Links 12/3/12

Body Language, Not Facial Expressions, Broadcasts What’s Happening to Us Science Daily

Muddling Towards the Next Crisis: James Kenneth Galbraith in conversation with The Straddler

Forget Fairness, Let’s Talk About Stupidity The Reformed Broker

In an F.H.A. Checkup, a Startling Number Gretchen Morgenson, Times

Geithner takes hard line on fiscal cliff [sic] FT. “Fiscal cliff scam.” Fixed it for ya.

Geithner Joins Boehner to Trade Blame on Fiscal Cliff Talks Bloomberg

Boehner ‘flabbergasted’ by Treasury secretary’s plan to avoid fiscal cliff Guardian

How important is the fiscal cliff for investors? Hint: Not very Barry Ritholz, WaPo

Social Security Is Contributing to the Budget Deficit In the Same Way as Peter Peterson CEPR

Standards fall as care operators get ‘too big to fail’ Independent

The world’s commodity supercycle is far from dead Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Data revisions mean more of the same EconBrowser

Stock Markets That Flummox Masses Do No One Any Good Amy Butte, Bloomberg

The Big Long The Economist. Housing.

Where Are the Foreclosures? Credit Slips

Los Angeles port strike triggers fears, lobbying by businesses Reuters

River vs. river: Corps manages Missouri, Mississippi rivers for conflicting goals Quad City Times (rjs). Barge traffic vs. fracking.

New database could shed light on shale drillers’ chemical use Midwest Energy News

Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else, Not Even A Bee NPR (furzy mouse)

Foodies Get Wobbly FDL

Obama defeats the Southern Strategy Le Monde Diplomatique

Dan Morain: Billionaire Bloomberg knocks out Joe Baca, adds dynamic to gun politics Sacramento Bee

Dream Insider Informant Led FBI From Galleon to SAC Bloomberg

Bradley Manning trial postponed amid debate over pre-trial confinement Guardian

Merkel prepared to consider Greek losses FT

Margaret Papandreou Linked to Lagarde List Greek Reporter

Uncertain foundations FT. Chinese shadow banking.

A Big Asian Bellwether Confirms That Global Trade Is Accelerating Sam Ro, Business Insider

Chinese typewriter anticipated predictive text, finds historian

The Education of Virginia Woolf Atlantic

Teacher’s Reward Program Charges Second-Graders for Bathroom Breaks “Boyd Bucks”?

Thomas Jefferson: American Fascist? Corey Robin. “Their griefs are transient.”

Antidote du jour (YesMaybe):

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Butch in Waukegan

    Hillary raises her flag for 2016. From the New Yorker:

    In a packed ballroom of the Willard Hotel, [Hillary Clinton] was greeted with a standing ovation and then a short, adoring film, a video Festschrift testifying to her years as First Lady, senator, and, above all, secretary of state. The film, an expensive-looking production, went to the trouble of collecting interviews with Israeli politicians—Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni—and American colleagues, like John Kerry. Tony Blair, striking the moony futuristic note that was general in the hall, said, “I just have an instinct that the best is yet to come.”

    1. Neo-Realist

      Unless Hillary says any thing to the contrary and considering her age in 2016–the culture is much more deferential to old white men running for office than older females–and her desire to kick back after decades of public service, I’m not inclined to buy the beltway meme that Hillary is running.

      Governor Andy in NY may have a different view on that.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Na ga happen. Or, at least, I’d be very surprised. The “creative class” is critical to Democratic success because they’re the ones with the technical and public relations skills that have replaced the older party apparatus (heavily female, and a big part of Hillary’s base). I doubt very much the creative class will go for Hillary — texts from Hillary notwithstanding.

      1. Aquifer

        So will this “creative” class not go for Hillary because she is a) old, b) female, and they are neither?

        Hmmm – methinks you are treading on thin ice, here …

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            @Aquifer In the same way being female is a problem for misogynists generally; Shakespeare’s Sister kept a list. At a high level, the Obama fans and operatives took the tropes that the Republicans had invented in their run-up to impeaching Bill Clinton over a b***-j** in the 90s, and tossed them against Hillary Clinton in 2008. To be fair, they had plenty of company in our famously free press, and the list linked above includes such instances too.

      2. Aquifer

        Methinks it will be up to the money folks who decide whether she runs – methinks if she is convinced there is enough money out there to sustain a campaign, she will run … this is in her DNA, IMO ….

        1. Mark P.

          ‘Methinks it will be up to the money folks who decide whether she runs’

          Quite. Also, what Hugh says below.

      3. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Who’s kidding whom? Whatever AIPAC wants, AIPAC gets, and Hillary has paid her dues to AIPAC. Case closed.

      4. El Guapo

        We can only hope that the Dims pick someone other than the execrable Hilary Clinton as their nominee in 2016. Its not likely but it would be nice.

    3. Hugh

      In 2016, the Democrats are going to nominate another neoliberal in economics, neoconservative in foreign and security affairs, pro-corporatist, anti-progressive, anti-99%, lesser evilist. That is a description that fits the upper ranks of the whole of the Democratic party, and one which its base has shown again and again that it is willing to support. I think what is important is not who the Democrats nominate but that the person they nominate will be an enemy to all ordinary Americans. In that regard, Hillary Clinton fills the bill as well as many others.

      1. Aquifer

        No argument at all, there, from me – i am no Hillary fan. But a) it is fun to speculate and b) IMO it will have some bearing on the approach a 3rd party takes (lord, fool that I am, I am ever the optimist :))

      2. BDBlue

        It will not be Hillary. She is not neoliberal enough.

        For the last forty years, every D POTUS – and nominee for that matter – has been more conservative than the last. Hillary is to the left of Obama on domestic issues (not foreign policy). Therefore she will not be the nominee.

        Note I do not say that she is not a neoliberal and not conservative, just that as much of those things as she is, she would still be a step left domestically from Obama and I don’t see why that would happen. Especially when you have younger men who are further right like Cuomo and Warner that “progressives” can embrace instead.

        1. Aquifer

          Methinks Hillary will do what she thinks she needs to do – she had gone further right by ’08 than she was before and she will do it again if she thinks she has to – methinks she is really no more a “person of principle” than Obama is …

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            “When in doubt, look at the base.” Clinton’s base needs government to work more than Obama’s base does. Ergo, if Clinton is elected, that would mean that the government would work better.

            * * *

            That’s not to say Clinton isn’t a neo-liberal, or even that I’d vote for her, because I think the situation is too deteriorated for the sort of changes at the margin she’d be able to make.

          1. BDBlue

            Exactly. And Ds will have to rally around the new person to save us from the conservative Hillary Clinton, even if the new person is to her right. At least judging by 2008.

      3. psychohistorian

        What I don’t think people see is the Agreement with the global inherited rich.

        1. We get the first black president
        2. We get the first female president

        All the national D’s have to do for that is sell out the safety net and keep the rest of the charade going.

  2. fresno dan

    Forget Fairness, Let’s Talk About Stupidity The Reformed Broker

    “Already the cracks are showing: consider that 88% of the S&P 500’s profit growth this year came from just ten companies and four of these companies alone accounted for half! It gets worse, half of this top ten are current or former problem-children banks who essentially live off the retiree-punishing financial repression interest rates at the Fed. If that sounds like a bullshit economy, well, it is one. And you want people to be “confident” in the presence of this experiment? You expect the downsized to cheer as the holders of financial assets suck up more and more of the remaining crumbs?”

    I’m sure the maestros would answer that as long as credit is available, and the CEO’s of banks have plenty of purchasing power, all is well as … the debts of the 99% perfectly balance the assets of the 0.01%

    1. Susan the other

      But it’s over. Josh Brown’s best line mocked the imminent whine of repatriated corporations who see the devastation they caused and complain that capitalism isn’t working – his imagined response is: “You enormous fucking idiots – you fired all your customers.” And now your shareholders are jumping ship. Somehow I don’t think the banksters will have anything to invest in no matter how much money they steal. Even Lloyd Blankfein plans to only invest in Africa and a few “ofshored” freeport startups anchored literally off shore at San Francisco. Thanks so much Lloyd. And, again, good riddance to you.

      1. Synopticist

        Yeah, they off-shored their customer base, and only consumer credit and corporate tax avoidance has kept them going for the last decade. Even that old semi-fascist Henry Ford knew your customers needed proper wages or they weren’t customers.

        If you come third in the race to the bottom, you still lose.

        1. psychohistorian

          Look at it as part of the plan.

          The global inherited rich are treating American debtors just like the rest of the world. The multinational corporations don’t really care about demand coming from their employees because with a globalized economy, labor is fungible and demand is created where needed.

          The multinational corporations make money for the shareholders who are the global inherited rich and do not fulfill the need for jobs in their parent country.

          The Fed that use to talk about commitment to “full employment” now has shown itself to be the banking system of the global inherited rich. Their latest raid of the US money supply as part of the coming Shock Doctrine event is designed to further enslave those not part of the inheritance class. If you own the money supply, inflation doesn’t bother you when you create it to reduce the value of others net worth.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      fd, correct: We the People the 99% are the *Counterparty* Muppets, GoldenSucks Style! (xref. “Gangnam Style”).

  3. D. Mathews

    Some of your classmates turn out to be more physically attractive than you thanks to good genetics, they will live better lives than you with much less hardship and instant advantages in virtually every situation.”

    I stopped reading that article (Forget Fairness) right after that sentence. Physical attraction is a purely subjective phenomenon. As far as I’m concerned, to concoct a “standard” is demonstrative of parochialism.

    1. mtl muggle

      Attractiveness is “purely subjective” the way hue perception or flavour perception is “purely subjective”- that is, exhibiting such a strong degree of intersubjective agreement that it is perfectly reasonable to treat it as pseudo-objective in most practical matters. Even if it were parochialism, that wouldn’t reduce the validity of such judgements as they relate to socially mediated outcomes within a shared-preference group.

    2. LucyLulu

      Actually, certain standards of attractiveness have been broadly universal across time and cultures. For example, symmetry of facial features is considered attractive by almost all cultures. And while female ideal body weight tends to vary among different societies and follow fads (e.g. think of models in paintings by Rubens), the ideal curvy chest-waist-hip ratio remains consistent at 36-24-36…. exactly the measurements found on Barbie dolls.

      The same people that a tribe isolated from civilization in the jungles of New Guinea would likely identify the same tribal members as most attractive as residents of NYC.

      I don’t recall the name or network but there was a documentary about sexual attraction that covered this subject a few years ago, and linked the same traits to likely higher fertility rates. The other interesting trivia was that women’s subjective experience of what was attractive changed during her menstrual cycle. Around ovulation, she found men who were physically “superior” more attractive…… more likely to father healthy children but less likely to be loyal. At other times, she was attracted to men who would likely make better mates/parents, i.e. providers.

      Sorry guys, women have been using you since the dawn of time. We really are marrying you for your money.

      1. Maximilien

        “Sorry guys, women have been using you since the dawn of time. We really are marrying you for your money.”

        Thanks for telling it like it is, LucyLulu. I’ve always known women were mainly interested in the bulge in my pants—the one caused by my wallet, that is!

      2. pacman

        I salute you, Lucy. I’m a simple-minded male, and my thesis has always been that men confuse love with sex; women confuse love with security.

        But I’m ok, you’re ok…

    3. JTFaraday

      “Physical attration is a purely subjective phenomenon.”

      Perhaps there is some distance between “attraction” and “attractiveness.” As in one can be attracted to someone and still have some idea of how well they fit the currently operative textbook definition of attractive.

      If someone is hiring an attractive person for a job, they would probably go with the textbook definition.

    4. scraping_by

      According to the Darwinists, physical attractiveness is all about reproductive fitness.

      Most of us are occasionally proper animals, looking for the broadest hips and broadest shoulders, but any look through an art history book shows the best and juciest change with the era. Bill Gates doesn’t have 110 children. At least not that the public knows about.

      The genetic pack leader thing may actually work at the office, barking for the sale or the promotion. But in the end, dreary competence carries the day.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Standard sleight of hand in CEPR’s article:

    Under the law, the [Soc Sec] trust fund is supposed to be treated as a bondholder like any other bondholder. Since this money is already owed by the government to the trust fund, spending from the trust fund simply changes the identity of the owner of the debt.

    Under SFAS (Statement of Financial Accounting Standards) 94, majority-owned subsidiaries have to be consolidated with the parent’s accounting. Soc Sec isn’t just majority-owned, it’s 100 percent owned by the federal government.

    Treating the Soc Sec Trust Fund ‘like any other bondholder’ is a fiction that’s designed to deceive. Soc Sec’s Treasury bonds are non-marketable, so by definition the Trust Fund is no ordinary bondholder.

    Making all government pension schemes subject to the ERISA rules that govern private pensions would vastly enhance the financial security of beneficiaries. Unfortunately ERISA compliance is not a practical option for Social Security, since its massive underfunding would require a multi-trillion bailout to bring its funded status up to par.

    Instead of advocating real security for Soc Sec beneficiaries, defenders of the status quo such as CEPR soothingly assert that accounting fraud is actually good for us.

    Knowing what’s coming for Soc Sec, if I were a KongressKlown entitled to a fat multi-million pension, I’d definitely want the CEPR out there flacking for me, so that the angry peasants wouldn’t attack MY privileged entitlement when their underfunded pittances go south.

    Noblesse oblige, komrads!

    1. joebhed

      I doubt the SFAS standard applies to the Federal Government, which has its own accounting system.
      And SFAS 94 carries an exemption for the parent that cannot access the profits of the subsidiary.
      But I agree the bondholder analogy is flawed.
      I would add, unnecessary.

    2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      Abomination! A guv program with it’s own rules. And it uses treasury bonds which can be only redeemed at maturity directly with the treasury. Non-marketable!

      How scary. No bearer bonds to steal from the lockbox and flee the country to a non-extradition country and sell them in the secondary market, then bask on the beach with your millions.

      Not like callable corporate bonds either, where the issuer may call them early if the interest rate isn’t a good deal for them anymore.

      Not MBS. Nuff said.

      Not muni bonds. No printing press backstop there. They have to tax or default.

      P.S. Does the Defense Dept. comply with insurance company regs? They are charged with keeping us safe.

      Do foreign Sovereign Wealth Funds meet your def of “the Trust Fund is no ordinary bondholder. Think so. If so, so what?

  5. Valissa

    Regarding the use of the word ‘fascism’… it would be nice if supposedly intelligent people used the word correctly instead of as a word grenade to grab attention.

    This is not a completely new trend, but it is disturbing nonetheless…

    As early as 1944, the term had already become so widely and loosely employed that British essayist and novelist George Orwell was moved to write:

    It would seem that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox hunting, bullfighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.[1]

    Fascism (insult)

    see also… Fascism

    Why is that people need to build up historical characters as ‘heros’ and then when they can’t possibly live up to modern ideological expectations projected backward to a different time with differentcultural values, they get kicked around and demonized. It’s a variation on the madonna/whore complex.

        1. Aquifer

          Part of the value of a word lies in its accuracy ..

          And then of course there is the issue of denotation v connotation vis a vis “definition”

          If everyone is a fascist how accurate can that be – if not accurate, then what value does it lend to a conversation?

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          No, that’s just wrong and the sort of thinking I expect from a conservative.

          Words have nuance and shades of meaning, always. And if you want to bring people to your side, you had better understand that.

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        In a Usenet newsgroup called alt.usage.english , they study English as used in society. They also like to figure out where an expression like “The full Monty” came from; was it after British General Montgomery? If we take a word such as “cool”, 40-60 years ago it had no resemblance to “fashionable”, or the later “hip”, or “groovy”. Fortunately for “cool”, the “groovy” and “coldish” acceptances are easily distinguished from the context. For “fascism”, I guess it started in Italy with the symbol of a hand holding arrows (the fasces, or something). Maybe the Italians are experts on real fascism; I dunno …

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Valissa, how kind of you to help out the Global Elite’s Regime of Absolute Despotism, by quoting one of its own “assets” to assure us that the word “Fascism” has NO MEANING anymore. This argument complements the work of the eternal Destruction of Language Brigade.

      1. Aquifer

        LBR – gotta agree with Valissa here – too many words are used too often to apply to too many people/situations that arguably are separable by more than a few degrees …

        Another example that riles me is the use of the word “hater” applied to anyone who critiques a favored person –

        Fascist has become the new “F” word – suitable, apparently, for application to anyone we disagree with or don’t like for any one of a number of reasons … At least that is the way ISTM

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Very cool, I thought they were actual objects for a moment, like I still do watching TV. I know a lot of teenagers fall for the optical illusion effect looking at adult magazines – their bodies react as if the images are real. One wonders if that mental deficiency carries over into our scientific inquiries, as we get fooled by the mental equivalents of optical illusions.

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Uh, “Adult” magazines? Looks like you’re falling prey to a bit of Pherenominology.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Is this to prepare us for the holographic “invasion of the aliens” or of the *Messiah in the Sky With Diamonds*?

  6. hobocide

    Golf clap for that deft juxtaposition of the Reformed Broker’s classist eugenics with Jefferson’s dehumanization tricks. Blacks are inferior, after all, that’s nature! vs. Superior people can’t help but have wonderful lives, that’s life!

    1. invient

      I find it particular damning that he recommended slavery as an investment because of its’ 7% return. Nothing was as “profitable” at the time. At the nail factory he obliged vile masters because it increased profit. There is still plenty to like about Jefferson, but the principled founding father can no longer be found in him… that IMO gets passed to Paine (who’s end of life would have been that of a beggar had it not been for friends, albeit ones that tried to get him to recount his atheism/deism on his death bed)…

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        What an anti-Jefferson campaign for a reason off-sides. Did Jefferson invent profit margins on slaves? Let’s see the names of the opium and slave profiteers before Jefferson’s time, or in his time, to calculate the depth of Jefferson’s crime by comparison, shall we? Let’s start with the worthies of the British East India Company and the Nobility of the Rialto? How about the forbears of Racketeers Lansky and Adelson? Known GAIN from the Rackets of Early “Capitalism” in books abound:

        “FRUITS OF MERCHANT CAPITAL: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism” by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese;

        “ATLAS OF THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE” by David Eltis and David Richardson;

        “THE MIND OF THE MASTER CLASS: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview” by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese;

        “SNAKES IN SUITS: When Psycopaths Go to Work” by Paul Babiak, Ph.D. and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.;

        “GRIFTOPIA: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America” by Matt Taibbi;

        “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein.

        How do the profiteering worthies of Lloyd’s of London and the Lords of Newport fit into this picture of profit margins on captive flesh? Does it continue today? See “Sex Traficking” everywhere, and “Sex Tourism” for Brokers in Bangkok. Re-visit the film,”Salaam Bombay,” and know that this is the picture of what’s to come in the United States. They don’t give a damn about us; which is why the Global Reich is smearing Jefferson because he gave us the 7th Amendment, the Law of the Land, in defiance of what HE KNEW to be THEIR plans, according to the Global *Law Merchant* and *Maritime Law* Universal.

        “They don’t care about us. Why should we care about them?” (Neurosage)

        Hillary Clinton will SQUARE THEIR CIRCLE of BIS “Governance” if “elected” President of the U.S. The time for We the People to DO OUR DUTY by our Constitution is NOW: REMOVE Tyrants and Traitors from our Government of/by/for the People now. We the People Must Re-Create Our Government.

  7. Kurt Sperry

    James Kenneth Galbraith money quote:

    “But in the environment that we were in—which was basically a debt-deflationary environment—the financial sector makes money not by promoting growth, but by promoting contraction: by shorting things, driving down prices, selling off assets, liquidating, and foreclosing.

    So by keeping the financial sector alive, the administration basically kept alive a panoply of institutions which had at one point been constructive but were now purely destructive. And as a result, the notion that the government was going to be the saving force lost steam. It lost credibility because they didn’t take the full spectrum of measures that were required. And because they hadn’t made clear to people from the beginning what they were actually facing, they opened up the window to every quack in the business who had a magical solution—and that includes the Grover Norquists and it includes the Paul Ryans. Plus, you’re faced with large budget deficits—which people attribute more importance to than they actually have—that can easily be turned into an argument supporting cutting government.

    The reality is that most operating businesses, if they could rely more on Social Security and less on their own contributions to retirement, more on public health insurance and less on employer contributions, they’d be much better off. For most of basic American business, the more you have insurance schemes handled by the public sector, the better off you are. But there are parts of the plutocracy that have always regarded this as a threat in principle to private insurance companies. It’s the threat of a good example. The government runs an insurance company—it’s basically an office building full of bureaucrats and computers. They don’t have fancy salaries or fancy perks. They’re doing this pretty well on a civil servant’s income, and without lots and lots of people to try and separate the healthy from the sick. They just enroll everybody. And guess what? It’s a very functional system. But there are some parts of the plutocracy that just don’t care what happens to the broader population, and for whom, as I say, the fact that the government runs very efficient, comprehensive insurance programs is politically offensive.

    There is also an element of money-grubbing associated with opposition to government insurance programs—people who imagine they could make money running funds, or biting into the insurance market. So again we come back to the crucial issue: it’s the power and the instability associated with having the economy run by bankers and hedge fund managers that is the problem.”

    1. anon y'mouse

      i’ve often wondered if a lot of the privatization mania that has gone on during my lifetime was, in part, due to the “bad” example set during my grandmother’s—that getting the country underway to engage in WWII tipped us so far over to the side of the dreaded commie-socialism, and that it WORKED and worked so well (aided by the propaganda of patriotism and the bogeymen outside) that the business class was scared for their livelihoods and has been scrambling ever since to swing that pendulum back the other way.

      that many of the kids of WWII vets tried to flip the bird to “the system” didn’t help, in this regard.

      but i am not an historian or an economist, so what the heck do i know?

    2. Susan the other

      Galbraith’s opinion that capitalism’s destruction is not creative in any way is the salient point for me. In order for our society to survive (newsflash: if society doesn’t survive “capitalism” doesn’t survive) it must provide security. In order to provide security it must have a sustainable economy. No more lurching from crash to crash. Think Steve Keen’s new approach to a sustainable economy pegged to energy (and the laws of thermodynamics). I goes without saying that Obama doesn’t know what he is doing. And never will.

      1. Aquifer

        Bingo – the need for security, a fundamental need that all of us have, has been denigrated from all sides so that the elements necessary for TPTB to take over become either “inevitable” as if dictated by the universe and not by TPTB as in – “job security – a thing of the past” or “virtues” as in “there is no progress without risk”, “need to be lean and hungry to compete”, “security breeds laziness”, etc

        Not to mention that competition is always valued over cooperation as a tool, not just for “progress”, but for very survival ….

        I first noticed that particular language game being played a number of years ago ’round about the time “downsizing” was replacing “firing” ….

    3. JTFaraday

      “The reality is that most operating businesses, if they could rely more on Social Security and less on their own contributions to retirement, more on public health insurance and less on employer contributions, they’d be much better off.”

      I know. It’s insane. Supposedly pragmatic businesspeople throwing themselves on the funeral pyre of their own anti-government puritanism, (not to insult the Puritans).

  8. jsmith

    Regarding the Jefferson pieced:

    Does Mr. Robin even understand what fascism is?

    It certainly doesn’t seem so from the article and for someone with such a academic pedigree his writing is an embarrassment.

    Secondly, it’s amazing that Mr. Robin has to tie Jefferson’s racism/fascism with – ho hum – the Nazis once again when there exists for all the world to see a more apt comparison in the contemporary world – genocidal/apartheid Israel.

    If Robin thinks it so fascinating that such a seeming proponent of “liberty” and “freedom” as Jefferson could also hold such vile views of certain sections of humanity then maybe he should pull his sorry @ss out of this books and spend some time speaking to the current actions of genocidal/apartheid Israel – y’know – the “only democracy in the Middle East”, “our greatest ally”, “a beacon of freedom” blah blah blah puke.

    But I’m sure tha. would that be too “real” for Robin and his academia ilk

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Gee, if only Robin had written the different article you wanted him to write.

      * * *

      Check out Jefferson’s beautifully written musings on the characteristics of his human property; Robin quotes it extensively. “Their griefs are transient” is the least of it. If one of the characteristics of Fascism is such feelings for an “other” (the Jews, for example) then Jefferson exhibits that characteristic in abundance.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        LS, please dare to frame the Putsch against Jefferson lately with the fact that he is responsible for the presence of the 7th Amendment–giving us the “Law of the Land.” Globalists have trapped us in their preferred Global Profiteering Systems of “The Law Merchant” and “Maritime Law.” The 7th Amendment of the Constitution protects We the People against eternal “Elite Lebensraum” grabs, and who could know better than Jefferson How It Worked for the Elite?

      2. jsmith

        No, what Robin calls fascism is really straight up racism and although racism is a component of fascism it’s intellectually dishonest to equate the two as that degrades the use of the word in describing true fascist societies like the modern United States and Israel.

        Also, I comment in hopes that people like Robin and those who read him would understand that a growing number of people in America are at the point where academic/MSM musings about “fascism” and its attendant malignancies without mention of the our current fascist societies is so utterly dishonest and myopic that they aren’t worthwhile.

        Let’s just keep using Nazi Germany as the lastest example of fascism the world has seen, right?

        The U.S.?


        Mr. Robin’s continuous musings on “the right” and his understanding of neoliberalism are so trite and vapid as to be pointless as he’s a outstanding representative of propaganidistic class seeking to further promote the idea of today’s “liberals” being anything other than willing handmaidens to their peers on the right.

        To make my point, let’s revisit just one sentence from an article Robin wrote for The Nation last year, shall we, as it is really all that needs be said about him:

        “Despite the Great Recession and election of Barack Obama, the most progressive candidate to win the presidency since 1964, that idea retains its hold.”

        As any one with two honest neurons can see, Obama is actually to the right of every single President since 1964 even W who never arrogated to himself the privilege of murdering American citizens without trial and who wasn’t able to dismantle the social safety net.

        Sorry, Lambert not buying it.

  9. kevinearick

    Public, Private, & Non-Profit Welfare: Eunuchs & Their Queens

    Labor, Capital, Elderly, & Children do not see me as homeless, but they do see that each event horizon in the middle class observes me as homeless, so you go right ahead and stop me from going to work, by herding me into a line, to get a ticket, to get into a line, to get a wrist band, to get a shelter night, to stand in line, to get more shelter nights, so I can stand in line to get laundry, clothing, and housing vouchers, so I can get the EDD hierarchy to grant me certified passage to a low wage job that will not pay the rent, so I have to go through the next circle of delays and, so on, while you throw teenage church girls at me in yoga pants, like I am the eunuch, so you can all justify your jobs, shorting out the real economy with make-work delays.

    Funny, my job is to short the short, to restore the economy, which means you lose either way, unless you want to get a real job, and you are not going to like what comes next.

  10. LeonovaBalletRusse

    ALERT: Prepare yourselves for the next “*false flag* – nuclear, at that – in Syria:

    NPR News at High Noon 3Dec2012: Hillary Clinton in Prague discussing “nuclear energy” / “Assad” may use “nuclear weapons” on his people / This would be a “red line” for the United States / the end of the Assad regime is “inevitable”
    Got it?

    1. Aquifer

      “Why do some metaphors have far more staying power than others, even when they give a misleading picture of a crucial national issue?”

      Though I appreciate the gravitas of his answer, I suggest that there may be a simpler one – because the “fiscal cliff” is the metaphor being repeated over and over and over and over and ….

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        Just to point out the obvious, let’s call it: the “Congress-made fiscal cliff like none made by nature”. That would not catch on; but why? Because of P.R. . “P.R. is reality … Reality is less than P.R. …”. (Line adapted from the Videodrome, a movie directed by David Cronenberg).

    2. MontanaMaven

      It’s time for the good professor to retire from the public eye. This is not rocket science. You, LBR, are far more interesting and original than this guy. Slogans, talking points, weasel words, cliches, management speak and just plain old lies are what politicians speak all the time. Then the media lazily repeats them ad nauseum. It is also called propaganda.

      Lakoff’s books serve the same function as a lot of MSNBC pundits. They reinforce what Democrats already believe. The good guys are the nurturing Dems and bad guys the Republican authoritarians. So his ideas serve to keep us separate by using an us versus them frame. They foster a feeling of superiority and smugness. That gets us, to use a metaphor, stuck in a ditch spinning our wheels. A book on language I much prefer is “Death Sentences: How Cliches,Weasel Words, and Management Speak Are Strangling Public Language” by Don Watson. A political speech writer for the Australian prime minister and a political satirist, his book is both profound and funny. We should start with cleaning up our own speech and really try to communicate with our neighbors.

      1. Aquifer

        I wouldn’t be quite so hard on Lakoff – agreed, a lot of his stuff serves his Dem “confirmation bias” as a Dem – but I suggest there is more than a kernel of truth in the idea that some images, analogies, etc resonate more with our “subconscious”, if you will, and it is a very good idea to understand the elements that make them more resonant – so we don’t keep scratching our heads trying to figure out why folks are acting “against their best interests”. Until we figure that out and learn how to tap the pwer of those resonances for better ends, we will continue to “lose”…

        Lakoffs images may be skewed, but the underlying insight that there are such images is not only true, but foundational, IMO ..

        1. Valissa

          I basically agree with Montana Maven on this one. Lakoff’s classic text Metaphors We Live By, with Mark Johnson is good stuff. But his partisan politic extrapolations of that work aren’t much better than propaganda, IMO, although I admit I bought into it for a short time. Now he seems really boring and trite to me.

          Aquifer, your analysis that it was the fact that the fiscall cliff is being repeated over and over, is much a much better observation… occam’s razor and all that.

          1. Aquifer

            I am not defending or arguing for his partisan political stuff – I am simply arguing for the concept that if you want folks to not only agree with and support you you have to speak their language and that language consists of images and metaphors, and finding the right, as in correct, ones will make all the difference.

            IMO the left too often thinks if you tell the “truth” and folks don’t get it, then you yell the “truth” and if folks still don’t get it they must be stupid …

            Methinks if you want someone to come to your side of the street, it is better to first cross to theirs and lead them over than just stay where you are and yell at them, but that’s just me, i suppose …

        2. MontanaMaven

          I saw him speak at an America’s Future Convention in 2004 when I was a newbie to electoral politics. It’s when he first hit and was asked to consult on the Kerry/Edwards campaign. I was somewhat interested at first even though I did not think the answer to the Democrats’ problems was framing. I felt that their message sucked. They weren’t interested in helping working Americans. Not really. They had lost their soul by once again nominating a neo-liberal DLC type. I even was able to ask him a question. I said that Kerry was an introvert and no amount of framing was going to make him into a warm outgoing man of the people. Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, I said. Better to go with his strengths which was kind of a plow horse compared to Edwards’ race horse or George Bush’s bull in a china shop kind of approach. Lakoff wasn’t very pleased with that assessment. The next year I heard him repeat the same nation-as-family meme and since then he repeats it over and over.

          What he talks about isn’t all that original or scientific. It’s marketing. And marketers have known about how to persuade people for decades. He also is tirelessly self promoting and what I felt was condescending to questioners and even other panelists. Yea, I had a gut reaction to him. Since then I did a little more exploring and found a comment by a student of his that made sense to me. He said that the only books in the course “Mind and Language” were Lakoff’s books. No references even to Lakoff’s teacher, Charles Fillmore, who developed the idea of “frame semantics”.
          I love metaphors. I use them all the time. But I don’t use them to fool people or I certainly try not to do that.

          1. Aquifer

            As i said above – i am not defending Lakoff, per se, only his idea that metaphors and images are powerful and the folks who can find the ones that connect or “click” with folks will get much farther with their ideas …

            I, too, find a lot of his specifics a bit lame – but there is a kernel of truth in there that is worth considering, IMO –

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Nurturing Dems my Sweet Aunt Fanny. My Mom may have had her issues, but kill lists and blowing civilians to red mist with drone strikes weren’t among them.

  11. Ron

    Obama defeats the Southern Strategy: More black,brown,yellow vs white but the majority of white votes is concentrated in the South and border Bible Belt so the race vote doesn’t tell the story rather the election reflects a rejection by the majority towards social conservative doctrine which has become the pillar of the modern Republican Party. The Southern Bible Belt is what left of the Republican Party along with social conservatives in national politics. The MSM is still playing nice to the Republican political illusion of power but like Calif they will move off stage.

  12. LeonovaBalletRusse

    “Sheldon Adelson Spent Far More On Campaign Than Previously Known”
    Posted: 12/03/2012 12:00 am EST Updated: 12/03/2012 12:35 am EST
    //Adelson, a fierce critic of Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, has said that his humongous spending was spurred chiefly by his fear that a second Obama term would bring “vilification of people that were against him.” As that second term begins, Adelson’s international casino empire faces a rough road, with two federal criminal investigations into his business./

    /This coming week, Adelson plans to visit Washington, according to three separate GOP sources familiar with his travel schedule. While here, he’s arranged Hill meetings with at least one House GOP leader in which he is expected to discuss key issues, including possible changes to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-bribery law that undergirds one federal probe into his casino network, according to a Republican attorney with knowledge of his plans.//
    Will SUNSHINE LAWS apply to these meetings with Adelson? If not, why not?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse
      //Meanwhile, another inquiry by Justice and the SEC has been under way for about two years. It involves allegations that Adelson’s lucrative casinos on the Chinese island of Macau may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to Chinese officials to expand its operations there. The lion’s share of Sands’ corporate revenues now come from Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, and a Singapore casino.

      Among the payments that Justice has been probing are $700,000 that went to a local attorney, Leonel Alves, who was hired by the Sands Chinese subsidiary while he was a government legislator in Macau. The Justice probe apparently grew out of a wrongful termination lawsuit by Steven Jacobs, the former president of the Sands operation in Macau who has been cooperating with Justice.//
      //During the election, ADELSON TOLD POLITICO that the Justice Department investigation, and the way he felt treated by prosecutors, was a PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR HIS INVESTMENT IN Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates. He PUT HIS MONEY where his mouth was. The two GOP fundraisers, both with strong ties to Adelson, said that the casino mogul DISHED OUT CLOSE TO $150 MILLION, including between $30 million and $40 million to the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads GPS and at least $15 million to grassroots efforts with financial links to Charles and David Koch. Among OTHER MAJOR BENEFICIARIES of Adelson’s largess were the U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, which received almost $5 million from Adelson, and the REPUBLICAN JEWISH COALITION, which got the bulk of its $6.5 million budget from him, the fundraisers said.

      ALL OF THESE ARE NON-PROFIT GROUPS, which — unlike the super PACs that raked in $54 million in funds from Adelson and his wife — are not currently required to disclose their donors. Adelson’s public spending spree, larger than any other donor’s in the last election, was made possible by two high court rulings in early 2010 that allowed corporations, unions and individuals to write unlimited checks to outside groups for political ads and other activities backing candidates

      The TWO FUNDRAISERS who provided information to The Huffington Post REPRESENTED SEPARATE GROUPS THAT EACH RECEIVED SEVEN-FIGURE CHECKS this year from Adelson.//
      These are Adelson’s RACKETS from China-Singapore to Vegas to D.C. There can be NO DOUBT that these are RACKETS. BRING RICO immediately.
      Is the GOP the Zvi Party of *Israel* – representing a Foreign Power in the U.S.?
      READ How It Happened:
      “RUNNING COMMENTARY: The Contentious Magazine that Transformed the Jewish Left into the Neoconservative Right” by Benjamin Balint (Public Affairs, 2010);
      “THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE” by Schlomo Sand, translated by Yael Lotan (Verso, 2009).
      CONNECT Mayer Lansky’s “Tradition” and square the circle of Mormon CIA and Adelson’s Money in C.21. CONNECT Hillary Clinton’s foretelling of the “inevitable” fall of “Assad’s Regime” — upon the enactment of the future scenario in which “Assad” uses “nuclear weapons” against his citizens, which will be “a red line” for the United States. Will 9-11 be re-played in Syria, but with nuclear weapons this time, thanks to Adelson’s Mossad Confederates, and maybe with Adelson’s Money funding the *cause*?

      This is a Global Criminal Cabal at work. STOP THEM!

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Oh, in later NPR News, Hillalry had dropped the “Assad’s nuclear weapons” meme and put into its place “Assad’s biological weapons” meme. Well, it worked the first time around. Why not?

  13. LeonovaBalletRusse

    From today’s “Bits Daily” – – CAVEAT EMPTOR:

    “When the H.R. Office Leaves the Building | More companies have been outsourcing their human resources functions, often to A RANGE OF VENDORS that specialize in particular areas.” — [caps mine]

    “What could possibly go wrong” for We the People, Lambert?

  14. Valissa

    To Make Better Biofuels, Scientists Mine Microbiomes
    Microbes within pandas and other creatures may hold keys to cost-competitive cellulose-based biofuels
    (includes two minute video)

    And it’s not such a dirty job. “Panda pellets are fairly desiccated and fibrous,” Brown says. “They are like mini hay bales. For anyone with experience working with animal fecal material, I can assure you panda poo has a fairly pleasant smell and is probably the nicest to work with.”

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      I think they are barking up the wrong tree going this route.

      Think Coors converting a brewery to make Panda Poo Beer, then having to remove all the water so they can sell it as ethanol.

    2. Aquifer

      ISTM that vegetarian crap almost always smells better than carnivore crap, but what the hay do i know …

      1. Valissa

        Good try, Aquifer :) however… from the article, emphasis mine:

        Another animal with potentially useful cellulase enzymes is the hoatzin, a chicken-sized, reddish-brown bird with a spiky crest that hails from South America. The hoatzin is unusual among birds in that it primarily eats leaves. Like other birds it has a crop, a built-in storage bin that is part of the digestive system—a kind of prestomach. But in the hoatzin, the crop functions as a biomass fermenter, similar to the cow’s rumen. In fact, the hoatzin is nicknamed the stink bird because its droppings smell like cow manure.

        More on the beautiful stinky shit vegetarian hoatzin here

        One study undertaken in Venezuela found that the Hoatzins diet was 82% leaves, 10% flowers and 8% fruit.

        1. Aquifer

          Well i suppose – still and all as someone once said “I’d rather smell cow manure than a backed up city sewer …”

          1. scraping_by

            Someone from the city.

            Though cow pats are normally open air. In a bar and grill where the combined storm and sanitary sewer has a manhole in the back room, the value is occasionally debateable.

  15. Ransome

    Jefferson was an educated southern aristocrat, an entertainer, a mostly vegetarian that took his wine with water, a scientific agriculturalist, a global traveller and a statesman. His interests were unusually broad for the time and he probably accomplished more than ten ordinary men. Historically, aristocrats always had slaves or serfs or peasants to support them so that they could accomplish more important tasks such as statesmanship. His views on race were about as scientific as the times. Hamilton mentioned to him that perhaps his views were influenced by the fact that blacks were simply not educated. A century later, many of the “facts” believed by eugenicists were in fact of cultural and educational origin. For instance, immigrants that could not speak English were given IQ tests, in English, using hand gestures, and then found to have inferior intellect.

    John Adams was our northern aristocrat and Jefferson out entertained him 50 to 1. Entertaining was the perfect vehicle to influence policy and gather information. As far as status, the slaves had value, they could cook and plant the Big Four, rice, wheat, sugar and cotton. Poor whites were illiterate and without any skills so were considered worthless. Ultimately, the southern aristocrats were living in a fantesy world, they were captured by northern bankers, commodity brokers, merchant princes and industrial tycoons, not to mention the government tariff system. They created a world of raw material production, in an economy where demand was very tightly controlled. Escaping the Union would have changed nothing. The financial capitalists were ultimately in control.

    1. craazyman

      so true. few men wore not-having-to-work-for-a-living as well as TJ did.

      most of that day would have found a way to shoot themselves in duels or drink or gamble themselves to death.

      people think they think for themselves but 99% to 100% of what they think is what other people think. even 1% originality is impressive. 2 or 3% is pure genius — or insanity.

  16. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Skippy & Aquifer, ponder the significance through a glass darkly:
    When the healthy baby with the *Winning re-combined DNA* for “universally acceptable” Global Reich Reign, THEN will *William the Anti-Christ* be crowned King of the World/Universe with commensurate Divine Rights? THEN will the promised Sun-God, Amen-Ra, Osiris, the Messiah, the Christ, the Hidden Imam, the Mormon Messiah, King Arthur, and Le Roi Soleil claim *Ultimate Victory* for the Victorian Reich of Zvi Israel Uber Alles?

  17. Susan the other

    Housing: The Economist. The Big Long. The new housing market looks a lot like REITS with a government guarantee that provide ultra cheap interest payments with generous tax write offs for many years to come. And the foreclosure industry will feed itself as the bank-hedge funds buy their own foreclosures. And nevermind that many of these foreclosures collected default insurance – no problem if the bank never held title. It’s not insurance fraud when a band does it.

    Gretchen Morgenson. FHA is running out a money. Believes it will be 13 Bn in the red somewhere down the road as it is required to pay out on defaults stemming from the securitization frenzy of 2007 to 2009. The government will pick up the obligation. Obviously. Hey who says public insurance programs threaten private insurance by being a good example? What nonsense. Gretchen thinks the problem of the FHA’s books is partially the fault of antiquated and useless software. How convenient. Oh well. No rush.

    1. Susan the other

      Chris Whalen after the election on Capital Account. There is no housing recovery at all. The devastation is due to the credit collapse, of course. And the credit collapse is due to fraud and fraudulent securitization. Yes, he said that. He’s the only one left who gets on the air and uses the F word. But everyone is trying to blame the great crash on leverage and not holding enough capital. So Basel III is still being pushed. Basel III won’t solve the problem. It will make it worse because there will be less money to loan; less credit. Private Equity REITs can’t turn the housing industry around. Only jobs can.

      I think housing would turn around pretty quick if the banksters were forced to produce the note and clear the title. Why don’t we take care of the real problem?

      1. Synopticist

        “I think housing would turn around pretty quick if the banksters were forced to produce the note and clear the title.”

        Hehehe. It’d be funny if they actually did- It’s impossible to predict the results of that outbreak of legality.

        1. Valissa

          An “outbreak of legality”… that is too funny… LOL… wins the internets!! It’s also a bit depressing that we are all reduced to hoping for the occasional outbreak of legality as a sign the whole system isn’t irredeemably kleptocratic and authoritarian (which, of course it is… sigh…).

          1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            In France, there are “prosecuting judges”, “Juges d’instruction”: they can investigate along with the police, but I’m sure there are rules. One outcome of this system was l’« affaire Elf » (potical slush-fund, French secret agents, gas/oil concessions in an African country):

      2. craazyman

        After a While You’d Just Rather Watch Adele Videos

        I tried reading a long paper by my favorite male model, Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England. Let me just say first, in case somehow he reads this, that I’m not a gay guy so no worries. I’m not sitting there staring at his butt on the internet or anything like that. I just like nice suits that fit well and look sharp — sort of like something James Bond would wear. I think “Man, I could look like that too.” But I hate shopping so much that I won’t go buy one. Or if I do, I end up cheaping out and getting something for $250 at Century 21.

        Anyway, you are so right STO. How can anybody take this stuff seriously? All this capital this and capital that and all this complexity in dozens of pages of dry prose. Why do I even suffer this? I can’t think of a good reason.

        So it’s Adele videos for me. Skyfall. Then the one where she’s walking in Paris by herself, what is it “Never mind I’ll find someone like you” and what’s the other, wow she is fierce in this one, it’s “Rolling in the Deep.” I mean really. She just nails it right and left. Wherever she aims, it’s a bulls-eye.

        She is good. Those are words that mean things. Words that smoke and burn. Smoke and burn your soul with searing truth and honesty. How does she do it? I wish I knew. I wish I could. One of her pages is worth 1000 pages of that Basel shit. Actually it’s impossible to equivalentize them, because one is zero and the other, the Adele one, is infinity. haha.

    2. Aquifer

      Hmmm – what if the public insurers refused to allow securitization of the loans they insured? Wouldn’t that have greatly reduced the incentive for a lot of the fraud – if banks had to hang on to the mortgages they made? or am i way off base?

    3. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      None of that can be true. I’ve been reading we have a housing recovery [albeit slow] :)

  18. Hugh

    Re Ambrose-Pierce, what will those 20 million a year peasants coming to China’s cities actually do? In the face of austerity in Europe and the US, export markets are weakening. So won’t those 20 million just continue to fuel China’s overcapacity bubble? And how long can that go on? How many ghost cities can they build, with apartments they can’t afford to live in? How many ghost factories, with nowhere to send their products, until it all comes falling down?

    And 3,000 years of Chinese history does not treat well political dynasties who don’t deliver and start to lose their grip.

    1. Aquifer

      Well seems to me the obvious answer is the Henry Ford one – pay the workers enough to afford the products they make …

  19. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Someone must hold Obama’s feet to the fire. He must LET the Bush Tax Cuts expire, THEN negotiate. OBAMA has the ULTIMATE POWER in this matter: All he need do is to REFRAIN from SIGNING INTO LAW any “Boehner Bill” that would EXTEND the Bush Tax Cuts, until the EXPIRATION DEADLINE has PASSED, since Obama CANNOT be “blamed” for the Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts–and he should advertise this FACT far and wide. It is the Republicans in Congress and their co-conspirators who PASSED the Bush Tax Cuts who are responsible for the EXPIRATION of the Bush Tax Cuts on a Date Certain, since the expiration of the cuts was sine qua non for passage of the original bill signed into law by George W. Bush. OBAMA must SEIZE THE DAY.

    This Golden Opportunity for OBAMA to ASSERT Presidential Power over that of M.C.’s, and to ASSERT this in conjunction with his personal exculpation for what appears to be a “rise in taxes” in 2013 NEVER AGAIN shall come to him as President. If he blows this opportunity, he is a “Dead Fish.” HE MUST:

    LET the Bush Tax Cuts expire while putting the BLAME for the “Fiscal Cliff Disaster” squarely where it belongs: on the GOP and Blue Dog Democrats in Congress and on George W. Bush, and BY NAME. THEN, AFTER the American Public “feels the heat” of the “fall-back” to taxes that prevailed before the Bush Tax Cuts became Law–OBAMA shall SAVE THE DAY by NEGOTIATING the NEW EXCHANGE/CONTRACT by LAW: Social Security SHALL remain INTACT, not sacrificed to any degree; and Medicare adjustments shall be made IN EXCHANGE for OBAMA TAX CUTS for American Individuals with an income ceiling @ $250,00US per year or less.

    Boss Adelson likely is holding GOP feet to the fire over this. OBAMA’s feet must be held to the fire by ALL Democrats, and by any Republican or other M.C. who wants freedom from the TYRANNY of Adelson and the Foreign Power he represents in the Zvi Cities of London, the District of Columbia, New York, Kansas City, Rome, Vatican City, and the IG Farben “Brussels EU” + Rockefeller Global Reich.

    President Obama, are YOU a MAN or a DEAD FISH?

  20. jefferson's that butler guy on TV, right?

    This parochial Jefferson furor is kind of sad. Jefferson’s just the ancient history of a vanished culture. Like Hammurabi. I mean Iraq is hopelessly fucked up but do you see them arguing about how to reoncile modern Iraq with the Code of Hammurabi? Of course not, they’re busy annihilating their enemies. America is also hopelessly fucked up. Jefferson’s old-time bullshit constitution or declaration or whatever it was, that’s of purely antiquarian interest. Having once been set aside, it will have no role in reconstructing a functioning state on this land mass. If people really need some ethnocentric feelgood pap, it so happens that the last American who did anything to advance ethical political philosophy was Eleanor Roosevelt. And, don’t tell anybody, but she did it by standing back to let a Chinese guy, a Lebanese, and a Canadian get on with it and codify human rights, over the State Department’s dead body.

  21. KFritz

    Re: Cornstalks Everywhere

    Without defending the American model of industrial agriculture, comparing an agricultural field anywhere to a natural environment is the equivalent of comparing apples and oranges. There’s bound to be fewer insects about–and the bees will only arrive at the field en masse when the plants are ready to be pollinated.

    A fairer comparison would be between traditional agriculture, modern organic agriculture, and the industrial model.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Fair enough, but Jeebus, one single crawling ant? That was a little creepy. And gawd knows what the soil was like. I hear that up in Aroostook County now the soil has the approximate texture of the stuff you find in a can of cocoa.

  22. Propertius

    Isn’t it interesting that, for all the “brinksmanship” and pearl-clutching over the horrors of the “fiscal cliff”, neither branch of the corporate party has suggested a tax on securities and derivatives trnsactions?

    I can’t imagine why that would be.

  23. Max424

    Virginia Wolf: “I’ve spent all the morning, every morning, writing; every evening reading. I had to dash through Gibbon.”

    That’s what I did, man, I scampered right past the tendentious motherfucker. Six volumes? Yer too easy, Edward, see ya later, I’m off now to a more difficult pursuit, to scoot round Will and Ariels’ -eleven volume!- History of Civilization.

    1. wb

      Aaw, Max, slow down, relax, savour the pages, one at a time, empires and civilisations are always coming and going, but we only live the once, take it easy, no need to end up drowning in the river, literally or metaphorically… ;-)

  24. Montanamaven

    The Wobbly Foodie piece is exciting. Please read. Always thought our salvation would be led by Latinos. But not the war bands from Mexico that The Archdruid talks about. That’s a little too “Boardwalk Empire” for me.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’m not sure it isn’t smarter for workers to concentrate on self-reliant direct action than to count on legislators and courts. To affect law you have to hire bureaucrats, lobbyists, staff in DC etc. who are then easily captured, co-opted and bought off by the DC machine. Big unions sound good in theory but I question both their ability to remain fierce advocates for the workers (and more so in lower wage trades where the class/cultural divide between the rank and file and the union bureaucrats is large) and not become corrupted by the corrosive environment. Not to mention the significant draining of scarce resources implicit in playing a losing high dollar lobbying game competing against opposing lobbyists with deeper pockets.

  25. diptherio

    The Mortgage Servicing Fraud website has an interesting response up to the Adam Levitin article that NC linked to awhile back, BofA v. MBIA and the Future of Private Label Securitization

    …the MBIA case is little more than one more instance where the federal judiciary and the regulatory/prosecutorial apparatus bend over backwards to protect a large bank and prevent an open and clear discussion about the fact that the MBS in question hold the record for the number of different frauds contained in the same security and are among the most fraudulent securities ever concocted.

    And why is it so important that we avoid that discussion?

    Because the federal Reserve has $1 trillion of those fraudulent MBS on its balance sheet as a backstop to the value of the US Dollar; securities that the Fed purchased in violation* of the Federal Reserve Act.

    *The Fed’s MBS purchases were and are illegal because MBS guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie are not federally-guaranteed. The US Treasury’s support of Fannie and Freddie, which are private entities, only goes to the end of 2012 plus another $200 billion. MBS guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie are therefore not federally-guaranteed, not even close. At best, agency MBS maturing prior to, say, 2015 could arguably be said to be somewhat guaranteed.

    The Fed may only purchase securities that are guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United States. One could argue that the MBS purchased by the Fed at the height of the crisis in 2008 were purchased in a force majeure situation, but the subsequent purchases, now totaling about $1 trillion, were certainly purchased illegally in a plain violation of the Federal Reserve Act. These are facts that the Fed has effectively admitted in a footnote here and there but refuses to discuss — and about which no one seems to ask…

    Posted by: Frederic Lehrer

Comments are closed.