Links 3/29/12

Social Media Explained (hat tip Lambert)

PC student tests forbid dance, dinos & lots more New York Post

‘Pink Slime’ Defenders Line Up Wall Street Journal. Only in America

‘Violence against women is as American as apple pie’: Congresswoman recounts personal ordeal of being sexually assaulted as a child and date raped as an adult Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

DSK called women ‘luggage’ in ‘text messages planning sex parties’ Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

Washington Watch: Setting back the war clock Jerusalem Post. This is consistent with the Haaretz link last night warning that Israel is completely serious about attacking Iran before Christmas.

Eurozone periphery governments “encouraging” banks to buy sovereign debt Sober Look (hat tip reader Scott). Marshall Auerback notes:

The issue which dominates the European debate says that fiscal austerity (choking discretionary net public spending) supplemented with vigorous so-called “structural reforms” (aka ransacking wages and working conditions) will promote growth. The corollary of this view is that fiscal austerity alone will fail and the reason Europe is going backwards is not because of the austerity but rather, because the structural reforms process has not been implemented quickly or deeply enough. In all of this there is a basic denial of the fundamental macroeconomic insight – spending equals output which equals income. An economy can only growth if there is spending (aggregate demand) growth. That requires a demand-side solution irrespective of the state of the supply side. Supply improvements might reduce the danger of inflation or improve the quality of output but people still have to purchase the output for growth and innovation to persist.

Full text: Moody’s takes actions on seven Portuguese banks; Outlook negative Edward Harrison

There Has Been A Shocking Number Of Tibetan Self-Immolations In The Past Year Clusterstock (hat tip reader Ted L)

China’s Struggle to Slow Yu Yongding, Project Syndicate

Talks over oil release push down crude Financial Times

Saudi Arabia will act to lower soaring oil prices Financial Times

‘Taliban sympathiser’ arrest prompts new questions about FBI tactics Guardian (hat tip reader John L)

Republicans are causing a moral crisis in America Washington Post (hat tip reader May S)

Red States See Massive Public Sector Job Losses The Nation (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Supreme Court wraps up three days of historic health-care hearings Washington Post

Parties Brace for Fallout in Court’s Ruling on Health Care New York Times

Bain Gave Staff Way to Swell IRAs by Investing in Deals Wall Street Journal. Larry Summers mentioned a $50 million IRA at the Atlantic economy summit. I should have realized this was the one he meant.

I Have Jobs, but No One Wants Them CNN Money. Most of these guys sound like bosses from hell. Hate their workers and not willing to offer more if jobs don’t get filled. And classic narcissists, the problem is the lazy workers, not their job/comp combo.

Farm Workers Get Beat Up in Florida Fields and the US Senate Mother Jones

Allen’s coffee brandy sales slip, remain No. 1 in Maine Bangor Daily News. Is this a harbinger? You’d think a favored drink would be the last thing people give up. But Maine is a weird tourist dependent economy, so even if it is an indicator of some sort, it probably can’t be generalized to anywhere else.

The Bathtub Model of Unemployment: The Importance of Labor Market Flow Dynamics Liberty Street Economics v. Recent Developments in the Labor Market Ben Bernanke. I had wanted to post on this, since the NY Fed looks like it’s trying to go after Bernanke (they are saying unemployment could get to 6% in early 2013). I find the “bathtub model” that lumps exits from unemployment via getting a job in with exits from unemployment by hiding under a rock and therefore no longer being considered part of the workforce to be not helpful from an analytical perspective. The Bernanke discussion on long term unemployment is far more insightful than the entire Liberty Street post.

Austrian saws off own foot to avoid work – report Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

US employs Vinnie the Kneecapper to collect student debt Automatic Earth

JOBS Act benefits financial criminals Marketwatch

Harsh Words as Lawmakers Begin MF Global Hearing New York Times

Silence, Then Frustration at MF Global Hearing New York Times

MBS Discovery Battles Heating Up, Impacting Litigation Timelines and Leverage Subprime Shakeoput (hat tip reader Deontos)

BREAKING: Tim DeChristopher Moved To Isolated Confinement Desmogblog (hat tip Lambert). Today’s must read. Chilling.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. gs_runsthiscountry

    RE: I Have Jobs, but No One Wants Them
    Owner: Michael J. Fredrich
    Company: MCM Composites, LLC
    Location: Manitowoc, Wis.
    Annual revenue: $7 million

    “And we offer a competitive wage: $8.50 to $9.50 an hour. The $8.50 is just the starting wage. After 90 days we increase it to $9.50 to $10 an hour.”

    2012 Federal poverty guideline @ 100% household size 1 = 11,170
    2012 Federal poverty guideline @ 100% household size 2 = 15,130
    2011 Estimated Poverty threshold via census 11,491 and 15,139, respectively.

    1 person Fed minimum wage 7.25 = 7.25*2080=15,080
    1 person = 8.50*2080=17,680
    1 person 9.5 = 9.50*2080=19,760

    Mr. Fredrich and readers:

    1) What is a living wage?

    2) Who benefits more from subsidies such as SNAP, Medicaid, and housing assistance? Employer or employee?

    3) Would you want your son or daughter working for these wages for an extended period of time?

    4) When are small suppliers, such as your company, finally going to push back against the brute negotiations of your OEM customers? They have been squeezing you for over a decade. Maybe instead of extracting profit from wages, for fear of going out of business, you actually negotiate fair and equitable contracts with your OEM customers?

    1. James Sterling

      When was the last time CNNMoney gave column space to five unemployed people to tell their problems.

      “I offer a competitive wage”. You mean you offer as little as all the other employers are offering at the moment, knowing you can get away with it. Employers, no matter how high the unemployment, will *always* raise their requirements and lower their compensation until the applicants stop coming, because if they’re still coming, you haven’t lowered the compensation enough yet.

      I’m charmed that one of the employers admits to literally locking the doors to keep out crowds of unemployed people looking for a job. Yeah, that’s a recovering economy all right. The terrible labor shortage!

      1. Claire

        Yes and if he can hire illegals, then he can be even more “competitive” and do the work on Saturdays, Sundays, any hour and with no complaints. Americans have to learn to be more “competitive” you see. We are in a Global Economy don’t you know? Of course there are no Germans or Swedes coming here to compete, just an endless stream of poor human ants from Central America.

    2. mmm mmm good

      U.S. Food and Drug Administration
      Protecting and Promoting Your Health

      CPG Sec. 685.100 Recycled Animal Waste


      Recycled animal waste is a processed feed product for livestock derived from livestock manure or a mixture of manure and litter. Animal wastes contain significant percentages of protein, fiber, and essential minerals and have been deliberately incorporated into animal diets for their nutrient properties for over 30 years.

    3. YankeeFrank

      Each of these jobs must have something unworkable about them. Let’s go through them and figure it out:

      The tutoring work, I’m guessing, probably has too few hours for it to make economic sense for people to be “on call”. The rate, $25-50 per hour, is probably $25, and doesn’t sound terrible, until you realize you will be traveling all around the tri-state area for a few hours per week, with the hope/prayer the hours will increase. People are supposed to give up their unemployment benefits for a mirage?

      The $8.50/hour job doesn’t pay enough. Oh, and I love the way he twists the issue by giving the $100/hour claim. So its $8.50 or $100 per hour. I guess $15 or $25 per hour is out of the question.

      The sales job for the credit card processor — let me guess, the 90 day training is either unpaid or at a ridiculously low rate. It used to be 30 days training, and now its 90? Sounds like they are milking the training rate big time. Liars.

      The job requiring security clearance, and good credit. Say no more. How many unemployed people have good credit? 3?

      The cell phone services guy, Ari Zoldan! looks like a complete douche. He pays $30-40k out of the gate? And he can’t find employees? From his blather about giving 110%, “surviving” the first year, leaders not followers… sounds like he exploits the hell out of his employees. If he is really offering the salary he claims, then working for him is a nightmare and he probably requires 80+ hours per week with no OT of course.

      I think that’s it. Wonderful opportunities all.

      Its like Yves says above, they are narcissists and liars who can’t find employees because they are exploitative and underpay. Poor them.

      1. MacCruiskeen

        Yeah, the first guy says he can’t pay more because he needs to keep rates down, but people can make more as freelancers? Which suggests that either clients are willing to pay more, or his cut is too high. Wake up, dude.

        The next guy locks his doors when unemployed people come by?

        Security clearance and good credit? Yes, we all have that.

        Did CNN go out of its way to read like a piece from the Onion?

        1. aletheia33

          speaking of not being able to make it in current times,
          i’m afraid the onion is going to go out of business.
          they cannot compete.

      2. DP

        The guy with the tutoring business who has 4 full time employees and 500 contract employees and is projecting $600K in revenues this year. At $25K/year for the 4 full time employees and an average of $1000 per contract employee (50 hours of annual work at $20/hour) just the compensation expenses have eaten up all the revenue. That’s some business model, sounds like a poor man’s Amway or Prepaid Legal. He’s got to be offering some really professional tutoring services.

        1. CaitlinO

          The model makes even less sense than your analysis suggests. Here in flyover country, tutoring runs from a rock-bottom low of $45 to $65 and higher if it’s in a specialized area of study. On the coasts it’s even higher.

      3. Westcoastliberal

        Couldn’t agree more, YF and you know what, none of the “employers” are telling the whole story. Ever try selling merchant services? Most business are under contract for at least a year, so how many calls do you think you need to make to even find a prospect much less convince them your service/equipment is superior? And the hourly rate quoted is probably a draw vs commission or the guarantee evaporates after the first 30 days. The tutoring business is not a job it’s a “gig”. They’re not paying transportation, so you do the math. How many sessions can a person afford to do at $25 if it costs $10 for transportation each way? These guys need to get real. And so does CNN Money, ’cause their comments are broken.

    4. ajax

      All fair & good questions …
      The bigger questions are related to US national policies
      on earning and spending (the budget), accountability,
      the effects of out-sourcing to foreign countries for the
      sake of getting cheaper products, trade imbalances and
      macro-economics, etc.

      But efficient market hypothesis is (worse than)
      theology dogma. And of course many media companies
      are in a real or apparent conflict of interest situation
      given the onership structure.

    5. Global Arb Is Really Cool

      Read an article where they interviewed the mayor of TJ, Mexico. Lots of multi-national factories here and the mayor said that Mexico has a min wage of $4.5 but the factories pay around $2.5 now because they claim they must to be competitive with China. Mexico does not enforce the min wage because the multinationals say they will either shift production to another plant elsewhere (China? – Are we competing with ourselves?) or close the plant altogether. I heard the $2.50 number from locals in other border towns too.

      Of course this labor arb goes for the better jobs to – Chinese engineers for 10K/year, Indian programmers for 10K/year, and all the other factory technical and management jobs.

      On the global tax arb front, when Ireland had it’s collapse, someone said (may have even been the IMF) that corporate taxes should be increased to reduce the deficit. Gov officials quickly explained they can’t (translation:won’t)do that because they fear biz(multinationals) would leave the country. No one questioned the fact that Ireland already has the lowest corp taxes in the developed world and where would they move headquarters to? The Congo? ( I get funny visuals and audio in my mind) Or does this mean Ireland intends to have all OECD mult-nationals move to Ireland and all will be well?

      I know we have lots of money experts on this blog, but I’ll point out that these pressures still remain even if we do the global fiat race to the bottom. The only thing that would accomplish is your $2 won’t be worth anything anymore. Sorry about about that.

  2. toxymoron

    “BREAKING: Tim DeChristopher Moved To Isolated Confinement”
    Please recall that Tim got three years in jail for ‘disrupting’ a land sale that was later declared illegal and undone anyhow.

    1. Claire

      I’ve often wondered why when prosecuted he didn’t just say that he had all intentions of borrowing money to buy the drilling equipment as a “businessman” in the George Bush model. Whatever.

      I highly recommend this video to all Americans…it would probably have saved Tim had he paid attention:

      “Don’t talk to the police…”
      A fast talking trial attorney gives all the reasons and tricks and is backed up by a police investigator.

  3. vlade

    “Austrian saws off own foot to avoid work”.

    Don’t know why, but when I read it I thought of a Rothbard & co. follower rather than a resident of Osterreich ;)

    1. Jim Haygood

      Me too. Poor dude was assigned to read Human Action by von Mises (1,128 pages, 5.1 lbs). A hundred pages in, he realized that drastic action was required to escape his insufferable burden.

      1. tom allen

        Could have been worse. Had it been The Fountainhead he might well have joined the Tibetan monks in self-immolation. /morbid joke

  4. Anonymous Jones

    Yes, this is the classic haute bourgeoisie attitude. There is no wage that is low enough for them to pay gladly.

    These people have been my clients, partners, and competitors. If the minimum wage were $2.00 an hour, they would find a way to be outraged by it! Their nannies, gardeners, servants, waiters, valets, they should all be satisfied with nothing but the satisfaction of bestowing labor on the haute bourgeoisie.

    It is only their genius that should be compensated, and if that compensation dared drop below $1million a year (approx. $600/hour or $10/minute of their precious genius time), they would be f*cking outraged. But if a manager at their restaurant dares ask for a raise from $42,000 to $45,000, well, that’s a f*cking firing offense. The unmitigated *gall* that some lowly manager would try a power play to get $3,000 more a year. It’s, well, outrageous. I’m the HAUTE BOURGEOISIE. You understand, you plebe? You should be happy to work for whatever coins I toss at your head.

    This attitude is ubiquitous. It is no less disgusting because of its ubiquity.

    [FD: I make more than $500/hour, but I’m surely not like one of *those* people. Well, maybe I’m an *sshole, but not like them. Well, OK, maybe I’m not *that* different. Wait, what were we talking about?]

    1. skippy

      Thank you AJ, for saying it so plainly.

      Skippy… sorry was only off a few hundred years… snicker… silly roos.

    2. PL

      an apt description of Morgan Stanley managing director William Bryan Jennings who stabbed a taxi driver after being asked to pay the full fare?

  5. gatopeich

    Good morning!

    Today Spain is in a general strike.

    I’d brief it up as a people’s vote of no confidence for the government. During Sunday’s elections in Andalucia, which accounts for roughly 20% of Spain’s population, the party in power lost a good chunk of the votes they got in November, losing control of this big region, while the polls were a record low in participation and the only party improving results was the real-leftwing “IU” which doubled-up its seats.

    The best link in English I could find about the strike so far:

  6. YankeeFrank

    Re pink slime:

    “Mr. Vilsack pointed to the difficulty of getting ahead of opposition to a product—even if it is deemed safe by the government—in a world fueled by social media.”

    The government has been shown, over and over, to support business interests and commerce over the health and well-being of the people. And now they cry that we don’t believe them. Its not social media that is the problem Vilsack, its that you all have no credibility. Even when you tell the truth we don’t believe you. And you are lying right now. Ammonia-drenched “food” is not healthy.

    1. hermanas

      We can’t have a national health plan because our national economic plan is “screw you”.

    2. Backyard BBQ Chef

      I don’t know about you people, but I always have a spray bottle of Windex nearby when I’m out BBQing burgers. Just before the burgers are done I spray ’em and flip ’em and spray ’em again.

      Don’t know why really, just seems like such a natural thing to do.

      I know it says on the bottle you shouldn’t ingest the stuff, but I figure if God intended me to eat ammonia free burgers, he would have struck me down by now!

      The kids ask, “Daddy, can you get herpes from eating burgers?”

      But you know how kids are… probably just being wise guys again.

      1. Backyard BBQ Chef

        Been watching the next door neighbor BBQ – kind of a Middle Eastern looking guy, sort of quiet and keeps to himself.

        Noticed he’s been mixing some other common household chemicals into his burgers, then tossing them on the grill and watching them explode.

        This makes no sense to me, but then I started wondering if they TSA lets you on to an airplane carrying a burger?

  7. Bruce Post

    Regarding Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s recounting, on the U.S. House floor, of sexual assault against her and the pervasiveness of violence against women in America —

    Check out the video feed of her speech from the House chamber. The guy behind her, whomever he is, spends most of his time looking at his smart phone/Blackberry/whatever. The subtle message to me is: “Oh, well, I have more interesting stuff to consider.”

    1. Claire

      Her personal experiences in the community in which she grew up shouldn’t be the basis for imposing another federal law on all Americans.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Claire;
        Those ‘experiences’ the lady suffered are becoming ubiquitous in America. The moral and ethical climate steadily erodes. Along with it, so too do our personal freedoms and physical safety. Study up on the “Gresham Dynamic” and apply it to our society. That brave Congresswoman, and believe you me, that kind of self confession is very hard to do, is the canary in our coal mine.

      2. liberal

        Yes; thank God for Federalism. How else would we be able to countenance the wonder that is Florida, where you can execute a child and not even be arrested for it?

    1. Mr. Eclectic

      Also the majority of public hospitals. Both the hospitals and the universities have to hold their money in accounts with the Bank of Greece, which then bought with them government bonds in their nominal value and applied a haircut of 70%!

      Come next morning, they found out that they have practically no money left to keep functioning beyond summer, according to their estimates…

      There are rumours that in fact the central bank managed thus to offload other banks’ and private individuals’ bonds, transferring their PSI losses to the hospitals and universities.

  8. dearieme

    “Israel is completely serious about attacking Iran before Christmas.” Shouldn’t that read “before the holidays”?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      NIce catch but it was reported yesterday in Haaretz as “before Christmas.” So goyish considerations seem to be driving this train.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Just a brief sampling of spin embedded in the JPost article:

    The question of whether US or Israeli forces will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in this volatile election year became murkier in the wake of this month’s AIPAC policy conference

    1. Jim Haygood

      Every sales pro will recognize the ‘alternative close’ ploy — Coke or Pepsi, Democrat or Repub, US or Israeli attack? The third option of ‘no attack’ is never presented.

      Netanyahu reportedly feels he has Obama boxed in – that in the months before the November election, the president will have no choice but to back up an Israeli attack however ill advised or opposed because failure to do so would look like abandoning our close ally in its hour of need.

      An ‘ally’ is a nation bound by treaty to mutual defense obligations. No such treaty exists between the US and Israel. Though you will see the ‘close ally’ formulation repeated ad nauseum in the lamestream media, it is pure propaganda.

      1. aet

        It ought not need to be pointed out that an agreement for “mutual defence” is NOT an agreement for “mutual attack”.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sometimes, the best defense is offense – it matters not which side you are on.

  10. bmeisen

    “It’s a very funny conception of liberty that forces somebody to purchase an insurance policy whether they want it or not.”

    – Clement arguing against Obamacare before SCOTUS

    This guy is willfully negligent of material arguments, i.e. a sopho-swamp-critter hissing and snapping to the delight of the equally depraved Black Lagoon-ites on the Bench, Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas. Will Kennedy crawl out of the slime?

    Apparently hoards of Americans are utterly screwed in their self-conception. “Freedom and personal choice, freedom and personal choice” drones from the implants behind shoppers’ ears while the Ministries of Truth shepherd spending into the pockets of Big Brother and the Cleptocrats. Health insurance is a personal choice (and if you choose not to get insured just put your brain surgery on your credit card). Training and qualification is a personal choice. Choose it and we’ll lend you at generous rates enough to pay for it. Do not choose it and we’ll find an immigrant or better yet an illegal. Rent or own? It’s your choice! And if you choose to buy we’ll help you out with a mortgage!

    Contractual formalities? It’s your choice to fulfill them or not!

    When the public liability generated by individuals and/or companies who refuse to insure against specific risks becomes untenable then the state is behooved to require individuals and/or companies to insure themselves against said risks. See: Auto insurance, fire and property in certain neighborhoods, fuel transport and storage, etc.

    When universality is relevant, then the state is behooved to support residents in their efforts to pay for the insurance. See: health insurance.

    If the risk is yours and yours alone then insurance is an option.

    If you are paying Congress critters billions then health insurance is an option.

    If you are hand-jobbing DoD techies then you don’t even need to insure: nuclear power.

    Obamacare is generally woeful. A few elements are praiseworthy: the requirement to buy coverage, provisions to help those who can’T afford to buy, and penalties for not buying. Sadly we have to buy from private insurers who are corrupt to the extent that they cherry pick, prioritize profit, and allow management to extract.

    1. aet

      The Government always has far far more power to implement policies than people would say that it does, if the particular policy proposed is one that those particular people disagree with.


      My advice: ignore the money people, and do what would be right for the poorest American, for crippled and untrainable Americans.

      Do the right thing, and err on the side of “excessive” compassion.

    2. Don Levit

      You are correct that the type of policies we have to buy from for-profit insurers are woefully inadequate.
      The ACA sets up various plans, ranging from bronze to platinum.
      These plans pay out benefits at 60-90%, depending on the metal selected.
      If I was choosing a plan, and knew relatively little about insurance, I would think I would get 90 cents back for every dollar I paid in, if I chose the platinum plan.
      But, no, it means, that, as a group, the group gets 90 cents in benefits for every dollar paid in premiums.
      This means that people will collect at various percentages: some will get 5%, some will get 10%, some will get 90%, some will get 1,000%.
      For insurance to work effectively, it needs to be a policy we hope to never collect on, and to be dirt-cheap.
      And, if we do collect, we collect big-time.
      With everyone getting some percentage of their premiums back, (preventive care is covered at 100%, with no deductible), the premiums will be higher.
      It’s like playing the spinning wheel at a casino.
      You can choose 5 to 1, 2 to 1, 10 to 1, or 40 to 1, with the 40 to 1 being only one prong.
      That’s what we need to start with – catastrophic coverage, coverage which pays out at least 40 to 1 to keep premiums down.
      Then, we can have innovative plans from not-for-profit insurers, such as 501(c)(3) and (4)s, to help fill in the underlying gaps in coverage.
      Don Levit

  11. What's that on your coke can

    Historic health car hearings yeah right. Ever since Medellín it’s been obvious to the world that the supreme court is a pathetic, insular joke, on an ethical and intellectual par with a backwoods zoning board. Nine clowns on the take fighting a last-ditch battle against UDHR Article 25. The same contemptible scumbags who just eliminated any vestige of CCPR Article 17 from the Privacy Act. Their job is holding off the rudiments of the civilized world, and even jus cogens. The arc of history bends toward two hairy Papist flagellants and a perverted retardate.

    1. hermanas

      Really, we all pay taxes now. Prioritize health care first(single payer) then your lobbiests’ interests. What’s important?

  12. rjs

    just a footnote on this: Saudi Arabia will act to lower soaring oil prices

    ali naimi is well known for pumping out rhetoric instead of oil to try to move the market…dont believe it until you see the oil flowing….they’ve promised 12 mbd before & couldnt hit 10mbd in the last crisis….they’re running twice as many rigs now & production is still below 10 mbd…

      1. Max424

        Should we trust in reason, and base our future decisions on the realist red line, or should we put all our faith in the magic blue line?

        For some reason, everyone, including Mr. Market, opts for faith over reason.

        The once mighty Kingdom is now desperate, reduced like a mucker to drilling off-shore, and forced to re-open long defunct oil fields that produce only unwanted gunk.

        And the world views this as a sign of Saudi strength.

          1. Max424

            Mr. Market believes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has roughly 270 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil (this is represented by the blue line).

            211 million barrels of oil is what the Kingdom started out with 75 years ago (this is represented by the red line).

            You can see that something doesn’t add up. The Kingdom started with 211 billion units of a finite resource, has sold tens of billions of those finite units, and yet they now have more units than when they started.

            One day in 1990 the Kingdom announced it had 100 million more barrels of oil than anybody previously thought it had (this is represented by the vertical upward shift made by the blue line –in 1990).

            How the Kingdom arrived at this conclusion nobody –including Mr. Market– knows, or cares, it seems. Also, one has to wonder, how is it possible, that the Kingdom has pumped and exported more than 30 billion barrels of oil since that magical development in 1990, yet they haven’t put even put a slight dent in their relatively new magic claim (this is represented by the blue line going horizontal in 1990, and staying horizontal since).

            Mr. Market is taking the House of Saud at its word. The Kingdom has 270 billion barrels of a finite reserve, and that finite reserve … never depletes.

            Do you see where the red line ends up? That amount is quite possibly what the Kingdom really has left (if you go by the figures everybody agree upon for the 45 years preceding the 1990 magic announcement); or, less than 90 million barrels.

            If Mr. Market believed that figure (less than 90 million), Mr. Market would panic, there would be a giant oil spike, possibly several of them, and their would be hysteria in the boulevards across the globe.

          2. Max424

            As regards to the second (I’m assuming, unread?)link; the Kingdom is drilling for difficult off-shore oil, and is re-opening, at great expense, wells that were abandoned long ago for want of productivity.

            If the Kingdom had as much oil as they magically claim, why are they resorting to measures usually only taken by nations that are fast running out of oil?

  13. aletheia33

    ‘social media explained’–

    is there anyone who’s using all these media
    and if so do they also have a life?
    will we have nothing left we can do but advertise ourselves
    constantly to one another?
    where will this stop?

    with so much communicating to do
    that no time is left
    to do anything
    worth communicating about?

    the mass implosion of the social animal
    crashing and burning from too much talking
    on too many devices and media at once
    about nothing of importance
    while all the complex systems
    this animal has invented (by talking)
    break down
    due to their tenders’ distraction
    from the switch they’re supposed to be awake at?

    (and on that note, i am cracking up so repeatedly over the humor this thread this morning
    i’ve forgotten to eat breakfast)

    1. ajax

      Just generally speaking, Twitter is useful to me by
      permitting me to decide whom to follow; part of the job is
      finding and following people who appear to me not to be in
      advertising, PR, or advocacy without saying their merely

      The big challenge, and it requires effort, is separating
      the propagandists, dissemblers and misleaders from
      the rest, i.e. the honest and “informed” folk …

  14. Ignacio

    I love this paragraph:

    “The issue which dominates the European debate says that fiscal austerity (choking discretionary net public spending) supplemented with vigorous so-called “structural reforms” (aka ransacking wages and working conditions) will promote growth. The corollary of this view is that fiscal austerity alone will fail and the reason Europe is going backwards is not because of the austerity but rather, because the structural reforms process has not been implemented quickly or deeply enough. In all of this there is a basic denial of the fundamental macroeconomic insight – spending equals outputthe which equals income. An economy can only growth if there is spending (aggregate demand) growth. That requires a demand-side solution irrespective of the state of the supply side. Supply improvements might reduce the danger of inflation or improve the quality of output but people still have to purchase the output for growth and innovation to persist.”

    Here I Spain I’ve seen some people realising that “expansionary austerity” is bull-shit but still they are so few…

  15. Oh Clyde, hold me

    Gee, the Al-Akili affair is quite a tragedy for some FBI sad sack with his drinking problem and his fcked up kids and his frigid wife and his useless third-tier law degree and his self-flagellation whips and chains from Opus Dei. Now he won’t get that big promotion and he’ll have to think about why he devoted his mediocre life to despicable NKVD-style Kompromat, just like some old-time Soviet alky with pungent foot fungus, and he’ll have to eat a gun in the den of his cheesy McMansion and his dog Woofy will get all freaked out by the smell.

  16. Johnson

    If Maine’s taste is like Rhode Islanders love of coffee flavoring then it has nothing to do with toursists. This may be a local only product the brandy!

    Lick your lips with Eclipse!

  17. Klassy!

    Even though those land auctions were illegal, it was important for the Obama justice department to go ahead with prosecution of DeChristopher. What sort of example would it set if he went unpunished? It is clear now that they made the right decision. The guy is just a little too stringent about remaining uncoopted.

    1. Strangely Enough

      DOJ must have been all out of “Look Forward,” what with it being all used up over the past few years…

  18. tyaresun

    Tickets for Dalai Lama speeches in the USA sell out in minutes but no one seems to care about the self-immolations in Tibet. Meditate on that.

      1. aet

        It is simple.

        It is all that not-it is not.

        Is that not close enough to it?

        Well, it is as far as that sentence would allow it to be – from not, that is, not not-it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What ‘it’ is, you can’t say.

          What ‘it’ is not, you can type a long list.

  19. ep3

    yves, RE: “I Have Jobs, but No One Wants Them CNN Money. Most of these guys sound like bosses from hell. Hate their workers and not willing to offer more if jobs don’t get filled. And classic narcissists, the problem is the lazy workers, not their job/comp combo.”

    first paragraph, “i have 4 full time employees and 500 tutor contractors”. the next line says they want to hire more tutors, especially straight out of college. so they are all about hiring kids out of college, and not provide good pay and benefits. and of course, the classic right wing line, “things are so good, the tutors strike out on their own”. because if everyone was a small business then life would be perfect. but these tutors aren’t starting businesses; they are just contracting themselves out to specific clients on their own. they say “instead of u paying the business $50 an hour, pay me $25 and cut out the middle man”. so what really hurts this guy is that these tutors take clients away from him. and notice his sly comment about “starting out”. That could mean the clients start out paying $50 an hour. my point, and yves’, is that people want a job, not a contractor agreement.
    next, the manufacturing clown. hiring thru a temp agency should be the first tip that raises the flags.

  20. Stufmp

    “We’ve found people do work harder for more money. But their training, which used to take 30 days, now requires 90 in order to prepare them to make the higher numbers. Training costs money.”

    I bet that this period resembles an unpaid internship – lower than even normal low pay, for doing the same drudge work as they will after the 90 days, under the bogus guise of “training”.

  21. Susan the other

    Subprime Shakeout’s MBS Discovery. Way interesting. Justice moves too slowly for my impatient outrage. Nice to know Eric Schneiderman is going for the gold still.

    1. financial matters

      Sure is proving hard to have a peek into these securitizations…

      MBS Discovery Battles Heating Up, Impacting Litigation Timelines and Leverage Subprime Shakeoput (hat tip reader Deontos)

      “”AsI’ve discussed in the past,, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to blow the cover off of every aspect of mortgage securitization in the context of this action (including improper mortgage transfers, misrepresentations in the sale of securities and loan origination fraud), which would open the door to a flood of civil and regulatory actions (none of which were released under the recent Attorney General Foreclosure Settlement,

      BofA, through BNYM, will certainly fight hard up front to keep the action constrained and avoid having to engage in such a long slog.””

  22. briansays

    in other words its not xmas or holidays
    the message is Israel has decided to wait until after the elections
    to give AIPAC and other zionist groups a chance to maximize the opportunity to extort support from either obama or romney

    i know why not december 7th?
    seems appropriate

  23. Susan the other

    About DeChristopher: They do not want him to be a role model for the saboteurs. Clearly they came down on him like a ton of bricks. And now this off-the-books treatment. It’s ominous at best. He’s a smart, moral, brave man. When Judge Benson handed down his sentence a lot of people here in SLC nearly fainted. You could almost hear the gasp because Utah has a big environmentally-minded group of people who are quite politically active. So it was considered by many of us to be unjustifiably harsh. It was unjustified by any measure of social equity. That, however, shows you just how dangerous the oil industry considers him to be. Which in turn makes his secretive treatment so frightening.

  24. Hugh

    Re oil, we are in that part of the speculative binge where officials are responding, at least rhetorically, to growing public anger and we are seeing a little back off in oil prices. However, it is still too early to tell if speculators have finished with the current binge or not.

    The Haaretz and Jerusalem Post articles act as if the Israeli government is on auto-pilot. They don’t even bother to go into whether they think there is any case for such an attack and there is no real home grown analysis of what the costs and consequences of such an attack would be for Israel. As I said yesterday with regard to the Haaretz article, this all seems like it’s part of the noise machine either to promote the inevitability of war or as a shakedown for more American aid.

    Re the bosses article, we have said this a million times. If employers want to attract workers, they can raise wages and benefits, provide training, or some combination of the two. It says a lot about the entitlement of American employers that they can offer sh*t wages and still b*tch about workers not running to take them.

    1. aet

      “It says a lot about the entitlement of American employers that they can offer sh*t wages and still b*tch about workers not running to take them.”

      I think it actually says more about the state of the US communications media, and whose stories they are choosing to tell.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Oh well, Digby lets her sidekick Dave do the heavy lifting pretending to support single payer:

      “Progressives will work all the harder to pass single-payer healthcare in blue states, since it will have become clear that no federal solution to skyrocketing healthcare costs is in the offing. And it will mean that the only solution left on the table to resolve the issue would be some form of single-payer. Not that anything resembling single-payer would be passed now or anytime within the next 15 years–but eventually it would have to happen as the current Fox News audience dies away and Millennials become the adult voting majority.”

      Got that? On a state level, in a few blue states, the progressives will move to pass something at least 15 years into the future as soon as the old people start dying off.

  25. KFritz

    Re: The Slime

    Just watched Oliver’s video @ UTube. Pity he didn’t bring a video of the killing floor along to show everyone what would happen to the stunt cow @ the slaughter house.

    Has anyone bothered to do a test of the pink stuff to see if there IS ammonia content or significant chemical alteration or difference fr/ the chemistry of ordinary ground beef when the process is through?

    Further, what do readers think is in cold cuts, especially head cheese, which I very much enjoy? Have any readers ever had Cantonese beef tendon stew? It’s delicious and tendons are almost 100% protein. I don’t know if ammonia is used in cold cuts. Does any ready know to a certainty?

    How about calling it “rendered meat scrap” or “chemically treated meat scrap?” Instead of the euphemistic “finely textured beef” or the incendiary “pink slime.”

    Is this rendered beef still used in animal food?

      1. KFritz

        No and no. Have you seen Oliver’s video? It’s red and looks very much like other ground beef.

      2. KFritz

        My mistake. It IS pink. It looks like slime when it emerges fr/ the machine.

        But later looks like a cross between dog food and kosher salami.

        It would be instructive to see what salami & hot dogs look like coming out of the machine. Should they be called (fill in the blank) slime?

        Many Americans would have qualms about their meat supply if they could see the process starting at the slaughter house.

  26. ScottS

    “Mega owns everything in this video,” he said. “And we have signed agreements with every featured artist for this campaign.” The reason for its initial takedown has never clearly been stated, but UMG later revealed an agreement with YouTube for the site to take down content even if it didn’t infringe UMG’s rights.

    Megaupload will drop its lawsuit against UMG over “Mega Song”.

    Not to get too tinfoilly, but is this why they brought the hammer down on MegaUpload?

  27. Westcoastliberal

    This Tim DeChristopher story makes me want to puke. Here is a guy who was upset at the injustice our government was allowing, took action to try & gum up the works a bit, and they throw the book at him.
    Meantime, the Wall St. crooks and Banksters are raking it in with the blessings of the Justice dept. and Executive. Aaargh! Sorry guys but I’m on broil right now, if you know what I mean.

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