Links 5/30/12

Serpent-handling pastor profiled earlier in Washington Post dies from rattlesnake bite WaPo

Italian earthquakes: 800 aftershocks in Emilia-Romagna and ‘more to come’ Guardian

ECB rejects Madrid plan to boost Bankia FT

Spain to go to market to fund Bankia, regions -source Reuters

The Governor Of The Bank Of Spain Will Leave His Post Early After Charges Of ‘Grave Misconduct’ Over Bankia Business Insider. Spanish-language sources

What views can you hold about Spain? Tyler Cowen

Most Aid to Athens Circles Back to Europe Times. In three days.

Christine Lagarde, scourge of tax evaders, pays no tax Guardian (mb)

Banknote printer won’t be drawn on drachma rumours Guardian

JPMorgan Chase & the Senator’s Short Sale: It’s Hypocritical – But Is It Corrupt? HuffPo (SW). Sen. Mike Lee UT.

JPMorgan in Japan insider trading probe FT. Reputation “suffers blow.” How?

Facebook shares plumb new depths, valuation questioned Reuters

Why we’re right to worry about the Facebook IPO Felix Salmon

Jon Corzine Has Sold This Penthouse With A Great Waterfront View Business Insider. At a loss.

A New York Times Whodunit New York Magazine. Straight up looting by insiders.

We Must Not Speak Uncomfortable Truths to Power: Why I Won’t be Briefing Congress about Derivatives Bill Black

Job recovery is scant for Americans in prime working years WaPo

Explaining the Rise of Unemployment: Mostly lack of Demand Economist’s View

U.S. Winds Down Longer Benefits for the Unemployed Times. Well, there’s always System D. It’s really interesting to see an underclass being created, that isn’t based on race or nationality or religion, but exactly and explicitly based on relations to the means of production.

Many hospitals, doctors offer cash discount for medical bills LA Times (Lucy LuLu). $415 vs. $95.

People’s panel: the psychological cost of US foreclosure Guardian

How Do Consumers Feel? It’s Anyone’s Guess WSJ

About Scaring that Confidence Fairy Away Angry Bear. Here’s how!

It’s all about Obama D2route

How Newsnight humiliated single mother Shanene Thorpe New Statesman. Tinpot Tyrants Watch.

Peru declares state of emergency after violence at mine protests McClatchy

Suu Kyi makes history with arrival in Thailand CNN

US and 18 other nations finish Eager Lion military exercise in Jordan Alaska Dispatch

Obama set to arm Italy’s drones in milestone move Reuters

“Militants”: media propaganda Glenn Greenwald. Kill ’em all and let God sort it out.

Fracking boom spurs environmental audit Nature

Groundwater Depletion in Semiarid Regions of Texas and California Threatens US Food Security Science Daily

Using The Wrong Risk Measure Index Universe (SW). CAPM.

Office Upgrade: The Pullout Desk-Bed Business Week

* * *
D – 101 and counting. *

They’re selling postcards of the hanging. They’re painting the passports brown. — Bob Dylan

Occupy. Occupy Birmingham helps stop Bank of America foreclosure.

Montreal. Nadeau-Dubois said Tuesday night that negotiations to end the province’s 16-week tuition conflict are going well and will continue Wednesday. Nadeau-Dubois said the key issue of the $1,778 tuition hike, over seven years, that sparked the dispute, is on the table. “[W]e need at least a few hours tonight and maybe tomorrow morning in order to have a concrete offer to submit to our general assembly,” he added. “General assembly”? “[F]or the first time since the beginning of the student conflict, [Quebec premier] Jean Charest had an exchange with the student representatives assembled in Québec for the ‘last chance’ at discussions. He is reported to have mentioned a plan for the ‘general state’ of universities also described as a large ‘Forum’ on the future of Québec universities…” A forum under Law 78?! “The lawyer for the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) [translator’s note: the crown corporation responsible for licensing drivers and providing public auto insurance] who organised the Lawyers’ Demonstration against Law 78 should be severely sanctioned, [says] minister Pierre Moreau.”

FL. 91-year-old Bill Internicola gets mail: “The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office has received information from the state of Florida that you are not a United States citizen; however you are registered to vote.” Internicola earned the Bronze Star as a medic in the Battle of the Bulge, and was honored by France with its Chevalier Legion of Honour.

IA. Iowa City “expects to spend $4-6 million to clean up and replace the landfill cell that has been burning since Saturday afternoon.” (TTH) “[Enterprise Products, the] Texas-based pipeline company paying a fine of more than $1 million says it is glad to resolve concerns about three spills in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.” (TTH)

IL. “For suppression of NATO protest voice, Obama campaign HQ salutes Chicago Police Department” (click through for photo). “The [Fraternal Order of Police] has filed its fourth grievance tied to the summit, this one stemming from the city’s apparent decision not to give officers time-and-a-half overtime for working a sixth or seventh consecutive day in a week.”

MD. D MD AG Gansler wins $1 million judgment against R Gov. Bob Ehrlich aide for robocalls to suppress black votes.

MI. “Rep. Thaddeus McCotter turned in 2,000 petition signatures to get on August primary ballot, but all except 244 have been deemed invalid because of rampant duplicated copies, the Michigan Secretary of State found. The overt copying is ‘frankly unheard of,’ said Chris Thomas, Michigan’s director of elections.” “Michigan’s chance of becoming a battleground state in this year’s presidential election appears to be fading as President Obama currently holds a wide lead here over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a poll released today.”

MS. Tinpot Tyrant Watch: [“A]ll district employees will stop handcuffing students younger than 13, and can only handcuff older students for crimes.”

NC. “Eagle fatalities present an unforeseen challenge for Invenergy, the Chicago-based developer proposing the 49-turbine Pantego Wind Energy Facility.” Charlotte’s “Extraordinary Event Zones” prohibit a list of items; “while paint guns are specifically barred, real guns — as in firearms — are not.” (LC) “‘We’ve made multiple attempts over many months to go through the appropriate channels to get permits…but have still heard no response from city and county officials,’ said George Friday, an organizer with the [totally vanilla] Move to Amend Campaign.” “[R legislators] circulated a bill that authorizes only the coastal commission to calculate how fast the sea is rising. It said the calculations must be based only on historic trends – leaving out the accelerated rise that climate scientists widely expect this century if warming increases and glaciers melt.” Canute?

OH. Reuters/Ipsos poll, Jerry Roop: “They want this country to turn into a Third World nation, with a few haves and everyone else a have-not.” Audrey Wahl would prefer single-payer: “To hell with bloodsucking insurance companies,” she said. John Beribak: “Now you can see what it is. Nothing. The shipyards are gone, the Ford plant is gone, the steel plant is gone.” Indeed.

TX. “The conservative Tea Party movement was poised to declare another electoral victory after denying the Republican establishment an outright win in the Texas primary.”

WI. “Newly filed campaign reports show Walker’s campaign transferred $70,000 to the Scott Walker Trust on May 3 and another $30,000 on May 17. …. State law requires that the campaign get prior approval from donors before shifting their money to a legal-defense fund. Walker’s campaign has declined to identify the contributors who OK’d the transfers.” “Walker served up a defining metaphor for state voters when his DNR settled on a wrist slap to the septic tank service operator who spread large amounts of human waste on Jefferson County land near residential wells.”

Inside Baseball. Research shows veterans and active-duty personnel aren’t a cohesive voting bloc. A nice defense of the Chris Hayes “hero” flap from Conor Friedersdorf (as if Hayes needed defending).

Ron Paul. GA R credentials committee restores Clarke County Paul delegates after R regular shenanigans caught on video. “Ron Paul supporters are organizing a Paul Festival Aug. 24-26. The Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin the next day, Aug. 27, eight miles across town. Cheeky!

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood Watch. On This Week: “Pelosi never did directly answer what she thought Simpson-Bowles meant for Social Security and Medicare. She did engage in subtle beltway signaling, substituting buzzwords like “job creation,” “priorities,” and achieving a “balance,” all the while allowing her words to convey that the Dems who mattered were now on board to pass the Simpson-Bowles plan…” It’s hard to know which player is worse here: Outright assault from Simpson/Bowles, or oozing betrayal from Pelosi. Not a pretty sight. CBO tees up “fiscal cliff” framing for lame duck Shock Doctrine push.

Romney. Romney over the top on delegates: “But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity.” Romney: “His campaign these days is trying to find a twig to hold on to … things are getting a little better in this country, but it’s not because of his policies, it’s in spite of them.” Campaign official: “President Obama has never managed anything other than his own personal narrative.” Ouch! Video: “Obama is giving taxpayer money to big donors and then watching them lose it. Good for them. Bad for us.” True. And who are these big donors? Goldman Sachs? Jippy Mo? No, silly, Solyndra and three other renewable energy firms! “Coal has become an increasingly popular campaign issue among Rs in recent weeks, particularly as gas prices have fallen.” “Most of the megadonors backing [Romney’s] candidacy are elderly billionaires: Their median age is 66, and their median wealth is $1 billion. Each is looking for a payoff that will benefit his business interests.” “Why won’t Mitt Romney disavow birther Donald Trump?” In general, I deprecate the “Why won’t ___ disavow ___?” because so often it’s “Have you stopped beating your wife?” But Jeebus, Mitt. Do you need The Donald that bad?

Obama. “Obama has a more than 5-to-1 edge over Romney in political donations from individuals who list themselves as employees of the Defense Department or one of four military branches.” An amazing headline: “How Obama Learned to Kill.” Soon, it will be normal. Times: “This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. … Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture.” So now, every day, we can ask ourselves whether Obama’s whacked an American citizen without due process. Thanks for running interference on that, “progessives.” But don’t worry! Obama will never whack an American on US territory. Uh, right? Pierce: “Jesus, just kill the guy. The Bushies may have had manifest contempt for due process, but at least they didn’t go out of their way to make a burlesque out of it.” Remember Obama’s “To Do list”? No, me neither.

* 101 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with a bratwurst festival on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. A silly millimeter longer!

A la prochaine fois!

* * *

Antidote du jour (hat tip JB):

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Richard Kline

    “‘Most Aid to Athens Circles Back to Europe.’ In three days.” And that, concisely summarizes why the Greeks despise the prostration of ‘austerity.’ The ‘bailout’ doesn’t exist, for them. The ‘recovery plan’ doesn’t spend a pfenning in Greece, although it’s costs and taxes are imposed upon them. The ‘stabilization mechanism’ is all about other Europeans saving their own banks’ bondholders, not in any way about anything or anyone living in Greece. Which is why they, and gradually all other Europeans will reject such enlightened selfish interest dictated from above at the ballot box and in nominal compliance at every opportunity. That such plans really have nothing to do with or for the citizenry. None of that is about ‘leaving Europe’ or it’s currency. [To go where, again?] “No” is an option, and will be used until a better one presents itself.

  2. Goin' South

    Re: Chris Hayes’s remarks.

    It is not just the MSM. There is no quicker way to get banned at the supposedly “progressive” Big Orange than speak a mildly disparaging word about “the troops.” They are the holy of holies.

    Things are approaching a militarist cult with all the uniformed, flag-waving spectacle that accompanies every public event. It obviously has little to do with real concern for veterans and those in the armed forces. Just check their unemployment rate or how politicians rush to quietly cut budgets for their exploding health care needs. Instead, it aims to create/preserve the kind of mindset necessary to retain support for the astronomical military budgets required to maintain the Empire.

    It also serves to lure more cannon fodder into the recruiting offices.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Belk recently told a group gathered at a seniors center about the vast price difference when he requested routine blood work for a patient last year. A local hospital charged her $782. Her insurer said that with its discount, she owed only $415. “She could have gotten it for $95 in cash. How does that make sense?” Belk said. “The last thing the insurance companies want you to know is how inexpensive this stuff really is.” — LA Times

    Insurance companies themselves, by making reimbursement into an arduous, labor-intensive and uncertain process, have a great deal to do with driving up prices in this cartelized industry.

    For ordinary businesses, secretive, discriminatory and collusive pricing is flat-out illegal under century-old antitrust law. But thanks to Robamneycare, the healthcare cartel can break antitrust laws with impunity.

    We’re all Greek now, comrades. With a fistful of hundreds and a bit of luck, a cooperative medic can perhaps be bribed to just waive writing up a bill at all, with all the absurdly-priced add-ons for 10-dollar aspirin tablets and the like.

    Robamneycare — it’s enough to make you sick!

  4. jsmith

    Regarding Egypt:

    Here’s a nice story about how much of a sham the recent elections were:

    Regarding the EU:

    Here’s a nice story on how Germany is planning to make Greece a “European protectorate” – cough, sweatshop! – for the northern nations to viciously exploit.

    Regarding Greenwald and the sale of drones to Italy:

    Not that anyone should need any more proof but the leaders of the Western world are insane sociopathic monsters that haven’t the slightest regard for humanity.

    Ever notice how EVERY SINGLE crisis that humanity now faces is entirely and completely manufactured by the Western elite and therefore completely needless?

    War on Terror: bullshit from the beginning, bullshit now
    Iraq’s WMD: nuff said
    Iran’s nukes: bullshit through and through
    Syria’s “uprising”: bullshit
    EU crisis: bullshit being forced by the banking elite
    Mortgage/financial crisis: bullshit being forced by banking elite
    Climate change: environmental destruction being forced on us by the leaders of industry.
    Domestic “terrorists”: please.

    Every single “crisis” we are now being “threatened” with has as its basis some machination of the elite that is – with the ever ready help of the media – making it a crisis.

    I know many people here are familiar with disaster capitalism etc but if you really look at what’s going on in the world every single “danger point” for humanity has been created or exacerbated by the elite.

    Not one issue that threatens humanities survival has a genuinely “organic” basis from which it started from.

    And not one crisis are the elite attempting to fix or have fixed.

    These people have the power to stop these crises or at least ameliorate them but they are not doing so on purpose.

    They’d love you to believe that – oops – it’s just because they are so gosh darn incompetent, huh?

    Put on the sunglasses and realize they live.

    1. jsmith

      Although I do fear for the bonfire of the humanities in our universities that should be “humanity’s”.

  5. Susan the other

    Bill Black’s disinvitation to speak to a bipartisan selection of Congress on the subject of financial derivatives. Everyone on this panel is a de facto banker except Bill Black. And everyone knows Bill Black can’t speak on this subject without using the words “securitization fraud.” These are words not even Paul Volcker is allowed to utter. And things are now “so toxic” that the banks can’t endure any serious criticism (gee, let alone prosecution). Because the whole system is so fragile mere criticism could precipitate the next banking crisis. So why has criticism in the blogosphere failed to make a dent? It is loud and clear and we have not felt a tremor. We have felt only the great weight of being completely ignored.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Susan: This is a sign of fragility, not strength. It’s a thin walled bubble that desperately resists being pricked by a tiny needle. A living creature with a tough skin would take a little bit of pain and laugh. So I agree with DCBlogger. The painted walls of the Potemkin Village seem solid as rock. Until they aren’t.

    2. scraping_by

      When I hear an 84 year old great grandmother use the term “bankster”, I know that the blogging world, and the world of ideas in general, has effect.

      We are not part of the inner circle, but the inner circle is in self-perpetuation mode. As a general thing, such self-referential cycles lose energy. In social terms, it’s rot.

  6. kevinearick

    Empires, Teenagers, & SH-Shows

    Teenagers are like terrible twos. They see only themselves, assuming that’s all there is, with no intention of doing anything else. Some are better chameleons than others. On each income floor, you will find a leader walking in circles, followed by other teenagers, each pecking at the others, and all extinguishing outsiders, competing to be the leader. Empires are operated by and for teenagers competing to remain teenagers. Why would an intelligent parent spend 5 seconds training someone that does not want to learn?

    Your elevator is a quantum switch between floors, and if that switch doesn’t make, the empire collapses in on itself. You don’t have to do anything. You can set it for free fall, phase fall, descent speed, or whatever you want.

    Of course they fired him for saying that empires breed stupidity; that’s the point of the genome project. Gene expression depends upon environmental variables. Control leads to loss of control, in a positive feedback loop. Don’t join in peer pressure and expect anything else. Others may label you, but you must accept the label of your own free will for it to stick. They can stone your body, but your spirit will recover it quickly, if you expect the outcome with an intelligent design. Suspect purpose from the fire of emotion.

    So, they labeled you a dead-beat whatever. So the f- what? You carry the load and you can drop it on them any time you want. That’s the privilege of working, while others seek credit for enslaving yet others to the derivative. Just cut the umbilical cord. I love that look on their face when they realize that they have completely and utterly f-ed themselves.

    Biological robots are delay mechanisms. Let them cry until they choke on their own CO2. If they still don’t want to learn, replace them with AI, Al Sharpton or no Al Sharpton. The implicit economy is always the new economy, built in plain sight, and the explicit economy is always the old economy, hiding recognition.

    So, there I was, Johnny Cochran just got done playing his part in the sh-show to get OJ off, and he shows up at the Port of San Diego event for minority contractors, with a whore in each arm, sporting a pimp suit, and the bosses are as far away as possible. I could have torched him, and many others, right there, but I had much bigger fish to fry.

    Don’t waste your time playing with derivatives. There is civil law and there is military law. Both are all about family. Let the civil authorities have their way right up until they have all f-ed themselves. Navy is not about projecting power; that’s just the sh-show. It’s about defense of marriage, and the NPV window that results.

    “Christianity may be OK between consenting adults in private but should not be taught to young children.”

    1. K Ackermann

      It’s all going to change, you know. I don’t understand it all… Dr. Venter can explain it.

    1. Maximilien

      Schadenfreude indeed, Valissa. Watching dying dinosaur CNN flail about in search of ratings is a delicious pleasure.

      I lost what little respect I had for it when it recently canned Eliot Spitzer and his show “In the Arena”. That show at least had a bit of honesty in it.

      Now, instead of some REAL news (which is what most viewers want), CNN is hoping a celebrity chef hosting a travel show will save it from extinction. More likely, its sorry carcass will sink slowly into the tar pit of oblivion.

  7. Valissa

    Deal ties Rockefeller, Rothschild dynasties
    Two of the most storied families in the business world — the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers — are coming together in an investment partnership. The Rothschilds’ London-listed RIT Capital Partners said Wednesday that it will acquire a 37% stake in Rockefeller’s wealth advisory and asset management group from Société Générale Private Banking for an undisclosed sum. The deal gives the Rothschild trust, whose net assets total £1.9 billion, a toehold in the United States.

    Church Lady says it best

  8. Jim

    Responding to Up the Ante and her excellent comment cancer and diets.

    released vs. consumed glycine

    “One of the most striking results of the new data is how the pattern of glycine consumption relates to the speed of cancer-cell division. In the slowest dividing cells, small amounts of glyine are released into the culture media. But in cancer cells that are rapidly dividing, glycine is rapaciously consumed. The researchers note that very few metabolites have this unusual pattern of “crossing the zero line,” meaning that rapidly dividing cancer cells consume the metabolite while slowly dividing cells actually release it.”

    “.. across these 60 cell lines, we clearly see this association between how fast cells are dividing and how much glycine they are taking up.”

    “In addition to looking for metabolites that correlated with rates of cell division, the team also looked at the expression of almost 1,500 metabolic enzymes. Enzymes required for biosynthesis of glycine within the mitochondria were among the most highly correlated. ”

    “To further validate and understand these results, the team observed what happened when the cancer cells were deprived of glycine, both by removing it from the media and by blocking the enzymes involved in glycine metabolism. In both cases, the fast dividing cancer cells slowed down, but the slower growing cancer cells were unaffected.

    A limitation of observing such effects in cancer cells grown in the laboratory is that such cells may behave differently in the human body. One way the researchers followed up this work was to look at data available from studies of breast cancer patients over the last 25 years, searching for potential patterns between survival and the levels of enzymes involved in glycine metabolism. They found that higher levels of these enzymes predicted poorer outcomes for patients. ”

    Thank you so much, Up the Ante. Will avoid those glycines…


    For humans, glycine is sold as a sweetener/taste enhancer. Food supplements and protein drinks contain glycine. Certain drug formulations include glycine to improve gastric absorption of the drug.

  9. Lambert Strether Post author

    “Create a Do Not Kill List,” petition to the Obama Administration:

    The New York Times reports that President Obama has created an official “kill list” that he uses to personally order the assassination of American citizens. Considering that the government already has a “Do Not Call” list and a “No Fly” list, we hereby request that the White House create a “Do Not Kill” list in which American citizens can sign up to avoid being put on the president’s “kill list” and therefore avoid being executed without indictment, judge, jury, trial or due process of law.


    1. Maximilien

      What if somebody doesn’t put his name on the Do Not Kill because he wants to commit suicide? Jeezus! We’ve already got “suicide-by-cop”. Do we really want to open the door to “suicide-by-president”?!

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