Links Australia Day

Grief Could Join List of Disorders New York Times. So people are supposed to be happy robots all the time so they can work at Foxconn productivity levels. I think we had better hope the Singularity comes soon. The human race is desperately in need of new management.

The Power of Introverts: A Manifesto for Quiet Brilliance Scientific American

Food security: Dampened prospects Financial Times

Our Dwindling Food Variety National Geographic (hat tip Lambert). Yes, it is from last year but bet you missed it!

Drone pilot finds “river of blood” outside Dallas meatpacking plan Sideshow (hat tip Lambert). Eeew.

Judge rules feds did not violate rights of accused Alaska militiaman McClatchy (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Google will now access and use all your personal data and browsing history NetTech (hat tip reader furzy mouse). I like my Google Reader. I have to give that up. But what about Feedburner? There seems to be no way to escape from Google.

Analysis: Wall Street puzzles over Google’s new direction Reuters

Russia gives WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange a TV platform Christian Science Monitor (hat tip reader 1 SK)

Firms squirm at shame of exposure over human rights and environmental contempt Independent (hat tip reader May S). Notice the accurate headlining: shame and not guilt.

Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad New York Times. This story is more critical of Apple than the previous NYT article on Apple and Foxconn, which had a bizarrely laudatory undertone (we took issue with it and Bill Black thrashed it). This one, on an old incident, is far more cutting. Is this due to criticism of the piece over the weekend?

If nothing else, this article enables me to reposition my use of a stupid phone (a Nokia from 2004). Instead of presenting myself as an eccentric or a Luddite, I can instead say I am using a non-Foxconn phone.

Davos – an exercise in denial not solutions Bill Mitchell

Hedge Funds Scramble to Unload Greek Debt New York Times

George Soros predicts riots, police state and class war for America RT. This has been making the rounds….

One in three top companies can’t fill graduate vacancies: Too many leave university without the right skills, say bosses Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). Not necessarily. One of the big complaints is not enough engineers, and if the UK is at all like the US, the reason is engineering jobs no longer pay well enough to be attractive to a lot of students to major in engineering.

Barack Obama’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel Independent (hat tip reader May S)

Romney feels heat from party over taxes Financial Times. Mirabile dictu, even the Republicans are embarrassed.

Fed sets path for three years of low rates Financial Times

How Oklahoma City Avoided Economic Pitfalls NPR (hat tip reader furzy mouse). From last week but still interesting.

Geithner: Obama Wouldn’t Ask Me to Stay in a Second Term Bloomberg. Before you get too cheerful, January 2012 is a long time away, and there are plenty of not as well known bad dudes to fill his shoes.

Morgan Stanley CEO Says Pay-Cut Complaints Would Be ‘Naive’ Bloomberg (hat tip Lambert). Now this, by contrast, cheered me up a smidge:

Morgan Stanley (MS) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Gorman said employees understand why the investment bank had to cut pay, and those who don’t grasp the reasoning need to adjust their attitude.

“You’re naive, read the newspaper, No. 1,” Gorman said he would tell miffed employees, speaking in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “No. 2, if you put your compensation in a one-year context to define your overall level of happiness, you have a problem which is much bigger than the job. And No. 3, if you’re really unhappy, just leave. I mean, life’s too short.”

Bank of America Poses a Grave Threat to U.S. Financial Stability Public Citizen (hat tip Alexis)

The MF Global Bankruptcy Filing: Did the Regulators Sell Out the Public for JP Morgan? Jesse

Antidote du jour:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. ohmyheck

      Cool chart. What do you think “Retrenchment from Globalization (emerging)” means? That Shock-Doctrined countries will kick out the Neoliberals, along with the IMF and the World Bank, and tell those crony, kleptocraptic, corporatist capitalists to stick it where the sun don’t shine?
      And THAT is considered a “Risk”? Well, one can hope so…

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      FA, and their language is so sterile, they are so, so, so, devoid of emotion, of compassion; they are weighing possibilities on golden scales.

      I wonder if this was the emotional state of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette before the guillotine was set up in the public square and the tumbrels started to roll; I wonder if Nicholas and Alexandra had second thoughts about warnings from Rasputin, before the *end* came.

      Who will give the the *royal families* refuge this time?

    3. scraping_by

      It was interesting that the quote from 2011 cast the risk as a perception disorder, a skewed and, one thinks, irrational viewpoint leading to risk. The quote from the next year talks of realities, facts, and tangible consequences. The fairy dust is shaking off?

      Are the bankers being told that truthiness won’t cut it anymore? If so, does the context give them a way to dismiss the discontent caused by their vampire capitalism?

      If they’re not told what they want to hear, they’ll probably just stop listening.

  1. Foppe

    Concerning “Grief Could Join List of Disorders”:
    Having just finished Ames’s Going Postal, I can’t say I’m surprised (and I don’t think FoxConn is the goal here, current managerial practice seem bad enough).
    However (and I guess I’m sort of playing devil’s advocate here) given the fact that people are required to spend ever more time at work in order to attain a living wage, I would humbly suggest that there probably isn’t room for “excessive” grieving any more; though this seems to have more to do with overall income policy than with managerial behavior in particular. Society split into nuclear families makes for splendid isolation..

    1. Bill C

      I see this move as purely a ridiculous sellout to big pharma.

      People who have extended grief can be diagnosed with depression and be given antidepressants, or even with an “adjustment disorder” with depressive symptoms.

      It is likely that those people are already predisposed to depression anyway, but even if not, they could have some kind of trauma in the past that makes them vulnerable to depression at any loss.

      This medicalization of every aspect of human experience is very destructive to our culture, and leads to the extensive pill popping that we already have.

      1. Praedor

        More than likely. So many “diseases” are now being defined by Big Pharma in moves to create markets for their otherwise useless drugs.

        Big Pharma needs to be cut off at the knees, just as much as big banking/finance/Wall Street does.

        1. Bill C

          @Praedor: I couldn’t agree more; the big pharma sector is out of control…..and still constantly trying to smother the market for more “natural” vitamins and supplements. Not natural of course, but compared to a lot of meds prescribed today, these products are like organic raws cows milk…..
          (sorry, no sacrilege meant).

        2. Klassy!

          It is not just pharma. Talk therapists wish to expand their customer ,er, client base and seek reimbursments too.
          We shouldn’t be angry. We shouldn’t grieve. We must say “what is wrong with me?”.
          The coup is almost complete.

          1. Neo-Realist

            Don’t knock cognitive therapy if you’re going to knock drug therapy. What else are people with issues and problems supposed to do? Make others around them miserable? Suicide?

            The bigger issue with talk therapy is that it is too expensive for most people to support, so only the middle class and wealthy in many cases can only afford it.

          2. spooz

            In many cases, group therapy and support groups can be a cheaper alternative to talk therapy. In any case, helping depressed, anxious people develop coping strategies that they can fall back on during difficult times should be a goal in mental health care, imo.

        3. spooz

          Also surprised you would criticize talk therapy. I spent some time in the 90s posting on an adhd usenet newsgroup trying to expose Big Pharma propaganda favoring drugging of children for psychiatric “disorders”. I was a parent and saw so many other parents looking for guidance and getting it from the worst places. When one of my favorite targets, Joseph Biederman was revealed for his ties to Big Pharma, I felt vindicated. I believe he was pushing for bipolar diagnosis of preschoolers at the time.

          1. Klassy!

            I’m not criticizing talk therapy. I do think that some of what we define as mental illness is related to the stress of everyday life– and for many every day life is getting harder. I do also know that those at the lower levels of our class system are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness. Some of this I think could be alleviated with a stronger safety net rather than learning effective coping strategies.
            That is not to say that there is no value to learning these strategies.
            I’m sorry I was misunderstood.

    2. Bill C

      @Foppe: I didn’t mean to post this as a reply or rejoinder to you, but only as a comment to the DSM article. Not trying to be contentious……

      1. Foppe

        Oh, I agree with you entirely on that it is a cop-out/sell-out to solve the social issue with pills. My point was merely that it is not inconceivable that “grieving” is a bigger problem nowadays than back when people could expect leniency from their employers, rather than a pink-slip as soon as they don’t show up for work for a day or two. (Not helped by the fact that people have fewer friends and family to fall back on than they used to.)

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Foppe, right, keep them exhausted on the wheel or the rack, while you rake in the cash from your Big Pharma dividends.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does posting and interacting a lot on the internet mean you are NOT an introvert?

      Or, is posting a lot on the internet what precisely makes you an introvert?

    2. just doug

      But does this mean efforts to create a medical disorder out of introversion will be abandoned?

      I need to watch the movie “Brain Candy” again.

  2. G3

    NYT better pull itself up and stop running puff pieces for sweat shop labor or it will become unfit to exist .

    1. scraping_by

      The NYT is the cheerleader for the New World Order. So intellectual and sophisticated, don’t you know.

      This is another Judith Miller moment, when the enemy is shifted from foreign Muslims to domestic Labor Unions. One wonders if their readers will conclude they need a good bombing, and the survivors will be clearly better off.

      Depends on if they have doubts about the wage earners’ right to keep living, being in the way of their enrichment, or self-actualization, or whatever.

  3. rjs

    the real problem with google’s changes is that eventually they show you only what they think you want to see…someday we’ll all be in our own private thought bubbles, & no one will be introduced to new ways of thinking…

    1. aletheia33

      i hope when that happens, the underground internet (all we will have left to us around that time) will have an alternative “free and open” search engine available, for those of us who still want that and can remember the old days before TPTB succeeded in turning the internet into one big advertisement punctuated by the occasional, faint peep of a real, or maybe just faux “real”, voice.

      1. Binky the Bear

        Ixquick is secure. Duck Duck Goose is the default search engine on firefox for linux mint.

  4. Jessica

    From Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad New York Times.
    “You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive.”

    Bullshit. Apple is an extremely profitable company by any standards. They could easily treat their workers with minimal decency and still deliver the same products and still be quite profitable.
    That they chose to kill people for that extra little bit of super-profit shows what sick bastards they are.

    1. Praedor

      Indeed. Apple came up before all the globalization (slave labor) nonsense. If they could get to their position without slave labor before, they can hold position, perhaps better, by eschewing slave labor.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think Ford would say that Apple would sell more if more American workers can afford their products.

    1. AccruedDisinterest

      dc, That’s a cousin to the alpaca, a llama. Llamas make great guard animals btw, so you’ll see them placed into herds of other critters like alpacas and cows for protection. A coyote will rue the day it challenges a calf or cria under llama’s charge. We could use some llamas roaming the herds of Washington, DC.

  5. rjs

    wtf does this mean?

    The shortfall comes despite rising unemployment and the fact that it is estimated there are at least 48 applications per graduate vacancy. One graduate in six now obtains a first – double the figure from a decade ago – while almost half get a respectable 2:1.


    brits are becoming downright inscrutable…

    1. scraping_by

      In America, we’ve learned that a “shortage” of some sort of worker can only be remedied by mass immigration. The number of foreign intellectual workers allowed is functionally unlimited, with any barriers brushed aside and those who object marginalized. As a bonus, they can be hired off of resumes, which can be tailored to appear to fit the job as advertised. It’s all down on paper.

      I remember my kid’s teachers telling all the little third and fourth graders that anyone who opposed unlimited immigration was “afraid. They’re all afraid.” Then the St. Louis, MO school system declared a teacher shortage and started recruiting overseas. My kids never came home saying that again.

      But of course, this is happening overseas. Nothing like this side of the pond.

  6. Yearning to Learn

    One in three top companies can’t fill graduate vacancies: Too many leave university without the right skills, say bosses

    I’m at work, so can’t say as much as I want to about this topic, but much of this kvetching is pure B.S.

    in the past one hired young graduates understanding that they were intelligent but needed training. Thus, you invested in them and trained them with the idea that they would stay with you for a long time, if not for the duration. A give and take, if you will

    This is no more. Now companies churn and burn. In and out. No holidays, no insurance, no anything. One has to know EXACTLY what they need IMMEDIATELY or it’s a no go. Not even a second interview.

    Although I’ve never been affected by this (I’m a doc, so it doesn’t really apply to us much… yet), I see it all the time in my life.

    I’ve seen kids with top grades and top degrees get passed over for good jobs by Californian companies because they didn’t know a specific program or a specific thing, only to find out later that the job went to an H1B visa or similar.

    Many CEO’s aren’t finding what they need because they aren’t looking.

    1. wunsacon

      >> I’ve seen kids with top grades and top degrees get passed over for good jobs by Californian companies because they didn’t know a specific program or a specific thing, only to find out later that the job went to an H1B visa or similar.

      And when it turns out that that H1B visa recipient lacks the skills listed on the resume the body shop sales guy gave you? Well, at that point, no one in the hiring process wants to admit they’ve made a mistake. In turn, the C-level executives don’t learn they’ve made a strategic error by outsourcing.

      >> Many CEO’s aren’t finding what they need because they aren’t looking.

      The game they play — it’s so obvious, isn’t it??!

        1. wunsacon

          >> Well, the profit from the arbitrage went straight to their bonus, so what’s not to like?

          The “arbitrage” is less *labor* arbitrage and more *quality* and *time* arbitrage. It often takes a few months/years for crappy design decisions and coding changes to spoil an existing product.

          Think of the “fraudulent lending industry” building a house of cards in the finance industry up to 2008. At some point, it becomes hard to avoid admitting: “hey, this is crap.”

          A similar dynamic occurs in software. When that “Minsky Moment” comes, businesses have to spend money and time rewriting the software plus money and time in damage control with customers. (Just like in the finance industry, “no one’s accountable” either.)

    2. vlade

      Well, there are two angles to this.
      The first one is that according to the stats I saw last year being an eng graduate you have one of the highest likelyhoods of not actually getting a job (even with a title from a good uni). So there are grads, but they are not hired. Don’t know the details behind this though.

      The other angle, which is less about grads per se, is that I hear quite a bit from company owners something along the lines: “I’d like to hire local young. The problem is that their English is worse than of a young Pole I can hire! And he (Pole, especially in a less-skilled, non-grad jobs) works harder, has better work morale etc.. .”. This is of course anecdotal, and I haven’t seen any serious study going one or the other way.

      That said, BBC did a doco few years ago on “immigrants taking jobs”, and offered “immigrant” jobs to a selection of jobless UK people (in a part of the country that had job problem too IIRC). There was a very very clear generational attitude gap problem. That is, older people (40+ I think) in general took the jobs and did them. The young ones in general didn’t (some didn’t even turn up, some left quickly, some did poor job etc.).
      Again, it’s just anecdotal, not a controlled research.

      1. ambrit

        Dear vlade;
        It’s all a matter of expectations I’d posit. I see something similar where I live, (the American Deep South.) The younger cohort has been raised on Inside Edition and Housewives of Finance, etc, and have a seriously mismatched sense of their own importance and societal worth with ‘cold hard fact.’ Also, they are indeed generally better able to see the con being played on them. They are bombarded with a tidal wave of unassociated data every day; i-pads, androids, G-4’s, and the rest send huge amounts of data points into their minds. Too much to assimilate at once, but oh, watch what happens when their subconscious works on it all while they sleep! I’m not surprised most young westerners are filed with anxiety. (I don’t know enough to comment on Japan and the rest of Asia. Anyone out there seen the state of Aisian youth lately?)
        Another factor not addressed yet is the modern state of medicine and how it plays into the labour pool turmoil. During previous economic revolutions, (the First and Second Industrial revolutions, the Enclosure Period, etc.,) die off in surplus labour was a major balancing factor. Disease was King. If you were unlucky enough to have been ‘turned out’ you faced a pretty good chance of dieing from malnourishment and associated diseases. Today, modern medicine has not only extended lifetimes and severely cut infant and birthing mother mortality, but it has curbed previously major killers of adults. If you are a prosocial thinker, you see that as an opportunity to expand production along with demand. The caveat is that you must equitably spread the fruits of said expansion amongst the populace. If however, you were a ‘rugged individualist’ sort, you’d try your d——t to sequester those profits for your very lonesome.
        If I were a conspirational theory type, I’d suspect some Bilateral Commission or Obscuratti were engineering the dismantling of the Welfare State apparatii around the world so as to return to those halcyon days when the wealthy could retire to their country estates and live out the fabuleaux of Petrarch or De Sade while the pestilence raged unchecked amongst the rabble.
        I, though, am just an upper lower class ignoramus.
        Nothing to see here. Move on.

        1. Lambert Strether

          The pestilence will be checked for some — those able to afford the drugs that fund the big estates that spread the plague that requires the drugs. It’s all in The Space Merchants (Pohl and Kornbluth).

        2. vlade

          Agree on expectations. Few years ago I intervied a young grad, who made it very clear that if he wasn’t a managing director in two years he wouldn’t take the job. I was polite enough to start laughing hysterically only after he left.

          Re disease – that and wars… Proper ones, too…

        3. Frank

          A friend of mine is a contractor. He has a medium sized job he’s doing on public land and thus has many Americorps volunteers at his disposal. College age kids that have signed up to learn skills and a little money. Half male and half females. All are basically useless.

          He shows them how to do something simple like screw boards together for a rack and then they do a few and stand around waiting further instructions with twenty more racks to be built. “there is just no motivation…they all expect someone else to do the work and they can ‘design’ it using their laptops or smart phones.” Even the architects are just stringing standard stuff together that they pulled off line and think that they are thinking creatively.”

          This country needs woodshop and metal shop classes to be mandatory for all students that want them. I have used the techniques I learned in Jr. High shop classes far more than the math I learned. The interrelationship of physical objects, their manipulation, working with materials, safety, creativity, problem solving all are lacking in kids I see today.

          1. Frank

            Addendum, a fine job interview would be to sit the subject down with a screw gun, a box of screws and some pre-cut pieces of wood and ask them to assemble a box.

            Worked with a parent volunteer at building some stage scenery in our kid’s school. Really simple stuff.
            The guy I worked with was as coordinated as a slug. Brazenly went where no woman could be convinced to go. He couldn’t do one simple thing without smashing his fingers or punching holes in his hands. A highly respected CEO of a big financial services corporation too.

            That was the moment in which I realized that our country is doomed.

          2. aletheia33


            no no you don’t get it. haven’t you heard?
            the important thing now has nothing to do with assembling a box.
            (that is OUR job. we wouldn’t dream of trusting you with it.)
            the key thing we’ve said we are looking for is can you THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.
            that’s what these young people understand and you fail to grasp.

            fortunately, very few of these young people can really see the actual box.
            what matters is that we can make them think they can,
            and make them think they are thinking outside it when they click on one of the many tiny fantasy buttons we’ve set up in it to keep them in there.
            we, OTOH, are very good at thinking and living outside that box.

            with warm regards,

            your overlords
            (from inside the box they don’t know they’re in because they, too, are so distracted by the one they are playing with. … )

          3. aletheia33

            @frank II,

            i personally am proud to say that i would pass the screw gun box assembly test. it would not be a perfect or pretty box, but it would be a box and capable of holding things.

            to generalize wildly (not based on the brilliance i would show at this task, though i do acknowledge i’m female and proud of it), i wouldn’t be surprised if far more females than males would pass this test, with the same just-good-enough level of competence as myself, on a random sampling.

            not that one could necessarily extrapolate that result in relation to the “higher” levels of thought that the “higher echelons” of the corporate world must be able to command–that is, not that females aren’t as able as males to become wonderfully incompetent executives. just that i bet the competent female executives are more likely than their male counterparts to also be able to slap together that wooden box.

          4. Crazy Horse

            No No No, you’ve got it all wrong. Quickest way to get fired from a job is to think creatively. Doing so challenges your boss’s authority. And he got his job by working hard on his knees just below his boss’s belt buckle.

        4. different clue

          I have long suspected that the OverClass Strategy Lords have quietly been asking themselves for years: “how can we kill 6 billion people and make it look like an accident?” Of course if I had any courtroom quality evidence about that, I’d either be part of the planning group or the executing group or I’d be dead.

          So instead I ask myself, how would the OverClass change the health-and-disease matrix around us all so that the carefully fostered deaths of 6 billion people will indeed look like 6 billion accidents? And how can I avoid being one of those accidents? Obviously one way would be to destroy the global public health system and the new-epidemics-surveillance system through slow attrition (“austerity budgeting”). Another way would be to fill the environment and the body of every person living within that environment with carcinogens and diabetogens and immune-system compromisers and destroyers. What would those background health-destroyers be? How might the suitably paranoid individual load up his/her body with immunogens and carcinostats and diabetostats to counter the efforts of the carefully fostered diseaseogenic inputs into our environment and our bodies?

      2. Chas

        I think another problem is that all these companies expect amazing graduates but aren’t prepared to give corresponding wages, benefits or job security. The really good graduates aren’t going to work for these kind of companies.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Chas, this was Milton Friedman’s struggle (a la “Mein Kampf”): how to get all of the money to the .01% and their trickle-down 1% shills, so that there was virtually nothing left for “the rest.” The goal was the race to the bottom for ALL labor, blue or white, by FORCING labor to work for peanuts or STARVE!

    3. alex

      “Californian companies”

      Greetings from the East Coast. I can assure you it’s not limited to California.

      Yves mentioned pay, but I think an even bigger issue is job security (due to H-1B’s, L-1’s, offshoring, age discrimination, etc.). It’s hard to find high school seniors who are smart enough for an engineering program but dumb enough to think there’s a future in it.

    1. Finance Addict

      He can’t be serious. At least Blankfein has the sense to keep his mouth shut these days. Dimon, on the other hand, seems to have appointed himself as lead PR hack for bankers everywhere.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      dcblogger LINK above leads also to “OCCUPY DAVOS” — participant says they are against “One dollar one vote” and for “One person one vote.”

      This would make for a great global Occupy chant. Who will get the name of the young man on the video, in order to give proper acknowledgment?

  7. wunsacon

    >> Grief Could Join List of Disorders New York Times. So people are supposed to be happy robots all the time so they can work at Foxconn productivity levels. I think we had better hope the Singularity comes soon. The human race is desperately in need of new management.

    I sooo agree…with you and with Arthur Miller:
    (h/t Century of the Self, Adam Curtis)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another school of thought – Instead of new management, a new human model will be offered up by Nature.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Thanks for your LINK to “Arthur Miller Suffering” on

      The clip is very brief, so the quote can go on Twitter. History shows that Miller was correct, we learn through suffering; but this process is exactly what a culture gone “power mad” wants. The BigBosses don’t want us to feel or think.

      1. aletheia33

        here’s the miller quote, from wikiquote (his page there is a delight):

        My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness, when in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people’s suffering; that the problem is not to undo suffering or to wipe it off the face of the earth but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to cure ourselves of it constantly and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call “happiness.” There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him. Of defining him rather than letting him go. It’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad.
        1963 interview, used in The Century of the Self (2002)

        –i’m glad he said “so much of psychoanalysis” and not just “psychoanalysis”. as i understand it, a good psychoanalyst sees her job not so much to alleviate suffering, though that generally happens, as to help bring self-understanding, clarify, insight, just what miller says: “to make [suffering] inform our lives”–to enable the self-examined, awakened life. learn through suffering. he is far from the first to admonish his audience to do so.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          aletheia33, a good cognitive therapist will help you to adapt to the reality of the loss, while *re-framing* the events of your life, including the loss.

        2. ambrit

          Dear althea33;
          The problem as I encountered it earlier on in my life was that, below a certain level of resources, the standard response to ‘feelings of worthlessness and despair’ was almost universally medication. My personal experiences with medication and state sponsored ‘help’ were uniformly counterproductive. Most poor people do not have access to competent cognitive therapy. Add to this the immense financial incentives pharmacology presents, and you have a recipe for modernity.
          I finally mustered the courage and diverted sufficient funds from elsewhere to undertake the ‘talking cure.’ Comparing modern mental health workers with shamans is no insult. The two perform similar functions for the individual and society. I may run the risk of being ridiculous, but it helps enormously to learn and properly consider other viewpoints on the conduct of life.
          That’s my two cents.

          1. aletheia33

            @ onova and ambrit,

            sorry, i’m a bit confused, as i’m well aware of and not in disagreement with anything either of you said here. did my comment sound somehow oblivious or in contradiction to either of your points of view? i must not have been very clear.

            my point was simply (perhaps much simpler than yours), while admiring miller’s beautiful statement, that i wouldn’t attribute the problem he describes to psychoanalysis in particular (though in 1963 things may have looked quite different), and it’s my understanding that psychoanalytic practice was (and still is, what’s left of it) anything but loath to confront and encounter suffering as material to be worked with and to seek illumination through. it’s also my understanding that learning through suffering is an ancient teaching that has been passed down through western institutions for centuries, including the christian church and the arts, and that miller’s praise for the alchemy of suffering, while very acutely put, is far from exclusive to him.

            please enlighten me further as i fear i am completely missing your points. forgive me!

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            aletheia33, you are right, and so is Arthur Miller. Sometimes it takes a cognitive therapist to start thinking a certain way about tragic losses. If you suffer enough of them, you become your own cognitive therapist, meaning that you do fully suffer the loss, and you use everything in your non-pharmaceutical *survival kit* to make it to through the transition: music, poetry, beauty in nature, writing, company or solitude, etc. I’m only speaking from experience, I’m no expert.

          3. ambrit

            Dear altheia33;
            Please do not in the least feel that I (and I feel sure LBR also,) harbour any discontent with your comment. I personally value your insights.
            I do not presume to speak for LBR. He has a greater experience with the subject at hand than I. His insights spring from a, shall we say, more intensive study of the subject and its’ processes.
            I was somewhat viscerally reacting to the assumption so common in our society that the best of everything, especially medical treatments, was freely available to everyone. Especially as regards mental health, such is decidedly not the case.
            Good cognitive therapy is not cheap, and limits its’ benefits to a small circle of interested parties; the therapist, the patient, and the patients family and friends. Drug therapy is relatively cheaper, since drug regimens are given financial precedence, are less demanding of officials time, and are, most importantly, easily quantifiable. As befitting the regemented nature of bureaucracies everywhere, drug therapy is preferred because of its’ impersonal nature. Take a pill and answer a few questions, the process is done. Real cognitive therapy requires the establishment of a personal relationship between the parties involved. When trust is established, a good therapist can educate, as it were, the ‘client’ to his or her own foibles, and, to conjure the shade of Buber, ‘point the way’ towards a better life. That process can be long and difficult, and very hard, if not impossible, to quantify. Bureaucrats look askance at it. It is not promoted for the mass of people. Even Freud advised psychoanalysts to place a high value on their services, supposedly as a spur to get patients to take the process most seriously.
            I have experienced the process in both forms, and can testify to the superiority of the talking cure. There are some mental diseases that are just that, pathologies. One form of schizophrenia comes to mind. Drugs are justified in such cases. However, and it’s a big however, a very large portion of those mental ‘problems’ for which drugs are prescribed are not true pathologies. The drugs are usually a form of warehousing of patients. An easy way to sweep those pesky difficult, or non-renumerative cases under the official rug. This is the source of my sour grapes, the system itself.
            Let me again declare my solidarity with you and your questioning mind. I expressed myself badly earlier and apologize. Keep up the good work.

          4. aletheia33

            ah thanks both of you for your votes of confidence, and please ambrit, do not believe you expressed yourself badly. and, i’m very glad to hear you elaborate on your thoughts and what you share of your experience. it’s interesting and useful. thank you.

          5. LeonovaBalletRusse

            ambrit, thanks for the explication. I’ll just add a bit more from experience.

            Dante spoke for us all: “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita/mi ritrovai per una selva oscura/che la diritta vita era smarrita.” — “In the middle of the road [journey] of our life/I came again to myself in a dark wood/where the right way was lost.” (Dante: “La Divina Commedia: Inferno”)

            It is “in the middle of the road [journey] of our life” — ca. age 30-35 — that our first programmed means of existence won’t work any more for us. We wake up confused, and realize that we must go through hell (to question former authorities, former ways of living, of learned mal-adaptation, of deceit and self-deceit) to get *out of the box* of “the world given” in order to be our own authority as adults in the world. We recognize the validity of the dictum to “Know thyself” and embark on the way to our *individuation* [Jung] as whole persons. Gail Sheehy covers this in her book, “Passages,” noting that a critical passage may be delayed, but never avoided. We must “mature” in mind as well as in body, bidding farewell to juvenile/youthful *certainty*.

            This transition is best done *hard core* — without recourse to pharmaceuticals, which may have been crutches for survival before in our pathological *world given*. I was fortunate to have an extremely intelligent, compassionate but realistic Cognitive Therapist to help me through the Inferno, as I threw off the old delusions and stepped into the world as a responsible adult with *changed ways* of learning and of behaving, within a skeptical frame of reference (I learned to profit from past experience, as I negotiated the *new world* without illusion, insofar as this were possible. I took a stand against abuse and exploitation, not only for myself but for everyone, and declared my will to serve humanity, insofar as possible, especially as a foe of deceit and fraud in every form.

            The rest is history. I did work with a Cognitive Therapist thrice thereafter, when I felt *stuck* on my own. For over twenty years I have been my own Cognitive Therapist, through periods of grave, radical loss, grief and recovery, growing more and more in wisdom and compassion. I recognize that many persons do harm through malice, but most do harm through ignorance.

            This confession may be helpful to others.

        3. aletheia33

          i have read this. it is a good statement from a strong heart. i hope you will perhaps repost it elsewhere where it will find more readers than it may find on this thread so late in the thread’s life span.

          the stand you have taken is unusual and inspiring. thank you for taking the time to write this account of inner maturation. i do think confessions such as yours can be helpful to others as we are all living and groping our way through this darkening time of the decay of our current social paradigm, laying the ground for the emergence of the next one, unable to know with any certainty what new form it will crystallize into, or when.

          the ground is going to keep changing under humanity’s feet, and our world will continue to appear more and more unstable. there will be no return to a prior more apparently stable state. everyone seems to sense this, but no one can predict the time span of this ending/beginning cusp. we can be sure, though, that the kinds of skills you speak of having mastered here are going to more and more needed by all. thank you.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I was an introvert once…sigh.

      Then I paid my therapist to cure that.

      Wonder if I can get a refund if I return his cure?

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Was that your koan? “I was an introvert once.”
        BTW why in Japan is it known as Zazen, when it should be called Zendo?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Dear Ambrit, to paraphrase Socrates, I don’t know.

          I think zazen refers to the inactivity of sitting quitely while zendo refers to the building you are being inactive in.

  8. Up the Ante

    Gensler/Goldman, the popped balloon called Schneiderman, I’m wondering why Mary Schapiro hasn’t been ‘featured’ yet in a central role, and am daring the president to nominate Corzine as his treasury secretary.

    You know what comes to mind the most is the guy who does/did the role call votes for Congress, don’t know his name, but he’d call out every time like he was proclaiming the revered, esteemed govt. of the U.S. every time. Deeper voice, as if overriding all opposition to criticism. A clown, in short.

    1. Up the Ante

      Perhaps Schapiro has a role,

      Mark Melin of Opalesque, “This is the first of three articles that details questionable, behind the scenes meetings and special treatment that negatively impacted investor protections.

      – This first article details a critical meeting where core investor protections were jeopardized. – The second article details tampering of critical MF Global documents at the SEC. – The third article provides names, dates and topics of critical meetings that took place between government regulators and Mr. Corzine that likely influenced the outcome of regulatory action. “

  9. TenderBig

    The whole skills mismatch thing is baffling. There is a supposed shortage of engineers. Shouldn’t the “market” correct this problem through some combination of higher salaries and work environment where engineers are not treated like dirt?

    1. Praedor

      No because the system has been irrevocably broken by neoliberalism. Pay increases for labor is a priori to be ruled out. The ratchet is on executive pay only: it can and must only go higher but to do that requires labor pay to stay flat or decline. That is now accepted as a physical law of how business/capitalism/society is SUPPOSED to work.

      The old rules (or actual reality) don’t apply anymore. We are now stuck with economic’s version of creationism (nonsense taught as fact): neoliberalism.

      1. aletheia33

        and at least with creationism, you can know if your kids are being taught it at school. compared to neoliberalism, fighting creationism looks like a picnic.

        with neoliberalism, the vast majority of humanity still has no idea what has hit them.

        so we must get the truth out to everyone.

        we have got to find an effective way to counteract the powerful tool of obfuscation of law and economics that the elites have been using to the max to prevent busy, tired, working people from even learning or understanding how they’ve been and are being crushed.

        will it help that so many of those who write the texts of neoliberalism are not particularly bright (except in self-advancement) mouthpieces of its ideology, and many of these texts are simply rehashings of slight “insights,” reworked to gain advancement or meet publication quotas at institutions of “higher learning”? not clear. see the nazi party’s complete takeover of academic and intellectual life in germany.

        neoliberalism needs to be unmasked as a brutal ideology dressed in the sheep’s clothing of its academic trappings. it’s nothing new to say that’s what it is. but personally, it has taken me some significant time to learn it, lately and largely by reading this blog. so how do we remove the emperor’s clothes so that those who do not have the requisite resources, time, energy, interest, and critical thinking skills to read a blog like this one can clearly see the pathetic naked scarecrow they’re mindlessly supporting?

        unfortunately, just losing one’s job and/or home, while it does open one’s eyes for sure, does not seem to concentrate the mind very well. we’ve got to think how to spread the truth, how to bypass the mainstream media and reach the people on the ground who really do not understand fully what a well-organized and entrenched attack has been organized against them.

        if we cannot manage to teach them what they’re up against and how great an emergency we’re in, make them understand the depth of the deception that the mainstream media that they rely on engages in, the total brutalization of our society seems inevitable.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          aletheia33 — “The Ideology of Tyranny” by Guido Giacomo Preparata. It’s all there.

          1. aletheia33

            thanks onova, and yikes! it’s not a cheap book to get hold of. i’ve ordered it via interlibrary loan, hope i’ll manage to read it in the 2 weeks i’ll have. it looks very promising.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            aletheia, you’ll have no problem with it. It’s extremely dense, but Preparata is such a clear thinker and writer that it’s a joy to read his books. He has great humor and flair, too. He has a website you might like to check out. I think you will enjoy it, and appreciate his genius in putting it all together.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Praedo, the race to the bottom for labor blue & white is pure Freidman and University of Chicago. They were real S.O.B.s, no mistake.

          1. Jim

            You beat me to Chile. But Mexico isn’t far behind.

            Romney’s tax liability would have been significantly less in that country, where the capital gains and dividend taxes are 0%.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            ambrit, that’ an interesting comparison. It makes me think of Allende, the CIA and neocon economic *reform in Chile thanks the HK et al; and of Arbenz, the CIA, and United Fruit in Guatamala. Do you think that Leo Strauss, Milton Freidman, and the UChi *experts* paved the yellow brick road for the execution of “The Shock Doctrine” in our *Homeland*?

            On YouTube, there’s a video about Arbenz, the CIA, and United Fruit in Guatamala. Howard Hunt is the first speaker. Check it out, and let us know what you think.

          3. Skippy


            Giving, is an act punishable by death. Ownership is everything and a profit will be had, sovereignty non with standing.

    2. Jim Sterling

      “Skills mismatch” is the excuse for continuing to cry “labor shortage!” in a time of unemployment. We had a company reorganization recently where the skilled old hands were let go with a small severance package, and new cheaper workers were taken on in a rehiring round. No way did they have the skills the company said it was missing. They were just cheaper.

      Labor shortage is just the new “servant problem”. Employers never have and never will think the workers are skilled enough, cheap enough, or grateful enough to please them.

        1. aletheia33

          i hear this in my town, too. “there aren’t enough people living here of the kind we are looking to hire.” well, that’s because those kind of people generally don’t want to settle for what you’re paying.

          some do, they’re willing to make the tradeoff of lower earnings for our beautiful, community-centered environment here. i’ve made that tradeooff and find it worth it. but if i were raising young kids… don’t think it would fly.

          then again, locally, it’s mostly small companies that are just getting by themselves, so what can they really do about their low salaries? and is selling your environment out to bring in bigger corporations with no local allegiance worth it? so far, thankfully, we, on the whole, think not.

          my county actually is focusing on technical and career training for h.s. grads, i’m glad to see nc readers recognizing that as not so bad a way to work with what’s possible now.

        2. ambrit

          In the ‘olde dayes’ youngsters would trade off lower wages at the beginning for on the job training. It wasn’t quite fair, but it worked. Today employers expect younglings to take on crushing, non-dischargable debt to learn how to do the job before they are hired. Looking around where I now work, a big DIY Boxxstore, the mismatch between the skils sets and job skills required for competency is astounding. The waste involved in this form of cart before the horse social engineering is staggering. No wonder the average ‘man and woman on the street’ is leery of big business. Not only do they end up with marginal quality of product and service, but they directly and indirectly have to finance the whole mess!
          I’d love to see an old muscleman type picture called “The Last Days of Wall Street!” Thrill to the traders strip club orgy! Chills will go up and down your spine as the Sheriff evicts the luckless homeowners! Cheer as the Hero tears down the Temple of Mammon!! Nothing this thrilling has been seen since “The Crash of 29!” COMING SOON TO A SOCIETY NEAR YOU!!!

      1. whoknu

        I agree. The ‘anecdotes’ above smack of just an excuse. Those telling them have no idea how many poorly trained trainees there are.

        I have been involved in hiring and training since 1983 in many levels and found that there are those who can and those that can’t. Those that can’t, need training, those that can need specialized training. We used to say, “would they be able to do it if you held a gun to their head?” That focused the mind and made us trainers realize that we just had not found the right method to motivate them to learn.

        In my early days my employers were willing to invest a lot of money in my education and my current employer is surprised at the array of knowledge I have. They would never dream of paying for me to get that knowledge now. It is somewhat specialized and its silly to expect employees to come to any job fully trained or even ready to be trained.

  10. jpmist

    The NYT Apple article’s closing quote is worth repeating:

    “You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive.

    “And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”

    Count me as a customer who cares less about a reinvented iPhone.

    1. ambrit

      Dear jpmist;
      I must be a complete berk then; I don’t even carry around a cell phone. My lady keeps it at home with her.

      1. aletheia33

        how is google going to me for looking up that funny word berk?

        no ambrit, you are no berk. i too am determined not to cave. my household of two humans and one dog does not contain a cell phone, and neither does either of our cars. so far, our friends have managed to put up with it so far, or like us have abstained. for people with children, it seems unavoidable.

        who can afford to buy all this stuff, and then buy the new versions again and again? (don’t answer that, i know who, and why.)

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        ambrit, I seldom carry mine, and mostly leave it off, sitting on my desk at home. I still have my land line. I just hate the idea that the Security State can track my every move from my cell phone even when it’s turned off.

        Of course, I grew up before the Total Police State took effect, when people enjoyed freedom away from the phone, and a life of privacy.

  11. Sock Puppet

    The introvert article is great and maybe helps explain the graduate job problem. Introverts may choose the right majors but don’t have the “teamwork” skills that companies think they need.

    Meanwhile I’d hire these (introverted but team capable) guys: “Toronto teens send Lego man on an a balloon odyssey 24 kilometres high”–toronto-teens-send-lego-man-on-a-balloon-odyssey-24-kilometres-high?bn=1

  12. Jim3981

    My impression is the so called “conservative states” don’t follow that political talking points we are spoon fed on TV of lowering taxes in better for the community.

    The states do what is practical. They balance budgets, and raise taxes if necessary to invest in infrastructure projects that will benefit the community.

    However, the communities expect people to pull their own weight are a little slower to take on taxes to subsidize social programs for those perceived not to be pulling as much weight in the community.

    Just my impression while living in a liberal area and visiting more conservative states.

    1. Valissa

      That sounds right to me. I know someone who is fairly high up in MA gov circles whose responsible for heading up all the various homeless programs. He’s doing some great work to try to improve state homelessness programs and save money (apparently the shelters have become a money pit). The last time I saw him (he’s an old college buddy of my husband’s) he was talking about going to a conference on the issue and I asked him about the differences in treatment of the homeless and homeless programs between “red” states and “blue” states. He said there really wasn’t any and seemed surprised at my question. Since this guy is a huge fan of Democrats and highly partisan, I found that very interesting.

    2. ambrit

      Dear Jim3981;
      One of the big complications with that theory is the ever present spectre of corruption. My town has sold bonds to upgrade its’ obsolescent warer and sewer system. The project is slated to begin this year and run for several years in segments. The taxes have been allocated. Fine so far, but wait, the scuttlebutt around the courthouse is that the contractors have sold the city a ‘bill of goods.’ So far, no actual work has begun, and the extra taxes are piling up in the city coffers. Who says Rednecks are stupid! (Actually, we have an African American mayor and decent ‘minority’ representation in the city administration. Equal opportunity IS the law of the land, even when it comes to ‘questionable’ activities.)

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Jim3981, even if the projects happen to benefit the community, you can be sure that the biggest bonanza is raked off the top for family, friends, and favors.

      1. René

        Lies lead to disaster. Since we don’t have control over the “megaphone”, all we can do for now is to counteract the lies with fact based information via the internet, a.k.a. the infowar.

  13. Bakasone

    The Independent piece on Obama’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel isn’t worth reading, just the usual Israel-bashing. Amazing though that the author thought Obama was any different from the previous bosses. Some people never learn.

  14. mk

    Heard this on the radio yesterday, Kosher Certified Cell Phones, I would love one of these phones:
    At Rose Communications, the company which sells the phones, Maxi Rose said there are only about 20,000 to 30,000 Ultra-Orthodox families in the U.K., not enough to make it practical for a cellular network to offer Kosher phone service.

    “So no network would come really and make those changes,” Rose said. “So the changes had to made from the hardware and software in the device, rather than from network level. So the devices are modified. No cameras allowed, no SMS allowed, no Internet allowed.”

    Rose says the phones have been a big hit. Not just to protect children, but among adults who prefer the simplicity. He said there’s also been a kind of crossover appeal. Most of his online sales are to non-Jewish customers around the world, in places like Saudi Arabia.

  15. jerry 101

    A republican law maker wants to start enforcing an obscure Florida law that requires publicly funded stadiums to be used as homeless shelters when the stadium isn’t in use. The law is on the books already, but there isn’t an enforcement mechanism. So, this law will fine the teams for not running the shelters (the story says that none of the stadiums are believed to be running homeless shelters).;_ylt=AqVFdj99xne5WQw70nlS_AoRvLYF

    This will affect everything from Miami’s new baseball stadium to spring training facilities.

    This is a great law. At least the public gets some benefit from these horrific stadium deals.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If some taxpayers want bread and circuses diversions, they should do it with their own Libertarian money – privately financed stadiums with higher priced tickets.

  16. Gareth

    Does anyone think that the U.S. would risk an elite Seal Unit to rescue two civilian hostages in Somalia unless one of those hostages was a CIA asset working under cover of an NGO?

    1. Up the Ante

      That has its moment considering how long ago she’d been abducted?
      The wheels of rescue grind slowly, but they do grind, is it?

    2. CB

      And here I thought it was an election year stunt. Obama’s flight suited mission accomplished appearance on the carrier deck moment.

    3. scraping_by

      I was thinking it was a “good news” story for the American Empire. A real feel-good for killing people.

      Part of Barry showing he’s not just another banker’s lackey. He’s a patriotic banker’s lackey, and should be the better of the bad choices this fall.

      Now, you think Team Obama’s going to do anything about the Arab middlemen in Abu Dhabi and Dubai who negotiate and bank the multimillion dollar ransoms for these gangsters? No? You say it’s immoral but not illegal? Oh…

  17. Susan the other

    Hedge Funds Scramble to Unload Greek Debt. Just how will the ECB arrange an “arcane debt swap” to strip 55bnEuros in Greek bonds from its portfolio? What a clever trick.

  18. CB

    I don’t knowingly buy anythng made by Foxconn, but I’m sure I have things I don’t know about. They make peices and parts for lots of other companies.

    1. aletheia33

      @CB (et al. on this thread),

      isn’t foxconn just the tip of the iceberg?
      to stop furthering this kind of thing, doesn’t one basically have to “change one’s life” at the most basic level?
      it’s not really so easy to boycott the company store, is it?

      i was raised by two people of great creativity and principle who sincerely, adamantly chose to participate in/support “the system” only at the minimal level they considered necessary. the costs of such a choice are very real and are undertaken by very few.

      OTOH, targeted boycotts do seem one of the best ways of shaming the CEOs involved, and historically does seem an effective way to make them shape up.

  19. Aquifer

    from article on Grief:

    “a proposed new diagnosis, “attenuated psychosis syndrome,” which would be given to people who experience delusional thinking and hallucinations and sometimes say things that do not make sense.”

    Hmmm, these guys must have watching the political debates and the SOTU …..

  20. WhyGoogle,Why?

    What are your favorite, “non-evil”
    >Email services
    >News readers?

    would love to find substitutes and start closing account. Thanks all.

    1. Valissa

      Applying a purity code to anything is not all the useful, IMO. I think I know what you mean… you want to know where there is more reliable, trustworthy news without the propaganda (reminder: the phrase “non-evil” is a religious term). All information should always be regarded with healthy skepticism, even while some sources are more credible than others (completely trusting none). We all have to develop our own truth-detectors and bullshit-detectors, and the ability to be comfortable with ambiguity, as we try and figure out what’s going on and what to believe.

      1. WhyGoogle,Why?

        oh – I just meant, much more pragmatically, if google is going to be “marketing” to me based on my set of google reader links, I would just as soon bail and use a different newsreader that is not being observed by the boys in marketing at the googleplex.

        so not really a question about news sources. just asking if anyone has a different newsreader application or site that they like.

        1. Valissa

          Good luck with that! Even this site has targeted ads. We live in a sea of marketing and advertisement after all. It’s how sites make money and stay in business. Then there’s the social media aspect of people rec’ing news articles like Digg & Reddit, but that only means things are popular.

          1. Valissa

            Actually I do like the Google News aggregator because they allow you to add custom news categories based on your own chosen keyword searches. I think that minimizes the marketed articles. I’ve added stuff like “economics”, “globalization” (spelled the other way too) and “geopolitics” and it works great. I’ve learned about all sorts of news sources that way. I would have mentioned this before but many people consider google to one of the evil ones now.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I’m suspicious of places that can be manipulated–like Reddit (or Digg which I haven’t really looked used) or Daily Kos–the places with “karma” and upvotes, etc. On reddit, for instance, the politics subreddit appears to have been taken over by Democratic agents and other paid trolls. Either that or the herd really is suspectible to propaganda and as more users are attracted the usefullness of the upvote/downvote thingy diminishes. The herd gets dumber rather the a smarter smaller herd.

            Currently, the /conspiracy subreddit is my main source of information (it hasn’t been taken over by paid trolls like the main site, yet) (in addition to this blog and a few others).

            I’m not joking about that and I’m proud of it–I love the skepticism that those readers have toward the news. Sure, the cynicism may lead them astray once in a while but they are much more likely to get to the truth of more things than the conventionally naive.

    2. sedeer

      I’ve been searching with Duck Duck Go in place of Google for some time now, not only out of a concern for privacy but also because I don’t like being trapped in a bubble based on my previous searches. It’s worked pretty well for me.

      I use Google Reader for news, but I created a Google account which I only use for news, which should limit how much it gets tied into my other online activities.

      If you’re reliant on Google for mail, I’m not sure there’s much you can do about that.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Another three years of ‘death of interst income by a thousand rate cuts.’ – the Chinese might have invented it (maybe), but it is being perfected here in America.

    For once, the roles are reversed.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      EmilianoZ, thanks for the link to piece citing good work by Yves:

      Taibbi: “as Yves Smith points out: …” Congratulations, Yves.

      Can there be any doubt that Oreobama is *Shill in Chief*? or that his partners in crime are BigCorporate/Banker shills as well?

    2. Up the Ante

      quoting Taibbi,
      “populism: if the president was looking to associate himself with that word, he did a good job, since there were literally hundreds of headlines about Obama’s “populism” the day after his State of the Union speech. ”

      And Matt, every one, literally every one, was planted.

      A lol is in order.

      “.. Breuer and .. Khuzami .. both men, .. targets of their own committee’s investigation. ”

      “The administration is clearly listening to the Occupy movement. Whether it’s now acting on their complaints, or just trying to look like it’s doing something, ..”

      It may be the final deflection of interest away from the OCC.

  22. Frank

    Problem: Disappearing seed varieties.

    Partial solution: dissemination of rare seeds and seed saving and rediscovery of rare seeds at the household gardener level.


    Learn about organic agriculture and gardening

    The oldest and most respected and “purest” organization

    Finally the biggest and largest variety of seeds is distributed and collected by a great organization although their founder Kent Whealy was driven out by the billionheiress inheritor of the Goldman Insurance fortune.
    Wall Street is even muscling in on genetic diversity.

    Details of the internal struggles within this great organization which is still worthwhile obtaining seeds from although we wouldn’t give them one cent, they have the Goldman billion$ at their disposal.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Frank, if Wall Street is muscling in on natural seeds, can Monopoly on Seeds by the .01% be far behind? Natural, uncontaminated seeds for their progeny, and crap seeds for ours?


  23. LeonovaBalletRusse

    The Google fallacy (phallusy) is its ASSUMPTION that what whatever ad we click on, or whatever we search reveals something about us apart from sheer curiosity. If we search a new drug on the market, to them its “because” we have the health problem that drug might cure. If we are female and click on some ad featuring a hot chick on a motorcycle, it must be that we are lesbians. Etc., Etc.

    Because Google BOXES us (like “Boxing Oscar”) as MARKS for Marketers, they give their Corporate Paymasters OUR search and click information AS IF it said something personal about US apart from our curiosity.

    For this reason, I have quit clicking on ads (I don’t want to be STALKED), and I keep searches to an absolute minimum.

    But now millions of naive Google MARKS have been BOXED for fleecing or the kill by Corporate GreedMeisters, and forever. Google is a Corporate Shill. Are we surprised that Google is a Corporate Shill? when their motto is: *Do no evil*?

    When we gonna learn?

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    On Dwindling Food Variety – National Geographic (hat tip Lambert). Yes, it is from last year but bet you missed it!


    The thing about Yin energy and Zen intuitiveness is that even if you have not read it, somehow you can sense it (throught the Force, for those of you with high midi-chlorian counts, I guess) about the dwindling food variety.

    1. aletheia33


      yeah, and you can also just look around your local supermarket to see how much real food is actually there.

      can you explain “midi-chlorian”? (i’d google it, but i’m too risk-averse)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I my not be spelling it correctly (midichlorian or midi-chlorian), but let’s just say Luke Skywalker supposedly has the total count as Anakin.

        1. aletheia33

          okay okay, i looked it up.

          so, i know i’ve got enough of them to be tuned in to the possibilities, but not enough to actually carry them out. guess i’ll just have to live with that. what’s YOUR guys’ count? how about it leonovaballetrusse? craazyman? valissa?

          as for the alternate universes i briefly glimpsed while looking into this matter, i concluded i’d better come straight back home to the one i know best, not looking behind me, and just stick to managing the world i have to pay my mortgage in, which i can barely get my head around as it is.

          maybe i should change my handle to cluelesseia.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What one’s count is at birth is not important, according to one Jedi legend.

            It has been rumored that one can increase one’s count by hard work, such as by watching Star War movies repeatedly.

          2. ambrit

            Dear MLTPB;
            I have heard it rumoured that watching the infamous Christmas Special, (whatever a Christmas is,) will severely deplete your sacred essences. Some things, sophonts were never meant to know!

  25. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re: “Firms squirm” at The Independent, I’m amazed that Apple didn’t make the top of the list. Maybe it was too late to put them on the list.

  26. Aquifer

    Re Foxxconn, etc.

    “Bleak working conditions have been documented at factories manufacturing products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others.

    The company has plants throughout China, and assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics, including for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Nintendo, Nokia and Samsung.”

    So, is there a company out there that doesn’t use slave labor?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Thanks, Aquifer. Yes, We the People were, through our being ECONNED into paying forever as *consumers*, dope-roped into supporting slavery and intolerable pain by our Chinese brothers and sisters.

      Let’s stop *trading up* right now. Let’s make do with what we have, or give up all unnecessary devices, in acts of solidarity with *working stiffs* everywhere.

  27. Hugh

    Random thoughts and observations:

    1) Natural reactions to natural events have, correctly, not been characterized as medical conditions. It is only when these interfere significantly with the activities of daily life over a prolonged period that there is any reason to treat them. This is where we are now. By removing the time constraint, the DSM would be violating the cardinal medical principle of “First do no harm” by preemptively intervening in a natural process. I can only wonder how much BigPharma who will be the principal beneficiary of this change, not patients, had to pay and whom to achieve this result.

    2) “Davos an exercise in denial not solutions” is really a bit silly for a title. Davos is about kleptocracy. Kleptocracy doesn’t do “solutions”. It does looting. Duh.

    3) So who would be stupid enough to buy Greek debt at this point? Other than some CDS sellers I can’t think of anyone, and even they are still probably betting that they will never have to pay off.

    4) On Soros, I for one really disliked the article. This is what I wrote about it yesterday elsewhere:

    Soros is a pirate talking to us about the danger of those other pirates. I believe this is the article I read a few days ago. In it, Soros is asked if he thinks a class war is coming and he responds, Yes, yes, yes. But the truth is that the class war has been going on for 35 years and it has been waged mostly by people like George Soros.

    His ongoing support for the Democratic party shows that his true allegiance is to the Establishment. Yes, he does criticize it but he can’t conceive of calling for its elimination. This places him in much the same category as Krugman, an Establishment liberal. They believe in and defend a system which is totally failed, totally corrupt. They seek to sell us the hopium of reform and tell us to put our trust in groups like the Democratic party, in other words the very same organization that is doing so much to screw us over.

    The thing that we have to understand about actors like Soros or Obama or whoever is that just because they may believe the shit they are trying to feed us does not mean they are acting in good faith. Apologies to Godwin, but an SS officer no doubt believed in what he was doing no matter how many got massacred along the way, but no one would say that officer was acting in good faith.

    The reason we would say this is that there is a “should have known better” caveat that goes along with good faith. If you believe you are right even though you should have known that you weren’t, then you cannot say you were acting in good faith.

    Yet our elites, the Establishment to which Soros and Obama belong, set themselves apart from us and justify the unequal social benefits they receive precisely on the grounds that they know better. So when they engage in things that aren’t just wrong but egregiously wrong and persist in that wrongness throughout their careers, all the while accruing massive rewards from pursuing that wrongness, then the good faith defense is forbidden them. It’s that simple.

    Guess I won’t be getting that check from Soros anytime soon.

    5) The article on job vacancies is one in a long line. It is all part of the skills mismatch argument for high unemployment. There are two things companies can do to get employees with the skills they need. They can offer better wages or they can invest in their workers and train them. But most companies wants to pay middling wages for an often highly specific set of job skills and experience on top of that. Then they express surprise that there are so few takers.

    6) Obama and Israel is just another example of the corruption of the American political process. It is a pity that Obama considers having an “unbreakable bond” with Israel, a country with a 100+ nuclear weapons, vastly more important than having one with the ordinary Americans of the 99%.

    7) “Did the regulators sell out the public for JP Morgan”? Is there some time when they haven’t?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, which BigPharma company was *Stud Muffin* Rumsfeld the CEO of?

      Who will write the history of this self-serving M-I/Pharma connection and the High Office Agency for a foreign power with the means to make their dreams for profit come true?

      Rumsfeld/Defense(War)/BigPharma; Cheney/VP(War)/Halliburton.

      They are Agents of the .01% of Reich IV, – foreign power” – from positions of high federal office, engaging in abuse of power, deceit, looting, treason.

    2. aletheia33

      @ hugh,
      do you have your own blog, or where is the elsewhere you mention here where i might read your writings?

    1. Hugh

      “There is only one way things will get better, and that is politicians and bankers and the oligarchs start fearing the population, and believing that the military and police can’t protect them”

      I disagree with this. Things will not get better until our elites are replaced. This makes it sound like they can be pressurized. They can’t.

      I do agree with this: “You can have widespread prosperity and democracy, or you can have oligarchs. You can’t have both.”

      As I wrote yesterday, we can have billionaires or a strong middle class. But not both.

      1. aletheia33

        okay, how do you recommend we replace them? surely you do not mean we need to replace elites with better elites? what shall we replace them with? (serious question)

        1. Valissa

          not really a practical solution, see…

          George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

          also this trope…

          meet the new boss, same as the old boss

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          aletheia33, history shows that elites must be replaced with better elites. You are on the way to earning your seat at the elite table of the future.

        3. Hugh

          There are two questions here. How do we replace our elites? And who do we replace them with?

          There is an MSNBC/WSJ poll out today that says across the political spectrum by about the same margins a majority (56%) of Americans favor voting out of office every single member of Congress. All of them. Popular discontent and populist anger is out there. It is building but it doesn’t yet have a message that it can crystallize around.

          If we end up going the revolutionary route, the elites could be thrown out in the space of an afternoon. The reality is that it would take a few months to a year.

          If we go the electoral route, we the 99% could coalesce around a program of good jobs, Medicare for All, rebuilding our infrastructure and industries, education, simplifying and reducing the financial sector, resolving the housing frauds, prosecuting the kleptocrats, repatriating the wealth they have stolen, ending the wars and the American empire. If we did, we could even now field a slate of candidates to contest the Presidency, all the seats in the House, and the third of seats up in the Senate. This would give us the power to stop the current thefts and excesses but we couldn’t go into majority in the Senate until 2014 or possibly even 2016. So it would be a multi-year effort for the 99% to take back their government. I think though that well before this we could bring pressure to bear on the remaining officeholders of the two parties if we put a hundred thousand people in the streets anytime they were in the state of a million in Washington. I should add that we should do much the same at the state level both in terms of replacing officeholders and putting popular pressure on those who remain.

          As to who should replace our elites, we have to understand that our elites are a hereditary overclass. Believe me I never thought a few years ago I would be talking about class as one of the defining characteristics of our society but our society is what it is and we are where we are. Our elites justify their special and richly rewarded station by telling us that they alone have the knowledge and expertise to run our society. But this is patently untrue. Our elites drove the economy over the cliff a few short years ago and they keep us involved in endless imperial wars. Yet despite these disasters they have done nothing to change their ways and do what they have been well paid to do, run the country for the benefit of the 99%. Indeed far from even trying to do this, they have over the last several decades set up a system whose only purpose is to loot the country and the 99% for their sole benefit.

          So no, we do not need new and better elites. We need an end to elites. We need to tax their wealth away and take their power away. We need expertise to run the institutions of our country, do what we the 99% want done with it, to create a society which answers to our needs and hopes. But the truth is many Americans have these talents. We can avail ourselves of them without turning them into a ruling class. We need to remember that no one is indispensable. And to be vigilant. We can see that those who serve the interests of the 99% are remunerated, but not excessively and not kept in positions of power too long. We should not only encourage them to re-enter private life but make it hard for them not to. We should view political dynasties as anti-democratic and discourage them. None of this is new. Elite formation is a problem that besets governments of every kind. But we can be smart about what mechanisms we put in place to keep elites from forming and we can cultivate healthier attitudes toward power. The man or woman who drives the bus isn’t a god. They’re just the bus driver. We would think it strange to make the role of bus driver hereditary or to give bus drivers special privileges and outsized rewards, whether they are good drivers or wreck the bus. We should look at those positions which the elites now hold in much the same light. We need to demystify governance.

          These ideas apply not just to government and the political process but across all the areas where are our elites have entrenched themselves in both the private and public life.

          1. psychohistorian

            Nice train of thought at the end about what we need going forward. I hope those sort of thoughts can be fleshed out more regarding solutions to inheritance and accumulated private ownership of property.

          2. aletheia33

            @ hugh,

            thanks much for your response.

            clearly worded and very useful. i’d like to see the 2nd half of your middle paragraph, without any revision, on a poster or a sign people could carry into action. it’s an unusually compelling, condensed description of what has gone down that i suspect most americans would immediately recognize as the truth right now–merely on hearing/seeing this clear, forthright statement for the first time.

            it would seem that the demystification of governance has to begin with such use of clear language. that’s one way i take hope from some of the occupy statements: simply with their qualities of clarity, directness, and patent truth they captivate one’s attention–these qualities are so unusual in all media speech these days that they lay a certain claim immediately on the hearer just in and of themselves (not that content and vehicle can ever really be considered separable). that is, i would think, unless one’s “ear” has become jaded beyond repair.

            so what i see here is the importance of the QUALITY of the speech we use to reach out to information-deprived people and invite them to recognize the truth we hope to share with them. of course occupiers recognize this. but i don’t think i’d quite seen till now how crucial this way of speaking is: it’s not only a way to speak truth to power today but can be the basis of ways of speech that can disarm and replace the “mystification of governance” tomorrow, that can challenge and destabilize the deliberate, entrenched use of obfuscation as a weapon to beat down people’s awareness of their own perfectly adequate capabilities.

            okay, so, the new public servants we are to put into office–where are they and what are they doing now? how exactly shall we find them and get them elected? can you fill in a little more detail for your vision of that?

            ( seems to have started a project to try to get lots of new, inexperienced people to run for office, but that’s not what you’re referring to here–is it?)

            thanks for your patience with my questions.

  28. different clue

    I left a comment and it looks like the “no more than one URL per comment rule tripped me up.

    I will try again. There are three allegedly google-free search engines.
    One is called : aitch tee tee pee colon backslash backslash dot dubbleyoo dubbleyoo dubbleyoo dot scroogle dot org
    The next one starts just like the first but after the three dubbleyoos dot, it says “clusty dot com”.

    The third one starts just like the first two but after
    the three dubbleyoos dot, it says ” alltheweb dot com”

      1. different clue

        Well, I’ll try that too. If it works, I have learned a new thing. If it is a joke, we’ll have a laugh together.

      2. different clue

        Oh, I see what you mean about slashes are forward. I’m just an old analog refugee lost in this digital world.

        I tried and it doesn’t literally exist in that combination of CAPS and smalls. But ”” exists as all smalls. But they are not a search engine. They are something called a “web design” bussiness, and they promise me “new experiences”.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          different clue, it was a joke on the fly. Maybe there should be a search engine:

  29. ambrit

    Calling All Skippys!
    What’s this about the Abo Embassy? It hasn’t made it onto the Perception Horizon here yet. (Will it ever?) Is the amount of ‘pasion’ displayed by the angry crowd in the ABC clips available to us business as usual for Australia, or something particular to that issue? Enquiring minds want to know. (It was nice to see a head of state fleeing an angry mob!)

    1. Glenn Condell

      The Embassy very rarely peeps over the Perception Horizon here either. You can see what it takes to do so.

      My in-laws live in Canberra and would like the army to remove them, they’re an embarrassment and an eyesore. Me, I’d let them stay. A, because I am an unembarrassable plebeian, and B because even if I wanted them to ‘move on’, I’m smart enough to know that, rather than drawing attention to them by dragging them off only to see twice as many arrive the next day, the best way is to simply ignore them so that they give up eventually. Having said that, they have been there for 40 years.

      As for the heat involved, well it’s the old story about those with least to lose being prepared to risk the most.

      1. ambrit

        Mr. Condell;
        Ah ha, so that’s the ‘lay of the land.’ Quite literaly an Indigenous Protest movement. The’ve been around a long time, have they? Any analogue to Americas’ American Indiam Movement? You said forty years, which would make it the Seventies, coincidental with the AIMs’ Wounded Knee protests.
        The focus placed on the ‘loss of the shoe’ by the MSM reminds me of Popes “Rape of the Lock.” The whole thing looks ripe for an ‘item’ by Addison and Steele.
        My favourite question about this is, exactly who invaded whoms ‘back yard?’ Anacostia Flats it isn’t, but I’ll say it again, it was good fun to see a sitting Head of State fleeing an angry mob!

  30. MichaelC

    RE the MF Global piece:

    This sounds like the smoking gun in the whole missing billions. Why did the head of the CFTC agree to a bankruptcy process that would nullify his agency’s customer protections. Was it incompetence or intent? And was the SECs
    decision to go the Chapter 11 route defensible?

    “In short, as Melin reports, “Deciding upon a Securities industry SIPA liquidation process for an FCM over the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) liquidation and section 7 of the US Bankruptcy Code was a legal maneuver with far reaching consequences for customers with segregated funds and property with custodial banks.

    The selected SIPA liquidation does not recognize fund segregation or futures industry account regulations. The process considerably favors creditors.”

    In other words, when the SEC threw the liquidation process to SIPC under for a Chapter 11 securities liquidation, and with the CFTC’s immediate agreement (under the conflicted Chairman Gensler who had not yet to recuse himself from MF Global issues), a framework of law was chosen where customers were — for the very first time ever — made creditors and their assets thrown into the entire MF Global estate. Many say what! And the industry is now asking how?”

    Today, any customer with an account at a dual registered entity that is both a FCM and a broker dealer is at risk that this will happen to them. Any customer with an account at one of these entities should be alerted immediately by both by the SEC and the CFTC that they are risk.

  31. different clue

    Well, I tried finding naked capitalism on duck duck go.
    Should I have capitalized the word “naked”? Or both words?

    Because the duckduckgo ignored the word “naked” and used “capitalism” only to call up nothing I wanted. And when I added Yves Smith to naked capitalism, it dropped the “naked” and brought up links to Yves Smith’s books and articles on other sites, but no link to this site.

    So what are the instructions for using DuckDuckGo?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Max424, is this a joke, or is it for real? If real, some investigative reporter ought to dig deep and tell the story. At least one insider knew it in advance.

      1. Max424

        It’s a true story. Was he an insider, or an angel sent by the Lord? I don’t think so.

        He was probably just a guy giving a bartender a tip (an extra special tip!). The Baltic Dry Index is considered the creme dela creme of leading global economic indicators.

          1. Max424



            Yeah, things aren’t looking so good for world shipping, which means double-trouble is boiling over the ledgers of the TBTF Eurobanks. Of course!


            I like this quote:

            “The banks’ “biggest concern is what is the write-off, and how do you treat it from an accounting point of view,” Mr. Karatzas said. “They do not know how to deal with these losses.”

            What is he, a goofball? The books that have the losses on them? You burn em. And if that doesn’t do the trick, you immolate the accountants too.

            It’s called “covering your tracks,” Karatzas.

          2. ambrit

            Heavens to Murgatroyd! It’s begining to look like a ‘perfect storm’ is brewing just ‘over the horizon’ in global economics. Anyone know what this Baltic Dry Index looked like just before other ‘dislocations?’ “The best leading indicator” does not move one to sanguinity, considering the charts apended.
            Grey Goose = Black Swan???

  32. DSP

    The Baltic Dry Goods Index has a bit of a trick to it as I understand it,as it measures shipping charges not volume.
    If there is less product to move,competition forces the charges down.More shipping than product can force the prices down.
    The mothballing of shipping can raise charges in a slow market.
    I read something fairly recently about this,perhaps on Money Morning,saying a fair amount of new shipping has been launched so that things might not be as bad as they appear.
    But given the disaster that is High Finance I’m surprised much business is being done at all.Who’s doing all the buying?

    1. ambrit

      Dear DSP;
      It sure isn’t me, at what I’m being paid. Do they break shipping charters down by raw materials vs. finished product? (Of course someone does! Silly me.) Better formulation of question; does the raw material vs, finished product tonnage shift in relationship as function of economic health? If so, is it leading or lagging indicator? The answer will inform my decision as to whether or not I invest in Patagonian Beefsteak Mines.

      1. Skippy


        BDI. The index provides “an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea. Taking in 26 shipping routes measured on a timecharter and voyage basis, the index covers Handymax, Panamax, and Capesize dry bulk carriers carrying a range of commodities including coal, iron ore and grain.”[1]

        Most directly, the index measures the demand for shipping capacity versus the supply of dry bulk carriers. The demand for shipping varies with the amount of cargo that is being traded or moved in various markets (supply and demand).

        The supply of cargo ships is generally both tight and inelastic—it takes two years to build a new ship, and ships are too expensive to take out of circulation the way airlines park unneeded jets in deserts. So, marginal increases in demand can push the index higher quickly, and marginal demand decreases can cause the index to fall rapidly. e.g. “if you have 100 ships competing for 99 cargoes, rates go down, whereas if you’ve 99 ships competing for 100 cargoes, rates go up. In other words, small fleet changes and logistical matters can crash rates…”[6] The index indirectly measures global supply and demand for the commodities shipped aboard dry bulk carriers, such as building materials, coal, metallic ores, and grains.

        Because dry bulk primarily consists of materials that function as raw material inputs to the production of intermediate or finished goods, such as concrete, electricity, steel, and food, the index is also seen as an efficient economic indicator of future economic growth and production. The BDI is termed a leading economic indicator because it predicts future economic activity.[7]

        Because it provides “an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea,” according to The Baltic, “… it provides both a rare window into the highly opaque and diffuse shipping market and an accurate barometer of the volume of global trade—devoid of political and other agenda concerns.”[2]

        Another index, the HARPEX, focuses on containers freight. It provides an insight on the transport of a much wider base of commercial goods than commodities alone.

        Other leading economic indicators—which serve as the foundation of important political and economic decisions—are often measured to serve narrow interests, and subjected to adjustments or revisions. Payroll or employment numbers are often estimates; consumer confidence appears to measure nothing more than sentiment, often with no link to actual consumer behavior; gross national product figures are consistently revised, and so forth. Unlike stock and bond markets, the BDI “is totally devoid of speculative content,” says Howard Simons, an economist and columnist at “People don’t book freighters unless they have cargo to move.”[2]

        Me here… the HARPEX 10yr show trend where the 2yr shows better real time gradient, do you see x-mas there, just at the end?

        BTW downunder were over 20 on the SOI… anything above 23 is fubar… above 25 is biblical… EEK. Been raining for two weeks almost non stop, any thing big enough, 100mm – 150mm in a 24 hour period and instant flooding. BTW 50mm over a sq. meter in 24 hr. is a liter of water on sitting top of it.

        Skippy… the environment *always* has the final say.

Comments are closed.