Links 09/29/2012

A River Runs Through…Gale Crater Scientific American

Dioxin Causes Disease and Reproductive Problems Across Generations, Study Finds Science Daily (CL)

Energy wonder crop Arundo raises invasive fears Raleigh News & Observer

Mathematics at Google [PDF]. Interesting!

Faltering Chinese Demand Affecting a Broad Range of Industries Financial Armageddon

China’s Bo Xilai expelled and faces criminal charges BBC

Bo Xilai expelled from CPC, public office Xinhua. Official prose, Chinese style.

Bo Xilai Falls, China’s Microbloggers Gloat WSJ

The Bo Xilai Case: China’s Pandora’s Box New Yorker

A tail-risk short position that will pay off soon John Dizard, FT

Dad, you were right Gillian Tett, FT. A penny for the old guy?

Spanish banks need over 50 billion euros to clean up balance sheets EL Pais (report).

Catalan parliament approves resolution on self-determination El Pais

Portugal at flashpoint as austerity lights fires in mild-mannered populace Guardian

Austerity hurts blood donations  Ekathimerini

French budget raises taxes on rich  Al Jazeera

What the Pope’s butler saw Independent. Power struggles in the Vatican.

Libya thwarts planned anti-militia protests Reuters. No Second Amendment in Libya?

Intelligence officials explain ‘evolving’ US understanding of attack on consulate in Libya AP

Intelligence office says it got Libya attack wrong, not White House McClatchy. Falling on their sword?

Obama blocks Chinese purchase of US wind farms AP. They’re near a drone base.

Fed’s Fisher says U.S. “drowning in unemployment” Reuters

BofA pays $2.4 billion to settle claims over Merrill Reuters

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Update: Checks to Victims, Servicing Standards, Ongoing Lawsuits David Dayen, FDL

The plan is to pay out the claims in mid-2013. If this works and they get the target of 750,000 responses, then the payout will amount to $2,000 “sorry your home was stolen” checks. However, the challenge will come in actually finding these homeowners, who after all lost their home and experienced an upheaval in their lives. They may have left a forwarding address, and presumably that’s where these claim forms are being sent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the families still live there. Moreover, foreclosure victims may be wary of anything through the mail that has their old bank’s name on it and references their past foreclosure. Hopefully the packet doesn’t look like the bank going after them for a deficiency judgment.

Transactional Attorney Ethics Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

The secrets of Buffett’s success Economist

Horatio Alger, RIP National Journal

Does economic growth make you happy? TLS

The politics of central banking Dan Hind, Al Jazeera

Union Man The New Yorker. William Seward.

Want to Build Resilience? Kill the Complexity HBR

* * *

Mission elapsed time: T + 22 and counting*

Readers, I apologize for the abbreviated links here “below the fold.” It seems like half the people I know are, like me, “sick and tired” (thought not of NC of course). So I’m turning in earlier.

Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life. –The Manchurian Candidate

CO. Fracking: “A group has been formed to fight the city of Longmont’s proposed ban on fracking that is going to voters in November, and one of the state’s most prominent political consultants has been enlisted to lead the effort.” Big budget; nasty. … Fracking: “Buffeted by public opposition and towns toughening local limits, CO officials are preparing to revise state regulations governing oil and gas drilling. Industry groups on Thursday opposed the effort.

IN. Corruption: “While the 2011 document for Evansville does not allege fraud or other criminal activity, it does state that because the city ‘did not properly maintain accounting records,’ state auditors ‘were not able to apply other auditing procedures to satisfy ourselves as to whether the financial statement (is) fairly stated.'”

FL. Voting: ” What first appeared to be an isolated problem in one FL county has now spread statewide, with election officials in nine counties informing prosecutors or state election officials about questionable voter registration forms filled out on behalf of the R Party of FL. [Rs] already have fired the vendor, and took the additional step of filing an election fraud complaint against the company, Strategic Allied Consulting.” Chutzpah! … Corruption: “[Disney] has spent nearly twice as much money as it had at this same point during the 2010 elections, and it has spent about six times as much as it did during the entire 2008 cycle.” …. Corruption: “Thousands of cellphone text messages accidentally released by Mayor Teresa Jacobs [show] how the sick-time ballot initiative was kept off the ballot. They also show the influence of corporate lobbyists and legal confidantes on Jacobs, who ran as a maverick outsider willing to take on powerful interests. The messages show how she, her staff and a ring of informal advisers worked with businesses to defeat the measure, which would require many employers to provide sick time to their workers.” I like the “maverick outsider” part. Hope and change! … Grandstanding; “Gov. Rick Scott announced late Friday he planned to join the search for missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.” Oh, come on.

ME. Teebee: “The D Senate Campaign Committee is buying $410,000 worth of TV advertising in the U.S. Senate race in ME, but it’s not clear for whom.” Yes, because the D’s threw their own candidate under the bus because they thought King (I) was a shoe-in. Too funny! … Ladies of negotiable affection: “[Attorney Daniel] Lilley has said earlier that he had heard, prior to the evidence being turned over to him, that there were up to 200 names on the client list which included prominent people in the community. Police records state that the dance studio owner videotaped many of the clients without their knowledge and maintained a very specific list of services rendered to clients.”

MT. Legalization: “[Tom] Daubert was a successful lobbyist and public relations consultant for 35 years. More recently, he’s known for his work on behalf of legalizing medical marijuana and as a primary author of Montana’s 2004 Medical Marijuana Act. In April, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises. The charge resulted from his involvement in Montana Cannabis, at one time among the largest dispensaries in the state. Daubert always envisioned Montana Cannabis as a model for how a caregiver ought to operate. Daubert had no criminal record before the felony conviction in April.” Nice work on the medical marijuana crackdown. Barack. …. Legalization: “‘It doesn’t bode well,’ said Missoula attorney John Smith, who represents a medical marijuana provider who has made a plea deal. ‘These are people who weren’t hiding anything, so when the federal government prosecutes them, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.‘” … Hydrocarbons: “The Public Service Commission says the state’s largest two utilities are asking for natural gas rate increases. [N]atural gas prices are near historic lows, and notes the average customer bill has dropped about 40 percent in the last four years.” Just because your bill is low now

TN. Greek life: ” A University of Tennessee student denied ‘butt-chugging’ wine, but bloodstains, his injuries and eyewitness accounts told a different story, UT records released today show.” (“He denies it,” said the King: “leave out that part.”)

TX. Pipelines: “In an age of political polarization, it was refreshing to see older, self-identified Tea Party members who deeply value property rights literally holding hands and linking arms with bright-eyed young environmentalists and Occupiers, some of whom owned nothing but their clothes and the food in their travel packs. The traditional categories often applied to climate justice activists break down when we look at the coalition of pipeline resisters now ready and willing to put their bodies on the line.”

VT. Nukes: “[Arnie Gundersen: ] You’re not going to find the significant changes that really need to be implemented because the plants can’t afford to implement them.”

WA. Water: “A long-awaited [EPA] study says Lower Yakima Valley dairies and several farms are ‘likely’ sources of nitrates contaminating private drinking water wells. The report singles out five dairies, including several whose lagoons it estimates have leaked millions of gallons of manure into the underlying soil each year. [A]bout 24,000 residents [many low-income] — a third of the region’s population — rely on private wells for drinking water.

* Slogan of the day: The radiance of Obama Thought eternally illuminates all of the nation!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

Unidentified child with tiger cub photographed during the the National Geographic Society-Smithsonian Institution Expedition to the Dutch East Indies, 1937
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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. ZygmuntFraud

    I think the quotation of the day, straight-out of the “Machurian Candidate” script, is perfect for “in these times”, simply as reminder to “Be Mindful Out There”. [written Boldly/”imperative mode” just for emphasis.]

    I’d just like to mention another unforgettable scene from the movies. In “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, one of the last few scenes has a female worker from the Public Health Department saying: “John! What’s up?” [in essence]. Whereupon the creature that the female takes to be her co-worker John points a finger at her and blurts out a terrifying alien-sounding screech.

    [end of scene]

      1. Jim Haygood

        Naturally they’ve set up a website for O’Bomney — ‘the elite choice for 2012.’

        Time for me to set up a site for the ‘Depublicrat Party PAC’ and start raisin’ some serious money!

        Maybe as a big bundler I can get some respeck …

          1. Valissa

            I bought the bumper sticker, though I never put those on my car. And I bought the medium size yard sign, which I do intend putting in front of my house :)

        1. Jim S

          Upstart. That candidate is only going to fragment the vote, and you shouldn’t stump for him. For my family and me, there’s only one rallying cry that can excite us:

          “Why vote for the lesser evil>”

          I really think he/she/it’s got a shot this year.

          But O’Bomney does have a nice website…

          1. Bert_S

            Perfect. H. P. Lovecraft did come up with something worse.


            “Right. But, more importantly, what’s your precise nationality? Are you in any sense an American? You weren’t born here, after all.

            The Great Cthulhu:
            I wasn’t in fact born. But that’s not really the point. To answer the question most directly: I predate the United States of America, and therefore by my very age circumvent any citisenship requirements. That said, I’ve maintained a dropbox at Miskatonic, in Arkham, Massachusetts, for centuries now; and, insofar as my current iteration of existence is concerned, Lovecraft was an American, and I could credibly be regarded as his offspring; a bit of uncommonly exhaustive research should lead you to the USNL, 26th March 1790—Statute 103—specifying that: ‘the children of citisens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citisens’—my idea, by the way.

            Interesting. I hadn’t known that.

            The Great Cthulhu:
            Like you’re the only one. I’m eating Donald Trump last.

            That’s a real thing you’re doing? Eating the faithful first?

        2. fresno dan

          The thing if it is, its more real that 100% of the news and commentary. You really can’t call it satire or parody – you have to call it the truth, and call the campaigns and news coverage satire.
          Just like margarine is not butter and can’t be called butter, we need a word for modern news…..hmmmm, uh, …..OH, bullsh*t!

          1. ZygmuntFraud

            You’re brilliant. Karl Rove’s recent Opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal of 26 September 2012 smells like a twice re-heated well-aged serving of ravioli.

          2. Ms G

            No, it is only just beginning. So you get a huge medal and loads of praise but you can’t stop or leave yet.

        3. ZygmuntFraud

          ‘obomney’ is such a perfect mix of ‘obama’ and ‘romney’.
          At obomney2012, I saw a video of a fictional book with a title close to: “Dreams from My Real Father’. The “mix-and-match” techniques are used to great effect, so I don’t know all their tricks.

        4. Ms G

          Holy Toledo, this is Bri-llli-ant! Look at the great stuff that comes out of the Yves-Lambert Academy . . . yesss.

      1. Valissa

        Cartoons it is! In keeping with the theme of the cleverly done video Kevin shared, these are cartoons about bureaucracy.

        A rose by any other name (USA)

        A heartfelt choice (UK)

        The truth hurts

        Just because it’s a stereotype doesn’t mean it’s not true!

        and now a very short clip from perhaps the greatest movie about bureaucracy ever made (granted it’s not a popular film theme)… Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985) – Ministry of Information (< 2min)

        1. Bert_S

          I immediately thought of Gilliam’s Brazil too when I saw the Spanish video.

          But I have to admit, a staple gun shootout is worth a lotta big bucks production.

          1. Valissa

            That stapler shoot-out is genious! The video is an extraordinary piece of craftmanship. The facial expressions, gestures and timing are all impeccable. The feel is modern and fairly realistic.

            Brazil OTOH goes the absurdist route… it’s a dystopian satire that has a retro noir sort of feel to it and has exremely compelling visuals. I’ve never seen anything else like it. Though is some ways it reminds me of Metropolis, another mythically toned sci-fi classic.

          2. Bert_S

            It was a perfect minimalist piece of script writing. The girl was really good, and I could almost see Robert De Niro playing the guy, but that would have blown the whole budget.

            Brazil was one of a kind, maybe almost steampunk, but nobody new what steampunk was in 1985.

            However, if you go to the novel world, and mixed Brazil together with bizzare sorts of magic, a sadistic totaliarain government, cracks into other dimensions, and eldritch creatures leaking thru the cracks, the you would have a novel called Perdido Street Station by China Miéville.

            But Gilliam likes doing “big” over the top stuff. Also did Jabberwocky, Time Bandits, The Fischer King,12 Monkeys,Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

  2. Bert_S

    “Energy wonder crop Arundo raises invasive fears”

    “But it also depends on a decision from the Environmental Protection Agency classifying Arundo as an energy crop for making high-grade ethanol. The premium biofuel is expected to cost as much as $1 more per gallon than conventional ethanol, Harrod said. This class of premium-grade ethanol is currently not commercially available.”

    so….we are doing this so we can buy a Porsche with the brand new 600HP 11:1 compression ratio engine?

      1. Bert_S

        Well, I really don’t think the words green and muscle car work in the same sentence, unless you say something like “my muscle car is painted green”.

        Back in my high school car nut days, I remember some of the older guys getting 6 mpg after hopping them up to get a 11 second something quarter mile time.

        Course if it just sits around at car shows, that would be ok.

  3. dearieme

    Seward: the author doesn’t realise that the Sandwich Islands and Hawaii are the same place. Americans and geography, eh?

  4. Aquifer

    From the AP Libya article: “Republicans have seen the Libya attack as an opportunity to attack President Barack Obama on one of his strengths, foreign policy.”

    There’s the problem – too many folks see Obama’s foreign policy as “one of his strength’s” …

    1. ZygmuntFraud

      Some constituent bodies or organizations within the UN have online TV; one has 24 hour news and/or in-the-field reports on climate and the environent. With respect to Libya, one report was quite discouraging. It said that lots and lots of unexploded ordnance (mines, shells, etc.) is spread over a vast area. It showed some demining specialists picking up the unexploded devices and a very large depot for safekeping and stocking the unexploded ordnance. People are being maimed or injured frequently (say children) by playing with the things or stepping on them.

  5. Susan the other

    It would be nice if the EPA, Congress and the Administration finally admitted we have a sick and polluted countryside, and not just with Dioxin but a myriad of bad stuff. All sorts of toxins. Including GMOs growing in our fields and packaged in our grocery stores. What an awful state we are in. Our physical environment is as toxic as our financial environment. Cleaning up the pollution is going to take millions of workers, from scientists to hazmat people, to labs, to design and production of new equipment. Gosh, you’d think Fisher might see that. Might have the courage to make the suggestion, instead of just whining that we are drowning in unemployment and we are the blind leading the blind and blah blah blah. I can’t be the only one who is sick of all the buck passing.

  6. Susan the other

    Which brings me to HBR. “Build Resilience” by getting rid of complexity – in finance. Andrew Zolli. OK then. This is a goofball plan for a failsafe world. It is true that highly specialized (complex) Dodos do not survive – but if we made their circumstances less complex then the rest of us would not survive. What we need to counter useless complexity is actually a thing called diversity. Diversity is what creates resilience. And we could start by cleaning up our pollution. In finance that means some diversified effective regulation: getting rid of naked shorts; CDSs trading (also done without any rational connection to the underlying “collateral”), ringfencing and regulating all manner of derivatives and separating investment banking from commercial banking. Let their creativity flourish and diversify! But first we need to separate public money from private manipulators. We need to diversity like mad, not simplify. Starting with sovereign public finance.

    1. Glenn Condell

      ”Which brings me to HBR. “Build Resilience” by getting rid of complexity – in finance.’

      I guess we ought to be cheered by these ideas finally penetrating the thick walls of the citadel. It would have been nice for the officer concerned to have at least mentioned Tainter in general and Robb in particular for having receded him by several years with this important insight.

      ‘What we need to counter useless complexity is actually a thing called diversity.’

      Yes and that could be provided if business and its handmaiden economics would take seriously their own most sacred word: competition. Real competition. No govt backing, no favourites, a level playing field, a healthy number of discrete participants in every market.

      ‘But first we need to separate public money from private manipulators. We need to diversity like mad, not simplify. Starting with sovereign public finance.’

      Hunnerd percent! The theory refers to the dangers of ‘tight coupling’ – well that coupling, of citizens’ wealth with banker’s speculation, is the most important of all and if we uncoupled it (no public backing of private credit creation and no bailout of private speculation) then our resilience rating would climb up of the floor immediately.

      It’s not the whole journey, but it would be a good start.

  7. Susan the other

    I agree with Dan Hind. Al Jazeera. Monetary policy is pure politics.

    Adam Levitin, Credit Slips, has alluded to another way to raise employment: A new agency and/or profession that provides an ethical review of financial transactions, vehicles and agents – you know, the stuff created by all our wonderful capitalist creativity. Perhaps a new government agency paid by public revenues so there is no conflict of interest. If we mistakenly get rid of all the creativity (diversity) we will preclude lots of needed employment which could advance a high level of social gain. Now is not the time to snuff out complexity – we’ve got too big a mess to clean up.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Want To Keep Resiliency? Kill The Complexicity.

    You see that in any thesaurus; look up the word, ‘resiliency,’ and you have ‘KISS.’

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    France raising taxes on their rich.

    I hope they tax wealth rather than income.

    A tax on wealth will catch both past accumulated unspent earnings and future unspend earnings.

    A tax on income will not touch any past earnings.

    Thus, with a wealth tax, you 1) encourage spending and 2) do something about past lootings.

    That’s why billionaires consent to higher taxes on income but not wealth, the bulk of which is mostly not impacted except the realized ruturns on investments based on that wealth.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When I hear a billionarie say he consents to higher income taxes on the rich, I wonder if he is thinking, ‘Oh, good, that will make it harder to become a billionaire in the future and making my own billions worth more?’

      Think wealth tax, not income tax.

  10. alex

    re: Mathematics at Google

    This is a good way to get students interested in math. While a few may have the soul of a pure mathematician (or is that a contradiction?) many have little interest in math unless they can see its applications. I know that was true for me.

    1. ZygmuntFraud

      This is a puzzle that might be of interest to the geeks: What’s up with digital forgeries? Why should it matter?

      If you make money from selling digital images, then you’ll want to protect them from look-alikes (indistinguishable upon close visual inspection) for example by using digital water-warking. Water-marks can of be seen on “important” pieces of paper like high-denomination bank-cheques, government cheques, real paper money, etc.

      Some sophisticated digital water-marking can be defeated, i.e. it’s still a good fake to the eyes and inspection of digital water-marking alterations still come up “Negative”;
      what a shame ;) Anyway, Disney would be concerned, I suppose. So there’s some research papers on Exposing Digital Forgeries.
      My concern lies more with employing digital processing and computers to manufacture artificial landscapes (cities, people, places, historical events, etc.) So, I’ll keep my old 30+ year old books !

  11. alex

    re: Obama blocks Chinese purchase of US wind farms

    The stated reason is that they’re near a navy base but, taking the risk of being overoptimistic, I wonder if that’s just an excuse. “National security” is a dandy excuse for blocking the sale of important assets to foreign interests. If only they’d done that with Magnequench!

    The article mentions this is the first time in 22 years that a foreign sale has been blocked this way. No wonder we’ve been going down hill. That’s what happens when you sell the crown jewels for pennies.

  12. MontanaMaven

    The WSJ had a crappy article on the Catalonian secession debate, but there were several interesting comments from Catalonians like this one.
    ” Pere Sunyer wrote :

    Angry Spaniard: 1) Catalonia, and Aragon, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands, had their own independent states from their creation in medieval times until 2) they were invaded by Castille in early XVIII century, their states abolished, and incorporated into the jurisdiction of Castille (just look for “Nueva Planta Decrees” in Wikipedia); 3) Polls show no 50% split, they show more than 50% pro-independence, and growing, about 20% against, and about 30% dk’s; 4) the Spanish constitution is not valid because it goes against the right of self-determination protected by the UN and international law that Spain is bound to.

    Dose of reality: 1) The low level official is Olivier Baily, rectified immediately by EU vice-president, Joaquin Almunia, who stated that the EU has no pre-established position for the event of Catalonia’s secession. Barroso may also have run his mouth too much to help his friend Rajoy but I tell you when Catalonia seceds, Merkel will welcome us with open arms. If I were Spain I would not ask her to choose between Spain or Catalonia. 2) The pillage of Catalonia by the rest of Spain is not a myth. It is the fact that every year the Spanish government transfers 10% of the GDP of Catalonia to other parts of Spain. Yes the Balearic islands suffer an even larger pillage, Valencia is the other net contributor, all of them Catalan speaking and, surprise!, members of the old Crown of Aragon. When you tell me that Madrid is a net contributor to other parts of Spain I just laugh. I have seen Madrid’s airport, metro, infrastructures, high speed trains to go see the bullfighting in Seville or to the beach, it’s population and economic explosion despite its lack of industry… You are pretty good at telling us we owe you everything but, you know what, no need to, seriously, you mind your business, we will mind ours.”

    1. Glenn Condell

      The effort to keep nations within the Eurozone, an artificial construct rather than an organic phenomenon, the better to control and rob them, runs the risk of regions and tribes seceding from nations, themselves artificial constructs holding such tribes together with the baling wire and sticky tape of national myths hastily cobbled together a few hundred years ago after the monarchies breathed their last.

      Spain is a construct obscuring deep historical rifts. So is Italy. Ultimately France and Chermany too.

      Artur Mas looks a little too smooth to lead the Catalans back to independent glory. Their great heroes seem to have been a bit more hirsute:

  13. paulbkk

    The argument that specialized transactional lawyers just work on “the deal” and are unaware they are facilitating tax fraud, control fraud, money laundering, mortgage fraud, foreclosure fraud, securities fraud etc. fails to give counsel enough credit. These men and women are paid very large sums of money precisely because they are very good at figuring things out.

    The problem is that the legal profession is ‘self-regulated’ and the state bar associations responsible for upholding the Code of Professional Responsibility don’t have the resources to investigate or discipline errant transactional lawyers for being complicit in illegal corporate acts. This failure of ‘self-regulation’ makes transactional lawyers immune from any scrutiny of their involvement in deals that are dubious or even plainly illegal.

  14. Ms G

    Re “Portugal at flashpoint as austerity lights fires in mild-mannered populace.” They may be mild-mannered, but they are awake.

    So many parallels between the austerity measures imposed (and 100% backfired) and what Obomney + Cat Food Commission are gearing up to do here. (Actually, the failure to raise taxes on wealth and raising them on working people has already happened here. And a VAT to smash 99%-ers even more is being proposed vociferously.) Anyway.

    One choice quote below, as it echoes the important awakening in some parts (e.g., Naked Capitalism and Corrente) that there ARE alternatives. Note, Augusto Praca (don’t have “cedille” on my keyboard) is international secretary of Portugal’s big union — no parallels here on that score.

    “Augusto Praça, international secretary of the union, explains their position. “If you put the question to leave or not to leave the euro, you don’t resolve the problem.” He says it is a false choice facing the Portuguese, the equivalent of asking someone if they want to die this way, or that way.

    “You say no, I don’t want either. In this crisis, I think there is another way that they are not putting on the table.” The CGTP has proposed a package of measures to increase taxes on capital, rather than employees. One of its suggestions is a financial transactions tax of 0.25%, which it says would raise €2.38bn a year.”


    “… if they want to die this way or that way.” Exactly what Taibbi, Solnit, Baker (and the whole merry band of False Choicers are proposing we do by voting for O****a.”

    1. Peasant Pinguin Society

      Ms G,

      The story’s almost finished but I forgot to ask one thing:

      Did you want Symbolism included with that story, or not?

      Symbolism costs extra, and I was thinking for an old-fashioned shoot-’em-up, you could probably get by without it, but let me know if I’m wrong.

        1. Peasant Pinguin Society

          Robin Hood,

          We’ll be holding a twofer in October.

          Buy one Supersized Symbol, get one free.

          1. Robin Hood

            Well, ok. I’ll have to watch a David Lynch movie tonight, I guess. Or maybe a Twin Peaks episode. Still haven’t figured out what that is about.

          2. Robin Hood

            I’ve been pushing for Tally Sticks, but I don’t know if it has caught on with everyone.

            Plus, depending on century and geography, they may have been legal tender, or they may have been credit instuments, which I think has many people confused.

        1. Ms G

          Cool. Keeepin’ it real. Should be a fun Sunday morning in NYC with a new installment of the Peasant Pinguid Society chronicles.

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