Links 3/7/12

Your humble blogger needs some R&R. My own posts may be light for the next few days.

Escaped penguin outracing Tokyo authorities in bid for freedom Yahoo (hat tip reader Valissa)

Up to 900 tropical bird species could ‘go extinct’ BBC :-(

Goddamn Moon is to Blame for the Sinking of the Titanic Gawker

Women Who Took the Pill Had an 8 Percent Higher Income by Age 50 Atlantic Wire (hat tip Lambert). Wow, does the headline misstate the study findings. And it looks at women aged 18 to 21 in 1970. The problem is that this may all be false causality, that states that gave better access to contraceptives back then (which was when women were just starting to get into serious careers) were probably more receptive to women getting educations and jobs.

Anonymous hacker turns FBI informant Financial Times

Alexander Wang workers sue for $50million over ‘sweatshop-like conditions’ in Chinatown factory (hat tip reader May S)

EU May Seek Tougher Rules for Repos Bloomberg

Athens issues threat to bond holdouts Financial Times. Hahaha. The threat to default is like threatening to throw Br’er Rabbit in the briar patch. What did anyone with an operating brain cell think would happen when ISDA deemed the restructuring not to be a credit event for credit default swaps? So anyone with a CDS against a Greek bond has every reason not to participate. The assumption is no way can ISDA deem a bona fide default or involuntary restructuring not to to be a default, it would completely discredit CDS as a product (Felix works through some scenarios where that might happen, although I don’t see his core assumption, that the new bonds trade at par, although I could see a call option being introduced). This is gonna be fun. The powers that be knew damned well that CDS are a huge source of interconnectedness and systemic fragility (they are underpriced insurance, which means that any player that writes a lot is likely to eventually go boom). They chose to do absolutely nothing about it. Now they are going to see how bright it was to accede to the demands of fee addicts. Either having meaningful CDS payouts on Greek bonds or having none, which discredits CDS, will have unexpected but likely significant outcomes, so pick your poison.

Dutch Freedom Party pushes euro exit as €2.4 trillion rescue bill looms Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Two UK Murdoch journalists in apparent suicide bids Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

Leveson inquiry: concern over police evidence Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

The Australian economy is not growing at trend MacroBusiness

The 0.01 Per Cent: The Rising Influence of Vested Interests in Australia The Monthly (hat tip reader skippy)

Web Sites Shine Light on Petty Bribery Worldwide New York Times

Dire Poverty Falls Despite Global Slump, Report Finds New York Times

Model on food prices and social unrest predicts crisis in 2013 Edward Harrison

Did Fear of ‘Mic Check!’ Make Obama Move G8 to Camp David? Susie Madrak (hat tip Lambert)

Mitt Romney’s worst night yet Joan Walsh, Salon

Democrats Look To Add Natural Gas Subsidies To Transportation Bill Huffington Post

Schneiderman Event in NYC Tonight. $5 to attend, and you get to submit a question. Give him hell. I can’t go but Matt Stoller will be there. If you do submit tough questions and he gets only softballs, write me at

The Black Bloc and the Cargo Cult Solidarity (hat tip Lambert)

American Airlines Union President Sees Future Without Pensions TruthOut

Young Adults See Their Pay Decline Wall Street Journal

Undocumented Foreclosure Victim Deported After Protesting Illegal Foreclosure Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

Black Students Face More Discipline, Data Suggests New York Times and Are black and Hispanic students singled out for punishment in school? Report shows minorities receive harsher discipline than white peers Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). I know some readers are allergic to the Daily Mail, but I have to admit I like its use of long headlines, particularly since a lot of people don’t get past headlines these days.

Wall Street’s Broken Windows Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

The Value Added Teacher Model Sucks mathbabe. This is important. Read and circulate.

Antidote du jour:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. dameocrat

    So you have a problem with the pill as well. Is it because it is from big pharma? Maybe we should give up antibiotics too.

    1. aet

      Effective birth control should be freely and easuly available to all w ho want it…

      But it is still a very very good idea to prescribe and use less antibiotics than we do now, and for purely pragmatic reasons.

      See here:

      Much much more available about the actual dangers of the over-use of anti-biotics where that came from, too.

      1. Jet

        You say: “Effective birth control should be freely and easuly available to all who want it…”

        Effective birth control is available to ANYONE who wants it. Condoms are less than $1/each, othotryclycline is approx $9-$14/month at Target or WalMart. Many low-income health clinics hand out free condoms like candy, especially clinics at or near university or college campuses. What more do you want?

        Seriously, why are you asking taxpayers to fund birth control when it is so easily and cheaply available? Do we really need a gov’t program handing out condoms and the pill?

        If someone cannot afford $13.79 for a pack of 12 condoms (per website), is that the taxpayers job to pay it? Maybe if they cannot afford that they should that is their problem, not our collective problem.

        1. PQS

          Where did you get the idea that “taxpayers” are paying for birth control?

          Despite reports on Faux News, the ACA isn’t a “socialist takeover” of the health care system.

          Insurance, and consequent access to medicine, are employer-provided benefits that are part of the pay packages of most American workers. We pay for it. Just like we’re paying for Viagra now. What is the big deal about the pill? It’s cheaper than pregnancy.

          But if ya’ll want to go on some kind of anti-Pill crusade, either because of “freedom” or “taxes” or plain old morality, be my guest. You won’t win. Welcome to 21st century America.

          1. Jet

            News flash: The vast majority of group medical insurance that covers the majority of Americans does include coverage for the pill. No one is taking that away, despite the meme the Obama admin and left-wing media is pushing.
            What those with sense object to is having this coverage forced to be provided, as in with religous organizations. No organization wants to be told what to do by a beaucratic gov’t organization.

            Funny, left-wingers are all for choice when it comes to abortion, but not for choice when it comes to things like school choice or employers or religous institutions determining what they want to pay for or not in their coverage. #hypocrisy!

            Oh, and yes, the ACA is the first step in a socialist take over of our health care. If someone doesn’t take coverage under the ACA they face penalties or taxes…which is it? If it is taxes, then it violates Big Obama’s pledge to not tax the middle class. If it is a penalty, then this violates the commerce clause. Which is it?

          2. EH

            No organization wants to be told what to do by a beaucratic gov’t organization.

            Yet it happens all the time, and has for centuries.

            What makes this one different?

          3. reslez

            Funny, men are all for prescription coverage when it comes to Viagra, but when it comes to birth control all of a sudden religious objections are extremely important.

            How is forcing someone to purchase private health insurance “socialism”? You’re using the word “socialism” as a synonym for “things I don’t like”. Try “fascism” or “entirely foreseeable consequence of state capitalism”.

        2. PQS

          Oh, and you still have to go to the doctor to get that prescription for the Pill, even if you can get them at WalMart for $9. Which, by the way, I’ve now heard on radio call in shows already. Did you all get some memo on this?

          I can tell you that the plural of anecdote isn’t data. But if you want to base your research on anecdotes, as a 43 year old woman on birth control, I have never seen the Pill sold for $9 WITHOUT insurance.

        3. Dameocrat

          Well then your Christian Scientist employer should not provide health insurance coverage for a blood transfusion if you need one, and your scientology employer should not pay for antipsychotics if you get schizophrenia. Yves would probably be happy about this too since s/he is also a mental illness denier, not to mention super hostile to all meds produced by big pharma!

          1. chris m

            Exactly! I wonder how the people up in arms about Obama’s contraceptive proposal would feel if a Muslim employer refused to provide coverage for female employees to see male doctors?

            The right wing reaction in this matter has nothing to do with a general principle of religious freedom. Just as they insist federal tax dollars should not pay for abortions because of their moral objections while pacifists must pay for the military and death penalty opponents must pay for executions, this is just one more instance of claiming rights they would deny to others and defending their own priviledge.

        4. justanotherobserver

          you’re a twit.

          1 it’s not taxpayer money – it’s the money WE PAY for health insurance

          2 health insurance right now generally has a very large co-pay on BC. it should NOT have that co-pay.

          We’re paying thousands of dollars in premiums for HI.

          Regardless, contraception should be free whatever the method.

          you’re a right wing trolling twit.

        5. ohmyheck

          Where did you get the idea that condoms are a particularly effective form of birth control? They leak, or break, and I can attest to that fact, having become the victim of a busted condom at age 16.

          I was pregnant in Dec. 1972. In Feb. 1973, I was able to attain a safe, affordable abortion. I was not politically aware enough at the time to know that it was because the US Gov’t did something right, i.e. Roe v. Wade. I thought this was the norm for all women.

          So when I asked my then-16 yr-old son what he planned to use as birth control, and he casually replied “condoms”, having raised him to be somewhat informed about life, my head exploded.

          Condoms? For STD’s-yes. For birth control? The last best option.

    2. b.

      Anybody who has paid attention to the (absence of) “convenient” male contraceptives – not a condome – understands the incentive structure. Big Pharma has a drug dealer relationship to women taking hormonal contraceptives. Big Pharma has no reason to invest in – expensive, and politically controversial – trials for new and more convenient birth control means while it holds a license to extort money every month.

      This has consequences beyond convenience and choice. If a significant fraction of half of the human population takes hormones, there is not only the question of impact on them to consider. These hormones will go from the body, to waste water, into rivers and the oceans. At billions of potential users, this alone is a significant fraction of the anthropocene, and its impact on the environment. A “reversible vasectomy” or other long duration/mechanical solution like
      is always preferable to elective modification of body chemistry. Fertility is not a disease or abberation, it is – while fraught with implications – the natural, default condition of the female body during “child-bearing” years.

      In short, any rational person will have issues with the “pill”, and decry the lack of progress made since. Against the backdrop of the repug “war on birth control”, it is also important to realize that, if a simple, cheap, perfect contraceptive was found tomorrow, it would be subject to significant political and governmental friction. For a closely related example, see RU486
      or any other “morning after” contraception (pre-implantation) or abortion.

      In general, our medical state of the art is a highly refined assortment of butchery and plumbing, combined with partially understood chemical warfare.

      One reason for this is that the incentive structure of corporate pharma – to the extent pharma is actually doing basic research as opposed to apply-to-market development – stands in the way of finding solutions that reduce the price, or the need for consumption, of pharma products. Another is that government regulation – as well as patents, and government-funded research – has primarily become a means do aid entrenched and established entities. Government-funded research is no longer a complement or alternative to for-profit efforts. In the context of family planning, a truckload of ugly ulterior motives are added on top.

      But maybe dameocrat would just like to take a pill everyday?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Wow, reading comprehension problems, big time. Did I ever say I was against the pill?

      I happen to be old enough to have been around in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Women were not well accepted in the workplace as anything other than, say, secretaries, nurses, teachers, and retail store help.

      The study (and the headline is even worse) take a correlation and assume causation. That’s just crap research. It’s awfully hard to make access to the pill (a single factor) in such a narrow period of time a cause of a big difference in lifetime earnings. It is far more likely that the states that allowed female contraception were also more hospitable environments to women’s advancement generally.

      1. Dameocrat

        And since the headline, the article and the linked/quoted study acknowledged that, you are are arguing with a strawman. The question is why?

        This was what was quoted from the study.

        Consistent with the well-known relationship of women’s wage growth to cumulative labor-force experience, our decomposition indicates that almost two thirds of the Pill-induced wage premium at the mean is explained through its effect on women’s labor-force experience. Another third of the premium is due to changes in educational attainment and occupational choice.

        You constructed a strawman for unfathomable reasons!

  2. dearieme

    “[1970] was when women were just starting to get into serious careers”: the USA was very late to this party, wasn’t it?

      1. JTFaraday

        “Here’s what I had in mind.”

        Actually, c. 1919 in the US, women teachers were very much under attack, particularly in urban areas, by men who wanted their jobs. In the founding era thru mid-19th century people had argued that women should assume teaching positions because there were so many other things men could be doing– and it was a natural for women, given their roles as mothers.

        After c. 1870s depression and through the great depression this argument about parenting was frequently used to undermine this claim to the workplace, although it was never entirely successful in removing women from teaching jobs.

        Thus far, I don’t think we’ve seen much of an–at least explicitly–gendered attack on working/career women this time around. I do think for years prior we’ve seen lots of bible belt and MSM promotion of (an idealized but rarely found) family life and a MSM hyper-sexualization of younger women (in which they’ve frequently participated on the view that it is liberating), but not an explicit attack by the working class on its own female workfore.

        If it holds, I call that much progress, (because honestly, at one point I wasn’t sure).

        1. reslez

          “Liberating” AKA “I’m one of the good ones, unlike those humorless meanies over there”. Or, taking full advantage of youthfulness/beauty.

    1. JTFaraday

      “[1970] was when women were just starting to get into serious careers”: the USA was very late to this party, wasn’t it?

      No, not really. As the women’s and labor historian Alice Kessler-Harris likes to point out (even American) women have always worked.

      The popular formulation just means that things like teaching are not considered “serious careers.”

      1. tom allen

        …or nursing, or raising children. Just life and death and the passing on of education and values. Nothing important like mortgage-backed securities, dontchaknow. /snark

        1. Lidia

          Indeed. I think men invent certain artificial things because they are frustrated and jealous of women’s natural power.

          1. tom allen

            “I think men invent certain artificial things because they are frustrated and jealous of women’s natural power.”

            Hey, what about drama, and sports, and economics, and … OHHH!

            Also, we’re fairly decent clowns and babysitters. :-P

          2. reslez

            Well, they had to come up with some way to compete against each other. That lets us figure out which ones are higher status.

            How do you compete with other guys at child rearing?

  3. Up the Ante

    “Either having meaningful CDS payouts on Greek bonds or having none, which discredits CDS, will have unexpected but likely significant outcomes, so pick your poison. ”

    The emperor is seen as naked, and has been called godless by the Saudis, and is seen as having only godless responses in return.

  4. fresno dan

    Athens issues threat to bond holdouts Financial Times
    To me, CDS’s were things they just never made economic sense (if the risk is not priced into the interest rate, how does the seller of the CDS know the risk any better?) Why do the powers that be seem to want to keep them in existence? Bribery???
    On the other hand, how can a rational market exist for a product, “insurance” that may or may not pay out (or partially pay out if backed by government occasionally, maybe) as advertized, and not even in some kind of predictable way? Are CDS holder, apparently like bond holders, total idiots? How do they get any money to begin with?
    It certainly shows that either the market is:
    corrupt and irrational
    Are CDS’s the placebo of the market? If people only believe they have default insurance, will they will engage in economic activity that they would not otherwise?

    1. Jessica

      My understanding was that originally many of the CDSs were intended as fake insurance in order to evade regulations on risk management. Which made the government giving Goldman Sachs money via AIG even more outrageous.
      Some day, we will look back and marvel at the degree to which information pollution was tolerated in an increasingly knowledge-driven economy.
      That also applies to the toxic teacher evaluation data that Mathbabe highlights.

      1. aet

        Logically, CDS ought not to make sense unless there has been a mis-pricing of the bond’s interest rate.

        Lots of this stuff seems DESIGNED to blow up, and if it’s really so, the writers and sellers of the notes know it. Either of the bonds, or of the CDS, or both.

        Unregulated insurance, in all but name, on underlying stuff that those writers alone know ( and control?) the “true risk” of, and their creation ought to be illegal. If it isn’t already. And it may be, you know. It just may be that nobody’s taken them into a Court of Law yet to test their validity….

  5. JTFaraday

    Eyal Press, “Chilling Dissent on Wall Street” on our culture of blind obedience:

    “Some might assume that, if the government ignores corporate whistleblowers again, a citizenry incensed by the greed and recklessness of Wall Street is not likely to allow history to repeat itself. But this might be wishful thinking. Despite the lore of the whistleblower that pervades popular culture, Americans turn out to be less sympathetic to such dissenters than Europeans. Drawing on data from the World Value Surveys and other sources over multiple years, the sociologist Claude Fischer has found that U.S. citizens are “much more likely than Europeans to say that employees should follow a boss’s orders even if the boss is wrong.” They are also more likely “to defer to church leaders and to insist on abiding by the law,” and more prone “to believe that individuals should go along and get along.”

    Whistleblowers may often be praised in the abstract and from a distance, but Americans have a tendency to ignore or even vilify them when they dare to stir up trouble in their own workplaces or communities.”

    1. JTFaraday

      And, here’s Hannah Arendt on an earlier generation of European peons. (Which, thanks to Downsouth, I just happen to have right at my fingertips):

      Jerome Kohn, “Arendt’s concept and description of totalitarianism”

      “In a letter to a German correspondent, she said that 20 years after she had learned of the existence of Auschwitz she experienced a cura posterior, that is, a healing of her inability to think through to its root in the acts of men the evil of totalitarian criminality. The posterior or later cure is also important in the sense that for Arendt the terrible injury inflicted on the Jewish people would at long last appear as a crime against humanity, and the exemplary criminal capable of that “incomprehensible” crime, in the person of Eichmann, who was not even an anti-Semite, be identified.

      Arendt saw Eichmann, on trial for his life, as a “buffoon” whose

      “inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such…. [It was] proof against reason and argument and information and insight of any kind (1963a: 49, 78).”

      But, and this is what is ominous, his inability to reflect on and judge his own acts also led Arendt to see that Eichmann was not “corruptible.” Having overcome and in his case even forgotten any natural inclination he may once have had to hinder the transportation of millions of innocent Jews to their annihilation in Auschwitz, Eichmann boasted that he had done his duty to the end. Unlike those members of the S.S. who attempted to “negotiate” with the enemy when it became clear that the Nazi cause was lost, Eichmann declared “that he had lived his whole life.. .according to a Kantian definition of duty”; and “to the surprise of everybody, [he] came up with an approximately correct definition of [Kant’s] categorical imperative,” even though he had “distorted” it in practice. Arendt recognized, moreover, “that Eichmann’s distortion agrees with what he called the version of Kant `for the household use of the little man,'” the identification of one’s will with “the source” of law, which for Eichmann was not pure practical reason but, and regardless of its logicality, simply what the Fuhrer willed. He “supported and carried out” the physical destruction of European Jewry and would have done the same for any group or anyone at all whom a power he deemed higher than himself had decreed unfit to live. He could be relied on to do whatever his “conscience” assured him was his duty.

      Perhaps the most provocative aspect of Eichmann in Jerusalem is its account of human conscience. The refusal of the court to consider seriously the question of Eichmann’s conscience resulted in its failure to confront what Arendt called “the central moral, legal, and political phenomena of our century.” The Israeli judges understood conscience traditionally as the voice of God or lumen naturale, speaking or shining in every human soul, telling or illuminating the difference between right and wrong. This simply did not apply in the case of Eichmann. Eichmann had a conscience, and it seems to have “functioned in the expected way” for a few weeks after he became engaged in the transport of Jews, and then, when he heard no voice saying Thou shalt not kill but on the contrary every voice saying Thou shalt kill, “it began to function the other way around.” If the phenomenon of a changeable conscience indicates a “moral collapse,” Arendt was convinced by testimony presented at the trial that this collapse was widespread throughout Europe, from which even respected members of the Jewish leadership were not exempt. (19) And if this collapse led her subsequently to dismantle moral philosophy, not to reveal moral phenomena as illusory (as Nietzsche had attempted to do) but to strip them of their traditional trappings, for her it also lay at the core of the proceedings in Jerusalem”…;content

      1. SR6719

        “The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal….”

        “….the language of ideology appeals to a transcendent “meaning” that serves to interpret reality *consistently*..

        “….No events can interrupt the self-consistency of the language because the appeal of the language itself lay in its internal *consistency* …” – Hannah Arendt

        (This is why there’s no point arguing with an ideologue, or with anyone brainwashed by corporate media. Their response will always be to shoot the messenger.)

        “People identify with totalitarianism’s transcendent meaning in order to escape from …..*uncertainty*..” (my emphasis) – Hannah Arendt

        “Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years….”

        R.D. Laing, “The Politics of Experience”

    1. EH

      What a sad story. The center is obviously needed, yet the subtext I’m seeing is that music and arts education for Oakland kids is effectively illegal. It won’t happen from within the system, and it won’t happen by pushing at the boundaries. She probably fucked up royally in the implementation, but I don’t doubt that her intentions were better (and more effective) than any number of mortgage officers at improving their participants’ lots in life.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Yeah, if it’s in the Chronicle it’s probably a neoliberal hit piece.

        Think how many schools in Oakland Jerry Brown privatized and the Chronicle didn’t bemoan the transfer or wealth then–it cheered. Brown later said it was a mistake but Oakland is still going ahead with the neoliberal policy of privatization and closing down public schools—as the police is expanded and further militarized at the same time.

        The Chronicle is basically in lock step with the Bill Gates/Obama/Waiting for Superman propaganda and I would read this story with that in mind.

  6. ohmyheck

    Re: Athens/Greece and CDS, for us laypeople, from Felix Salmon’s link:

    “Essentially, CDS holders are reduced to hoping that the issuer will be nice, and structure the exchange in such a way as to let them get paid out. But there’s no particular reason why the issuer should do that, especially seeing as how the CDS holders were the people who were effectively shorting the issuer as it tumbled into bankruptcy.”

    And just above that quote, from Felix’s article:

    “This seems unsatisfactory at first blush, particularly as it is effectively the very thing for which PROTECTION (my caps) is bought (the restructuring event) which thwarts the buyer.”

    “Protection” bought from Wall Street Mafiosa.

    Greece should definitely NOT play nice, as the issuer. A little “austerity” for Wall Street would be a good thing. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  7. Steve Roberts

    OMG, the moon is a terrorist and the President has been given Congressional authority to destroy all terrorists. Nuke the moon!

    (cue Romney declaring the President weak if he doesn’t nuke the moon)

  8. Lambert Strether

    The common thread between the random and sucky airport screening devices and mathbabe’s random and sucky teacher testing is the same: Compliance. It’s not the individual result that matters, or even the petty humiliation and fear induced in the subject, although of course that’s a bonus: It’s simply training people to queue up and obey whoever’s at the head of the line.

    1. Lidia

      In fact! The dysfunctionality becomes a feature in and of itself, as well. It teaches people that schools are expected to be bad, public transportation is expected to be unsafe, etc.… and it reduces our expectations generally for any uplifting, coherent or mutually-beneficial individual or institutional behavior.

    2. Chuck

      I must say that some of the TSA people I have seen are the dregs of humanity: San Francisco Airport for example, some bloated woman with a shaved head and some kind of African pillbox hat,
      I wouldn’t eat anything touched by such a creature, let alone entrust it with anything important.

  9. Accrued Disinterest

    American Airlines Union President Sees Future Without Pensions: that’s gonna hurt like the Dickens.

    1. Cynthia

      American Airlines’ operating budget anticipates substantial reduction in the cost of labor for maintenance and a substantial increase in the cost of duct tape. Fly at your own peril.

      “Coffee, Tea, or Prayer Cards”

      1. Lidia

        The plane on my Alitalia/Delta flight recently did indeed make use of copious amounts of duct tape, applied to the stowage doors for the various compartments in all the lavatories. The latches were broken, and no-one could be bothered to fix them.

        I didn’t have the opportunity to check the cockpit for similar sorts of repairs.

  10. Valissa

    The Coming Struggle Over Mediterranean Oil

    The discovery in late 2010 of the huge natural gas bonanza off Israel’s Mediterranean shores triggered other neighboring countries to look more closely at their own waters. The results revealed that the entire eastern Mediterranean is swimming in huge untapped oil and gas reserves. That discovery is having enormous political, geopolitical as well as economic consequences. It well may have potential military consequences too. Preliminary exploration has confirmed similarly impressive reserves of gas and oil in the waters off Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and potentially, Syria.

        1. aet

          More natural gas to add to the glut….haven’t you guys noticed?
          The world’s energy markets have changed a lot in the past ten years – it’s like a diffrent world out there, compared with the 1990s.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    There was a time when we too used to communicate a lot by smell like the two lions here.

    But it’s too late to be expressing outrage about this. People were complaining this by the time of the Romans, if not earlier.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Kaptur was onto the mortgage mess at least as early as 2009, and propagated the slogan “Produce the note!” which was an early sign of lender fraud (since they couldn’t do that). Her win was deserved IMNSHO.

    2. Wendy

      Kucinich is one of the closest things to a “good guy” that there is in Congress. This is disappointing. Congrats to gerrymandering Republicans, I guess – cut 2 D’s down to 1.

      It’s also hard to get excited about Kaptur when I read this from the article you linked to: “Kaptur is a social centrist, against federal tax dollars for abortion while Kucinich supports the funding. Kaptur also backs the Keystone XL Pipeline, while Kucinich is a strident environmentalist who opposes it.”

      1. b.

        Both are incumbents. No to incumbents. It is the only voter policy that will produce change, whatever the change.

      2. monkeywrench

        In the case of Kucinich, he is good, but he’s wasted in a government that’s rotten to the core. At times like this, honest people have to be outside the tent pissing in. Kucinich would be more effective in a parallel government. The best cornerstone of a parallel government would be an NHRI (National Human Rights Institution) per the Paris Principles. Kucinich would be just the guy to head an independent non-governmental NHRI.

  12. Cynthia

    American Airlines was supposed to pay $91 million into the employees pension trust fund last month. They paid $6 million. Meanwhile, they pay Bain Capital $14 million a *month* to help them devise a scheme to cheat AA workers out of the pensions they’ve worked their whole lives to collect.

    Another example of the mentality of Bain. Cut jobs and raid the pension plans that are government backed putting that burden on the taxpayers. In other words, Bain makes money by screwing over private-sector workers at the public’s expense.

    Without cranking up the plutocratic lie machine, that can’t in any way be construed as free-market capitalism. I’d like to hear Mittens rationalize how he’s NOT engaging in a form capitalism that is deeply rooted in a form of socialism that only benefits him and his rich buddies at Bain.

  13. Hugh

    Re healthcare, one out of every two dollars in this country spent on healthcare comes from public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Medicare in particular is a well run program which would be even better if it had not been intentionally hobbled by corporate bought legislators. The private healthcare insurance system is an incredibly overpriced, unsustainable mess. The charge of socialism is dishonest for any number of reasons. First, it is generally a kneejerk attack devoid of any content. Much like accusing Obama, who embraced the Bush-Cheney agenda in toto and then extended it, of socialism. If Obama is a socialist, does that make Bush and Cheney communists? Second, we are talking about socializing the funding of healthcare, not its delivery, that is the insurance, not the doctors and hospitals. And if the public side does a better job, why on earth, other than ideology and theft, would anyone want to keep the private side?

    Re American Airlines, workers get their pensions axed, but I bet top management gets to keep their bonuses, stock options, and golden parachutes. It’s just more kleptocracy in action.

    Re Kaptur-Kucinich, don’t play best of the worst. Everyone in national politics has so betrayed us and served the interests of the rich, the corporations, and themselves that from the viewpoint of the 99% they do not deserve to hold office of any kind. Where have Kaptur and Kucinich been in standing up to a Bush-level conservative like Obama and all his lies? Where were they in mounting serious opposition to him or being spokespeople of that opposition? Hint: nowhere.

    Poor education in this country, much like poor infrastructure and healthcare, disappearing pensions, high unemployment, massive uninvestigated frauds, an eroding industrial base, is a consequence of kleptocracy. The elites loot society’s resources and there is not enough left to take care of our basic needs as a society. Teacher testing is mostly just a distraction, a way to divert attention and place the blame on teachers.

    My philosophy is to give teachers the resources they need and then to get out of the way and let them teach. In my own educational experience in a lower middle class area, I had a few teachers who were klunkers but most were at least competent and several were truly gifted.

    1. Crazy Horse

      Perhaps you should read Kucinich’s bill that he introduced in Congress to replace the bank cartel’s private central bank IOU’s — Federal Reserve Notes– that we use as money with currency issued by Congress as mandated by the Constitution before you lump him with the criminals that predominate in both houses of Congress.

      If you happen to be one of those rare Americans who cares about history you might be interested to know that JFK signed a bill into law doing just that. One of the last pieces of legislation he signed before being assassinated—-.

      1. Hugh

        The only way to distinguish between the real and cosmetic in politics is on the rare occasions that a politician’s vote makes a real difference, that is when casting a vote entails a real cost. Kucinich had such an occasion with the healthcare bill. He famously caved after meeting with Obama on Air Force One and even went so far as to shill for Obamacare although he had previously criticized it.

        Another as I pointed out above would be to become a spokesperson for dissent and opposition by allying with progressive anti-corporatist, anti-Obama groups. Kucinich never tried to do this.

        I support doing away with the Fed and/or bringing money creation under Congressional control, but flogging a bill that has no backing is a time honored political device to garner credibility with certain groups without actually threatening the status quo.

        We will have only begun the process of fixing the country when we vote every current politician out of office.

        1. Crazy Horse

          Your critique of Kucinich may well be warranted. But the notion that we are somehow going to vote all the politician/criminals out of office and that would change the structure of power and class inequality generated by the internal imperatives of capitalism that is driving us over the cliff is naive in the extreme.

  14. kravitz

    Lowering our expectations for foreclosure settlement,0,246162.column

    “with every passing day, the shortcomings of this deal appear to proliferate. That is, as far as we know, because the specific terms of the settlement are still not public, nearly one month after it was unveiled in Washington with the sort of fanfare formerly associated with the splashdown of a space capsule.


The latest explanation for the secrecy is that the parties are waiting until the settlement is filed with a federal court in Washington, which could happen this week or next. But the explanation only evades the question of why the deal wasn’t filed in court before or simultaneously with the big dog-and-pony show, as is customary with high-profile legal settlements.”

  15. Hugh

    The headline “Dire Poverty Falls Despite Global Slump, Report Finds” needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Almost all of the data is for the period 1981-2008. The extension to 2010 is based on preliminary estimates and there is nothing for 2011 onwards.

    There was a lot of investment money flowing out of the US and into developing countries as our rich elites disinvested in our country and China is a very big part of this story. The report does graph declines with and without China which is good. So the trends cited might be real but there aren’t yet the data there fully to support such a contention.

  16. Don Levit

    I agree the private health care system is an unsustainable mess.
    From a public perspective, it is incredibly efficient for people to pay their FICA and SECA taxes to the government, so that the benefits are currently paid.
    My concern is that the government is unable and unwilling to maintain any type of reserve fund, should the outgo exceed the income.
    Might that be a place for a new and improved private health insurer, such as a legitimate 501(c)(4), one that fully earns its tax-exempt status?
    Don Levit

    1. reslez

      My concern is that the government is unable and unwilling to maintain any type of reserve fund, should the outgo exceed the income.

      Would you similarly worry about an alchemist’s failure to stockpile gold when he can create however much he needs at any time? The government is the source of money. It neither has nor doesn’t have money. It makes no sense for the government, which has the exclusive power granted by the Constitution to create legal tender, to maintain a reserve fund. That might have been necessary when the government decided to link the dollar to gold, but that hasn’t been the case for 40 years.

      Since the government is the only source of money, maintaining a reserve fund would be no different than marking up numbers in a spreadsheet, unless you mean the government should confiscate some of the private sector’s currency.

  17. Cynthia

    Every healthcare service and every healthcare product must undergo a rigorous cost-benefit analysis to order to decide which products and services should or shouldn’t be covered by either private or public insurance. In the case of birth control pills, I have little doubt in my mind that their benefits far exceed their costs for three reasons: 1)they are relatively cheap compared to most other prescription drugs, 2) they reduce unwanted pregnancies, and, 3) they reduce the number of days women call in sick due to menstrual cramps. This still remains true even after factoring in the fact that drug companies tend to raise the cost of their drugs that are required by the state to be fully covered by insurance.

    However, in the case of pastoral care, the costs of these inpatient services, for the most part, outweigh their benefits. There is no evidence whatsoever that providing pastoral care to hospitalized patients improves their medical outcome. Nor does it reduce their hospital stay. This holds true for all other forms of faith-based medicine as well. In fact, pastoral care is among a growing list of hospital services, along with music therapy, pet therapy, and five-star restaurant-quality meals, and layer upon layer of redundant management personnel, that are adding unnecessary layers of cost to our health care system.

    And yet notice how Rush Limbaugh (aka Drug Limpballs) complains about how insurance covering the cost of birth control pills is adding unnecessary cost to our health care system, but he doesn’t complain at all about how pastoral care is also adding unnecessary cost to our health care system. This is because he, like most other right-wing Tea-Publican windbags, is being paid to blow high air on behalf the Christian Right, which advocates the use of public money, be it through the private insurance industry in the form of high insurance premiums or through Medicare and Medicaid in the form of higher payroll taxes, to fund faith-based programs, which includes pastoral care services in hospitals.

    Rush Limbaugh is no difference from most other “Big Government” liberals in that he supports the nanny state. But unlike his liberal counterparts, he only wants to see the nanny state being using to fund the Pentagon, government programs that have been privatized, and a whole slew of faith-based programs — from the ones found in schools and churches, to the ones found in hospitals and nursing homes.

  18. Don Levit

    Neither contraceptives nor pastoral care should be covered by insurance.
    My statement has nothing to do with how cost-effective the procedures are.
    It has everything to do with the costs, which are minimal, and should not be covered by insurance.
    What we need to do is give people a real choice between spending dollars on smaller claims, even if incredibly effective, versus voluntarily not making claims.
    With a low deductible plan, it behooves the person to make lower claims.
    If one did have coverage from the first dollar, but the policy was priced as if it had a $50,000 deductible, the cost would be reduced by 80%.
    How can this happen?
    It can happen because in lieu of making claims, one sets aside $400 a month.
    In return, he can accumulate a $50,000 paid-up policy in 5 years, a policy in which the benefits are available from dollar one, and he never pays another premium.
    Impossible you say.
    No, entirely possible, as I am working with Milliman, an actuarial firm, and 3 of my partners on just such a plan.
    Don Levit

    1. reslez

      I see that you prefer paying $10,000 (the price for a normal delivery with no complications) versus $40/month for a contraception prescription.

      You realize how quickly $50,000 is used up in any semi-serious medical emergency? What happens after that?

      You realize how small a fraction of Americans have the financial ability to set aside $400/month on anything?

      As for “low” deductibles (which are low only if you’re upper middle class… the most common deductible these days is $2,500 but it’s frequently $5k): You realize how few people have the medical knowledge or expertise to comparison shop on medical procedures and surgeries? Who in their right mind chooses the cheapest bidder when their life is at stake? Not everything is a financial game. Do you people ever leave your ivory towers?

      1. Cynthia

        And if you got into a major accident or came down with a very serious illness, requiring multiple admissions to the hospital or multiple surgeries followed by multiple rounds of rehab admissions, it didn’t take long before you reached your lifetime insurance cap, which was commonly $1 million, at least that’s what most insurance caps were where I live prior to ObamaCare. Now that the caps have been lifted, your insurer simply drops you like a hot potato. Then until you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you’ll have to tap into the healthcare system as a charity case. Working in a hospital setting for a little over two decades now, I’ve seen this happen much too often, and much too my despair.

    1. wunsacon

      Am I supposed to feel sorry for a woman who’s underwater because she chose to build a SECOND, NEW home before selling her first? Or feel sorry for any of the other people who provide no back story to suggest something other than that they chose to take on more risk than was prudent?

      The blog’s sidebar says: “This Tumblr blog is for homeowners throughout the country to … show how even one underwater mortgage is more than America can afford.”. Really? So, is that blog calling for more help to homeowers at the expense of renters and savers? Is it FIRE-industry astroturfing to build political support for more bailouts (of the FIRE sector)? Or what?

      1. abelenkpe

        No I wouldn’t expect you to feel sorry for anyone. You have to have something called empathy which your past posts show you seriously lack.

        1. wunsacon

          Sounds like you’re the one with an empathy problem — lack of empathy for people *not* featured on that website. Gifting money to underwater investors is not fair to me or anyone else who didn’t choose to overbid for shelter.

          If you want to gift money to help people, then gift equal amounts to *everyone* (including, for instance, the homeless). Otherwise, these people should downsize and/or rent an apartment. There’s no shame in that, is there?

  19. Walter Wit Man

    Nothing says responsible adult like goading the Republicans into a dick swinging contest about who can stand up to the Iranians:

    “David Axelrod: If Romney Can’t Condemn Limbaugh, ‘How Can He Stand Up To Ahmadinejad?'”

    Of course Romney is quick to pull out the ruler:

    “One thing Mitt Romney will not do is timidly offer to sit down with Ahmadinejad with no pre-conditions, as President Obama did, and he certainly won’t ignore the looming threat of a nuclear Iran, as this administration has done,” said Andrea Saul. “Obama’s weak policy toward Iran over the past three years has utterly failed and simply allowed Iran to get closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

    The propaganda is regressing.

  20. contradeception

    Contraception, what a crock. This is what the parties do, they tear your rights up into teeny little scraps and make you fight and beg for the scraps. The parties have got the Dem dupes and hacks all enraged, fighting like cats and dogs over one small piece of their reproductive rights. That way, nobody notices that Dems never lifted a finger to pass CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against women. Dems could have done it with their eyes closed and given women comprehensive protections subject to objective review. Instead, Dems screwed around with so-called health care. Same sleazy trick: agonies of pitched bullshit battles affecting one measly clause of your human right to health, when Dems could have passed the CESCR at will (the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), and secured the whole package of minimal rights with mandatory public progress reviews.

    The parties do it this way for a reason. The parties work solely for the state. The state does not want you to know your rights. The state does not want to submit to objective evaluation. The International Bill of Human Rights is a constraint on a state that exists to screw you. So’s the UN Charter. So’s the Rome Statute. The parties will keep on screwing their dupes until people learn the rules of the civilized world,

    The Dem hacks are screaming louder and louder, we’re 2% better, we’re 1.5% better… Sucking less doesn’t cut it any more. Neither party meets the minimal standards of the civilized world. That’s why voting doesn’t work.

  21. Glenn Condell

    The piece about the growing influence of the plutocrats in Oz is penned by the Deputy PM and Treasurer Wayne Swan, who I have hitherto found fairly unimpressive, but this is quite something. He made a remark last week about the political meddling of Palmer, Forrest and Rinehart (1%ers from Central Casting) and they have taken out full page ads in the upmarket Murdoch rag the Australian to lambast him. To see a politician ‘stand on his dig’ nowadays against people like this is refreshing but of course words are cheap, and you do wonder if the deepening mire from which Julia Gillard cannot seem to extract herself, and the alternative leadership credentials of the former NSW Premier Bob Carr (drafted from retirement to replace Rudd as Foreign Minister) might have smoked the ambitious Swan out, encouraging him to throw caution to the wind and make this sort of crusading populism his point of difference. If so, and he succeeds, it could come in very useful in the coming crunch against Malcolm Turnbull, a genuine silvertail who will surely replace Tony Abbott as Liberal leader before the next election.

    Not since Paul Keating have we had a topline pol prepared to take the fight to the Big End of town. Keating once described deciding between Kerry Packer and Conrad Black who both wanted to the Fairfax media empire as like ‘trying to choose between a gorilla and a thesaurus’. Black for his part paid Keating grudging respect: “The king of all larrikins [troublemakers], a coarse autodidact with a wicked wit and a tongue that could clip a hedge, he was decisive, cunning, extremely knowledgeable and an unforgettable raconteur. Even now, after all he put us to, I find it a little hard not to like him.” Packer’s tribute apparently took the form of foot-mats with PK’s face on them at his country digs.

    Swan is no Keating, at least not yet, but this is much better than cringing at John Howard’s nervous courtier act with the grandees, and a step up too from the careful evasion of conflict that has characterised the Rudd/Gillard era thus far. Rudd crumbled in the face of the miners and Gillard rode in on a wave of acclaim for acceding to them. More pols of the Rooseveltian ‘I welcome their hatred’ variety please.

    In other Australian news NSW seems set to equal if not beat the wettest week on record. My ancestral home Wagga had 9000 evacuated from the CBD. Farming cousins have sent amazing pics of the deluge, but the best (some candidates here for an antidote) are these, of spiders en masse, spreading looms like blankets over the land:

  22. bob

    Birth contol debate

    What year is it?

    This is also, most likely, being fanned by the dems in an election year.

    “Let’s get all these old guys from the other side on TV and talking about vaginas.”

    I do appreciate that part of the show.

    This “issue” is a perfect opportunity to talk about employeer sponsered, governemnet subsidazed, health insurance. It doesn’t work, and is a very large part of the problem with the current “system”. Bad incentives for everyone paying, but no voice for the people “covered”.

    Instead, it’s just a re-hashing of a debate that belongs in the 1950’s, and is actually hurting women’s rights, ala the TX law.

  23. Walter Wit Man

    Huffington Post censors reporting from Syria. Sharmine Narwani alleges that:

    “Every one of my Syria articles that the Huffington Post refused to publish provides exclusive information of some kind. Its World News section, instead, is filled with wire articles written outside Syria – usually from Amman or Beirut – often citing unverifiable information and claims from “activists” inside the country.

    It is worth noting, these past few months, Syria has dominated Huffington Post world news headlines more than any other country or issue – it is clearly a story of great interest to the editors.”

    The mainstream media is clearly and intentionally airing straight up propaganda. As in actors faking deaths, faking shelling, and faking everything. It’s fake fake fake. Lies lies lies.

    And when they got caught no one seemed to notice. No corrections. Just doubling down on the dishonesty. Calls for bombing. More claims of civilian deaths. More lies.

    I take back my link above to the Huffington Post above. I should have known better than to link to a propaganda site like that, even if it was only to mock the news story itself.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        “Oh Darliiiiihn” is right. She’s so breezy and confident and slick . . . . and seemingly trustworthy.

        But she’s lying her ass off.

        And I didn’t know it was that many millions she got for Huffington Post. Wha?

        Big money in the mindfucking business. I wonder how much the bloggers get.

  24. SR6719

    Occupy Movement targets prison-industrial complex:

    “Prior to incarceration, two-thirds of all prisoners lived in conditions of economic hardship, while the perpetrators of ‘white-collar’ crime largely go free.”

    “No Wall Street banker has been jailed for stealing billions of dollars through mortgage fraud.”

    “Prisons have become….the shadow-side ..of America….. ”

    “More African Americans in prison today than enslaved in 1850”

    “Occupy events targeted for-profit prisons and companies like Wells Fargo, which is heavily invested in the private prison industry with 3.5 million shares in the second largest prison operator, the GEO Group. Companies make money through prison construction and from prison labor, paying prisoners as little as $0.23 an hour…..”

    “Protesters condemned the widespread use of solitary confinement and outright torture inside U.S. prisons. Prison Legal News explains, “The kind of torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq … is commonplace within U.S. prisons.”

  25. Don Levit

    What hospitals charge for various procedures is certainly a concern.
    What I am trying to provide, if an insurer would back our not-for-profit 501(c)(4), is a way to build up benefits much faster than an HSA. The goal is to build up to at least $25,000 of benefits, which would allow the insured to raise his deductible to $25,000, and save 60% off of a traditional premium.
    In this way, very large claims could be covered every 3-5 years, depending on contributions made.
    That is about all one can realistically hope for, based on incomes, today’s premiums, and today’s cost of care.
    Don Levit

Comments are closed.