Links 11/4/11

The Era of Small and Many Bill McKibben, Orion Magazine (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

Mathematically detecting financial bubbles before they burst ScienceBlog (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Does sport make your kids smarter? New evidence from Germany VoxEU. Until they get head injuries…(from a formerly fat and sedentary child)

Thai Flooding Causes Threat of Disease Wall Street Journal

Battle of the Bulge: China’s Military Recruits More Fatties Wired (hat tip reader 1SK)

Festering anger, Nazi war crimes and the £60bn the Greeks believe the Germans owe them Daily Mail (hat tip reader 1SK)

Greek PM scraps referendum plan Financial Times. In case you managed to miss the news.

Greece may leave euro, leaders admit Guardian. But they’ve made it clear they will kick them on the way out should they try.

Why I would have voted no in a Greek referendum Samuel Brittan, Financial Times

Why Not Give Greeks Their Say? Floyd Norris, New York Times

Joseph Stiglitz on Iceland’s Crisis and Recovery Ed Harrison

Approaching the Italian endgame FT Alphaville

Will the US get hurt by the Eurozone? Kent Willard

Britain liable for billions of pounds as eurozone crisis deepens Telegraph

Subprime moment looms for ‘risk-free’ sovereign debt Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Bleak Portrait of Poverty Is Off the Mark, Experts Say New York Times. Now that poverty has risen and a record number of Americans are on food stamps, the Ministry of Truth is telling us poverty really is not so bad. Krugman debunks the report: Oligarchy, American Style

Castrated servants of Royalty digby (hat tip reader Carol B)

Actual Co-Opting of the 99% Movement, for the Tar Sands Pipeline Dave Dayen, FireDogLake (hat tip reader Carol B)

SEC Said to Review Possible MF Insider Trading Bloomberg. If the only tool you think you have is a hammer..

MF Global Masked Debt Risks Wall Street Journal

As Regulators Pressed Changes, Corzine Pushed Back, and Won New York Times

AIG records biggest loss since 2009 Financial Times

Freddie Mac seeks further $6bn from taxpayers Financial Times

First Time Unemployment Claims Increase But Less Than Usual Wall Street Examiner (hat tip reader Carol B)

Tell President Obama: Don’t sell us out to Wall Street Credo. Please sign this petition. Credo was the moving force behind getting Kamala Harris to walk from the attorney general mortgage settlement negotiations.

Antidote du jour:

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    1. Steve

      It takes a pretty important petition for me to sign due to them all sending me spam I didn’t want later. Every time you sign a petition online, specify that they should stop this. Opt in, not opt out.

  1. Rex

    Re: Tell President Obama: Don’t sell us out to Wall Street

    “Complete the following to sign the petition. You’ll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.”

    I am getting a bit burned out on these periodic updates and offers that continue long after I sign up to voice my support of an issue. Anyone else?

    1. EH

      Well there’s an easy solution for that: stop wasting your time with online petitions, which are always 110% completely ineffectual.

  2. psychohistorian

    Can I not go read the link about the castrated servants of Royalty, please and thank you. I want to stay peace loving.

    I have to admit that it is getting harder to remain dispassionate in the face of flagrant flaunts of what used to be called Rule of Law.

    We could all become lawless like those serving or being the global inherited rich but who wants to live in a totally lawless world. There are too many nukes around to make that viable for very long. WHEEE.

    I would like to see society/civilization move forward but we need to get enough like minded folk to agree that the global inherited rich that have defined our world need to be removed from control and prosecuted for their abject abuse of their power. I can’t see how this global Shock Doctrine event that they are precipitating can result in their control increasing over economic and social matters. With them glorifying lawlessness, it is only a matter of time before the stakes include civilizations abrupt nuclear end….not a fun thought.

    While it might not be fun to look forward to but prepare us for what is to come, maybe more of us old folk should join those millenials for the winter in their Occupy zones.

  3. KFritz

    Re: Poverty/food stamps

    In California, at least, food stamp recipients must be on the record as having cash assets LESS THAN $2000. The aid offices are full of well-turned out folk probably lying about the $2000–what goes on there is probably analogous to the old Soviet saw, “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.” But nobody remotely close to financially secure legally receives foodstamps in CA.

    1. aet

      “probably lying”, you say ?

      I think that’s “probably” slander.

      Any actual evidence of that dishonesty – that is, besides what you “feel in your heart”? ( Although that latter is not evidence of that which you may “feel” it is evidence of, of people lying to get food stamps – but instead, it evidences your own nature – seems you are suspicious of the poor, and of those seeking aid.)

      Means-checking is a waste, give it away freely.

      1. rps

        “It is not charity but a right, not bounty but justice, that I am pleading for. The present state of civilization is as odious as it is unjust. It is absolutely the opposite of what it should be, and it is necessary that a revolution should be made in it. The contrast of affluence and wretchedness continually meeting and offending the eye, is like dead and living bodies chained together.”
        Agrarian Justice Essay, T. Paine

        1. Paul Tioxon

          For thirty years your ministers have violated all the ancient laws of the state so as to enhance your power. They have increased your revenue and your expenditures to the infinite and impoverished all of France for the sake of your luxury at court. They have made your name odious.

          For twenty years they have made the French nation intolerable to its neighbors by bloody wars. We have no allies because we only wanted slaves. Meanwhile, your people are starving. Sedition, is spreading and you are reduced to either letting it spread unpunished or resorting to massacring the people that you have driven to desperation.

          Fenelon to King Louis XIV (C.1694)

          1. Marjorie

            If you read anything about the French Revolution you know that it did not end well. The Terror. Robespierre. It took decades for any semblance of a free society to appear. The fire burns all.

          2. wunsacon

            Marjorie, I prefer to back up a bit and say that the situation that “did not end well” is the inequality that precipitated the revolution. If we’re afraid of a revolution “event horizon”, then we should’ve been avoiding steering so close.

          3. Paul Tioxon

            So Majorie, you agree with me, do not drive people to desperation and you will not being playing with fire.

          4. aletheia33

            it has been said that neither the french or the american revolutions ended well.

            and it has been said of both that they have yet to be completed.

          5. Maximilien

            @Marjorie: I’ve read a lot about the French Revolution. It ended a lot better for the people than it did for the parasitic classes, who were erased. And that was the point.

    1. aet

      Why are companies even allowed to buy back selected shareholders’ stock?

      I thought companies issued stock for money…it goes both ways? Why?

      1. aet

        To be clear, I’m thinking of companies dealing in their own securities.

        Isn’t that self-dealing activity, of a corp dealing in its own shares, regulated up the wazoo?

        It does seem a practice and power ripe for the abuse of minority shareholders.

        If it isn’t, then why is it not freely allowed at all times?

    2. Maximilien

      @bob: “Record AIG loss?”.

      A loss to you or me maybe, but not to AIG. To AIG it’s a “net deferred tax asset” and may come in handy one day to buy back its shares from the government. Neat eh? Rack up losses, book them as “assets”, and buy back shares with taxpayer money!

      Just one problem with the scheme: AIG’s got to show the probability of future profits to realize these “assets”. That 3rd quarter loss ain’t gonna cut it.

      So if the losses continue, they’re gonna have to start bribing—sorry,
      lobbying—government officials for more lenient tax treatment or they’re gonna have to start cooking the books. How else to turn those hard-lost “assets” into cash?

  4. Richard Kline

    For Paul Krugman to type the word ‘oligarchy’ is progress. Some learn fast; some learn slow; some learn only after they’ve unlearned what they once professed to know. The educators are getting a political education; it’s about time. Welcome to 21st century economics, Paul.

      1. ambrit

        Dear aet;
        We out here in the fields never forgot it. The mainly self-educated may not be as “professional” as those who accept the “official version,” but we fare far afield and think outside the collegiate box. Raw, smashing, uncaring “modern” life forces you to do so.
        Here’s hoping the #OWS movement is the beginning of a neoliberal neo-Reformation.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      Ah, yes. Yet more of the mens rea machine. It’s so helpful to have savants around who can see into others’ minds. Useful indeed.

      I guess there are two possibilities (not mutually exclusive):

      1. Krugman has changed his mind about certain things.
      2. The public was reading into Krugman’s writings things that were never there or damning Krugman for things not yet fully developed in his texts.

      Not sure what any of this has to do with the 21st century. Seems to me that a short scan of political texts throughout history would show that concern about oligarchies has roots at least two thousand years old.

      I guess no one can learn as fast as those who have such aggrandized egos that it is impossible to conceive of a world in which one could be wrong or ignorant.

      Mr. Kline, you get a lot of unfair criticism around here, but hint, hint, ridiculously pompous statements like these are *not* your friend.

      1. aletheia33

        “For Paul Krugman to type the word ‘oligarchy’ is progress.”
        i don’t know if it means real progress, but it certainly jumped out at me–in the headline, no less. i think he must have had to cross some boundary to allow himself to use the o-word. and i think it will be remarked upon.

        “Some learn fast; some learn slow; some learn only after they’ve unlearned what they once professed to know.”
        whether or not no. 3 is accurate for paul, the sentence certainly covers a lot of ground regarding the nature of learning and express a valid insight about the importance of unlearning as well as learning. it seems fairly harmless in and of itself. and it rhymes!

        “The educators are getting a political education; it’s about time.”
        this does appear to be the case, if the walkout at harvard econ 10 is any sign. whether “educators” like mankiw are capable of “getting” it is another question.

        “Welcome to 21st century economics, Paul.”
        okay, this is snark.
        but is all this really so terribly arrogant, pompous, and self-aggrandizing?
        well, i certainly am those things more often than i care to think about, so i probably have no business judging, but i don’t see how this comment is, particularly.

    1. Jeff

      That’s great. Sometimes there isn’t a credit union
      within convenient distance. But usually there is a
      smaller local bank that has the same FDIC insurance.

      Closing your account at the big parasite banks that
      hid under the taxpayer tarp is a serious blow to them
      if enough people do it.

      There is of course also one’s daily activities that can be a vehicle for commons sense integrated with protest.

      Spending cash in a small business saves them
      percentages that credit cards skim off the top as well as
      gives them immediate use of your money. Paying .25 cents to use a debit card for a seven dollar sandwich hands
      Wall Street hundreds of millions that are robbed from merchants.

      All the new technology based gimmicks to pay with cell phones, credit cards you wave etc, are just profit
      churning scams paid for by citizens and leave a great privacy busting trail. The more people accept these, the more likely that they will then become mandatory, as in the case of welfare payments going through Chase with restrictions on how often and where you can buy food etc.

      1. G3

        Yes, convenience/accessibility is a problem. Hopefully some will be able to expand because of the increase in customers. I also think that is one of the reasons to break up the monster banks so they don’t keep gobbling up the smaller fish and keep expanding. The more power they have, the more dangerous it is for smaller banks (and CU’s).

  5. D

    Re: Will the US get hurt by the Eurozone

    It’s frustrating to watch the coverage of this prolonged European crisis and hear speculation that the crisis “could” hurt the American economy. Make no mistake, the crisis “is” hurting the American economy. My company has numerous customers that do a good share of their business in Europe; I can assure you they have cut back on their spending dramatically in response to the mess in Europe.

    I would estimate the drag on my business brought on by the debt mess at 30% of revenues. Admittedly, I am a small fish. But the overall impact on the US economy has to be in the tens or even hundreds of billions. What I hear over and over is the concern about protecting bond holders and banks — just as we did with our US bailouts. But these dragged out processes have painful impacts and for those of us struggling now for the fourth consecutive year. I can tell you it’s frightening and fatiguing. I realize I’m fortunate to still be afloat, but the question is for how long? The prospect of this mess dragging out through another year or longer is discouraging (to put it mildly).

    I don’t know why I post this here, other than just to remind everyone that there are human costs to all of this foolishness. There are multiple paths to take to solve these issues, and they all have some drawbacks. And I wouldn’t pretend to dictate which is best. But there is also tremendous cost to this dithering, as well. And with each day, I know that there are more and more businesses breaking under its strain.

    1. Jessica

      I hear your frustration.
      You may not have the answer. Neither do I. But if people like us who care about the human cost were making the decision, we would find a better answer quicker.

    2. Bill

      Thank you for that reminder about small businesses
      and also to remind me that not all businesses
      are corrupt. You and those like you must be going
      through hell, with no assurance of a salutary

  6. Jeff

    Re measuring poverty,

    It is the lack of National Health Care that skews
    the numbers. Perhaps the forumula to measure poverty in a more realistic manner would be to first ignore all healthcare costs, then measure real income and essential expenses and then add in the cost of guaranteed coverage for whatever condition the citizen has.

    Thus a hale and hearty
    eighty year old that takes care of them self and
    has a low insurance rate would have a lower poverty threshold than a sickly sixty year old was a
    preexisting condition.

    This should satisfy the bone scrapers in the GOP who want to cut back benefits to the bone for older
    Americans but who pretend that medical insurance is
    no big deal.

  7. Jeff

    Since we are a nation with guaranteed freedoms we should not have to pay for others choices.

    It is ridiculous for taxpayers to subsidize people’s
    breeding by extending unlimited per child tax
    credits to large families. Two credits should be the maximum number. This should satisfy the Republican

    People that smoke should definitely pay more for health insurance as a preexisting condition.

    1. rps

      “It is ridiculous for taxpayers to subsidize people’s
      Ah, you are a protector and flag waver of patriarchal economic violence that demands punishment of Women and children. As you ignore and negate the thievery of Women’s Labor that all societies rest upon. The patriarch claims that Women’s work of raising children should not be economically compensated, nor worthy of the GDP. The Patriarch’s rigid structures of economics, religion, and government are systems that demand the maintenance of the status quo. These systems subjugate over half the citizenry, who are crushed under the feet of the parasitical cockroaches, who sit atop the pyramid built by the Kings of false superiority.

      Forcing half the citizens to live a life of generational poverty based upon scrooge compensation, plus low level jobs without true living wage jobs in this country. Women still make less than men. This is not an example of humanity, rather barbarity. The United States social policies against Women are those of a barbarous civilization.

      “Freedom’s just another word for nothin left to loose. Nothin, don’t mean nothin honey if it ain’t free…” Janis Joplin

      1. chad

        wtf are you talking about? Tax credits are payment for raising children and therefore narrow the income gap between men and women? That’s stupid no matter how you phrase it.

        1. rps

          Oh right, those tax credits make such a huge difference in the raising of children in man world. Unfortunately, Women live in reality and must face the daily injustices due to their gender. Did you ever wonder why the definition of masculinity is the opposite of femininity? Think about it. It all about the subjugation and oppression of Women used as the illogical reasoning of men to usurp Women’s Labor and reproductive autonomy.

          Wage Gap by the Numbers:
          Women in the United States still earn only 78 cents on the dollar compared to men more than 45 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963….

          Women with more education lose more income

          Women at all education levels lose significant amounts of income due to the career wage gap, but women with the most education lose the most in earnings.

          $713,000: The career wage gap for women with a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

          $452,000: The career wage gap for women with some college education.

          $392,000: The career wage gap for women with a high school education.

          $270,000: The career wage gap for women with less than a high school education.

          The wage gap widens as women get older and carries into retirement

          Women workers earn less than men at every stage of life, but the wage gap widens as women get older and continues into retirement.

      2. Jeff

        Glad you finally get something out of the student
        loan burden to pay for that gender studies degree.

        It’s common knowledge that the more education a woman has the fewer children she has. Large families are good
        for no one, not the earth, not our schools, not our
        economy–unless you are Johnson and Johnson–and are
        the cause of much misery. It’s my thesis that if
        per child tax credit were limited to the first two only, educated people would have fewer children and would
        have more emotional and financial resources to
        give them.

        There’s a village in Uganda that could use your enlightened
        services. Why not go?

        1. rps

          Again, the burden of responsibility placed on the shoulders of women. Vasectomies are the ticket to a less populated world. By the way, rape is many womens reality in the 21st century.
          Yeah, an education in the male bastions of academia that perpetuate the patriarchal systems. A typical misogynist who believes it’s all about him, all about him…..

  8. BDBlue

    What passes for smart on the Greek debt crisis by Ian Welsh, who does a nice job of taking down a Kevin Drum “explanation” of the crisis that’s been a favorite link of a lot or “progressive” blogs and explains how anti-democratic the entire process has been. An excerpt:

    There is no actual democracy in any part of the world which is attached to the Wall Street centered financial system. Calls can run up to 1000:1 against TARP and it will pass. Strong majorities can be for or against particular policies and if the elite disagrees, that’s all that matters. There are no parties to vote for if you are against the current system.

    In a sense, this is fair. Westerners thought that they could have consumer democracy: they didn’t have to participate in it except at election time, when they would vote for parties and platforms paid for and produced by someone other than them. Coke(tm)/Pepsi(tm) politics – you have a choice, you can choose either Coke or Pepsi! Politicians aren’t paid by you (their salaries are the least part of their real income) why would you think they care about your concerns?

    You don’t pay for politicians or politics. This is the Facebook rule: if you don’t pay the freight, you aren’t the customer, you are the product. Politicians compete for the money and favors of the rich, and what they sell is the ability to wrangle you: to pass the austerity bills, to cut the benefits, to privatize the jewels of the public system, to force through the multi-trillion dollar bailouts. They control government for the benefit of the rich.

  9. bmeisen

    Re Festering Anger

    Germany’s reparation efforts have tended to serve domestic as well as international purposes. For example early rounds of reparations to Jewish survivors complimented the benefits that were being paid to German WWII veterans and their families. In contrast to efforts like Brandt’s genuflection in Warsaw and the billions paid recently to former slave laborers, quite a few incidents are hard to reconcile with genuine contrition, assuming that contrition can be expected of a state.

    Notable is the pension and, starting in 1974, the “Berufsschadensausgleich” (compensation for damaged career?) paid until her death in 1997 to Marion Freisler, the widow of Roland Freisler. Freisler was Hitler’s chief justice and was responsible, among numerous outrages, for thousands of unjust, barbaric executions. The “damaged career” was that of her husband who was killed by a falling Berlin balcony as he was fulfilling official duties shortly after an air raid in early 1945. If her husband had been captured and hung or had died with a gun in his hands Widow Freisler would have probably had to make do with a pension.

    Assuming that contrition can be attributed to a state and that for terrible crimes there is no statute of limitations that can expire, then when will the USA begin to approach the truly vast sums of financial compensation that the Germans have paid and are paying to their victims, and the public acts of contrition – the public demonstrations that Germany accepts responsibility – for the horrible crimes that Germans committed during WWII. When will for example the USA compensate slaves, American Indians, Cambodians and the Vietnamese. US forces dropped more bomb tonnage on southeast Asia during their unjust and barbaric assault than they did on Germany. The Germans have benefitted profoundly from performing acts of contrition as a nation. I am convinced that the USA would benefit also.

    1. ginnie nyc

      Your questions re: American restitution or reparations are germane.

      However, claiming that the German slave labor reparations were a class apart, an act of genuine contrition, is a stretch. As someone with direct personal knowledge of the negotiations, I can tell you the entire process was drawn-out and torturous. German industry, the parties under law responsible for the payments, fought to reduce their portion until the German government was forced to commit half the funds. And many companies that should have been parties “demurred”. The final payments were a fractionated “moral gesture”, not actual compensation.

      For the record.

      1. bmeisen

        Agree that the payments to former slave laborers can not be considered compensation – there were hundreds of thousands if not millions of victims who survived the war. 60 years later Germany organized about Euro 10 billion to distribute as a late and insufficient acknowledgement of injustices committed.

        I was close to top staff on the German side of negotiations and I realize that negotiations were difficult. German industry was not unified in resisting the project. At the center of the project were representatives from the highest levels of key German corporations who were committed to its success. These initiators were not successful in attracting sufficient committments from other German companies, which resulted in the state assuming a greater role. I suggest that the project does deserve special status – have leaders of the private sector in Russia, China, Japan, the UK, France, Belgium, or the US ever publicly discussed whether financial reparations are due to victims of their state’s genocidal crimes?

    2. Susan the other

      It’s pretty rich that Sarkozy just made the holier-than-thou statement at Cannes that the EU would not and could not fail because the Europeans are the modern guardians against a resurgence of the savage wars of the past. As we hear the bombs dropping on Libya in the distant background… and see the intense anger of the Greeks at what is clearly an unfair situation… and hear rumors that Greece has just purchased a fleet of tanks. (On credit?) And we assume they are lining up just outside Athens.

  10. b.

    I stopped paying attention to Digby – it is just painful to read these days. Not even the fact that the Obama/Pelosi/Reid-managed restablishment brought back the Repugs to Congressional relevance can make up for the endless repeat “analysis” of Repug irrelevancies even during Peak Oilbama, 2008-2010.

    Welsh is right that Drum toxically succeeds in failing to discuss relevant alternatives; Digby toxically persists in failing to discuss the relevant atrocities – those of the Dupe-By-Changeling democratters that have effectively removed any pretense of an alternative to vote for – if the latter day partisans wouldn’t continue to pretend otherwise, strenously so.

    1. aletheia33

      @ lambert strether,

      i copy here your comments on the matter of the encounter of the homeless and the occupiers, as i am very glad to see someone addressing it at a more than superficial level:


      ‘So, strategically, I see Traveler’s Aid as a problem, and an opportunity: The problem: The newcomer Occupier movement — which is, like it or not, “downwardly mobile”*** — is trying to occupy the same space as a permanent, though floating population of people whose needs are very immediate, and not about the self-actualization of the GA at all. Worse, the GA, though critically important, is by its nature a process that cannot satisfy immediate needs. The opportunity: Why shouldn’t the Occupations who have a good GA process in place (not all do) target some foreclosed or abandoned buildings for “allocation” to those who need shelter? That would (a) create solidarity with the homeless and the poor, (b) reinforce the GA as a parallel sovereign, and (c) remind the country of how badly the 1% is doing at running the country, and the need for people to seek alternative structures.**** Oh, and (d) such a policy would answer the question “What do we do in the winter?”

      *** We used to call the downwardly mobile “the middle class.”‘

      i want to call on public intellectuals who support the OWS movement to consider, write, and publish in an accessible and usable way, ASAP, attempts at clarification of the issue the Occupiers are currently struggling with in many cities around the country of how they should attempt to serve various needs of homeless people in their Occupations as part of their efforts to model a more democratic society.

      while the (mostly) young (and other) Occupiers seem quite capable of deep compassion and inclusion of all comers (i can testify to this based on my personal experience of spending 24 hourse in zuccotti park on october 15-16), they are in some cases and in some cities, apparently, experiencing real, serious practical and ethical difficulties in extending such inclusion in individual cases of dangerous/frightening mental illness and/or serious addiction combined with homelessness, and in cases of occupations becoming magnets to larger numbers of homeless indigent people than the occupiers’ resources can adequately help/support.

      the situation presents what seem to me to be tricky ethical, moral, and political dilemmas that i trust serious intellectuals would find worth looking into; and this is an urgent matter in need of the expertise and intellectual leadership of trained and compassionate minds.

      frankly, i am disappointed in what seems to me the failure of our most prominent philosophical and public thinkers, at this crucial juncture, to even take notice in their public commentaries of this urgent ethical dilemma that the Occupations have raised and that the Occupiers must work out if they are to continue to survive and succeed. one can glibly say “there are no easy answers,” but that should merely be the beginning of an attempt to work out the dilemmas the occupiers are facing. surely the effort is worthy of wider attention than it’s getting right now and may well be crucial in the playing out of the current crisis.

      (i have not mentioned here the media’s probable exaggeration and misrepresentation of the kinds of problems that are arising within the occupations, as i have a sense that notwithstanding such misleading reports, the dilemmas i mention are real and are in fact arising as occupations continue and as winter arrives. if i’m wrong about this, i hope someone will let me know; i would be greatly relieved to hear it.)

  11. EmilianoZ

    Matt Taibbi says “fuck you” to Bloomberg (and at the same time debunks the meme that the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act caused the bubble). LOL!

    “Well, you know what, Mike Bloomberg? FUCK YOU. People are not protesting for their own entertainment, you asshole. They’re protesting because millions of people were robbed, by your best friends incidentally, and they want their money back. And you’re not everybody’s Dad, so stop acting like you are.”

    Read more:

    1. Jeff

      You Emiliano, if it weren’t for commenters like
      you, many high school districts might actually
      link to this blog. Artful sarcasm can be more effective than crass language but it takes some thought.

      1. prigsapoppin

        That was Matt Taibbi. If it wasn’t for him saying fuck all the time, high school students might be allowed to read Rolling Stone magazine and they might learn more about these newfangled trends in music that seem to interest them so much.

      2. evodevo

        You MUST be joking !! If it WASN’T for him saying F&*k every other paragraph, NO high school student would read RS. Get a life.

      3. Maximilien


        “It’s over—we’re officially, royally fucked.”
        —–Matt Taibbi, The Big Takeover (Rolling Stone March 2009)

        It can’t be said more directly or forcefully than that. Taibbi is outrageous because he is outraged. His profane language is appropriate to the situation he is describing.

        (Btw, sorry to offend those millions and millions of innocent high school students linking to this site, many of whom are of course completely unfamiliar with that very, very, bad word that Taibbi used in the quote.)

  12. barrisj

    The NYT story on Corzine lobbying the CFTC to dump a proposed new regulation on how financial firms can use essentially custodial funds for their own purposes speaks volumes about the continual and acute problem of “regulatory capture”. Corzine himself lobbied the CFTC, and since he is a charter member of “the smartest guys in the room” Club, and a self-anointed “Master of the Universe”, the CFTC backed down.
    Oh, so NOW the regulators are crawling up Mo’Fo’ Global’s bum looking for “irregularities”…what is that adage about closing the barn door after…etc.?

  13. Steve

    My comment when signing petition…

    We WILL see the day (hopefully soon) when the Global Mafia Elites (such as yourselves) will pay a huge price for their (your) repression of the large majority. Nothing less than total restoration of OUR government directed toward equal opportunity and justice for ALL (starting with a top-down prosecution of elite crimes and the immediate removal of elitist, incompetent, corrupt, treasonous criminals, such as yourselves, from our government… per William Black) will be acceptable or tolerated moving forward.

    We DEMAND that you back down NOW regarding your obvious corrupt and criminal actions to prevent we-the-people from stopping, prosecuting, punishing, removing you and your corrupt, criminal, elitist, mafia/dictatorial/fascist friends/accomplices from our now critically damaged society.

    There are now MANY signs that the MAJORITY of we-the-people are starting to fully understand and recognize your criminal objectives and strategies. Your actions are now being seen for what they are, criminal.

    We know you and your accomplices have stolen all our savings and massively overbuilt our cities via a massive oversupply of debt. But NO, in the resulting ‘crisis’, which we-the-majority now understand you and your neoliberal criminal friends have methodically engineered, we will NOT allow you and your criminal friends to claim the physical assets (including all OUR corporations) after your criminally-created paper/debt assets plunge to nothing.


  14. Patrice

    Chris Hedges arrested in front of Goldman Sachs

    (apologies if someone already posted this link)

    from the article: “….there is no way within the corporate state to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. There is no way through the formal mechanisms of power to restore the rule of law. There is no way to protect the ordinary citizen and the poor around the globe from the predatory activity of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. Since our courts refuse to put on trial the senior executives at Goldman Sachs, including Blankfein, who carried out these crimes and lied to cover them up, we will…..

    What we are asking for today is simple — it is a return to the rule of law. And since the formal mechanisms of power refuse to restore the rule of law, then we, the 99 percent, will have to see that justice is done.”

  15. Bob Brandt

    Good to see the Occupy banner here, I donated $50 to OccupyOakland when I saw it. Justice for All has called me two times with no solicitation. Thanks

  16. Hugh

    I have never understood the idea that bubbles are somehow difficult to detect. Anything that is big enough to qualify as a bubble is so big it can be seen years in advance of its blowing up. You don’t need mathematics for that, only a pair of eyes.

    1. aletheia33

      thanks skippy! this was surprisingly moving to watch, for both me and my partner. there is something about the sight, from so far above, of this huge crowd moving rapidly forward with joy and discipline (clearly evident in the collective body language) down the empty highway to the gates of the port, and then all the little people popping up to the tops of the containers, that both awes and does one’s heart good.

      the feeling, for me, to try and put it into words: “my god, it’s finally happening.”

  17. scraping_by

    RE: Small and Many

    The decline of small family farms, in the last 30 years at least, was helped along by the USDA.

    With Reagan, they declared that only full-time farmers would be eligible for commodity subsidies. Since most smaller farmers had to bring in money from off the farm, at least part-time, this cut off most family farms while subsidizing the larger operations. The big were supported year in year out, the smaller couldn’t make enough to pay back their production loans. The smaller had to sell out, the factory farms were there ready to buy.

    Corporate collectivization seems to have worked no better than Stalinist collectivization.

  18. Expat

    Oh, cool! A petition to an elected official asking them to stop giving money to Wall Street! Wow, I can only hope that works just as well as the petitions and calls against Tarp, against the war in Iraq, against fracking, against drug laws, against the DHS, against the Patriot Acts.

    Gosh, it’s wonderful to watch democracy in action.

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