fishing (and whaling) family on Long Island, and he remembered his uncle bringing home a 35# lobster, before the big old ones had been fished out; I remember him talking about blue lobsters. Future generations in my family will perhaps remember me talking about free speech…

  6. Skippy

    Richard counting the stripes on his kittens…analyst gone tropo*…. methinks (*aussie for tropical head resizing).

    Skippy….You’ve got it bad…don’t ya Richard, Yves too! ;)

  7. Tony

    Bye, bye open Internet; hello state-approved content:


    The bill would also alter the relationship between the government and the basic architecture of the Internet, allowing the Department of Justice, acting on behalf of aggrieved copyright holders, to perform domain name system filtering — essentially, blocking entire websites in the name of preventing piracy.

      1. Mel

        Not so much. People will be free to speak their minds. Just there will be nowhere to go where anybody else can hear them. All modes of public communication will be part of the state propaganda apparatus.

        Interesting that the most useful words lately come from the Stalinist power language: “gulag”, “nomenklatura”, “apparatchik”

        1. different clue

          People will start using millions of thumb drives and little hard drives and other portable means of storing lots of stuff, and pass it around; maybe even through dedicated courier networks. People will burn and send and burn and send and burn and send. (Forgive me if my analog self doesn’t know and use the digital terms correctly). People will pass around little transportable digital data storage/playback devices just as the Iranian underground passed around copies of Ayatollah Khomeini’s cassette-taped lectures when they were smuggled in from his exile in Paris.

          People will catapult the samizdata. It will be a human internet of networked connected people instead of a digital internet of networked connected computers.

  8. rjs

    re: WHO coordinated the raids?

    Apparently, all the crackdowns were coordinated with the help from–surprise!–the FBI, Homeland Security, and other federal agencies. According to the Examiner’s piece Occupy Crackdowns Coordinated with Federal Officials:

    “Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Occupy” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.”

  9. Jim3981

    “WHO coordinated the raids?”

    The REAL question is to find out who coordinated the OWS movement to begin with.

    1. Jeff

      Well according to the Koch Brothers mouthpieces, it was a bunch of old Black women and beret wearing Commie radicals from ACORN. Amazing how a bunch of Cadillac driving, baby spitting out welfare queens and pathetic old men sitting
      around coffee houses can organize a national movement that
      requires the FBI, DHS and who knows to intercede.

      I tell ya, they must have really studied Mao’s little Red Book. You better infiltrate your local Ladies Knitting
      Circle, you never know if they are slipping secret codes to take over the country into those baby hats they knit for their grandchildren.

      Jim, it’s up to patriots like you to take action and save us! Please don’t fail us! America needs you!

  10. i shave with occam's razor

    “WHO coordinated the raids?”

    * The presumption is that the protests scare away X-mas shoppers from journeying into the central biz districts.

    * No one wants to work over the holidays. Lots gov’t/police/DA/etc. take time off over the holidays.

    * The ADHD news cycle is getting bored with the Occupy mov’t.

    1. Jeff

      Saw an interesting meme here the other day:

      “Occupy your home on Black Friday”,
      that is spend nothing which is a tie in with Adbusters
      “Buy Nothing Day” which
      they have been promoting for decades as a means of protesting mindless consumption.

      Adbusters Magazine was an early promoter of Occupy Wall Street.

      Will say it again, Is Wall Street Occupying Your Wallet?

      Get those fee charging credit and debit cards out of your pocket. Stop handing money to Wall Street every time you spend your own money.

      Spend cash in carefully selected small businesses with the exception of large corporate businesses where you should whip out the credit cards.

      Use checks from a credit union or the smallest bank there is in your community to which you have moved your large money center account

      Just Do It.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The next phase, if one’s looking ahead, is #OccupyHearts&Minds.

        Spread the gospel, sorry, the good news.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would add

        1) walk if it’s nearby
        2) ride a bike if a little far
        3) ride a horse – a biodegradable green machine – if it’s really far.

        Welcome to the Horse Age.

        1. Richard Kline

          So My,

          The Occupiers are ahead of you there, have already taken to the air: tents on balloons in Sproul Plaza to get around ‘erecting structures’ crap. I can see Occupiers going by balloon and ultralight.

          Then of course we’ve already seen the old tactic of marches revived on the East Coast: shank’s mare. March from NYC to DC. And a contingent of Verizon workers reportedly marched from Albany, NY to NYC for today’s actions. Come spring, I anticipate marching will be a _major_ tactic of this movement.

  11. john

    The National Security City is in high gear this morning. I walk to work most days over the Brooklyn Bridge. Today there are what appear to be five police helicopters at about 3000 feet in a V to the South East of Zucotti Park in a fixed surveillance formation with an additional police helicopter doing very tight ovals, no more than several hundred feet from the bridge.

    City hall park is ringed with pedestrian new barriers, the park gates are all locked and guarded by cops with riot helmets and night sticks and their are marauding bands of regular uniformed police on all the adjoining sidewalks. They are not carrying the white cuff/ties they all had for the big march last month, but they do have electronic signage at the base of the Bridge saying” pedestrians on roadway will be arrested” and while I was crossing two paddy wagons, one stationed on each side of the roadway both pulled out and left. That was about a quarter to 9:00.

    Promises to be an interesting day in lower Manhattan!

  12. Tony

    GOOD NEWS: The livestream camera man said that the police have totally closed Wall Street and the opening of the NYSE will be delayed! Awesome!

  13. Tony

    The livestream camera man just pointed out that the NY police are no longer wearing identification. We now have an anonymous police state.

  14. alex

    re: For Some Companies’ Smokers, a Surcharge

    The irony is that the lifetime health care costs for smokers is slightly lower than for non-smokers, because they die younger. From the POV of an employer or health insurer offering insurance to someone under 65 you can justify higher premiums since smoking related (or exacerbated) illnesses don’t always wait for Medicare age, but then smokers should also get a break on their Medicare and Social Security taxes since they’re likely to use those services for a shorter time.

    Of course smoking is the ultimate socially disreputable bad habit, but what about other reasons mentioned for charging higher premiums, like obesity and high cholesterol? Sure most people who are overweight are that way because they eat too much, eat the wrong things, or exercise too little, but that’s not always the case, especially with the morbidly obese. High cholesterol is an even tougher nut. A tendency towards it is heavily genetically influenced, and even good diet and drugs can’t always correct it.

    The bottom line is, where does this crap end? A surcharge if you ski (lots of accidents) or have guns in your house?

    Then of course there are the unmentionables, like age and existing health problems. Theoretically there are laws that prohibit employers from discriminating on that basis, but given the incentive to do so (lower insurance premiums) and the near impossibility of proving such discrimination, what do you think is going to happen?

    It would be better for employers and people if employers got out of the health insurance biz. I really don’t blame employers too much for playing these games because employers have very limited control over rising health care costs. If you don’t get your groceries or your housing from your employer, why should you get your health insurance from them?

    In the short run people will scream because many people (especially the middle class) get some sort of health insurance from their employer, but the whole f’ing system makes no sense! Get laid off? Congratulations, you now have to pay a lot more just when you can least afford it. Want to work independently or start a small business, good luck on that health insurance. The current system impedes productive economic activity.

    1. LucyLulu

      alex wrote: Then of course there are the unmentionables, like age and existing health problems. Theoretically there are laws that prohibit employers from discriminating on that basis, but given the incentive to do so (lower insurance premiums) and the near impossibility of proving such discrimination, what do you think is going to happen?

      Believe me, it already happens. Health care expense is probably the leading factor in the current age discrimination being seen. While employers may not be able to charge older (or disabled) employees more for health coverage, insurance companies sure can, and do, quote companies higher rates based on claims rates. That in turn, factors into a company’s decisions at hiring time, while it won’t be openly acknowledged.

      OTOH, if companies were relieved of their obligation to provide health insurance, does anybody think they would pass along the savings to employees in the form of higher wages? Or if they did, that many employees would use the additional money to purchase coverage, particularly if they were being charged non-discounted rates?

      We need a single-payer government funded health care system, as they have in France, for example, to cover basic health care services for everybody. Like in France, private insurance could be purchased, if desired, for supplemental services for those who want additional bells and whistles.

      1. alex

        “if companies were relieved of their obligation to provide health insurance, does anybody think they would pass along the savings to employees in the form of higher wages”

        If we had something called “labor laws” (as is rumored to exist in other countries and even used to in the American past) they could simply stipulate that any company that dropped its health insurance has to put the employer’s contribution into the employee’s paycheck.

        “particularly if they were being charged non-discounted rates?”

        What are discounted rates, what large employers pay? That’s part of the insanity of our current system, that there are such things as discounted and non-discounted rates.

        In Germany, for example, all health insurance companies have to charge a fixed price, regardless of existing conditions, age, etc. The only variable is where you live.

        “We need a single-payer government funded health care system, as they have in France …”

        Hear, hear! France, Canada, wherever. We could debate the pros and cons of different countries plans all day, but every single one of them is vastly superior to the American system.

    2. alex

      From the article: ‘Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association were among groups that warned federal officials about giving companies too much latitude. They argued in a letter sent in March that the leeway afforded employers could provide “a back door” to policies that discriminate against unhealthy workers.’

      When the American Cancer Society warns about a policy that’s supposed to reduce smoking, you know something is rotten with the approach.

      Also from the article: ‘Some benefits consultants say companies may be increasingly willing to test the boundaries of the law because there has been little enforcement, even though there is a provision requiring employers to accommodate workers with medical conditions limiting their ability to meet certain standards. “They are thumbing their nose at the accommodation provision,” said Michael Wood, a consultant at Towers Watson.’

      Employer’s “willing to test the boundaries of the law”? What a surprise! Where do you think this crap will lead? Give them some leeway to discriminate, and they’ll run with it. And our blessed Guaranteed Profits for Insurance and Pharma Act (aka Obamacare) actually gives them _more_ leeway to do this.

      That’s the American approach: find out what the rest of the world successfully does to reduce costs and provide universal care, then do the exact opposite.

  15. Chris

    College Sports are a student debt producing, academic
    standards lowering assault on the core mission of higher
    education. A nice tidy distraction to channel the energies of Americans away from any study of economics, politics or anything meaningful that might allow some self reflection and questioning of their role in affecting society.

    For another great commentary about the idiocy and fraud of
    college athletics may I recommend this guy:

    ” The intersection of America’s fake warrior culture of football with the nation’s fake moral and ethical culture is instructive. It has many levels…First is the pretense that college football is a character-building endeavor. Rather it’s an odious money-grubbing racket that chews up and spits out quasi-professional players who, with rare exceptions, only pretend to be students. It corrupts everyone connected with it. College football is little more than a giant conduit for vacuuming money out of alumni, hawking brand merchandise, and generating TV revenues. At Penn State, the racket sucked in about $70 million a year net profit. All over America, the old land-grant diploma mills pay their coaches million-dollar salaries, while academic adjunct professors can’t even get health insurance…”
    “…Then there is the merge-ramp between religion and football. Was I the only person revolted by video of the phony “prayer” session held in the Penn State stadium just before Saturday’s “big game” with the University of Nebraska? Players from both teams led by Jesus-shouting cheerleaders affected to “pray” for Jerry Sandusky’s rape victims, an exercise that was joined and legitimized by the crowd with all the passion of a Nuremberg rally. When that easy little ritual was out of the way they could settle back and enjoy the game’s ersatz heroics with a clear conscience, and the tailgate barbeques that followed….”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps it’s not all bad if football distracts some of them from learning to make the next generation mass-financial-destruction derivatives.

    2. Cynthia

      It’s time to end College Football and College Basketball in their current form. No more TV, no more bowls, no more athletic scholarships. You can have football and basketball, but the athletes attend the school on an academic scholarship. For those not qualified for an academic scholarship try your luck in the NFL or NBA farm system.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Dead right, Cynthia. Our *macho sports fetish* is destructive to human bodies and brains, AND it puts us at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the world that doesn’t waste money on such puerile passtimes.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We are ‘body-draining’ the rest of the world of their best gladiators.

          It will be interesting to see if one day, a foreign Spartecus will rise up.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s interesting that as athelets become more elite, through training or otherwise, the average person becomes more out of shape, more obese…i.e. sicker.

        Apparently, making larger coffins is the next growth industry.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If Olympic games were less about the 1% athletes and more about the 99% athelete population, nations would send their average joes to compete and the results would be interesting.

    1. Foppe

      It’s been reported on a few times by now, from various sources, though it is of course a bit difficult to say how they would’ve been employed otherwise.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      you don’t want to see students concentrate in one industry or one country.

      And attracting the brightest and the best from other countries is a zero-sum game for the world as a whole.

      We should leave the best and the brightest in their own countries, instead of trying to brain-drain them.

  16. Steve Roberts

    The politicians in Detroit have a lot of difficult choices to make to save their city. I hope they are up for the challenge. It scares me to think what would happen if the politicians in Washington DC were ever forced to make such difficult choices.

  17. Jeff


    DHS policemen arresting people,

    Grow up! These guys are doing their job in the area that
    they patrol and have a duty to protect. If you demonstrate on Post Office property you would probably be arrested by
    the Postal Police. If you are demonstrating within x feet of a federal building, these guys are going to get you.

    Stop splitting hairs and focus on the real issues, not the minutiae. There is only so much energy that can be focused on the importance of OWS. Save it for real issues.

    One real issue is why local police are being guided and possibly co-opted by the DC based cops.

    1. EH

      How about you say something constructive about that instead of complaining that people are talking about the wrong things?

  18. Jef

    Anon said – “About how college graduates are falling into the financial industry to theirs and the country’s detriment.”

    They are just being realists. They understand that finance/banking industry gets to pull money out of thin air then pay themselves big bonuses.

    Why in Dogs name would anyone aspire to labor hard in any other deadend or dying industry?

    1. aet

      Everyone pays for everything they get.

      That’s how it is, has been and ever will be.

      But people must make their own happiness: and too many miserable rich folk hanging around would be even worse than too many miserable poor folk hanging around. Luckily for the wealthy (and for us, as a society), the wealthy are usually too busy working or otherwise keeping themselves occupied, to be truly miserable and idle.

      And the poor always have their dream – that the possession of wealth, without more, would make them happy – and that helps to give many of them strength, and hope, as they continue to work and struggle. And that’s good for them – and for us, as a society.

      But a dream is what that hope is – but not because they’ll never get rich, for people do in fact gain wealth through work and/or luck – it’s a dream simply because…. money alone cannot buy happiness.

      And, to repeat, everyone must pay for everything they get.

  19. craazyman


    Almost live anyway. Yeah, headed down to Zucotti Park for lunch hoping the Soul Kitchen ‘ed be open. And I was NOT disappointed, big grin! SOUL KITCHEN LIVES! in the form of a fresh-faced college kid sitting where the kitchen had been, with a loaf of bread a potato chips. But it was there for hungry souls and not just for him. And it was officially The Kitchen, at least to the two of us, and where two or three are gathered together “There So Am I”.

    I thought there’d be bedlam down there, reading the OWS feed, but it was sedate and well-mannered. The police presence is totally insane. Ringed by riot police in battle gear, big trucks, barricades, etc. etc.

    So I showed up with my Occupy Wall Street badge and my JPress suit (purchased used for $180) and didn’t even know if I could get into the park. So asked a row of grim face riot police protecting “civilization” from a bunch of savages if I could get in there and protest peacefully. “No theatrics” I assured them. He just nodded — he must have been bored out of his mind — and as usual was easy to get in through an open gate.

    Lots of everybody in there — young middle old — scattered around and talking in groups. I just wore the OWS badge on my jacket and bathed in the Gnostic WAve for half an hour among the enlightened souls, walking around. Heard stories of arrests but saw nothing nerve racking until the park crowd surged to the sound of dragging metal on the side of the park and I thought “Oh shit, they’re gonna close the park and arrest us all.” ha ha. Fortunately it was just a minor panic of my mind. Nothing happened.

    I have to say, though, the police militarized presence there is atrocious. Absoultely atrocious. It’s like the idea of protest itself is a crime. It’s like thinking is a crime. It’s like feeling a crime. It’s like being a human being is a crime. It’s like consciousness itself is a crime. The only thing that isn’t a crime is being a Zombie, asleep and numb.

    Well, that’s an exaggeration. The park was open and there was no interference and there were signs and people milling around. And the officers who ringed the park would probably rather be at a Yankee game, if it was warm out. Or a Giants game. I don’t blame them. And I hope they would rather be anywhere, almost, than where they are today.

    Leaving the park was as easy as getting in and I had to pee. And gladly, the subway got me uptown in time to pick up some soup before getting back to the office.

    God Bless Occupy Wall Street
    Matthew 10: 16-20 (King James Version, please, none of this New Revised Standard nonsense, ha ha)

    1. Richard Kline

      So craazy: “It’s like the idea of protest itself is a crime. It’s like thinking is a crime. It’s like feeling a crime. It’s like being a human being is a crime. It’s like consciousness itself is a crime.”

      Absolutely right. The point is to intimidate people into not letting out a peep. ‘Protest’ will be ‘permitted’ only if it’s ineffective and invisible—or if it’s counter-protest funded by the 1%. But there’s a good side to this too, in that that boredom of the cops which you observe works on them and wears them down over time. They know that their time is being missppent, that ‘protecting’ an empty park from nonviolent citizens is a baroque spectacle ordered by the elite to which they, the police, are involuntary participants for the most part. Their morale certainly won’t go quickly or even entirely; it’s the incremental loss of personal committment to policy which is the goal. I’d like to think we’re gaining ground in that regard, but see what you think.

  20. Ron

    Financial companies and customers are in a tizzy over the future of MF Global’s customer assets. The finger pointing over who will take the losses proves that the money is long gone. Could this occur in a money market fund with large exposure to various off balance sheet financing, or any number of wild speculative backroom deals? The so called money on the sidelines is in reality being used and abused daily.

  21. jfwells

    About the Federal Protective Service vehicle spotted at the Portland Occupy arrests: The parks that were the site of the camps is dirctly adjacent to the federal courthouse, in which my wife works. Their vehicles are parked on the street around the building regularly. I was not there on Sunday, but would not be surprised if they were outside the building for security. I did not see any of their officers in the videos of the protest/arrests. Even if they did take part, so what? The PPD received assistance from many other jurisdictions, why not the federal government? This strikes of manufactured outrage because there was a fairly peaceful resolution.

  22. Valissa

    re: Culture in Economics article

    So much potential there and so little follow through. From my perspective economists have a gift for boring and non-useful explanations and this article confirms that. OTOH, the cultural economist author is convinced about how brilliant economists are. “It’s been a very successful paradigm in that what economics does very well is think rigorously.” Think rigorously? I have always thought this a meaningless phrase signifying a justification of arrogant group think.

    This is the conceit that undermines any any sense that the field of economics needs to fundamentally readjust in order to reflect the real world, not some utopian ideal world (as in market utopianism). Empirical thinking is not that hard to learn, but it does require an open mind.

    “Mathematics brought rigor to Economics. Unfortunately, it also brought mortis.” – Anonymous

    “If all economists were laid end to end they would not reach a conclusion.” – George Bernard Shaw

    “depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters.” ~Jean-Paul Kauffmann

    1. Valissa

      Correction… “The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters.” ~Jean-Paul Kauffmann

  23. Hugh

    One of the simplest and most useful ways to deconstruct the propaganda and lies which are constantly pushed at us is to apply the arguments being promoted by our elites to others.

    For example, trolls here often complain that using the ECB in an expansive role in the European crisis would violate German law and that it would take a referendum of the German people for it to be approved. Contrast that not just with the scuttling of the Greek referendum but the installation of an unelected pro-corporatist government both there and in Italy. In other words, referenda are good with they further corporatist ends and bad if they do not.

    Turn next to the treatment of OWS and the Tea party. If 5 Tea partiers got together, it was covered wall to wall by the media. The media have done their best first to ignore and play down the importance of the OWS movement. OWS is genuine populism in action, hence its lack of affiliation to the two parties. The Tea party was astroturf from the get go and quickly became nothing more than a sockpuppet of certain groups in the Republican party. But politicians and the media have always treated the Tea party as legitimate while rejecting the legitimacy of OWS.

    Or take Michael Bloomberg who cites the law in destroying the encampment at Zucotti park and then proceeds to ignore the law in subsequent court orders.

    Or take how the media focuses on violence or the potential for violence with regard to anything that OWS does but then air brushes out the much greater violence of the police against OWS members.

    Or how OWS was portrayed as damaging and abusing “private” property in its Occupation of Zucotti park but nothing is made of the destruction of the private property of the protesters.

    The take home here is that the essence of class war, which these disparate reactions represent, is about distraction, not coherence. What is good for the interests of the elites and the 1% is bad for the 99%. It is important too to note that this is a real war. The 1% will not hesitate to use the instruments of state violence which it controls to maintain and expand its power and its looting. Again look at the millions of its victims. The 1% has no problem stealing a part of every paycheck from every worker among the 99%. It has tossed 10 million Americans out of their homes. It has kept 30 million of them from fulltime employment. It kills 40,000-50,000 of them every year by denying them healthcare coverage. And who knows how many more it kills with poor and defective coverage or how many more it drives to sickness and despair by denying them the basics of a meaningful life. And it kills untold thousands more in the wars it wages around the planet.

    I am tired of the taboo of Godwin’s law. Kleptocracy is totalitarian in nature. Its essence is world domination, just as it was for Nazism and Hitler and Communism and Stalin. Godwin’s law has been turned on its head. It is no longer about exagerating an evil but minimizing it. Today’s kleptocrats are the new Nazis and Stalinist ideologues. You think I am out of line, that I have gone too far, that I have broken Godwin’s law? Count their victims and tell me how there could be so many and yet those who created them not be evil.

    That too is a victory of class warfare: to have us look on our elites and refuse to acknowledge them as evil. How much easier to look at Wall Street bankers as just grasping and greedy or on politicians as bumbling and inept. How much more difficult to look evil in its face and call it such, because that puts us all on the hook. It draws a moral line in the sand, that we must either resist it or be complicit in it.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, thank you for speaking out. Truly, what could be more *evil* that the Bush Administration policy, if not doctrine, that our soldiers in *Bush’s Wars* be “kept alive* now matter how egregious their *fatal* wounds by any natural order, IN ORDER THAT *fatalities* – *deaths* be kept to an absolute minimum, to the *credit* of Bush&Co.

      Then, adding insult if not torture to *injury*, they failed to provide the funds and *state of the art* infrastructure to care properly for these abominable *casualties* of the “War on Terre” putsch for private profit to Bush Crony Capitalists. This surely is the *crime against humanity* of the century, turning tortured soldiers into *patients*, NAZI-style, for *medical advancement for profit to some* at the everlasting expense of the soldiers, their loved ones and caretakers, and the People of our nation-state, who have had to EAT these lies in a *cram-down* by profiteers.

    2. Richard Kline

      So Hugh: “It is important too to note that this is a real war.”

      While I agree completely with the sentiment you express here and elsewhere in your comment, I would disagree with they use of ‘war’ in that sentence. It is a real “struggle” since ‘war’ definitely includes lethal violence as an intrinsic quality of its definition and in this struggle one side at least has explicitly renounced lethal action. I would also recommend against the use of ‘war’ as an analogy for this struggle, because ‘declaring war’ on those they don’t like is a prerogative of the 1%, and a method they frankly prefer to ‘negotiation,’ ‘detente,’ ‘cooperation’ or other approaches. War privilieges money, might, terror, and command hierarchies, and the 1% prefers those as modalities of presenting exemplary punishment and implementing control to enforce the belief in most minds that resistance is futile. So to talk about war is to frame struggle in the method of the 1%, where as to talk about struggle is to frame justice in the method of the 99%. I’m serious, and the semantics _do_ matter. We must cease priviliging the terms of discussion and engagement preferred by the 1%, that is part of not cooperating with the oligarchy and establishing a different frame of reference amongst the citizenry.

  24. Valissa

    Energy Resources – U.S. ties geopolitics to energy

    The geopolitical aspects of the oil and natural gas sector have a direct impact on the economic interest of the United States, a diplomat said.

    Washington announced the creation of the new Bureau of Energy Resources within the U.S. State Department. The department was spawned by work mandated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009. The task of the new bureau is to address foreign policy, security and economic issues related to oil and gas over the next 25 years.

    “The first of these (task for the new bureau) is managing the geopolitics of today’s energy economy,” Carlos Pascual, U.S. special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, said during a conference call with reporters. “We think that that is absolutely critical in understanding the market dynamics that affect stability of oil and gas markets, and that has a direct impact on our economic interests here in the United States.”

  25. LeonovaBalletRusse

    It’s too bad that CHARLES P. PIERCE, who wrote the rock-solid article: “The Brutal Truth About Penn State” can’t write about every instance of All American Fraud that appears under the “LINKS 11/17/11” column today. It has been a long time since a man wrote the hard truth about ourselves as a *nation* without hedging in the slightest. Congratulations to Mr. Pierce: Bravissimo! Bis! Bis! Bis!

    Will he address the topic: “Congress set to declare pizza a vegetable?” This is a case of clear-cut fraud, a horrificallly disturbing and confusing lie to our children: “Pizza is a vegetable” conjoined with a terrible truth: “Corporate despots through Congressional shills can and do abolish reality, overturning the natural order of the earth by *fiat* lies, for their commercial profit at the expense of public health and truth. Is this the “way of the world” that We the People want to TEACH our children? Is this the degree of power we choose to give our despotic masters, who “don’t give a F*** about you, … don’t care about you AT ALL! at all, at all” (per George Carlin)?

    How about the MF Global embezzlement shaping into focus now? Do we want our children, ever learning from example, to treat us according to these ruthless lessons of the Criminal Class–that *Crime pays? that *Winners lie with impunity? Winners commit fraud with impunity? that *Smart Criminals* are above the law? that the Law is for suckers?

    Are our children learning from example that mass market piety and fervent prayer to a deity, while protecting criminals in Church, State, and Sports, absolve criminals and their accomplices from guilt while they compound the damage through silence or collusion?

    In a manuscript of 1979 I declared my own personal fight against “endemic fraud” and compulsive abuse in the U.S.A. at every level, of our hypocritical, self-deceiving, sanctimonious society.

    Welcome to my world, Charles P. Pierce. You have a friend in me. And if I find a publisher again, I am going to tell.

    “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take this any more.” (Howard Beal, “Network”). It’s been a long time coming, but now, it’s HERE. We’re here in numbers now, no longer intimidated, and we WILL speak truth to power.

    Thanks for the stage for speaking truth, Yves. NC is a gift.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Highly recommended are, at the minimum, two articles on the website of another adamant, starkly realistic truth-teller, even if his titanic efforts should prove to be in vain. See:
      “Industrious Rebels and Deterring Captains: Defiance Interpreted through a Veblenian Reformulation of Strain Theory” and:
      “Laide-Epoque”: Discussion and Hypotheses for a Comprehensive Understanding of the 1960-1990 Crime Wave” —
      FREELY offered on site to all comers in search of stark truth within the sphere of human reality experienced.

      Prof. Guido Giacomo Preparata is a fierce seeker of truth and human understanding, who has applied himself relentlessly toward comprehension of our society’s ills. He is an adamant foe of lies, fraud, and self-deceit. He is a peerless research analyst, complex thinker, and master of crystalline prose across many fields, who writes with incomparable erudition for CLARITY’S sake, for our complete comprehension of the issues at hand. Two of his books have been recommended by me on this NC site:
      “CONJURING HITLER” and “THE IDEOLOGY OF TYRANNY”. Read them and weep, then stand up and practice *free speech* as if your life depended upon it, for this is the case right now. Let us prove that Preparata’s *good works* are not in vain.

      [disclaimer: I have never met or contacted Prof. Guido Giacomo Preparata, and am not affiliated with his sphere.]

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    My boy cat tells me he’s interesting in internet cat dating.

    He thinks Richard’s cat is cute.

    I tell him she’s still too young. Wait a few years; otherwise it’s illegal.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “blood on his face.” Well, then, I guess the *theme song* ought to be Freddie Mercury/Queen’s “We will rock you.”

      It has new meaning now.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I’d post it, but someone in comments at YouTube says he saw what happened and the guy fell. Seems implausible given when the head wound is located. I’m trying to get more intelligence before I run the clip.

  27. Valissa

    Italian students take on riot police in protest against budget cuts and unelected EU ‘government of the banks’ [great photos of the protest]

    Economist Mario Monti today formed his new government yesterday without a single politician – drawing from the ranks of bankers, diplomats and business executives to make sure Italy escapes looming financial disaster. …

    Explaining why his Cabinet contained no one from Italy’s fractious political parties, Monti said that his talks with party leaders led him to the conclusion ‘that the non-presence of politicians in the government would help it.’

    His ministers include Corrado Passera, CEO of Italy’s second-largest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, to head Development and Infrastructure; Piero Gnudi, a longtime chairman of Enel utility company, as Tourism and Sport minister in a country heavily dependent on tourist revenues; and the current Italian ambassador to Washington, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, to be foreign minister.

    Sounds like a coup to me… one of those silent-but-deadly ones. Who decides when to let the politicians out of the doghouse?

    Margaret Heffernan… Can economist Mario Monti save Italy?

      1. Foppe

        Of course. Because all they read and write in the papers is that finally the Responsible Technocrats are taking over, over whom the immature voters there (who, obnoxiously, keep picking candidates from the same group of corrupt politicians) have no influence. One might call this “forced maturation”, and it is incredibly paternalistic, even aside from the fact that the western (progressives/democrats in the broad sense) supporting these coups are (willfully) ignoring (or ignorant of) the failure of precisely the technocratic mindset.

        1. Valissa

          Whom do the technocrats serve? Follow the money.

          Will rule by unelected technocrats be an improvement? The danger is that if the technocrats proves effective, then what happens to the myth of democracy?

          1. Foppe

            It might be, if only for a while (pretty much anything is better than the little that happened under Silvio); and sadly, there will be people who will happily conclude from that that Italians aren’t “ready for democracy”. The problem, however, is that I suspect that the new rulers will only be interested in breaking stuff down, and not in (for instance) restoring funding to national heritage sites, which are extremely badly maintained, even though they bring in quite a lot of tourist money.
            Having said that, I must say I know too little of Italy’s economy and society to really predict how it will turn out.

      2. Valissa

        The coups in Greece and Italy are so civilized… and the MSM propaganda so well coordinated to help provide the rationale for these coups, that they hardly seem like coups at all.

        At least in the initial stages, financial coups appear much kinder and gentler than military coups. Although if there are resources involved, and it’s a 2nd or 3rd world nation, the military option is never off the table.

        Lots of different kinds of regime change going on in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe these days.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Quite right, Valissa, these are hand-picked “smooth operators” for the *smoo-coo* — This is financial Lebensraum by so-called “bloodless coup”.

          John Perkins, former “Economic Hit Man” for the IMF with “CIA operatives” confesses how he did it, and *How It Works* still, over and over again on You Tube. Take your pick of sites. He must be in need of public absolution. Maybe he will come on over to NC and explain it all for us.

          It’s Lebensraum “all over again.” The frank coup d’etat overtakes “The Shock Doctrine.” And so smoooooooothe. Weren’t they all trained in the finer arts in the Heart of Darkness, GS? “Black pools, black pools, black pools” are their forte. “Creatures of the Black Lagoon?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      that the non-presence of politicians in the government would help it.’


      That sounds like an invitation for the inclusion of carpenters, gardners, receptionists, car salespersons, taxi-drivers, waiters, barbers, street vendors in his government.

      Sadly, his human world consists of politicans and bank executives/economists.


  28. Foppe

    Look’s like SF is next:

    an Francisco public health authorities today declared the large Occupy SF encampment at the south end of Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero a public health nuisance, and public works officials are posting final notices at the protest encampment on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Reserve Bank that the nearly two dozen tents there must be taken down — coordinated action that is paving the way for police to move in if Occupy SF participants don’t dismantle the camps on their own.

    “We are posting the notices so we can cover all our legal bases,” Mayor Ed Lee said this morning.

    Occupy SF representatives posted a notice of its own on its website: “Police Raid Expected Tonight!” They also said there would be a 10 p.m. mass rally.

    City officials said they would tolerate no tents at the Federal Reserve Bank at 101 Market St. in the Financial District, but this morning there were still 22 up, and notices were being posted on each of them, said San Francisco Public Works chief Mohammed Nuru. Occupy SF representatives also were being served notice of what authorities have deemed an illegal encampment.

    At the Justin Herman Plaza site, city officials crafted a list of 11 conditions — which they redistributed Wednesday — that they said must be met to adhere to basic health and safety standards. Among them: there could be no more than 100 tents, with adequate spacing between, and that no structures could be attached to poles or trees. There also were rules regarding food handling, alcohol consumption garbage disposal and human waste.

    1. Jeff

      Has the city brought in porta potties and washbasins?

      This is standard operating procedure at all public events, at truck stops, weigh stations, rest stops, road races, foot races, parades etc.

  29. JTFaraday

    Sniveling little putz of the day:

    “Some onlookers applauded the demonstrators from open windows. Others yelled, “Get a job!”

    “I don’t understand their logic,” said Adam Lieberman, as he struggled to navigate police barricades on his way to work at JPMorgan Chase. “When you go into business, you go into business to make as much money as you can. And that’s what banks do. They’re trying to make a profit.”

  30. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Yves, did you see the smokin stuff over at ZH? It might liven the discussion even more over here. williambanzai7 has surpassed himself with “THURSDAY AFTERNOON RIP…”. He’s our Aristophanes. This is worthy of a Pulitzer.

    Then there’s the video of Nigel Farade reading the riot act to von Rompuy & Co. within the Tyler Durden piece: “Watch Nigel Farage Dance On the Euro’s Grave.”

    Yves, I think you added the fuel to the fire for real. Is virtue really its own reward? Of course, we did respond to your call for funds. OK, we love you, kid: our leader.

  31. Digital Signage Player

    Digital Signage, a futuristic media with the potential of delivering value, is way beyond the traditional media options like billboards, print or any static display unit. It comprises of an electronic screen (LCD, Plasma, LED-Wall etc.) integrated with a multimedia player at the back, displaying dynamic content. The content on the screen can be changed without physically changing the signage screen. Today digital signage has become an innovative way of delivering information to the target audience.

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