Links 2/12/12

MIT Crowd-Sources and Gamifies Brain Analysis.

Processed Food and Coronary Capitalism Al Jazeera. When you’ve lost Ken Rogoff …

Drug Quickly Reverses Alzheimer’s Symptoms in Mice Science Daily (furzy mouse).

The Deal Is Done, but Hold the Applause” Gretchen Morgenstern. Points for citing Yves. I’m seeing the word “deal.” But I’m not seeing the words “term sheet.” Or “public.” Or “final.”

I believe the technical term for all this is “big whoop” LA Times. Points for citing Yves.

There is no political solution to a math problem Big Picture (furzy mouse).

The Problem: “We will admit no wrong.” See at “Stuart Zechman” for the persistent political pattern* undergirding “the deal.” Today’s must read.

Obama: The Great Vaccinator Emptywheel. He immunizes everything!

Romney ekes out Maine caucus win Pravda. Romney 39, Paul 36, Santorum 18, Gingrich 6.

Pierce: “[T]he most carefully manufactured fake in the recent history of American politics.” And that’s saying something.

About last week’s Catholic health care plans and contraception controversy: With respect to those “28 states”… .

“If you want to create a job for a U.S. citizen tomorrow, deport an illegal alien today” McClatchy. Clang birds at CPAC.

Fewest Young Adults in 60 Years Have Jobs Time.

Anxiety over incomes hits consumer morale Reuters. But that sizzling 8% through-year’s-end unemployment number should get them packing the malls, yessirree.

Skyscraper index points to trouble for China Macrobusiness.

Union Pacific plans billions in infrastructure investment McClatchy.

The Ancient and Hermeneutic Order of the Shrill Krugman.

Businessweek Opinions-of-Shape-of-Earth-Differ Journamalism: Paul Krugman Edition. It’s never about being right, it’s always about the tone.

Libya ‘cannot stop’ fighters joining Syria rebels” FT. So, who will provide transport?

Angela Merkel’s inflexibility is incomprehensible to ordinary Greeks.

Greek police union wants to arrest EU/IMF officials Reuters. Perp sighted in limo at 200 West.

RBS staff held in tax fraud investigation Telegraph. The investigation is “understood to involve at least two other City banks.”

Five Sun Newspaper Staff Arrested as News Corp. U.K. Bribery Probe Widens Bloomberg. It’s The Sun wot did it. Too.

Murdoch flies to UK after Sun arrests” FT. The dreaded vote of confidence?

While the Rest of the World Is Abandoning Unsafe Nuclear Designs, America Will Build New Unsafe Reactors.

Hula Girls Revive Quake-Hit Fukushima at Hawaii Theme Park Bloomberg.

What really happened on the bridge when the Costa Concordia crashed Independent. Did the Captain’s guest share footage?

Eve Arnold photographs: Non-Violence, Virginia, 1960 Magnum. Beautiful!

Antidote of the day (hat tip Coyote Creek). Anybody want to send me a picture of the second cutest cat in the world for tomorrow? lambert_strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com.

NOTE See on “pattern”.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. JTFaraday

    How can the cutest antidote in the world work its wonders if it won’t fully appear?!

    Stop teasing me. :(

    1. ambrit

      Mr. Faraday;
      Kitty’s at the Event Horizon, just as we all are, preparing, as Sufferin pointed out, to leap into the unknown. Now, you have to ask yourself; Is that a 1% cat or a 99% cat?

      1. tom allen

        It’s Schroedinger’s Kitty, so I’m afraid you’ll have to remain uncertain. At least if YOU want to survive. :-P

      2. JTFaraday

        This morning, before my cup of coffee took effect, I was thinking in traditional antidote terms.

        This afternoon I see I was wrong. This is not an antidote. This is an instance of catvertising. We are not meant to long for this hidden cat to reveal itself, but rather to go out and install this shiny new countertop in our own kitchens.

        It is, therefore, a 95 percent cat. As in “by 2015, 95% of internet content will be catvertising.”

        (Boy, do I feel taken).

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s interesting that since cats get their food from humans, the latter find the former cute.

      When cats get all their food from dogs, I believe, dogs will find cats very cute.

      Until then, I am not sure if dogs find cats cute.

  2. Foppe

    Too bad Morgenson doesn’t mention the fact that the first liens are generally not owned by the banks whereas the seconds are. Would’ve made her quick summary sound a lot more disturbing.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Foppe, taking care of the 2nd lien holders before the first is a *tell*, since it overturns the law of centuries. It’s a RACKET. Bring RICO.

  3. JeffC

    It’s great to see both the NY Times and the LA Times discussing the fraudulent-mortgage settlement’s true nature as a fraudulent mortgage settlement. Down with the spurious hyphen!

    1. Lidia

      Great catch! I don’t know what it is these days with writers and editors having become hyphen-haters.

      I used to have to work with tech marketing copywriters and their “real time management based solutions” made my head hurt constantly.

  4. Jim Sterling

    “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
    “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat, “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
    “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
    “You must be,” said the Cat, `or you wouldn’t have come here.”

  5. Hugh

    Interesting date on the links today February 11, 2013. So are these prospective or retrospective links. I suppose it depends on whether today is today or a year from now.

  6. ambrit

    I was a kid when we lived in Petersburg VA in ’65 and ’66, and I lived in a lilly white world. That was the great middle class of the era. Race relations were almost an academic exercise. The dominant meme was one of class. Had you made it into the great Middle yet? Voting rights for Negros? Good luck to them but I have a mortgage to worry about. My point is, it wasn’t until Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seal, and especially the big march on Washington showed the voting rights movement could be actually dangerous that anyone took it seriously.
    My takeaway from the photographs of the old Petersburg voting rights movement is that the elites, of whichever group, have to start the ball rolling. After that, trying to deflect the course of the avalanche is the hard work. I feel that we are at the initiating elites stage of the process. Apres nous, le avalanche!

  7. Hugh

    “Angela Merkel’s inflexibility is incomprehensible to ordinary Greeks.” This is what comes from the avoidance, even by liberal economists, of using the term kleptocracy. If this term were more commonly used, ordinary Greeks would find Merkel’s actions not only comprehensible but predictable.

  8. Lloyd C. Bankster

    Re: The Deal is Done, but Hold the Applause

    Let me be sure I’ve got this straight, Gretchen. You don’t deny this deal is a stealth bailout of the banks, yet the public should hold their applause because, “the largest question looming over their settlement is how it will be policed?”

    So. The government and the five largest banks agree to another stealth bailout of the banks, yet the NY Times is worried about enforcement.

    John Q. Public: “Yeah, while I’m glad the banks will be getting another bailout, I’m not applauding until I see how this bailout will be policed.”

    Listen, Gretchen. There’s no danger of the banks not getting their bailout, as agreed. That was the deal, no need to police this, we own the place.

    The public would only need to police this settlement, if the banks were NOT getting bailed out again. Is that clear?

    Like I said, we own the place. Anyone tries to stop this deal now, my boys will put a cap in their ass. The public’s been screwed, no need to hold the applause, you can go ahead and applaud now.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Encore! Encore!

      We live in the Age of the Greatest Con Artists.

      Count yourself lucky to witness such masterpieces live.

  9. Eureka Springs

    More coal plants, nukes too. Biggest coverup and hand job for BP one could have possibly imagined… No monitoring of the Gulf or Fukushima for that matter. And an attempt to pipe a tar sand express right through the heartland. Fracking gone mad.

    In three short years.

    Someone remind me why “we” shouldn’t place dems in the minority (feigned opposition) seat with all due haste?

    1. Praedor

      Just curious…but what would that do? Do you suppose that the resulting GOP majority wouldn’t fasttrack the XL pipeline, drill-baby-drill, nukes, coal extraction and burning, and kill thoughts of global warming far FAR out past the curb? I’m not saying the Dems deserve to retain majority status but, on the other hand, I do not see what it accomplishes on the side of good. Can you explain?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Praedor, check out the might of The Southern Company–so *immune* from the Law that they have charged their *customers* *fees* before the fact, thus FORCING customers to *invest* without promise of ROI.

        Leaving aside the Water Wars, in GA, among GA, AL, FL. It is a fact that nuclear plant operations demand enormous amounts of water.

        Investigative reporters, Dig Deep. There’s a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow for the .01% and its gravy train for the .99% *investors* for real.

        It’s RACKET for insiders, including *Low Country* legislators. Bring RICO.

      2. Eureka Springs

        Feigned opposition is better than none at all. On these issues only Dems might feign opposition if GOP were in charge. Especially if one need not play (vote for) either criminal party at all in order to get it… whilst trying to support/develop sincere opposition. Dems in control have approved coal and nukes like no GOP controlled Oval or Congress has in decades, iirc.

        The way it is now is the worst evah!

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Eureka, connect: Southern Company, BAC, MI Complex, Charlotte for Dems.

          OCCUPY Charlotte 2012: Cream Corrupt Kings


          You know the rest: “Honorable and Fearless” ALL (tip Max 424).

  10. Hugh

    The Post story on Romney’s victory in Maine doesn’t present the most important detail until the seventh paragraph. Only 5,600 Republicans voted in the primary, meaning that Romney’s victory represents less than 2200 votes for him.

    It seems ridiculous to call this a victory for anything other than good spin. But that’s the thing. The MSM has essentially anointed Romney as the Republican nominee. Compare the Romney coverage to that for Gingrich, Santorum, or Paul. Yet even so, Romney has not been able to close the deal. He couldn’t even win a majority in a fake primary like Maine.

    1. Praedor

      Similar math has applied to ALL the GOP primaries so far. You are talking “winning” a fraction of a fractional pie in every single contest and, very likely, every single future contest. It is a political fight by both parties to see who can manage a win out of the fewest possible number of voters. Very tricky to game. How can you get turnout SO low, yet not lower than your opponent party, and “win”?

  11. Externality

    A story that has gained little mainstream media exposure in the US:

    Internet Pact Sparks Outrage Across Europe
    Posted Saturday, February 11th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Tens of thousands of Europeans braved bitterly cold temperatures to rally against a controversial treaty intended to protect intellectual property.

    Anger spilled into the streets of European cities, from Sofia and Vilnius to Prague and Paris to voice displeasure with ACTA, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.


    Some protesters, like Jan Hulek in Prague, also voiced complaints over how the treaty has been ratified.

    “The main issue why I am here is because ACTA was accepted without people knowing it. We didn’t know ACTA was going on and there should be discussion before we accepted it. There wasn’t.”

    Map showing protest sites. Scroll down to see pictures and youtube videos.

    1. tom allen

      ACTA? But surely we would have heard about that before now. Because this is the most transparent administration ever, amirite?

      Oh, right. Silly me.

      From the ACTA wiki: ‘Both the Bush administration and the Obama administration had rejected requests to make the text of ACTA public, with the White House saying that disclosure would cause “damage to the national security.”[101] In 2009, Knowledge Ecology International filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request in the United States, but their entire request was denied. The Office of the United States Trade Representative’s Freedom of Information office stated the request was withheld for being material “properly classified in the interest of national security.”‘

    2. EH

      I have to wonder about intentinoally passing bad laws during seasons of inconvenient weather so as to inhibit protest.

  12. Max424

    from the LA Times piece:

    Yves Smith: “We’ve now set a price for forgeries and fabricating documents. It’s $2,000 per loan.”

    Giggle. Our “perspicacious” blogger doesn’t pull any punches, does she.

    I would love to rob for a living and then pay fines for doing so. Do you know what I mean? Like; I rob my local whatever store, and take away 400 dollars, then I pay my local, whatever, 5 dollars to make it good, and to make it ok to do it again.

    I’d be a Robin Hood in reverse. Instead of wasting my swash and buckle on the dirt poor beggars of Nottingham Forrest, I would be swashbuckling on behalf of King John, only. How profitable is that?

    Very. And it make a good movie, too, starring … me! Rated NC-17, of course, for rape and pillage, and ’cause I swear a lot.

    1. patricia

      And that $2000 is for only those with “recognized” loans. It cuts out all Fanny/Freddy, for eg, which carry the majority.

      So it may be more accurate to say, oh, I don’t know, $20 per loan?

      1. Max424

        Yeah, you’re probably right.

        My guess is that a majority of the people will get exactly zero, while the lawyered-up, well connected people will get tens of thousands, and hence, we arrive at the (pathetic) average; $2,000.

        Too me, it’s not like we’re attempting to put a band-aid on a severed femoral artery, which implies we’re actually doing something; nope, it’s more like we’re dropping a band-aid into the jet stream, and shouting to it as we watch it flit away:

        “Good luck fixing the housing market, band-aid!”

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      And even the $2000 is nutso. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t every single robosigned signature a fraud on the court, and a felony? And all these felonies get bundled together and tossed down the memory hole for $2000 the banks don’t even have to pay. Such a deal.

      1. Max424

        Yeah, that’s it exactly, Lambert. The real bundling process had nothing to do with too-complex-to-be-understood financial instruments.

        Quite the contrary, the banks bundled up their –in yo face!– felonies in very simple ways, and are right now in the process of burying them … for all eternity.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Max424, right: $2,000/loan is the *grift*.

      “THE GRIFTERS” Directed by Stephen Frears;
      “NETWORK” Directed by Sidney Lumet;
      “The TRUMAN Show” Directed by Peter Weir;
      “ROLLOVER” Directed Alan J. Pakula.

      Our *dear leaders* are gangs of grifters. Bring RICO.

  13. SR6719

    Topic: insider trading in the art world.

    In London, an installation by the British artist Damien Hirst (assembled in the window of a Mayfair gallery) was dismantled and discarded the same night it was installed by a cleaning man. The cleaning man said he thought it was garbage, not an unreasonable assumption considering the “work” consisted of half-full coffee cups, ashtrays and cigarette butts, empty beer bottles, candy wrappers, torn newspapers, etc, and was supposed to be the center of an exhibition of limited edition art, to be shown at a V.I.P pre-opening party.

    Like politics, economics, and the Main Stream Media, the art market today has become another case of insider trading. Not exactly a Mafia, like banking, but something that’s formed according to its own rules.

    Many New York galleries have disappeared and the ones that remain often deal with byproducts. Waste is a common theme. The art materials themselves are often dejecta and the styles residual. Everyone says they’re working on residue, waste, nothingness, etc

    No one claims to be an artist anymore, they’re working on banality and insignificance instead. Yet somehow they manage to do this in an insignificant way as well, which is annoying. Of course, all this mediocrity is supposed to be transcending itself by moving art up to a second, ironic level. But the problem is that it’s just as empty and insignificant on the second level as it was on the first insignificant and non-ironic level.

    The art public doesn’t believe contemporary art can really be as superficial, null and void as it appears, (how can a dead shark in formaldehyde sell for $8 million if it’s insignificant?) therefore the art world must be hiding something, there must be some mystery the public doesn’t understand.

    And so, similar to what happens in politics, economics, and the news media, contemporary art takes advantage of the public’s confusion. It plays on the guilt of those who do not understand or who haven’t realized that there’s nothing to understand.

    Another case of insider trading.

    This is illustrated, with humor, in the following 4 minute video where Jim Kempner explains postmodern painting to a 13-year old skeptic:

    (Note: The link above doesn’t take you to the right episode. You have to scroll to the lower right side and click on Season 1, Episode 6: Postmodern.)

    1. ambrit

      Dear SR6719;
      (Which state has over six thousand State Roads?)
      This is no new thing. Jump into the Wayback Machine and watch Louis Nye do a devastating parody of Avant Garde art in the 1963 film, “The Wheeler Dealers.” I say the gallery should pay that cleaning person a hefty commission for “After Hours Performance Art.” That or give them an Art Column in the Times. Preferrably on page three.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      SR6719, *BigArt* = unit x hype; yield = *spread* hyped from sale to sale, with jackpot on the superhyped spread at Major Auction House (shill for .01%).

      Today? *BigArt* likely = mortgage x slice/dice; yield = *spread-to-compound-spread*–sliced/diced into tranches for winners/losers, tools for CDS *pie in sky profits* for bankers and swells, via churning and skimming, putting/calling unto infinity.

      The “BigArt” is a Marketing-Hype-to-Hedge RACKET for *pie-in-sky* profiteering, storing, hiding, and laundering gains. “Art Racket” is cover//laundry/hedge for Organized Crime. Bring RICO.

    3. Lidia

      What gets me about Hirst’s shark is not only that it “cost” $8million, but that it needs expensive maintenance and
      at at least one point the too-far-gone shark was completely swapped out… how many sharks are going to be killed to keep this “artwork” going into the future?

      Your rant sounds a lot like J.H. Kunstler talking about architecture: buildings that cost a lot, but which are dysfunctional for their intended purpose, off-putting (sometimes intentionally so), and which have no future. He talks a lot about the “mystification” wrought by “starchitects” who make no bones about wanting to confound and disorient people with their creations.

      1. craazyman

        for $8 million you could go on a fishing vacation, catch your own shark, have it glassed, and have $7,990,000 left over for playing the market.

        Let’s say you got lucky and hit a three-bagger.

        That’s 24 million. And let’s say you got lucky and hit another 3-bagger.

        That’s $72 million.

        With $72 million you could have your own art museum. Unless you wanted to try and get lucky again, And another 3 bagger is $250 million.

        I don’t know why anyone would pay $8 million for the first shark when you keep your money, go on a fishing vacation, make your own shark, and have $250 million on the side, eventually. I guess it’s just that folks are lazy.

        1. Lidia

          Hirst’s shark supplier, the guy who caught the sharks, is pretty non-plussed. He threw in one shark for free!:

          When The Sunday Age informed him of Hirst’s South Korean windfall, Mr Hislop was flabbergasted. “You’re kidding!” he spluttered. “Five million dollars? That was just a little six-footer I threw in!”

          Hirst has a knack for making money. His original pickled tiger shark, bought from Mr Hislop in 1991 for $10,000, was on-sold to an American businessman in 2004 for $16.2 million.

    4. scraping_by

      To make some sense of the senseless modern art, a good model is the Big Man potlatch ceremonies of the Northwestern Indian groups.

      A potlatch was a ceremony where items of value were given away by the host to the guests. It was accompanied by a lot of boasting, singing, dancing, preening, display, and other public attention-getting. The basic transaction was a gift in exchange for status.

      A lot of writers put it down as wealth redistribution. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many of the items were destroyed by the host, and many of the gifts were expected to be destroyed by the receiver. Many of the items were useless, sheets of native copper in a culture that only used stone implements. It was an aggressive act, vandalism, destruction to show off having something to destroy.

      Modern art is Big Man Potlatch, the destruction of wealth to show off wealth, to gain status and power in society. It’s got the sole virtue of transferring money to the less wealthy, one assumes, artist and gallery functionaries. There are more efficient and less annoying ways to transfer wealth, but customs are what they are. Until it gets too silly to continue.

  14. Max424

    Yves buddy Max Keiser interviews Dimitri Orlov. Warning: Not for the squeamish…

    I’ve been reading Orlov for four years now, and his Prognostication Record is more better than even Paul Krugman!

    The only thing he got wrong; Dimitri thought collapse would be sequential, from financial to commercial to political, when it’s obvious now, it’s going to happen all at once.

    In other words, we’re not dealing with dominoes falling, which implies potential disaster resistant firewalls; no, the correct metaphor has always been A House of Cards –with a Blowtorch on Standby.*

    *To perform the coup de grace should it become necessary … or to just preemptively burn down the house, out of boredom.

    1. Lidia

      The thing about Max Keiser is that he often slips into talking about “growth” and “production” or “productivity”, so I’m not sure that he gets the fact that we can’t talk in those terms anymore.

      1. Max424

        Agree. Max occasionally pines for the halcyon days of benevolent capitalism which never existed (I forgive him).

        Still, he understands peak oil. Peak oil regulars include Ruppert, Kunstler, Heinberg, and Martenson. He understands collapse. Orlov* is on his program frequently.

        Most importantly, he understands honor and intellectual fearless. Basically, Keiser rounds up the honorable and the fearless, and interviews them. That’s why our honorable and fearless host Yves has been on his program.

        It’s pretty cool, really. Max hosts a modern French salon, internet style, and the simple entryway to it; is honor and a courageous intellect.

        And the curious passerby gets to listen, and learn; if they so choose.

        *Dimitri Orlov is master peak oil theorist as well. The big difference between him, and say, Heinberg and Martenson, is his vision of the downward slope is that of a death spiral, not a neatly controlled contraction.

        Orlov believes that blind market forces feeding on exponential growth, by definition, have no stake or interest in humanity’s almost completely intractable energy (food, water, & population) problems, and our species will suffer –like it hasn’t the 1.2 million years of its history– as a result.

        And I concur.

        1. Lidia

          Oh yes, I’ve been following all that crew. I was just dismayed to hear Max still saying that stuff at this late date. I guess he can’t really put “paid” to the game without losing his own momentum for his show.

          I do thank you for the link, as I have watched MK with enjoyment in the past but do not keep up assiduously.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Max424, thanks for the great link, with Dmitry Orlov (“been there done that”).

      OCCUPY Charlotte 2012:

      Max Keiser: Chief of Staff
      Gretchen Morgenson: Press Secretary
      Chris Hedges: Secretary of State
      Abigail Kaplovitz Field: Attorney General, Department of Justice
      Michael Hudson: Secretary of the Treasury
      Catherine Austin Fitts: Department of Housing/Local Loans
      General Shinseki: Department of Defense

    3. Max424

      Don’t get me wrong on the Kruger, man, I really like him. He makes me laugh, and making me laugh is a redeeming quality worth its weight in Ron Paul’s Gold.

      Krugman is an enthusiastic bastard, too, and I like enthusiasm. But, sometimes, enthusiasm CAN get the better of us.

      For instance; the Kruger thought the February BLS jobs report was pretty darn good. After issuing two or three of the traditional Krugmanian hedger/caveats, Professor K. gave the report a –semi-enthusiastic– thumbs up.

      Simultaneously, all across the internet, other bloggers were weighing in on the jobs report, and their take was quite different. To sum up their response: the report was complete and utter bullshit. Fairy tales. Propaganda. White Noise. Lies.

      And this was coming from bloggers, who, in the main, had defended the BLS, and it’s practices, for many, many years.

      After that, the Professor, no doubt aware of the “BLS blowback,” walked back his enthusiasm for the report just a little bit, even placing this chart in one of his blog posts:

      What we’re seeing in the chart, is a hard tumble down a mountain. Then, we bounced around violently in the valley. Now, we’ve momentarily righted ourselves and even ascended a tiny crag at the base, where presumably, we are sheltered from rock and debris falling from WAY up above.

      And this is good –or at least it’s better than the violent bouncing. Also, this little piece of good news might just the thing needed to get the beloved assassin of US citizens, Barrack Obama, elected again; which is all that matters.

      Note: Conscience of a Liberal, indeed. Since when do liberals advocate for assassins and assassination programs? Nixon had a relatively innocent, Enemies List, and we liberals hated and pilloried him for it (still do!).

      Poor misunderstood Tricky. The last liberal to sit in the White House. I miss him.

    4. craazyman

      The title of this comment is:

      “Deep Thoughts for a Churchless Sunday Without the NFL”

      The body of the comment follows below:

      these dudes are entertainers. that’s about it. but thair pretty good ones.

      there’s no chance in hell society will collapse from peak anything. but the stories we tell ourselves about how it might are like religious sermons that coalesce and deflect the guilt energy, the crownofthorns.

      Not sermons on the mount, but hellfire and brimstone sermons with a little vaudeville thrown in, and a straw man to pillage in effigy in the sacred grove.

      This Max Keiser dude is pretty good, I think. I like what I’ve seen of his show. I like the way he works the interview. RT is good generally, especially that hot babe Lauren Lyster, she actually wore what looked like a bikini for one show and it was hard to concentrate on her interview, I’ll admit. I just kept staring and thinking, wow, she’s pretty hot. what was that she just said???

      The Orlov guy has convinced himself of his deities, I have no doubt. But I wonder if he ever thinks to himself “I wonder if people actually believe me. I wonder if I even believe myself. That would be pretty funny if I convinced myself like a mathematician.” hahah.

      I belive him. At least until I really think about it. Somebody’s always predicting the end of the world, and the world does end every day for tens of thousands of people. And it starts in a fit of crying for tens of thousands more. That’s about the only equilibrium we know. R-Ite, to be fair, and we want to be fair and probingly accurate, the end of what he means is the end of a certain form of social organizational structure, not the actual physical world. But that structure is not at all trivially articulated. So what is ending and what is beginning? Not so easy, unless you make it a cariacature like a political cartoon, extracting its features and prominent gaffs into a story that can be told easily, which takes it farther and farther from reality and closer and closer to something that can be called an interpretation.

      1. Lidia

        “The End of the World” and the end of the American Empire, or the end of capitalism, are not the same thing.

        There will still be a “world” tomorrow. with people in it, even if the Republicans nuke Iran, no one gets a real paycheck anymore, Fukushima burns a giant hole in the Pacific, and the oceans hold no more edible vertebrates.

        The End of the World is what optimists and Jesus-freaks are looking forward to, imo, not our actual fate. ;-)

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Every morning, I wake up, I check in here first to see if I slept through The End of The World.

        I mean, how else are you going to know?

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        By the way, those cultural woarriors thinking about shaming bikini-clad TV hostesses, you can forget about it.

        There is no going back to the Victorian age.

      1. ambrit

        mr. Strether!
        Cuteness is for, like, Kittens man! Cats now, they wail and howl like you wouldn’t believe! Check in with that super sophont Eliotman, if you want to be, like, with it. Or that groovy Ginsberg guy. He gets it man, he really howls! Dig?

        1. ambrit

          Dear MIWill;
          Don’t knock yourself, you’re doing fine. That last sentence is a great bit of ambiguipunsmanship. (Not in evidence…Schroedingers Cat!!! Great!)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Which brings us to the conversation Zhuangzi had with Huizi, who asked:

            Are you not a fish, how do you know they are happy?

      2. mk

        I’m waiting for the call for cute birds, I have a picture of my bird, Big Bird (not related, she’s a cockatiel, she’s big compared to my two parakeets). In her picture, she looks like she’s thinking about devouring a tiny man who is looking out at the Pacific Ocean, took her picture at the beach in El Segundo, CA on Christmas Day 2011. It was her first visit to the beach.

  15. Valissa

    Will this trend give Europe it’s much needed boost?

    Europe’s Newest Rocket to Launch on Maiden Voyage Monday

    Though this article is about surnames, I wonder if there is a first name effect as well…

    Having an easy-to-say name ‘will help you get promoted’

    One positive outcome of getting a moderate buzz on…

    Vodka delivers shot of creativity; A boozy glow may trigger problem-solving insights

      1. ambrit

        Dear LBR;
        Surely you remember the “Maiden Voyage Clib” down on Bourbon Street. A similarly phallocentric endeavour.

      1. Valissa

        I dunno Ambrit… according to this lengthy history at Wikipedia

        Despite the slapstick simplicity of the general premise, it was the detailed characterization, combined with Herriman’s visual and verbal creativity, that made Krazy Kat one of the first comics to be widely praised by intellectuals and treated as “serious” art.

        Who’d a thunk it?

        1. ambrit

          Dear Valissa;
          Who’d a thunk it indeed! My Ignatzorance must be showing.
          PS. I’m sure Herrimans minimalist technique influenced such later masters of their art as Phillip DeGuard and Andy Warhol.

  16. scraping_by

    RE: Large whoop.

    Lawyers are not the best model for enforcing the law. They’re trained to play an insider word game in exchange for cash money. Unsurprisingly, they end up agreeing that “up” means “sideways” when the monkey scratches its balls on a Tuesday. And, it always seems to be an outcome that favors the better paying side of the argument.

    Hoping for larger viewpoints to balance self-interest is pointless. Early in law school, people with morals and ethics are identified and eliminated. Only those who can argue any side indifferently are allowed to pass. The technical name for that indifference is amorality. No code of ethics, with or without loopholes, is going to restrain unbridled self-interest. Even those going against their conscience, should they have one, can rationalize betrayal as part of business.

    Trusting any lawyer anywhere anytime will lead to getting blindsided with a simple cash calculation. My own experience is that only extra-legal anxieties, the fear of physical violence, getting fired, domestic upheaval, etc, will weigh against selling out for short-term gain.

    A bought conscience is always up for the highest bidder.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      What a wonderfully bitter, fact-free and logic-free comment. Thanks!

      I guess we could test your speculations against the real world.

      If there were in fact a weeding out proceeds at any of the major law schools, we would see a huge difference between matriculation and graduation. Oops! Whoops! Guess that didn’t work.

      And I guess we could search long and hard for that one black swan (in that tiny group of people over the last few millennia who have studied the art of rhetoric) who still has some sort of moral compass. I’m sure we can’t find a single one; so your point is proven. I cede it.

      It’s terribly useless to be able to argue both sides of a debate. You might actually learn something! You might actually be able to understand your own point better! You might actually be challenged and eventually be able to, when you are making a true moral stand, anticipate your opponent’s defenses and out-maneuver him. Oh, silly, silly me!!!

      Why stop at not trusting any lawyer anywhere anytime? Why trust any person anywhere anytime? I truly don’t know a single human being free of error or one who hasn’t disappointed me at some time or another.

      You know what? I just realized something. This is a massive trust bubble! Let’s you and me prick it, scraping_by! It’s unsustainable. It’s like the freakin’ sun. It’s gonna burn out sometime. Why not accelerate the process?!?!

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Anonymous, the history of Louisiana calls you naive. Louisiana has become the model for the grifter nation. Check out Wall Street lawyers. What is Sullivan & Cromwell good for?

    2. Still Above Water

      This reminds me of a joke that I came up with when I was 16 or 17, in response to the incessant questioning from adults on where I was going to college: “I applied to law school, but I was turned down. I failed the ‘conscience test’.” “Conscience test?” “Yes, they found I have one.”

      The only ones who didn’t laugh were lawyers. ;)

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Still, that’s why I dropped out of Law School (2-yr program on complete scholarship, after Ph.D. complete): in America, the Law lists to the advantage of the .01%, trickling down to the .99% Agency.

        Unlike in the UK, on which system our Common Law is based, here is NO penalty for Breach of Contract in America. What does that tell you?

        The Law in a Grifter Society benefits Grifters, the bigger the better. Ours is the Law of MonopolyFinanceCapitalism, with a *democracy* designed for Winner Take All.

        Democracy is NOT equivalent to Capitalism, and vice versa. We the People can change the game, if only we dare. “Honorable and Fearless” leaders have arisen, to help us do it. We the People can re-write the Law to turn the tide.

        OCCUPY Charlotte 2012: Cream Corrupt Kings:

        BILL BLACK/YVES SMITH 2012: We the People’s JUSTICE NOW!
        Abigail Caplovitz Field: Attorney General: Dept. of Justice
        Chris Hedges: Secretary of State
        Catherine Austin Fitts: Secretary of Housing/Local Loans
        Michael Hudson: Secretary of the Treasury
        Max Keiser: Chief of Staff
        Gretchen Morgenson: Press Secretary

        If not now, when? FIGHT for RIGHTS!
        *Bard of Clan Robertson*
        (one of the “Ladies from Hell”)

    3. V.

      A woman and her little girl were visiting the grave of the little girl’s grandmother. On their way through the cemetery back to the car, the little girl asked, “Mommy, do they ever bury two people in the same grave?”

      “Of course not, dear.” replied the mother, “Why would you think that?” “The tombstone back there said, “Here lies a lawyer and an honest man.”

  17. ted

    Regarding the article about the possible treatment for Alzheimer’s, the interesting information is at the beginning:

    Alzheimer’s disease arises in large part from the body’s inability to clear naturally-occurring amyloid beta from the brain. In 2008 Case Western Reserve researcher Gary Landreth, PhD, professor of neurosciences, discovered that the main cholesterol carrier in the brain, Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), facilitated the clearance of the amyloid beta proteins.

    I am not a physician, but I find it interesting that Alzheimers appears to be related to proper function of cholesterol. Over the past 20 year there has been an unrelenting campaign in public health to lower cholesterol levels, with big pharma touting its cholesterol-lowering drugs at every turn in this country. We know that statins interfere with cholesterol metabolism; do they interfere with cholesterol metabolism in the brain? Are we trading a reduction in cardiovascular disease for an increase in senile dementia?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      ted, a Neurosurgeon told me about a woman with high cholesterol, which ran in her family, most of whom lived to a ripe old age. The M.D.’s insisted on bringing her cholesterol down to *safe limits* and she died shortly thereafter.

  18. CaitlinO

    Thanks for the LAT and NYT links.

    I don’t understand something in the bank amnesty program. The banks have agreed to stop committing fraud going forward, to stop robo-signing, etc. But the bulk of robo-signing and filing of counterfeited, forged documents wasn’t done by the banks – it was done by the foreclosure mills they hire.

    Is there going to be anything in this program that’s binding on the banks’ agents/attornies? If not, the banks can continue to violate the law with impunity claiming we’re not the jackholes who did it, it’s those jackholes over there.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      CaitlinO, *Banker Release from Liability* always in the cracks. It’s a “National Security* issue, dontcha know?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      rjs, won’t *Two Hail Mary’s and an Our Father* get you absolution from Big Daddy on the confessional circuit?

    2. Jim

      …in the same way that Americans in the South have a different outlook on economics and finance than Americans in the Midwest than Americans on the Coasts.

      Yet, it all works” because the US is a transfer union.

      Why not blame the Eurocrats in Brussels for the quagmire that the EZ has become? Didn’t the Eurocrats insist that the EZ would function without the need for a transfer union.

      How many of those same Eurocrats are still working in Brussels?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Jim, they admit they cheated, saying they ignored red flags our of *politesse*.

        They cheated and hoped for the best. Duh.

      2. JTFaraday

        But that sounds a little like saying why didn’t Countrywide recognize that masses of their mortgagees likely couldn’t pay their mortgages unless we transferred Countrywide’s fake profits directly to their checking accounts.

    1. EH

      I follow bike racing, and I really have no idea where you get that elites are being given a pass here, save cargo-culting the opinion from elsewhere. Shall we talk about sports that are popular in the US but don’t have much, if any, drug testing? Heck, you could even throw police departments in there.

      1. Valissa

        Did you read the article? Do you believe Lance took banned drugs? You say you are a cyclist, so are you a fan of Lance’s? Personally I don’t care all that much about the athletes taking performance enhancing drugs as it has become the norm (and lots of inconsistency there as you pointed out). I think there is alot of hypocrisy in the way various drugs are dealt with in sports. I’m all for legalizing many types of drugs and have no beef with Lance taking them. But it is clear that Lance is getting special treatment on this issue, different from the rank and file. That is all I was pointing out.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Valissa, can there be any doubt that Lance Armstrong, undergoing cancer treatment, and receiving the known OXYGEN BOOSTER for the blood, could see the advantage of his taking his oxygen-boosting drug *legally* vis-a-vis the poor schmucks who had to cycle without this advantage?

      Dig deep, investigative reporters. You can bet that Armstrong and his sports-betting handlers took advantage of the *American* cyclist to be pitied and revered as the *Winner* of the Cycling Grand Prix de France ( whatever it’s called), year after year, for American Glory over Europeans who had no advantage of *blood and soil* doctored to the max.

      Just one more *leap for Americankind* in the Cheating-for-Bucks Sports Rackets? Discover WHO placed the bets, and WHEN. Bring RICO.

  19. bob

    Is she finally admitting that he has lost it?

    The article is worth a read, expert advise from someone who was well known for firing people as soon as they were of no more use to him.

    I just don’t understand her sharing the byline, unless it is as I have suspected for a while, he’s completely senile, he can’t be trusted to even write by himself.

  20. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re: “Catholic health care plans” — let’s think straight: freedom of and from religion means that religious rules cannot trump the Law of the Land (the USA is NOT a theocracy). Hence, [Roman] Catholic religious regs cannot trump health care stipulations passed into Law by the U.S. Congress with signature of the President. In civil matters, *religious* must bow to the Law of the Land, in exchange for the *freedom to worship* their *God*. This is a CONTRACT.

    Thus, *religious* anti-abortion, and birth control measures that contradict the Law of the Land are illegal;

    Thus, a *religious* school, college, university, or other institution profiting from Federal income tax exemption or other Federal funds of any kind is ENCROACHING into the Civic Sphere of the Law of the Land–thus presuming to seize an ILLLEGAL, if not EXTRA-LEGAL, pre-rogative–when it claims that it is *ABOVE THE LAW*, i.e. that it need not comply with the Law of the Land anent HEALTH COVERAGE of U.S. Citizens.

    This ISSUE has nothing to do with *freedom OF religion*–which gives U.S. citizens the right to WORSHIP *GOD* without let or hindrance.

    This ISSUE is about *freedom FROM religion*–which gives U.S. citizens the right to be FREE of the demands of, and oppression by, of *religious* persons and institutions whatsoever. This has been so since the Colonial era.

    We the People of the U.S.A. and our Law of the Land are NOT subject to the *religious* authority of the Roman Catholic Church/hierarchy/court/servants in any way whatsoever, by Law of the Constitution of the U.S.A.

    The Roman Catholic Church, a de facto Foreign Power, has BREACHED CONTRACT with We the People by insisting on Roman Catholic dominion in a matter of Civil Law: HEALTH CARE for We the People of the U.S.A., by bringing its Despotic WILL to bear upon the President of the U.S.A., such that this President caved in to its WILL, thereby becoming an Agent of a Foreign Power.

    For this Breach of Contract by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the U.S.A., ALL Roman Catholic Institutions should be deprived forthwith of the PRIVILEGE of TAX-EXEMPT STATUS within the Civil Community of the U.S.A.

    May ALL such *religious* hospitals and other institutions be taken over by the State for We the People FORTHWITH, due to Breach of Contract and SUBVERSION of the Law of the Land.

    Moreover, may President Barack Obama be held for Treason against We the People, the Sovereign State of the U.S.A., for serving as Agent of this Foreign Power, imposing the Forein Power’s WILL on the American body politic, while in Office as President of the U.S. A.

    Cry TREASON! Bring “The Tyrannicide Brief” We the People shall NOT BOW DOWN TO KINGS *Religious* or *Secular*. The U.S.A. is NOT/shall NEVER be a theocracy. This is our DUTY as Sovereign Citizens, according to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights.

    OCCUPY Charlotte 2012:

    BILL BLACK/YVES SMITH 2012: We the Sovereign People of the U.S.A.
    Chris Hedges: Secretary of State
    Abigail Kaplovitz Field: Attorney General: Department of Justice
    Catherine Austin Fitts: Secretary of Housing/Local Loans
    General Shinseki: Department of Defense
    Max Keiser: Chief of Staff
    Gretchen Morgenson: Press Secretary

    If not now, when?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      The above applies also to *Focus on the Family* and any other *religious* group attempting to govern the mores, life, and rights of We the People through blatant power grabs self-justified as acts of piety. The U.S. is NOT, and NEVER shall be, a theocracy. ENOUGH! with the spurious *freedom of religion* civic power grabs designed to bring TYRANNY of the *religious* over ALL of the People of the U.S.A.

      These are Acts of Religious Despotism, which most of our founders sought to flee, and to disempower as potential rulers of We the People of America.

      Acts of Religious Despotism in the Civic Realm of the USA are Acts of Treason!

  21. LeonovaBalletRusse

    “America’s Failed Promise of Equal Opportunity” at

    This essay misses the point. We see the *natural aristocracy* of Just Agents among We the People right here at Naked Capitalism, and similar venues.

    The enduring *virtue* of the open democratic system is that it permits the Cream to rise to the Top, via Free Speech and Freedom of the Press. This open democracy system permits the re-creation of the *Republic*, where the *natural aristocracy*–assuredly NOT the “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII” rises to lead We the People once more.

    OCCUPY Charlotte 2012: Cream Despotic Kings

    BILL BLACK/YVES SMITH 2012: We the People NOW!
    Chris Hedges: Secretary of State
    Abigail Kaplovitz Field: Attorney General: Department of Justice
    Michael Hudson: Secretary of the Treasury
    Catherine Austin Fitts: Secretary of Housing/Local Loans
    General Shinseki: Secretary of Defense
    Max Keiser: Chief of Staff
    Gretchen Morgenson: Press Secretary

    If not now, when?

  22. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re: “The problem: We will admit no wrong* — is this for real? Mind-blowing! Is this *evidence* of wrong-doing, of *intent* to do whatever it takes, let the devil take the hindmost?

  23. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re: Barack Obama as The Great Vaccinator” — is he not, ipso facto, guilty of aiding and abetting the Enemy of the the People of U.S.A., of collusion with criminals, of being an accessory after the fact?

    Bring RICO! Cry Treason! Bring “The Tyrannicide Brief” right now!

  24. Hugh

    Don’t you wish that the Catholic hierarchy had gotten even a tenth as exercised by the child molestation by their priests as they are about contraception by their employees’ healthcare plans? I mean to speak with moral authority, first you have to have moral authority, and after all the child abuse scandals and their coverup by church officials, it is mighty hard to see them having any. Misogyny and a patriarchal mindset have been features of the Catholic Church since Paul. So it’s not like this is something new. Maybe the Catholic laity will someday get together and create Occupy the Church to take back their church from its autocratic, out of touch leaders.

    1. Lidia

      It’s not really something you would want to Occupy… I mean, its only reason for being is deception and manipulation.

  25. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Article at confirms theory of George Lakoff: “MORAL POLITICS” and shows how/why *religion* and *authoritative* constructions for the masses loom large in Conservative/Ultraconservative politics. Consider how the Global *Rentier* Grifter .01% uses the gullible masses to profit exponentially:

    “Conservatism Thrives On Low Intelligence And Poor Information”

    This is why *democracy’s* Ship of Fate enthralled to the .01% is rigged to list *Right*. Think: “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” for the Global .01%, including Walker/Bush, Dulles, Sullivan & Cromwell, Fritz Thyssen, Hamburg Amerika (big around Mobile Bay not so long ago). Think Holy Roman Reich III (Hitler’s *Third Reich*) to Reich IV, c/o Bush-Dulles CIA.

    “THE OLD BOYS” by Burton Hersh. Anything by Seymour Hersh.
    “AMERICAN DYNASTY” by Kevin Phillips;
    “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” by Naomi Klein.

    What, then, shall we do?

  26. Hugh

    I am always amazed at which of my comments get eaten by WordPress. So here is my effort to get around it.

    Don’t you wish that the C*tholic hierarchy had gotten even a tenth as exercised by the child mol*station by their priests as they are about contraception by their employees’ healthcare plans? I mean to speak with moral authority, first you have to have moral authority, and after all the child ab*se scandals and their coverup by church officials, it is mighty hard to see them having any. Misogyny and a patriarchal mindset have been features of the C*tholic Church since Paul. So it’s not like this is something new. Maybe the C*tholic laity will someday get together and create Occupy the Church to take back their church from its autocratic, out of touch leaders.

    1. Still Above Water

      Of course the priests are opposed to contraception – if people use contraception, there will be fewer children to mo|est.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Which brings to mind: Rest In Peace, Whitney Houston, very beautiful in body always, even if not “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” Hedy Lamarr.

          PLEASE NOTE: Beautiful children and women embody the Resource Curse: Their substance is extracted mercilessly by sexual predators unto death.

          Some find a way out of the *beauty trap* alive, some do not.

        1. Valissa

          LOL.. The Meaning of Life was on one of the HBO’s tonight so I TiVo’d it. Can’t wait to see it again!

          My favorite Monty Python song…

          Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

          The Church was quite upset about The Life of Brian when it came out. I thought it was a graet satire!

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Yes, this video, and *Oliver Twist*, and *Salaam Bombay*, and the slums of Naples, and the slums of the Middle East should be a required feature of Education from Grammar School on up, especially for girls. Do they think that breeding for their Masters will get them and their kids out of poverty?

        Honest work for women is what is required to end this obscenity of enslavement to human reproduction and poverty demanded by High Priests. Recall:

        “The Paradise of Bachelors” and “The Tartarus of Maids” by Robert Louis Stephenson;

        “The Horrors of the Half-Known Life: Male Attitudes Toward Women and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century America by G.J. Barker-Benfield;

        “The Cradle of Erotica” by Allen Edwardes and R.E.L. Masters;

        “The War Against Women” by Marilyn French.

        Uppity Women and Men Unite! against fanatic *fundamentalist* oppression. Good women and men are to be loved and enjoyed as persons, not in canned roles (e.g. Whores/Madonnas on demand; money and seed *Providers*). This is why Women Need Well-Paid Work Apart from Prostitution by Any Name. Whole Personhood of Women and Men depends one on the other.

  27. barrisj

    Here is another one of a sort of “What’s the matter with Kansas?” stories, where (white) people in the lower-to-mid “middle class” are taking govt. benefits where they can find them, yet railing against govt. “indebtedness”, as money is being transferred to “those who don’t need it”, and your guess who “those” may refer to. The curious thing is that the people quoted in the article – even though they are enjoying such things as the earned-income credit, free school lunches, Medicare and SS for their parents – detest the fact that they – and others – need to accept govt. assistance. Its as thought the Merkan myth of the “rugged individualist” is being thwarted or subverted because there exists a “safety net”, as people seemingly can’t make the connection between what used to be a comfortable, self-reliant existence (well-paying middle-class jobs, a company pension at the end of one’s working career, affordable college education for their children), and the consequences of a fully-globalised domestic economy and all that it implies. I don’t think that this is completely a case of the “low-information voter” lashing out tea-party-style at “big government”, but actually a form of self-loathing and loss of stature as a result of the wrenching macroeconomic changes whipsawing through peoples’ lives, and their inability to right the course. And, sure, there’s also quite a bit of the “Bugger you, Jack, I’ve got mine” mentality as well, but – as sociologists have shown over the years – when times get tough, people take their own govt. help as “earned”, and others who need or seek such assistance as “cheats”, or “feel entitled”, or the like. As long as so many within the “99%” turn on each other, the “1%” has nothing to worry about, as divide et impera continues to serve the ruling classes quite nicely, thank you very much.

    Even critics of ‘safety net’ increasingly depend on it

    Americans who describe themselves as self-sufficient members of the middle class and as opponents of government largesse are drawing more deeply on that government with each passing year.

    LINDSTROM, Minn. — Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games. He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government.

    He says that too many Americans lean on taxpayers rather than living within their means. He supports politicians who promise to cut government spending. In 2010, he printed T-shirts for the tea-party campaign of a neighbor, Chip Cravaack, who ousted a long-serving Democratic congressman.

    Yet this year, as in each of the last three years, Gulbranson, 57, is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice.

    The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits.

    A secondary mission has gradually become primary: maintaining the middle class from childhood through retirement. The share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households, the bottom fifth, has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis published last year.

    And as more middle-class families like the Gulbransons land in the safety net in Chisago and similar communities, anger at the government has increased alongside.

    Many people say they are angry because the government is wasting money and giving money to people who do not deserve it. But more than that, they say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives.

    They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it. They say they want less help for themselves; less help in caring for relatives; less assistance when they reach old age.
    Spending on medical benefits will account for a larger share of the projected increase in the federal budget over the next decade than any other kind of spending except interest payments on the federal debt.

    But many older residents in Chisago say this problem belongs to younger generations. They paid what they were told; they want to collect what they were promised.

    Some of the fiercest advocates for spending cuts have drawn public benefits. Many have family members who rely on the government. They often cite that personal experience as the reason they want to cut government spending.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      barrisj, thanks for giving us the benefit of your excellent research. This doesn’t even begin to cover the Military Industrial profiteer States, in which the people finding daily bread from such employment are rabid “anti-government” protesters. The .01% provide the script for screamers in ludicrous hypocrisy, in their *divide and conquer* strategy, delighted to see the masses groveling and fighting over crumbs.

      1. barrisj

        Right, and yet another sign of the hollowed-out “middle class” is the explosive growth of “dollar stores”, the non-Wal-Mart alternative for bargain shoppers (credit to Financial Armageddon for link):

        United States of Dollar Stores – dollar stores see a rise in households making $70,000 a year or higher as a customer base. What does the rise of dollar stores say about the middle class?

        i>Before 2000 dollar stores were largely seen as a bazaar of quirky trinkets and plastic oddities. Many sold excess volume of products, even selling old Super Bowl t-shirts of teams that did not win. Yet the dollar store of today is not the one of even one decade ago. The disillusionment of the middle class and the rise of a low-wage American worker base have created a booming business for dollar stores. Customers from more affluent backgrounds are now shopping at these stores because of an economic caution about their declining purchasing power. Even in the midst of the boom in the stock market we still have over 45,000,000+ Americans receiving food assistance. I talked about this large segment of our population in EBT Nation. What does the rise of the dollar store tell us about the future of the American economy?

        Dollar Store growth

        Dollar stores have been around for many decades but the surge in big name dollar stores really hit a full head of steam once the recession arrived:
        One of the surprising trends with dollar store growth comes from more affluent Americans becoming customers:

        “(NY Times) Financial anxiety — or the New Consumerism, if you like — has been a boon to dollar stores. Same-store sales, a key measure of a retailer’s health, spiked at the three large, publicly traded chains in this year’s first quarter — all were up by at least 5 percent — while Wal-Mart had its eighth straight quarterly decline. Dreiling says that much of Dollar General’s growth is generated by what he calls “fill-in trips” ­— increasingly made by wealthier people. Why linger in the canyons of Wal-Mart or Target when you can pop into a dollar store? Dreiling says that 22 percent of his customers make more than $70,000 a year and added, “That 22 percent is our fastest-growing segment.”

      2. Doug Terpstra

        No lack of irony there to elicit dark side of the moon laughter.

        Nor in the gall of Jamie Dimon, from your William Black link. If a long term serial criminal like Dimon, Obama’s saavy contributor, were subjected to the three stikes rule imposed on petty criminals, instead of automatic forbearance from the SEC, then he’d be in Gitmo by now or another of our remote gulags in Romania or Poland—for life if you could call it that. Personally, I think it may eventually come to heads in baskets.

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