Links 11/21/12

Feeding the Eagles: Incredible Pictures Global Economic Intersection

Nudity ban’s bottom line: genitalia San Francisco Chronicle

The NYTOnIt account is hilarious. Shame the Times can’t take a joke Guardian

Gondolas Could Be the Next Great Urban Transportation Device Wired (Robert M). I am holding out for my jetpack.

World Bank: Leaders are Running out of Time on Climate Change OilPrice

News Corp faces renewed threat Guardian

Adoboli gets seven years for $2.3bn UBS fraud Telegraph

Eurogroup meeting, interrupted FT Alphaville


US battles Iraq and Afghanistan over detention without charges Glenn Greenwald

Democrats Introduce Privacy Bill Before Election . . . Obama Administration Reportedly Opposes Privacy Protections After Election Jonathan Turley (toxymoron)

WATCH: The New Occupy? Huffington Post

Bernanke Says Fiscal Cliff Fix May Bring ‘Very Good’ Year Bloomberg. “Subprime is contained” redux?

Top Nomura Economist Is Skeptical Of Fiscal Cliff Progress — And There’s Good Reason To Take Him Seriously Clusterstock. It’s easy to have nice photo ops when you haven’t been negotiating.

Politics Complicates the Math in Ending Tax Breaks for Rich New York Times

Inevitably, eventually, Autonomy FT Alphaville . Richard Smith: “There’s the most incredible series of links to prior AV posts from this one about Autonomy. It goes back and back for years. It’s been pretty obvious what they thought of Autonomy, for a long long time before the HP acquisition”

Hewlett Packard and Autonomy: notes from my Santangels presentation John Hempton (Richard Smith)

US banks in rush to plug capital shortfall Financial Times (Richard Smith). Someone needs to give them the “Basel III is on hold, probably permanently” memo.

SAC’s Cohen Pulled Deeper Into Trading Probe by Martoma Bloomberg

Credit Suisse splits off global investment bank Financial Times. Note not a legal separation, just a reorg.

The report of a 2.1% increase in existing home sales and 4.7% jump in new home starts got the headlines, but we also have Private-market mortgage delinquencies reverse course and increase and Uneven housing forecast for next year Housing Wire

The Case for Breaking Up the Big Banks Mark Thoma, Fiscal Times (Richard Smith)

SEC Rocked By Lurid Sex-and-Corruption Lawsuit Matt Taibbi (Deontos)

Choosing your own capitalism in a globalised world? Daron Acemoglu, James A Robinson, Thierry Verdier

Pomp and Exceptional Circumstance: How Students Are Forced to Prop Up the Education Bubble Boston Review

Antidote du jour:

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  1. fresno dan

    “Consider the elephant in the room: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owe American taxpayers nearly $140 billion — and there seems to be no plan on any front to pay it back.

    My idea is that if the US essentially owns Fannie, why did’t it fire Raines? Oh, and how about some corporate governance – like if you run the corporation so ineptly that it essentially goes bankrupt, you forfeit and have to pay back your last 3 years of pay (and bonuses)….
    I mean, in what other job, other than CEO, can someone so abjectly fail without consequence?
    Your right – way too idealistic…accountability is for the little people.

    1. Ep3

      Fresno Dan, I am from Michigan and our football team is the same way. Fans buy gear, attend the games, read the articles, the team drafts expensive players, and all we get is complete garbage every year.

    2. Rich

      Please do not become discouraged nor forget that the fact that your suggestion, not allowing those within the tribe to not go unpunished for stealing from the tribe, is still a deeply based moral principle within our collective human psyche. Those moral principles is what will cause the majority of us, the empathic human, to prevail over the anti-human sociopathic. Stay strong.

    3. Rich

      Please do not become discouraged nor forget the fact that your suggestion, not allowing those within the tribe to not go unpunished for stealing from the tribe, is still a deeply based moral principle within our collective human psyche. Those moral principles is what will cause the majority of us, the empathic human, to prevail over the anti-human sociopathic. Justice is for everyone, not just the little people. Be strong, stay strong.

  2. Jim A

    Education has become bit of a “Red Queen Race,” where we’re running faster and faster just to stay in place. It used to be that a college degree was the borderline between a nice office job with good benefits or working in retail or on the factory floor or a trade. Now a college degree is the borderline between working in retail and being “marginally attached” –fast food wages and fast food hours. Add to this the fact that the cost of a degree has ballooned like a mortgage payment in the last few years. A higher cost to get a cr@ppier job means that wages for 20 something has fallen, not stagnated over the last 10-20 years.

    And just as increased availability of credit enabled house prices to soar, the price of a college degree has skyrocketed just as the consequences of not having one have become starker.

    1. rjs

      it doesnt have anything to do with educating the next generation anymore; its just about turning them into indentured slaves…

      1. tyaresun

        yup, I was in academics from 1985 to 1996. In 1996 I was teaching less than 25% of what I used to cover in the same course in 1985.

        My daughter is an engineering student at one of the top 20 universities and what she was “required” to do and what I think she should have done is absolutely shocking. She is a senior now but I don’t think she has picked up any skills that will get her a job.

        At the same time, I am in the market since 2010 looking for fresh graduates and am going through a great deal of trouble in finding qualified candidates.

        1. alex

          “My daughter is an engineering student at one of the top 20 universities and what she was “required” to do and what I think she should have done is absolutely shocking.”

          Can you be more specific? I’m curious in particular because I’m an electrical engineer. My university days predate your academic experience, and I must say there was nothing like learning directly from Faraday himself.

  3. DP

    The “feeding the eagles” story is a bit of a scam. The original claim when the scam was started was that it was from January, 2010, it is changed to January, 2012 at the link in today’s stories. The photos are from 2009; they are real but were shot at a designated feeding area for eagles in Homer, AK, not in St. Louis, MO and Alton, IL. It wasn’t a spontaneous plan hatched by some local people to save starving eagles.

    Don’t know that the financial/economic blog linked is knowingly putting up this scam to get web traffic but that’s where I’d place my bet.

      1. John Lounsbury

        DP – – –

        I appreciate the heads up … because I was obviously not in that condition when I posted this as sent by a regular reader of my blog.

        The real story about the eagles is actually much more interesting than the fabricated one – and we have posted it:

        In that article I address the unfortunately negative tone at the end of your comment – and in a way that I hope may prove to be an object lesson in how to correct some one without sounding as snide as you did here.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Well, I think we can assume you’re not a professional gambler, then. And did you give consideration to the possibility of simply issuing a helpful correction, instead of attributing — granted, with weasel wording — bad motives to the blog proprietor and implicitly insulting its regular readers?

      1. DP

        I’m not sure how I insulted the readers of a blog by questioning whether whoever writes the blog knew they were posting a hoax story or not. Don’t bother explaining it to me Lambert, as I skip over virtually everything you post on NC anyway. I guess we rub each other the wrong way, let’s leave it at that.

    2. skippy

      Yep the eagle lady, thought NC did a spot on that way back.

      FYI Naked Capitalism readers…

      ANCHOR POINT, Alaska — Bald eagles are supposed to be our national symbol of freedom, a feathered embodiment of liberty.

      Except they don’t behave that way on this expansive beach near the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, which got its name when explorer Capt. James Cook had the anchor torn off his ship by the massive tides while seeking the mythical Northwest Passage in 1787.

      These days, Anchor Point is renowned for the giant halibut caught offshore in the Cook Inlet and the salmon that return to the Anchor River every summer and early fall to spawn. Almost as well known, and depicted on the town’s welcome sign along the Sterling Highway, are bald eagles that choose this place for their summer homes, taking advantage of a seemingly inexhaustible supply of fish carcasses dumped on the beach every afternoon by charter-boat deckhands.

      At first, watching dozens of bald eagles go through their daily feeding ritual felt like a real-life episode of “Wild Kingdom.” All that was missing was the Marlin Perkins voiceover. But the novelty eventually wore off and gave way to uneasy questions.

      Are bald eagles, America’s national bird and emblem, little more than glorified scavengers? And, if so, are humans the cause?

      Yes and no, said Bruce Woods, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman based in Anchorage.

      “Bald eagles do hunt for food, but mostly they’re natural scavengers. If there’s an easy meal to be had, a bald eagle will always take advantage,” Woods said.

      “But it’s not like they learn that behavior from humans. They do that on their own. Here in Alaska, when there’s a salmon spawn on big rivers, you’ll see hundreds of bald eagles feeding on the carcasses. And not just fish. They’ll feed on mammal carcasses, too.”

      Turns out bald eagles don’t turn their beaks at much. In some Alaska coastal cities they’re often seen feeding at garbage dumps, their regal white heads blackened with soot.

      Scavengers? Trash eaters? They don’t teach you that in civics class. But at least the species is thriving.

      Read more here:

      Skippy… Dust that ham in the frying pan… sigh… its almost willful. Advertising = Dusting Flour

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Not only a gratuitous insult, but wrong.

      1. Putting up that link (if readers like it) sends traffic AWAY from my site.

      2. I put the link up because the proprietor of Global Economic Intersection sent me the link, and his stories are normally good. He probably got the link from a reader and it didn’t occur to him to check it out.

  4. fresno dan

    US battles Iraq and Afghanistan over detention without charges Glenn Greenwald

    Afghan speaking “[The Americans] should respect our law, our constitution and our legal codes.”

    I wish too the American government would respoect respect our (US) law, our (US) constitution and our (US) legal codes.”

    I guess we’re trying to educate the Afghans that constitutions are for show, and no sophisticated serious person should pay any attention to them…

  5. rich

    How Drug Company Money is Undermining Science

    The pharmaceutical industry funnels money to prominent scientists who are doing research that affects its products—and nobody can stop it

    By the mid-1990s, when Wyeth got caught in a patent battle over Premarin, Lindsay was a staunch Wyeth ally. He came out against approval of a generic version of the drug that would have cut into sales even though the generic form would have made it easier for osteoporosis patients to receive therapy. His reasoning was that such versions might not be precisely equivalent to the brand-name drug, a fact that can be true with certain drugs but was also a position that happened to echo the company line. “All we’re asking is that we don’t approve something now and regret it” later, he told the Associated Press in 1995. Lindsay’s close relationship with Wyeth and other drug companies carried on for decades, in ways that were sometimes hidden. He started allowing Wyeth to draft research articles and began taking tens of thousands of dollars from pharmaceutical interests that stood to gain from his research.

    The scandal is not what Lindsay did so much as that his case is typical. In the past few years the pharmaceutical industry has come up with many ways to funnel large sums of money—enough sometimes to put a child through college—into the pockets of independent medical researchers who are doing work that bears, directly or indirectly, on the drugs these firms are making and marketing. The problem is not just with the drug companies and the researchers but with the whole system—the granting institutions, the research labs, the journals, the professional societies, and so forth. No one is providing the checks and balances necessary to avoid conflicts. Instead organizations seem to shift responsibility from one to the other, leaving gaps in enforcement that researchers and drug companies navigate with ease, and then shroud their deliberations in secrecy.

    “There isn’t a single sector of academic medicine, academic research or medical education in which industry relationships are not a ubiquitous factor,” says sociologist Eric Campbell, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Those relationships are not all bad. After all, without the help of the pharmaceutical industry, medical researchers would not be able to turn their ideas into new drugs. Yet at the same time, Campbell argues, some of these liaisons co-opt scientists into helping sell pharmaceuticals rather than generating new knowledge.

  6. kj

    It would be useful for NC readers to weigh in on the cutthroat vs cuddly capitalism assertions…. At a minimum, it raises serious methodological questions…e.g. how much of claimed growth from cutthroat choice arose from so-called financial innovation?

    Frankly, the assertions of the authors smell fishy …. first, they pose the question in an ‘either/or’ way — a red flag because typically the best solutions reflect both/and, not either/or
    Second, as mentioned, they need to explain their methods and data and the degree to which it’s flawed based on finanical innovation that, in reality, did NOT create real growth — only ‘fake’ growth

    …. and I’m guessing there are other issues/flaws

    1. diptherio

      I tried to weigh in this morning, but my comment has been swallowed by the NC comment-daemon. My take was pretty much the same as yours. False dichotomizing.

      The problem with econ in general is that, while hiding behind the label of “positive” economics, mainstream economists sneak their normative views in via confining the debate to Nordic Socialism vs. American Entrepreneurship (or however they happen to define it). And in the end, these economists’ analysis comes down to nothing more than apologetics for the status quo; a more refined proof that we do indeed live in the best of all possible worlds.

  7. Valissa

    Great photos! 90 schoolchildren among tourists who flee for their lives as Lord of the Rings ‘Mount Doom’ volcano erupts

    Trouble in the shire: Tolkien family sues movie makers for $80MILLION over ‘Hobbit’ trilogy merchandizing

    1. TK421

      Can this hodgepodge program possibly come close to working as intended? The more expensive my prescriptions get, the more I hope Obamacare crashes And burns and the government just expands Medicare to everyone, taking the easy way out. A pipe dream, I know.

  8. Jackrabbit

    Selective disclosure, defensiveness and feigned indignation, delays and maneuvering, muddying the waters (obfuscation and redirection), multiple stories. On the whole, it wouldn’t be unfair to characterize this as ‘smoke and mirrors’. Can you blame the Repugs for thinking that where there’s smoke, there’s fire?


    The Administration has had _weeks_ to prepare for a full accounting of Benghazi. While most people have only become aware of this due to the Petraeus resignation last week, many of these questions have been asked and discussed (in blogs and elsewhere) for nearly two months but the Administration got a ‘pass’ from the MSM during the election.

    I am an independent and the feeling I get is that this would’ve all blown over if the answers were forthcoming, yet instead, what we’ve been led to believe in the last week by Adminstration-friendly sources is that:

    – Its just a(nother) partisan attack on the President by sore-losers on the right.

    – The _real_ story is Petraeus and other pampered Generals.

    – (The latest:) OMG! They are targeting Susan Rice! (but the claim that “she had nothing to do with Benghazi” simply obfuscates the truth).

    Now CBS news is reporting that DNI (Director of National Intelligence) changed the wording on the talking points used by Rice, not the White House or the State Department. But if this is true then, then:

    1) Why did it take so long to acknowledge this?

    2) Why does this account contradict what was told to the Congress last week? (as reported by CBS)

    3) Why are answers to other serious questions raised by Benghazi (e.g. security arrangements and lack of a rescue) not forthcoming?


    The famous question of the Watergate investigation was:

    “What did the President know – and when did he know it?”

    It seems that the question that arises from Benghazi is:

    Why didn’t the President know – and why is he ‘OK’ with that?

    Why didn’t he know how his order to “protect our people” would be carried out?

    Why didn’t he know that his CIA chief was under investigation?

    Why didn’t he know the real intelligence so that misperceptions could be quickly corrected and a growing outcry defused?

    And (more importantly): Why he is ‘OK’ (we have no indication otherwise) with how all of this has been handled?

    1. Jackrabbit

      It seems remiss not to point out that while they had weeks to prepare to answer questions on Benghazi, it seems quite possible that “the answer” was a compliant CIA that would support the narrative – but Petraeus balked.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I tried on Benghazi, honest. But I couldn’t find a short clear statement of what it was and why it mattered. I put that down to the decrepitude of the Republican apparat, which is very far from the feral party of 2000 and 2004.

      Do I really care about it? So, OK, an imperial outpost with maybe a black site in the basement. Romney shoots himself in the foot by holding a presser prematurely, and then the administration lies about everything. Isn’t this just another day at the office?

      1. Jackrabbit

        Yeah, there’s a lot of other things to worry about (fracking, the economy, etc.). And in the end it may end up being nothing more than an embarrassment for the administration (many of the key officials may be leaving soon). But we generally only get a glimpse of the way things really work only when something goes wrong (and via tell-all books years later).

        It adds to a number of scandals that now weigh on the Administration like Fast & Furious, HAMP & back door bailouts, etc. (Karma is a bitch, pass the popcorn.)

        Lastly, the issue here is not why they were there and what they were doing anymore than it is about Susan Rice or the perks of Generals (as some would have us believe). It is, or has become, much more about the President’s leadership (or lack thereof) and the political game-playing, and behind-the scenes deal-making that seem to be a hallmark of the Administration.

        1. Jackrabbit

          I should say, a hallmark of our politics, as this Administration has no monopoly on political game-playing and back-door deal-making.

          1. Dan

            Sometimes when you’re running an empire some of your goons may get their hair mussed.

            I don’t know personally know anyone who gives a shit about this.

          2. Jackrabbit

            Thanks for sharing Dan.

            Do you hang out here much? On NC you’ll find a lot of discussion about subjects that most people don’t give a shit about.

            Now, if you were paying attention to what I wrote, (I hope that your reply was not knee-JERK) reaction, you’d understand that a good part of that was complaining that much of the MSM were all taken with aspects of the matter that have no bearing on the heart of the issue. The extent of this, plus a number of related factors, could easily lead one to believe that it is designed to obfuscate, or mislead, or supress inquiry.

            Much like your comment.

            With that in mind, it really wouldn’t surprise me that you don’t know anyone that doesn’t give a shit. I don’t either. But that’s the beauty of blogs and the internet, isn’t it. You can reach people that DO care about things you care about – or inform people and (hopefully) make the world a better place by doing so.

            Thanks for giving enough shit to respond to my comment. If more people gave just a little shit, like you have, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we’re in.

            So have a nice day, you little shit.


            Now, you might well wonder: How does he mean that? In a good way or a bad way? Should I be offended by Jackrabbit’s remark?

            We’ll I _could_ answer directly but …. hey are you insinuating that I might of done something untoward here? Why are humans ALWAYS picking on hares? We’re not rodents you know.

            And we don’t have the same reputation as rabbits. Oh you want to know about breeding, huh. Well, let me tell you…I know a few rabbits that would put Petraeus to shame. Yeah, go spend a few days reading about THAT (that’ll keep you occupied).

            Humans also have a lot of myths about rabbits and hares. Humans like making myths. You might spend a few days research that as well.

            Now, what was I talking about? Oh, well, no one gives a shit anyway.

          3. JTFaraday

            “much of the MSM were all taken with aspects of the matter that have no bearing on the heart of the issue–”

            But not today. Today, it’s all about the marshmallow fluff.

          4. Dan

            Whatever. There was some richly deserved and completely predictable blowback and this administration is evil and full of shit just like every administration that preceded and will follow it. Stop the presses!

          5. Jackrabbit

            Yeah Dan that may be true.

            Thanks for being a sport and indulging the educational exercise of my previous comment.

      2. scraping_by

        While it’s hard to look at Repug noisemaking and see something other than noisemaking (it’s the hollow drum that sounds the loudest) it’s got one or two aspects that give our patriotic globalist brethern a cause for pause.

        In a word: blowback.

        A CIA operative under diplomatic cover inserts into Lybia, recruits, arms, and directs a bunch of killers to overthrow the legal government, and that much succeeds. Then he’s hanging around using those same goons for bodyguards, they take some offense, and kill him and his staff.

        This strikes to the heart of the American Empire in several ways. First, it’s usually done on the cheap with loose talent, such as the conquest of Afghanistan and the current war against the socialist government of Syria.

        Second, there’s no point in gathering thugs if they’re going to go off on their own. If you can’t trust a mercenary, who can you trust? Mutiny among real, sworn soldiers in reasonably rare, but the cost of using them is high. This looks like a tradeoff between cheap and good.

        And third, and most important, although both legacy parties have their share of chickenhawks, the language of control tends to push the rightist types toward a bellicose, dehumanized stance. Never met a war they didn’t like. If it’s going to blow up in the faces of the puppet masters, they’re putting themselves out in front for a policy that will, inevitably, create chaos that will engulf people on our side. They’re out in front on the American Empire, and if it looks like the immoral loser it is, they’re tied to it.

        Killing darker people in foreign countries does gain support among a certain segment of the brain dead and nasty citizenry. Until it looks like it has a cost.

    3. abelenkpe

      Yawn. Who fucking cares? Only old white upperclass losers with too much time on their hands who call themselves independent but actually vote republican. Unplug yourself from FOX news. No one cares.

      1. Jackrabbit

        YOU cared enough to read the comment.

        YOU cared enough to write a reply.

        YOU cared enough to use incendiary language designed to deter the interest of other readers.

  9. jsmith

    Although the War Nerd may accurately describe the now “hot war” taking place in Gaza, I believe that his inability – intentional(?) – to accurately depict the situation in Gaza as anything but a decades long genocidal siege against the Palestinian people really does say a lot about his politics.

    “A siege is a prolonged military assault and blockade on a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by force or attrition.”

    “…all quiet on the Gaza front”(?!)

    I guess blockades and starvation are rather quiet.


    For a more insightful commentary here’s an interview with John Pilger:

    “Well, the first thing is the….we should be disgusted. That is a normal, human response, to this. And the second is that we ought not to be surprised, but we should understand this has nothing to do with Hamas, or rockets. It is an ongoing assault on the Palestinian people. And especially the people of Gaza, which began a very long time ago and the plan is to effectively get rid of them as an entity. And I’m not exaggerating, it’s often difficult to reach back to the history in times like this, but it’s very important that we contextualize it.

    The infamous Plan D that was executed in the late 1940s just before Israel came into being was to expel the population of Palestine; to get rid of them. And 369 villages were attacked, the people thrown out, the record is there. Historical record is very clear, Israeli historians, Benny Morris through, have documented this, the Hebrew archives have thrown it up.”


    “Established power in the United States and Europe is siding with the most lawless state on earth. I mean, that’s again, a fact. You total up the number of international, security council resolutions, general assembly resolutions that this state has willfully ignored; it is an utterly lawless state. It is a colonial anachronism. And it is causing great suffering to the people of a particular part of the middle east, the Palestinians. Now, if we contort our intellect and moral sensibility enough, I suppose you could come around to seeing it in a sort of a strange way. But the truth of it is this is a barbaric situation. The media that as you describe, ignores the suffering of Palestinians, Palestinian children is itself barbaric.”

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Israel’s self-defense claims are self-evident racist bunk to cover up ethnic cleansing. It’s the incessant repetition of the really big lie, and it’s important to repeat the definitive historical evidence debunking it just as often. Thanks for another powerful prosecution.

      Arthur Silber makes a compelling case as well:

      “President Obama spoke with Israeli leaders on Friday night reiterating Israel has a right to defend itself.

      “Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ — to defend itself from what exactly? The prisoners of a concentration camp? This is reality and morality turned upside down and inside out. This is the reality and morality of a serial murderer, who ceaselessly and repeatedly kills innocent human beings and who is proud of what he does.

      “But, Arthur, some people object, why do you call it a concentration camp?

      Referring to Hannah Arendt’s “Totalitarianism: Part Three Origins”, he writes.

      “Gaza is a concentration camp. It is not like a concentration camp. It is not a metaphorical or figurative concentration camp. It is a concentration camp. Our culture, our political leaders, and the cacophony of voices in the media have all agreed that this truth must never be spoken…”

      “…some of those determined to remain in a state of almost perfect ignorance will be heard to complain: ‘But surely nothing justifies the violence of the Palestinians themselves, or their firing rockets into Israel!’ Gaza is a concentration camp. The inhabitants of Gaza act in defense of their lives, to the extent the hell to which they are condemned can be called “life” at all. That is: “When you leave people no choice but to engage in violence, they’ll engage in violence.” This, too, must never be acknowledged.”

  10. rich

    CJR Says Fiscal Cliff is a CNBC Scam

    Just a quick note before I run out this morning: Today’s must read is a brutal takedown of the CNBC driven narrative of the fiscal cliff. Its written by Ryan Chittum of The Audit, which is the Columbia Journalism Review’s site that focuses on the financial press.

    Here is a quick excerpt:

    “Any time you see Wall Street CEOs and CNBC campaigning for what they call the common good, it’s worth raising an eyebrow or two.

    So it is with CNBC’s “Rise Above” crusade, which has blanketed its airwaves and adorned its lapels since the day after the election with pleas for a solution to the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

    You’ll note that CNBC has not Risen Above for the common good on issues like stimulating a depressed economy, ameliorating the housing catastrophe, or prosecuting its Wall Street sources/dinner partners for the subprime fiasco. But make no mistake: even if it had, it would have been stepping outside the boundaries of traditional American journalism practice into political advocacy. And that’s precisely what it’s doing here, at further cost to its credibility as a mainstream news organization instead of some HD version of Wall Street CCTV.

    The big question: Why is a news organization running what’s effectively a political campaign for Simpson-Bowles, complete with thirty-second spots and campaign buttons? Look, kids. You can get your very own Rise Above pin, wrapped in the flag, just like your favorite business-news personalities! Roger Ailes himself must blush at this kind of grandstanding, but I have a hard time believing the business class and CNBC would be so worked up over this austerity program if it weren’t for the major tax increases contained therein.”

        1. jsmith

          A quick Lexis-Nexis shows first mention of the term “fiscal cliff” in the April 26, 2012 edition of the Christian Science Monitor with Bernanke himself answering a question:

          “The Federal Reserve chief was asked about the implications in a press conference Wednesday afternoon, following a scheduled meeting of the Fed’s policy committee.

          Specifically, if no action occurs before a new Congress convenes early in 2013, would the Fed try to act to offset the impact?

          “We’ll have to take fiscal policy into account to some extent,” Mr. Bernanke said, “but I think it’s very important to say that if no action were to be taken by the fiscal authorities, the size of the fiscal cliff is such that there’s I think absolutely no chance that the Federal Reserve could or would have any ability whatsoever to offset that effect on the economy.”

          Nice preemptive strike there Benny!!

          Coin the phrase and then immediately remove the Fed from any discussion – in the same sentence!

          No mention of it previously but it’s amazing that basically every two days – on average – after that the term pops up in a major world newspaper like clockwork.

          But I’m sure it wasn’t a coordinated campaign.(wink)

          Anyone seen Luntz?

          1. jsmith

            My bad.

            Further research shows that Senator Ken Conrad – guffaw – said this in February of 2004 when speaking about the Bush Tax Cuts.

            From the Cox News Service, Feb 2004:

            “A third problem for analysts is Bush’s call to make permanent a series of tax cuts Congress passed, at the president’s urging, over the past three years. The cuts amount to $1.8 trillion between 2001 and 2010. Some of the cuts would expire, however, under sunset provisions set to begin kicking in next year.

            Making the cuts permanent would add an estimated $1 trillion to deficits over the five year period beginning in 2009 _ the end-point for Bush’s deficit reduction estimates.

            After that, said Bixby, “You have this exploding cigar effect.”

            Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the areas of spending Bush proposed freezing amount to only 17 percent of the federal budget. Holding spending increases in those areas to less than 1 percent a year, as Bush proposed, would save the country no more than $7 billion a year, said Conrad, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee.

            “The hard truth is, this president is running us right over the fiscal cliff,” said Conrad. “This is going to hurt us very badly as a country going forward.”

            Here’s Kent – who’s retiring – laying it on thick last year about SS, Medicare and Defense, getting caught in his horsesh!t but then finally being absolved by Politifact:


            “The American people say, don’t touch Social Security, don’t touch Medicare, don’t cut defense,” Conrad said. “That’s 84 percent of the federal budget. If you can’t touch 84 percent of the federal budget — and, by the way, they also don’t want to touch revenue — you’re down to 16 percent of the budget at a time we’re borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend.

            Uh-oh, Kent:

            “We began our calculations by looking at the current budget. If you add up defense spending, Medicare and Social Security, that currently equals 51 percent of spending. Add in spending on veterans, and it rises to 54 percent. (Add it up for yourself using the White House’s budget tables.) We ran this number by two budget experts who confirmed it for us.”

            But it’s all good:

            “Still, his overall point is correct: Medicare, Social Security and defense represent huge parts of the budget, more than half, and it’s difficult if not impossible to balance the budget if these three items are off the table. That’s enough to tip the balance on our ruling; we rate his statement Mostly True.”

            Gee, I wonder what job ole Kent is going to offered upon retirement?

          2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            I’ve been wondering where it came from too.

            CNBC is certainly believable – anything that threatens the price of used stock, increases marginal tax rates, excludes SS and Medicare from cuts, and has the audacity to split cuts 50-50 between defense and “other” programs must look like the Eye Of Sauron to that happy bunch of Hobbits.

            But The Bernank is believable too.

      1. Jackrabbit


        I sometimes wonder if there is a department in every think tank is dedicated to destroying our language and tying our brains in knots.

        1. wbgonne

          Snark aside, there clearly is a coordinated campaign to slash the social safety net. The larger problem is that the scope of the conspiracy encompasses nearly every major source or authority, information and power. Politicians, Big Business, the SuperRich and the Mass Media are all in cahoots because they have all merged. Now there is a War on the American People designed to foster self-loathing in the working class. Just look at the plethora of stories blaming the “greedy” bakers’ union for the demise of Hostess: what these stories invariably leave out is the bakers are working for a measly $35,000, which is a $10,000 cut from what they were making before Hostess was Bainized. Try supporting a family on 35K. Try supporting YOURSELF on 35K. Yet we hear this incessant drumbeat about greedy union workers destroying the company.

          The big prize, of course, is the social safety net and the ground has been tilled for decades to make the American People believe that resistance is unwarranted and futile anyway. Year after year, the Rich and Powerful have used their control of information to inculcate self-hatred among working people. The scheme has succeeded wildly so far.

          So how do we fight back? The first and most essential response must be to find new information sources. Ignore television news (better yet, turn off the TV). Skeptically eye the mainstream press for its agendas. Search and scour for truth. Find likeminded people and organize and share the truth. Resist. Never give in, never give up. We are right and they are wrong. Remember that.

          Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Valissa

      Thanks for the link! However the CJR article has it’s own problematic assumption…

      Rise Above, CNBC’s move into advocacy – Corporate America’s house organ starts an anti-political political campaign

      You can see the problem here: CNBC is mobilizing because the capital class is near unanimous about something. What do the union leaders or the academic economists have to say? Hey Nik, Let some air into that bubble.

      Union leaders and academic economists as beacons of enlightenment or defenders of the little people? Bwahahahahahaha….

      1. Synopticist

        You went out of your way to vote against Elizebeth Warren Valissa, in favour of some rightwing fuc*wit.
        I have a great deal of trouble taking your insights into anyone sticking up for the little guy seriously.

        1. Valissa

          I’m sure you’re not the only one here that believes that. Clearly you are still a believer in the D-R/L-R paradigm way of thinking, have taken a side, and can’t understand or accept people who are trying to think about the world in other ways. It is interesting to me, that even though your favorite won, you still feel the need to chastise me and label me (essentially) a “sinner.”

          1. Valissa

            Furthermore, since Warren only ran for senator because Obama and the Dem elites encouraged her to, how does that make her a friend or supporter of the “little people.”She was CHOSEN by the other elites. Why do people look for politicians to be their heroes anyway? That is illogical.

  11. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    Credit Suisse splits off global investment bank Financial Times. Note not a legal separation, just a reorg.

    I used to work at CSFB, and for a few months after CSFB was consolidated into CS down at Park Avenue South.

    The good old days, when we still had Glass Steagal (obviously, little more than a figment of the imagination by then).

  12. diptherio

    Re: Choose your own Capitalism

    Because, as all right-thinking people know, there are only two kinds: Mitt’s version and Obama’s; Nordic Socialism or American Entrepreneurship. And we must choose between them.
    Coke or Pepsi, what’ll it be?

    Seems like maybe Sprite should be an option. Or how about apple juice? This article is, imho, yet another example of overly constrained economic thinking that, while claiming to be purely positive in nature, actually ends up being quite normative in its presentation of possible solution sets to economic problems. And of course, in the end their analysis turns out to be mere apologetics; proving, yet again, that we live in the best of all possible worlds, albeit now with a more refined analysis. Sigh…

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘Very good’ year post-fiscal cliff.

    Is he promising us the ‘fiscal milk and honey land’ if we can just wander off the fiscal cliff? – That way, I tell you, is where we should go. Forget about the maps! I know where we are going! And don’t ask strangers (especially those at Naked Capitalism) for directions! We are fiscally manly MEN!

    1. Synopticist

      And still the MSM completelly ignores the story.

      I used to think, despite it’s many objectionable elements, that the US legal system, unlike the British, was actually quite good at prosecuting white collar crime.

      I don’t know whether I was always naive about that, perhaps the former head of Goldman would have beat the rap 10 or 15 years ago whatever, or whether something changed in the noughties.

      Either way, it remains a massive eye-opener for me. If he’d been stealing from poor or middle class people I wouldn’t have been so suprised, but his victims were mostly wealthy indiviuals and small institutions who invested money on their behalf.

      The rich have always screwed the poor, that’s normal. But a member of the super-rich stealing from the wealthy, and getting clean away with it, that’s NOT normal.

  14. rich

    We begin and examine whether the grand bargain that the White House and the Republican Congress are working on to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, will end up as the great betrayal. William K. Black, Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City joins us discuss the need for the president not to cave in to Republican blackmail as he did last time and to fight to preserve Social Security and Medicare.

  15. craazyman

    More wisdom from Master Po. How can one even think about the “leaders” we have today when you compare them with Master Po?

    Each day the links posted hear groan with the pain of a world umoored from its soul foundation and lost on some dark and heaving sea. (Like a vista from Pirates of the Carribean but without the comedy).

    Forget for a minute he was blind but could see through his mind more clearly than most people through their eyes. Or that he could kick nearly anybody’s ass kung fu fighting, even though he was an old man.

    No, these things are trivial compared to his spiritual presence. He was a true commander, one of the very rare breed who commands not others, but the harder and higher bar — himself. Not some vulgar bully who acquires power through guile or force or ostentatious psychophancy, and then proceeds to wreak an incompetent and desultory disaster in whatever realm he or she visits with the obsequeous failure of self-possession.

    If men like Master Po ran things, there would be no links each day. There would be no mortgage crisis. There would be no banksters.

    I’m not sure what there would be though. Sometimes, in the darkest thoughts, I worry it might be boring somehow. but then I think “NO”, new vistas of perception would open, the sublimation of insinct into a higher and more refined and more substantial order of reality.

    He is a hero. maybe somebody could find him and bring him here among us. They killed him when he blocked the emporer’s nephew;s way on the road, but then he came back in spirit, later, like Jesus, so it’s possible.

    1. skippy

      Well Crazzyman… it would have been more factual (heah TV [tunnel vision]), if they had gone with Bruce and not David.

      Skippy… your advertising dollars at work!!!

      PS. Forward to 5:20… TV… Teacher, Mother, Secret Lover… warm glow

        1. ohmyheck

          Synchronicities abound indeed. I recently reconnected with an old friend. We tend to pick up where we left off, even if a decade passes. Yesterday, I emailed her about the book I am reading. Turns out she is reading the same book, at the same time.
          Happens to be about the dilemma of transcendence. It’s nice to talk to her about it, since most everyone else would think I am crazy. Crazy ladies think alike!

      1. craazyman

        You got me laughing so hard at that I’m spitting flecks of pancakes on my computer screen. Hilarious! :)

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