Links 8/31/12

By Charles Davis

South African miners charged with murder of colleagues shot by police Guardian

Deflation Deepens as Japan Contraction Risk Intensifies Bloomberg

Consumer spending posts biggest rise in five months Reuters

Greece pleads for debt extension Al Jazeera

China rolling government and steel debt? Macro Business (David Llewellyn-Smith)

U.S. flower growers fight to survive amid flood of imports McClatchy

Harvard Investigates “Unprecedented” Academic Dishonesty Case Harvard Crimson

Majority of New Jobs Pay Low Wages, Study Finds New York Times

Apple’s rot starts with its Samsung lawsuit win Guardian

Chavez denies neglect in Venezuela oil fire Al Jazeera

200 US Marines join anti-drug effort in Guatemala AP

Why Are the Big Banks Suddenly Afraid? New York Times

China’s Stocks Head for Longest Monthly Losing Streak Since 2004 Bloomberg

Facing Grand Jury Intimidation: Fear, Silence and Solidarity Truthout

Spain Said to Consider Bankia Re-Capitalization Without EU Money Bloomberg

U.S. to allow Shell to begin prep work for drilling in Arctic Reuters

D.C.’s very funny VeriFone contract TheFightBack

Chinese firms put intellectual property lawsuits to work Washington Post

* * *

lambert here:

D – 7 and counting*

“If you have to assert you are human, there’s no way you are going to be elected.” –Frank Luntz

RNC. Ryan review: Dazzling, deceiving, distracting (on FOX, of all places). Eastwood: “[T]here’s 23 million unemployed people in this country. (Cheers, applause.) And now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace. And we haven’t done enough, obviously. This administration hasn’t done enough to cure that. And whatever interest they have is not strong enough.” No teleprompter. … Losing the political class: “Backstage, stern-faced Romney aides winced at times as Eastwood’s remarks stretched on.” … Rubio, snark watch: “Our problem with President Obama isn’t that he’s a bad person. By all accounts, he, too, is a good husband, and a good father … and thanks to lots of practice, a good golfer. Our problem is that he’s a bad president.” … Romney, snark watch: “You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him” (transcript). … Romney: “What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs. I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.” (“Pick out any idea, compare ideas, with the one idea left you have no doubt and without a doubt we have enthusiasm!” [07:37]). … Losing the political class: “‘Mr Chairman and delegates, I accept your nomination for president of the United States,’ says Mitt when he reaches the podium. He appears to be shedding a few tears and his eyes are quite red.” Jeebus, “appears”? … Losing the political class, Taegan Goddard: “Mitt Romney accepted the R presidential nomination but gave a speech that was flat. He started slowly, often rambling, but gradually moved to a more powerful, scolding tone. It was utterly predictable and lacked specifics, but he checked off most of the important topics.” Two quotes: Josh Marshall (D), Andrew Sullivan (Obama supporter). … Losing the political class: “But the celebratory finale did not completely erase a flat feeling that hovered over the convention, leaving open the question of whether Romney had accomplished what he needed to do.”

RNCon protests. Crowds: “I guess all it takes to squash a big protest is $50 mill in taxpayer expenditures and the threat of a hurricane.” …. Exterior lines: “Many Romneyville residents are relocating their impromptu community to Charlotte and the DNCon. They are hoping for bigger crowds and more energy, drawing on Occupy activists from cities along the Eastern seaboard.”

Conventions. The hall and the program: “There is a curious interaction at national party conventions between the physical setup of the convention writ large, the effective content of its substantive program, and the technology by which this substance is communicated. [N]ow that the hall has actually been used to deliver a program on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights, it is probably time to consider the two sides of this interaction, ‘the Hall’ and ‘the Program’.” Recommended.

AK. Extractive economy: “Royal Dutch Shell PLC has been given a permit to begin preparation work at exploratory drilling sites in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast while it awaits certification for its oil spill response barge, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Thursday.”

AL. Extractive economy: “Black Warrior Riverkeeper opposes the Shepherd Bend Mine, which would discharge wastewater from coal mining into the Black Warrior’s Mulberry Fork only 800 feet from a major drinking water intake for 200,000 customers of the Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB).”

CO. Fracking: “In a highly charged vote Tuesday night, [Erie’s] Board of Trustees decided to let a six-month moratorium on new oil and gas operations expire Monday while entering into agreements [memoranda of understandings] with energy producers that will place tough regulations on their operations. In an email, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Executive Director Matt Lepore said the best management practices contained in Erie’s MOUs “can be incorporated into a COGCC permit to drill as enforceable conditions of the permit.” … Fracking: “Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which estimates its Colorado reserves at the equivalent 1.5 billion barrels of oil, is set to spend about $1 billion this year on its Weld County operations, a company spokesman said.”

FL. Voting: “[A]t least one person will be going to jail for voting illegally in 2008. Josef Sever, born in Austria, pleaded guilty Thursday to voting in the November 4, 2008 presidential election even though he is not a U.S. citizen. Sever, who also received a concealed firearms license and bought nine guns under the pretense that he was U.S. citizen, faces up to five years in prison for the voting and gun-related charges.” It would be an Austrian. …. Isaac: “Health officials are warning those homeowners they will have to extensively decontaminate anything that makes contact with contaminated well water — filters, pipes, water softeners — everything [after their wells and septic fields were inundated]. Further, government won’t be testing their well water for them. They’ll have to take care of that on their own.” … Police state: “A north Florida judge has sentenced a 21-year-old homeless man to 180 days in jail for stealing $2 worth of candy.”

MT. Legalization: “A convicted Montana medical marijuana provider with a history of serious illness died [in custody] Thursday after his transfer to a federal prison that could give him proper medical care was delayed for months.” As surely as if they’d beat him to death.

NC. Fracking: “Before voting to allow fracking in NC, state lawmakers took two fact-finding trips to PA — and a gas company [Chesapeake] that’s now facing multiple federal and state investigations served as their guide.”

NY. Handmaid’s Tale: “Five women who worked for Vito J. Lopez, the [D] assemblyman at the center of a broadening sexual harassment scandal, described in interviews an atmosphere of sexual pressure and crude language in his office.”

OR. Pissoirs: “Here, where just about everything is greener, hipper and more carbon-neutral, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a sustainable urban toilet.”

PA. Fracking, “List of the harmed”: “[#1: ] Headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, nosebleeds, blood test show exposure to benzene and other chemicals.” Each example with link. Impressive.

TX. Voting: “Following on the DOJ finding last March that the R-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law in Texas was discriminatory, in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act (VRA), a three-judge U.S. District Court panel has again blocked the law from being implemented.” … Voting: “When Texas filed its case in defense of the law in the District Court, it made two general points: first, that the [photo ID] requirement does not reduce the voting rights of minorities protected by the Voting Rights Act and thus should be cleared, and, second, that if the Act did not get clearance, then the Act itself is unconstitutional. ” So now comes part 2. …. Voting: “TX is likely to appeal this case to the Supreme Court, and I would expect to see an application for an emergency injunction allowing TX to use its voter id law during the upcoming election. If this happens, this will be a major question for the Roberts Court, and it would have to be decided in short order.” Son of Bush v. Gore. … Vampire squids: “A small number of homeowners who lost their homes last year to the wildfires in Bastrop, TX, reported that their mortgage lenders made them pay down or pay off their mortgage balance with insurance money, instead of applying the funds towards rebuilding.” So why get insurance?

VA. Extractive economy: “Local residents assert that while the [Coalfields Expressway] project is being billed as a highway project, in reality it’s a taxpayer financed strip mine that is likely to be exempt from all of the permitting requirements and other protections provided for communities and the environment by the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Action.”

WA. Extractive economy: “WA is threatening legal action if the federal government doesn’t respond to questions about cleanup delays at [Hanford,] the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.”

WI. Fracking: “One of the themes that emerged was worries about a lack of transparency about who owns the [fracking sand] companies. [Landowner Paul van Eijl] said he can’t say who’s funding Superior because those with a lot of money to invest don’t want to be known.

Outside baseball. Torture: “The DOJ has just formally ended their investigation into CIA ‘enhanced interrogations’ without bringing any charges.” Man, I’m so old I remember when “progressives” actually thought torture was important. Good times. … Food: “Nationally, food insecurity among elderly Americans increased by 78 percent between 2001 and 2010, according to the Meals on Wheels Association of America. In 2010, nearly 15 percent of all American seniors weren’t sure from day to day if they’d have access to food.” USA! USA!

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Convention review: “‘We can do better’ was the overall theme, with each night having its own: ‘We did build it,’ ‘We can change it,’ and ‘We believe in America.’ What does that mean? It sounds as empty as the words that speaker after speaker mocked this week: Obama’s promise four years ago of hope and change.” Yep. …. Bots: “Watch how often Obama supporters will defend their leader from conservative attacks by proudly arguing that Obama’s policies are actually the same as that which conservatives advocate.”

The trail. Razor-thin margin: “[T]he best explanation I can come up with for the gap between the polls, on the one hand, and the apparent confidence of Obama’s camp (and the lack of confident in Romney’s revealed behavior) on the other, it’s that the polls are showing more white people than either campaign projects.” Or “It’s not your night, kid.

Romney. Facts: “While Obama and his allies have made many misleading claims of their own, the frequency and repetition of the Romney campaign’s claims has been particularly striking.”

Obama. Legalization: “Despite several of the most upvoted questions being about the drug war and marijuana prohibition, the President again chose to ignore the subject. Instead, he decided to answer important questions about the White House beer recipe and who his favorite basketball player is.” Brave Sir Robin! … Fear of a Black President, Shirley Sherrod: “How can I explain to my children that I got fired by the first black president?” Tell them you got fired by America’s first black fascist President! [rimshot. laughter] … Bots: “Well, you can have your opinion about Afghanistan, but that’s no reason to character assassinate the President” (sigh). … Rape: “In May 2009, Barack Obama announced he would not comply with a court order that would have brought hundreds of meticulously documented cases of rape and sexual assault from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan to the forefront of public debate and scrutiny.” Because “rape is rape,” except when it’s not.

* 7 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with surplus cheese for everyone on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. CT, OK, OR have 7 electoral votes.

NOTE Had to do a little Gregorian reform there; I think crossing the international dateline scrambled my calendar circuitry and simple arithmetical processes, such as they are. T 0 is September 7, when the campaign begins. My bad.

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Goin' South

    Re: Harvard cheating scandal–

    What a Mickey Mouse exam! And it sounds like a poorly taught course as well.

    Harvard–the University of Phoenix of the Ivies.

  2. Jim Haygood

    From the Guardian article about ‘Apple’s rot’:

    Patents are, arguably, no longer a system of protection; they are a system of litigation. Great numbers of patents are now filed, in an over-burdened system, to protect not innovations but the right to litigate over innovations.

    The system itself assumes that litigation is the check on the system. Which means, fundamentally, that the litigant with the most resources and greatest status wins. Let’s look at this as a form of hubris that has inevitable consequences.

    Apple is the kind of company – the exact sort of company – that becomes, perhaps inevitably becomes, the bete noire of consumerists, regulators and, of course, most of all, its competitors. Anybody with any sense of history knows this is going to end badly.

    Indeed, it’s already ending badly. Apple just lost a similar lawsuit in Japan, and was ordered by the judge to pay Samsung’s costs of defense.

    Across the Atlantic, a British judge was so outraged by Apple’s conduct that he ordered Apple to publish a notice on its own website, confessing that Samsung’s tablets do not infringe Apple’s design patents.

    For those who are counting, that’s a 2-1 lead for Sammy in three major countries. Only on its home court, litigating ridiculous US patents before a ridiculous Kalifornia jury of Apple fanbois and fangrrlz was Apple able to extract one pyrrhic victory.

    Meanwhile at the IFA electronics show underway in Berlin (see engadget’s excellent coverage since Wednesday), Asian competitors have introduced a tidal wave of phones and tablets based on Google’s Android 4.0 operating system. Now Android 4.0 has reached sufficient maturity to achieve the kind of market dominance that iOS did for Apple, and Windows 3.0 did for Microsoft long ago. And unlike iOS, Android 4.0 is a free, open-source OS.

    Cupertino, we’ve got a problem …

    1. Mark P.

      Apple is at this point not so much a technology company, but a branding/marketing company reliant on its rep for product design, with much of its central tech licensed from British chip-design company ARM and its manufacturing offshored. Heck, even its chief product designer is a Brit, if that’s pertinent.

      Conversely, Google — “evil” or not –has immense technological talent. Having started as a pure comp sci play, a decade ago it brought over Peter Norvig who literally wrote the textbook on AI and who ran the 200-person-strong computer science division at NASA Ames’ research center (half a mile away on the other side of the freeway from the Googleplex). Part of Google’s deal with Norvig and the other people he brought in was what they could keep a presence at NASA Ames. Thus, a symbiotic relation has developed that leads to things like this —

      ‘NASA Builds Your Own Private Satellite — With Google Android’

      “What would you do with your own private satellite? …PhoneSat — a project overseen by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley — wants to lower the cost of building space satellites to the point where anyone with space ambitions could launch one.Yes, it’s a satellite made from a phone. The not-so-secret ingredient is Google’s Android mobile operating system.”

      As you say, Android 4.0 is a free, open-source OS. Google partners happily with companies in South Korea and Taiwan, which are where the top manufacturing talent mostly seems to be these days.

      Do the math ….

    2. charles sereno

      Old Pyrrhus sometimes gets a bad rap. As far as I know, he never lost a battle or lost more men in any of his battles. It’s just that he probably thought his real losses didn’t necessarily outweigh the benefits of every victory. Before Hannibal, he swept his foes away with elephants.

    3. PL9

      So the foreign courts are more reliably fair?

      As far as I can tell, and according to _Wired_ the judgement made sense, and Android is a rip-off clone of Apple’s work.

      Whey do people want to let the true creators get robbed to save a penny on their electronics. Let Google invent something besides spying and advertising for a change.

  3. Lloyd C. Bankster

    Re: Why are the Big Banks Suddenly Afraid? (NY Times)

    Simon Johnson: “The big banks and their friends should be afraid. Serious people on the right and on the left are reassessing if we really need our largest banks to be so large and so highly leveraged..”

    That’s right Simon, we’re very afraid.

    So afraid, in fact, that I’m trembling in my $38,000 Tistoni custom-made shoes, featuring linen twine, lined with glove-soft goatskin and festooned with a gold and diamond buckle, as my servant brings in a 6-liter bottle of Methuselah Romanée-Conti Vintage 1971 (purchased by my assistant at a Christie’s auction for only $69,325) and pours a glass into my $3,750 wine glass with a small diamond on the stem, made from borosilicate, a glass type known for its high resistance to thermal shock, which maintains the wine’s properties at normal levels while the glass is held in warm hands. The 0.15 karat diamond with G color and VVS 1 purity and the borosilicate are fused at 1,200 degrees Celsius.

    Aren’t you the same Simon Johnson who keeps referring to “regulatory capture”, because you just can’t bring yourself to use the word “fraud” or god forbid, the word “crime” and you can’t seem to understand or bring yourself to say that the politicians and regulators have all been bought off.

    Simon says: “We need a system with multiple fail-safes, and making the largest banks smaller and less leveraged would achieve precisely that goal.”

    Nice try, simple Simon, but there’s just one little problem. To get any of these changes you’re going to need our consent, and we shit on your system of multiple fail-safes.

    On second thought, if you ask us real nice, we might agree to one or two fail-safes, just for the safe of appearances, not that we have any intention of honoring the agreements.

    ha ha ha

    Go back to school, Simple Simon.

    1. Lloyd C. Bankster

      Hey Simon, Lloyd here.

      It’s a slow day here at the office, and I needed comic relief so I had my secretary read over some of your articles and highlight some of the best parts for me:

      Here’s one or two she highlighted with a yellow magic marker, and sarcastic smileys ( >;-)

      Simple Simon quote #1: “…Tim Geithner and the responsible regulators have been intellectually captured..” ( >;-)

      Simple Simon quote #2: “Mr. Friedman bought Goldman Sachs stock after the moment when that company was effectively rescued by the Federal Reserve – by being allowed to become a bank holding company in September 2008. Mr. Friedman is a former chairman of Goldman Sachs and was a director of Goldman at the time.

      How was Mr. Friedman allowed to own these shares while being a Class C director? Was this a decision of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors or the New York Fed?

      I’m not accusing Mr. Friedman of any wrongdoing; I’m confident he had permission to own bank stock. I’m asking who gave him permission and on what basis.” ( >;-)

      Glad to hear that you’re not accusing Mr Friedman of any wrongdoing.

      You’re just not catching on too quickly are you, Mr. MIT professor?

      Something’s happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

      That explains why the Times decided they could use you.

      1. psychohistorian

        Nicely done!

        I call people like Simon, Krugman, Delong and such Border Routers.

        In large networks, Border Routers are set up to handle specific kinds of traffic into or out of the inner sanctum. I call them the almost good enough routers in our social system because they keep the energy for change from seeing the real inner workings of our global inherited rich at the top, ongoing inheritance and private ownership of property based system. They effectively churn out ongoing agnotology blinding most to the structural problems of our society.

        It would be nice if one or more of these Border Routers went rogue and started spewing out the dealings of the inner sanctum of the global inherited rich and how they control our world.

        1. Lloyd C. Bankster


          In my Adam Davidson takedown 2 or 3 weeks ago, I was criticized for ordering an inexpensive 2008 Pinot Noir at Masa’s, so this time I decided to play it safe and go with a $69,325 bottle of Methuselah Romanée-Conti Vintage 1971.

    2. LucyLulu

      There is pending legislation in the House Financial Services Committee that would limit the size of banks, banks holding companies, and non-bank financial institutions. Depending on type of institution, in a nutshell, it caps them either as percentage of GDP, actual $ figures, or to retain 10% minimum equity (holding company). Legislation here:

      It allegedly has some bipartisan support, though I’m not sure how much. It was a while ago but IIRC, Bachus, House Finance Chair, was considering signing on as a sponsor. Brad Miller introduced the bill last spring, with Brad Sherman and Ellison as co-sponsors. Sherrod Brown has the same legislation pending in the Senate (where is started). Their Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee has passed no legislation so far this year, and only six pieces last year, only one of which was non-trivial, so perhaps the chances aren’t so good for action in the Senate. (Why are we paying them again?) A similar bill was defeated in the Senate after gaining only 3 Republican and roughly 30 Democratic votes.

  4. F. Beard

    Patents. Who needs them? Creators create because that’s what they do.

    Look at pure scientists. How much money do they make off their discoveries? Not much, eh? Was Einstein rich or just comfortably well off?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Being comfortable off should be for everyone, not just scientists.

      And if you agree with Locke’s spoilage constraint, where ‘none can seize property beyond that which can be used by one’s own labor,’ you can look into whether any billionaire can use his or her billions by his/her own labor.

      Again, debating printing new money pits those in the 99.99% who are for it against those in the 99.99% who are against it, only to see that new money go where old money went – the 0.01%, if it does happens.

      As you shift the debate from printing money to distributing the existing money equitably, you shift the debate to one about the huge gap between the 0.01% and the 99.99%.

      1. Nathanael

        I agree entirely. However, if you *don’t* print money at *all* (with something stupid and moronic like a gold standard), then there is *never* enough money going around, and the 0.1% win anyway.

        It is most important that the wealth be redistributed from the 0.1% to the 99%, but that doesn’t *remove* the need to print money.

        In fact, printing money and giving it to the 99% is a very effective way of redistributing wealth.

        1. F. Beard

          In fact, printing money and giving it to the 99% is a very effective way of redistributing wealth. Nathanael

          Exactly! Even if EVERYONE received an equal amount it would still reduce relative wealth disparity since the amount given would make far more difference to the poor than to the rich.

  5. good luck flattening my affect

    A flat feeling! Ingenious, trying to take popular revulsion against a discredited pretense of public choice and pin it to a candidate who’s “flat.”

  6. Joe

    Wow, that ‘anarchist literature’ sure is dangerous. If people read it, well, they might just turn into dangerous monsters.

  7. Cock Riot

    American flower growers want US consumers to “Buy American”? How about first the American flower growers make a pledge to only “Hire American” and then we’ll see.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      CR, “American flowers” – Does cocaine come with that? (Cocaine smuggling in “foreign flowers” by the truckload into US since at least 1980.)

  8. Greg Marquez

    Re: Apple and patents.
    I think it might help if we started calling patents, “government enforced monopolies.”

    As in, “Why is it we give Apple, a company with 80 Billion dollars of cash held out of the country to avoid taxes, a company who’s major market is the US, a company which has shipped all it’s jobs overseas, a government enforced monopoly?

    I’m pretty sure if Mitt was running the patent office the U.S. would be getting the lions share of Apple’s profits not the other way around.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Apple’s billions.

      Again, there is enough money already printed.

      It’s just in off shore, tax havens, among other places.

      1. F. Beard

        You really are a banker tool, aren’t you?

        Banks hate money creation by government too since they prefer to create all the money and drive people into debt with it.

        The Federal Government, otoh, can use its money creation power to free people from debt.

        Moreover, increased Federal taxation during a depression is BAD since Federal taxation destroys money.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          This is the cycle.

          1. print money
          2. printed money goes to the 0.01%. No money for the 99.99%..
          3. Print more money
          4. repeat cycle.

          1. Nathanael

            This is the *current* cycle. FDR did something entirely different:
            (1) Print money.
            (2) Give it to the 99% in exchange for building public works.
            (3) Repeat.

            Works a lot better, eh?

          2. F. Beard

            The money eliminates debt! The population would end up debt free! And those not in debt would have a brand new chunk of cash to spend or save.

            But MLTPB says “No! Don’t give money to the 99.99% because some of it will go to the .01%.”

            Your solution is dumb – increasing taxes in a Depression. And why? Envy?

            Look. Let’s face it. YOU probably deserve to be poor. But hey, you’re a Buddhist, so what does it matter?

          3. skippy

            “The money eliminates debt!” – beardo

            The debt is – too the banks – and the 1%, for fruadulent loans, crappy maturity investments, a hole cornucopia of malfeasnt leaveraged dreck used for fill their bounus quotas, fill the massive securitized holes they dug.

            So yeah give the rubes a few bucks and losen up the chains on consumerist spending dressed up as feeding – sheltering the poor. Because a the end of the day, the playing field is still the same, the power distrabution ecessively top heavy. We will repete…

            Skippy… MLTPB a banker toady? Theres that commic shtick of yours again… everyones on the devils side, if not on yours. BTW in my book you would make a fine bankster, corporate isssuer of common stock, whats the difference any way? Semantics? Its the peoples money, the people should have a say, make the hole process a utility used for the betterment of the commons. The finacial criminals can play their games within a confined playing field, like a finacial octagon, where they can rip each others faces off with out deminishing the commons or induce world wide economic choas.

          4. F. Beard

            The debt is – too the banks – skippy

            No. Except for some of the interest, the debt is to the depositors and bondholders (including pensioners). So the repayment of the debt, except for some of the interest, goes to bondholders and to backing demand deposits (where it should have never have been taken from in the first place).

            BTW in my book you would make a fine bankster, skippy

            I have never charged interest in my life.

            corporate isssuer of common stock, whats the difference any way? Semantics? skippy

            The difference between taking profits and sharing profits. The difference between concentrating power and decentralizing it.

            Its the peoples money, the people should have a say, make the hole process a utility used for the betterment of the commons. skippy

            Sure. The government should spend generously to improve the commons. But after the bailout period, government money should be demoted to legal tender for government debts only and, of course, be inexpensive fiat.

            The finacial criminals can play their games within a confined playing field, like a finacial octagon, where they can rip each others faces off with out deminishing the commons or induce world wide economic choas. skippy

            Private money would only be acceptable for private debts. Without a debt enslaved population to work with, private money issuers would have to give genuine value for people to accept their money. Hence common stock as the ideal private money form.

          5. skippy


            You seem to forget how things got that way ie: the people holding the bag of rubbish debt, whilst the creators have striped the value and long gone. You also seem to forget the driving forces that facilitated this hole melt down. You also seem to forget the derivative problem. Why?

            Skippy… its nothing more than a back door bailout via the victims and all dressed up as good will. For a guy that is good with indentured humans, the oldest form of debt, your a walking contradiction. The slavery must end…

          6. F. Beard

            You seem to forget how things got that way ie: the people holding the bag of rubbish debt, skippy

            The Bible forbids collecting interest from a fellow countrymen (Deuteronomy 23:19-20). It also commands periodic debt forgiveness (Deuteronomy 15, Leviticus 25). Moreover, the agricultural land could not be permanently lost (50 years max).

            You also seem to forget the derivative problem. Why? skippy

            Because derivatives are a form of gambling and what do I care about gamblers? Also, a universal bailout would prevent nearly all CDS (credit default insurance) from being triggered.

            Skippy… its nothing more than a back door bailout via the victims and all dressed up as good will. skippy

            Like I explained, most of the money will go to fulfilling a 100% reserve requirement so the banks could not touch it. However you have a point with the interest payments which would go toward bank equity. Steve Keen’s plan, one huge lump sum, would eliminate a lot more of that interest via prepayment. However, a metered bailout would allow a lot of people to prepay too, though not as much as Keen’s plan.

            So how about this? We give every American adult citizen a lump sum $160,000 with the condition that debt must be paid off first? The creditors would get a prepayment penalty but no interest on that $160,000. Satisfied?

            For a guy that is good with indentured humans, the oldest form of debt, skippy

            Many American came over as indentured servants and if their masters obeyed the Bible, they were well treated and sent off well provisioned.

            The slavery must end… skippy

            Credit creation, a form of counterfeiting, drives people into debt slavery with their own stolen purchasing power. That must end indeed.

          7. Skippy


            As someone that has had quite a lot of assertions revoked by material fact[s. I’m sorry to say, your simplistic accountancy approach to the problem set[s is redundant and will only make matters worse in the long run. Funny how economics and religion is conjoined at the head… eh. Know wonder the basics are – still – un-agreed upon, like the 38,000 sects of Christendom, such are the vapors swirling in a fog of trope.

            Your world of – what we do – and – why we do it – is coming to an end, worshiping falsehoods will have that effect (massive amount of data and growing). Until we align our selves with the system that preceded our species, we will repeat.Its all there, plain as day, yet ideology blinds so many.

            Skippy… Have fun watching polotics – economics boil down into a singularity of its core ideology (its mine, gawd said so). Good bye beardo…

          8. F. Beard

            and will only make matters worse in the long run. skippy

            1) We have to survive the present to reach the long run.
            2) Justice is the wisest thing, short or long run.

            As for me, I’m hedged – that Rapture thingy. It’s not my world that’s coming to an end.

          9. Skippy


            A belief that foretold a future… a congregation set to its almighty will…. has already set its self upon the sacrificial alter.

            skippy… what can one say when – fail – is baked in… BTW this is not – my – world… so its not ending, but, a beginning. Bon voyage… and we’ll clean up after your gone.

  9. Jackrabbit

    Bernanke: The punchbowl is empty, but I’ll never take it away.

    Market soars (anticpating lemonade).


    He has the audacity to site Fed’s contribution to job creation even as NYT describes the rot: Majority of New Jobs Pay Low Wages Study Finds
    The disappearance of midwage, midskill jobs is part of a longer-term trend that some refer to as a hollowing out of the work force.

  10. Valissa

    After reading all the criticisms of Clint Eastwood’s convention speech, I had to see it for myself. To my surprise I really enjoyed Clint’s very informal and idiosyncratic one-man political skit. I think that’s because it wasn’t the typical tightly scripted political propaganda sermon. I think Lambert only linked to the text of the speech above, and I think ya need to see and experience Clint’s speech to fully appreciate it. This article from Forbes isn’t anything special but it contains the 11 minute video the speech (he was only supposed to talk for 5 minutes).

    Clint Eastwood’s Crazy Speech Won’t Destroy His Legacy

    1. Susan the other

      I kinda liked it too. And there was method to his madness. It was so Romney could take the high road. Which he did then do ad nauseum. Romney was more than a tad forgettable. The two things I took away from Romney’s speech were that he is dedicated to protecting the poor and hapless of America but his constituents are not. And that glitch about global warming… Romney was going to make a coherent comment about sea level rise but the audience was so damn dumb they thought he was kidding! And Romney was quick enough on his feet to simply say he would protect “you and your families.”

          1. F. Beard

            And while we’re at it, aren’t the so-called babes on Fox TV anything but? What a hard bunch of vapid blonds!

            But I admit a weakness for Erin Burnett.

      1. Nathanael

        Romney has such a long record of lies (google multiplechoicemitt or etch-a-sketch romney) that there really is no point listening to any speech he makes.

        I have absolutely no idea what he is going to do on most issues; he is too dishonest to judge by his words.

        If we go by his record at Bain Capital, however, he will loot the government in order to transfer money to his pals and himself, and will then leave it a broken wreck. Sort of like Bush II.

        1. F. Beard

          Lying for the Lord refers to the practice of lying to protect the image of and belief in the Mormon religion, a practice which Mormonism itself fosters in various ways. From Joseph Smith’s denial of having more than one wife, to polygamous Mormon missionaries telling European investigators that reports about polygamy in Utah were lies put out by “anti-Mormons” and disgruntled ex-members, to Gordon B. Hinckley’s dishonest equivocation on national television over Mormon doctrine, Mormonism’s history seems replete with examples of lying. Common members see such examples as situations where lying is justified. For the Mormon, loyalty and the welfare of the church are more important than the principle of honesty, and plausible denials and deception by omission are warranted by an opportunity to have the Mormon organization seen in the best possible light. This is part of the larger package of things that lead many to describe Mormonism as a cult. “Lying for the lord” is part of Mormonism’s larger deceptive mainstreaming tactics, and conversion numbers would drastically lower if important Mormon beliefs were fully disclosed to investigators. from [emphasis added]

          1. Nathanael

            It should be made very clear that the practice of “Lying for the Lord” has deep roots in Protestant and Catholic traditions, dating long before Mormonism was founded.

            A bunch of the bullcrap which has been spread claiming that the Founding Fathers were right-wing Christians (they were mostly deists or atheists, with the occasional Unitarian) was deliberately spread during the 19th cenutry by “lying for the Lord” types. The “George Washington and the cherry tree” myth was spread by another one of these “lying for the Lord” types.

            For the really juicy Catholic examples you have to go back further, to the Middle Ages when people were told not to read the Bible because it might give them the wrong ideas.

          2. Nathanael

            …though now that I think about it, there are the Pope’s orders (on threat of excommunication) that Church officials should lie about and cover up the abuse of children by priests. This was another example of “Lying for the Lord”, given that the excuse was that the popularity of and respect for the Catholic Church must be maintained.

          3. Nathanael

            I’ve concluded that organizations which claim to be working for God can turn evil really, really easily. It starts to be really easy to justify *anything* if you think you are the true representative of God.

          4. F. Beard

            I don’t defend Protestant Churches or the Roman Catholic Church (I do recall that the Jesuits were allowed to lie if they held a “mental reservation”) but I know the Bible is clear that lying is a SERIOUS sin. Now of course, one might lie to protect someone else’s life but lying to protect Joe Smith’s reputation or about Mormon doctrine does not qualify as a legitimate excuse.

          5. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Nathanael, 2 months ago I watched a RC priest at check-out buying 4 sets of white crew socks, size for very young boys. Urge to kill.

      2. RupanIII

        I’ll third this sentiment. Out of what I saw of the convention, which admittedly wasn’t a great deal, it was easily the highlight. And this is from someone who intends to vote 3rd party. I thought it was a welcome change from all the ‘my relatives came to this country and worked 47 jobs at the same time and couldn’t speak a word of English – or any other language!’ stories. Obviously it was improvised and theatrical, but no, he didn’t come across as a raving lunatic, and no, it wasn’t difficult to follow. It was pretty moderate really; he mentioned different political affiliations not so much as derided Other, but rather as fellow countrymen.

        The real sorry spectacle here is the ugly groupthink faux-controversy swarm (blogs, media, celebs, and other sycophants). I’m not saying people shouldn’t examine what he said of course, but I haven’t seen any level-headed examinations. All I’ve seen have been nasty snark and lazy hack age jokes. I mean, the guy is a legend, show some respect even if you disagree. Then again I guess that’s a pretty antiquated notion in contemporary discourse (political or otherwise).

    2. craazyman

      A Prince of Our Disorder

      The late Harvard psychiatrist John Mack wrote a biography of British adventurer TE Lawrence, who I will always believe looked exactly like Peter O’Toole. He titled it “A Prince of Our Disorder”.

      I read Lawrence’s “Revolt in the Desert” and “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” at one point in my life, for some reason that I can’t remember now. Probly a search for seeds of an adventurism that I lacked, being content, as I am, mostly to do nothing. The books held passages of brilliance but I thought they were mostly long stretches of tedium. They seemed trips across a desert in themselves, with only an occasional oasis.

      I think I can inuit what Dr. Mack may have had in mind. That commanding sense of supremacy that an Anglo like Lawerence must have felt among the savage tribes of Arabia, and the equally commanding belief in the virtue of his own cause, whatever it was. World War I and the Germans and the Great Game, I suppose, at the time. But more likely, himself.

      My friend, a poet and playwright, was less impressed than me. When I told him what I was reading he scowled in disapproval and expressed concern for my good sense, disappointed that I’d even tenuously fallen under the spell of such immature romanticism.

      Thus it was a little sad to see a great artist like Mr. Eastwood dancing like an organ grinders’ monkey under the spell of our disorder. Not the British one. Our homegrown version. That we “own this land” and that we’re the greatest ever and can do no wrong, even to ourselves, and that we need to remember that and be born again in November 2012 and make the future as wonderful and mythic as the past. Especially when an American prince like Mr. Romney, a man apparently addicted to money and all the certainties that come with it, including the conceit of the virtue of his chosen method of acquisition, is grinding out a tune that he picked up somewhere on Wall Street, in the 1980s, and disguising it as a form of hope.

      Two American princes on stage. And two disorders. It’s hard to believe how powerful these disorders are and how easily people fall under their spell — again and again. Glad I only watched the Youtube thing with Mr. Eastwood. I can pick up the rest of the phenomenon just by channeling it. You don’t need to listen to it or watch it on TV. Why go to that effort when you can just lay around and see it all in a few bright seconds of mind light? haha. That’s efficiency! I’d rather read about the NFL.

      1. Nathanael

        T.E. Lawrence, like Teddy Roosevelt, could get away with this disorder because he was *deeply competent*.

        We see a lot of people with this disorder who are *not* competent, and they are causing utter disaster. George W. Bush comes to mind.

      2. Jim Haygood

        That’s a fine essay on our next POTUS (Psychopath of the United States).

        Meanwhile, when it comes to the supporting cast of 535 moral dwarves, one literally cannot make this sh*t up:

        About 125 students who took a popular Harvard University government class are under investigation in the largest academic misconduct scandal known at the school.

        The focus of the probe is a take-home final exam on which some students may have collaborated or copied answers, officials at Harvard said yesterday.

        Students familiar with the investigation said the course being probed was Government 1310: Introduction to Congress, the Harvard Crimson student newspaper reported.

        AH HA HA HA … they’ve already mastered the situational ethics; now they just need to learn how to raise dirty money (and turn 25 to qualify).

        1. craazyman

          that sounds pretty par for the course to me, no pun intended.

          what’s college for if you and your buddies can’t get an advance copy of the test? It’s like college without kegs of beer.

          If you’re too lazy and disinterested to even study the test itself, and still get a “C” in the class, you know you’re on your way somewhere. . . haha ahaha ahahaha . . . maybe even Congress.

      3. Lidia

        “organ grinder’s monkey”


        Even Romney and Queen Ann are like organ grinder’s monkeys. There’s no there there. They hop around and say stupid things about how Mitt buys his shirts at Costco and irons them himself. These are the sorts of lies that are beneath ANYONE’s dignity, one would think.

      4. LeonovaBalletRusse

        c, T.E. Lawrence: MI5 tool to use & betray Arabs, get proxy “foothold” in M.E.

        1. Mark P.

          You’d mean MI6, which does foreign intelligence. MI5 does internal UK counter-intelligence and security.

          Also, no ‘proxy “foothold” in M.E.’ necessary in those days. The British simply took over and divided up the old Ottoman Empire with the French under the terms of the Sykes-Picot agreement, simultaneously setting up the House of Saud as figurehead rulers. Indirect rule was the preferred British imperial method.

          Those were the days when people like Lawrence or Gertrude Bell —

          Or Jackie Fisher —

          — could enter a situation and pretty much ordain the way the world was going to be for the next half-century or more. Whatever you may feel about the British, Churchill was perhaps the least of a line of brilliant, contentious and highly effective individuals.

          The US also used to produce such individuals, though cast in a more democratic mould: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Rickover, Kennan, Marshall, Schriever, Kennan, and others.

  11. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Facing Grand Jury Intimidation: Fear, Silence and Solidarity

    The local alternative newspaper has been following this story, and it’s really very disturbing:

    Early morning raids by Federal SWAT agents using flashbangs… all to look for bandanas, spray paint, and political pamphlets. I bet no judge signed off on those warrents.

    I think this is less about broken windows and more about cracking down on political dissent.

    1. ScottS

      This is what happens when people in masks break things. It isn’t constructive, it doesn’t achieve anything. Worse than that, it “justifies” (or rationalizes, anyway) raids on legitimate reformers.

      Nonviolence is the most powerful protest method.

    2. Nathanael

      Oh, definitely. Expect more of this sort of garbage.

      Meanwhile, some authoritarian would-be warlord is quietly building an army to overthrow the government and the police are paying no attention.

      We saw this happen in 1910s-20s Italy and 1920s-30s Germany.

      1. Ms G

        New York City Mayor Michael Ruben Bloomberg has already done that — he considers the NYPD his “private army” and his preferred means of transportation are his private plane and helicopter (quick exit when s**t hits the fan).

  12. Doug Terpstra

    South African miners are charged with the murder of fellow protesters who were shot by police. Say what? Beyond Orwellian, the head-spinning Guardian article reads like a really bad Monty Python skit. “That’s not funny; that’s sick.”

    1. Nathanael

      As noted, this is a leftover apartheid law. You didn’t think the apartheid system would go away that easily, did you?

      Thankfully this will probably create enough upset to reform the system in South Africa.

  13. Hugh

    It was funny to see in the Harvard story that they don’t have teaching assistants but teaching fellows. That bit of pretentiousness really says it all. The parents are paying $40,000-$50,000 a year so that their kid can sit in a large auditorium getting bored out of their mind by some professor just going through the motions dishing out some Conventional Wisdom piffle about Congress. The tests are poorly written. Their take home, use any resource but not other students or professional services, guidelines are not only designed to encourage cheating, not to mention a lot of cutting and pasting from wikipedia, but as a feint to cover up the course’s deficiencies.

    I think the best way to look at this is as a pantomime. Parents pretend they are paying for their child’s education when what they are actually doing is purchasing a Harvard diploma with its cachet and social connections. Professors and teaching assistants reciprocate pretending to teach them.

    The only surprise is that the professor even raised this as an issue. Maybe he wanted to get out of teaching this class in the future. Maybe Harvard took up the issue because it wanted to beat its breast about its risible intellectual integrity. Posturing, in any case, is part of the academic soul.

  14. Hugh

    Re torture, this is something I wrote 3 years ago on this:

    On August 24, 2009, Eric Holder announced that Assistant USA John Durham who was in charge of the investigation of the destruction of the torture tapes would conduct a preliminary review into detainee abuses overseas. Not only were detainees tortured but up to 100 died as a result. It is clear that serious violation of laws and treaty obligations occurred. The Obama Administration has from the beginning been reluctant to investigate criminal wrongdoing during the Bush Presidency. With regard to torture, Obama said even before his inauguration in a January 14, 2009 interview with Geroge Stephanopoulos that:

    “what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed looking at what we got wrong in the past”

    Holder repeated this view in his statement:

    “I share the President’s conviction that as a nation, we must, to the extent possible, look forward and not backward when it comes to issues such as these.”

    He also made it made it clear that this “preliminary review” would be narrow in scope

    “the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel [i.e. the infamous Yoo and Bybee torture memos] regarding the interrogation of detainees”

    Such a formulation guarantees that the authors of the memos, Bush, Cheney, and other high ranking Bush officials who created the country’s torture policies, as well as those who tortured “within the scope” of the torture memos would not face any legal jeopardy. Only those low level torturers who exceeded the torture guidelines would face investigation and prosecution. The legal status of those who tortured exceeding the guidelines but at the direction of the White House is unclear. This is essentially a recipe for a whitewash

    Another point I should have added was, as a preliminary review, Durham was just reviewing existing, available materials. He did not conduct an investigation.

    The other thing is that this reflects a longstanding Washington technique in ducking responsibility. When sufficiently pushed, announce a commission, or as here, a review. Quietly restrict its powers, reduce its scope, and put it in the hands, not of a sycophant, but still an Establishment player. This allows the Administration both to say that the problem has been addressed but that it is out of their hands. Then they wait and let a good long time pass, in this case 3 years. And then long after the outrage has burnt out, when few even remember there ever was an “investigation”, preferably when no one is paying attention, say in the dog days of August when the public is thinking about vacation and Labor Day, and maybe even when some party is holding their convention, announce that there is nothing to see here, move along.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, Holder is an accessory after the fact of the Conspiracy and its implementation, thus extending the statute of limitations on prosecution for the International War Crimes/Crimes Against Humanity. See Nuremberg International Tribunal for definition of “Conspiracy” during H.R. Reich III: To make a plan to “Rule the World” by force, esp. through engaging in acts of “Pre-Emptive War” in the interest of “National Security.” This did PNAC writers and signatories, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. do. Obama and Holder continue the Conspiracy through acts of deceit, aggression, and cover-up, as well as refusal to prosecute the criminals.

  15. Nathanael

    From the NYT article about big banks being afraid:
    “As Paul Singer, a hedge fund manager and influential Republican donor, says of the big banks, “Private reward and public risk is not what conservatives should want.””

    Boy. Naive fellow, this Paul Singer. He apparently hasn’t looked at Republican policies for the past 100 years — or conservative policies for the past *5000* years.

  16. Hugh

    Clint Eastwood spoke about 23 million unemployed. Romney, the one time I heard him use this figure, was more accurate in referring to 23 million unemployed, part timers, and other workers who had stopped looking for work.

    I can’t help but think that this number in some weird way comes from me. Let me explain and bear with me because WordPress eats my comments if I use the normal way of referring to the USix measure of un- and underemployment. The thing about this is that the BLS reports the USix as a percent, not a number. I’ve been writing monthly analyses of the jobs report for some time now. One of the things that bothered me was that the USix was not given as a number. So I began calculating it in my posts. It is just the sum of the UThree unemployed (a number which the Bureau does report and which is the basis for the official unemployment rate), involuntary part timers, and the marginally attached (those who have looked for work in the last year but not the last month). Add these together and you get for July, the last month covered, 23.569 million. I was I believe the first to start reporting this number regularly and one of the few who does.

    The marginally attached are not defined as being in the labor force and this got me eventually looking at the larger category of Not in Labor Force, Want a Job Now (6.837 million in July). I had problems with this category and the use of just the marginally attached to represent what I call the undercount (those not counted in the labor force but who would work if jobs were available), and I came up with an alternate and I think better calculation of it. Plug that into the mix and the un- and under employed numbered 29.074 million in July.

    It is a little odd and disconcerting to see the Republicans citing a number that I began emphasizing some time ago, but the truth is actually far worse than the 23 million number they are using. But while I think they are using a number that came from me, I am not silly enough to think they actually read me.

  17. Claire

    Reading Naked Capitalism, we hear a lot about worthless frauds, Wall Street pimps and con-men, academic sell-outs, etc, it seems like that’s all there is anymore, and so it was a refreshing change when I came across the following passages which describe a writer who never sold out:

    “The farther he goes the more good it does me. I don’t want philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain basement. He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more he grinds my nose in the shit the more I am grateful to him.

    He’s not f*cking me about, he’s not leading me up any garden path, he’s not slipping me a wink, he’s not flogging me a remedy or a path or a revelation or a basinful of breadcrumbs, he’s not selling me anything I don’t want to buy — he doesn’t give a bollock whether I buy or not — he hasn’t got his hand over his heart. Well, I’ll buy his goods, hook, line and sinker, because he leaves no stone unturned and no maggot lonely. He brings forth a body of beauty.

    His work is beautiful.”

    (Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize-winning English playwright, describing the work of his mentor, Samuel Beckett.)

    And Richard Ellman, noted biographer of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and W.B. Yeats, added this:

    “Samuel Beckett is sui generis…He has given a voice to the decrepit and maimed and inarticulate, men and women at the end of their tether, past pose or pretense, past claim of meaningful existence. He seems to say that only there and then, as metabolism lowers, amid God’s paucity, not his plenty, can the core of the human condition be approached… Yet his musical cadences, his wrought and precise sentences, cannot help but stave off the void… Like salamanders we survive in his fire. “

  18. barrisj

    For those here who even care about such things, Scott Horton addresses the latest shameful bit of nonfeasance from Holder and DOJ, when Holder announced that Justice is terminating any further investigations into people dying whilst in CIA custody. The Banksters: get-out-of-jail-card; CIA torturers: no proof; wilfully destroyed videotapes of interrogations that would have supplied proof: no case to answer for. Holder and his DOJ are – if possible – far worse than the early Ashcroft years…who does Romney have lined up as a AG replacement?

    Holder Announces Impunity for Torture-Homicides
    There is some long-settled wisdom among Washington politicos: When you have bad news and want to avoid attention, you release it just before a holiday weekend. And when you can hold off long enough to ensure that it is totally buried, you release it at the most moribund point in the entire news calendar: just before the Labor Day weekend, when no one who counts in American politics is likely to be paying any attention. So what news story was official Washington most eager to bury this year? We have our answer. The New York Times reports:

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Thursday that no one would be prosecuted for the deaths of a prisoner in Afghanistan in 2002 and another in Iraq in 2003, eliminating the last possibility that any criminal charges will be brought as a result of the brutal interrogations carried out by the C.I.A.

    Mr. Holder had already ruled out any charges related to the use of waterboarding and other methods that most human rights experts consider to be torture. His announcement closes a contentious three-year investigation by the Justice Department and brings to an end years of dispute over whether line intelligence or military personnel or their superiors would be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The closing of the two cases means that the Obama administration’s limited effort to scrutinize the counterterrorism programs carried out under President George W. Bush has come to an end.
    The Justice Department’s decision to establish a principle of impunity should have other consequences on the international stage. First, under the doctrine of command responsibility, which applies with full force to deaths in detention during wartime, when conduct producing death occurs, and those immediately responsible are not criminally investigated or prosecuted, the criminal accountability for the deaths passes up the chain of command. Because of the dubious circumstances surrounding the Durham investigation and the high probability that political, rather than legal, decisions dictated the outcome, the decision not to prosecute should result in the imposition of legal liability for the deaths on persons further up the chain of command.

    Second, the homicides in question occurred outside of the United States, and are under the criminal-law jurisdiction of several other nations. The Durham investigation appears to have been prolonged for at least eighteen months beyond its actual conclusion in order to provide a pretext to block related foreign criminal investigations. There is now no reason why those proceedings should not go forward. Indeed, a decision by the Holder Justice Department to establish a principle of impunity means, under established international-law concepts, that other prosecutors and courts are now free to proceed.

    Really, who is left in the US to even concern him or herself about these atrocities of injustice?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Holder would have received the death sentence at Nuremberg’s International Tribunal 1945.

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