Links, 4/12, 2012

White House Punts On Executive Order Banning Contractors From LGBT Discrimination (Huffington Post)  More Hope-ophobia.

U.S. walks dangerous line to support Argentina in bond cases (Reuters) A few days old but fascinating.

Mr. McFeely’s purple panda terrifies children (BoingBoing)

Colombia-US FTA will halt labor rights progress (Colombia Reports)  Just because the Colombian government allows the routine murder of union organizers doesn’t mean that you’re not a complainer!

Stocks rise but investors worry that deeper sell-off is underway (LA Times)

Fed’s easy policy appropriate right now: Yellen (Reuters)

New drilling technique leads to vast supplies and cheaper energy bills for homes, businesses (Washington Post)

Obama dubs tax plan ‘Reagan rule’ (FT)

The monster in our midst (Privacy SOS)

Allen West: I’ve ‘Heard’ 80 House Democrats Are Communist Party Members (Huffington Post)  Uh, Allen, there’s no Communist threat anymore.

48% of Chicken in Small Sample Has E. Coli  (NY Times)  Meat consumption is dropping.  I wonder why.

‘Tsunami’ of foreclosure complaints swamps Fla. Bar (Palm Beach Post)

Connie Mack TV spot hits Bill Nelson on coked up monkeys (The Buzz)

N.J. Supreme Court order clarifies foreclosure paperwork for mortgage lenders (Star Ledger)

Romney Woos Women as Campaign Stumbles on Equal Pay Issue (Bloomberg)

Doomsday shelters line Kansas missile silo (AFP)

7 Rules for Recording Police (Gizmodo)

Addressing the Weak Housing Market:Is Principal Reduction the Answer? Remarks as Prepared for Delivery Edward J. DeMarco, Acting Director Federal Housing Finance Agency (PDF)

Union Busting Playbook (CWA)

Break Up BofA (Occupy Wall Street) Friday, April 13th, 2pm @ Liberty Square, they are going to do a mass move your money campaign.  Be there.  Or be square.  And by square I mean pepper-sprayed.  Also if you don’t live in NYC, Bank of America has helpfully set up branches all over the country where you can purchase convenient banking services.

U.S. farmland price boom to slow but not plateau (Reuters)

And the antidote…


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About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. dearieme

    Why would anyone join the Communists now that there’s zero chance that it’ll give them supreme, despotic power Come the Revolution?

    1. RanDomino

      Communist parties are basically cults. They use a lot of the same techniques to pull people in and keep them. Appearing to be innocuous and using fronts, to get people in; playing off people’s emotions to keep them; reinforcing their loyalty through a barrage of interactive propaganda like reading circles; gradually becoming their social/emotional support base…

  2. Superduperdave

    Gotta love this one: Stocks rise but investors worry that deeper sell-off is underway (LA Times)

    Even a rise in stocks is really a sign that stocks are falling, I guess, as long as you are among the initiated who know how to interpret the deep meaning of Wall Street.

    1. EH

      I read it as a loss of faith when a rise in stocks can be seen as a potential setup by insiders to leave outsiders holding the bag (again), after the bottom falls out of market blather.

  3. Klassy!

    Chickens are pretty, but not particularly cute.
    Here is the list of the top 5 cutest animals which I have thoughtfully taken the time to compile:
    1. kitties
    2. otters
    3. prairie dogs
    4. bunnies
    5. squirrels (more included for their devotion to play which otters have too but they could make it on cuteness alone)

    Yes, I go for the obvious I know.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That looks like a left-leaning chicken as she is on the left side of the road.

      But it also looks like she is getting off the road, like she is retiring,

    2. Aquifer

      Gotta disagree with you on squirrels – the ones in my neighborhood are s bunch of destructive SOBs …

  4. Leviathan

    I watched the DeMarco speech the other day. He looked like the Ghostbuster who has just been ordered to shut down the power grid, thereby unleashing a swarm of ghosts on poor NYC.

    Clearly, he has been given his marching orders, and clearly he thinks it will not end well.

    It’s interesting that media outlets are trumpeting the finding that the GSEs will “save” $1.6 billion through writedowns. DeMarco points out that the taxpayers (through the Treasury) will be subsidizing the taxpayers (via the GSEs) and not much scratch will be “saved” in the process. Furthermore, all it will take to wipe out the illusory savings are 20,000 people saying “to hell with paying my mortgage!” and going for the mod.

    Shall I repeat that? 20,000 families can wipe out entirely this modest “savings.” And they will. It’s a psychological thing. If the GSEs offer principal reductions, the long-awaited dam will break on underwater homeowners blindly sending in their checks.

    Maybe this isn’t a bad thing, but it will be taken as an unintended consequence and it will kill housing for a long time. So, enjoy the “savings,” America. Throw the switch!

  5. Up the Ante

    Staring at the picture of the humanoid form that accompanies the article, wondering what kind of emotional mindset could produce such a fantastic relation to the world around him, I recalled this comment from craazyman, and sensed its higher-order relevance,

    “The Secret Sauce

    I vaguely remember reading once in some book by Carl Jung about a patient he described — a young man who was quite insane — whose malady presented itself as the delusion that every time he turned his head the world showed him a new postcard, in the form of whatever vista entered his vision, created for his amusement and pleasure.

    In a certain sense, this derangement is a concentrated distillation of the pleasure the artistically sensitive take in the compositions, colors and forms their sight happens upon, and it hints at powers that, in healthy doses, underpin reasonably normal states of mind — a creative and self-referential narcissism, self-aggrandizement and the capacity to mount an artistic fusion of disparate phenomenon into a contiguous and holistic singularity. Wasn’t it Kurt Cobain who penned the line “Here we are now/entertain us”?

    It seems this instinctive faculty is active in The Secret Sauce. And not only there. But in the entire apparatus of cash flows across the mortgage universe. It seems that everyone sees what they want to see to keep the cash flows flowing. Otherwise, the picture would be ugly indeed, a fantastic hairball that might be so choking that even the lawyers couldn’t extract their requisite fees, for who from? The heads have turned and the image on the postcard has formed and it’s nothing to worry about. It’s actually sort of pretty, if you just frame it with the right boundaries.LOL. ”

    Once again, craazyman, too good. Too good.


  6. Up the Ante

    These pols are clowns, accuse them of being Bolsheviks,

    and tell govt. as having gone native,

    and tear apart their last refuge,

    and lay bare that these pols have no other outlet than corruption,

    and suddenly Communists are in our midst.

  7. Cynthia

    Some of the biggest anti-gay bigots that I know are black. (BTW, they also tend to be very bigoted against Arabs and Muslims as well.) So it doesn’t surprise me at all that a self-proclaimed black guy like Barack Obama would flat-out renege on an executive order banning workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians.

    Even though Obama is just as white as he is black, he chooses to classify himself as a black guy because he knows all too well that he would move up through the ranks much further and far faster by being black than by being white. What I find particularly egregious about Obama and other blacks who have gotten ahead in the world by gaming affirmative action laws is that they are using all the black power they can muster to exclude all minorities other than blacks (particularly gays, Arabs and Muslims) from hitching a rather privileged and comfortable ride on the affirmative action bus.

    Over the course of four years or so, I have yet to find anything to admire much less like about President Obama — and believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. Really hard.

    1. diptherio

      My take on Obama: everyone talks about how he’s the first black president, but he’s also half white. Everyone trumpeted his work as a community organizer, but he’s also a lawyer. We thought we were electing the black community organizer half of Obama, but we got another f#@king white lawyer. Typical…

    2. Neo-Realist

      As a non-bigoted against gays black person who has been working in the private sector in a few careers for many years, what Affirmative Action for blacks are you talking about???? I’m certainly not benefiting nor noticing any of this Affirmative Action that you speak of; Certainly nothing compared to the defacto Affirmative Action toward whites in hiring, promoting and legacy admissions to colleges.

      1. Jim Sterling

        There’s a story I wish I knew the origin of, of a man who asked his friend why he called himself Jewish. “I don’t think of you as Jewish, and you don’t seem to act like you think of yourself as Jewish either.”

        The friend said “It doesn’t matter whether you think of me as Jewish, it doesn’t even matter whether I think of myself as Jewish. What matters is that when they come for me, they will think of me as Jewish.”

        You are one of the group bigots name when they point at you and say “he’s one of them!”, whether you like it or not.

        (on the other hand, this is not to say Obama actually is a Muslim, no matter who says he is)

  8. Susan the other

    Reuters. Frankel. The Argentina bond snafu. This is another peek into the inner workings of jurisconfusion – as Lambert alluded to in his “Code is Law” yesterday. If national governments openly challenge their own national courts, and/or openly ignore them in favor of foreign policy, who is left to decide the outcome? I get the feeling that vulture funds and debt collectors are unconscionable in their pursuit of payback. I have no sympathy for them. But we are going to have to address contradictions between civil and sovereign logic. There doesn’t seem to be an issue of fraud on the court here; just a difference of philosophy! Interesting that the money at stake is for Argentina’s social security.

    1. oliverks

      I don’t understand this case at all. Why would Argentina even come to the table in a US court? I can’t see why the US courts have any jurisdiction.

      What am I missing here?

      1. Susan the other

        Yes, of course. Thanx. You just answered my question. My thinking was that our law ruled. And it does not. Thankfully. So our courts just have to throw some stuff in the dumpster. But they should do it and then be done with it.

  9. jsmith

    Regarding stocks:

    Is someone doesn’t realize that all markets are at present completely manipulated and therefore have absolutely zero connection with reality anymore then they are either a propagandist – e.g., the LA Times – or are a complete idiot.

    For more realistic fare, I suggest that one flip off(ahem) CNBC and tune into The Price Is Right – at least the rules of the games haven’t changed in over 40 years.

    In re: Commies:

    Yes, it sure seems funny and wacky that a right-wing loon would be bringing up the laughable threat of the Commies but it really is quite serious.

    I posted yesterday that just as liberals have morphed into conservatives over the last 40 years – or has there always been a dime’s worth of difference? – progressives who are sick of the two-party charade are indeed drifting towards other leftist stances – e.g., socialism, Communism, etc.

    Gee, why would an elected representative make up stories about a fictitious bogeyman?

    Do we have any examples of our leaders doing similar things in the past? Hmmmm….

    Al Qaeda
    The Palestinians
    The Chinese
    The North Koreans
    19 hijackers

    Oh, I could spend all day adding to the list but do you see my point?

    Just as traitorous leaders such as Lieberman and McCain, et al, stoke the fires over non-existent terrorist threats, we should be very wary of elected leaders starting to build up new threats even if they are seemingly laughable.

    Again, it reads as a joke but when 75% of this country thinks that Obama is a socialist, what exactly is the definition of “Communist” nowadays?

    Anyone that the government doesn’t like, that’s who.

    1. Susan the other

      Very prescient of you jsmith. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you have a small shiver and you think, brrrr! I better put on a sweater.

  10. Pat

    The linked article ‘Tsunami’ of foreclosure complaints swamps Fla. Bar (Palm Beach Post) mentions several interesting facts:
    1) foreclosures have gone up 85% in S. Florida recently, and February’s $25 billion banking settlement with the nation’s attorneys general may be responsible. So the banking settlement really is a get-out-of-jail, lets-roll card for the banks.
    2) over 700 disciplinary charges have been filed against aggressive foreclosure lawyers but none have been disciplined. Another “nothing to see here” declaration by authorities.
    3) Florida had 73,344 foreclosures in first quarter 2012. California had with 133,245. This would make 300,000 for the full year in Florida, and 550,000 in California. Wow – 550k foreclosures in a state with 40 million in just one year.

  11. EH

    Dear Naked Capitalism,

    If I get another “Scorecard Research” survey pop-up I’m going to install an ad-blocker.


      1. Walter Wit Man

        First I heard of the documentary. Hope to see a link to it later . . . never heard of Sean Stone . . . .

        1. René

          Unfortunately, its not possible to provide a link to Alex the infowarrior on this blog. He is the son of Oliver.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          Oh, I see. I was thinking Al Jazeera. Ha. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

          On a similar note, through my research on the JFK ‘staged assassination theory’, I saw that Oliver Stone purchased the Zapruder film and used a version in his movie. Interesting back story on the Zapruder tape . . . that it took so long to release (and was released by Geraldo Rivera), and is doctored (frames are missing, possible “paint” job) and then they sold it to Stone (after Life and then the gov. bought it).

          Stone’s version looks different in that it shows more clearly a device (squib) that is attached to Kennedy’s face shortly before it is detonated to simulate a shot to the head.

          It’s weird I haven’t seen a better description of what Stone did to get this version and why it differs. I get the impression that he is hinting his version is the best for some technical reason that I’m not aware of . . . .

          Then it makes me wonder if Stone is controlled opposition . . . . but I guess I suspect a lot of people of that so I don’t know.

          And it sounds like the son is having an interesting life as well!

          1. René

            I don’t know much about Oliver Stone and JFK.
            I have seen a couple of interviews with Sean Stone and Jones. Controlled opposition he is not.
            And neither are Jones’ guests. But it’s good to be sceptical, maybe a bit paranoid as well.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I’m just very skeptical of Jones’ take on 9/11, and how he appears to be bashing the “no planes” and video fakery theories. It seems inconsistent with Jones’ open minded approach that he usually takes.

            I think these theories are very valid and very important, so it raises alarms that Jones seems to be slamming the door shut in these important area.

            But on the 90% of stuff where I agree with him–he’s really good. I am becoming more “paranoid” because I feel like I’ve recently found evidence that our media and blogs are much more controlled than I ever imagined. So, I’m commensurately suspicious. I may be barking up the wrong tree or two.

          3. Neo-Realist

            A device to simulate an exit path from the head rather than an entry one? To maintain the fiction of the lone nut assassin?

          4. Walter Wit Man

            I don’t know if they had planned the squib to replicate the entrance or the exit at this point. I think they just wanted to make it look like his head exploded from a gunshot (after being hit in the neck). Who knows though. Kennedy does jerk back and then falls into where Jackie’s lap would be.

            I suspect their plan went astary and they had to do some damage control after the fact.

            Under this theory, J.D. Tippit’s body was switched with Kennedy. Tippit had a wound in his back which had to be explained later so they came up with the magic bullet theory (the switching of bodies explains the discrepency in X-rays and autopsy records).

  12. Roger Bigod

    The antidote is part of a series of photographs in the local newspaper. It has one example of what country people refer to as “a hard sayin'”.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s a very unique name.

      Do you pronounce it ‘Be God’ or ‘By God?’

      1. Roger Bigod

        Probably like “By God”. The family swore a lot and people started calling them “the Bigods”. With their usual in-your-face bad attitude, they adopted the name. Roger had a title, which at the time meant he was illiterate, rarely bathed and had a casual way with other people’s property. A superb role model, I thought.

        He also looked on as nasty old King John signed Magna Carta, which seemed kind of trivial when I chose the nick. It looked like habeas corpus was solid for another 1000 years. I hope I didn’t jinx it.

  13. warfarin yum

    Amusing article about Dems setting up roach motels for independent civil society.

    They’re going to shut you up and tell you what you think. What they want from you is echolalic repetition of the word “fair.” They’re going to keep you busy with harmless respectable Easter parades. They will march you around to simulate popular demand for chickenshit tax tinkering. Then they will hit you up for money to be funneled to the Dems, then they will march you off to vote.

  14. p78

    Looks like somebody will have to cut their racketeering:

    “Czech banks criticise govt plan to shift state accounts

    …Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said that shifting the funds from commercial banks to the central bank would cut costs and help liquidity management. …the plan … would require state institutions such as public universities or research groups, municipalities and infrastructure funds, to move their accounts with commercial banks to the central bank. (…)

    “What has happened many times in the past years will not happen anymore, that while there is this liquidity and state money lying somewhere, the state has to borrow at a high cost,” Kalousek told reporters on Wednesday after announcing the proposed law.

    Poland took a similar step last year, consolidating free funds of local governments and some public sector entities in a finance ministry account at state bank BGK. The move reduced its 2011 borrowing needs by around 20 billion zlotys ($6.27 billion)

    The Czech Banking Association criticised on Thursday government plans to shift public funds not included in the state budget to accounts at the central bank, which could suck as much as 97 billion crowns ($5.12 billion) from commercial bank deposits.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In some areas, it seems oceans are getting warmer and people are spotting unusual tropical marine animals.

      In others, like this one, we are seeing a seal normally found in frigid waters. Are oceans also getting colder?

      On one hand, we are seeing early blooms in various parts of the country and yet, in Tokyo, this year’s sakura blossoms were about a week late (Fukushima effect?).

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Romney woos women…

    In Zen, the archer must be one with the target.

    For Romney, the Zen woo-er must be the wooed. Romney must become a woman to be effective.

  16. craazyman

    Strange Days Have Found Us . . . Strange Days Have Tracked Us Down . . . (J. Morrison)

    Imagine the surprise when you went to look and found nothing:

    The Republican-American of Waterbury reports ( ) that a person driving in Litchfield at about 2 a.m. Tuesday reported that a green, glowing object the size of a whale fell from the sky and crashed into Bantam Lake. Officials say that at about the same time, a state trooper 10 miles away in Warren called dispatchers to report that something fell out of the sky and landed near Bantam or Morris.

      1. craazyman

        It cracked me up! Can you imagine driving along a back country road in the middle of the night and seeing a whale-sized green UFO fly into a lake and disappear. Whoa! I think that would be great. I wonder if it made a huge splash? And the state troopers even confirmed it. No hoax.

        1. Valissa

          Yeah, but I wanted to see a video or photo! Or at least an artists rendering! I can conjure up better imagery than that from my own imagination :)

          Actually it sounds like one of the tales in Patrick Harpur’s book “Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld.”

  17. Anon

    In the cuteness stakes, I go for polar bears instead of squirrels (which I loathe, BTW, as they watch me gardening, and as soon as I turn my back, are there digging up the bulbs I just planted and eating them. See my magnum opus, Contra Sciuros, for details.)

    Polar bears are not that cute either, since they tend to snack on humans when that’s an option.

    The snacking thing notwithstanding, polar bears are getting sick, mystery illness causing hair loss, oozing sores:

    In US, Canada, Russia. Also affected are seals, walruses:

    The diseased seals and walruses, many of them juveniles, had labored breathing and lethargy as well as the bleeding sores, according to the experts. The agencies launched an investigation into the cause of the disease, which has also turned up in bordering areas of Canada and Russia.

    Preliminary studies on seals ruled out Fukushima effects. Perhaps it’s time for a second study?

    Meanwhile, in Europe, deformed lambs (five-month gestation) are the order of the day:

    Remind me why we don’t expose pregnant women to ionizing radiation?

  18. scraping_by

    Congressman West is showing a poor grasp of history.

    The first thing Hitler did on gaining power was offer automatic membership in the Nazi party to all members of the German Communist Party. At a far enough point, the ends meld into one.

    As a note, it was the Socialists, Social Democrats, and labor union leaders who were sent to the concentration camps at the same time. Whatever the man’s other brain spiders, he knew his enemies and he knew his allies.

    These congressional progressives would have been sent behind the wire, not welcomed to the New Order. Some of them mean what they say.

    Rep. West has fallen for the “Rush Limbaugh makes millions” rumor. Hope for that big Koch brothers cash. And the national audience of devoted know-nothings. Change the enemies, same old rant, and maybe get called up to the bigs.

  19. ScottS

    Re: “Allen West: I’ve ‘Heard’ 80 House Democrats Are Communist Party Members (Huffington Post)”

    From :

    Japanese holdouts or stragglers were Japanese soldiers in the Pacific Theatre who, after the August 1945 surrender of Japan that marked the end of World War II, either adamantly doubted the veracity of the formal surrender due to strong dogmatic or militaristic principles, or were not aware of it because communications were cut off by the United States island hopping campaign. They continued to fight occupying forces, and later, local police, years after the war was over.

    Has no one told the GOP that the Cold War is over?

  20. ScottS

    Re: “Romney Woos Women as Campaign Stumbles on Equal Pay Issue (Bloomberg)”

    Is this what politics is now? “I know you are [against women’s rights] but what am I?”

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