Links 1/4/12

‘Black Beauty’ new meteorite type BBC

‘Alarmingly High Methane Emissions’ from Natural Gas Extraction Common Dreams (Aquifer)

Sydney to be spared worst of giant heat wave Sydney Morning Herald (Glenn Condell)

Installing Cable Car Systems in Cities to Reduce Congestion OilPrice

GM food: British public ‘should be persuaded of the benefits’ Guardian (John L)

Switzerland and Britain are now at currency war Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Bradley Manning and me: why I cannot regret turning in the WikiLeaks suspect Guardian (John L)

Catfood watch:

3 Huge Myths About The Trillion Dollar Coin Plan To Save The Economy Clusterstock

Rep. Grayson: Republicans using debt ceiling as ‘legislative terrorism” Raw Story. It is going to be fun having Grayson back.

U.S. now on pace for European levels of austerity in 2013 Washington Post (TK421)

Geithner Said to Plan Departure Before Debt Ceiling Deal Bloomberg. I had predicted that the new Treasury secretary will have us waxing nostalgic for Foamy, as difficult as that may seem to believe. Remember, no matter how bad things are, they can and often do get worse. The timing of his departure is going to put his successor in the hot seat, guaranteeing that Geithner will look good by comparison (familiar evils look better than new ones).

The $60 Trillion Petition for Taking Austerity Off The Table Corrente. Sign the petition!

Did Zero Dark Thirty have secret links to CIA? US Senate vows to find out Guardian (John L)

Time Warner Cable Dumps Current TV Faster Than You Can Say ‘Al-Jazeera America’ Common Dreams (Aquifer)

Armed Teacher Training Program launches in 15 states; study reveals impact of ‘Stand Your Ground’ on homicides Pam Spaulding, Firedoglake

Madeleine Albright and Herbalife John Hempton (Maddie)

Making out with Bill, an office flirtation and singing ‘you’re so vain to the mirror’: New film to reveal softer side of Hillary Rodham Clinton in her 20s. Do not read if you have eaten recently.

Small business recession explains poor sentiment Sober Look

Happy New Year? Not for Bonds Wall Street Journal

Bill filed to speed up foreclosures in Florida Tampa Bay

The Great Bank Escape Anat Admati, Project Syndicate

JPMorgan to BofA Get Delay on Rule Isolating Derivatives Bloomberg (Bob S)

Awakening Atlantic (Aquifer)

Antidote du jour:

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    1. AbyNormal

      i read the lead/crime piece yesterday afternoon
      my first inclination was to scrap drug testing!
      and begin Yesterday lead testing all royal financiers and their politicians

    2. smokethebarbecue

      What’s the deal with the first two graphs? The ranges on the horizontal axes are different.

      1. TK421

        They figure it takes 23 years for a change in the amount of lead in the atmosphere to become a change in the crime rate, since babies who breathe in lead-filled air (or not, depending on the era) have to grow up to the age of most criminals.

  1. fresno dan

    The Great Bank Escape Anat Admati, Project Syndicate

    “And yet, despite large losses on their holdings in 2007-2008, top bankers fared significantly better than most of their shareholders did in 2000-2008. Even executives of the failed investment banks Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, while the companies’ shareholders, who received some dividends along the way, fared much worse – not even considering their other crisis-related losses.”

    Its impossible to believe in the “market” when not only government fails to prosecute obvious fraud, but in the very theory of shareholders being “owners” – disciplining and compensating CEO’s – in that what happened is so disconnected from the theory of how it is suppose to work and the reality of what actually happened.

  2. dearieme

    It seems rather parochial to write about cable cars in cities without mentioning the trans-Thames link in London.

  3. SR6719

    The White Review has an extraordinary piece by Will Stone called “Oradour-sur-Glane: Reflections on the Culture of Memorial in Europe” that includes embedded photographs and speaks to some of German writer W.G. Sebald’s preoccupations with landscape, memorials, Holocaust sites, Third Battle of Ypres / Passchendaele-like landscapes and European destruction in general:

    1. SR6719

      “But the closer I came to these ruins….the more I imagined myself amidst the remains of our own civilization after its extinction in some future catastrophe.” – W.G. Sebald

  4. DP

    “It is going to be fun having Grayson back.”

    It would be more fun to me if he was prosecuted for income tax evasion, as many who participated with him several years ago in a fraudulent offshore tax shelter scheme were.

    1. scraping_by

      “Participated in” as in got screwed.

      Didn’t know he was a former CEO. Interesting.

      Read this and somehow got an echo of those old novels about the sons of privilege getting thrown out of the boat or train, and seeing the other side of life. Probably too melodramatic.

      But it might have something to do with the Honorable Mr. Grayson’s education. Hard to do the Rand Rah Rah when you get a first-hand bitch slap from the Unknown Ideal.

  5. citizendave

    Re: the trillion dollar coin – I’m going back and forth from today’s link for Joe Weisenthal’s article in Business Insider, to yesterday’s link to Letsgetitdone’s (Joe Firestone) article at Corrente.

    There seems to be a central point of contention between the two regarding using newly-minted money to repay debt. The BI article suggests that doing so would be extra-legal: “…It’s just a way to stay within the law, while avoiding the debt ceiling nonsense…”

    I like Letsgetitdone’s take. “…So, please keep in mind the distinction between the capability to spend more than government collects in taxes, and the appropriations that mandate such spending. The capability is what’s in the public purse, and it is unlimited as long as the Government doesn’t constrain itself from creating credits in its own accounts. With PCS [Platinum Coin Seigniorage], its capability could be and should be publicly demonstrated by minting the $60 T coin, and getting the profits from depositing it at the Fed transferred to the Treasury General Account (TGA).

    On the other hand, Congressional appropriations, not the size or contents of the purse, but whether the purse strings are open or not, determines what will be spent, and what will simply sit in the purse for use at a later time. So there is a very important distinction between the purse and the purse strings. The President can legally use coin seigniorage to fill the purse, but only Congress can open the purse strings through its appropriations…”

    My current (perhaps muddled) interpretation of Letsgetitdone’s view is that the $60 T coin would not automatically inflate the money supply in circulation, but would simply add to the Fed’s reserve account. The only portion that would flow into the economy, thus adding to the money supply, would be any funds appropriated by Congress to pay obligatons that would otherwise be impossible due to the self-imposed constraints of the “debt ceiling”. That would be a relatively small portion of the $60 T new money, so it would not be inflationary.

    The salutary effect of the $60 T coin would be as a tangible physical token of our ability to create dollars where none existed. The practical effect would be to neutralize the power of the extreme right-wing tea party to damage the full faith and credit of the U$.


    Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Given a choice between a magic coin and a magic beanstalk, one really should prefer the latter because it’s more green (no unsightly mine tailings, water pollution, etc.)

      Plus it’s easier to explain to credulous children:

      1. citizendave

        In the past we had AM and FM. Now it’s all FM. Fracking Magic.

        I stand against those who would put the government out of business. If we adhere firmly to conventional spending and revenue constraints, we see that monied interests can manipulate the economy toward the diminution of government. We should not allow foreign interests to maneuver us into an economic dead-end — nor should we allow domestic interests to do so.

        Is a $1 T platinum coin more magical than a Sacagawea dollar coin?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not so much about either the government or how many more coins we need, but how the coins we already have, and we have a lot, are divided.

          1. Antifa

            Indeed. I fear that by 2020 Lloyd Blankfein or Jamie Dimon will be walking home with this trillion dollar coin in their pocket. Stranger things, more impossible things, have already happened.

      2. Valissa

        LOL… there is definitely a market for ‘fractured fairy tales’ about money. I can easily imagine something like “the goose that laid the platinum egg.”

        This got me thinking about why a platinum coin, why not a magic gold coin? Oh… right… gold bugs are the mortal enemies of the MMT’ers (/snark). However, gold is more plentiful on the planet than platinum according to The World’s Rarest Metals Looks like iridium is actually the rarest metal and most expensive, so if one is going to create a magic coin ISTM that it should be made out of iridium.

        Iridium is also the heaviest metal… so in honor of that, here is the number 1 heavy metal song of all time (according to some list I found)

        Hallowed Be Thy Name – Iron Maiden

        FYI, platinum coins already exist… some history here

        Platinum was first used for minting coins in Spanish-colonized America. Following the discovery of platinum in gold rocks, the Spaniards were unable to use it for a long time because they had no technology for processing this metal. The then-cheap platinum was used for various kinds of frauds, such as substituting it for the more expensive silver. After the discovery that platinum alloys with gold, counterfeiters began to add it to gold coins. The platinum confiscated from counterfeiters was then thrown into the sea, in accordance with the royal decree of 1735. Later, the practice of adding platinum to gold as a ligature was adopted by the authorities in Spain in order to lower the gold content of coins.[1] Also in Spain, in the mid-19th century, counterfeiters began producing British Sovereigns out of a gold-plated alloy of platinum and copper, relying on a similar specific weight of platinum and gold.

        1. citizendave

          I believe Joe Firestone has been careful to point out that it’s not a gold-bug thing, it’s not about basing the value of a unit of currency on a commodity. It’s not intended to go into circulation. It’s more like a touchstone, a physical instantiation of an idea, a symbolic reminder that we (U$A) invented the Dollar, and all dollars are created under the aegis and authority of the U$ government. (The Federal Reserve was created by Congress, and can be dismantled by Congress.)

          We could accomplish the same purpose with keystrokes on a computer at Treasury. The symbolic coin plays to our deeply entrenched thinking about physical constraints surrounding the limits of deficit spending and tax revenue. Many people still seem to need the paper dollar bill to be worth something tangible, instead of the physical dollar itself being symbolic of faith and trust between those who use it.

          If a high-denomination coin is a gimmick, then so is the debt ceiling a gimmick.

          It’s like a big Monotony (TM) board game.

          1. Antifa

            I’ve raised a grizzly bear from a cub these past few years. Ah, the happy days when I could go out in the back yard and wrestle with him, all in good fun. He was my pal back then.

            Now he weighs 11 times what I do, and knows it. I’ve learned the hard way that he’d just as soon eat me as his red meat and blueberry muffins.He owns the turf, and knows it. I can no more dismantle him in a fair fight than Congress can dismantle the Federal Reserve.

            The Fed is Wall Street. Wall Street owns the turf we once called representative government. What politician, under what circumstances, can or will stand up to Wall Street?

          2. citizendave

            Thanks for the link on reification. Philosopher son used that word several times over the Holidays, and I intended to look it up. I didn’t recall it from my own studies.

            I don’t need physical money, the spreadsheet works fine for me. But I think some people want to have that physical symbol of tangible value — hence, the coin.

            My whole retirement fund is electronic. I hope it’s backed up on a good external hard drive, ha.

        2. Lambert Strether

          Nice deflection by Jim Haygood.

          Unfortunately, the physical substance of the coin has no relevance whatever, except insofar as it is mentioned in the statute that legalizes the creation of the coin.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Lambert, so sagacious of you. It could be a “Lucky Bean” from a New Orleans St. Joseph’s Parade.

        1. citizendave

          The RT piece quotes a Member of Congress: ‘ “It sounds silly but it’s absolutely legal,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) tells New York Capital this week. “There is specific statutory authority that says that the Federal Reserve can mint any non-gold or -silver coin in any denomination, so all you do is you tell the Federal Reserve to make a platinum coin for one trillion dollars, and then you deposit it in the Treasury account, and you pay your bills.” ‘

          Muddled. So now the Federal Reserve is minting coins? The Mint operates under the auspices of the Treasury, not the Fed. And while we’re at it, the Fed doesn’t manufacture paper money either — it buys it from the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is also under Treasury.

        2. JTFaraday

          The Guardian weighs in. Apparently, The Coin consuming the Twitterati:

          “Twitter is a great news source and a hotbed of idea generation. But one of its major downsides is that it allows cranks and trolls to quickly and efficiently coalesce around ridiculous ideas. The latest bored-financial-nerd meme is this: the minting of a trillion-dollar platinum coin to save the US economy from the dithering of Congress.

          There is a Twitter hashtag – #mintthecoin – and a wan, spindly White House petition created on January 3 that needs around 25,000 signatures and currently has just under 2,000, which makes it resemble the winsomely pathetic Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

          Here is the background behind this inane, yet media-consuming, project.”

          1. JTFaraday

            Whoa! I should have read further. This gets even more withering:

            “This is an elegant solution – if you are a cartoon villain given to sitting in a vast underground bunker and innovating plans for world domination while petting a white cat. It makes less sense for real mortals. In fact, it has all the aspects of a group of well-financed mad scientists plotting to create a giant slingshot to avert an asteroid hurtling towards the earth.”

          2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer


            Love to hear what Russian and Chinese papers have to say about it. OPEC too.

            No doubt SCOTUS will need to rule on whether marking up 1 oz of platinum from $1800 to $1 trillion is what the word “Seigniorage” means, and if that was what Congress meant in 1995 when they passed the bill. (or omnibus bill and this was on page 357 of a $300B Highway Bill or something like that)

          3. JTFaraday

            Personally, I always thought The Coin was too readily ridiculed, even if someone technically dug it out of some legislative technicality somewhere.

            That said, if you really want to have an impact on public discussion, sometimes it’s the ridiculous route in that works.

      1. citizendave

        Kevin Drum gave me a headache. Benen applauded Drum.

        Is Treasury legally constrained against minting a ship-load of ordinary coins? It would be less efficient resource-wise, and more costly than a single high-dollar denominated platinum coin.

        We can buy $100 platinum American Eagle coins from The United States Mint:

        The Mint says “…The one-ounce platinum coin displays the highest face value ($100) ever to appear on a U.S. coin…” How about a ship-load of those?

      2. craazyman

        Rather than only one $1 trillion coin, it might make more sense to have 1,000 $1 billion dollar coins, since it would be impossible to spend a $1 trillion coin anywhere and get change back. It might not work, just because it’s too big.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s a very good point.

            We probably need to guard each coin with multiple nuclear bombs, though they should never be flown.

          2. craazyman

            I thought maybe they could make a second coin, a decoy, for security purposes, to ship by different route than the real one. But then it occurred to me: After they arrived safely, what if they forgot which was which?

    2. Lambert Strether

      citizen dave: I’d look at this this way. There are two schools of thought, let’s call them “small ball” and “game changer”:

      #1. “Small ball” is the political class — Drum, Benen, Atrios, etc. They see The Coin as a counter in the political game that goes under the heading of the Grand Bargain: Tax policy, the debt ceiling, entitlement cuts (with all the players being agreed on entitlement cuts). Basically, The Coin is a way to epater les Republicans on the debt ceiling, and after that, Treasury’s #mintthecoin power is to be put back in its box or even outlawed.

      #2. “Game changers” feel that the small ball crowd is, in essence, treating a ring of power as a poker chip. The key point is that in a fiat currency regime, such as one that exists in the United States today (even if it’s “fiat for me and not for thee,” so far as the ruling class is concerned) there is no need at all for our sovereign government to borrow money from the banks to spend*. Minting the coin makes this crystal clear. So, when you write:

      The practical effect would be to neutralize the power of the extreme right-wing tea party to damage the full faith and credit of the U$.

      I would argue that’s perspective #1. I’d rewrite it more like this:

      The practical effect would be to neutralize the power of the banksters over fiscal policy.

      Obviously, that’s a game changer that people who profit from playing the existing game are very concerned that people not understand. Hence Krugman’s nonsensical idea that at some point the coin would have to be bought back (no, because it is seigniorage).

      So, Krugman’s column (following shortly on an AEI article) has licensed “progressives” to talk about the coin, but only as “small ball” and not as “game changing.”

      NOTE * And if there is such a need, then who is the sovereign? Eh?

      1. Aquifer

        Lambert –

        I am not debating whether this can be done or not – my concern is whether it should be ….

        The amount of power you suggest unleashing is rather awesome, ISTM, and should not be dished out lightly –

        Just as folks not concerned about Obama’s drone power because they “trust” him with it, have overlooked the fact that it will remain even with folks whom they would not, ISTM we treat too lightly the implications of this coin in the “wrong” hands …

        Or perhaps a bit more germanely – Einstein and Oppenheimer, i believe, were said to have regretted their part in unleashing the atom …

        Unless you can be sure that the folks in office will only use this power for the “public purposes” you approve of, this power can be used for far more nefarious ones ..

        You can argue that it already is being used for such purposes and this coin thing could be used to level the playing field, so to speak, but it certainly would remove one argument against endless war, the one that says we can’t afford it, the one that says we should choose INSTEAD to fund peace – with this coin we could “afford” both – is this a price we wish to pay? By the same token (so to speak) I realize it would remove the argument that we can’t “afford” social programs, and that would be a biggy, no doubt – but, ISTM that argument can already be met by pointing out what we spend on war and bailouts, i.e. – we DO have mega bucks to spend, the question is one of our CHOICES in spending them. this coin thingy removes a necessity for choice …

        I dunno – ISTM the Precautionary Principle, the one we argue for with regard to the environment, the one we use to argue against such “techno fixes” as GMOs, e.g., should be applied here as well …

        I realize that here, on NC, this opinion might put me in “troll” territory, I don’t know, but methinks this is one of those areas where, perhaps one should be careful what one asks for, for one will surely get it …. Once you let the cat out of the bag, or the gene(ie) out of the test tube, or the coin out into the realm, you can’t put it back ..

        I realize this is a philosophical discussion, but i think it should be had along with the “economic” one ….

        1. citizendave

          Aquifer – I’ve been thinking about the point you’ve raised. My current opinion is that there is no significant difference on the outcome of the deliberative process, whether the funding for a proposed project comes from tax revenue, from the sale of bonds, or from Treasury fiat.

          If we lower the bar to preclude borrowing, as some want to do, then we would be constrained to spend only tax revenue. As it is, we’re spending well in excess of revenue, and nothing gets spent without both chambers of Congress and the President signing off on it. Within the current constraints of revenue and the debt limit, Congress prioritizes how it spends the money, and some things are funded, while others are not. The addition of debt-free money would be constrained by resource limitations, but ISTM it could also be constrained by monetary policy.

          In Lambert’s frame, the introduction of debt-free money would be a game-changer. Because monetary policy is currently handled by the Fed, which is all about banking and making money on interest, it would follow that monetary policy would need to be handled some new way. But it seems certain that unbridled spending of debt-free money would have the same inflationary consequences as would happen now if the Fed were to order shiploads of paper money from BEP’s printing presses.

          To your point about having everything at once, ISTM we could keep spending for the war industry, and simultaneously build out a comprehensive public transportation system. It’s not like we have a shortage of potential available workers. But we do lack the funding in the current political climate. Would this reduce pressure to cut Defense spending like we have now? Oh, wait… It seems impossible to cut Defense spending. They would need to find some other reason to oppose building a modern, safe, high-tech, high-speed passenger rail system.

          1. Aquifer

            “we’re spending well in excess of revenue, and nothing gets spent without both chambers of Congress and the President signing off on it. Within the current constraints of revenue and the debt limit, Congress prioritizes how it spends the money, and some things are funded, while others are not.”

            Yup – which is why we are at a crossroads, IMO, about which way this country is going – folks are actually at least talking about about a necessity for making choices which necessitates a discussion about the choices that could be/are being made – something that methinks wouldn’t happen at all with a trillion dollar coin in the purse …

            Of course you can argue that we are making crummy choices in any case – and i agree whole heartedly, but they are choices and i admit to feeling really queasy about a system where it appears one can have it all – not to mention which this idea that “money is no object” allows a false sense of security – because it makes it all too easy to eat up natural resources – for “war” AND “peace” at an ever accelerating rate …. That we “cannot” do so now for “lack of funds” may be a blessing in disguise ….

            “ISTM we could keep spending for the war industry, and simultaneously build out a comprehensive public transportation system.”

            Yeah, that’s what i am afraid of ….

            I know i am a “one note pony” – but i keep coming back to the need for a real political solution., whereby we understand that we need to choose those who would make better choices, instead of relying on this “freeby” coin to get us out of the mess we have created. If we mint the coin, then all the pols have to do is “buy us off” with such a transportation system while they continue to fund the wars …. And opposition to those wars will decrease – even lower than we have now, and resource extraction will accelerate …

            Again, i go back to pragmatic considerations in thinking perhaps it is better to stick with a system where “choices” have to be made ,,, And doing the hard work of fighting for the “good” choices ….

            I realize i am no doubt taking an unpopular stand, here – but as somebody or other, has said – here i stand, I can do no other, at this point – FWIW, which I also realize, ain’t much …

        2. jrs

          Exactly. So suppose for the sake of argument Obama is a good guy (a thing that stretches credulity to the breaking point) and the coins will be used to get out of the ridiculous Grand Bargain, fiscal cliff nonsense. Ok but what happens when someone else wants to print a coin to finance another war or something (yea I realize wars usually get congressional funding, I’m just saying realize the power you are vesting in ONE MAN). It’s one thing to say Congress should have the power of money creation and that the Fed sould not for instance, it’s quite a bit more radical and dictatorial to say that the unitary executive should.

          1. citizendave

            “…realize the power you are vesting in ONE MAN…”

            Do you mean to suggest that one man can commit the entire nation, and by extension a significant portion of the world, to a course of war with a sovereign nation, without getting authorization or appropriation from Congress as proscribed in the Constitution?

          2. citizendave

            Aquifer – I refer to Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as the first instance in my lifetime, which had a profound effect on my life, as well as the lives of millions of other people around the world. The second instance I would point out is President George W. Bush’s solitary ability to commit troops to invade Iraq.

            Some people may think that Congress approved and funded both wars at the start. But that’s not what I saw. The President can commit troops right now, without so much as a bye your leave to Congress. The War Powers Act attempts to put limits on the President’s ability to keep the war going without end, but history shows that it’s not very effective.

            So my point is that the President doesn’t need any more power because the office already has way more than needed to wreak havoc on the world. And does anybody seriously believe that if we believed it was necessary to go to war, but felt constrained by our empty purse to do so, that we would hesitate one nanosecond to go in guns a’blazing? No, we would just do what we want to do and figure out how to pay for it later. A very large portion of the current national debt is a consequence borrowing to fund wars.

            So why does anybody think that issuing debt-free money would somehow give the President the ability to do something he can’t already do?

          3. Aquifer

            cd – i see your point, but I guess i see the only way to stopping our wars is for folks to really decide we can’t afford them – to choose other, and that big shiny coin would mean that we wouldn’t have to …

            If you can buy a sandwhich AND a gun, why not? If you have to choose ….

            I realize i may not be very coherent here, i just have a feeling that under current circumstances this would not end well ….

            Perhaps i feel about this the way Hugh seems to feel about 3rd parties – “it’s too soon” … the “social movement” for it is not there yet … or something like that, can’t quite put my finger on it ….

        3. anon y'mouse

          a very good point you’re making here (and i haven’t looked at your return to someone else’s response yet). my thought would be that, by hook or crook, we’re getting the bad {endless military expansion} imposed upon us whether we want it or not while the good {postive, sustainable infrastructure/energy/food development and keeping young folk in school and older people fed & healthy} is constantly shoved off the table as “too expensive.”

          so while i agree that the power of spending might be too tempting for our officials, this magical coin idea would eliminate all of the arguments about how we can’t afford to do a darn thing to benefit our own people aside from paying them to build drones and spy programs. although, i think that you would agree that the public should have greater discretion and control over how the officials spend our money. any ideas on how to do that?

          1. Aquifer

            We are getting the results of the choices made by the people we put in office – if they are making bad choices it seems to me we should replace them with those who will make better choices rather than to give these same goons unlimited check books with which to make – more bad choices – there is nothing to say they would use the “extra dough” to do good –

            The problem is NOT that we don’t have enough money to choose good stuff – minting that coin suggests that that IS, indeed, the problem and we will fix it with our coin. The problem is that we have chosen schmucks to handle whatever money we do have …. and this coin, ISTM, would, to a great extent, take the onus off us to kick the bums out – by giving them enough dough to buy some more of us off while at the sane time shunting even more money to the already rich —

            Not to mention which – an “infinitely” independently wealthy Gov’t would make it an even more juicy prize for TPTB to possess and make it even more imperative to make sure “the masses” don’t gain control …

            I dunno – methinks there are some powerful psychological, as well as pragmatic, reasons to embrace a concept of “living within our means” which have little to do with dollar signs …..

      2. citizendave

        Lambert, I like your frame: “The practical effect would be to neutralize the power of the banksters over fiscal policy.”

        It reminds me that in the long run, public banking, and regulating commercial and retail banks as utilities, would help to reduce the power of the banksters as well.

        Regarding Krugman’s fumble, yesterday I said that either he really doesn’t understand, or he is deliberately using his bully pulpit to cast disinformation. I’ve been resisting the latter conclusion, but it seemed so blatant that I can’t help thinking it was deliberate.

  6. subgenius

    Lamo is a weak-minded bit-player who folded the instant he got caught. He was a perfect target for the intelligence establishment to turn. And now he wants us to think of him as an intellectually driven white knight.

    News for you buddy-boy… If you were as good as you think, you could have remained invisible… Plenty of other “intrusion specialists” have…

    Hope the fink reads the comments in the Guardian. They pretty much nail it.

  7. BondsOfSteel

    So… I’ve been thinking about the trillion dollar coin. Who’s face should go on it? It’s not really an honor.

    Here are some suggestions:
    1) Grover Norquist – His tax pledge is one of the main reasons the coin is needed
    2) Eric Cantor – He led the wing of the republican party which blew up the negotiations
    3) Paul Ryan – He inspired the wing of the republican party which blew up the negotiations

    Even better:
    4) George W Bush – A president should really be on the coin. Plus, his tax cuts caused us to swing from a surplus to a deficit

    5) Ronald Reagan – His tax cuts led to the first trillion dollar debt and inspired all future tax policy.

    Please, please, please let it be the Ronald Reagan Trillion Dollar Coin!

      1. Antifa

        May I suggest instead that the truest thing Dick ever said is,

        “If there’s even a 1% chance that another nation will someday challenge America in any way, we have the right to immediately declare preemptive war on them.”

        I paraphrase, but that is the Cheney Doctrine, and it has been America’s SOP since it was called the Monroe Doctrine in 1823.

        First we claimed Latin America — now the world!

      2. J Sterling

        The truest thing Cheney ever said was his 1992 speech in which he nailed all the reasons why occupying Iraq was a bad idea and American soldiers would have been stuck there for years if they’d done it.

    1. citizendave

      On one side: The statement on the other side of this coin is false.

      On the other side: The statement on the other side of this coin is true.

  8. Afreda Francis! ushshnay on the enispay-ittingslittay!

    Re Oh-dark 30, note Bennett’s impunity wurlitzer going Doot doo doo doo, doot doo doo doo…

    Torture was the only way! Was not! Was! Was not! Was!

    But Convention Against Torture Article 2(2) says WAS NOT! WAS! WASNOT WASNOTWASNOT WAS

    Are we going to comply with Convention Against Torture Article 12? WAS NOT! WAS! WASNOTWASWASNOTWASWASNOT!!WAS!!

    But international consensus regards torture as a universal-jurisdiction crime WASNOTWASWASNOTWASWASNOT!!WAS!!

  9. LeonovaBalletRusse

    from Bits Daily Update – 4Jan2013 –
    [re: strategy/tactics of GOOGLE DESPOTS]

    //Daily Report: Google Pushed Hard Behind the Scenes to Convince Regulators | For 19 months, Google pressed its case with antitrust regulators investigating the company. Working relentlessly behind the scenes, executives made frequent flights to Washington, laying out their legal arguments and shrewdly applying lessons learned from Microsoft’s bruising antitrust battle in the 1990s, report Claire Cain Miller and Nick Wingfield of The New York Times./
    /That is why one of the biggest antitrust investigations of an American company in years ended with a slap on the wrist Thursday, when the Federal Trade Commission closed its investigation of Google’s search practices without bringing a complaint. Google voluntarily made two minor concessions./
    /Edward Wyatt of The New York Times reported that by allowing Google to continue to present search results that highlight its own services, the F.T.C. decision could enable Google to further strengthen its already dominant position on the Internet. It also enables Google to avoid a costly and lengthy legal war of attrition like the antitrust battle that Microsoft waged in the 1990s./
    /”The way they managed to escape it is through a barrage of not only political officials but also academics aligned against doing very much in this particular case,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor of antitrust law at the University of Iowa who has worked as a paid adviser to Google in the past. “The first sign of a bad antitrust case is lack of consumer harm, and there just was not any consumer harm emerging in this very long investigation.”//

    1. diptherio

      That’s Tom Barnett’s plan:

      paraphrasing the relevant section: US soldiers will no longer fight big wars in one, or a few, locations. Instead they will be deployed all over the world to police “troubled areas,” where the wonders of globalization are being resisted. US troops and US citizens need to get over the idea that the troops will every come home. They will never come home.

      The last two sentences are almost verbatim…

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        HOT: 4 Jan 2013:
        //’US Marine Sgt Held Hostage By Gov And Gag Order Placed On Him To Silence Him!”
        /Submitted by vinceableworld on Fri, 01/04/2013 – 05:55
        . . .
        /MARINE Veteran who served 8 yrs in Iraq has been unlawfully convicted to 30 yrs in prison! His crime: Speaking out against the wars!/

        /A gag order was placed over Sgt Charles Dyer, and he was told he would be arrested if he spoke out about the events that took place during his first trial in Stephens County Oklahoma!/

        /I want you to meet one of my heroes: /

        /The truth is that the only real threats to this country, are also created by the very government that is supposed to protect us. ~Charles Wayne Dyer//
        MORE AT:

  10. JGordon

    I am in favor of the platinum coin idea. Go for it Obama. But of course, I am also preparing for and looking forward to the economic collapse. So take that with a grain of salt. Or not. I don’t care. Just do it.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      JG, a Commentator somewhere suggested a “Thunderdome” for Banksters, where the One and Only Last Man Standing wins the Platinum coin.

      What do you think of this idea, NC Commentators?

      1. Antifa

        It’s good, very good, but I’m a populist.

        I propose the coin go on permanent display in some great hall of the Treasury, and every day of the week long lines of common American citizens be allowed to file past, gaze upon it, and then each man, woman or child gets to to pick it up, bite it to see if it’s for real, and then put it back in its slot.

        This was common practice for gold coins during the last Depresion, so it should be allowed for this platinum beauty, too. You can’t be too careful these days, when your job, your house, your insurance can all turn out to be figments of your imagination. What if this coin is, too?

        Folks will want to check up on it for themselves, I reckon.

        Given anticipated saliva levels, the CDC and NIH will need to be involved at some point, but that’s what they’re there for, no?

        1. Howard Beale IV

          Since gold and tungsten share the nearly same density, we’re seeing gold-wrapped tungsten bars. Who’s willing to vet that the trillion-dollar coin is made of the same material if gold bars can be so easily manipulated?

  11. JEHR

    Those lions in the water: I recently saw a nature film and these lions catch their meals and swim around in the water with great enjoyment. They have evolved into very muscular animals because of the effect of all that swimming on their chest muscles and front legs; consequently, they almost look like another “species” of lions when they are on land.

    (I’m sure species is not the right word but it gives the idea.)

  12. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Naomi Wolf makes a JUST comparison: Kathryn Bigelow = Leni Riefenstahl”
    //It may seem extreme to make comparison with this other great, but profoundly compromised film-maker, but there are real echoes. When Riefenstahl began to glamorize the National Socialists, in the early 1930s, the Nazis’ worst atrocities had not yet begun;
    So is Kathryn Bigelow preparing the ground for Global Reich Martial Law?

    1. toxymoron

      I think he was forced by the FBI to contact Manning and compromise him – or convinced by the same, as he seem to like the publicity around him.

    2. Dorkness at noon

      Lamo also had to know, if he had half a brain, that he was turning Manning over to a torture regime. Torture is a routine procedure of the United States of America and torture is what what duly happened. Ask the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture about the US government’s cruel, inhuman and degrading infliction of severe mental suffering on Bradley Manning. And as the law states, An order from a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture. So a rat like Lamo is as culpable as the chickenshit Marine cowards who complied with the order to torture. CIA house organ The Guardian, hopelessly degraded from its original integrity, won’t dare address the legal issue.

      So Lamo, you contemptible stool pigeon, when you were making your agonizing ethical decision, doing your autistic moral best, Did you ask yourself what they were going to do to Manning when you won his trust and then betrayed him: Waterboard him? Gouge his eyes out? Rape his ass? Slit his dick with scalpels? Suffocate him with socks? Oh, guide us with your moral sensibilities.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When I frist read it, I thought it was “LMAO.”

        I must have been in ‘speed reading, low precision’ mode.

    3. charles sereno

      LRB, Whoopee! For giving me an excuse for venting on Lam(e)o. Disclaimer: I do standard tricks — cheat on articles by reading only the beginning and end — then opinionating. This occasion, I only had to read Lamo’s first sentence!

      “While each person brings their own perceptions to an issue, few [persons] have generated so much controversy sourced from so little context as my own [person] on the day I electronically met Bradley Manning, in 2010.” (my brackets)
      In the first half of the last century, in grammar school, I had to diagram sentences, learn about antecedents, even know how to derive a square root, sort of like long division. Lamo obviously never had the benefit of a similar education because, when one fills in his [hidden] antecedents, one can make no sense or claim to a grasp of reality at all from his statement. I would love to go into further detail, but I trust you have already preceded me.

      1. diane

        Remembering some of what I read at the beginning of the travesty, it certainly appeared that not only Lamos, but perhaps his family line, were in the employ of venal powers.

        Most of us would likely still be in jail if we had done those things Lamos had gotten away with prior to his current “Patriot” status.

        For fucks sake, three DUIs, with no harm done to any life or property, for non Congress Critters (WHO ARE EXEMPTED FROM THAT “CRIME”) will get one one near life imprisonment ..while stone cold murderers “frisk like deer” …

        (And sorry nasty lurkers, I have no DUI’s)

        1. diane

          (sorry for the typos as regards “Lamo” versus my erroneous “Lamos,” I always want to add a plural “s” to his surname, maybe because there are way too far of an abundance of betrayers among us .. pretty dismaying, not to mention deadly. .. sigh.)

  13. LeonovaBalletRusse

    SUCCESS of Roberto Casaleggio & Beppe Grillo: *Movimento Cinque Stelle*:
    //Roberto Casaleggio’s five golden rules for building a successful, internet-based political movement:/

    /1 Create participation. You need a community to start with./

    /2 Understand the internet, including its sociology. Don’t think of it as something additional, but as a new reality – a new world./

    /3 Speak the language of the internet. In particular, do not say things that cannot be verified on the web./

    /4 Keep the rules of your movement simple./

    /5 Realise that you are empowering. The cells you create will take on a life of their own.//
    Who said it couldn’t be done?

  14. anon y'mouse

    as a total non-sequiter aside from the article on trying to correlate what has caused crime rates to drop, he mentions ‘bieber fever’, which made me think of something i recently came across while looking for something-else-entirely:

    surely there can be no greater symbol of civilization dissolving before one’s eyes than that. i dare anyone to post something more symptomatic of a declining culture. butt-cracks and walmart jokes need not apply.

    1. TK421

      He is the most famous singer in the world today and for the life of me I couldn’t name one of his songs.

    2. Aquifer

      bieber fever – which mosquito do you get that from? or is it a tic? Is it related to biebonic plague? What’s the mortality rate?

  15. TK421

    I can’t believe how happy I am that a story I shared made it into the official Naked Capitalism links :)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Good work.

      I am waiting to see if the sharing Bonobo apes make it tomorrow, or if the story will be suppressed by the ‘borrowing came first’ crowd.

  16. tawal

    Idle No More!

    “Over the new year’s weekend my family and I visited one of the powerful blockades set up in recent days throughout Canada. This blockade was constructed on Winter solstice to block a CN rail line that crosses Aamjiwnaang land outside of Sarnia, Ontario and is known as the Aamjiwnaang Blockade. It was set up over a rail line that is central to delivering toxic chemical stews to be processed refined and manufactured in what is known as Canada’s chemical valley in Sarnia. This area is considered one of the most polluted areas of Canada where the air is poisoned around the clock by refineries and chemical plants that stretch for miles along the St. Clair river.

    “We arrived to the blockade on Sunday the 30th as we made the trek over from Grand Bend, Ontario on the shores of Lake Huron. I was given directions to the site from Ron Plain, an Aamjiwnaang environmental justice activist and local leader that has been helping his people confront the chemical pollution and expansion of tar sands drilling and oil pipelines that desecrate the landscape around Sarnia and bring in the poisons extracted from the devastated wilderness areas of more western and northern parts of the continent. The blockade was just on the outskirts of Sarnia and we knew we had arrived when we saw the colorful flags and signs marking the area….”

  17. citalopram

    Bravo! Our cup runneth over with austerity. Hopefully, everyone who voted for the two party system will get their full measure. I’ll take two helpings more for our economy, please.

  18. Hugh

    There seems to be mountains of confusion about a platinum coin with an arbitrary value of anything from one trillion to sixty trillion.

    First, you have to understand that we live in a kleptocracy. So such a use of coin seigniorage would be used as a vehicle for looting.

    Second, in financial terms, Treasuries and cash are interchangeable. The main differences are that, unlike cash, a Treasury can not be used to buy a loaf of bread. It can be used directly or repo’ed to buy the factory where the bread is made. Unlike cash, Treasuries pay interest.

    That’s it. So you tell me. If we didn’t live in a kleptocracy, does it make sense to spend several hundred billion dollars on interest each year on Treasuries and associated debt instruments or simply print up the cash to cover any deficits the government might incur?

    The answer is no it does not make sense because those interest payments are an important component of the looting.

    As for printing money, yes, I know that the Fed prints money, and the Treasury coins money, but that’s the point. The platinum coin is just how this would work out under current law. The Treasury would create the coin, deposit it at the Fed, and the Fed would create/print money as needed to cover withdrawals by the Treasury to pay bills, cover deficits, and pay off current Treasuries as they came due, without the issuance of any new Treasuries.

    It’s not that different from what happens now, only there would be no phoney debt ceiling manufactured crises and no hundreds of billions going to the rich and foreign countries each year in interest payments on Treasuries.

    The platinum coin is just a way to do what we do now but without a lot of the extra costs. There is nothing that hard to understand about it.

  19. Ep3

    Yves, it just hurts me to read articles about how we can’t afford to explore space. How are our children supposed to get interested in science? Or is the desire by children to be scientists supposed to be like finance; where the promise of making millions of dollars trading science credit derivatives their key to success? Why care about making great scientific discoveries. Who cares about those. The power of greed will make everything better. Because if you don’t profit off of something, then it’s not worth trying.
    But yeah we can’t afford such waste. We would have to end operations in afghanistan one week early to afford a probe to goto Uranus.

    1. Ep3

      Leadership from our fearless leader:
      “Two years ago, the Obama Administration stubbornly refused to consider a human return to the Moon. The president’s infamously short-sighted summary – “We’ve been there before” – continues to echo in many ears and continues to cause more than a few toes to curl and teeth to grind. Political neglect will be one of the yardsticks by which future generations will judge our progress in space. ”

      Let’s apply his logic to something else. Poor ppl. Poor ppl have eaten before, so why are they so concerned with eating again. Poor ppl should focus on new and different things.

    2. diane

      Odd, I recall a ton of money being blown off on Mars exploration in the Fall/Winter of 2003 while those on earth were, and still are, suffering in staggering numbers.

      And just because it has now been ‘privatized,’ with Creep Elon Musk at the head, does not mean that DC isn’t subsidizing colonizing Mars for those fifty or so Robber Barons who would like an escape route after disemboweling the planet they consider themselves safe and speshul! temporary, immortal! residents on.

      1. diane

        Can’t we undo the damage done on this planet before providing passage to Sociopaths to yet another planet/galaxy for them to disembowel?

        Al Creep Private Equity Gore should be absolutely outraged by the RADIOACTIVE (Plutonium Fueled) dumpster the UZ has made of the Galaxies, the fact that he isn’t, should be a clue to those who blindly swear by his $GREEN$ Futuristic [to save their own despicable asses] ilk.

  20. download music

    Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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