Links 6/30/12

Calling time on the pint in the pub Guardian (John L). I frequented a pub in Potts Point. It was one of the best parts of being in Sydney. It was displaced by a Woolworths (food chain) and we regulars couldn’t find another watering hole to colonize.

‘Paint-on’ batteries demonstrated BBC

City populations boom as young people opt against settling down in the suburbs Daily Mail. May S points out this was not unexpected, see this 2005 article: Suburban Decline: The Next Urban Crisis

Cost of Prince Charles rises to £2.2m Guardian (John L). Time to outsource him.

Revealed: the scale of sexual abuse by police officers Guardian

Predictable Punishment: Clandestine U.S. Attacks On Pakistan Bilmon

Fairfax Media, Rinehart board stoush gets personal The Age (Harry Shearer)

China responds to Fukushima Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

June 2012 EU Summit Verdict: A good decision that will, probably, go to waste Yanis Varoufakis

The Global Slowdown Will Accelerate Credit Writedown

‘Health law upheld, but health needs still unmet’: national doctors group PHNP (Aquifer) Quelle surprise!

Medicaid Expansion Rejection Would Particularly Impact People of Color David Dayen, Firedoglake

Was the Obamacare Dissent Originally the Majority Opinion? Mother Jones (Aquifer)

Did John Roberts Give Mitt Romney A Gift? Marcai Angell, Huffington Post. The third paragraph is terse and devastating.

Here’s Where Ivy League Students Go When They Graduate Clusterstock

Consumer Spending In U.S. Stalls As Hiring Weakens: Economy Bloomberg

Things Nobody Warned Me About Atrios

Debating the Debt! letsgetitdone, Corrente

Wal-Mart Suspends Supplier After Terrifying Working Conditions Revealed Huffington Post

First American Financial v. Edwards: Surprising end to a potentially important case SCOTUSblog (Abigail Field)

JPMorgan’s Other Big Gamble Pam Martens

Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges Cryptome

SUNTRUST BANK – You’d evict a 76 year-old woman who lived in home for 44 years over $41? Martin Andelman

Who Owns Your Neighborhood? The Role of Investors in Post-Foreclosure Oakland Info Alameda County and Report: Investors buy nearly half of Oakland’s foreclosed homes Bay Citizen

BofA’s $40 Billion Blunder Wall Street Journal

Banker to the Bankers Knows the Numbers Are Lying Jonathan Weil, Bloomberg

“Science” without falsification is no science Noahopinon

What utter self-serving drivel, Brad Delong! Steve Keen. The underlying post really is pretty appalling…

* * *

Lambert here:

D – 71 and counting*

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster. –Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art”

Readers, again a little narrower than usual as I recover from National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.

CA. “The Committee to Recall Mayor Jean Quan Now has a Monday deadline to submit petitions carrying 19,800 valid signatures. [C]ommittee member said they had only collected about 17,000 signatures and had all but given up.”

CO. Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach: “I really appreciate the president coming here … if nothing more than just to reassure us that this has a focus at a national level, that there are people all over this country who are concerned for our citizens and those who have lost their homes,” Bach said, according to CNN. “And I do plan to ask for cash.” “Small government,” liberatarian paradise!

GA. Bellwether counties: “[L]ook to Lowndes County. In the last three presidential elections, Lowndes voters have given each major-party candidate within 2 percentage points of their statewide share of the vote.” HCR: “[GOV. NATHAN DEAL R:] We are probably just going to be in a holding pattern until such time as we see what the events of November bring us.”

IA. Corruption: “A court is upholding a $1.2 million state fine for labor violations committed by a TX labor broker [Henry’s Turkey Service] who underpaid dozens of mentally disabled workers at an Iowa turkey processing plant.” No criminal charges, so cost of doing business. (TH) “Senate President Jack Kibbie, D [requested] a formal opinion from IA AG Tom Miller’s office regarding an announced a policy change by the state Department of Public Safety to end its role of conducting electrical inspections at farm facilities effective next week unless the inspection is voluntarily requested by the property owner or designee.” (TH)

ID. Mass incarceration: “After high-profile news stories about the Corrections Corporation of America-run prison at Boise described it as a ‘gladiator school’ and worse after violence and injuries, the ACLU filed suit in March 2010 ‘that alleged deliberate indifference by CCA officials, inadequate staffing and supervision, and a failure to investigate acts of violence.’ …. Since then, Idaho’s prison population — the state has one of the highest rates in the nation — has continued to grow… So how is it resolving the difficulty? By entering into a new contract with CC[A].”

IL. Legalization: “The Chicago City Council voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to decriminalize marijuana possession, joining a wave of states and big cities that have opted for fines instead of arrests for small amounts of the drug.”

LA. Corruption: “Derrick Shepherd [D], the former state senator from Marrero whose meteoric rise in politics crashed with his federal conviction of conspiracy to commit money laundering, will never practice law in Louisiana again. ” Tinpot tyrants: “The controversial [school reform] consultant pushing to overhaul the Algiers Charter Schools Association raised the idea of prominently displaying the state-assigned letter grade of D at Eisenhower Academy of Global Studies, printing it on shirts worn by employees, memos and signs.” Why not use a branding iron?

MI. Electoral chicanery: “The State Board of Canvassers, which has two R and two D members, did not certify the [Emergency Manager referendum] petition after members deadlocked 2-2 on whether it was valid.” (Because the 5th member, an R, unexpectedly resigned and has not been replaced.

NC. Ballot access: “In Pisano v Bartlett, the lawsuit challenging the May petition deadline for petitions for newly-qualifying parties, [the North Carolina State Board of Election’s brief] argues that because the two plaintiff parties, the Constitution Party and the Green Party, have made only feeble attempts to qualify for the ballot this year, the case should be dismissed. The brief ignores all the reported court decisions that have held that unqualified parties, and independent candidates, have standing to challenge early petition deadlines, whether those parties and candidates have tried to get on the ballot or not.”

NY. Corruption: “AG Eric Schneiderman’s office is suing Kelli Conlin, the former President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, for ‘abusing her position and using more than $250,000 in charitable funds for her own personal benefit.'” Corruption, petty: “The letter is on its way to the Town Clerk. A freshman town councilor [in Geddes is] asking for the ethics committee to convene to review problems he says exist in adherence to the town procurement policy by the town’s Highway Department.”

PA. Fracking, water: “[T]he Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC; today announced that 37 separate water withdrawals approved by SRBC are suspended due to localized streamflow levels dropping throughout the Susquehanna basin.”

TN: “[The UT Knoxville] tuition increase to be paid in the fall will average about $289 while [President Jimmy] Cheek’s raise is $22,356.”

VA. UVA: Governor Bob McDonnell reappoints Rector Helen Dragas. “[BoV] Newcomers include Linwood Rose, former president of James Madison University; Edward Miller, dean of the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University; and Victoria Harper, CFO of Gannett Company.” “[Dragas is] the public face of the recent, failed attempt to oust President Teresa A. Sullivan.” And we never did learn the private faces, did we? [hums “kumbaya”] “Siva Vaidhyanathan, chairman of the media studies department and one of the most-heard faculty voices on the controversy around Sullivan’s forced resignation and return, said he wasn’t surprised by Dragas’ reappointment. He put it down as a necessary price for getting Sullivan back, saying he suspected it was part of the deal-cutting that brought Sullivan back.” [hums “kumbaya”] Vivian Page: “I’m convinced more than ever that the business takeover of higher ed will continue to occur. And UVA remains a target. Next time, it’s not going to be bungled like it was this time. And I’m betting it happens within the remaining 3 years of Sullivan’s contract.”

WI. Fracking: “[T]he hills of northwestern WI and bordering eastern MN, areas now serving as the epicenter of the frac-sand mining world” (an excellent primer on the place of sand in the fracking supply chain).

HCR. The market state: Politico: “Obama wants to move swiftly beyond the court decision, to cherry-pick the most attractive parts of his reform effort — prohibitions on discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, free checkups for women, extension of parental coverage to kids up to the age of 26 — and present them to the public as a menu of enticing new benefits and consumer protections.” Consumers. Not citizens. Lynn Sweet: “The Obama team has a particular expertise in collecting the stories of people. … People who are getting treatments and coverage they otherwise would not have — and that includes peace of mind — have stories to tell that transcend partisan politics. Each of these stories — whether by paid media, word-of-mouth or social networking — is an ad for Obama.” Just like conversion narratives in 2008. Atrios: “My basic take on the ACA is that it’s good because it makes improvements to our current system, but bad in that it enshrines our current sh*tty system forever.” Anarchist thumbsucker: “Obamacare is in fact a direct continuation of the bipartisan neoliberal consensus of the past thirty years. The guiding principle of this consensus is the use of state power to protect corporate profits — which consist mostly of rents on artificial scarcity — from the radical deflationary effects of technologies of abundance. Mandate coverage: “A recent study by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research center that focuses on economic and social policy, found that if the law had been fully implemented last year, 93 percent of the population under age 65 wouldn’t have faced a penalty or had to buy insurance under the mandate.”

The taxing power: “A few minutes later, pressed by Justice Roberts, he reiterated the point. ‘[I]t is in the Internal Revenue Code,’ [Solictor General Donald] Verrilli said. ‘It is collected by the IRS on April 15th.’ The floor sponsor, Senator Baucus, defended it as an exercise of the taxing power.”

Politics and optics: First Read: “[T]he ruling is no political booster rocket. He simply doesn’t have a new drag.” Mischiefs of Faction: “Sentiments about health reform are already baked into people’s assessments of the candidates.” Politico: “The victory was dropped into the pre-July 4th valley of summertime news coverage rather than as a welcome fall bombshell dropped when voters will be most tuned into the race.” The normally astute Charles Pierce pins the bogometer: “[T]he act itself is chock-full of innovative ideas and pilot programs and all sorts of other experimental goodness directed toward making easier the lives of people dealing with serious health problems. What a crock. We’ve already done the experimenting we need, and the results are in. Here’s the chart.

Conservative fever swamp: “And, may godly courageous leaders rise up in His wisdom and power to lead us in displacing the criminal invaders from their seats and restore our constitutional republic.” Well, I agree with the criminal invaders part. (But Jeebus, the Tea Party uses Ning?) Stay classy: “In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of health care reform, the Drudge Report is smearing Chief Justice John Roberts over the possibility that he might use epilepsy medication and suggesting that it affected his judgment.” Nooners: “[Obama’s statement] was a targeted base-greaser. [Not so, not so! Visionary minimalism!] … In any case, brace yourself for the admiring profiles of Chief Justice John Roberts. Last week’s wisdom: right-wing nut in black robe. This week’s wisdom: rigorous mind, independent nature, unswayed by partisan considerations, he’s grown in the role since being appointed by George W. Bush.” Ha ha ha. Nooners totally nails it. “Rep. Gary Ackerman D, who was holding a sign that read, “Obama-Roberts 2012” as he left a Democratic Caucus meeting, said Roberts has ‘rebranded himself’ with Thursday’s healthcare ruling.”

Change in the constitutional order: Neal K. Katyal, former acting Solicitor General: “This was the first significant loss for the federal government’s spending power in decades.” James B. Stewart, Times business columnist: “‘The commerce clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave,’ Chief Justice Roberts wrote. Libertarians and conservatives have been seeking such a declaration since the New Deal.”

Policy. Money: “When they were in power, House Democrats passed the DISCLOSE Act, which would have improved the now-limited disclosure of political donors, only to see it fail to garner the 60 votes necessary to achieve cloture and avoid a filibuster in the Senate” (ES). But if the Ds really cared about policies like this, they would have abolished the filibuster in 2009 with the nuclear option. King Corn: “IA ranks second in the nation in terms of farm subsidies, with 8.7 percent of the total in 2011. TX leads all states at $1.4 billion in subsidies, or 9.5 percent of the overall amount.” Voting: “In a final vote of no confidence, Ireland’s ill-fated e-voting machines are finally headed to the scrap heap. Plans to roll out the machines on a national basis in 2004 local … were abandoned … after a report from an independent commission raised issues about their reliability.” Security: “The legislation, a massive bill that overhauls highway and transit programs, bars the use of federal money to purchase red-light cameras or other automated traffic enforcement cameras.”

Prediction is hard. Nate Silver: “Since the stock market is one of the economic variables the model considers, Mr. Obama’s probability of winning the Electoral College rose with the European news, to 67.8 percent.” Good thing Mr. Market is never manipulated. Oh, wait…

The trail. Razor edge: “We find little evidence of a ‘wave’ election developing, and that means Democrats would have to cherry-pick themselves to a gain of 25 seats, an almost impossible challenge.” Razor edge: “The three NBC/Marist Institute swing state polls released Thursday reconfirm the picture painted by the Quinnipiac University polls unveiled Wednesday in three other swing states: the presidential race stands on a knife’s edge, with both President Obama and Mitt Romney facing substantial vulnerabilities with undecided voters.

Fast & Furious: “Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) quietly dropped a bombshell letter into the Congressional Record. The May 24 letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the panel, quotes from and describes in detail a secret wiretap application… [R]eleasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution.” So the nutso R, Issa, does something that sane, polite Ds could also do on torture, assassinations, warrantless surveillance, and a host of other issues they claim are important to them … But never do. So who’s nutso, really? “[DEPUTY AG JAMES COLE:] We will not prosecute an executive branch official under the contempt of Congress statute for withholding subpoenaed documents pursuant to a presidential assertion of executive privilege.’ [T]he department relied in large part on a Justice Department legal opinion crafted during Republican Ronald Reagan’s presidency.”

Elizabeth Warren: “Of course Menino will endorse and help out Warren. But he’s got a reasonably good relationship with Scotto, plus he doesn’t want to unnecessarily tick off the many Brown-voting conservative-Catholic-Democrats in the city, plus he probably wants Warren to make clear that she understands how important he and his machine are. So he can wait a good while.”

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Romney supported the mandate in 2006 when he adopted RomneyCare. When Obama passed RomneyCare, Romney flipped and opposed the mandate. Obama opposed the mandate in 2008. Then Obama passed RomneyCare in the form of ObamaCare, flipped, and supports the mandate. Both sides: “ZOMG!!!! He’s a FLIP-FLOPPER!!!!” And of course, both sides are right. One good thing: Now that the Obama Fans are swooning over John Roberts, we aren’t hearing any more of the “ZOMG!!!! Teh Supreme Court!!! foo fra.”

Romney. “Romney increases criticism of Obama (with handy chart). Teebee: “The 30-second ad, titled “Shame on You,” shows footage of Clinton, Obama’s rival for the Democratic nomination in 2008, accusing Obama of spending “millions of dollars perpetuating falsehoods” in the hotly contested nominatiVon battle. “Shame on you, Barack Obama,” Clinton, now Obama’s secretary of state, says in the footage.” Cheeky!

Obama. Plouffe: “The White House is encouraging congressional Democrats to go on the offensive after the Supreme Court upheld the president’s signature healthcare legislation Thursday, urging members on the campaign trail to ‘illustrate how the President and Democrats in Congress are standing up for the middle class.'” Shorter Plouffe: Let’s you and him fight.

* 71 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with peeled grapes on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Nora Ephron was 71.

* * *
Antidote du jour (photo by Buck Shreck):

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  1. nit

    that’s not billmon up there, that’s bernhard,
    ace open-source intel analyst & Linke partisan

    1. Glenn Condell

      I was wondering about that. Billmon’s Whiskey Bar would have gone close to Best Blog of All Time for me, until this one came along, but I thought he/she had ‘retired’. The moral compass, the keen intelligence and rare but wicked wit, the transparent prose… I had an idea at one stage that he/she might actually be David Foster Wallace. I do hope the silence doesn’t indicate that Billmon took the Wallace option, a terrible but entirely reasonable escape from the future.

  2. Ned Ludd

    The health insurance markets in most states are very concentrated. A few companies dominate, which allow them to set prices high. According to the AMA: “in all of the 42 states we examined, the combined market share of the five insurers with the largest shares is at least 75 percent.”

    Furthermore, the AMA’s data are consistent with an earlier study by James Robinson, a professor of health economics at the University of California, Berkeley. His 2004 analysis also showed state insurance markets are dominated by a small number of companies. According to the study, “Consolidation and the Transformation of Competition in Health Insurance,” the “top three firms typically dominate each market. … In only three state markets do the largest three plans control less than 50 percent of the total enrollment, and in only fourteen do the largest three plans control less than 65 percent.”

    It used to be that the only effective cost control was the ability of people to opt out, by not buying health insurance from these concentrated markets. In the future, those who opt out will be penalized / taxed. This gives the insurance companies leverage to set rates even higher.

    Regarding the medical-loss ratio, insurance companies have their own creative accounting to get around these rules. Also, the medical-loss ratio regulations could drive up the cost of health care.

    “The easiest way to maximize profit under an 85% rule would be to increase medical payouts,” Eskow said. “That’s obvious, right? If you can keep 15 cents in profit for every 85 cents spent on medical expenditure, spend more on medical. There are easy ways to do that — one is to increase reimbursements to doctors. Another is to negotiate higher rates with key hospitals.”

    The cost of going to the doctor will skyrocket, the cost of buying health insurance will skyrocket, and you will be penalized by the government if you opt out of the system.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘The cost of going to the doctor is skyrocketing, the cost of buying health insurance is skyrocketing, and you will be ‘taxed’ by the government if you opt out of the system.’

      There, fixed it for ya, with ‘Supreme Court approved’ terminology!

      Everybody knows this cartel is broken. Even the somnolent MSM are writing articles about ludicrously arbitrary health care pricing, with variations of ten and even fifty-to-one in the price of the same procedure.

      And guess who’s name is on this hideous, corrupt train wreck?


      1. ambrit

        Dear Jim;
        As I observed yesterday, this Medical Maladministrative Act was originally one of Mitts’ ‘signal’ achievements while CEO of Mass Inc. Then some wily RNC operatives re-branded it as the “Story of ‘O'” ER Version.
        A somewhat less than Trotskyite friend remarked yesterday, “Now the O Man has all the fat cats behind him. How can he lose?” Others from across the political spectrum generally regard Mitt as something of a Cameleopard, neither this nor that.
        Alas, so far yours truly has been the only voice raising the spectre of a ‘Third Party’ candidate. One of my more “Conservative” acquaintances remarked; “Shut the f— up Brit. You’re not in Europe anymore. This is America. Winner take all.” He was very puzzled when I burst out laughing, and stalked off in high dudgeon. Oh well.

          1. ambrit

            Dear Aquifer;
            Sorry, that did come across as concieted of me. I was speaking in the ‘particular,’ as in my workplace, rather than in the ‘general.’ I get most of my “Third Party” information, not to mention arguing points, from the good people here.

  3. skippy

    RE: Gina Rienharts bloviating ignoramus

    ELIZABETH JACKSON: Billionaire miner Clive Palmer has angrily lashed out at the Liberal Party’s Federal Council, describing it as a ‘Stalinist operation’. – snip

    Skip here… can you say one ring to rule them all with…. and meeeeee preciousssss.

    RE: S. Keen’s Link

    “I sometimes get accused of being harsh when I argue that economics will only progress from the delusion of Neoclassical economics into a more empirically based and realistic discipline the way that Max Planck observed that physics made the move from Maxwell to Einstein: “one funeral at a time“.”

    Skip here… how many economists can dance on the head of a finite pin’s head – and – maintain equilibrium with an – unknown fact set – (data is not hole) – dynamic system.


    1. Glenn Condell

      After expleting every rude word I know, plus a few I made up, I have given up trying to reply to this. The first version contained the word which describes a certain moustachioed gent from Germany who dominated the front pages from about 1933 thru 1945; this word has rendered previous postage undeliverable, so I changed it several times but while I kept being told ‘you’ve already said that’ the original never appeared.

      Basically, although he’s a card-carrying 1%er, Clive is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Someone should tell him that starting in 5th gear is not good strategy, because it leaves nowhere else to go. If he wastes serviceable epithets like Stalinist on his own team, what’s left for the other lot?

      What a coarse, ignorant and boorish mob our filthy rich are. They are too ridiculous to hate really. Clive like a bellowing hippo, Gina like a, well, another bellowing hippo. Go on, buy Fairfax you spiteful greedy Gorgon, and watch us all head for the exits at a gallop.

  4. annie

    steve keen’s brad delong quote is priceless. i say it again: just read delong december 2007 latimes review of greenspan’s autobiography to see in real time an economist’s cluelessness.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Keen illustrates how crafty Delong is, attempting to launder his Old School past via Project Syndicate. We’ll be seeing more and more of this scramble by Old Schoolmen trying to re-position themselves on the Wise Side of History in Academic Economics. It’s going to be quite a spectacular show of lies well beyond “truthiness” as the Old Schoolmen attempt to justify their High Places in Ivied Academe, with now anachronistic remuneration to match.

      “Oh what a wonderful war!”

  5. docG

    I think that yes indeed Roberts gave Romney a gift. Whether this was part of a carefully conceived, cynical Republican strategy or not is impossible to say, but it had the same effect. Actually it was a double barreled blast. By “upholding” the law in the manner he did, Roberts branded it as a “tax,” definitely not a good thing for any candidate to have to defend, AND gave Obama what he wished for, as in “be careful what you wish for.” A Pyrrhic victory indeed.

    If the measure had been overturned, then it would no longer be a factor in the campaign, and Romney would as a result literally have had no credible rallying cry with which to attract both Tea Partiers and independents. By upholding it, Roberts insured that this ill conceived and probably unworkable albatross would be hung around Obama’s neck throughout the campaign. Many who might otherwise vote for him would think twice, simply because they will assume ahead of time that they can’t afford it, and vote for Romney purely in self defense.

    The ultimate responsibility for this debacle is, of course, Obama himself, who was from the start all too eager to compromise with anyone and everyone who questioned anything he proposed. If he loses, he will have deserved it. But what about the American people, do we really deserve another round of Republican “leadership”? Well, very sadly, maybe we do.

    1. James

      I think this could well be the decisive figure in the upcoming presidential pageant. I come from the midwest and nearly all of my family still lives there. I can hardly convey the depth and the breadth of the hatred for Obama and “big gubmint” from everyone I know there. The repeal of this law will BE (and already is from what I’ve read so far) THE rallying cry for the always histrionic Repube base. I think Roberts was smart like a fox, and I doubt he even had to be coached. Long range strategic thinking has always been the right’s strong suit, at least for the past 30 years or so, and their heavy political base has proven to be all to willing to be played like a fiddle, even when said policies are obviously directly contradictory to their own best interests. A blind religious authoritarian mindset will do that to you.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        James, so true. Roberts handed Romney Obama’s head on a silver salver. The Republican Faithful in the “heartland” were just waiting for the “Winning Meme” they are to catapult into the “political process”–as bundles of Black Death were catapulted into enemy territory in the Crimean War.

        Roberts is such a good Officer (.99% Agent) of the Grand Army of the Reich.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Roberts handed Romney Obama’s head on a silver salver.

          Love the image, enhanced by the heroic alliteration of ‘silver salver.’

          Roberts could have distilled his ruling to a single tart sentence: ‘It’s a tax — OFF WITH HIS HEAD!’

      2. F. Beard

        A blind religious authoritarian mindset will do that to you. James

        Blind is right. The Religious Right appears to be almost as ignorant of the Bible as the Left is.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      The Oracle, Roberto Unger, instructs us: We have no choice but to take time out , to clean the Augean Stable of “liberal” politics–the sine qua non for the establishment of a new “Progressive Agency” in C21.

    3. James

      I also think that the fact that the usually extremely well-reasoned Roberts had to so obviously tie himself into intellectual knots to support this decision was an obvious tell. And the tax aspect of it had previously eluded me. That’s an EXCELLENT observation! It says loud and clear to me “the courts will not get drawn into this political fray (aka, the courts won’t legislate, a key conservative principle),” but since it IS going to be a political fray anyway, “HERE’S some political fodder for the electorate to consider.” A masterstroke!

    4. taunger

      Maybe he handed the whole left a gift by showing the necessary power of tax.

      From the article: “He made the private insurance companies the linchpin of the new system, and promised them millions of additional customers and billions of taxpayer dollars. He also did nothing to rein in the profit-oriented delivery system that rewards providers on a piecework basis for doing tests and procedures. So with all the new dollars flowing into the system and no restraints on the way medicine is practiced, the law is inherently inflationary.”

      The best way to solve this inflationary profit problem, in medicine or finance or real estate or whatever, is to return to the confiscatory tax rates of the 50s and 60s. Why run profits so high if you can’t keep them?

      And for those that argue “theft” or “punishment”, you are poor excuses for human beings. If the only way for you to satisfy your desires is through capital, whatever you do will be part of the problem, not the solution.

  6. YesMaybe

    “Nate Silver: “Since the stock market is one of the economic variables the model considers, Mr. Obama’s probability of winning the Electoral College rose with the European news, to 67.8 percent.” Good thing Mr. Market is never manipulated. Oh, wait…”

    The stock market is dumb as hell, too. It’s such a shame to have a nice model for putting together all the poll results and then ruin it by giving the stock market a lot of weight. Too bad 538 doesn’t make the details of the model public so we could simply take that bit out.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      But wait, isn’t the “market” the Real Security Alert System for the masses?

      1. YesMaybe

        Beats me! I think I might be slightly out of touch. Not as much as Romney or Obama, but still…

  7. Ep3

    Re: Bloomberg consumer spending stalls.

    Yves, I am wondering how the rate of savings is discovered. What I am thinking is that as more jobs lack retirement and as the younger generations lack faith in SS, what percentage believe in this dream that the 401k retirement plan will be successful so therefore increase their contributions? Also, as more companies as well as gov’ts end their pensions and switch to 401ks and such, is savings really increasing or are people being forced to save more? Such with pensions, people also saved personally. But it was with banks or other very safe methods. Now, with rates below zero, people have to invest agressively just to keep up. And if they don’t save privately, they risk not having any sort of retirement potential. Also, consider the status symbol that persons can brag about how they make 20% in their 401k.
    But again, my original hypothesis is whether savings by choice or by necessity. As you correctly state, this is a household balance sheet recession. Are those savings correcting balance sheets? (increasing assets)?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Ep3, the 401K’s are in the hopper. The Social Security “fund” NOT YET so. This means that the “after-Boomers” will get the message quicker.

  8. kevinearick

    “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door”


    The foundation of govt is tax, and the only tax that matters is the one on economic profit, which is invisible to all but few, because it rests on the shore on the other side of the Valley, which the income robots fear only more than their own collective, woven into the emperor’s clothing.

    Monetary policy can only leverage the outcome, the leader of the “free” world is taxing economic inactivity, and the entire system is “e”mploding. Why?

    Where do you suppose the kids, targeted by ACA, are?

    For all the Internet chat, what are you doing?

    Justice Roberts simply reminded the majority that it is its own fall guy, and that govt is a delay of delays, a black hole to be ignited.

    1. kevinearick

      making the same mistake over and over and over is not human. having mercy on a robot is not love. rewarding stupidity is practical socialism, and it always, always, always leads to tyranny.

      to be human is to learn from mistakes, to adapt, in real time, which requires self-discipline. kids learn by example. robots expect to find the answer in book, History.

      look forward to the future. be the future.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “Barclays … found … to have TRIED to manipulate …” STILL A HEDGE on justice, by the Justice Minister, who admits that the peculiar institution of financial wizardry in the City has tended to be given carte blanche to do its thang.

      NOTHING will change the Imperial attitude towards the Cash Cow of Global Financial Racketeering that keeps the aristos and royals in regal raiment UNTIL they see the masses marching into the City with torches and ropes, with the Scottish-French Auld Alliance electrifying the atmosphere with a “Ladies From Hell” attitude toward their oppressors. The chant is Universal now: “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take this any more.”

      Will that champion of Justice, Geoffrey Robertson, sound the trumpet?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Will the Highland Pipers join with the pipers of all of the “Celtic Nations,” to raise the good-as-dead Indentured Servants of the Zombie Victorian Reich, and to demonstrate their Free Will to extricate themselves from bondage to Feudal Rent Extractors?

        You! CITIZENS of English tongue! This is your “main chance” for self-deliverance from the Dead Hand of Tyranny in C.21. Only YOU can bring Blake’s “Jerusalem” in Albion into being. Only now.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Bertolucci’s film, “The Last Emperor,” shows the dead weight of imperial baggage on a country’s resources quite plainly. So yesterday.

  9. F. Beard

    re What utter self-serving drivel, Brad Delong! Steve Keen. The underlying post really is pretty appalling…:

    It was so appalling that I though DeLong was being facetious.

    Steve Keen keeps getting better and better.

  10. F. Beard

    re “And, may godly courageous leaders rise up in His wisdom and power to lead us in displacing the criminal invaders from their seats and restore our constitutional republic.” :

    Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor. Proverbs 28:8 English Standard Version.

      1. propertius

        I recommend taking the time to learn a bit of Hebrew, Mr. Beard. “Translation is betrayal,” as a rabbi I know is wont to say.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is there a chicken in the seventh place winner?

      The ninth place winner looks like a billion years old.

      That honorable mention with apoptosis (programed cell death) should be sent to every TBTF bank.

  11. bob

    Grammar- From the mail

    “New 2011 census estimates show that the change is due to young adults seeking a foothold in the weak job market by shun home-buying and stay put in bustling urban centers.”

    How did this make it past an editor? Copywriter? Anyone?

    1. ambrit

      Dear bob;
      Could be some ‘coopy editor’ relies too much on Spell Check and not at all on Strunk and White and the Oxford Unabridged.
      Nuff said.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Banker to bankers…numbers are lying.

    Well, honor (only) among thieves.

    Interesting – “So there you have it. More than four years after the financial crisis began, it’s so widely accepted that many of the world’s banks are burying losses and overstating their asset values, even the Bank for International Settlements is saying so — in writing. (The BIS’s board includes Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank.) It fully expects taxpayers to pick up the tab should the need arise, too”

    It reads like our modern-day sappers are hard at work undermining the Taxpayers Castle.

    1. ambrit

      Dear MLTPB;
      Too much like the story of “The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs.”
      Read any decent archaeological report on the strata found above cities and strongholds that have been overrun and despoiled. Burke at his best.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Suburban Decline.

    It’s time we return Nature to Nature.

    One man in Nature – no harm done. You’re OK, Thoreau.

    A billion humans back to Nature – She can’t handle all those cute tents and water bottles.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I only have one so far.

          As soon as we get more money for space exploitation, sorry, exploration, I am sure we have have a few more alternatives.

    1. taunger

      As a suburban castaway with many urban friends now settling down, marrying and having children, I can say the cost of the burbs is probably more important that the city amenities for my friends.

      The only reason I am out here is because I wrangled affordable housing in the tony town I grew up in; my friends come out to go cycling, BBQ, and various other things and remark on how much they miss the setting of their affluent adolescence.

      1. alex

        What you say was pointed out in the Guardian article. But equating the current trend (less rapid growth in some suburbs compared to their associated urban areas, but no decline in suburban population) to the “suburban decline” predicted in the Lucy & Phillips paper is ridiculous, as many of their predicted reasons for suburban decline are the opposite of what’s happening now.

        Of course Lucy & Phillips are with the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning at UVa. Finding someone at any place with “urban planning” in the name who doesn’t take every opportunity to criticize or predict the demise of suburbs is harder than finding a gun control advocate at an NRA convention.

    2. alex

      “You’re OK, Thoreau.”

      Except Henry didn’t live in an isolated natural setting. His spot at Walden Pond (on land owned by his friend Emerson) was within easy walking distance of where he was born. Later experiences in real wilderness convinced him that there was something to be said for settlements.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Walmart suspends supplier.

    Good work, Captain Renault alerting the behemoth. I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you.

  15. Brad DeLong


    Steve Keen’s only complaint seems to be that I left him off the list of economists who have gotten it more right than wrong:”Paul Krugman, Christy Romer, Gary Gorton, Carmen Reinhart, Ken Rogoff, Raghuram Rajan, Larry Summers, Barry Eichengreen, Olivier Blanchard, and their peers.”

    Larry, Barry, and Olivier taught me this stuff, and have continued to push it–it is Larry who says that the three economists whose analyses of 2007-9 are best are “Bagehot, Minsky, Kindleberger. So they are on the list.

    Larry, Christy, and Olivier have been the senior government policymakers leading the charge for more and better expansionary policies. So they belong on the list.

    Raghu, Paul, Barry, and Gary called the dangers of the leveraged housing bubble early. So they belong on the list.

    Barry, Ken, and Carmen have been thinking very hard about the dangers of a long-term depression generated by a financial panic for a long time. So they belong on the list.

    All nine are very much worth paying attention to.

    Is it supposed to be an exhaustive list? No. That’s why I say “economists like” and “and their peers”. If you let me go up to 15, my first instinct would be to add Simon Johnson, Jamie Galbraith, Dean Baker, Maury Obstfeld, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, and Adam Posen.

    But people who find it “appalling” that they are not mentioned in a non-exclusive list of nine really need to chill out.

    1. YesMaybe

      Steve wrote:

      ‘Blanchard deserves to win an award for one of the world’s worst-timed papers when in August 12, 2008–one year after the crisis began–he published a working paper which crowed that “the state of macro is good“. ‘

      In your mind, though, the fact that he has been active pushing for expansionary policy means that he should be proud of his analysis over the last 5 years? And that the public and the government should trust him?

      Wouldn’t his failure to understand what was going on as late as 2008 rather disqualify him?

    2. Walter Wit Man

      You start out with an extremely patronizing tone:

      “We economists who are steeped in economic and financial history – and aware of the history of economic thought concerning financial crises and their effects – have reason to be proud of our analyses over the past five years.” You emphasize many times how learned you are.

      Then you go on to state that your gang was correct and all critics were wrong and you imply they shouldn’t be listened to in the future.

      Your piece subtly advocates exclusion of very knowledgeable economists from the academic playing field (like many economists discussed at this site)–economists that may have gotten it more right than you did.

      And you do this under the pretense of high-minded academic study which is what sticks in people’s craw. You use your credentials and appeals to authority to silence debate. This attitude obfuscates and misleads and does not get us closer to the truth.

      You don’t get to declare your economic tribe the winner when you didn’t even let all the players on the field in the first place! And then you take a victory lap pumping your fist in front of the economists sitting in the stands–and they’re sitting there because you and Krugman and gang were able to keep them off the field.

      That’s low.

    3. Hugh

      Boy, that is one gruesome list of neoliberal-lite. It sort of marks the boundary of what is acceptable for the Conventional Wisdom and Establishment consensus.

    4. craazyman

      I have done quite a lot of econometric modeling (usually after 2 or 3 glasses of Chote du Rhone and in always my head because I’m too lazy to use a computer) and what I found was that when huge amounts of Fraud are involved, all the leverage has to be multiplied by 15.87 to get the full Fraud Multiplier effect (FM). What I discovered, in addition to the FM constant, was that few economists watch enough TV to have seen all the no-money-down-buy-a-house-if-you’re-not-in-jail-or-on-parole commercials. They spend way too much time doing modeling on a computer and not enough time doing fieldwork. hwhahahahah. -Sunseerlie Urs, Profeser Delerious T. Tremens, NFL, GED, University of Magonia, Department of Contemporary Analysis

      1. K Ackermann

        Don’t you know that fraud takes care of itself?

        I realize its an ambiguous statement, but it’s orthodoxy and must be repeated.

        You, and your wine, and your… thinking (ugh). I’m certain you haven’t grasped the externalities… which is not uncommon for your type.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Whither goest thou, my Ivy League grad?

    Smart people go to Ivy League schools.

    Really smart people go to Poison Ivy League schools.

  17. just me

    “Suicide by economic crisis”

    Lambert, Yves, did you see this on HuffPost? It’s obscured by the headline: Michael Marin, Ex-Wall Street Trader, Dies In Courtroom After Conviction — He apparently committed suicide after being convicted in Arizona for torching his mansion … to escape an impossible mortgage payment, $17,000 a month.

    Tragically, if Marin’s death was indeed a suicide, he wouldn’t be the first to end his life in the face of financial woes. Norman Rousseau shot and killed himself in May in the midst of a battle with Wells Fargo to stay in his home. In Ohio, a man shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself one day after authorities ordered him to leave his home.

    Across the Atlantic, suicide has become more common among small-business owners and entrepreneurs coping with financial crisis in countries like Greece and Italy, according to The New York Times. The phenomenon has become so widespread that some European newspapers are calling it “suicide by economic crisis.”

    1. Lambert Strether

      I did see the story of the guy in the courtroom, but I didn’t connect the dots. I guess one difference between the 30s and today is that you don’t see banksters jumping out the windows….

      1. just me

        Yes, I thought I was going to be reading a story where someone was finally prosecuted and convicted for Wall St fraud and was facing serious jail time. But no, not exactly; still waiting for that one. Sad, though.

      1. K Ackermann

        You know, Atrios has an open thread. It would be cool if NC, automatically posted an open thread if 5 or 6 hours passed without any articles.

        There are many economic and social questions that would be nice to bandy about without stepping on anyone’s thread.

  18. kris

    I will never understand why the Scotus Obamacare decision is good for the left. I don’t understand why republicans are bitching.
    This is the greatest gift scotus did to the right wing.
    I am a member of an extinct species called ‘canadian right winger’. Here in Canada, it’s trumpeted that Health Care is a Right. In USA scotus decided it’s a tax that can be added and removed any time.
    People, there is quite a difference between a Tax and a Right. The left lost, and lost big. This is the worst outcome that could have happened.

    1. K Ackermann

      Life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness. The supremes have interpreted life very narrowly. They would like to broaden it to include an in-utero collection of cells until birthed, upon which time life is finished, and the gradual process of death begins.
      Having health care spelled out as a right is so foreign a concept in the US that it’s put down as anti-capitalist.

      Maybe you could cheer us up and tell us how terrible the health care is in Canada. Is it really true they euthanize every third patient that visits a doctor, and they perform surgery without anesthesia?

      1. Maximilien

        1. The euthanization here in Canada is so bad that for every ambulance pulling up in front of a hospital there is a hearse pulling in out back. It’s called the Rapid Turnaround policy and was brought in because of a chronic shortage of beds.

        2. Yes, surgery is indeed performed without anesthetic, but only in sound-proof operating rooms.

        I hope this news cheers you up, Mr. Ackermann.

          1. kris

            Very cute sarcasm, but just for you to know, the media and the govs call health care a ‘right’, but not the courts.

            Legally, “health care” is still a ‘privilege’.

            Just for clarification, the very term “health care” is pure propaganda. There’s no such a thing as health care. What everybody is talking about is ‘medical care’ when one gets sick which is insurance, not health care. Health care includes, good eating, exercising, lack of stress etc.

            You’re both very cute though, very, very cute.

    2. proximity1

      “I will never understand why the Scotus Obamacare decision is good for the left. I don’t understand why republicans are bitching.
      This is the greatest gift scotus did to the right wing.”

      And it’s not an accident that you’ll never hear a “thank you” uttered publicly.

      It isn’t difficult to understand–and this time, those who put everything down to some deep, dark, evil conspiracy, have it right. There is now and for quite some time–at least since Ronald Reagan’s terms–been a very deliberate effort to demonize, discredit, despoil, deny and denigrate everything, every word and deed, done by those who are not ultra-right-wing Republicans.

      In this effort, everything, without exception, is calculated for its effect in destroying and undermining the capacity of their adversaries to function–even to function.

      Thus, in the program to “push” ever-Rightward the meanings and the sense of terms, of ideas and beliefs, it is strictly forbidden to grant credit to anything which is a product of the adversaries’ efforts, no matter how much in fact it may seem or actually be in accord with clearly expressed aims and desires of the Right-wing.

      The term “liberal” has been so thoroughly excoriated, treated to such abuse, that that effort succeeded in completely eliminating it from common use among those who’d otherwise normally describe themselves as liberal. That done, the effort now is well under way to do the very same thing to the term “progressive,” to heap scorn upon it, or, alternatively, to deliberately render it so vague through an unrelenting effort to misuse it, to apply it in ways that are nonsensical, to present it as its direct contrary, so that, in fine, it, like the term “liberal” is made into useless mush, a non-entity, a word which means so many contradictory things that at last no one is really sure about what it’s supposed to mean.

      As strategies go, it’s hard to get more Machiavelian than this, to make as a deliberate goal the systematic ruination of your adversaries’ very language, the terms by which they commonly converse and with which they analyze and describe the world and themselves.

      Do you grasp what an immense weapon that is? To deny your adversary the very terms needed to conduct common discourse? Well, that is exactly what is and has been going on. And it is working–so far–wonders.

      It is also a tactic which is practically infinitely extensible. Think: what if the Right-wing can destroy or undermine the common meanings of such terms as “rights”, or “employers”? Labor unions have already long been the targets of an effort to re-define the common terms they’ve used and needed in order to communicate with their memberships.

      Central to these efforts is to never, ever, admit of any credit, or anything at all credit-worthy to the opponents. In this aspect of the real class-war, there is a stark division that admits of no shades of gray.

      When the Democrats elect a genuine clone-version of Ronald Reagan, that person, that clone-Reagan, will be attacked and denounced by the Right-wing message machine with all the vehemence that George McGovern or Michael Dukakis would once have seen directed at themselves.

  19. Up the Ante

    “So there you have it. More than four years after the financial crisis began, it’s so widely accepted that many of the world’s [Central] banks are burying losses and overstating their asset values, even the Bank for International Settlements is saying so — in writing. (The BIS’s board includes Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank.) ”

  20. Lambert Strether

    Hashtag for the Occupy National Gathering in Philly: #NATGAT.

    Adding… Occupy Philly known for non-violence (Quaker influence); Philly cops known for thuggishness.

    Adding… The hash tag has also been infested by right wing trolls. It all seems oddly coordinated.

  21. Shop From Us

    You can certainly see your skills in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

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