Links 9/10/12

If the Mars rover finds water, it could be H2 … uh oh! LA Times. Contamination.

Why an AIDS Vaccine Has Been So Difficult to Develop Science Daily

Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects Times

With No Contract Deal by Deadline in Chicago, Teachers Will Strike Times

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy leader steps down AL Jazeera

Carry Trade Loss 2.8% as Dollar Fails to Weaken on Fed Bloomberg

EU banks face ringfence on trading assets FT (furzy mouse)

What’s behind the rise in Greek warrants John Dizard, Financial Times (SW)

Merkel accused of being ‘female Don Corleone’ Independent

Fed Stuck at Zero Into 2015 Seen in Swaps, QE Odds Reach 99% Bloomberg

US government to cut AIG stake to below half of bailed-out insurer’s stock in $18 billion sale WaPo

Securitization Shouldn’t Be the Government’s Business Amar Bhide, Bloomberg

Spoilsport Banking Regulators Ruin Another Derivative That Was Too Beautiful To Live Dealbreaker

Ship Magnate Uses Gut in $11 Billion Bet Worst Since ’70s Ending Bloomberg

Bargain bosses: American chief executives are not overpaid Economist

Iraq blasts kill 100 as fugitive VP gets death sentence Reuters

Afghan prison Bagram to be handed back by US BBC

Remembering the First 9/11 Aljazeera (nathan)

Obama feels the squeeze – now call security: President gets bear hugged off his feet by fan on same day he reveals Romney’s health care will cost retirees $60k more Daily Mail. Media tailwind.

Party Like It’s 1984 Harpers

More of region’s small banks boosting profits and loans Orlando Sentinel

Long-term unemployment easing, as many accept lower pay Bloomberg. The new normal.

Jobless to be drafted in to clear burnt land El Pais

Debt Default, the End of the World and Timothy Geithner’s Thoughts Dean Baker, CEPR

It is IMPOSSIBLE for the US to default!!! Forbes

The Art of Demanding Jacobin Magazine

Anonymous: behind the masks of the cyber insurgents Guardian

Polls and Occupy FDL

The Primacy of Politics FDL (CB)

Testosterone marketing frenzy draws skepticism AP

Dog treadmill sales brisk as pets shape up Detroit Free Press

Essay: 21st Century Gestures Clip Art Collection City of Sound. Odd.

Diary London Review of Books

The world’s No. 1 jumbo jet languishes, looking for a savior Seattle Times

* * *

Mission elapsed time: T + 3 and counting*

“What’s the point to callin shots? This cue ain’t straight in line Cueball’s made of styrofoam And no one’s got the time” –Grateful Dead, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo

Occupy. Celebrities: “[Jay Z’s] criticism of the political protests seems particularly striking considering he briefly sold t-shirts that played on the cause’s name but didn’t donate anything back to the organizers.”

DNCon. Police state: “When the city of Charlotte passed a new ‘extraordinary events’ ordinance for the DNCon, police were given new power to stop and search. The ordinance was rarely applied to protesters, some of whom were allowed to march wearing bandanas covering their faces and helmets — actions and items that were banned under the ordinance.”

RNCon. Meta: “BREAKING: @BarackObama’s ‘This seat’s taken’ Tweet was the most Retweeted Tweet of the RNCon.”

AZ. Indicator: ” So many cats and kittens have been turned in for adoption, the Arizona Humane Society is now waiving all adoption fees for cats.”

CA. Homeless: “[Joan Burke of Loaves & Fishes] estimated that 1,000 people sleep outside in Sacramento every night, about 200 of them in the vicinity of the American River.” … Reform: “The [Think Long] committee [here] expresses great admiration for ‘decisive and unified leadership’ in China.”

CT. Libertarian Party: “The CT Secretary of State has indicated that the Libertarian statewide petition has enough valid signatures. The petition puts [Gary Johnson] on the ballot.”

FL. Mass incarceration: ” FL health and disability administrators have been systematically dumping sick and disabled children — some of them babies — in nursing homes designed to care for elders, in violation of the youngsters’ civil rights, the U.S. Justice Department says.” … The Bill Clinton: “Former president Bill Clinton is scheduled to speak Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Florida International University, according to Obama For America.” … The Obama: “Yet the [Kissimmee] crowd was worked up, often roaring, sometimes pounding seats, sometimes drowning out his public address system as Obama made the case for a regulated economic recovery versus a free-market economic recovery.” … The Obama: “If Obama’s speech Saturday in Kissimmee had the rowdiness of a pep rally, the Melbourne event had the passion of a church revival, with audience members often shouting everything but “Amens!” as the president spoke, and Obama sometimes responding back”

GA. Turnout: “So far, there’s little evidence black voter turnout will be as big as in 2008.”

IL. Diane Ravitch: “I will be wearing red in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union tomorrow, in support of whatever decision they make.”

IN. Horror:”A parasite commonly referred to as the ‘brain-eating amoeba’ infected a man teaching his daughter to swim in a southwestern Indiana lake, killing him within weeks.” From autopsy, yet to be confirmed by CDC. … DIY: “The 17 members of Bloominglabs pay $40 a month to rent a commercial space on Bloomington, [IN’]s west side, and store and share their tools and equipment in the workspace.” First mainstream mention of Arduino I’ve seen.

ME. Catfood Commission: ” Federal debt commission co-chairman Erskine Bowles told a Portland audience Sunday that independent U.S. Senate candidate and former ME Gov. Angus King would bring to Congress the political will to cut spending and close tax loopholes in order to reduce the national deficit.”

MI. Charters: “[W]ith the proliferation of new charters this fall because the cap was lifted (30 new schools, the most since 1999) we’re seeing low-performing operators expand aggressively.”

MO. Akin: “A Sept. 25 deadline looms. That’s the last day Akin can petition MO courts to remove his name from the ballot — and comply with the near-universal calls from party leaders who think his comments have made unwinnable a seat they need for an easier path to a Senate majority.”

MT. Climate: “[M]ost of MT is under a red flag warning that cautions of the potential for explosive fire growth through Tuesday evening.”

OH. Climate? “Growingbear populations in PA and WV are pushing young male [black bears] into OH. [S]ightings have jumped from only about 30 in 1998 to 150 a year ago.” … Voting: “Ds, for now, have exactly what they want. An unelected federal judge — not the elected, R-run General Assembly — has control of a key facet of presidential voting in OH: In-person absentee voting the weekend before Election Day, when a significant number of black Ohioans prefer to vote.”

TX.Mass incarceration: “[T]his biennium’s corrections budget was an eye-popping 274% higher than it would have been if spending had increased in tandem with inflation and population growth.” …. Corruption “A court-martial due to start in the case against a Texas Air Force basic training instructor accused in a sex scandal at [Lackland Air Force Base] was delayed without explanation Wednesday.” … Sustainability:”Residents of [Elgin] are invited to take part in an innovative planning effort to help shape the future of Elgin. The Sustainable Places Project [here] will be hosting a public visioning workshop on Monday.”

VA. UVa, putsch: Handy interactive timeline in The University of Virginia Magazine. Still no why. … Senate, Kaine v. Allen: “Still: The race [between Tim Kaine and George Allen] is so tight it resembles the 2000 FL recount, where the margin of error was greater than the margin of victory.”

WI. Geography: “A Democrat cannot win the state by winning Madison and Milwaukee, and losing Milwaukee suburbs and Green Bay, Wausau, Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls,” [Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll] said. “When WI Ds have won statewide, they’ve won those areas.”

The economy. Better off? “Since December 2007, American median household income has fallen by almost 8 percent. At the same time, 93% of the gains from the economic recovery have gone to those with incomes in the top 1 percent.” … Sh*t happens: “[AUSTAN GOOLSBEE:] We have been plugging along at modest growth because we’re coming out of the worst financial crisis in our lifetimes. That’s what happens.'” Shrug (and by contrast).

Outside baseball. Gambling: “Thank God for Intrade, which finally extends the benefits of campaign gambling, which the wealthy have enjoyed for so long, to the little guy.” … Food: “Proposals to impose deep cuts on the $75bn US food stamp programme could eat into profits at food companies that rely on low-income customers stocking up on snacks and drinks. ” Not to mention High Fructose Corn Syrup.

The trail. Conventions: “From the podium and thus for the network television audience, they allowed the Rs to focus on their intended referendum and the Ds to focus on the demonization [hmm] of those Rs.” … Swing states Keynesianism: “While most of the debate nationally still revolves around why the economy remains so pathetic, there are several pivotal states — OH, FL, NV, VA — where things are slowly turning around. In these states, the real issue may not be who deserves blame for economic ruin but rather who deserves credit for a rebound, and what really causes jobs to come back after they’ve been lost.” … Trojan horse: “The legacy of Wisconsin, as [Van] Jones appears to see it: to catalyze Obama 2012 house parties.” … Divided government: “There is surging optimism among Ds that the party will hold the Senate.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood watch. Only Obama can go to China: “[OBAMA: ]So I’m, you know, more than happy to work with the Republicans. …I’m also going, by the way*, to make some adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid that would strengthen the programs” [* a tell]. Cf. here and here.” ] “[PLOUFFE: ] And I do think one of the messages that is going to come through in this election is the American people want us to compromise and they want a balanced approach. ” Yes, the Ds really are running to secure a mandate to cut Medicare.

Robama vs. Obamney watch. Krugman: “The inexorable logic of the situation, then, leads to a three-legged stool of community rating + mandate + subsidies = ObamaRomneycare.” Which would be why you should vote for.. vote for… Apathy: “On Saturday Nancy Pelosi denied reports that she once pressed the mute button while the president was on the line. Most Americans would probably have pleaded guilty whichever candidate was on the other end.”

The Romney. Legalization: “I asked Congressman Ryan: “In CO we have medical marijuana. Under a Romney Ryan ticket, what happens?”RYAN:‘It’s up to Coloradans to decide’” (a welcome change). … Tax returns: “In a full page ad this morning in the Washington Post, on page 20 across from the op-ed pages, Hustler offers $1 million in cash for information on Mr. Romney’s “unreleased tax returns and/or details of his offshore assets, bank accounts and business partnerships.”

The Obama. Money: “Prominent D fundraisers say they will make overtures to wealthy supporters such as David Geffen, the billionaire music and media investor, Haim Saban, the part-owner of Univision Communications, and Oprah Winfrey [to raise up to $150m].” … Jobs, Lynn Sweet: “The 96,000 jobs created are drops in a big bucket. There were about 12.5 million unemployed Americans in August, which the Labor Department said was about the same as in July.” … Polls: “Weekend polls where Obama is gaining include Gallup, Reuters/Ipsos, and Rasmussen. The differences between the two candidates are small here — single digits — but the trend at this point is in Obama’s direction.” … Polls, Nate Silver: “But there is also the possibility of Obama holding as much as an eight- to nine-point lead over Mr. Romney in the polls once they fully reflect post-convention data. His polls seem to have been about that strong since Mr. Clinton’s speech, at least.” … The worker’s friend: “Vice President Joe Biden got caught in a stunning photo with a female biker sitting on his lap.” “Caught,” my sweet Aunt Fanny. You couldn’t buy coverage like this.

* Slogan of the day: “Everything within The Romney, nothing outside The Romney.”

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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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. Peasant Pinguin Society

    Alternate History: “Wherein The Bankers Rubin and Summers offer to use Coin Seigniorage to Help the Masses, Instead of Robbing Them”

    At night, in the abandoned Tower, Ozmun and Caff huddled together in the straw they shared with one hundred or more vagrants.

    Some of their fellows were deformed, maimed or mutilated from having spent time in the Plutocracy dungeons; others were epileptics, emotionally disturbed, or widows and orphans without protection.

    This was not a place that Ozmun and Caff could survive in for very long. Its population had swelled mightily since the Plutocracy passed strict vagrancy laws, and these laws were rigidly enforced amid continual skirmishing on the far borders of Dimon-Blankfein Field.

    On their arrival, Ozmun and Caff had hoped there would be some rodent casserole to eat, or a few pieces of stale bread, but all they were offered was the ubiquitous rat stew. And if that wasn’t bad enough, their clothes were stripped from their backs in front of laughing vagrants. Some had only bloodstained rags patched together, and their heads and chests painted dark red, with what appeared to be dried blood.

    The following morning they had to make clothing from pieces of ripped stockings kindly offered to them by one the lowliest of their fellows.

    But later that day something unexpected happened. The band of Vagrants spotted two Bankers riding on horseback. After dining on Crème brûlée de foie gras, Tartar of Kobe beef with Imperial Beluga caviar, Mousseline of pattes rouges crayfish with morel mushroom infusion, etc, the two Bankers had decided to spend the afternoon fox hunting.

    They were following trained foxhounds, who had picked up the scent of a fox, and were so preoccupied shouting “Tally Ho” and chasing the fox, they failed to notice they had strayed far from Stortford Mansion grounds, and crossed beyond the edge of Dimon- Blankfein fields, into the Land of Vagrants.

    The last time a Banker entered the Land of Vagrants had been a hunting party driving a Warrior Five Hummer. And they had not come to hunt foxes, but to hunt peasants, comparing the accuracy of the tried and tested Remington Model 700 XCR-II rifle with the new Weatherby AccuMark, a blued Mark V action mated to a stainless steel, fluted, heavy contour barrel nestled in a Bell & Carlson composite stock with a full length, CNC machined, aluminum bedding plate.

    Both peasant hunting rifles offered walnut and synthetic/composite stocks mated with stainless steel barreled actions in their bolt action rifle lines. So while they could have chosen more nearly identical rifles to compare, these models illustrated two different approaches to weather resistant peasant hunting.

    But I digress….

    The fox-hunting Bankers (the thin one bore a striking resemblance to Robert Rubin and the fat one could have been Larry Summers’ twin brother), were attired in identical elegantly tailored Melton jackets, with 20 ounce wool blend and satin lining, featuring two double vented, front pockets, a pair of antique Levi Hunting Jeans (retail, $46,500), and a Satya Paul Design Studio necktie (retail, $220,000).

    The vagrants began shooting arrows at their horses. Helpless without their peasant hunting rifles, the Bankers spurred their horses toward the open road in an attempt to escape. But it was too late, the vagrants surrounded the bankers’ horses and pulled them down.

    First the Bankers were chained in the sweatbox, then they were lashed and kicked along the dirt road, until they reached Ham the executioner’s house. If you can call a few pieces of plywood nailed together a house, but for the Vagrants, accustomed to sleeping in ditches in the rain, Ham’s shack was a luxury they could only dream of.

    And so, it came to pass that the Bankers were tortured by Ham the Executioner. Using red-hot pincers, their hands were burned using sulphur and molten wax, and to top it off, boiling oil was poured into their wounds.

    At one point, the Bankers gurgled something, which sounded like: “ah…ah…we can use Coin seigniorage…yeah, that’s the ticket.. pay off all Vagrant Land debt! How’s about a $1.0 Trillion Jumbo coin for the Vagrants?… promise, it’s a promise!….you have our word….just let us go!

    But the Vagrants were not listening to their con anymore, and cut out their tongues.

    Next they harnassed their arms and legs to horses in order to be dismembered. The Bankers’ limbs did not separate easily, and Ham the Executioner had to cut their joints with an axe. Once the Bankers were dismembered to wild cheering and applause from the crowd of vagrants, their still-living torsos was burnt at the stake.

    After their death, Ham the Executioner reduced their corpses to ashes and scattered the ashes into the wind.

    One hundred years after the Banker’s Execution, vagrants from as far away as the Rocks of Nimur to the massive curved walls of the Millenium Dome were still talking about the day they got the Bankers.

    Historians mark this Event as a turning point; For the Plutocracy, it was the Beginning of the End.

    Here Endeth the Alternate History Story “Wherein The Bankers Rubin and Summers offer to use Coin Seigniorage”.

    Disclaimer: Alternate history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

    1. Robin Hood

      In my 11th century we noticed that you can only catch bubonic plague from uncooked rat. One of the vagrants suggested we turn London into a Bubonic Plaque colony. So we carefully transported all the live rats we could find to London.

      As a result, England had very few bankers, or coins of any sort, well into the 17th century.

      We concluded that regulation can work, if done correctly.

  2. Jack

    Yves, Lambert! Uhhhh….. in keeping with your objective, unemotional, fact-based analysis and commentary, where is the comparison of that republican-in-wolf’s clothing, Rahm Emanuel, to Mubarak and his evil twin, Scott Walker, in not meeting the fair and just demands of the striking teacher’s union in Chicago?
    Or, will that be coming out in tomorrow’s edition?

      1. MrTortoise

        Re: Mayor of Trenton , NJ charged

        As someone is alleged to have said,
        “Uncle remins [sic] landed uncles remnis [sic] call
        via text message [code words were: (Uncle Remus) ].

    1. TK421

      Actually, this should be an interesting comparison between the two parties.

      Scott Walker, as a Republican, goes around saying “I HATE UNIONS! I’M GONNA BUST UNIONS!” then passes a big shiny law to bust unions. This draws attention from all over the country, and he fought heavily.

      Rahm Emmanuel, as a Democrat, very quietly and stealthily works to undermine unions bit by bit. This draws comparatively no attention and he is fought only by local people.

      There’s your “lesser evil.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Scott Walker and Rahm, they are so alike, it would drive anyone who tries to tell them apart to befriend Johnnie Walker.

      2. Ms G

        That is the core of why the D deception is Not a “lesser evil” — do you like the thief who announces he’s coming comes to mug you in broad daylight worse than the one who gives you a shot of Dilaudid and then steals from you under cover of darkness while you sleep dreaming of the Messiah?

        Keerist on a Crutch!

  3. wunsacon

    >> If the Mars rover finds water, it could be H2 … uh oh! LA Times. Contamination.

    HAHA! I knew it!

    And if you think companies genetically modifying microbes for purposes here on earth (e.g., converting water into wine) are going to prevent their experiments from running amok…boy, are you in for a surprise!

    1. Don Levit

      Very interesting addition to the possibility of a U.S. default – involuntarily.
      Whether voluntary or involuntary, how does this “power” impact the average American family?
      It seems to me there is no significance for individuals regarding whether or not bankruptcy can happen.
      In other words, I am neutral on this posibility.
      Am I being naive?
      Don Levit

    2. Susan the other

      The Forbes article by John Harvey sounded like the voice of reason, even quoting Randall Wray twice and ending with the plea that it is irresponsible to leave 12 million people out of work. Not to mention 23 million. So not only should we not default, we should spend whatever it takes to create adequate employment.

      And then there was the adjacent article by Dean Baker, CEPR saying something a little more challenging: That Argentina did it (default) and is doing just fine now. Dean Baker is disgusted by Bob Gagme Woodward’s blah blah in the WaPo and his twisted message that it would be immoral to default (because that would amount to cutting off the banksters and doing them in forever). It was interesting to learn just how intimate Timmy Geithner is with the Bobster. Does any of Timmy’s moral outrage have to do with unemployment? I think not.

      1. TK421

        We know that Foamy Geithner doesn’t care about working people because he helped tailor HAMP to serve banks rather than homeowners.

  4. petridish

    The article about “Popular antibiotics…” discusses the “Lack of long term studies.”

    If you take these things, you ARE the long term study.

    That levaquin is particulary nasty. Unmentioned is the propensity for this drug to cause spontaneous tendon ruptures, particularly the ACHILLES TENDON. For those of you who don’t know, YOU CAN’T WALK WHEN YOUR ACHILLES TENDON IS RUPTURED.

    When my neighbor was treated with this drug, (she swears it was a miracle cure for her lung infection,) she was incapacitated for the entire winter when her rotator cuff SPONTANEOUSLY ruptured requiring surgery and immobilization. SPONTANEOUS tendon ruptures are a hallmark of this drug.

    Can anyone say IATROGENIC???

  5. Neo-Realist

    Re: Ryan’s support for Marijuana Legalization by the States–but Ryan didn’t tell you that as long as the Feds deem it illegal, they can still sweep in and arrest and lock people up, so still look for the DEA wolves to do massive surveillance and arrests of growers, dealers and buyers in the states under a Romney/Ryand administration.

      1. Neo-Realist

        Yes, I know, and if Robomny/Ryand replace the “great pretender”, I expect the nightmare to continue.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have to check with my CPA, but I think on Mars, everything is tax free. That rich French guy should think about getting a Martian citizenship. If he hurries, he might also be the emperor there. No one is going to challenge or dispute him on his claim.

      I am thinking of setting a corporation there myself…either there or Venus.

      1. Bert

        The big advantage of incorporating on Mars is you get the zero tax rate, but you can still live anywhere you want on earth.

        You still get the tax writeoffs for the corporate jet or whatever , space age priced work clothing, carbon credits, etc… – no use to you with zero tax already – but these can be sold to other incorporated* friends that need them.

        * a friendly merger may be necessary – check with your corporate tax accountant.

    2. Hugh

      This is a political stunt by Arnault who appears given to them. Of course, he says it wasn’t. But then why announce he is thinking about it? Mreover, according to the article, he could change his tax status to Belgium without changing his citizenship.

      Some official’s comment at the end of the article to the effect that he didn’t think Arnault was being very patriotic is a howler. The rich have no nationality. Their wealth is their religion. We can have billionaires or decent societies. We cannot have both.

    1. Susan the other

      Thanks, I wanted to read this. Securitization shouldn’t be the government’s business. I basically agree, because we shouldn’t create all that complexity without a healthy diversity, but my thinking has changed so many times I think I’ve got whiplash. The problem with being too conservative too fast is that the system will never grow out of this mess and into a healthy securities market, especially mortgage securities. In the EU they have covered bonds. I’m not sure having the Fed back MBS isn’t similar. At least it will be when the EZ banks are all unionized financially. Securitizing isn’t the main problem, it is the trading of them and their derivatives that are the problem, mostly.

      1. Susan the other

        That is, securitization is a reasonable concept if it is done competently and legally. It was here fraudulently, no other word for it, and done so on a massive scale. And the culprits are trying to avoid admitting they screwed it up this bad.

        1. BondsOfSteel

          I’m not sure securitization is the problem. Ginnie Mae seems to be OK.

          It’s the public/private nature of the GSEs that seem to be the problem with privatized risk taking and public loss sharing.

          The other part of the article is about the Fed buying MBS from the GSEs. At this point, I think this has to happen if the Fed wants to monetize further. Treasuries are already near zero. Maybe they could buy Munis… but they are crazy low too.

        2. Ms G

          STO — I thought that a “securitization” was synonymous with “derivative.” E.g., a mortgage packaged as a security (MBS) is in fact a derivative, because the MBS is a kind of “bond” that pays dividend from the flow of m’ge payments but does NOT entitle the MBS to the actual property?

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Impossible for a monetary sovereign to default.

    Let’s say the country of Vulgaria is a monetary sovereign. What happens to its national debt when all the baron’s people migrate to another kingdom when their children swarm the baron’s banquet hall and take with them all the tax records? Can it continue to borrow?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope this doesn’t antagonize too many anti-Zen people, but the Zen question here is:

      If there are no taxpayers around, does an exploding debt bomb make a sound?

      1. Valissa


        Wherever you go, there you are.
        Your luggage is another story.

        Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.

        To Find the Buddha, look within.
        Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers.
        Each flower blossoms ten thousand times.
        Each blossom has ten thousand petals.
        You might want to see a specialist


        An elder monk was addressing his students with a large staff. He asked the first student, “What is the Buddha mind?” The first student answered as well as he could, and said “To know the Buddha nature in all things.” The elder monk hit the first student in the head with the staff.

        He went to the next student, and asked again: “What is the Buddha mind?” The next student answered “non attachment,” and the elder monk hit him with the stick, too.

        He asked the third student the same question, and the third student did nothing but quake in fear. That student got a knock on the head as well.

        The process continued until one of the elder monk’s students, before the elder monk had even finished his question, grabbed the stick out of his hand. That was the correct answer.

        Q: How much “ego” do you need?
        A: Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
        –Shunryu Suzuki

          1. F. Beard

            That was pretty funny.

            I read that the Babylonian Captivity permanently cured the Jews of idolatry. But I’m interested in what “cured” many of them of a belief in God and when that happened.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Is that so?

            There was an old Zen guy and to many questions, he would respond, ‘Is that so?’

            Is that so?

          2. Valissa

            Make It So

            Make It So (the intellectual analysis version)

            For me, the idea of “making it so” evokes a deeper level, a fundamental appeal to something spiritual rather than something that is merely amusing. Five centuries before the Klingon empire joined the Federation, William Blake used Picard’s very words in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell when he asked the Prophet Isaiah:

            “Does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make it so?”
            He replied: “All poets believe that it does, & in ages of imagination this firm perswasion removed mountains; but many are not capable of a firm perswasion of any thing.”

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Vallissa, you always come up with great stuff.

            It seems making it so is not so easy.

            And often, instead of responding ‘Is that so?’ you can just say, ‘Have a bowl of tea!’

            Have a bowl of tea!

          4. F. Beard

            Yep. That’s why Zen Buddhists put a man on the Moon.

            Oh wait! They didn’t!

            So the Zen teachers accept pay from their students to hit them on the head and turn them into total cynics like themselves? Is that the racket? A Ponzi Scheme of corruption?

          5. F. Beard

            Yep. That’s me. Though occasionally I got too far and fear to see what I have stirred up. But never with Flabby Beef. It’s only the fear of God that restrains me in his case.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We have so much to learn from Zen dogs and Zen cats.

            They say Zen vegetables are especially enlightened.

    2. Sy Krass

      Yeah, this has been said before, a sovereign cannot default but too much of a good thing is called…Zimbabwe


  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The world’s No. 1 jumbo jet languishes.

    Fashion is fickle. The 0.01% are all into spaceships now, as they ready themselves for jettisoning this polluted not-so-blue dot.

    1. F. Beard

      Nope. They’ll be here for the Great Tribulation unless they get Raptured away first. That tough love thingy …

  8. kevinearick

    Notice the intelligent immigrants. they don’t borrow, don’t call the police, and keep their “money” in their community, until their children go to school, and rebuild the tyranny their parents escaped…

  9. Hugh

    University of Chicago researcher finds corporate executives are not overpaid? I never saw that one coming. /s

    The article’s pretense at evenhandedness is undercut by dismissive references to “fat cat floggers” and “egalitarians.” The author makes a big deal out of CEOs of S&P 500 companies making 46% less than they did in 2000. But as their pay includes stock options and 2000 was the height of the dot com boom and while much of the current economy remains mired in recession, I don’t think that number means a whole lot.

    And then CEOs’ performance is measured only in terms of how well they kept their stock price up. But stock markets are a casino and stock prices are a bubble, so what does performance mean in such a context?

    That “shareholders” approved CEO pay packages 98% of the time doesn’t mean much beyond they are in on the looting. If these are hedgies, it’s a given. The rich, ditto.

    So all this ends up being is validation of a corrupt, even criminal, system.

  10. Valissa

    The latest pirate news…

    Pirate Attacks Down as Private Maritime Security Business Booms

    Pirate Bay cofounder to be deported to Sweden, police say

    Dutch Pirate Party Ready To Enter National Parliament

    It’s only 9 days ‘til Talk Like A Pirate Day – Wednesday, September 19th !

  11. paincastle

    Van Jones is the Democrats’ Colin Powell, but his abjection is in keeping with the subtle refinements we’ve come to expect of the Dems. Instead of the Powell pattern, where his party boss makes him piss away his reputation and then shitcans him, Jones got shitcanned first and then had to piss away his reputation with some of the lamest inveigling in American history, the civic equivalent of “Hey little girl, there’s a puppy in my van!”

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