Links 9/25/12

Satellites trace sea level change BBC

FiveThirtyEight: The Number of Things Nate Silver Gets Wrong About Climate Change Michael Mann, Huffington Post

Myths about industrial agriculture Aljazeera (Aquifer)

Guess Where These Beautiful Pictures Were Taken … George Washington. A little heavy-handed, but the pix really are pretty.

Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Wants to Be Aussie Citizen, AFR Says Bloomberg. So do I get any points for being 10 years ahead of the curve? I wanted to become an Australian citizen too, but admiring their broadband (actually in 2002 it wasn’t admirable) wouldn’t have been seen as a very good reason by the immigration authorities (and back then, having a high net worth didn’t cut it either, as it does in Canada). But I assume Woz will be welcomed with open arms, PR talk or not.

Taiwanese boats enter Japanese waters Financial Times

Foxconn closes factory after brawl Guardian

I.M.F.’s Call for More Cuts Irks Greece New York Times

Patience snaps in Portugal Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. The Portuguese people have, for the moment, stared down the austerity goons. This is getting interesting.

Valencia: A Spanish city without medicine Paul Mason, BBC. Aiee.

Spain Recoils as Its Hungry Forage Trash Bins for a Next Meal New York Times (Scott)

Bundesbank castigates IMF for saving Europe Telegraph

Judge in late abortion case linked to conservative Christian charity Guardian (Duke of URL)

State department attacks CNN for doing basic journalism Glenn Greenwald

Filling Geithner’s (Small) Shoes Robert Kuttner, Huffington Post (bhikshuni). I hear Robert Altman is also on the list. Gah. A hard-core Rubinite who wants a VAT (expect this as the supplement to or replacement for Medicare/Social Security whackage).

US regulator calls for faster Libor reform Financial Times

Wall Street Rolling Back Another Key Piece of Financial Reform Matt Taibbi (Aquifer). From last week, sorry I am late to it.

Wall St engineering revival of CDS Financial Times. Get a load of the subtitle: “Index to include financial instruments that do not exist.”

30 Issues: Getting Real On Medicare and Social Security Brian Lehrer, WNYC. Jamie Galbraith is one of the participants.

Ex-Regulator Has Harsh Words for Bankers and Geithner New York Times. The fact that Treasury ginned up former Treasury consultant Lee Sachs to defend Geithner is a huge tell. Sachs had trouble containing his contempt in a blogger meeting (the rest of the Treasury types were sincere and convincing). And as head of hedge fund Mariner, he profited from the CDOs created by one of its units, Tricadia, which were the worst deals, bar none (including Magnetar). So if these are who Geithner turns to when he needs a favorable quote, it proves Bair’s case. The Times also misleadingly says Citi’s bailout turned a profit for taxpayers. Wrong. The Feds had to enter into a second deal post the initial bailout, plus Treasury and the regulators went through hoops to preserve the value of $50 billion of deferred tax assets to Citi. Andrew Ross Sorkin called similar treatment of $26 billion of AIG DTA’s a “gift” from taxpayers. So we get more three card monte to preserve the “TARP made money” propaganda campaign.

* * *

lambert here:

Mission elapsed time: T + 18 and counting*

“Of course it’s a set up.” –Vladimir Putin

Montreal. Charbonneau Commission: “Does the link between New York and Montreal mob families still exist, #ceic lawyer asks Pistone. Yes, he says, to the best of his knowledge.” Not just bagels, I guess.

AL. Trope watch: ” What those in positions of power fail to realize is we are all in the boat together. If one end of the boat is clean and bright and the other end of the boat is dirty and full of holes, guess what…the whole damn boat is going to sink.” … Tactics: “None of us have the money of Karl Rove or the Kochs — but we have something else. Brains. Creativity. The ability to find issues that the ‘big boys’ and the pundits overlook. And the ability to work in ‘small spaces— sometimes the action turns into a news story and gives us publicity that we couldn’t buy.

CA. Voting: “On September 24, CA Gov Jerry Brown signed AB 1436, to let voters register at the polls on election day. The bill won’t take effect until either 2014 or 2015.”

CO. Fracking: “The fact is that the solar industry, the wind industry and all other construction-related industries are regulated by municipalities and local governments. Yet we don’t have ‘chaos.’ The industries deal with it. I would like to know why the oil and gas industry seems to be exempt from everything that other industries are not exempt from. If we can regulate construction activities locally, then we can regulate the oil and gas industry locally as well.”

FL. The economy: “The latest statewide poll by The Miami Herald and its media partners shows a virtual tie in the presidential race in Florida. And it came as a shock to liberals and Democrats. In short, it’s the economy, stupid. Plus a little immigration, foreign policy and healthcare.” But The Obama is thoughtful also tax returns and what about Ann Romney’s horse? … Grayson: “Grayson seemed hesitant to give any specific examples on just how much a taxpayer should be required to pay each year to the government in taxes. ‘I can’t give you a number because it’s a concept, not a number. The answer is that it should be high enough to balance the budget when the economy is healthy.'” Some MMTer should camp out in front of Grayson’s office. … Burkean conservatives: “When Justin Lamar Sternad met Ana Sol Alliegro, he didn’t know the political consultant would help lead his campaign into the FBI’s crosshairs or that she had prior legal run-ins — including the time she shot at her ex-husband while naked. Authorities believe Rivera and Alliegro, both Rs, helped the D Sternad undermine a political rival in his recent congressional primary race.” … Burkean conservatives: “State Rep. Mike Horner of Kissimmee, a leading Osceola County R and a rising star in state GOP circles, abruptly ended his re-election campaign Monday after he was named as a client in a prostitution and racketeering case.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

GA. Code for America: “Before Code for America, Macon Transit’s maps didn’t show stop times and didn’t even show all of the bus stops. A new online map for the agency shows expected arrival times and every bus route, including a bus to Robins Air Force Base.”

IN. Charters: “But the plan well on its way would transfer authority over [Indianapolis Public School System] from an elected school board to a board appointed by the mayor and city-county council. Under Indy’s UniGov system of government, such a plan would give voters in Pike, Warren, Washington and other Marion County school districts a voice in IPS operations, further diluting the political strength of poor and minority residents within the IPS boundaries.” That’s not a bug. It’s a feature. … Corruption: “IN’s top child-protection official resigned Monday amid questions of whether he violated his agency’s code of conduct through his involvement in a child neglect case involving his grandchildren.”

MA. Elizabeth Warren: “[Warren’s] going to have to explain, patiently, that [Brown] is ambition, shot straight through, and that there’s a straight line from the campaign he’s running to the Jesus-on-a-dinosaur campaigns elsewhere in the country” (Charles Pierce). If Warren says “Jesus-on-a-dinosaur” on the teebee I’ll be a lot nicer to her. … Elizabeth Warren: “‘If there’s something a physician can prescribe that can help someone who is suffering, I am in favor,’ Warren said when asked about the medical marijuana ballot question, adding that there have to be the ‘right restrictions.'” Baby steps. Somebody should ask Warren why Obama throws people who want to reduce suffering — legally, under state law — in jail, and whether she’s OK with it.

MI. Climate: “A virus transmitted by biting flies has killed at least 4,217 deer in MI’s Lower Peninsula, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.”

MO. Akin: “The Senate Conservatives Fund, which has raised more than $11 million for other Republican Senate candidates, could provide a much-needed financial boost for Akin, who is facing a Tuesday deadline on whether to stay in the race. Akin vowed again Monday to remain in the contest.”

MT. Privatization: “Last spring MT contracted with a private company, Spectrum, to take a division of their Health and Human Resource Department, the Home and Community Service division funded by Medicaid. Some of the Area Agencies are being negatively impacted by this change. Supposedly part of Flathead County is being served by this company.”

OH. Voting: “The [VoteVets] brief also alleges that the Republicans’ new restrictions could also arbitrarily deprive many active members of the armed forces of their right to cast an early in-person absentee ballot as well. This can occur, says the group, because Husted left the decision whether ‘to open those three days for in-person voting by [active military] voters…[to] the discretion of the individual county boards of elections.'” But this is precisely the “arbitrary and disparate treatment to voters in its different counties” on which Bush v. Gore was (putatively) decided. Are they trying to throw the election into the courts? … The Obama: “Polly Germer, a Kent resident volunteering with the Obama campaign, said she was glad the president was visiting a city where the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus package, made a difference. ‘We’re going to be excited to show him where his dollars are,’ Germer said.” Ms. Germer? They’re your dollars. The people are sovereign.

SC. Corruption: “SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell has reimbursed himself more than $325,000 from his campaign war chest since 2008 but has produced no receipts or itemized invoices accounting for the spending as required by state law.”

TX. Police state: “A police officer shot and killed a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair Saturday inside a group home after police say the double amputee threatened the officer and aggressively waved a metal object that turned out to be a pen.” Houston PD Public Affairs Department: 713 308-3200. … Pipeline: “This morning eight people climbed 80 feet into trees in the path of Keystone XL construction, and pledged not to come down until the pipeline is stopped for good. The blockade is carefully organized to ensure that everyone sitting in the trees can remain safe as long as TransCanada does not attempt to continue clear-cutting the trees. [The tree-sitters] have the safety equipment and food supplies to last indefinitely.”

VA. UVA: “[New BoV member Bobbie] Kilberg also told [reinstated President Teresa] Sullivan she should stop answering questions about what happened. She said the board had agreed at its retreat in August not to talk to the press.” Lot of angst here for a process UVA told its accrediting body did not involve “outside forces exercis[ing]undue influence on the board.”

WA. Subsidies: “After a round robin of councilmanic backslapping, the Seattle City Council today formally approved a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build a new NBA arena in the Sodo neighborhood. After months of skepticism and hedging the authorizing legislation passed by 6-2 vote.” … Police state: “I feel there could have been other methods. They could have tased him. He was an older man and he was a sick man. It’s just wrong how they went in and did that to him.” People keep calling 911 and getting shot. 

WI. Code enforcement: “Gov. Scott Walker has changed course on plans to remove fire-safety requirements from the state electrical code. Walker is now directing state officials to leave in place rules designed to detect fire-causing conditions and stop electric shocks, and to keep children from sticking foreign objects into electrical outlets.”

Outside baseball. Big data: “Knowledge is not a set of theories, but instead just data, and lots of data, and the machine is a better place to store them than the human mind.” … Burkean conservatives: “[T]oday’s conservative is in fact conservative. She hasn’t betrayed the traditions of Burke, Disraeli, Hayek, Oakeshott, Buckley, and Reagan: she has fulfilled them. Burke called for total war, of Sein oder Nichtstein, against not a country or a people but ‘an armed doctrine.’ That doctrine had to be exterminated, for ‘if it can at all exist, it must finally prevail.'” And Obama is, of course, a conservative. … Media critique: “So the next time you read comments by ‘a White House aide’ or a ‘campaign strategist,’ feel free to mentally rewrite the sentence so that it reads: ‘An aide said today, in comments that he was allowed to edit and revise in advance of publication, after demanding that the reporter e-mail him the original quotes…'” (Dick Polman) … Pearl clutching: Michael Gerson on Romney’s 47% gaffe: “Politics is reduced to class warfare on behalf of the upper class.” Well, at least Romney’s honest about it, eh? … Mass incarceration: “Then the [Corrections Corporation of America] dangled $250 million in front of officials in other states agonizing over how to squeeze dollars from dirt in a down economy. In return for sacks of cash, the company wants 20- to 30-year contracts for housing criminals. And the already controversial full privatization also requires states to grind out convictions and sentences for two or three decades at today’s pace and severity, maintaining a guaranteed 90 percent occupancy rate–calibrating the wheels of justice to fit a profit-margin spreadsheet.” Slavery, in other words. … Christianism: “‘The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,’ [Bill Nye the Science Guy] said. ‘It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.'” …. Legacy parties: “A party is a coalition. Just as finding the ‘real Romney’ is a fool’s errand, so is insisting that the personality at the top of the ticket be the most importand thing you care about. You have a choice in November between two broad coalitions. One is left-leaning and will pay some attention to progressives but will also bring in moderates of various stripes. The other is right-leaning and will be responsive to the Tea Party and to moderate Rs.”

Grand Bargain™-Brand Cat Food Watch. Bafflegab: “[AXELROVE:] [T]he approach has to be a balanced one. We’ve had discussions in the past. And the question is, can you raise the cap some? And do you adjust the growth of [cut] the program? That’s a discussion worth having [indeed]. But again, we have to approach it in a balanced [for whom?] way. We’re not going to cut our way to prosperity. We’re not going to cut our way to more secure entitlement programs — Social Security and Medicare. We have to have a balance.” Balance of what? 

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Exceptionalism: ” Never have American voters re-elected a president whose work they disapprove of as much as Obama’s. Not that Mitt Romney can take much comfort — they’ve never elected a challenger they view so negatively, either.” Can’t they both lose?

The trail. Polls: “Based on the way that our forecast model calculates it, a candidate ahead by two percentage points at this stage would be about a two-to-one favorite to win. But a candidate ahead by six points would have around a 90 percent chance of victory” (Nate Silver). … Yawner: “This race has begun to resemble an over-sized and over-written novel that you’re stuck in the middle of. You’re bored with the characters and the plot, but you’re stubbornly determined to see it through because of all the time you’ve already invested. But boy is it a long, hard slog.” … Yawner: “The two campaigns insist that voters are about to make a momentous decision between sharply divergent visions for American life. But the candidates have largely failed to provide specifics about those visions, leaving voters to guess about the consequences of their choice” (Pravda). Tee up the debates!

Green Party. Jill Stein: “There’s not much fear in Jill Stein. I have mixed views on her positions: Replacing unemployment compensation with work seems right to me — we still use the buildings the WPA built. What will future generations have to show for today’s extended unemployment checks? And I’m happy to repeal the Patriot Act, since I was against it to begin with.” (interview with Glenn Reynolds, of all people).

The Romney. Airplane windows: “If it were my spouse who had had an emergency landing on a charter my campaign was using (and presumably would use for the next six weeks), I’d want [k]now if the subcontractors my contracted service was using were fulfilling my needs. But not Mitt.” (emptywheel). … Airplane windows: “[Romney] is (I have heard) not a happy or comfortable flyer, and one who can always imagine things going wrong. [H]e has no choice but to fly, white-knuckled, from one stop to the next. Someone with this outlook would naturally be all the more rattled by an emergency landing. So cut him all the more slack.” (James Fallows, explainer). … Foreign Policy: “Obama’s foreign policy is vulnerable to all sorts of accurate attacks. But Mitt Romney, the Rs, and the conservative movement are totally unable to exploit them. This is partly because the last four years have been spent advancing critiques so self-evidently implausible to anyone outside the movement that calling attention to them seems impolite.”

The Obama. Black vote: “[MICHELLE OBAMA:] And make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time, marching door to door registering people to vote. Marching everyone you know to the polls every single election. See, this is the sit-in of our day.” Well, no. No. … I approved this message: “[OBAMA: ] Do we see sometimes us going overboard in our campaign? Are there mistakes that are made, are there areas where there’s no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things? You know, that happens in politics” [shrug, shrug, shrug].

* Slogan of the day: Closely follow great leader The Obama and forge ahead courageously amid great storms and waves!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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  1. David Lentini

    “Knowledge is not a set of theories . . . .”

    Did someone hand that guy a tissue and a cigarette after he finished jerking off?

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Edmund Burke is best known for saying “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, which, according to Wikipedia, he never actually said. Perhaps, then, he should be much better known for something he actually did write, in “Reflections on the Revolution in France”, about women:

      “a woman is but an animal, and an animal not of the highest order.” (from Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States)

      Thus spake “the philosophical founder of modern Conservatism” — a ‘real’ conservative, who understood the divine right of kings, a man among men, a man’s man.

      1. David Lentini

        Maybe it’s time to stop mistaking the thoughts and opinions of philosophers as eternal truths. Burke has his points, but the idea that you can cite him as an unquestionable authority does everyone a disservice. He is part of the “great conversation”, and does not have the last word by a long shot (heard ’round the world).

  2. tomk

    The link in the Wisconsin fire safety requirements isn’t working. I will note that the newly required pricey arc fault interrupters that the electrician installed in my new house here in Maine are often popping wrongly (when a healthy vacuum cleaner gets turned on, say) as predicted by the electrician. Then I run the risk of breaking my neck running to the basement to reset the breaker, not to mention my blood pressure. The electrician says that he often changes them out for the less sensitive ones after inspection because they are so dysfunctional and annoying. I like sensible regulations, but some of them seem to be overkill motivated by corporate profit rather than safety or people’s well being.

  3. Peasant Pinguin Society

    Alternate History, Part Five.

    1348 A.D., somewhere in Europe.

    Some of the Mongolian Horsewomen have been threatening to hang Lord Blankfein for a long time, because of the way he had been behaving.

    By this time, the Blankfein pestilence had moved steadily northward through Italy and Spain. It struck Florence, Bologna, Pistoia, Perugia and Padua, in March and April and reached Siena, Ancona and Naples by May, when Perpignan, Barcelona and Valencia had also been infected.

    The Blankfein pestilence had killed hundreds of thousands in the cities of Europe, and left thousands of homes vacant without nobody living in them. This left countless numbers wandering Europe barefoot, in rags and ashes, attempting to flee the Pestilence.

    Lord Blankfein argued that just because he had gone too far (which he did not deny) did not mean he should be subjected to hanging. Going too far, he said, was something everybody did sometimes.

    The Mongolian Horsewomen didn’t pay too much attention to this argument.

    These were good Heathen Horsewomen. Gus Grue said so. And so did Genghis Khan.

    They hailed from Tribes in the distant East, but had been driven out of the Khazar Khaganate (their homeland), by Lord Blankfein’s men, who had looted the Khaganate, killed all of the men and raped all of the women, then hauled every Golden Matya back to Lord Blankfein.

    Having lost everything, the Heathen Horsewomen crossed all of Europe, to find the thieving Invader, and at last they had caught up with him.

    But they agreed with Lord Blankfein that simply going too far did not mean he deserved to be hanged.

    Lord Blankfein breathed a sigh of relief and told the Horsewomen that if they let him go, he was now ready to take action in support of the Volcker Rule.

    There was a long silence as they seemed to consider this offer.

    Instead the Heathen Horsewomen drew their Scimitars and hacked Lloyd Blankfein into pieces, then cut out his liver and threw it to the wolves.

    Afterwards the Mongolian Horsewomen held a Great Feast to celebrate and drank from buckets of wine that were placed ’round the Courtyard. They roasted Sacrificial Lamb, gnawed its meat and threw the bones at Lord Blankfein’s severed Head, which stood rotting on a Stick.

    The Heathen Horsewomen wrestled with one another, then forced Heribald the Half-witted Monk, to lead them in drunkenly singing Christian hymns.

    Rather than kill Heribald the Half-Wit Monk, they placed a crown of hair upon his bald head, and spared his life. Then the good Horsewomen rode off, leaving Heribald to tell his brothers later about the wild morals of the Heathen Mongolian Horsewomen.

    Here Endeth Alternate History Part Five

    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

      “Lord Blankfein argued that just because he had gone too far (which he did not deny) did not mean he should be subjected to hanging. Going too far, he said, was something everybody did sometimes.”

      Yes. I remember that. He said anyone can make Bubos sometimes.

    2. Ms G

      “The Mongolian Horsewomen didn’t pay too much attention to this argument.”

      Key point.


      Thank you for this very excellent Fifth Installment. You continue to outdo yoursel.

        1. Ms G

          Found it and realized I’d not only read, but saved that one. Hadn’t yet connected the dots between PPS and LB. :)

        2. Peasant Pinguin Society

          Ms G: “Hadn’t yet connected the dots between PPS and LB..”

          Right. Although you seem to have connected a false dot between PPS and Tiresias.

          Just to clarify, there is no connection between the two. :)

          1. Peasant Pinguin Society

            Ms G,

            You provide Major Funding for PPS, otherwise we could not go on, and we thought (perhaps mistakenly) you were confusing Tiresias with PPS, so we just wanted to make it clear Tiresias is not associated with us in any way.

            All checks should go directly to Peasant Pinguin Society!


  4. Ms G

    “Knowledge is not a set of theories . . . ”

    Author of article = member of team that designs Bot-Consoles, including Maher-Bot Console being monitored by Kos Machine and Mitchell. Team is part of Bot Console Inc., privately-held and very lucrative franchise (Shadow Partners In Media Delivery, Inc.). BCI is a subsidiary of the Carlye Group.

    @ Lentini. Considering the long gaps between Maher appearances (and thus long gaps in active Bot Console Monitoring periods), there is ample time for Kos Machine and Mitchell to enjoy Tissue-Cigarette interludes (between bouts of active duty.) The big question is: do they get paid for those hours? Or are they only paid by the hour for active-duty Console-Monitoring?

  5. F. Beard

    re Christianism: “‘The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,’ [Bill Nye the Science Guy] said. :

    Ooo he so smart! Look at how he sets that strawman on fire!

    The Bible never says the Earth is only 6,000 or 10,000 years. In fact, the following verse implies the Earth is AT LEAST 20,000-120,000+ years depending on one’s definition of “generation”:

    Remember His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, 1 Chronicles 16:15

    For an INTELLIGENT defense of the Bible from a guy with a Phd in Astrophysics see .

      1. F. Beard

        Et tu, Lambert?

        Don’t understand what “AT LEAST” means?

        The point is that 6000-10,000 cannot be logically deduced from the Bible. So who’s strawman is Bill Nye fighting?

    1. MacCruiskeen

      If the earth (and everything else in the universe) were only appx. 100,000 years old, we wouldn’t be able to see anything beyond the edge of our own galaxy. Or everything we see would have to be less than 100,000 light years away.

        1. MacCruiskeen

          And in addition, stellar evolution would have to be proceeding at an extremely accelerated rate. If the universe was only 100,000 years old, why would we be observing so many novae? Stars would have to be burning their fuel several orders of magnitude times faster than we expect.

        1. TK21

          Most likely, there’s such a wide gap between 120,000 years and 4.6 billion years that it’s hard to credit a source that gives the former number, even if they pair it with “at least.”

          “Remember His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,” 1 Chronicles 16:15. I’m not familiar with the context–does that mean that 1,000 generations have passed between then and now?

          1. F. Beard

            I would assume that it meant 1000 generations till the time of that writing.

            My point is that the 6,000 – 10,000 year range is not Biblical so why attack that straw man?

        2. DiamondJammies

          It seems very silly to spend time defending a literal view of the Bible. Why not approach it from the standpoint of allegory and metaphor and folk wisdom?

          I’m not a religious person but it seems you would be on firmer ground today, in 2012, defending Bible not as literal truth but as a kind of literary truth which requires careful hermeneutic labor to understand within the context in which it was originally written and the context within which it’s read today.

    2. evodevo

      Tell that to Ken Ham, AGI, the “Discovery” Institute and every home-schooling fundie in the US. Sorry, you are setting up a straw man yourself. Poor Bill Nye is only trying to bring the Creationists into the 20th century (not even the 21st), not debate the Bibble.

  6. Ms G

    AxelRove quote re Catfood Commission (TM).

    “Balance” — For Whom? For What? — exactly. “Balance” is the new Slime Word to watch for.

    Also, again with the “Entitlement” trope (Social Security and Medicare). NO — these programs are Social Insurance Fully Paid Up by Intended Beneficiaries. They are only “entitlements” when viewed through the lens of Asset-Stripping (cough “Private Equity”) public wealth raiders.

    A pox on the House of AxelRove and Obama. May the People acquire 20/20 vision on CatFood TM in time to thwart it.

    1. Don Levit

      Well, they could have been paid-up if the special-issue Treasuries were used for only the trusr fund beneficiaries, as stated in the legislation.
      Instead, these special bonds were loaned to the Treasury to spend for other government expenses, rather than residing in the trust fund for only the trust fund beneficiaries.
      Now, instead of being paid-up, the trust fund is merely a pay-as-you-go mechanism, requiring new general revenues to reimburse the interest since 2008, to make up for the cash shortfalls.
      It is the same way we pay all pay-as-you-go expenses, such as Medicaid – with new general revenues.
      Don Levit

    2. Darren Kenworthy

      The word “entitlement” means “a right specified by law or contract”. The Bill of Rights, for example, is a catalog of the political rights American citizens and legal residents are entitled to. I understand you are responding to the negatively freighted meaning attached to this idea. I reply, not to correct you, but to call attention to how the very concept of ordinary American possessing meaningful legal rights has been vilified by attaching perforative connotations to words for talking about what those rights are.

  7. jeff

    Minor correction: UVA’s reinstated president is named Teresa Sullivan, not Kathleen Sullivan.

    Man, this just reeks to high heaven: “They told [Faculty Senate chairman George] Cohen his efforts to get more answers are making the university look bad.”

    So it’s not the bizarre coup or the coverup that makes the university look bad, it’s the faculty’s search for answers! Simply Orwellian.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Thanks on Sullivan. I’ve got the bug that’s going around…

      Read the whole article on UVA. I picked out the juiciest quote, but the whole thing is really appalling. Note that as I read it the faculty senate has not rescinded its vote of no confidence in the board, and for good reason, so far as I can tell.

      Meanwhile, the same deprofessionalization that the charter weasels are trying to force on teachers will hit the professariat as well with MOOCs… And I’m not entirely certain Sullivan isn’t playing a double game, Obama to Dragas’s Romney, if you will (“thoughtful” vs. openly vicious, but all heading to the same end).

    1. Shutterbuggery

      6pac.. anybody know what happened to that female Baghdad blogger from ‘way back when? I heard she and her family bailed out to … Syria. Hope things went better from there. Loved reading her postings.

    2. Bev

      Though I dislike washingtons blog discarding all old comments with its new comment system (google still links to comments that no longer show), they have done a better job than most in trying to prevent war that could also harm us and the whole world.

      Even if there is a low probability that the following might occur…


      Jim Fetzer September 19, 2012 4:15 AM

      My great fear now is that the US and Israel are going to attack Iran on Yom Kippur, 25 (in another article he says 25 or 26) September 2012, and that Iran and Russia are going to retaliate with a massive response, which is going to incinerate much of our country.

      from his aricle:

      “Innocence of Muslims”, the GOP and World War III

      by Jim Fetzer

  8. reader

    lambert, UVA president Sullivan’s first name is Teresa. Why do you keep referring to her as Kathleen? Is this some internet tradition I’m unaware of?

    1. Lambert Strether

      Just testing to make sure people read it. “Matt Romney” and so forth…

      * * *

      No, but seriously, I can’t account for the mental misfiling, especially since I blogged the whole episode intensively.

  9. Bert_S

    And what better place to get the facts than the Heritage Foundation. Really!

    Here’s the terrible news in bar charts, but Heritage seems to rely on their readership to be bar chart challenged and rely on the scary headlines to absorb the scope of the problem.

    Note the SS portion of the dreaded “doubling in entitlements by 2050” (if the human race is still around that far into the future) is a whopping 1.1% incease [by 2050] as percent of projected GDP.

    Click forward to the next scary headline:

    “Tax Revenues Devoured By Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in 2045”

    and the chart confirms a nice constant band for SS and it’s Medicare and O care that seems to be the problem.

    But why not just say that Americans (and corporations) of all ages paying twice as much for healthcare as the rest of the developed world may be the problem.

      1. Ms G

        Hey Bert. Nice job parsing how the scaremongering words in the headlines — “Devoured,” “Doubling” — are at diametrically contradictory in meaning to the underlying data.

        As a commenter said elsewhere on NC this morning, the level of ignorance in this country is off the charts. This banking on the inability or unwillingness of readers to read the headlines and ignore the bar-charts is a perfect example. Here people are having the Real Deal spoon fed to them (in Graphic Form, no less!) and the likelihood of their even looking at it is close (or to the left of) zero.

    1. TK21

      I detect sarcasm, but let’s face it: voting for a Democrat who will certainly (as certainly as we can know) push for Republican policies is the purist form of throwing one’s vote away that I can think of.

  10. jsmith

    Um, so where’s the Project S.H.A.M.E. Nate Silver edition?

    This guy’s pedigree is even worse than many of the featured sycophants.

    University of Chicago, NYT…sheesh, I guess I should really start giving a sh*t about the Presidential horserace, eh, Nate?

    Too bad there wasn’t a Nate Silver around for Election 2000, huh? (I’m looking at you FL!)

    Too bad there wasn’t a Nate Silver around for Election 2004, eh? (I’m looking at you Ohio!)

    Just when confidence in the fraudulent American political process had reached its nadir among some observers, why, here’s Nate hot off of saving one sport to inject much needed enthusiasm into another WWE-type spectacle.

    Hey, PTB, can’t we just have exit polling again like we had for – oh, I don’t now – EVER?!

    Nope, it’s the Amazing Nate Silver and his Predicto-matica gonna tell you what’s happening/happened in the POTUS horserace!!

    Wow, Nate, are you seriously telling me that there has been a .5 percentage point shift among the propagandized and brainwashed masses in Suffolk County?!!


    Well, gollee, American “democracy” is alive and kicking!!


    1. jsmith

      Adding vis a vis Mr. Silver:

      Similarly, next time you find yourself being regaled by the witty banter of Becky Quick of CNBC or the Babes of Bloomberg as they “analyze” the horsesh!t market numbers, just ask yourself:

      Am I being manipulated?

      Is the TV trying to make me interested in/care about some sort of simulacrum of reality that actually has NO bearing whatsoever upon real life?

      Do all the numbers flahing incessantly in front of my face and the discussuion about said numbers actually mean anything or are they just thrown in there to lend credence to con?

      Get the mud pit ready, it’s a cat fight!!!!!

      The Sirens of CNBC versus The Babes of Bloomberg!

      1. SR6719

        Yeah, you could show these people a massacre in Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya, with blood and body parts scattered over a 500 mile radius, and the first thing they’d do is get out their charts and graphs and models and start analyzing it (in a feelgood way with lots of happy banter) strictly in terms of numbers.

        And they’d tell you how the numbers are looking really really positive on this, Becky, looks like they beat the street again, Joe, only 50,000 dead children!! don’t be a gloomy gus, Russ, cuz it’s really it’s a win-win for everyone concerned, ain’t that right, Andrew!

      2. Shutterbuggery

        “Is the TV trying to make me interested in/care about some sort of simulacrum of reality that actually has NO bearing whatsoever upon real life?”

        I remember a day at work (deckhand on ferryboat) sitting on my ass reading the business section of the paper & ignoring the riders. In a moment of sobering clarity I realized when people like me start reading the business section, the shit is about to hit the fan.

        It did.

        They’re scraping the bottom of the barrel again folks. Get ready for it.

      3. DiamondJammies

        “Is the TV trying to make me interested in/care about some sort of simulacrum of reality that actually has NO bearing whatsoever upon real life?”

        Disagree. Television is a profound mirror bourgeois society holds up to itself. In it is reflected all of the disfiguring elements of a system that sacrifices human beings for the sake of profits.

        Far from being a distortion of everyday capitalist society, in television’s vulgarity we find its distillation, the spectral essence of a system riven by the tension between the promise of abundance for all and the truth of utter squalor for most, whose tele-visual aesthetic is the technological sheen of the heat map, the fake tits and bleached teeth and bleached assholes of the news models, the unending tropes of domination and subordination, and the relentless pushing of the fundamental bourgeois message: that anybody can make it and if you personally don’t make it then it’s your fault.

        The good thing about reality, even under the rule of the capitalists, is that it’s still capable of veering off script. Which is where the ones who are sickened by the standard plot come in.

        All those who are able to see must help others to see.

        And then they must have the courage to call things by the correct names.–2R0

  11. Shutterbuggery

    “If one end of the boat is clean and bright and the other end of the boat is dirty and full of holes, guess what…the whole damn boat is going to sink.” …

    the boat might sink but not before all the doomed frantically surge to the clean end of the boat and toss the bastards overboard first.

  12. tyaresun

    All white Americans will move to Australia and Canada once “too many” hispanics and asians move in.

    Are we that bad?

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Revival of CDS..index to include financial instruments that do not exist.

    The masters of the universe probably link them to Martian real estate.

    You know how they are not making another Mars and so, in theory anyway, Martian real estate prices can only go up…especially when we are starting from such low levels.

    Buy low.

    Hold forever and join the 0.01%…

  14. Peter Pinguid Society

    Here at the Peter Pinguid Society we’ve had a team following Nate Silver around for several weeks. Our bookmakers last had him running around a 78.8630 percent chance, or about a 4-to-1 favorite to become the next candidate for the Koch Funded Sex Reassignment Surgery, but now the odds have gone up about 12.3872 percent.

    My Research Assistant Gladys just returned from following Nate to lunch at the Johnny Rockets on 3131 M Street NW, Washington, DC. She said Nate Silver was in front of her with a ominous grey-looking businessman that she’s pretty sure had to be of a Koch agent.

    My Research Assistant was betting 4 to 1, or 83.144908 percent that Nate would order the Johnny Rockets Bacon Double Cheeseburger again, featuring two quarter-pound, 100% pure beef hamburgers, two melty slices of American cheese, lettuce, fresh sliced tomatoes, creamy mayo, topped off with crispy bacon, some of those crispy little tater pieces you pop in your mouth and (you’ll never think of a spud the same way again) topped with chili and cheese, and a sweet, cold, real vanilla ice cream blended with rich, peanut-buttery Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

    And sure enough, that’s exactly what he ordered.

    After placing the order Nate was so out of breath he started wheezing, and had to sit down, and have them bring the order to his table.

    At this point Glady observed the grey-looking man hand over a large wad of cash to Nate, in an envelope marked “KFSRS”, which my Research Assistant suspects of being a clever attempt by the Koch Brothers to disguise that this cash was in fact a quid pro quo payment to Nate Silver.

    In exchange for the mountains of endless BS he churns out, the Koch brothers are rewarding him with Koch Funded Sex Reassignment Surgery (KFSRS).

    But, no problem, he can stay at the NY Times blog and still work for them.

    This is not 100 percent certain yet, but the odds on offer by bookmakers has Nate running as a 9-to-1 favorite, or about a 90.830827 percent chance to become next in line for Koch-Funded Sex Reassignment Surgery.

    We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent

    1. Bert_S

      Btw, Koch agents give off a rather strong EM field, so tell Gladys the easiest way to identify one of those is to get within 10 feet and look at your cheap LCD watch. The LCD display glows brighter.

  15. Eureka Springs

    Thanks for the Jill Stien link, Lambert. Refreshing. What an easy voting decision she makes out of this election cycle. Especially if one decided for themselves that they will not vote out of or from fear.

    She should be what goes for a very centrist Democrat in our country.

  16. Acadiana

    A small detail… You’ve confused Roger and Robert Altman. Robert Altman was Clark Clifford’s law partner and BCCI co-defendant. Roger Altman was Deputy Treasury Secretary under Clinton. Two different people.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Corrected, thanks. I sputtered at another DC person who was under the same misapprehension….but this is another problem with early AM postings…..too easy to make overly hasty comments.

  17. kevinearick

    The Old Man, The Constitution, & Propulsion

    Nearly all of the old men have vacated the space, for kids, so they can make the world, as they see fit…

    From the perspective of the old man, life is all about the kids that comprise labor, to implement quantum change. Everyone else, government, corporate, non-profit, all the middleclass peer pressure groups, are part of the gravitron machine, which incrementally moves to maintain time for legacy capital.

    From the perspective of capital, nothing changes, or, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The world stage is just high school times a thousand, with peer pressure groups pitted against each other, and all their leaders playing to fear, growing their demographic ponzi currencies in a positive feedback loop accordingly.

    The point of this exercise is to show the kids how the battery is formed, loaded, and employed, not to tell them what to do with it; here’s the keys, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know…

    The explicit side is simply a function that builds momentum. It loads the battery, winds the clock, ratchets the catapult, however you want to think about it. Watching the fed’s effect on VIX is the easiest way to see it. The implicit side determines current, the extent to which these kids travel through the explicit side, creating a semi-permeable, semi-conductor.

    The implicit side is quantum, depending upon the amount of gravity required by the participants to implement their designs. I don’t care for the dialogue, but the question is useful; what would you do with $30T, which is as good as any other number to represent the folly of the fed’s actions.

    Pick a number, say $800T, to account for the derivatives representing unpayable, unfunded, middle class entitlement, expectation liabilities, which the socialists continue to grow unabated. What is a fair and payable bid to solve that problem, and, more importantly, how can the labor family best employ it for future symbiotic growth of all families. (Yes, the robots are programmed to expunge you; get over it.)

    So, you have a 3000lb car and oil…aggregate human behavior cannot be altered in real time. What does physics tell you must be done, if you can assume the old man left behind everything required? The US Navy is gutted, with nothing but position holders…

    The masters of the universe, their world opinion leaders, and all their middle class followers are going to war because they have no idea how electricity works, and as you have observed, there is no point in telling them, because their false assumptions are the basis of their lives, hence the mythology, a constitution.

    What kind of navy you want to build depends upon where you want to go. My suggestion is space, in another dimension, but then again my favorite character was and is Scotty. You do what you want, and don’t allow anyone’s false assumptions stop you. That is why we draw blood.

    Learn to respect the machine, even though it is just a sh-show, because it is life and death to the robots, and one day, you too may fall from grace, as the vast majority of us do. You cannot pick your biological parents, but seek and you shall find. The old man does what he does for a reason.

    From the perspective of a battery, what is the outcome of equality, and what is the purpose of dimensions, relative to efficient, incremental positive feedback and effective, quantum negative feedback? What is the relationship between a point, a number line, a circle, and a helix, and why does DNA operate as a double?

    Take responsibility and run with it. Let the empire catch you when you are ready to hand it off. So, the university technology park is a black hole, surprise, surprise. Throw the admirals overboard, and remove family law from the ship. Check your History.

  18. EmilianoZ

    Chris Hedges excoriates Dinesh D’Souza, and it’s brutal:

    “You know Dinesh comes out of the Christian community of the state of Goa. There are all sorts of pockets including the Sikhs who comprise 40 percent of the Indian army and the British, who allied themselves to their colonial rulers and did the dirty work for their colonial rulers. And I look at this film and Dinesh’s stance is essentially like that.”

    Ouch! I didn’t expect Hedges to go there.

    And Hedges also provides some background concerning his own family:

    “My father’s family comes from the WASP aristocracy from the East. We founded the East Hampton New York in 1633. I went to prep school with the Buckleys. I know this world.”

    So, I guess he really belongs to the 1%. But we like him anyway. We’ll make him an honorary 99%er.

    1. TK21

      “For all Obama’s faults, Romney and the new Republican party would be even worse.”

      I simply can not lend any credence to that sentiment. The income gap has grown worse under Obama than under his Republican predecessor. Obama has assassinated more Americans and prosecuted fewer financiers (zero) than that predecessor.

  19. SR6719

    “The more images I gathered from the past, I said, the more unlikely it seemed to me that the past had actually happened in this or that way, for nothing about it could be called normal: most of it was absurd, and if not absurd, then appalling.” – W. G. Sebald

    The White Ribbon:

    1. SR6719


      W.G. Sebald’s novels are unusual in that they include old photographs scattered throughout the text. These photographs are never mentioned in the text and there are never any subtitles to describing them.

      He seemed to believe that due to the saturation of media images, we’ve passed the point where we can tell each other accurate histories, and therefore novels have become as important as narrative histories.

      According to Sebald, both are simulations and Sebald understood that simulating the lives of the holocaust generation (as in Schindler’s List, Holocaust HBO specials, or even Claude Lanzmann’s 9 hour documentary film Shoah) would lead to the disappearance of memory.

      In his novel, The Emigrants, Sebald is giving us simulated memories of 1920s and 1930s Germany, instead of real ones, because he believed that (due to the media saturation of images) our time was one that only knows simulation.

    2. SR6719

      In The Rings of Saturn, W.G. Sebald’s fictive alter ego observes the Waterloo Panorama, a 360-degree representation of the battle warped round “an immense domed rotunda”, and muses: “This then . . . is the representation of history. It requires a falsification of perspective. We, the survivors, see everything from above, see everything at once, and still we do not know how it was”.

  20. MarcoPolo

    Valencia: A Spanish city without medicine
    and not just Valencia, I’m afraid. That story is typical of the whole country. Austerity has its price.

  21. Externality

    IN. Charters: “But the plan well on its way would transfer authority over [Indianapolis Public School System] from an elected school board to a board appointed by the mayor and city-county council. Under Indy’s UniGov system of government, such a plan would give voters in Pike, Warren, Washington and other Marion County school districts a voice in IPS operations, further diluting the political strength of poor and minority residents within the IPS boundaries.” That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

    And yet, the Obama administration, “progressive” organizations, the corporate-controlled media, and civil rights groups are the leading advocates for such “regionalism” and “regionalization” initiatives.

    Regionalization, supporters argue, will make it impossible for suburbia to ignore the plight of the inner city; regional control over schools and taxation will purportedly make it easier for politicians and judges to ignore “populist” objections to the regional sharing of tax revenues, the region-wide busing of students to promote racial integration, the regional funding of mass transit, etc.

    (Once a regional infrastructure is created, every “intra-regional disparity” will serve as a potential basis for litigation that will transfer control, on a regional basis, into the hands of unelected technocrats, judges, and court-appointed special masters. The “solutions” will, almost inevitably, include regressive sales and parcel taxes and be structured to ensure that the haute bourgeois retain control and are not inconvenienced. Howard Zinn described this latter phenomenon in his book, A People’s History of the United States.)

    Suburban Whites who oppose regionalization are smeared as racists indifferent to the plight of urban youth of color. Since elite-driven regionalization programs are also considered “racist” by some African-American leaders, it seems as though it is “racist” to support or oppose regionalization.

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