Links 5/18/12

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Computing experts unveil superefficient ‘inexact’ chip PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Justice Dept. defends public’s constitutional ‘right to record’ cops ars technica (Lambert)

Apple Said To Plan Overhaul Of IPhone With Bigger Screen Bloomberg

Opinion: Misleading Drug Trials The Scientist (Francois T)

New law makes Vermont the first state to ban fracking VTDigger (Aquifer)

Australia Hottest in 1,000 Years Daily Beast (Aquifer)

Why China’s RMB exodus IS the story FT Alphaville. This is a really big deal, particularly after Victor Shih has warned repeatedly of the danger to China if its wealthy started moving their money overseas.

China’s new housing starts turn negative MacroBusiness

Paul Krugman on Eurozone: “The Whole Thing Could Fall Apart in a Matter of Months” Democracy Now (Aquifer)

Motorman: Britain’s other massive press scandal The Bureau (May S)

Working in Africa: Expatriates in little danger of seeing the money run out Financial Times

Is U.S. going above and beyond for Israel? Washington Post

New Details Are Released in Shooting of Trayvon Martin New York Times

St. Louis Fed President: Break Up the Banks Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Will America’s Premier Hub for Black Music Research Fall Prey to Drastic Budget Cuts? Alternet

Looting the Lives of the Poor Barbara Ehrenreich, Tom Engelhardt

Inside J.P. Morgan’s Blunder Wall Street Journal

[JPM Whale-Watching Tour] The high yield tranche piece FT Alphaville

The Dog That Didn’t Bark: Obama on JPMorgan Robert Reich

Investigating JPMorgan Chase Simon Johnson, New York Times

LTCM. Amaranth. JP Morgan? Roger Ehrenberg

Much to Answer For: James Q. Wilson’s Legacy Boston Review (Chuck L). Today’s must read.

* * *
D – 113 and counting. *

And I’ve been in the Washington Zoo. –“Show Biz Kids,” Countdown to Ecstasy, Steely Dan

Lambert here:

G8 Summit. Atmospheric piece on Thurmont, MD, nearest town to Camp David, by Dan Zak. Median income: $71,400. Ends with local government applying for new refrigerators and freezers for the food bank.

NATO summit. Eight arrested in Bridgeport in warrantless police raid; beer making equipment, cellphone seized. ABC I-Team: Cops in uniform and bikes flood protest zones. Around the corner, 15-passenger vans with officers in black commando uniforms, with extra padding, personal riot gear. Multi-Agency Communications Center: 43 agencies, 10 big screens, sekrit location out in the burbs. “Resembles something from a Jerry Lewis telethon, with rows of tables and telephones ready to be answered.” Maps here, and here.

ACLU: [Secret Service] cannot use H.R. 347 to “sanitize” the summit. SS: Summit’s one of year’s three high-priority “national security events”. Other two the legacy party conventions. FBI: “absolutely no indication” of terror attack threat. Journamalism: anarchists r n ur computur!!

Panel: “Social Responsibility and National Security: Towards a New NATO” (video). At the Pritzer Military Library. (Yes, those Pritzers. Hi, Penny! Hi, J.B.! [waves]) McCormick Center as metaphor: “There are a plethora of signs directing media to different areas, but no real signage for how to get out” (picture). Rahm pulls permit for National Nurses United rally. Many protesters older, over 40. OccupyDC in Chicago (picture).

For dessert: The “Pavé of Bittersweet Complexitie, a concoction of chocolate, caramel, fleur de sel, and popcorn.” Pass the pavés

Occupy. Blockupy Frankfurt Day 2. Student protests continue in Quebec (picture). Quebec parliament debates Bill 78: “Any group of 10 persons or more to give at least eight hours notice to police for any demonstration.” Protests also in Quebec City, Gatineau, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivieres.

FL (Swing State) Volusia County Council approves Central FL’s first countywide domestic partnership registry 6-1. Kudos.

IA (Swing State) Obama to give speech on the economy “plus” campaign stop (TTH).

MI (Swing state). The State Board of Canvassers rejected the petition for a referendum to repeal MI’s emergency manager law because of the ballot wasn’t in 14 point. On appeal, we find that although the MI SoS asked a graphics professor for his opinion, they never passed his conclusion (“a pretty good guess that Calibri Bold at 14 pt is used”) on to the Board, so now the petitioners can’t bring it up. (I’d bet the MI SoS supplied a reproduction for review, not the original or a file, so a good guess would be all the professor could make.)

NV (Swing State). RNC and Romney will erect a “shadow state party” to bypass the regular (now Paul dominated) apparat.

TX Paleodem Silvestre Reyes (TX-16) blasts challenger Beto O’Rourke for advocating marijuana legalization. (Reyes on FISA; Bush intel chiefs).

WI (swing state). Oversampling error in last Marquette poll? Race could be closer! New residency rules could cut student vote. No plans for Obama or Romney to visit. Sweetheart, get me rewrite! Journal-Sentinel headline before: “State loses 6,200 private sector jobs in April”. And after: “Controversial Survey Shows Estimated April Job Losses of 6,200.” (Thing is, on “Jobs!” can Walker (or Barrett) increase aggregate demand? No?)

WI locals feel DNC money is about Obama November 6 not Barret June 5. DNC feels that’s harsh. Meanwhile, I’ve gotten spam from DNCC and DFA using DNC #FAIL as a fundraising hook. “Hey, Obama Campaign guy…Don’t get lippy with me when I tell you I’ll volunteer as a poll watcher after the DNC cuts a check for Barrett. Just pass the comment up the chain of command and carry on.” “They came by the hundreds of thousands. In the snow, in the rain…. That’s what the DNC is risking…. I was in the crowd that day and I’ve never seen anything like that, never ever. I didn’t believe we were still like that, people.”

Inside Baseball. Larry Sabatto defines and discusses “feeding frenzies”. How to cover the air war: “You can tell, if you talk to enough voters, whether catch phrases from TV ads are popping up in their conversation.” NPR audience growth flatlines. I can’t think why. Grand Bargain™-brand catfood watch: Mark Udall, D-CO: “I think [energy bills] are all held hostage to a grand bargain, a grand deal, a long-term plan to put the country’s fiscal house in order.”

Prediction is difficult. Shorter Nate Silver: “Events, dear boy. Events.”

Ron Paul. Paul to appear at MN convention tomorrow. “I do not believe a republic can exist if you permit the military to arrest American citizens and put them in secret prisons and be denied a trial,” Paul said. Crazy talk!

Robama vs. Obomney Watch. Robama [heart] Reagan, Obomney [heart] Clinton. (Word of the day: Snowclone.) Good neo-liberals all!

Romney. Romney raises $40.1 million in April, nearly matching Obama. (With all that money, can’t the R design team build a website that doesn’t look like it sold reconditioned automobile parts?) Romney gains “personal best” 50% favorable rating (not high). But see feeding frenzy below.

Obama. Gaming Wonderland‘s Obama game: 10,500 plays. The Romney version: 4,500. A first-person shooter, no doubt? “‘Men in Black’ moment: Will Smith and son Jaden get real [!] with Pres. Obama”. Squee!

Jeremiah Wright feeding frenzy. Times at news cycle start: “G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama”. Spiral-bound proposal, by “strategist” Fred Davis, to billionaire Joe Ricketts, would have linked Obama to his “former spiritual advisor,” the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, painting Obama as a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln” (! So which slaves did Obama free, exactly?) Proposal: “[D]o exactly what John McCain would not let us do”. (I always said the Rs weren’t serious in 2008 (10/15/2008)).

Ricketts immediately throws Davis under the bus: A “third party vendor” whose approach to politics Ricketts rejects. (True, billionaires do tend to get proposals. One of them came from Deb Fischer’s campaign.) Fun facts about Ricketts: His publishing operation scooped both New York tabs on Manhattan madam Anna Gristina. Son Tom owns the Cubbies and wants Obama’s buddy Rahm to help him rebuild Wrigley Field. Daughter Laura is a gay bundler for Obama.

Staggered, Romney steps on his own message and hands the Ds a soundbite for the ages: “I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.” A blank screen…

At news cycle’s end, AP: “Romney denounces idea of Obama-Wright campaign ads.” AFP: “Romney repudiates mooted attack on Obama.” Status quo ante, except for that soundbite…

Think piece. The Archdruid.

* 113 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with a torchlight parade on the floor Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Fire exists the first in light, And then consolidates,—Only the chemist can disclose Into what carbonates.

READERS: Again, here are the swing states: AZ, CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI. I’m very interested in any local or state links you can send me from those states about people “doing politics” that aren’t about the horserace; original reporting, not wire services stuff. Now I have help with CO thanks to MR, and Iowa thanks to TTH but there are more!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus from furzy mouse. I can’t embed it, but you can view it here. Very cool.

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  1. russell1200

    Vermont banning fracking? LOL

    What fracking are they going to ban? I am not aware of them having anything worth fracking.

    It is also misleading in that many States (NC included) already don’t allow fracking because of current laws that have been on the books for years (no horizontal drilling), so they don’t need to ban it, they just need to stay where they are at.

    1. Lidia

      Saw that! Over at Crooks and Liars, one commenter had this to say, which I thought was kinda hilarious:

      “Obama Campaign Team….WAKE UP!
      amish_edison — 5/18/12 9:57am

      So WHY isn’t Obama standing right beside this entrepreneur as he says this into AS MANY TV CAMERAS AS POSSIBLE AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE?!!!

      Wake up, Obama Campaign Team, it’s time you do your job and get this guy on TV (and out on the stump) as OFTEN as possible ASAP!!!

      Politics ISN’T rocket science and yet so many politicians and campaigns STILL are run quite poorly.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      I’m very dubious of this story because I see it popping up in a coordinated way across the liberal blogosphere–like it comes from a Democrat source or another perp group.

      I’m also dubious because the message that is suppossedly being suppressed is a main Democrat campaign talking point–or at least a rebuttal to one of the main Republican campaign talking points–that taxing the rich is good. It’s not a message that seems particularly radical to me–in fact it’s pretty general and lends support to Obama’s fake campaign pledge (i.e. lie) that he wants to tax the rich. Of course Obama is going to punk his supporters yet again and has no intention of taxing the ‘job creators’, but he needs things like this to rile people up and give them hope that someone will reign in the out of control ‘job creators.’

      Newsflash: Obama works for the ‘job creators’ and is their devil spawn or servant (he is on some sort of evil trip with them).

      But I agree that TED is supsicious. The perps are probably revealing a little bit of truth . . . that TED is a perpy organization and suspicious . . . so as to gain credibility to better assist them co-opt and sell an elite-friendly protest message.

      Obama calling out the fat cats and the fat cats threatening to take their money and move to the Cayman Islans is a diversion. It’s not backed up by any meaningful action.

      1. Synopticist

        Maybe he’s a billionaire who’s willing to tell the truth about people like him not creating jobs?

        Why immediatelly suspect it’s some Dem party conspiracy?

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Maybe he’s a good-hearted fatcat that happened to have his message catapulted. Maybe.

          But I suspect a Dem conspiracy because this is the Democrats raison d’etre–they exist to sucker liberals into their fascist party by giving them false hope. Sure, most Democrats are simply willing dupes and are not aware of the ‘conspiracy.’ But most of the Democratic party leaders are aware of this blatant agenda, and the other leaders are chosen because they will fulfill this agenda.

          Anyway, these operations are common if you open your mind to this MO. It becomes much more apparent that things like the KONY campaign, for instance, are government psy operations. This has similar signs of being psy operation–including the spamming of social media with this message.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Yes indeed DiamondJammies. That’s an excellent documentary.

            The propaganda began in earnest 100 years ago. Coinciding with the time Bernays began his propaganda for WWI, the socialist papers were shut down and the progressive movement was hijacked by alcohol and drug reformers, etc., the Federal Reserve was established and federal criminal law was expanded. This is when fascism really began in this country, imho.

            Also, re Project Mockingbird, I’m looking forward to reading this new book about the wife of the person who set up Project Mockingbird, Mary Meyer:

            She also had a multi year affair with President Kennedy and was allegedly murdered shortly after him.

  2. Goin' South

    Re: J.Q. Wilson.

    Don’t forget who gave Wilson, Moynihan, Herrnstein and Glazer teaching posts and the facade of respectability–that great liberal bastion, the Kremlin on the Charles, Harvard.

    1. Kevin de Bruxelles

      I had quite a different reaction to the article about James Q. Wilson. As in why is an elite Harvard professor, a “reformed” right winger no less, now pushing a “let’s be soft on crime” meme at the very same time that so many people are calling for a “get tough” attitude towards the rampant Wall Street crime wave?

      The article was entirely void of any substance. It basically says a get tough on crime attitude ends up putting too many black men in prison and therefore it is wrong. Ok. Idealists can look at a situation and declare it less than ideal. Great, how impressive, I guess that kind of brilliant insight got him into Harvard. But what are the alternatives in the real world? Yes, since blacks disproportionally commit crimes they are perhaps in an even greater proportion imprisoned for these crimes (since they tend to be poorer and therefore have less power). So a really simplistic attitude is that the fact that lots of black guys in prison is bad therefore fewer black guys in prison would be good. But this simplistic framing of the problem only serves to obfuscate a crucial fact: blacks are also disproportionately the victims of crime as well. So the sad fact is that sending fewer black guys to prison may well end up meaning that more black folk will die at the hands of these criminals.

      The author of today’s “must read” is Glenn C. Loury. Although he doesn’t mention it in his article, Mr. Loury has been twice arrested during his tenure as a professor at Harvard. Once a young lover of his accused him of beating (actually kicking) the crap out of her and another time he was caught in possession of cocaine. Now if the police at the time of his domestic violence arrest had taken his advice and given in the public good by not arresting one more black guy, would his girl friend still be alive today? Would he have taken this as a signal that it was OK to just beat women when they bogart the crack pipe since the police long ago reached their quota of arresting brothaz? We just don’t know. But since Mr. Loury did have the backing of the Reagan Administration and was a Harvard professor, he never had to face the consequences of his criminal actions.

      So to me Mr. Loury is just a symbol of elite power and privilege. His rallying the “Left” to attack the “broken window” theory of crime at the same time Wall Street is on a campaign of criminal anarchy seems questionable at best. The Left should be instead demanding the implementation of not only a broken window policy towards Wall Street, but an aggressive “stop and frisk” policy towards the Bankstaz as well. Sure it would be rhetoric; in the end Wall Street owns the power structure and they do as they will. But at the very least it would make an effective debating point and eventually over time, these things tend to matter. Perhaps the current ineffective Occupy movement could someday morph into a “Stop and Frisk Wall Street” action.

      1. Karl

        How about a national holiday promoted by such a fellow, although from a less esteemed institution:

        How many people know about Maulana Karenga? Back in the 1960’s he formed a group called “US.” Karenga & his male followers all had shaved heads, Fu-Manchu mustaches & wore wrap-around shades along with faux African shirts. Karenga claimed all white people were naturally evil & would one day be exterminated by a massive revolution carried out by “people of color”. Interestingly, Karenga–whose birth name was Ronald Evertt–was indeed a tenured Los Angeles professor who preached hatred for all honkies while drawing a salary of whitey’s capitalist dollars & holding a postion in a white-owned university.

        In the early 1970’s he was accused of being involved in the murder of a couple of Black Panthers, as the militant group was a kind of rival movement to his own in Los Angeles at the time. Karenga became ever more autocratic & paranoid as head of “US”, his cult of sorts, believeing that someone was out to assassinate him in the manner of Malcolm X. Karenga suspected a pair of women in his organization of trying to poison him so he had his goons tie them up & they were tortured with a hot soldering iron & their fingers were crushed in a vice. After that, the man sank into obscurity & resurfaced in Louis Farakkan’s Million Man March several years ago.

        He was sent to prison in 1971, after he and some of his pals tortured two women with a soldering iron and a vise, among other things. He emerged from prison in 1974, and a few years later — in a maneuver that even The Kingfish might have found difficult — he got himself installed as the chairman of the Department of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach.

        This is where the faux holiday of Kwanzaa was invented and promoted by Mr. Karenga.

      2. DiamondJammies

        Yes, since blacks disproportionally commit crimes they are perhaps in an even greater proportion imprisoned for these crimes (since they tend to be poorer and therefore have less power). So a really simplistic attitude is that the fact that lots of black guys in prison is bad therefore fewer black guys in prison would be good. But this simplistic framing of the problem only serves to obfuscate a crucial fact: blacks are also disproportionately the victims of crime as well. So the sad fact is that sending fewer black guys to prison may well end up meaning that more black folk will die at the hands of these criminals.

        First of all, there is no evidence that “blacks disproportionally commit crimes.”

        Second, are you srsly arguing the government needs to throw more black people in prison in the name of defending black people?

        1. Kevin de Bruxelles

          For a description of the disparity in crime by race you can look at the Wiki page “Race and Crime in the United States”. There is a consensus that blacks both commit and are victims of crime at disproportional rates; there is much debate about the cause.

          Men also commit crimes at a disproportional rate compared to women. Around 90% of all crime is committed by men. I suppose there will be a few Men’s Rights activists who will deny this fact until their dying day and blame it on an unfair system that privileges women but I would think arguing with them would be a huge waste of time.

          My argument is that blacks have benefitted (disproportionally!) from the tougher policing policies championed by James Q. Wilson. Just look at the chart on the Wiki page that shows rates of murder by race. Since the early nineties, black murder victim rates have dropped from 40 per 100,000 down to 20 per 100,000. The rate of white murder victims has hardly changed. So if Professor Loury has his way and we decide that lax policing is better because fewer black men will go to jail, then the likely result will be that the murder rate for blacks will start to go back up to where it was when laxism ruled before. So a few criminals will benefit (they don’t have to go to jail) and many more good citizens will suffer (they will be killed). Doesn’t seem like a very good deal at all to me.

  3. Jim Haygood

    ‘[The PBoC’s] bid [for renminbi] is always attractive for traders because on a structural level it is undervalued versus the dollar. Yet, with fewer dollars making their way into the system, and with some Chinese corporates even finding themselves short of dollars, the official PBoC yuan bid has not been enough to entice dollars into government coffers.’

    Spot the contradiction in the quoted statement. If a premium wine (let’s say) is selling for an ‘undervalued’ 10 dollars a bottle, but isn’t attracting any purchasers, is it REALLY ‘undervalued’?

    It doesn’t occur to the writer that a seismic shift began last year, in which strong liquidity flows into developing economies have begun to reverse at the margins. Partly it’s because developed economies in crisis need their money back. But also, some developing economies’ models are seen as not sustainable.

    Michael Pettis wrote a book, The Volatility Machine, about this global core-periphery cycle, which has occurred since the 19th century.

    One example is in LatAm. In mid-decade Brazil and Argentina both were experiencing ‘hot money’ inflows and established inbound capital controls. In Argentina’s case, capital flows have reversed with a bang, to the point that the ‘dolar informal’ now commands a 25% premium to the official exchange rate. Link:

    To discourage capital flight, Argentina’s desperate authorities now patrol the Buenos Aires financial district with Golden Retrievers trained to sniff out pockets full of dollars and euros. The ‘arbolitos’ (guys standing in doorways whispering ‘dolares, dolares’) scurry away … until the next day.

    Any comparison of this scenario to China’s plight is totally unintentional, I assure you! ;-)

  4. Goin' South

    The Archdruid’s piece is an excellent beginning point for discussion:

    “It will be wasted breath because most people, reasonably enough, want to see that there’s a life worth living on the other side of the changes your activist movement wants to make, and the best way to give them a glimpse of that life is to enact it yourself.”

    Between the “lifestyle anarchism” that Murray Bookchin criticized and the protest politics whose participants’ lives are indistinguishable from societal norms there lies a both/and activism that pushes hard against a degenerate status quo while offering glimpses of that better world we carry in our hearts. Spain’s early 20th century CNT pursued those dual ends with the result that, when they were forced into revolutionary mode by the Fascist coup of 1936, the society that resulted from their successful revolution in Catalonia was praised by Orwell in his Homage to Catalonia:

    “One had been in a community where hope was more normal than apathy or cynicism, where the word ‘comrade’ stood for comradeship and not, as in most countries, for humbug. One had breathed the air of equality.”

    The Spanish Anarchists were prepared for the moment because, for years, they had been building a counter society in the villages and cities of Catalonia.

    Such counter societies, co-existing for the meantime within the dying husk of the status quo, serve two purposes. First, they constitute the kind of example of life on the other side that the Archdruid writes about. Second, it is folly to think that one can be an active opponent of the way things are and still continue to earn one’s bread from the hand of the masters, and I include among those masters all the “liberal” and “progressive” parties and nonprofits that have been so successful in diverting and defeating dissent for the past generation. Places of refuge and self-sufficiency are needed to nourish resistance.

    Of course, conflict between such counter societies, especially geographically localized ones, and this dying empire is inevitable. In Spain, the 1936 revolution was preceded by decades where little villages declared communismo libertario and breathed that air of equality for a few days before the army arrived to suppress them. But at least when conflict does take place, people will have a clear idea for what and for whom they’re putting up a defense.

    1. DiamondJammies

      Of course, conflict between such counter societies, especially geographically localized ones, and this dying empire is inevitable. In Spain, the 1936 revolution was preceded by decades where little villages declared communismo libertario and breathed that air of equality for a few days before the army arrived to suppress them. But at least when conflict does take place, people will have a clear idea for what and for whom they’re putting up a defense.

      Events are moving quickly. Had the left, after the upsurge of 60s died down, started working towars it the Spanish road might have been viable. That didn’t happen though and there are only small experiments in this direction. We don’t have decades to build. (We also have to keep in mind the practical problems in Spain back then. Heroism and courage are great but without discipline and strategy they’re not enough.)

  5. Foppe

    Spanish government to hire GS to go through nationalized Bankia’s balance sheet.

    “Opinion: Misleading Drug Trials” <- This guy really needs to learn to write more clearly..

    1. ohmyheck

      Seriously? Spain is going to hire GS? Crikey, maybe they should go talk to Greece to find out just how swell that choice worked out…not.

      Good gawd. Maybe it isn’t truly a “choice”…maybe it is more like a GS gun to the head….”we’re gonna fix your problem or we’re gonna fix you, see?”

      1. wunsacon

        Since GS was never prosecuted for anything important, I have to wonder whether it and the other major players are an integral arm of our empire’s offensive/defensive capabilities.

  6. Nomdemom

    H/t to lambert et al. Could you keep pay walled links to a minimum? Thanks for everything.

  7. Eureka Springs

    Krugman on DN… watching him, he seemed very uncomfortable. Somewhere between a deer in headlights or one who just got sucker-punched. Perhaps simply caught between saying what the audience wanted to hear rather than what he really thinks. That said, if one takes most or all of what he said as his honest thoughts… the fact he still pretends Democrats are anything other than THE problem makes it increasingly difficult for me to want to listen to him at all. He’s a Kettler of his own mind, his own base instinct, bless his heart.

      1. Aquifer

        I was just going to comment on the Reich piece when i saw yours here …

        I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – he says he understands why the GOP candidates don’t critique their lunch money, but he doesn’t get why Obama doesn’t! Poor Robert – his lobotomy is complete …

        ‘Tis always amazing to me how team logos endow one, who might otherwise be a decent soul, albeit naive, with a “can do no wrong” aura if one sees oneself as a member of “the team”. Wonder if anyone has asked Reich, outright, if he is aware of how much of Obama’s lunch (and dinner, and dessert) money comes from those same dudes – guess that’s why there is no comment section on his pieces – LOL

        As for Krugman – hmmm, the fact he was on DN I thought was interesting – methinks cognitive dissonance may be setting in, but at this point, Paul and Amy being 2 of a kind – will critique Obama but won’t go so far as to even point out, let alone feature, alternatives – that may be as “radical” as Paul will get ….

    1. Up the Ante

      Krugman can be seen as the poster boy for testosterone-replacement therapy, ex- the metaphoric “team” of Aquifer.

      Seriously, when you “self-kettle” yourself as much as Krug does how can you not gain a sense of spinning in place ? The ‘model thinker’, representative of ‘the order’, a ‘peace officer’, etc.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Regarding the drivel in the infinite growth article, it should be mentioned that you now do the same thing you did before, but you now consume more resources due technology, due to total productivity factor something something etc etc.

      Here is one example- 1,000 years ago, a person consumed less resources to travel 2 miles (walking or riding a mule) than we consume today with a car to travel the same 2 miles.

    1. YesMaybe

      Great link (to a terrible article).

      First, a serious point: the author is confusing there being room for growth (in value) with there being room for infinite growth (in value).

      Second, a WTF-from-bad-to-worse-to-moronic point: read the three paragraphs ending in “Simple straighforward market economics already encourages the maximum of the economic growth we can have, adding value, while minimising the sort we cannot, resource consumption.” (not quoted here because it’s a bit long for a comment). Writing such drivel is a sure sign they author has no grasp of economic reality.

      1. wunsacon

        In addition:

        – The author, Tim Worstall, spends his whole article attacking a straw man. If only he had read the first two sentences of the 2nd paragraph from Wikipedia! They say: “The steady state economy is an entirely physical concept. Any non-physical components of an economy (e.g., knowledge) can grow indefinitely.”

        – Quote: “To be silly about it, we’ve got 1 million tonnes of copper and that’s it. We use that copper to make paperweights. Then we learn how to make copper into computer motherboards and we recycle all paperweights into computers. We value the computers more than the paperweights: we’ve just had GDP growth, we’ve just had economic growth, with no increase in the consumption of resources.” He should’ve tackled more difficult questions, like: “corn going into ethanol to fuel rich-people SUVs, instead of into food to feed the poor it used to feed at the prices it used to cost”.

        1. F. Beard

          He should’ve tackled more difficult questions, like: “corn going into ethanol to fuel rich-people SUVs, instead of into food to feed the poor it used to feed at the prices it used to cost”. wunsacon

          There is no doubt the current money system unjustly favors the rich.

          1. subgenius

            ..not to mention that the TYPE of farming required to produce ethanol fuel (or agrindustry “farming” of foodstuffs) is not even slightly sustainable…

      2. F. Beard

        First, a serious point: the author is confusing there being room for growth (in value) with there being room for infinite growth (in value). YesMaybe

        Well, even if we were just stuck to this single planet, why isn’t there room for infinite growth in value? What about increasing the value of our bodies and our minds? What about virtual worlds? (Of course, I presume we can live together peacefully on this planet, a huge presumption, given our present money system.) But the truth is that there is huge Solar System too almost within reach and beyond that the Galaxy.

        Second, a WTF-from-bad-to-worse-to-moronic point: read the three paragraphs ending in “Simple straighforward market economics already encourages the maximum of the economic growth we can have, adding value, while minimising the sort we cannot, resource consumption.” (not quoted here because it’s a bit long for a comment). Writing such drivel is a sure sign they author has no grasp of economic reality. YesMaybe

        It makes sense to me EXCEPT for the implicit justification of the present money system and the mad rate of growth it requires.

        1. YesMaybe

          I try to kind of answer the question about value in my comment below (which I was writing in the meantime). I think it’s important to clarify what you mean by value, how it’s measured, and that once you do that the limitations will become clear. As for space travel, I don’t object to it in principle. But (a) who says the universe is infinite? and (b) It’s realistically not going to happen.

          1. F. Beard

            But (a) who says the universe is infinite? YesMaybe

            This Universe is finite but by the time we outgrew it we would have God-like powers to create other universes (assuming once again we can live in peace with each other, a huge assumption).

            and (b) It’s realistically not going to happen. YesMaybe

            Heck, people are already planning to mine near Earth asteroids.

          2. F. Beard

            A moment to grieve the 800-year-old Vancouver Island cedar illegally cut down, apparently for thousands of dollars worth of cedar roof shakes: just me

            Desperate people do desperate things. And the real tragedy is this desperation is unnecessary – it is only money, bits in a computer, that is lacking!

            The PTB better wake up since they are trapped on this planet with the rest of us.

    2. YesMaybe

      Also, I think there is a bigger issue in this paperweight-to-computers notion. I can’t quite formulate it properly, but a half-baked way to put it is something like this:

      There are two cases:
      1. We’re talking strictly about increasing real GDP. If the ‘tonnage’ is fixed, including tonnage of food eaten (or energy used), it seems that food (or energy) would have to make up a smaller percentage of the economy, and tend towards 0%. This is ruled out effectively in the piece “Exponential Economist Meets Finite Physicist.”
      2. We’re talking about a fixed real GDP, but improving value or quality or whatever you want to call it. One can think of examples for this, but it seems to me that it comes down to switch from talking about exchange-value (which is what GDP measures) to use-value. Of course, use-value is important. But (a) it is still subject to constraints, (b) it hasn’t been suitably defined, to my knowledge (not that this undermines it’s significance, but it makes it harder to discuss quantitatively), and (c) it doesn’t correspond to Worstall’s total factor productivity. So it seems to me that Worstall is equivocating between what I’ve given as cases 1 and 2.

      Anyway, I don’t mean this as a refutation of this idea. Like I said, I haven’t thought it through. But it seems far from straightforward, which is how Worstall is painting it.

      1. Lidia

        I don’t think we will ever come up with a shareable system for use value. The “value” of a five-year old computer is either less than zero (when you have to pay to put it in the trash) or some other number ($50 to a nerd; 35 cents to the kid in Ghana who strips out the wires and burns off the insulation to get copper again).

        Then you have to factor in the raw energy necessary to go from copper to computer back to copper again. Was the computer “worth” it? Who can say?

        Money itself makes these assessments impossible. We know in our hearts that most of what counts as GDP is actually destruction and waste. Because we are distanced—by money—from what we are really doing, we’ll always remain ignorant of the true costs vs. benefits.

  8. ambrit

    I know that this site is like Lake Woebegon, where, “…the children are all above average,” but did anyone see, much less read, the nasty 1%er propaganda piece on Yahoo Finance about the coming expiry of the “Bush Tax Cuts?” As you track its source down you find, horrors!, the WSJ! This is what passes for Financial Reporting for the ‘Great Unwashed Masses!’ What utter b——s! No wonder America is veering wildly towards a Rightest, (almost typed Chekist,) Police State! The so called Social Media are the new “Opiate of the Masses.”
    Nuff said.

      1. F. Beard

        Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

  9. MontanaMaven

    Does anybody here read this guy? TJ McCue.
    “Standing on the Sun; New Rules of Capitalism” –

    One doesn’t have to earn a financial profit to be a success. Sometimes, the act of sharing carries weight in other aspects of a business and I’ll let you fill in a dozen blanks with companies that you know and are in community with already.

    Is there such a thing as this kind of communal capitalism? Or is it what David Graber describes in “Revolutions in Reverse” i.e. that we need to change our priorities first. We need to put the care and nurturing of people and the planet first and the making of stuff for them in second position. We need to organize laterally and not hierarchically and not around markets. Graeber calls capitalism “badly organized communism”.

    McCue’s latest column advocates not laying off 25,000 HP employees but instead using some of HP’s $8 billion to install them in one place; tasked with saving their jobs.

  10. Walter Wit Man

    Re: New York Times piece serving up a second helping of the Rev. Wright distraction . . . .

    I tried reading the piece and can’t get through the first page. Yuck.

    I love how the New York Times implies that this type of attack add against Obama is below the belt, but the article discusses the add in hushed and reserved tones like this is the most important issue the Republic faces. Like it deserves huge amount of attention. Obviously, the New York Times is helping the Republican strategist create this division/diversion.

    Bah. Whatever. If I had the New York Times author of this piece sitting in a dunk tank and the Republican operative sitting in a dunk tank next to him I would aim all my balls at the New York Times hack.

    Both of these circus clowns are trying to deceive and distract but it’s the New York Times and its Democlown base that are the most effective at supporting evil.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Maybe “hushed and reserved” is not an accurate description.

      The piece treats the Republican ads very seriously (at least the part I read). As if it is reporting the back and forth of Civil War troop movements, or something.

      And there is the fatalistic tone that the Democrats can never win and will always be victim to this unlevel playing field.

  11. Hugh

    The WSJ’s inside story on JPM’s “blunder” doesn’t really give the inside story on the trades, which is what I am interested in. But it does lay out an interesting chronology. The original WSJ piece on the London Whale appeared on April 6 as JPM was preparing its 10-Q quarterly filing. That gave JPM three weeks to investigate and incorporate its findings into its 10-Q. Additionally, it could have reported at least some awareness of a problem to regulators anytime during that period. However, it did not and it was not until the week that the 10-Q was due that Dimon announced per the WSJ:

    “We’re not filing that 10-Q,” Mr. Dimon told his operating committee that week, according to attendees. “I have to understand the trades and their impact better.”

    Note he said this sometime before April 27, but also per the WSJ, Dimon did not ask for the specifics on the London trades until April 30.

    You know for a hands on, get it done now, micromanager like Dimon this all looks surprisingly lackadaisical. I mean it’s not just all the uncharacteristic slack he cut the London operation beforehand but how freaking difficult would it have been for him get the info on the Whale trades anytime after the original story broke? And why did he still wait days to ask for it even after he announced his intention to ask for it?

    It’s pretty clear, as even the the title of the WSJ article indicates, that the official narrative for JPM and Dimon is going to be “mistakes were made.” The chronology however paints a different picture, one where Dimon’s eagerness to get to the bottom of the mess is not in evidence.

  12. jsmith

    Regarding Israel:

    I mean really.

    How can one even ask that question with a straight face?

    I mean, even besides the money and direct aid where to begin?

    The plethora of U.N. resolutions the U.S has vetoed for our genocidal apartheid “ally”?

    The standing ovations our leaders give to Israeli leaders in the halls of our own government?

    The hundreds of Israeli spies that have been picked up on American soil and then let go, no harm no foul including:

    The 5 dancing Israelis on the day of 9/11 who had prior knowledge of the attacks:

    The Israeli “moving company” spy ring that was broken up around 9/11?

    The hundreds of young Israeli “art students” who were scoping out U.S. governmental buildings but who have never been questioned?

    Arnon Milchan, the Hollywood film producer of such films as “Fight Club”, “Mr & Mrs Smith” and “Knight and Day”, who stole American nuclear technology from the 1960s to the 1990s for the Israeli nuclear program yet who still is comfortably producing movies in the U.S.?“Mr & Mrs Smith”, “Knight and Day”

    The fact that Jonathon Pollard will probably get pardoned by the O-man at some point?

    (the above article is funny for the last line alone.)

    The fact that we have engaged in illegal and murderous wars over the last decade in main urged on by Zionist sympathizers in the U.S. government?

    So to even ask the question NOW after the solace and comfort our murderous nation has given to murderous, apartheid and genocidal Israel is a bit laughable, doncha think?

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I found it interesting that the producer was involved in JFK the movie. I have recently started giving Oliver Stone the benefit of the doubt and now I wonder if he’s a perp himself.

    2. noe gallegos

      This is one of the few websites that “allows” the questioning of aid to Jews in Israel. Any talk of Jews as Jews’ working for Israel, or funding American legislators is short lived in other places.

      Just the word JEW is flagged at Fire Dog Lake, Huffpost, Alternet and others – because there is no discussion “allowed” about Jews – good or otherwise.

      This is an occupied nation. We are all Palestinians _ and can’t even compare notes or strategies. IT truly is the evil within:

  13. just me

    Re link to the warrantless police raid in Chicago — I think you left out one of the key words: “preemptive.” A preemptive warrantless police raid. No crime committed. (Intent to exercise First Amendment?) No court involved. No jury expected.

    According to witnesses in Bridgeport, police broke down a door to access a 6-unit apartment building near 32nd & Morgan Streets without a search warrant. Police entered an apartment with guns drawn and tackled one of the tenants to the floor in his kitchen. Two tenants were handcuffed for more than 2 hours in their living room while police searched their apartment and a neighboring unit, repeatedly calling one of the tenants a “Commie faggot.” A search warrant produced 4 hours after police broke into the apartment was missing a judge’s signature, according to witnesses.

    Not even a Linda Green? Man that’s slack.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Oh, there’s probably a warrant. The fuhrer probably signed a secret order and his gestapo pigs came up with the fake warrant to hide the fact they operate by secret fascist law.

      Can’t have the people figuring out there are secret laws and Obama and his fascist thugs are breaking doors down.

      At least he isn’t drone bombing our children . . . . yet.

  14. just me

    Also, linkwise — two David Dayen stories that caught my eye on Firedoglake that I haven’t seen picked up here:

    1) In a House hearing yesterday, Maxine Waters questioned SEC Khuzami about the mortgage fraud task force, specifically where is it, and the answer was… it’s all PR.

    Waters Challenges Khuzami on Securitization Fraud Task Force, Gets Revealing Answers

    Waters asks about an executive director, and Khuzami says that the working group just hired a “coordinator,” to coordinate activity between the agencies. And here was a key point: Khuzami said “We hired a coordinator, but most of the investigative work being done here is not really being done by a staff that belongs to the task force, it’s being done by the individual investigative groups that make up the task force.”

    So the jig is up, then. The vaunted working group is really nothing more than a repository for existing cases and investigations with a public relations patina applied to them. I don’t think you can conclude from this that it will generate any new work.

    2) Also this snippet about feds threatening California if proposed state laws interfere with mortgage fraud:

    Housing Analysis Biased Toward Removing People From Homes By Any Means Necessary

    In fact, you have this amazing spectacle out here in California where the Federal Housing Finance Agency has stepped into a state legislative issue, darkly warning the state that new rules on foreclosures, which would allow a private right of action for homeowners to sue over fraudulent foreclosure processes and also increase civil penalties for robo-signing, would “restrict mortgage credit and hamper necessary home seizures.” Look at this remarkable passage:

    The regulator said the proposed legislation in California would loosely define robosigning in a way that may include any incomplete mortgage document.

    “Such a strict liability approach is punitive, will have a chilling effect on the processing of lawful foreclosures and…may lead to reduced credit availability or higher interest rates,” according to the letter from FHFA’s General Counsel, Alfred Pollard, to state senators and assembly members.

    Basically, FHFA is threatening California saying that if they move to protect their own homeowners from illegal seizures, they will ensure negative consequences. This is reminiscent of how credit rating agencies and banking interests threatened Georgia during the bubble years when they tried to stop predatory lending.

    I was hoping Yves would cover that… Lambert?

  15. David Petraitis

    Thanks for the pavés. Delicious. Reminds me of old demonstrations in the 70’s in Amsterdam where the students tore up the streets and made barricades of the paving stones. In Amsterdam the round headed cobblestones are called “kinderkoppjes” or little-childrens’-heads.

    The barricades are being set up, but today mostly by the forces of order. The time may come soon when police persons begin to question why they break the head of children and retirees to protect the ‘rights’ of the 1%.

      1. David Petraitis

        @Lambert, re Pavés,

        I tend to read through all of the links and appreciate greatly your lacing them with your humor. You provide me (and other readers I suspect) the necessary lightening antidote to the otherwise heavy despair caused by daily viewing of our democracy morphing into an imperial oligarchy cum police state.

  16. ginnie nyc

    I believe antidote number one is meant as a bi-partisan gesture. However, the two camps look very uncomfortable with one another – unlike our two-headed political party.

  17. ginnie nyc

    Thanks for the Babs Ehrenreich link. She is always good, and able to expose the frauds of capitalism in the plainest, clearest English.

  18. Karl

    Barbara Ehrenreich, Looting the Lives of the Poor is good but the examples she uses are bad.

    “Local governments are discovering that they can partially make up for declining tax revenues through fines, fees, and other costs imposed on indigent defendants, often for crimes no more dastardly than driving with a suspended license.”

    Tell that to someone who lost a family member to a drunk driver who drives anyway….

    “Flick a cigarette butt and get arrested for littering”…Millions are spent fighting wildfires and dozens of people die in them…

    “municipalities have been toughening laws against truancy and ratcheting up enforcement, sometimes going so far as to handcuff children found on the streets during school hours.” Cue hand wringers bemoaning low per pupil payments for daily attendance and high school drop out rates in 3,2,1….

    Avoid falling into the trap of pathetic American victimolgy where bad results are never the consequence of previous unwise decisions.

    1. honnete homme

      Yeah, and I have to pay some parasite’s tax because he couldn’t afford a house, so he went into debt to get one anyway, and he gets a mortgage interest deduction because this socialized centrally-planned 3rd-world basket case wants everybody to be submissive debt peons so they’ll bend down like slaves for their boss. Let’s stop that crap and make all those shiftless homeowners stand on their own two feet and pay their own GD debt instead of me payin it for them.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        1. The people not paying their mortgage probably aren’t getting much of a mortgage interest deduction because they probably don’t have that high of an income tax because they aren’t making much money. Most probably take the standard deduction. I expect the top rates to be lowered in the upcoming Grand Bargain, but the top brackets get the biggest mortgage interest deduction.

        2. You are only paying the GD debt because your fascist government (run by both fascist parties, the Rs and Ds) is bending the rule and going out of its way to make sure the banks get paid back. Under the rules of capitalism we all thought we were playing under, the banks declare ‘bankruptcy.’ Homeowners default, and walk away if their state allows it, or declare bankruptcy if need be.

        The people that can’t pay are victims. The fascist government is breaking the rules and making us all pay the banks for these debts. They want victim to turn against victim so the bankers can keep their ill-gotten gains. The U.S. government is a criminal racket and we are all its victims.

      2. F. Beard

        Has it ever occurred to you that people are DRIVEN into debt by what is essentially a government backed/enforced counterfeiting cartel, the banking system?

        Don’t be a chump. Even the banks (for the most part) are not shameless enough to blame their victims. They leave that to the ignorant and envious.

        But there is a way to fix everyone equally, including non-debtors – Steve Keen’s “A Modern Jubilee”.

      3. Lidia

        “pay some parasite’s tax”

        Exactly. You are paying taxes to fund Dick Cheney/Halliburton. You are paying taxes to fund various hedge fund managers. You are paying taxes to fund Exxon. You are paying taxes to subsidize GE and Monsanto. The list goes on.

        You are paying taxes so that Republicans can get rich off of:
        -private armies
        -private schools
        -private prisons

        No wonder you’re pissed off!

  19. Xenu

    “Will Smith and his son Jaden recently had a close encounter of the presidential kind.”

    Jaden- My daddy says we came here on space ships, why won’t you tell the truth Mr. President?

  20. Up the Ante

    SIMON JOHNSON “(Disclosure: I’m on the F.D.I.C.’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee, and I’ve worked with the F.D.I.C. with some outreach activities intended to help the agency receive constructive feedback on resolution. I am not paid by the F.D.I.C.) ”

    You do understand, Mr. Johnson, if any of your 5 questions are left unanswered that we do expect to hear from you personally ?

    Should that interfere with your relationship with the FDIC, we expect to hear about that, too.

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