Links 3/1/12

Super-sized fleas adapted to feed off dinosaurs Nature (hat tip Lambert)

T. rex bite was world’s strongest BBC

Far more cesium released from Kukashima than previously believed Asahi Shimbun (hat tip Lambert). I featured a video of a woman who went back into the quarantined zone take care of her cows. I hope she and they are OK.

Japanese Levitating House System Could Protect Homes From Earthquakes Inhabitat

Mexico City’s floating gardens threatened by urbanisation Guardian (hat tip Lambert)

7th Circuit approves warrantless searches of cell phones Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay (hat tip reader Carol B). Some readers don’t like our trashier entires. I say too bad, we need a little comic relief on this blog.

Wikileaked Stratfor just a bit player McClatchy. Lambert says, correctly, that the story is juicier than the headline.

Top 5 Stratfor Revelations Juan Cole (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

U.S. ‘info ops’ programs dubious, costly USA Today (hat tip Lambert)

81% of Israelis Oppose Unilateral Strike on Iran Washington’s Blog

Gen. McCaffrey privately briefs NBC execs on war with Iran Glenn Greenwald (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

LTRO II MacroBusiness

Bundesbank at odds with ECB over loans Financial Times

ECB’s Mario Draghi raises the stakes with trillion euro gamble Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

James Murdoch steps down as NI head Financial Times (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). This is the outcome Rupert had been trying to forestall.

News Corp: father and son Financial Times

So, how did Rebekah Brooks end up borrowing a police horse? Independent. This just gets weirder and weirder.

@twitmeicks (hat tip Richard Smith). This is enough to make me reconsider my generally dim view of Twitter.

North Korea agrees to halt nuke program Korea Times (hat tip Lambert)

‘Sovereign citizen’ movement now on FBI’s radar McClatchy. Buzz Potamkin: A few deaths have this way of sharpening the mind.

The Political Economy of Artificial Constraints on Government Money Bill Black, Credit Writedowns

Larry Summers For World Bank: So Much Wrong, So Little Time Mark Gongloff, Huffington Post (hat tip reader Carol B)

Unbelievable Stress of Making “Only” $200,000 After Taxes Michael Shedlock

Wall Street cash bonuses fell 14% last year Financial Times. That’s MUCH less than all the moaning would have you believe. And consider: Bonuses Dip on Wall St., but Far Less Than Earnings New York Times. More proof that pay for performance is a myth.

Growing Number Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Study Finds Huffington Post (hat tip reader Carol B)

Bank of America Running Debit Card System for Tax Returns in South Carolina Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (hat tip reader Carol B)

Corker to Donovan: How Will $26B Mortgage Settlement Impact People Saving for Retirement? LoanSafe (hat tip reader Paul T)

The 10 Best Cities To Buy Bank-Owned Properties Clusterstock

Fast, Furious at MF Global Wall Street Journal

Antilla: Occupy Vigilantes Write New Volcker Script Bloomberg

Antidote du jour:

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    1. Cal

      “Unbelievable Stress of Making “Only” $200,000
      After Taxes…”Ha!

      Put your three kids in public schools that are free then.
      Brooklyn?…Hmmmm, that could be a problem.

      Best public school districts in America? There has to be list somewhere.

      Move to Marin County,
      the Switzerland of California.

      San Rafael’s the emerging canton.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      FA, I went from your link to the article on Charles Schwab’s RICO suit, plus *conspiracy* suit against the *Untouchables* who’ve gamed LIBOR for gain. Wow! this gives “Talk to ChucK” a whole new meaning.

  1. ambrit

    As I observed yesterday, it now looks like James Murdock has become a Remittance Man. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

  2. rd

    Re: Wall Street bonuses

    These stories tell me it is, in Churchill’s words, “the beginning of the end” of this depression.

    Many of these people have the option of moving away from NYC and similar locales. Instead of a gun club in Upstate NY, they could just live there (Westchester County doesn’t count as Upstate). A side benefit is that you don’t need a 4-month summer rental to get away from the big city. They would also pay less taxes as NYC won’t get its cut.

    They would be able to buy a 2,500 sf house in a very good public school district for 1X their after-tax income. They would not have to pay rent for their cars as they would just park in the driveway. The dogs could run around in the yard and walking them would be a good way to say hi to the neighbors.

    Our hearts don’t bleed for them. This thing won’t end until these people view their current “crisis of pay” as a “new normal” the way the rest of the world has been coming to grips with a new lower wage base.

    1. Klassy!

      Was that Bloomberg article for real? The thing that makes me supsect parody is the mention of a banker’s wife who founded a non profit to promote “employment for people with Asperger syndrome” was just too rich.
      On the other hand, it is a little early to pull a Sidd Finch.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Klassy, that means that the banker’s wife had a son *on the Asperger spectrum*, and knew how to profit from this.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      rd, not only that, but also the wife and kids can be comfortable while the *breadwinner* is in the slammer.

    3. Wendy

      It is too bad that the “poor little rich kid” tone of the Bloomberg piece got in the way of the real story, which is how absurdly expensive NYC and life in general has become, and how buying power has been so diminished, that even people at Schiff’s very high income level have to budget. His family rents their home, they don’t own it – they can’t afford to buy, apparently, and for 4 people, their 1200 square feet of living space is tight (compare the average American home, which is around 2000 square feet). The family’s private school expense is garbage, to my mind, but the real point is, he expected to be able to give his children a high-end education, and it turns out he really can’t afford to, even on $350K/year.
      I don’t feel pity or sympathy for him, but shouldn’t we all be sort of shocked at how unattainable the privileges of the wealthy turn out to be?
      I live in brownstone Brooklyn, just a few blocks from Schiff, and like him, I rent a brownstone duplex. The data show that, between around 1998 and 2006, housing became impossibly expensive here. Since the downturn, housing has barely decreased in value here, unlike in the rest of the country. The bailout money all landed here, and the global elite are doing a lot of buying here. From living here I have come to observe/believe that NYC has become a city that is, now, predominantly for the very, very wealthy, the very, very hungry… and also for a few people who were able to carve out their niche before the housing bubble. The very, very hungry are willing to make extraordinary sacrifices in order to try to “make it.” The very very wealthy can, first, afford much better housing, but they also compensate for the unavoidable sacrifices of being in the city by having second homes (or more). For those in the middle, it can seem bizarre to earn so much but still be able to attain so little. It’s a lesson for all of us, I think, that those of us who work for a living are truly excluded from the privileges of the wealthy. That “work hard and play by the rules” claptrap won’t get you in their gates.

      1. Binky the Bear

        I submit that people who are unattainably wealthy simply have lost perspective and no longer appreciate the trappings of their wealth that they take for granted. No one forces people to live in NYC at gun point-it is a choice made as part of a suite of lifestyle choices made by very competitive people. Warren Buffet, after all, lives in Nebraska. What the people in the article don’t comprehend is that they are pining for the life of the inherited wealth elite; having to work at something besides designing a fragrance or fashion line or selling pink ribbon paraphernalia is a mark of class failure for them, a sign that they really haven’t arrived. Playing on these feelings of inferiority is how the real wealthy elites keep the “in the house servants” in line and working for them instead of trying to become competitors or joining the ranks of the inherited wealth elite. It also alienates them from people who actually have to work for a living.

  3. rd

    Update on the fatal bus crash in Syracuse where the double-decker bus hit the CSX bridge:

    The bus driver was found not guilty of criminal negligence and the judge recommends taking the bridge out altogether. NYSDOT and Onondaga County have made the Onondaga Lake Parkway a non-commercial traffic road, similar to Saw Mill Parkway, to keep trucks off of it. That has resulted in a lot of business complaining that this efficient route for the pick-ups and panel trucks is now closed to them.

  4. Tertium Squid

    Gayifying dead Mormons:

    Harmless enough, and I doubt many LDS will be offended by such silliness. Though what do I know?

        1. F. Beard

          Two assumptions:

          1) That Mormons are my brothers; they are not unless by God’s Providence they happen to be Christian despite being Mormons.
          2) That I hate Mormons; I don’t. I do hate Mormonism though since I think Joe Smith was a con man.

          Nice try though.

          1. Tertium Squid

            Wasn’t accusing you of anything, I was turning the focus on myself. If I am blind I would not claim to see and will instead ask God for illumination.

            I am glad you are so free of hatred. A good example for the rest of us.

          2. F. Beard

            I am glad you are so free of hatred.

            Hah! I hate banking with a passion!

            “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate. Proverbs 8:13

          3. Tertium Squid

            You raise an interesting subject. I don’t know if there’s a meaningful distiction between hating people and hating things – the same emotion in one case can be edifying and the other self-destructive. For my part, I have hated many people and things in my time, and found in all cases the activity was unedifying.

            *Shrug* Maybe the word “hate” means different things between us. I would also not have considerable confidence that our words and their significations would happen to exactly capture what the Proverb author meant by such a personal and subjective emotion.

            Serious question (since you know how blind I am to silliness!): How have you found your hatred of banks and Mormonism to be ennobling?

          4. F. Beard

            How have you found your hatred of banks and Mormonism to be ennobling? TS

            Banks have killed 50-86 million in WWII alone. As far as I know, Mormons (dressed up as Native Americans) have only slaughtered a few hundred or so. Don’t flatter yourself.

          5. Tertium Squid

            Hm. In our discussion you have so far described two hatreds – banks and Mormonism. It is for that reason I asked about them in particular. I am taking you at your word; if you care to re-frame your feelings on those subjects, it is up to you.

            PS: One of my wife’s ancestors was involved in the awful events in September in 1857. While Mormons certainly were responsible for the terrible crime, I have a hard time holding “Mormonism” to blame.

            (And I am familiar with Krakauer’s argument on the subject and don’t think much of it.)

        2. Martskers

          The gay Mormon site is a hoot. As the child of
          Holocaust survivors, the posthumous baptisms
          royally piss me off, but it doesn’t surprise me.
          Mormons have promised not to do this, but they’re
          doing it anyway, which is par for their course,
          based on my experience.

          Oh, and while I’m at it, vis a vis the “soverigh
          citizen” thing: don’t believe everything (or maybe
          even anything) the FBI and/or Homeland Security
          tells you about ANYTHING. There are still many
          unanswered questions about the West Memphis incident.
          The “official story” of that episode is not, by
          any means, the last word.

          1. Tertium Squid

            I am sorry your experience with Mormons has been so negative. Being a Latter-day Saint doesn’t automatically make a person perfect; at least it hasn’t for this one.

            I posted something like this the last time the issue of Baptisms for the Dead was raised:

            The late controversy about the memory of Holocaust victims has been a good opportunity for the Church to evaluate the practice. I think the relative lack of clear policy, guidelines and procedure over the years has led to casualness in the minds of LDS about what names are being submitted for baptizing, and why. One of the main goals of Baptism for the Dead is expressed in Malachi, to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers”, and that argues for a strong effort to learn about and be concerned with one’s own ancestors, and not fussing over historical figures or celebrities.

            …this guy’s website has a good description of BFTD and why we do it:


          2. Martskers

            Squid: I’m sorry, but there is absolutely no
            rationale for posthumous baptism, other than
            supreme hubris and contempt for others’
            beliefs, both of which, I’m sorry to say, are
            characteristic of your (but not only your)

            If my faith believed in a ritual that required
            us to urinate on your loved ones’ graves, would
            you be OK with that? And yet, what your faith
            does with these posthumous baptisms is no less
            offensive or disrespectful.

            Please don’t try to rationalize it. JUST STOP IT!

          3. Tertium Squid

            I don’t have contempt for anyone’s belief, for I am always trying to learn from others. If our practice has offended you I am heartily sorry. I should make clear that I don’t defend or myself practice the baptizing on behalf of people where there isn’t a close family relationship, or permission of family relations of the deceased. People that do so are contravening the Church’s rules and policies about baptism for the dead and are (in my view) missing the point of it by a large margin.

            You ask an interesting question. Here is how I answered it on another NC thread:

            “…if I were to hear that the names of my dear ancestors (some of whom endured religious persecution, but not usually approaching that level so many Jews have been subjected to) were involved in ordinances or cult practices of some other religion, I don’t think I’d care much. Though I may find their actions mistaken, I would not find any harm in it.

            I like the words of Gamaliel as quoted in Acts:

            Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

            But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

            I have a question for you. It is out of curiosity; I don’t expect to make a point or anything. Do you find it equally offensive, the common Christian notion that Jesus Christ had to die for the sins of all people, including those of Holocaust victims and survivors?

      1. ohmyheck

        Actually, The Mormons have quite the successful indie movie business, movies poking fun at themselves.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      TS, Maybe they can *Convert* dead Mormons to Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, after death–just so long as they’re in the .01% Eternal Eden. This goes with the promise of the Rainbow Effects on the site.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        And, horror of horrors, what if Dead White Mormon Males were converted to *Women of Color* after death? Now that would be a worthy challenge for them in Mormon Heaven.

        1. Tertium Squid

          My niece is a “woman of color”. I love her dearly and know of no restriction against her going to the same heaven that I would go to, if I were to get my act together and keep the commandments.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      LS, thanks for the link, the frame, and the hyperlinks. This is quite an intriguing situation, and one might well perceive a *warning* that those ready to form a *well armed militia* are on the side of We the People, with Ron Paul as President and Commander in Chief.

      “Andrew Breitbart died in Los Angeles. He was 43.” (NPR news at noon).

      Oh, how to read the signs in the House of Mirrors?

      In any event , your link, commentary, and hyperlinks are well worth pondering.

      1. Lambert Strether

        “General of All Televisions Barry McCaffrey”… Do feel free to propagate ;-)

        For the rest of it, Greenwald did the heavy lifting; I just added the tinfoil hat!

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        LS, also, within this your frame of inquiry, will you investigate the machinations of BAC? Here in Savannah, I have been informed that BAC has a LOCK on paychecks of anyone connected to the U.S. MILITARY (and presumably anyone connected with the M-I Establishment). This is HUGE GRAFT by a BigBank that ended up the the M-I Establishment State of North Carolina, specifically in Charlotte, whose *owners* fully intended to TRUMP *those NY Jews* in Banking.

        Now the *credit card* thing, in addition to every other source of *income* they can get from every guy/gal fighting and dying for *God and Confederacy*.

        Will you, Yves, and Bill Black please BUST BAC and its co-conspirators?

        1. Skippy

          Theocratic banking wars[!], naw…

          Skippy… per above neo theocratic conversation. HALON like quality’s, stealing mental oxygen. Why does the individual believer always equate their self awarded benign status to the hole history or trajectory of its actions.

          PS. just found softpan, might finally dabble with a new OS with its help, ta.

          “For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

          Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”… JFK

          Very nice…. methinks.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Nice catch and nice moniker–Supreme Commander for Television indeed!

      Ii does look this is intended to get the media on the same page as the government and to subtly leak the cover story for the administration (the Republicans made them do it).

      Reminds me of when CNN ‘practiced’ for the Gulf War by faking news stories:

  5. bmeisen

    Re Tax return debit cards

    Mutant debit cards like the one described in this article, checking, and credit cards, i.e. the standard payment transfer services offered by American banking should be replaced by a low-monthly fee debit card that directly hits your account. The technology is there to help the American consumer optimize payment transfers, and save money on fees and interest and bookkeeping. It is the debit card model used in Europe. Financial industry talent is apparently strenuously avoiding this innovation, and instead generating products that increase fees. There’s an opportunity waiting.

  6. Susan the other

    mcClatchy on Sovereign Citizens. Disconcerting. The FBI has been all over various nazi groups for 25 years. This article is a little different in tone and it leads me to believe that the problem is growing. But never fear, Oliver Stone’s son gave an interview on RT yesterday and said we are now, as of today, under marshall law thanks to the National Defense Act.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Susan, the word is pronounced *marshall* but spelled *martial* (from Mars as God of War) — just in case you’d like to avoid this COMMON error. I notice that *marshall* is the constant spelling in YouTube comments, but that doesn’t make it right. In fact, the corrupted spelling empties the original word of meaning.

  7. b.

    “Rice was involved in the “sovereign citizen” movement, a group that has attracted little national media attention but which the FBI classifies as an “extremist antigovernment group.” So-called sovereign citizens argue that they are not subject to local, state or federal laws, and some refuse to recognize the authority of courts or police.”

    Sounds like he thought he was one of the one percent. Or the President.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Sounds a lot like the black bloc, at least from the “don’t tell me what to do” aspect. Let’s pray to The God(ess)(e)(s) Of Our Choice, If Any, that the extremes don’t merge.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Oh please. This is silly.

        The black bloc is not violent. They have engaged in non violent civil disobedience. People are intentionally pretending they are violent in order to demonize (which is what the elite want). You are purposely conflating a few broken windows in thousands of demonstrations with “violence.” It’s incredibly dishonest.

        Second, a similar thing was done with the sovereign movement in the 90s. They were the bogeymen before the “terrorists” and now the “black block.” They were the justification for the beginnings of the PATRIOT Act and the other civil liberty crushing laws. The Oklahoma City bombing was pinned on them to further create this impression.

        So you are basically stuffing straw into the two of the three favorite bogeymen straw men of the elite. What’s next, are you going to worry that liberals are supporting “terrorists” when they make certain arguments?

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Convinced me.

            That Riefenstahlian video made me want to double the Homeland Security budget.

            And we should double the number of militarized police officers to deal with this menace of vandalism.

            We need the PATRIOT ACT 3 and we need to spend all our time worry about broken windows because this has to be the greatest threat to decent society.

            Let’s bring those Nazi laws to America I say! It should be illegal to cover your face from big brother. And let’s make all known black bloc sympathizers wear a big scarlet A on their clothes.

  8. wunsacon

    >> Some readers don’t like our trashier entires. I say too bad, we need a little comic relief on this blog.

    Agree! :-)

    1. craazyman

      that’s why I love the peanut gallery. ;)

      Tho’ I feel kind of bad that Professor Black had to scrape off the MMT is fascist mud slinging stuff with an op-ed. I was just kiddng about the Abba costumes. I love you guys –Prof. Black, Marshall, Ms. Kelton (she really does look hot). You guys are awesome and very thought provoking.

      Sometimes you just need to get the ya-yas out. You know. The society as a whole can never run out of money so MMT is certainly technically correct. Society can only run out of Nature or Imagination or Cooperation.

      Like Easter Island ran out of all three. Like Haiti has almost run out of cooperation and Nature. The money is only a form of the imagination. and if you run out of the ability to cooperate, you run out of money, no matter how much Nature you have. And you are not even You at that point, you are nothing but a collection of eyes. Money is not Newtownian or even Relativistic. It’s beyond both. It is 16 equations and 19 unknowns. It does not exist in a quantifiable dimension.

      1. aletheia33

        “money is only a form of imagination”
        nice craazyman. thanks for that final paragraph.

        i wonder if it weren’t for our wonderful human imagination, a lot fewer people would have got suckered into believing in the ideology/mythology of the neoliberal world economic program.

        it still boggles my mind how this program, this collective insanity, continues to reign in the minds of what appears to be the majority of people with any resources to speak of to get it ditched. you can see humanity suiciding on this raft of a clearly perverse set of fantasies based on the skillfully articulated worldview of a few dangerous “idealists” of a certain type.

        it’s kind of fascinating to watch this mass suicide. one could not quite have imagined our clever species to be so vulnerable to the seduction of its own imaginal invention as to bet everything on this one crazy scheme. but in a way, perhaps it is just the credulity of our original shamanic societies writ large, all that’s changed is the numbers of people involved, they have kept getting bigger over the centuries as physical people-control technology has progressed, so why would one have expected anything different.

        we seem to be strongly wired not to see what’s really in front of us and blindly keep skipping along in the direction of what we would like to be in front of us. we actually do think we “see” what we pretend is there. i include myself here of course, in view of all my own foolish delusions over the years.

        1. craazyman

          I have very mixed feelings about shamanic consciousness, if that is even a meaningful form of language that I use. We have investigated this at the center for Contemporary Analysis after drinking several cote du rhones and then said f–ck it after getting nowhere with it, and just checked out Abba’s Dancing Queen videos on Youtube. Hard to believe they wore those costumes once, but that was then. I remember the Bee-Gees even.

          all this will eventually be relevant to money and banking . . .

          shamanic consciousness lacked an individuation, which seems to be the pinnacle achievement of Western ethics, and our torment — as the legend of Prometheus attests — and yet despite its ignorance, it was aware of powerful natural forces that toy jokingly with our so-called rationality and it could command them if the skill were possessed.

          Yet our civilized and cultivated individuation freezes in collapse into group lock-thought in the face of such “authorities” as our money priests — nearly every bit as much as Montezuma’s warriors, living in the shamanic group soul/mind, were frozen in front of Cortez handful of Spaniards, who were far more individuated and conscious of their freedom of action.

          And the pious bloodletting on the pyramids by the Aztec priests to feed the cycle of nature and keep the world from collapse is bizarrely similar to the neoliberal bloodletting to keep, as the philosophy would have it, our world from collapse. The belief in the need for death to feed life. The shoesaleman Mr. Camus, my hero, wrote extensively about this. I could never buy a pair of shoes from him. I’d go to Foot Locker or Church’s before I EVER bought a pair of shoes from Mr. Camus. i don’t know what I’d do. I know he needs to make a living but really. It’s uncomfortable to even think about, but he’s dead now so it’s hardly a risk. This is something I need to take up with a therapist, but i won’t go. I’ll just figure it out myself, eventually.

          The echo and symbolic symmetry == blood/money/nature/pyramid/sacrific is so revelatory that it is nearly diagramatic. It’s such an archetypical structure found in both the shamanic and rational western minds. Something totally human and insane at a foundational level — the need to contain explosive disorder and preserve group survival through sacrifice to some higher deificated structure.

          Money as blood and life energy and the pious sacrifice of innocence to the eternal natural gods, as food, to gain their favor and benevolence. Too strange, the metaphorical equivalence of it all. It must be a cosmic joke by the snakes at our expense. It almost makes you a Manichean.

          1. aletheia33

            craazyman, i read and enjoyed this great comment from you. for some reason it prompted me to think of the mourning wars of the native americans at the time of the early white settlements. the indigenous tribes had been decimated by the disease brought by the white europeans. a significant number of them responded by launching what became known as “mourning wars”–raids against other tribes to capture people and “adopt” them as replacements for the people in one’s own tribe who had died. one of the worst instances was a long march back north returning from a raid far into the south, during which the captors ended up eating some of the captives to survive. you get a picture of societies reduced to collective insanity by levels of death that they couldn’t mentally handle.

            the white settlers in the “new world” found ghost indian villages everywhere they went in the forests. these places were often exactly as they were when the last diseased inhabitants died, with corpses lying about, utensils laid out for unfinished meals, and the like.

            the white settlers were haunted by these ghost villages. something i didn’t learn in my history lessons; maybe they teach about it now.

            i’m not going anywhere with this, just a resonance with what you said.

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          aletheia33, but it was the only game in town. The monopoly men made sure of that. And Ayn Rand stoked the fire until Greenspan became the Engineer of the Gravy Train for some.

  9. BondsOfSteel

    I thought the most interesting bit of the Wall Street bonus article was the assertion that people who worked on Wall Street don’t save.

    This can’t be right? Being more financially savvy than the rest of us, I’d assume they would save on average more than non-Wall Street workers. Or… is it that they don’t believe in the market themselves…

    Answers anyone?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      BofS, are you serious or facetious? Why *save* when you can *churn* CDOs and such like, to the nth degree, to the *end of time*?

      Surely, to them, *Saving is for Suckers* who deposit their cash equity into the Profit Whirlwind of the .01% and their .99% Agency.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        Serious. I wanna know if they are ‘eating their own dogfood’.

        I wouldn’t expect them to be involved in the great casino… but long term buy and hold with proper diversification still works.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I worked on Wall Street a long time ago, but I know a lot of people who seemed to be living at the edge of their incomes. But some were very conservative. The hours and the stress lead to people buying themselves presents, or mingling in a certain cohort, as their reward.

  10. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Lambert, re *warrantless search on cell phones*, the .01% can always count on their Agents warming the bench in the 7th Circuit to do their bidding.

  11. Lambert Strether

    I can’t get search engines to show me the full MF Global page. This looks like it (at least the lead is the same). Here are some extracts:

    No one has been charged with wrongdoing, but futures-exchange operator CME Group Inc. has said that someone at MF Global illegally dipped into client funds during the securities firm’s final days.

    “Someone”?! And don’t we call “illegally dipped into” theft?

    “Please move $165mm using rep code CHASEFIN,” Ms. Howgate wrote in an email to MF Global’s treasury-operations staff. “Rep code” was used as a shortcut to help the firm’s electronic systems move money quickly. Ms. Vavra responded one minute later.

    People who work in bankster IT departments can correct me, but the “Rep code” looks to me like a channel that bypasses normal controls (which would be why it’s faster).

    Employees soon realized that the $165 million hadn’t come from the MF Global Finance USA unit, according to people familiar with the situation. Some of those people believed an inaccurate “rep code,” not “CHASEFIN,” was entered into the computer, despite Ms. Howgate’s instructions. The mistake meant that the money was moved from the customer-segregated account.

    The “fat finger” excuse never gets old, does it? And even if it’s true, it reinforces that the rep codes lack normal controls.

    Some MF Global employees worked to get the money back from J.P. Morgan. On Oct. 28, treasury-operations official Sheila Lane entered a “cancellation request” into an electronic system linked to the bank.

    “Please back value wire to 10/27/11,” she wrote, according to a document reviewed by the Journal. “Back-value” requests are commonly used by financial firms when asking a trading partner to reverse a transfer made in error.

    Ms. Lane told Edith O’Brien, an assistant treasurer at MF Global, about the request in an email. “Thank you,” Ms. O’Brien replied.

    Ms. O’Brien was one of MF Global’s key Chicago [Hmm. Not that I’m foily] employees when it came to moving funds, and she sometimes communicated with senior officials with the firm’s headquarters in New York. Mr. Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chairman, New Jersey governor and U.S. senator, told a congressional panel in December that she had assured him that a [“a” transfer, so not necessarily this one] separate money transfer was proper.

    If true, why the request to back value?

    J.P. Morgan received the Oct. 28 request to reverse the $165 million transfer, according to a person familiar with the situation. By then, though, the money was no longer in the MF Global bank account, this person said.

    Oh, OK. No problem, then!

    * * *

    So, another IT clusterf*ck, that just so happens to benefit the kleptocrats who run our financial system. Why does this sound so familiar ***cough*** MERS ***cough*** LPS ***cough*** ***cough*** ***cough***.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      LS, great work. Surely “CHASEFIN” means JPMorgue: Final Destination – and that means JPMorgue in London, where the Law *permits* such theft.

      Got it?

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Good job digging into the details.

      Yeah, they advertised their defense early on: it’s basically the negligence defense. This big swinging dick institution made clerical errors when it *accidentally* took hundreds of millions of customer dollars.

      As I wrote previously, if a small time lawyer, accountant, or anyone with a fiduciary duty did the same thing and came up with the same excuse, they would be telling their story to a jury.

      It’s obvious our Justice Department is in cahoots with the criminals so they are only pretending to investigate rich crooks like Corzine.

      They are busy locking up poor, black and brown people and throwing away the key and destroying their families. I don’t know how any Dept. of Justice prosecutor can live with themselves–they are basically bullies for the rich.

  12. LeonovaBalletRusse

    RE: *Antidote du jour* — Should we be getting all sentimental about this picture of affection? Imagine the mouse released from the caretaker’s hands. What happens next?

  13. Comment

    There are more reasons to be against MMT than what can be said in a blog comment in this day and age…. Though I have said some of it before. If only those who espouse MMT could get the bigger picture. There is more than appears on the surface. And more than one can safely say.

    I do appreciate the comment on the MMT article, regarding Solent green orphans. Not a bad guess, really.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    That levitating house system might be more damaging than the quake itself when it’s a moderate quake, unless the compressor itself levitates.

    I am thinking, here you are, in a levitating house, but your compressor is not levitating and becomes damaged by the quake, boom!, you lose altitude instantly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the air is enclosed, it’s more like a not-very functional base-isolation system and not a levitating system.

        If the supporting air is not enclosed, you need a constant stream and a working super-compressor.

  15. LeonovaBalletRusse

    ATTENTION NC Readers — Woman escapes from bondage as caste breeder:

    “Unorthodox: Breaking away from the Hasidic community” – video featuring Debora Feldman, author of: “UNORTHODOX: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” –video among the top five 1 March 2012 at BBC. LINK:

    Debora broke away from bondage in Brooklyn, now a Manhattanite *Free at last*.

    Congratulations, Debora Feldman, your are a hero! Come join us at NC.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Sorry, again. I give up. PLEASE go to the BBC site and search for this video.

  16. Valissa

    Great quote over at The Big Picture, from yesterday…

    QOTD: Bastiat on Plunder

    “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

    – Frederic Bastiat, French writer and economist, as quoted by Bill Moyers.

    1. Valissa

      The Perfection of Crony Capitalism: Use Regulation to Destroy Competitors

      I have always hated the simplistic dualism of regulations bad versus regulations good that tend to dominate most political discussion, without any discussion of who any given set of regulations will help or harm and why. This article does a good job of pointing out the problems with “regulations are good” meme. Since looting is so firmly established in our gov’t, all regulations that are established should be highly suspect.

      1. Cynthia

        Keep in mind, Valissa, there are basically two types of regulations: the ones that are actually effective in resolving exploitation and minimizing risk (e.g. Glass-Steagall), and ones that we mostly see today to protect monopolies.

        Most of the money spent in Congress today is geared towards safeguarding and promoting the latter.

        This happened in online poker, too. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA), which was put on the back of a Port Securities bill (#joke), and was “written” by Senator (at the time) Bill Frist. His stance was perceived to appease Evangelicals in his state of TN in a reelection year, but if you follow the money, you’d know the TRUE reason.

        The big banks, like JPM/Goldman Sachs, disliked online poker because their greedy hands could not touch any of the players’ money until they close their accounts, and they especially hated the fact we could use peer-to-peer (p2p) transfer of cash for free (minus the vigorish, or simply the vig, also known as juice or the take, that would be charged by the players themselves for the trouble).

        And the big casino industry hated it obviously due to the threat it was towards their monopoly. People would much prefer to stay in their homes rather than drive to a casino (on avg an hour away), as well as the fact you can play smaller online (ex: 0.01/0.02 NLHE as supposed to $1/$2 NL at the casino).

        The government agreed, because it wasn’t getting taxed AND they don’t like the thought of people earning a living that isn’t State approved. They’d prefer you’d work for a big corporation where they can take a piece of your paycheck when you get it every 2 weeks. Hence: UEIGA.

        So, write a law, have a senator you paid off push it through, and eliminate your competition (PStars, PartyPoker, etc). Then, when the people write their Congressman that they want online poker, write the laws again so only the big casino corporations can run the sites, who obviously who secure loans from big banks like JPM and GS, to fund their site-building efforts.

        Who were Frist’s two biggest campaign contributors during his 2006 re-election campaign?

        JPMorgan and Harrah’s (Now Ceasar’s) Corporation.

        You can rise-wash-repeat for almost any industry today.

        H/T: ZeroHedge

          1. Anonymous Comment

            LBR, No offense intended, but it goes back to way, way before Louisiana politics. They just happen to be one intense lens through which to view that style.

            Goes back to before America or the Ballet Russe existed. Not to take away from your comment, just to trying to see the bigger picture, if possible. It’s a very big picture.

        1. Valissa

          You make some excellent points Cynthia, and I understand what you’re saying about the “two types” of regulations as that is a common meme as well. These two types also break down into “good” and “bad” regulations. I have been thinking a lot these days about the limitations of dualistic thinking and how putting things into two categories dimishes both the content and substance of any more complex issue. It’s part of an overall dumbing down effect from the media who constantly puts almost everything into two battling boxes (with the effect that most people think that way now about the world).

          If I had the time and interests to do a thorough research and analysis of all the different types of regulation, I’m guessing there would be at least 4 or 5 categories that would each have different sets of plusses, minuses and trade-offs… it would depend on granularity of definitions.

          Of course, once one has regulations of any kind there are the associated issues and costs related to creating organizations for compliance monitoring and enforcement. The potential cor corruption here is tremendous.

          A concept I have been playing around with is the notion of “Living in a Powerpoint Reality”… which represents the idea that one can come with with a simple bullet point overview to either explain reality or to change it. Powerpoint Reality also tends to be authoritarian in the sense that it typically proscribes some sort of top-down approach.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Adapting fleas.

    People are underestimating blood sucking vampire squids. They can adapt too.

    That’s the lesson from nature. You can have your fraud control, but it will be a on-going war between the fraudsters and the good guys.

    The best bet is by reducing the size of the prize.

    You can create the most powerful weapon, but when this prize is captured by the bad guys, you are worse off.

    You can create the most powerful government, but when domestic money, foreign money or corruption inflitrates it and captures it, you are much worse off.

    In chess, you win when you capture your opponent’s king. It will be harder, if you only win after you have captured all of his/her pawns, or all of his/her pawns plus knights, for example, or all of his/her pawns, plus knights plus bishops, so on and so forth.

    So, a concentrated system is a weak system, for those inside it. That weak system is still capable of dominating the world though. It’s just weak against inflitration. You capture the king and you gain control of the world. That’s a weak system.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s probably also why religions like Buddhism, etc, prefer kingdoms and empires to democracies.

      You convert the king/queen or emperor/empress, and it’s easy after that.

      1. Anonymous Comment

        Hi. First, no offense… Buddhism is not a religion. It is a philosophy that some cultures use a basis for their spiritual practices and or political structures.

        I know it’s a distinction that many westerners don’t get, but it is significant, nonetheless. Huna tradition in HI is similar… Most Huna people are also Christian. If you ask them ‘What is your religion?” they will say ‘Christian’. If you ask them ‘what is your philosophy, or your understanding of the reality of life’, they will say ‘Huna’. [Philosophies continue growing from within the individual, is the major distinction coming to me now… versus a religion which is dictated from outside.]

        Second, Buddhists have felt that if they as a culture, have raised their king well, he will be more likely to choose in the best interest of the people, than people whose votes can be bought with petty persuasions, and/or ‘democratically elected’ leaders whose choices can be bought in so many ways, ones that you no doubt have not even thought of.

        I’m not saying that this is my belief, just my understanding. Thought you’d wanna know, since you seem to think you do.


        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If you like, you can remove Buddhism and substitute Christianity.

          For those who oppose that, you may put back Buddhism.

          I hope my point still stands.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Forget to thank you for pointing it out.

          I know you say I seem to know but actually I perhaps know a partial aspect of it.

          And even if I know, sometimes I forget, as we all do.

          What I had in mind were historical facts that when Buddhism arrived in China during the Eastern Han Dynasty, the records spoke of imperial sponsorship…temples being built (the White Horse Temple for those Sindu priests who supposedly arrived on white horses) Were there already Buddhists then in China? Probably. Maybe Kuchans or other Central Asians as well as some native Han Chinese.

          So, that was what I had in mind. Your point is valid as well. Buddhism as practiced today in many countries is more like a way of life. I read somewhere about when the Westerners first encountered it, they felt the Chinese’s description of it and the way the practiced it was more a way of life, not a religion per se.

          Then of course, when you talk with Buddhist practitioners and priests, they will casually mention it as a religion. Maybe when they lay it out formally, they will say it’s not a religion. I don’t know. I have never interacted that formally with Buddhists. It’s like who speaks for America (or any group)? When some Americans will go abroad and say we love our hamburgers and we want the world to share our love and some will say we need to eat healthier. I suspect it’s not hard to find some people who practice Buddhism to say it’s a religion.

          1. Anonymous Comment


            Even those who practice Buddhism as a religion will generally not claim that it is.

            Similar to the fact that Jesus never wanted to be worshipped nor to have a formal malady arise in his name.

        3. Valissa

          IMO it’s fine with me if you don’t want to consider Buddhism a religion. But as a student of comparative religions with many books on the topic, and also some Buddhist books… in almost all places Buddhism is referred to as one of the major world religions. Because many forms of Buddhism are non-theistic some people say it’s not a religion. Religions don’t require gods to be considered religions.

          Btw, according to several books I’ve read, the term “religion” was invented/coined during the Enlightenment, and that most languages did not have a word that specifically translated into our modern concept of religion.

          1. Valissa

            meant to say… most/all(?) ancient/older-forms-of languages did not have a word that specifically translated into our modern concept of religion.

          2. Anonymous Comment

            Indeed, you are correct that to many people [especially non-buddhists] buddhism is considered a religion. And yet…

            Unlike Christianity, in buddhism everyone human soul has a buddha within him/her waiting to become cognizant. Buddha, meaning ‘enlightened one’. In the west, those who practice forms of buddhism are considered ‘students’ of buddhism. And in the east where buddhism is more common, religion is considered taboo.

      2. Valissa

        Converting the leader first is how much of Christianity was forced on many parts of Europe according to one of my history books.

  18. Thomas Barton, JD

    In Re all the Greek CDS default talk which is all of a piece of the LTRO II nonsense : Bill Gross at CNBC article today says the decision to Not Declare a Default sets a bad precedent, yet go to the ISDA website and after careful icon clicking work and surfing through the links you find a unanimous decision and also Bill Gross’ very own PIMCO is a voting non-dealer on the committee that Unanimously said there is no default. Say one thing in public and do another in private to protect your massive financial interests. Also in this vein, I am struck by how sanguine Rick Santelli is on this CDS no default decision yet he screams rule of law and the sanctity of contract when it comes to the horrifying criminality of the MF Global debacle. How about some consistency on the rule of law mantra, Rick ?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would go with his declaration made under the sun, not the one in a dark room.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      TB, right. PIMCO is the 800# gorilla: they take their positions then lay down the law to profit.

  19. Hugh

    Re McCaffrey, the 78% positive view of the military is largely support for the troops, not support for the military per se. If you started asking people about gold-plated weapons systems, or us having hundreds of bases outside the US, or support for the Iraq or Afghanistan war, or of general officers becoming political, I think you would see major fissures in the generic support for the “military”. As often happens, Americans can be deeply conflicted in their attitudes.

    Re the Seventh Circuit and cell phones, SCOTUS has been going in two different directions on searches. On the one hand, they tend to be deferential to processless searches if the argument is cast in national security terms. On the other, when it comes to electronic media they use or are familiar with, and national security is not the issue, they tend to go the other way.

    Re North Korea, they act in bad faith. We act in bad faith. But as long as both sides are talking and there is some kind of relationship/process going on, that’s what really important because the alternatives are so worse for everyone.

    1. Jim

      Hugh, everything is relative. The 78% too high? Compared to what? The press, the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch? Would the US even be in Afghanistan today were it not for civilian control of the US military?

    2. scraping_by

      RE: 78%.

      This is the support for everyone’s classmates who enlisted after high school, everyone’s kids and friend’s kids and kid’s friends, and all the other economic draft volunteers in harm’s way.

      It’s why Shrub answered all questions about the American Empire with squawking about the troops, just as Barry does. One more proof Barry is just Shrub continued.

      The danger is burnout. Keep using that emotion against people, eventually they turn off the emotion. Bad for the people in uniform, bad for the nation as a whole.

      Perhaps globalization requires the end of all loyalty to anything American.

  20. Walter Wit Man

    RE CIA asset and all around clown, Juan Cole.

    Of course our homeboy perp is going to milk the latest disinformation for all its worth.

    It is getting more and more obvious these documents are fake or selectively releases.

    Once again, these “leaked” documents appear to help the U.S. government. Almost all of Juan Cole’s 5 points help the U.S.–except for maybe the Dow Chemical point but that probably helps as well, I just haven’t figured it out yet.

    1. The Pakistanis knew of Bin Laden’s whereabouts (uh, bin laden was most likely a CIA asset that was killed in 2001 or so, but whatever. Oh, and even under the cover story of bin laden hiding out in Pakistan, they told the U.S. since about 2009 and the U.S. sat on it. So the U.S. also knew about the whereabouts.

    2. ?

    3. Bullshit. Chavez says the U.S. tried to kill him, and the U.S. supported a coup complete with people shooting guns, etc. No other country has engaged in more extra judicial assassination so stop with this fake bullshit that the U.S. is hampered because it is too nice. Bullshit.

    4. Who knows if this is to sow doubt in the Iranian minds about the efficacy of their bombs or is meant to disparage Russia. Probably both. It’s probably complete bullshit. Who knows.

    5. More cover. Of course these revolutions were not entirely organic. Egypt’s revolution appeared to be the most organic (but media psy ops are so prevalent now maybe we were lied to about that). The Egypt revolution would never have succeeded without financial/military support.

    The U.S. likely funded all these revolts. So this “leaked” document that the support came internally from the officer corp is probably more diversion from U.S. meddling.

    My spidey senses are tingling on these document “leaks”. I want to scream at all the people simply assuming they are true.

    1. Jim

      Didn’t the CEO of Stratfor, about one month ago, lament that those who know won’t talk, and those who do talk don’t know?

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Was this in a leaked email? Ha.

        They have sufficiently muddied the water so the truth is indeed much harder to decipher.

        It would be odd for so many “truthful” documents to be released in the manner they have.

        It’s simply too incredible of a story. And then combined with the multiple other psy operations going on the most reasonable conclusion is these are faked documents . . .

  21. Max424

    re: the Bill Black piece on MMT and Fascism

    What is fascism?

    I used to ask the question all the time on the old Yglesias blog. This was a deviously tricky move on my part. My angle: I was trying to get the dumb shit, center-right faux progressives of the commentariate to define fascism, and by so doing, illuminate for themselves, not only the regime they were living in, but who they REALLY were and what they ACTUALLY believed in.

    My sly tricksterism met with only moderate success. Mostly, the question produced confusion. It seems fascism can mean just about anything to anybody. It’s sorta the like anti-fascist Tea Party fascists, that believe; “all are fascists, except thee and me, and I’m not so sure about thee (or me!).”

    Was the commie Mao a fascist? Was comrade Joe Stalin? Was the Roman Empire (both Holy and unholy), fascist to its core? How ’bout the not-so-democratic Republic that it replaced?

    Is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with its oligarchy of by way of the privileged princes, THE most fascist state on the planet? I think, maybe and probably. Did the Tea Party properly peg its man, the Marxist Mao/Stalin Obama, as a fascist? Again, I think, maybe and probably.*

    I don’t know, man, to me, you try to keep it simple; fascism is what you get when you don’t have a functioning democracy. In other words, fascism is … the absence of democracy.

    So, that leads us to the really important question, what is a democracy? That’s a tougher question, isn’t it.

    I’m not sure what a democracy is myself (having never lived one), but I do know, if the public does not control, through its elected representatives, money creation, and instead allows a small cabal of unelected elites total and unassailable control of money creation, and all the power for undiluted and undemocratic “mischief” that it implies, then you do not have a democracy, or anything even resembling a democracy.

    In MMT, money creation is controlled by public, and not by, unelected pathological fucktards. Now, it’s confusing out there, I grant you that, but, if you think about it; is there anything more democrat (and less fascist) than the public being in charge? Of their own destiny?

    *Put a lot more emphasis on the latter, if you believe that a leader who assassinates his own citizens is PROBABLY a fascist.

    1. Max424

      Bill Black: “…even if every academic conversant with MMT traveled on the same plane and died in a crash fascist government leaders engaged in an arms race in preparation of invading their neighbors would discover that resources, not funds, were the real restraint on the military growth if they had fully sovereign currencies.”

      Too funny. I wonder if Bill read my comment from the other day, when I said that MMT experts must make sure to take separate planes when they travel, because we cannot afford to have to have them all wiped out at once –seeing as we only have a living dozen, or so.

      We are in a sort of Children of Men situation. My advice to the MMT’ers, be careful out there. You are an endangered species.

      Note: And what do you do when you are endangered? Well, you should procreate, like rabbits! Obviously.

      1. Glenn Condell

        ‘My advice to the MMT’ers, be careful out there. You are an endangered species.’

        Yes. And I would be a little antsy if I lived in Kansas City, esp if anywhere near the UMKC campus, even if I’d never heard of MMT.

      1. Max424

        I’m not sure what you mean, Beef. You’d have to elaborate.

        One criticism of MMT is that money creation, in the wrong hands, could lead to evil. Could lead to FASCISM!

        No shit, is this MMT’ers response. What do you think we’re dealing with now?

        Whomever controls money creation wins. If the public controls it, then you probably have a thriving democracy. If it doesn’t, then you’re probably looking at some form of fascistic dictatorship.

        In our case, we are looking at the fascistic dictatorship of the banks (and the corpo/conglomerates). So are Greece and the other unfortunate (fiatless) PIIGS –only in their case, I think they’re dealing with a much more virulent form of fascistic pathogen.

        At this point. Virulent pathogens have a tendency to spread, though, and quickly.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Article 1, Section 8, of the US Constitution:

      To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

      None of the drafters/signors had heard of MMT, I believe.

      You can have public control of money creation without MMT.

      1. Max424

        “You can have public control of money creation without MMT.”

        Ok, let’s call MMT something else. I don’t care.

        Let’s call it, the Theory of Democratic Control of Money Creation.

        Unless you’re hung up on MMT’s full employment guarantee, or have an innate drive to bear witness to the final crumbling of our dilapidated infrastructure, we are talking the same basic language, I believe.

        1. Max424


          We’re talking the same basic language, Beef.

          MMT is hardly threatening, unless you hate good will and the lack of needless suffering.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Max, you’re right.

            Despite of what they say, people are hurting.

            People are feeling helpless.

            It’s when times like this that things can turn from bad to worse, our of the frying pan into the fire. People are most susceptible to the savior seduction.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        By the way, fixing the standard of weights and measures is not fascist.

        It’s constitutional.

          1. Skippy

            “It is dumb to conflate money with weights and measures.”… beard.

            Skip here… Never, I repeat never, study Egyptian economics, OK. Grains were the medium of exchange, which were facilitated by ???? & ????. Fiat is trust based, right, so is facilitated by beliefs of various grades, kinda like ???? & ????.

            PS. MLTPB why, why, oh, why…. is change so hard, when it is the simplest act one can do.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The good news from the standpoint of MMT is that this critique agrees that MMT is accurate and makes available policy choices that are effective in increasing income and employment — and claims that MMT’s effectiveness is the problem because the government leaders might use the increased income and wealth for evil purposes.


      Actually, what was written here was, ‘let’s assume it works, for argument sake,…’

      1. Anonymous Comment

        We already know for a fact that the ‘guvmint’ will absolutely use its monetary power for evil purposes. Eye-rack woor anyone? MMTers come off as naive when they exclude the absolute realities that the rest of us can clearly see in their stance.

        See no evil, is no different from the official policies towards fraud which got us to this dreadful situation.

        See only evil, is the policy which led to the very evil thing I mentioned above. How is is possible to exclude these very real possibilities from the MMTers arguments? Bill Black of all people knows how very corrupt people can be. For that I respect him, I hope he brings that wisdom to his monetary system philosophy.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right, Bill Black has done more than anyone in exposing those corrupt people.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If that is a valid criticism of an economic theory (it works — it increases income, wealth, and employment) then virtually any accurate economic theory that improves the economy is “fascist” because the government might be ruled by a fascist and the ruler might use the increased wealth and income to do evil


      Actually, what was written was that if it works, it’s a dictator’s best friend.

      Secondly, Bill Black’s response above assumes any ‘accurate economy theory that improves the economy’ will always have to do with the government…with increasing the power of the government tremendously.

      So, if you go to North Korea, and say, let North Koreans speak up, have freedom of speech and your economy will improve, that’s an accurate (one hopes) economy theory that has nothing to do with increasing the power of the government tremendously. In fact, it diminishes it quite a bit. This ‘accurate economy theory’ is not a dictator’s best friend (or fascist, if Bill Black prefers that term).

      1. F. Beard

        Secondly, Bill Black’s response above assumes any ‘accurate economy theory that improves the economy’ will always have to do with the government… MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Really? But there is no denying that government as the monopoly issuer of both private and public legal tender is a huge factor in the economy and could easily end this depression.

        Are you opposed to ending this depression?

        1. Anonymous Comment

          I agree that the powers that be could easily end the depression, but not by doing what you say. I feel what you and other MMTers propose would add rocket fuel to a smoldering fire.

          There is a further aspect of this that MMTers are [obviously] not aware of. What needs to be done is not print new money, but release the money that has been blocked and is [figuratively] chomping at the bit to get at it in this economy to make a difference right now. Why invent new money to do the work that money which currently exists to do but has been held up for unfounded reasons? It’s a bad formula… for many reasons. Regardless of bovines, it would cause inflation to create money that is not truly needed. It’s a simpler solution than most people know, even MMTers.

          Since MMTers have

          1. Anonymous Comment

            More money than has ever been proposed for all bailouts everywhere is being held in abeyance by elected political figures. Most likely by one faction giving the appearance of the other for the purpose of destroying the first, regardless of the cost to the people who voted. Why would that make me [or anyone else] trust elected officials more than unelected ones?

          2. Anonymous Comment

            Haahaaha. Just kidding. never mind. too much tequila, watching Matrix 3. Nothing to see her. Moving along. Nothing….

    5. Anonymous Comment

      I feel ya. I really do. Here’s the point I am confused about: ‘In MMT money creation is controlled by public..’

      How is that even possible? Are we each gonna have our own printing press? Maybe it’s an app we download and then just print the money on our inkjets when we want some new stuff or have to pay a bill?

      Who will actually make the stuff, or do the service represented by the bill that needs paying, if those people only need to turn on the printer to get the money required for their own stuff?

      If the farmer need only print money instead of raise cattle and take it to slaughter and all that hardwork and headache… what do you think is gonna happen to the price of beef when he decides he would rather take a few years off and work on his tan and just print his money from now on? Maybe he’ll still run a few dozen head a year for his friends and family – turn it into more of a hobby, so that he and his friends can still have their steaks and burgers.

      What do you think is gonna happen to the price of beef then? I believe that is what they call ‘inflation’ from any angle.

      How does MMT philosophy deal with the very probable likelihood of decreases of goods and services due to the abstention of former hard-working people who now choose to print instead? It’ll create some topsy-turvy scenarios, I reckon. What say about that?

      1. Max424

        Knock it off the farmer/cow/printer bullshit. Everybody having their own printing presses would lead only to chaos and libertarianism, and the hyperinflation of the bovines.

        What is your real critique? I ask, is it more democratic to give the responsibility for money creation over to publicly elected representatives, or to a secretive, untouchable, unelected elite.

        Those are the choices. Choose one.

        1. Anonymous Comment

          I see I touched a nerve. Being this is the first time I’ve used that metaphor/example I sense it’s a sensitive one.

          What is my real critique? My real critique is that I don’t understand what you mean when you say the money is controlled by the public.

          Now I get that you say that it is controlled by the votes of the public in the form of the people the public select as their leaders. Hmmm… How’s that working out for us, eh? Getting lots of politicians with integrity and whatnot?

          Do you mean that the money for the Keystone XL would be printed by the politicians who are for it? Does that mean that the money for various bail-outs would be endlessly printed by the electorate who relies on fraudulent practices to keep their schemes going?

          I guess I’m really asking who really gets to decide what gets done? If it’s the politicians, I’m dubious. My faith in the voting public and the politicians we select has been shaken. Call me cynical.

      2. JTFaraday

        “I feel ya. I really do. Here’s the point I am confused about: ‘In MMT money creation is controlled by public..’

        How is that even possible? Are we each gonna have our own printing press? Maybe it’s an app we download and then just print the money on our inkjets when we want some new stuff or have to pay a bill?”

        Well, with regard to funding the US terror state, the public effectively lost/ surrendered its control when the Bush II and Dick “deficits don’t matter” Cheney Admin decided to fund it without “raising taxes” and “even giving tax cuts.”

        One major public objection to the permanent war state was thereby effectively removed by the printing press (sorry, the keyboard).

        Don’t you remember this? There was public discussion, including complaints by liberals and Democrats that “we’ve never funded a war AND cut taxes before.”

        Now, perhaps, if it used its congressional powers in the determined way that Republicans do, the D-Party choice might have been to fund the war (anyway), but by raising taxes. In which case, Grover Norquist (and the rest of us) might have ended it by now.

        ie., the adversarial system between the public and the government, that inevitably develops its own set of independent interests, might have actually had a chance to work.

        How else is “the public” going to control “money creation” (or anything else) if not through public discussion and the public acting on its convictions? Even with “better” representation in Congress, which I’ll grant you we need, this is still going to be the case. There is NO other way. Even if we had our own individual electronic vote on all legislation, there is still no other way.

        A sad fact of mass politics is that there are a lot of people who are going to turn off *any* public issue if they think it doesn’t affect them. In the case of funding the terror state, that was “there’s no draft” and “I don’t see it on my tax form” and “there’s a .0000001% chance some Muslim extremist is going fly a plane into my house.”

        Right now, in the case of stimulating the economy, the academic MMT-er’s promotion of the “deficits don’t matter” meme, appears to be a progressive end.

        In the prior instance, with Bush and Dick, it wasn’t. But this (admittedly shortsighted) “lack of a need to object because it’s not a problem for me” is what MMT ideologues seek to make permanent. But what they seek to make permanent is not inherently progressive.

        The real truth is that as of now the US, elite and citizenry both, cannot be trusted with almost *any* of its *enormous* powers (declension narrative notwithstanding).

        That includes this one. The public DID have control over funding the terror state, and that control was neatly evaded on the same modern monetary policy logic being promoted by the academic MMT-ers.

        I think we have to understand this modern monetary policy issue as a political PROBLEM, not an unmitigated good, and I for one object to the effort to present it as if it is an unmitigated good, and as if it didn’t have to exist within the constraints of the real world.

        The same goes for their (curiously austerian) federal job “guarantee.”

          1. JTFaraday

            One problem with the academic MMT-ers is that they’re permanent students who have never had to live in the real world.

            That’s why it’s doubly disappointing to see Bill Black clamber aboard the Aspie-bus with this flaccid non-analysis.

            If you *merely* want to stimulate the economy “out of recession,” there is no reason why you can’t make the Keynesian “we spend it now, the economy recovers” argument …and… then we… “look forward, not back!”

            But, that actually presents another problem. Suppose you do stimulate (and simulate) a “recovery,” that makes things better for the public, which then pays no more attention to the crisis, which never comes to a satisfactory resolution?

            Wash, rinse, repeat.

            Another reason for Bill Black to get off the Aspie-bus.

      1. Anonymous Comment

        ‘Wages not keeping up with prices,’ or what the average folk would experience as: inflation.

  22. Max424

    I was wrong. I thought speculators could give a really good price goose to an oil spike –like 30 or 40 percent; but, it turns out, they’re only responsible for about 10 to 15 percent (up, or down).

    Fundamentals is strategy, speculation is tactics. But not like tactics at say, the junior officer level. No, it’s more like squad tactics –stuff like, how best to steal the local’s chickens without getting caught, or, what’s the most efficient technique for getting an oil drum fire roaring … that type of thing.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Lambert, I’d just read that before seeing your link. It’s a bombshell. Indeed the unresolved questions are vexing and the official answers completely inedible, even worse than the JFK murder. Still, a real investigation can never be permitted because the rabbit hole would likely lead to our own Israeli government.

    2. Max424

      The two planted Senators are sowing the early seeds of what will eventually be, a comprehensive false flag operation that will provide the impetus for us to attack and absorb Saudi Arabia (or, New Arabia, the 51st state).

      Let’s face it. Iraq sucked. Their oil infrastructure, what little we found, was either obsolete or in a shambles. And those were the good parts.

      Plus, it was always going to cost a shitload of money to bring even a small portion of Iraq’s untapped oil reserve online, meaning we, the United States, are OUT. Why? Because we have no money; because we are, in fact, BROKE! (!!!)

      So, the super rich countries –like China, like Russia– will eventually get a majority of Iraq’s oil, because they have the capitol necessary, not only to develop it, but to squeeze out the little tiny players –like Exxon/Mobile, like (the Orwellian-named) Beyond Petroleum.

      But, as far as “our” purposes are concerned, Saudi Arabia is Perfect Land. All of it’s oil has been discovered (many decades ago, in fact). It’s all tapped. The facilities are in place. A megalopolis of state-of-the-art well heads, refineries and storage facilities await us.

      And Saudi Aramco, perhaps the finest and most efficient oil company on the planet, is there to assist us (act as our slaves), should we need assistance –which we will; because the US does not do oil (or banking!).

      What do you think of that scenario? I think it’s as stupid as it is crazy, which makes it what? A likelihood? A 3 to 2 favorite?

      btw: I’m not a Truther, but I would like to know what happened to 7 World Trade Center, out of professional (ok, amateur) curiosity. One minute it’s standing there, and next minute it spontaneously implodes into its footprint?

      1. Walter Wit Man

        If you question the official story or want the ‘truth’ about 9/11, then by definition you are a truther.

        But I think I know what you mean . . .

        So I ask you: what possibly could have brought down building 7? Clearly, the answer would have to be either fire or explosives, right? No real earthquakes or tsunamis or other forces that can bring down a building were present.

        And when one looks into the ability of the fires to bring down building 7 it looks like that is very unlikely. So that leaves explosives.

        I don’t think it’s a stretch to conclude explosives was the cause. I’m about 90% sure this was the case (it would be higher but so much about that day was confusing and false so I want to make sure I leave enough wiggle room for doubt). I bet most people, after looking at all the evidence I have seen, would conclude it more likely explosives were used rather than a fire causing the collapse (as in greater than 50% chance).

        So if explosives brought the building down who did it?

        And once again we get another cover story. This cover story is that the fire commander, or some other official, made the call to demolish the buildings. Of course the detail about how they wired the building in the short amount of time is glossed over . . . .

        But here’s where it get’s interesting.

        The demolition of building 7 was surely discussed in the litigation involving Larry Silverstein and the insurers. Silverstein bargained for crazy good insurance coverage when he took over the leases in the WTC in 2001 (he was reportedly trying to close deals like a madman just before). His insurance case giving him a huge windfall was decided by Mukasey and they had secret hearings and evidence in that case! I bet the secret cover story is buried in this litigation to be released later. Who knows what is in there but there is something . . .

        But this is all a cover story as well . . . .

        Anyway, this goes far beyond building 7. There are so many little details and facts about 9/11 that are interesting and show the official story is complete bullshit.

        1. Max424

          Yeah, the Pancake Theory looks great when applied to the twins, but not so good for Number 7.

          Raging fires, all half dozen of em, melted through hundreds of crucial weight bearing steel beams, all over the building and at precisely the same time, causing the massive inner steel core, and the rest of the peripheral superstructure, to instantaneously crumple into dust.

          In other words, God took over (wouldn’t be the first time!) and smote the building –for reasons known only unto Him.

          Or, the building was imploded in time honored ways –by demolition experts.

          Although, even if they were using Super Thermite, it would have taken our experts days (AT LEAST) to wire up that motherfucker. Which means, it was all planned aforehand.

          So, there are but two choices for 7 World Trade, in my opinion, God smote, or, pre-planned demolition.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Yeah, it’s pretty unlikely they had laid the explosives that day.

            So they had to have had them wired. But WTF? How? Why? Etc.

            See what I mean when I say so much of that day is confusing. It doesn’t make sense.

            But I guess they are probably going to say they wired it the however many hours they had (5 or so?). Barry Jennings and some lawyer evidently experienced an explosion as they were leaving on the 8th floor of building 8. They were coming from the command center and everyone had left and so they were presumably the last people in the building. At first I believed their stories because the lawyer guy changed his story and denied the explosion while Jennings later died, supposedly. Now I believe they were planted witnesses to deliver some specific disinformation.

            And what did they establish?

            That bombs were going off and the command center was once occupied (this is important for reasons I won’t go into) (Jennings describes seeing half eaten sandwiches and hot coffee in an abandoned command center–aha!–so we’re looking at a noonish timeline for the beginning of the explosives).

            So they will probably say they had a team of explosive experts on call (or possibly there already because of the disaster training going on at the time). They have probably already written the story of the heroic demolition team sent into a burning building to wire it.

            I’m sure there will be a couple of shocking facts in these revelations and a couple of rabbit holes to distract us. These guys are weaving a web of deceit.

        1. Max424

          “Broke?! I thought you said there was no such thing.”


          The Secret Fascist Cabal tells us we are broke (while they print fiat trillions for themselves), and We the People, believe them.

          I retract my earlier retraction. The American people are idiots.

          Note: Beltway politicians, what is their breakdown? I’d say it’s 50/50. Certainly, everybody in the Senate, unless they are reviled and forced sit alone during recesses (where the true knowledge is interchanged), know we are not broke, and pretend otherwise, because they are treasonous scumbags who profit immensely by it.

          In the House, I’d say a majority of those dumb peckerwoods actually believe a nation with a fiat currency can go broke.

          The minority, who know and pretend otherwise, are also, obviously, treasonous scumbags –just like their partners in crime in the Senate.

          1. Anonymous Comment

            “I retract my earlier retraction.”

            Well, I’ll top that. I retract everything I have have said here tonight. Being under the unfortunate influence of too much tequila, everything I’ve said has been typed with the improper amount of tinfoil and braincells & is thereby deemed unintelligible and not to be re-uttered by anyone. Got that? Makes no sense at all, see. Does not compute, k.

            Computer privileges are likely revoked by morning [yet again]. Oh lolz. I need to protect myself from myself, methinks. Call it a case of the blablabla’s aka joining with the idiot third. As opposed to earlier when I said first, which was an improper use of phrasing, creating confusion and unintended misunderstandings. Please forgive.

            Another time, with more sense, I will try again. [Robot arms winding down.] Retract, retract.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      The elite commissioners of a government-sponsored investigation of would never lie! E.g., see the Warren Commission.

      The cover story that the Saudis did it is the backup cover story. The first cover story was that 19 Al Qaeda terrorists did it. But that started being discarded back about what, 2006, when Cheney claimed he never said there were direct ties to Bin Laden and 9/11. The FBI never sought Bin Laden for the bombing. And of course they have been laying the groundwork on this for a while.

      Hell, right after the attacks we were getting these leaks re Saudi Arabia.

      But it’s just a cover. Saudi Arabia is our bitch (we don’t even need to attack). They know their role is to be the backup patsy and are playing along.

      Israel will be the next backup patsy, if needed. That cover has been carefully laid as well. There were multiple Israelis arrested on 9/11 either carrying bombs or cheering after the first strike. My guess is they were jr. partners in the attack, maybe planting the explosives (one of the Israelis that was detained was an special forces explosives expert). I bet their U.S. perps called the cops on them so they would be arrested so they would have this cover story to roll out later (devious–I know-but look how effective it would be–plus the perps controlled our government so they knew the Israelis would be released).

      So I’m tempted to cheer when mainstream politicians and others “ask questions” about 9/11 and want another investigation. I agree. But it goes much further than this. This was a massive false flag operation with a huge profit motive and huge political motive.

      But these commissioners know more of the truth than they are letting on and it goes well beyond Saudi Arabia.

      The fact they are moving on to the next stage says the truth is starting to come out–I think my recent interest in this subject is shared by many others who have recently looked into it.

  23. Max424

    “My faith in the voting public and the politicians we select has been shaken.”

    Mine too. How could it not? The Public is an idiot –which is the good news, because it is unlikely our moronic politicians will ever rise to the level of that idiocy.

    Still, there are only two choices when it comes to money creation. It’s the Secret Fascist Cabal vs We the People.

    And in my opinion, the Secret Fascist Cabal has been an unmitigated disaster (of the fascistic variety), for America, for the sad little PIIGS of Europe, for just about everybody.

    Note: Yeah, you touched a nerve. I was once a lowly printer, and possibly a cow in former life. But I was never a farmer. I want to make that clear.

    1. scraping_by

      Remember that most of what are counted as “votes” are simply numbers punched in by some local authority. Pretty much any electronic voting is determined by the people doing controlling the machines. Hell, even paper ballots have to run through a machine controlled by the powers that wannabe.

      The commons is wiser than you know, which is why they’re kept away from power.

      1. Max424

        I was a little tough on the commons, wasn’t I?

        I’m in a bad mood from yesterday. I didn’t mean to call my fellow citizens idiots. I blurted it out, out of frustration. I dealt (politely!) with two Rush Limbaugh acolytes last night.

        They must have got to me.

        1. Anonymous Comment

          At least a solid third are as you say… idiots. Another third are crooks. The remainder are truly confused. You think a good vote will come of that?

    1. Max424

      “Such a lovely way… to spend… an eeeevening… Can’t think of anything… I’d rather dooooo”

      Thread winner.

      Which reminds me, I’m a man-of-action! I gotta get the hell-out-of-here …

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