Links 9/2/12

Genome Brings Ancient Girl to Life Wired. Not literally.

In pictures: Northumberlandia – the reclining lady BBC

Spineless – Status and Trends of the World’s Invertebrates Zoological Society of London (original)

Spineless’ animals under threat of extinction BBC (reaction)

Chinese manufacturing hits 9-month low FT

Price of essentials rises by 10 per cent Independent

Summertime blues Economist

Central bank still split over response to eurozone crisis Independent

Fed Official Says More Stimulus a ‘Close Call’ WSJ

If unemployment isn’t structural, what causes it? WaPo. Jackson Hole round-up.

Mortgage Registry Muddles Foreclosures Gretchen Morgenson, Times. “As these matters are adjudicated, perhaps we will finally learn whether these practices were intended or accidental.”

Risky and Getting Riskier Editorial, Times. Mass advertising to investors. What could go wrong?

In Italy, world’s oldest bank faces uncertain future WaPo

Exclusive: Inside Karl Rove’s Billionaire Fundraiser BusinessWeek

Obama: GOP voters ‘often agree with me,’ split from party leaders The Hill

One in Four Voters Are ‘Persuadable,’ Poll Analysis Finds Bloomberg

Policing dissent in Tampa’s rain Al Jazeera

DNC Dispatch: Occupy Charlotte Has Encampment FDL

American Jacobins Jacobin

Voice of the New Global Elite The National Interest. The Economist.

Banker Who Mooned Boss Can’t Challenge Firing Courthouse News Service

Panic rooms and gun safes on rise in London luxury homes Reuters

In Vietnam, Message of Equality Is Challenged by Widening Wealth Gap Times

Affluent People Less Likely to Reach out to Others in Times of Trouble? Science Daily

Honey Boo Boo’s ‘Mama’ June: ‘I Don’t Have Anything to Hide’ People. Since you asked….

The modern US army: unfit for service? Guardian

Training suspended for new Afghan recruits WaPo

The Rise and Demise of Neo-Liberal University: The Collapsing Business Plan of American Higher Education Logos

Nanotechnology: Armed resistance Nature

The Legitimate Children of Rape New Yorker

Walmart Search Engine Move Aims At Amazon InformationWeek

WolframAlpha Launches Personal Analytics for Facebook Information Aesthetics

Roaming airport screeners look for people with something to hide McClatchy

For Julian Assange, Justice Foreclosed The Nation

Work isn’t working New Left Project. “It was the non-payment of debt that brought capitalism to its knees, something that a century of strikes and workplace action has not been able to do.”

* * *

Antidote du jour: Another cat in the wat from my trip to Thailand, this one even more self-satisfied than the last:

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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. Jim Haygood

    Alors, quel vrai casse-tête — France’s Freddie Mac falls off the wall, can’t be put back together again —

    PARIS, Sept 1 – The French government said on Saturday it had agreed to rescue troubled mortgage provider Crédit Immobilier de France after a fruitless search for a buyer for the lender, which faced a liquidity crisis.

    «Pour permettre au groupe CIF de respecter l’ensemble de ses engagements, l’État a décidé de répondre favorablement à sa demande de lui octroyer une garantie», the economic minister indicated on Saturday.

    CIF had been up for sale since at least May after its future was thrown into doubt by the evaporation of once-cheap funding from credit markets, on which it depends to finance its operations.

    On Tuesday, Moody’s cut CIF’s credit rating, citing what it said was an increasing probability that the banking group would be placed into a “run-off” scenario rather than being rescued as a going concern, raising risks for its creditors.

    A report by Le Figaro newspaper, whose online edition broke the news of the government rescue, said a winding down of the group, which has about 300 branches, was the most likely outcome.

    Figaro: Although CIF is a small network with 300 branches, it emitted more than 30 billion euros in loans.

    Malheureusement, mes amis, they’s never just one cockroach …

    1. Synopticist

      Most big Euro-area banks are screwed. They’re in an even worse position than big US and UK banks. After the crisis first hit the Euro govts restricted themselves to complaining (rightly) about anglo-saxon banking practices, but ignored the fact that those same practices had long since spread to Europe’s banks.

      So they haven’t been re-capitalized at all, and have obscene levels of leverage. Apparently, when the SHTF back in 2008, Gordon Brown, Britain#s PM, told Euro area leaders that European banks were even more leverages than Britains banks, they didn’t at first believe him.

      Even the Germans would struggle to properly bail out their banks now, let alone the French or Italians.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          China to Merkel: Well, OK. We can give some money to your banks, but we want to lease some land, for, say, 100 years, where we can freely import our millions of unemployed to build ghost cities there.

  2. Goin' South

    The “Work isn’t working” piece is brilliant.

    I’d take it one step further: people can organize to make defaulting on debt a more viable option for themselves. For example, housing and transportation can be purchased and held by a coop to immunize it against pre-existing creditor claims against members, yet the members retain power to manage the property.

    A good goal is for a community of people to arrange their lives so that neither debt repayments nor tax payments are required. A not-so-collateral benefit is that the relations among them will be radically transformed as a result.

    Starve the Beast.

    1. Susan the other

      No kidding – starve that beast. I loved the article too. Could have been titled more aggressively as “Debt Proves Marx (and Henry Ford, go figure) Correct.”

    2. mookie

      That sounds like a great idea, could you provide more detail on forming a co-op that would protect property from bankruptcy court? It seems like equity in a co-op would be an asset that could be siezed like any other…

    3. Chris Rogers

      Go’in South,
      You have hit the nail on the head, what we require is more localism and community action, which means a huge transfer of power from the State/Federal level to local communities – at a very local level one would hope corruption and capture by corporatist interests would be less likely than at a higher power level.

      Whilst one is not espousing Bakuninism per se, nor am I anti-big state, I am anti corrupt state, be it in Washington or State capitals.

      Obviously, we’ve seen some shockers in Europe with regards localism/regionalism in action – but with the correct oversight, i.e., oversight at a community cooperative level, hopefully this would be avoided.

      Anyway, saves thinking about the legacy election currently underway in the US and machinations in Government circles in the UK.

      1. MontanaMaven

        Corruption can be pretty bad at the local level e.g. capture of the county commissioners by local contractors to win bids or by real estate kings to make sure there is no “zoning” or “smart growth”. But at the same time, I’ve found that small communities tend to police themselves and try to call b.s. on local scams. The admiration for landowners and wealth exists everywhere. That’s why we need an alternative…a new narrative.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s more like the 99.99% of nature, represented by the cat, as the outsider to the 0.01% exclusive club of the Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens who delude themselves as separated from nature with that very unnatural-looking spikey fence.

      Behind it, there is another set of metal bars (each with a ring). That’s where the 99.99% of the 0.01% of nature are enslaved by the 0.01% of the 0.01% of nature.

  3. JTFaraday

    re: “Honey Boo Boo’s ‘Mama’ June: ‘I Don’t Have Anything to Hide’ People. Since you asked…”

    “”Honey Boo Boo” Thompson (now 7) was shown guzzling a mix of Mountain Dew and Red Bull that the family dubbed “go-go juice” in a controversial episode of Toddlers and Tiaras.”

    The secret of success in 21st century America revealed, LOL. Cracks me up.

    …But I guess Ritalin’s okay. (Gotta go for that thin veneer of respectability at all times).

  4. Ep3

    Yves, had a thought while starting to read “review: voice of the new global…”.
    In the first few paragraphs it is mentioned the demise of certain magazines. Then it specifically says how Time is just a shell waiting to decide what to do next. Well my idea/hypothesis is in regard to not just magazines but all print media. And I wonder if they all are waiting to see where their industry is headed BEFORE they commit to anything. So for example, the record industry. They chose to resist the movement to mp3s and such. Then after years of lost sales, they finally have slowly given in. So print media, instead of being a real business and investing in R&D, I am saying they are waiting to latch on to the next big thing and then they will move to that form.
    Just a thought.

  5. TiresiasAGW

    On the Nanotechnology piece: This shows the problem with Derrick Jensen and the Deep Green Resistance types. Nanotechnology is definitely a double-edged sword, and as a new technology is scary, especially in how it will be utilized with people and with the planets environment.

    The fear of technological innovation being an origin for political violence is however, perverse and ignores the basic creative drives of humanity. I would go even further, as a envmntl activist with over three decades of action, activism, writing, and arrests under my belt to say that these types of attacks are antithetical to addressing crucial envmntl problems facing the planet. When did we in the envmntl movement lose science as our grounding and embrace religious righteousness? It is true that there has always been a mystic side to modern environmentalism, but the DGR types seem to marry their own political activism with a religious intolerance.

    In another way, the use of these tactics feeds right into the paranoia of the fascist elements within US corporate and political culture, becoming for the fascists, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  6. Susan the other

    Great Links Today: I noted with pleasure that the University of Chicago might be in the process of plagarizing Steve Keen up one side and down the other: WaPo’s blurb made to sound as innocuous as possible was about info coming out of the Jackson Hole confab where it has been mentioned now by other policy makers besides the IMF that debt might be a bit of a problem for consumers and the overhand of mortgage debt could be, well, deadly for capitalism and it’s recovery. The logic that if unemployment is not structural it must be due to obscene levels of debt is a big Duh, no? But this is being reported straight-faced as a newsflash.

    Loved Wired Science on the 80 thousand year old DNA of the Denisovans and their genome retrieved from one finger bone fragment and two teeth. Cool, Leipzig. And curiously it shows there were more Neandertals in East Asia than Europe.

    Good article also on endangered invertebrates in both fresh water and the oceans. The time is now. We need Action – you know, that thing we have all forgotten how to fucking do.

  7. F. Beard

    But equally, it cannot be emphasised enough that it was the non-payment and default of ‘sub-prime’ debt which triggered this crisis – and which paradoxically revealed the true power of the debtor-subject. It was the non-payment of debt that brought capitalism to its knees, something that a century of strikes and workplace action has not been able to do. On a nation-state level, the horror that sweeps through the rentier class when the prospect of a Greek default is raised just serves to highlight how potent the fear of non-payment of debt is. The task of the Left should therefore be centred upon the organisation of a debtor class, rather than the worker – beginning with the demand for a debt jubilee, backed up by the threat of mass default, and for a social income that is not tied to the workplace. This would in effect constitute only a formal recognition of a state of affairs long in existence – but the power inherent in calling things by their true names should not be underestimated. [emphasis added]


    1. F. Beard

      I’ll add that non-debtors should be organized too since “credit creation” (a form of counterfeiting) cheats them too via negative real interest rates.

      Heck, when one gets right down to it, “credit creation” cheats everyone including the banks that issue it. So why should anyone oppose Steve Keen’s universal bailout (which he calls “A Modern Debt Jubilee”)?

  8. JTFaraday

    Re: Work isn’t working, New Left Project.

    I quote:

    “There is no ‘compassionate conservatism’ beating around the bush here: this is the true voice of capital, raw and unadulterated. ‘Work harder, work longer, get less – only work will set you free’ is the message. This ‘Britannia’ is one straining at the ‘red tape’ leash in order to race to the bottom, desperate to compete with China and the Asian economies via cuts in wages and the further dismantling of the welfare state. But in truth, this argument has little to do with economics: this is wholly political, pure ideology…

    (With the 1970s attack on labor) the workplace was no longer the primary place in which surplus value was generated. Surplus value was now to be extracted from the entirety of social relations: from the lives, not simply the work, of workers. The buying and selling of debt on the financial markets, the inflation of a string of asset bubbles, the enclosure (or privatisation) of previously common goods, and the extraction of rent (from both the land and the accumulated knowledge of society via patents) became the central means by which capital found its profits. Carlo Vercellone has argued, following Marx in Volume III of Capital, that this process has eliminated the distinction between ‘profit’ – in the sense of capital which is reinvested in the production process – and ‘rent’, the excess value which is creamed off by landlords and rentiers after the capitalist and labourer have had their share. Vercellone describes this process as the ‘becoming-rent’ of profits.

    In The Violence of Financial Capitalism, Christian Marazzi shows that even for companies at the heart of the so-called ‘industrial economy’, such as General Motors, the workings of their financial investment arm were as, if not more, important than the actual production of cars.** For this reason, therefore, Marazzi argues that the contrast between the ‘real’, ‘productive’ economy, and the parasitic ‘financial economy’, so beloved of liberal commentators, is a false one. ‘Financialization is not an unproductive/parasitic deviation of growing quotas of surplus-value and collective saving, but rather the form of capital accumulation symmetrical with new processes of value production.’…

    Despite work’s increasing irrelevance to the processes of capital accumulation, capitalism must continually reproduce the class relation between capital and labour, via the wage, in order to survive. The wage relation may not be necessary in economic terms, but it remains vital in a political sense – as a means of control, a way of preventing ‘the serious risk that we will end up finding a good use for our idleness’, as the French collective, The Invisible Committee, put it neatly. This political imperative not only explains the constant exhortations to ‘work harder’, to ‘graft’, but also the ever-increasing administrative and bureaucratisation of work…

    Much of the Left has taken the position of fighting for the ‘Right to Work’ or for the return of Keynesian full employment. But in effect, this amounts to coalescing with the Right in allowing capitalism to keep up the charade, in perpetuating a subjective reality of a class relation and economic structure which no longer exists in that form.”

    **A thought provoking article, but it is curious that the author doesn’t more directly note that if people can’t pay their auto loans, then the finance wing of GM is not actually profitable (or a successful extractor of financial rents if he prefers). Whereas the Fordist model was successful for many years.

    He does generally note that financializing the capitalist economy while attacking the purchasing power of labor is what is collapsing the capitalist economy, so the props to GM’s finanz boyz—who, I imagine, did their fair share in the end of very personally attacking the purchasing power of labor while under the spell of neoliberal ideology—seems out of place. (Unless, as a good Marxist, he’s just keen on lovin’ them up as the actually existing revolutionary class—smooches, ya’ll!).

    He goes on to argue that instead of taking up the conservative call for more work, thereby subjecting people to neo-feudal punishment without end from the right, the left ought to turn its attention the massive household debt that currently props up the capitalist pretense:

    “The task of the Left should therefore be centered upon the organisation of a debtor class, rather than the worker – beginning with the demand for a debt jubilee, backed up by the threat of mass default, and for a social income that is not tied to the workplace. This would in effect constitute only a formal recognition of a state of affairs long in existence – but the power inherent in calling things by their true names should not be underestimated.”

    Worth reading in full if one has the time.

      1. Chris Rogers


        Whilst Sir James Goldsmith was no angel – he was a corporate raider after all, his comments on GATT in 1994 were spot on, much as Ross Perot’s comments on NAFTA/GATT/WTO were spot on – its enjoying seeing him put down one of today’s leading Democrats, or should that be exponents of neoliberalism.

        Its just a great shame we have ‘Rightist/Populist’ commentators/politicians stating the obvious, rather than our traditional left of centre legacy parties, be these the Democrats in the US or Labour Party in the UK.

      2. JTFaraday

        My, our shrill Marxist revolutionaries really kicked his aristocratic capitalist butt, didn’t they?

        Redressing Marx in Schumpeterian garb must be about the cleverest thing the commie conspiracy ever did.

        On to the creative destruction.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For a system addicted to debt, it could be like that.

      You take away debt for 5 days, the system is healthier.

      But it quickly goes back to its old destructive ways.

      We need to reform/rebulid the system – both the creation of wealth and the distribtuion of it.

  9. F. Beard

    Concentrated (but plausible) Ron Paul stupidity:

    1) RP says the National Debt is the problem when it is private debt that is the problem.

    2) RP says both Federal spending and taxation should be cut when only Federal taxation should be cut. We need more, not less, Federal money in the economy so private debt can be paid off.

    3) RP says welfare for the poor should be cut but doesn’t seem to realize that cutting welfare for the rich would automatically lead to less need for welfare for the poor.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The world’s oldest bank faces uncertain future.

    Time to call in the ‘the young to fail’ fire brigade that specializes in ‘rescutimization.’

    Rescutimization – a neologism meaning making someone a victim (or some people victims) while rescuing him/them or something else.

  11. Hugh

    “If unemployment isn’t structural, what is it?” Kleptocracy.

    This is a truly idiot, dishonest piece on all levels. The minion elites of the kleptcrats at Jackson Hole look to be mulling over various alternate propaganda lines to sell to the rubes since the structural unemployment one doesn’t seem to be working. [Add rimshot]

    This is the important thing to understand here. Structural unemployment was never an analysis. It was always propaganda. It works like this. The government defines unemployment in such a way that it routinely underreports unemployment (UThree) by around 4 1/2% and un- and under employment (USix) by a little under 3%. This reduces the real level of these categories by 8 million and 5 1/2 million, respectively.

    This (the whole Jackson hole exercise) is an interesting con because it has so many layers. So even before we get to the structural unemployment argument and its “refutation”. We are already dealing with highly doctored “official” numbers.

    The next part of this is to understand that the most recent structural employment wheeze is actually an add on. The idea was to take the “natural” unemployment rate, that is the old structural unemployment rate of around 5% and add another percent or two to it. So if you set your new structural unemployment rate at 7%, then with 8.3% UThree unemployment, you are only 1.3% or about 2 million off full employment. If you bump up natural unemployment up 1%, then you are talking 3 1/2 million or 2.3% off full employment. Full employment is not everyone having a job. It is everyone that the economy can employ being employed. The purpose of the new structural unemployment argument was both to rationalize high levels of unemployment and further minimize what government needed to do about. 2 to 3 1/2 million unemployed just isn’t that big a problem. It is certainly far less than the real number of 29 million of the un- and under employed. (And of course, none of this addresses job quality and the massive shift going on to cr*p jobs.)

    The labor force is currently defined at 155 million. So all this Jackson Hole chest beating was over 1 to 2 percent of this number or 1 1/2 to 3 million. Somehow I am underwhelmed.

    But it gets better because the Lazear and Spletzer study used to overturn structural unemployment, a cr*p concept, is itself cr*p. It purports to show that employment bounced back after the recession. Now while there was a bounce, it is completely wrong to say that employment “bounced back”. I mean if it had, we would not be talking about high unemployment now. What Lazear and Spletzer showed was that what employment that did occur was broad based. This does away with the new structural employment argument which predicted that only those economic sectors would be affected where significant enough changes had occurred in the industries to render the jobs skills of those previously employed in them obsolete and so unemployable. Of course, this was always bogus. The industries involved could always train new workers with the needed skills. Afterall we are only talking about 1 1/2 to 3 million structurally unemployed workers in this formulation tops. Even if the age dodge is used, that workers were too old to retrain, it was always more than a stretch to maintain that government and industry could not find some solution to bridge this one group of workers over into retirement, which you know should not have been too hard precisely because of their age.

    Intellectually this was always a sham. Think about it. Once this particular cohort of “structurally unemployed” retired, died, or was defined out of the labor force. The unemployment rate should have reverted back to its neoliberal natural rate. The only way it could be maintained is if it was constantly being replenished by new entrants into it. This could only happen if industries were constantly innovating to such an extent and with such discontinuities, facts not in evidence, that they were continually rendering the jobs skills of significant portions of their labor forces obsolete. And in the absence of such discontinuities, why were they not using the relatively cheap alternative of retraining workers in an ongoing fashion?

    Finally, we get to debt and the housing crisis is blamed. Even if we accept this, it is afterall partly true, what is the solution proposed? The only thing I see mentioned is that the problem of debt, and hence unemployment, is the creation of new debt via retail lending by the Fed to consumers (demand) and small businesses (supply). Am I the only one to see this as nuts.

    What is left out, as it is always left out by economists, is the kleptocratic perspective. We get this regress, that is largely unexplanatory because it lacks agency: we have unemployment because we have debt because we have a housing crisis. What gets left out is theft and fraud on the largest scale in human history. Debt is the product of theft. The rich have stolen so much of our society’s wealth that they force most of us into debt simply to survive or attempt to have a life. They create bubbles like the ones in housing, or with student loans and credit cards and then trap so very many in them. Debt is a potent means of social control.

    Similarly, high unemployment is not a bug, but a feature. It has a depressive effect on wages. A current worker can always be threatened with replacement by one of the desperate unemployed or by offshoring the job to China. This by the way is another argument against structural unemployment because employment/unemployment becomes about wages, not skills. Like debt, unemployment is a powerful means of social control.

    This brings me back to Lazear and Spletzer and the notion that the recession ever ended. Virtually all of the gains from the so-called end of the recession went to the rich. So for most Americans, the recession never ended. The employment bounce was due to the Obama stimulus deliberately flawed as it was and to the expansion of cr*p jobs. Even with this and the government and economists monkeying with and fudging the numbers, job creation has been poor and workers’ wages continue to erode.

    This is the real story of Jackson Hole. It’s just another propaganda exercise retiring some older, less effective memes and trying out some new distractions, some shiny new objects, for use in the ongoing class war against the 99%.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Virtually all of the gains from the so-called end of the recession went to the rich. So for most Americans, the recession never ended.”

      Again, the cycle is

      1. print money
      2. money goes to the rich. A few drops to the 99.99%.
      3. The elite scream, ‘more money printing to save the 99.99%’
      4. more money printed
      5. repeat cycle

      Here we are, more quantitative easing for more gains to the rich and the recession continues for the rest of us.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here is how to ‘incetivize’ the rich:

        Every time there is a recesion, you say, we will look at wealth inequality. We won’t print more money. We have enough money already. We want to see where the money went.

        That will ‘incentivize’ the rich to avoid recessions like the plague .

        1. Skippy


          Obstructionist bozo – tag your it.

          Skippy… beardo I don’t cut other peoples grass, the disciple thingy, is all yours.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Skippy, I just let people respond to my ideas, if they want.

            Whatever happens to me, after I put them out, the ideas will still be there.

          2. psychohistorian

            I apologize for not pulling my weight with the Faith Breather but I get my licks in whenever i can…..and I evidently am not keeping up with Beard latest leaps of non-reason…..that is faith. I do notice that he is regularly now responding to his own comments, not just corrections, conversations….I admit to leaping over them.

          3. F. Beard

            Haha! You’re so offended by my faith that you’ll reject sound advice on ending this depression?

            But I really had no choice but to bring in the Bible since that’s where I got my ideas – I won’t plagiarize God.

            You know, some claim a Depression and even war are good to “straighten out a nation’s character.” That’s far from my preference but if you reject peaceful alternatives then what’s left? Craving discipline are you?

    2. Maximilien


      Median net worth of Americans in 2011: $77,000
      Mean net worth of Americans in 2011: $320,000

      The Fed doesn’t seem to like to mention the MEAN net worth a whole lot. Maybe because the reaction of the average American would be: “What the hell?! How can that be?!”

      Note how much higher the mean is than the median. The median has also fallen much faster than the mean in the past five years (38% v. 14%).

      Kleptocracy is working as it should—for the few, at the expense of the many.

      1. psychohistorian

        Thanks for those scary stats…..its the global inherited rich folks. We need to laugh them out of control.

    3. LucyLulu

      Thanks for the insightful analysis, Hugh.

      If TPTB proclaim “structural employment” they are off the hook related to taking action as “nothing can be done”. And yes, to the sane, the Fed’s plan is nuts. Aren’t the banks still flush with reserves from the previous printings? Not that banks require reserves to lend, banks issue credit then seek the reserves as Keen has demonstrated. However, the market is rallying on the news which may be the Fed’s true motivation for the announcement. Timmy asked his pal Benny to keep the Dow above 13,000 until after November.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Panic rooms and gun safes on rise in London luxury homes.

    This from ‘Chinese Houses, The Architectural Heritage of a Nation,” by Ronald Knapp, page 250:

    ‘Fortified residential complexes usually are an architectural respose to unsettled conditions. In China, rebellion, banditry, and the general turmoil associated with the change of dynasties usually led to the building of high walls in order to provide security….In Shanxi, walled villages and residential complexes are often called baozi or bao (“fortresses”)…’

    Today, some of the rich Shanxi merchants’ bao are protected heritage buidlings in China, probably up for UNESCO World Heritage Sites consideration.

    So, perhaps one day in the future, so will those London luxury homes.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I remember a recent story on real estate showings in China, where “panic rooms” (though that wasn’t the name given) were also featured. Can’t remember whether I put it in links, though.

  13. Jim Haygood

    In a provocative trial balloon, the NYT declares the end is near (for Greece’s membership in the euro zone):

    Even as Greece desperately tries to avoid defaulting on its debt, American companies are preparing for what was once unthinkable: that Greece could soon be forced to leave the euro zone.

    Bank of America Merrill Lynch has looked into filling trucks with cash and sending them over the Greek border so clients can continue to pay local employees and suppliers in the event money is unavailable. Ford has configured its computer systems so they will be able to immediately handle a new Greek currency.

    In Europe, the holding company for Iberia Airlines and British Airways has acknowledged it is preparing plans in the event of a euro exit by Spain.

    FMC, a chemical giant based in Philadelphia, is asking some Greek customers to pay in advance, rather than risk selling to them now and not getting paid later. It has also begun to avoid keeping any excess cash in Greek, Spanish or Italian bank accounts, while carefully monitoring the creditworthiness of customers in those countries.

    This article doesn’t even mention the elephant in the room — the steady drain of euro deposits out of periphery and into the core countries of the euro zone.

    Capital flight within the euro zone is a positive feedback doomsday machine. Flight capital gets recycled via the ECB, but escalating liabilities among central banks only heap more debt onto the camel’s back of the struggling periphery.

    A Greek departure from the euro zone will trigger immediate, devastating bank runs in Spain and Portugal.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      JH, “into core countries” — like into the City of London Corporation for the Anglo-American Establishment Nexus, and Switzerland’s BIS global bank network dealing Swiss francs, and Luxembourg, and Roman Catholic Liechtenstein, and into tax havens provided by the British Commonwealth? Cui bono?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If pain is unavoidable, let’s hope it will be a quick, short one, even if it’s sharp or severe, as they transition themselves to a cheaper, independent currency.

    3. LucyLulu

      “A Greek departure from the euro zone will trigger immediate, devastating bank runs in Spain and Portugal.”

      The rich and powerful know this and have moved their cash out of bank accounts in the PIIGS. Oh well, there are so-o-o-o-o many other countries to choose from to park their money. Or they can use the dollars from their safes to buy public oceanfront property at firesale prices.

  14. LeonovaBalletRusse

    The vicious cycle of Youth Trauma and Adult Mind Control/Blackmail/Extortion: Scientology, CIA, MK-Ultra, the Military-Industrial-FIRE Complex, Roman Catholic and other Predatory Religions, the Three Branches of Government, Monarchy and other forms of Dynastic Despotic Regime, NASA, Hollywood, “Finance,” Drug and Prostitution Rackets, Alcoholism and A.A. (and other 12-Step Mind Control programs from the mind of the Jesuit Master, Ignatius Loyola.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Oh, and The Franklin Cover-up: Paedophilia Rackets from Boys Town, OMAHA, to Washington, D.C. and beyond; in Boys & Girls Clubs, in “youth shelters” like Covenant House, etc.

      It’s a CONSPIRACY of the .01% + .99% Agency at hand, practiced for centuries, in many manifestations, unto the present day. A PATHOCRACY writ large.

  15. SR6719

    “I like to think how easily Nature will absorb London as she absorbed the mastodon, setting her spiders to spin the winding sheet and her worms to fill in the graves, and, and her grass to cover it pitifully up, adding flowers – as an unknown hand added them to the grave of Nero.”

    Edward Thomas, “The South Country”

  16. gordon

    The Economist’s self-congratulatory piece on being the voice of the global elite delighted me by declaring that liberal-capitalism hasn’t failed in Russia – it hasn’t really been tried! Now, what does that remind me of? Hint: another ideology that hasn’t really been tried. You go, girls!

  17. LeonovaBalletRusse

    “Bain Capital and other firms subpoenaed in New York tax probe”

    “Among the firms being targeted are Bain Capital, KKR & Co LP, TPG Capital LP, Apollo Global Management LLC and Silver Lake Partners LP, the source said.

    “Other firms that received subpoenas include Sun Capital Partners; Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; Crestview Partners; H.I.G. Capital; Vestar Capital Partners; and Providence Equity Partners.”

    1. LucyLulu

      Incroyable, eh madame? Mais pas surprenant, je suppose.

      Schneiderman is leading this investigation. It can’t be coincidence that Bain is being investigated two months before the election. Was Schneiderman so thoroughly co-opted? Was he promised Holder’s job in a second term? There must be a back-story to this piece. Anybody?

  18. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Nightcap: 1958 Interview of Aldous Huxley by Mike Wallace:
    “Aldous Huxley interview” -1958 (FULL) – Uploaded by TruthTube1111 on May 24, 2011 — quotation transcript 20:09-20:42/28:42:

    “The passion for power is one of the most moving passions that exists in man; and … all democracies are based on the proposition that power is very dangerous, and that it’s extremely important not to let any one man or any small group have too much power for too long a time. … What are the English and American Constitutions, but devices for limiting power?”

    This is why violation, by villainy or by default, of the Separation of Powers in our Government–a requirement expressed by our Constitution, reinforced in the the Oath of Office sworn to be upheld by those installed of the Three Branches of Government, is treason.

    Likewise, other subversions of our Constitution by those who have been sworn into Office, via formal utterence of the Oath of Office in the official ceremony, are acts of treason.

    1. LucyLulu

      It’s also why we must guard against excessive wealth. Money buys power.

      “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes it’s laws.”
      — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

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