Links 2/12/13

You get one less post than usual today. That may be the case tomorrow too. I really need to regroup after the Bank of America series push (I still have a couple of posts coming, but they are less data driven).

Marine biologists confirm squid can fly io9 (Richard Smith)

Rare portrait of Elizabeth I owned by North Carolina Garden Club shown in Washington Telegraph

Pope Benedict XVI resigns: First Pontiff in 600 years to stand down because he ‘no longer has strength to carry on’ Daily Mail (Chuck L). This looks to be a long overdue change to having the Pope as a religious analogue to a king, serving for life. This should not be that earth-shattering, but organized religion has always been a bit of a mystery to me.

Benedict, the placeholder pope who leaves a battered, weakened church Guardian

Pay-by-tweet service launched on Twitter Financial Times

The inside story of Aaron Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings ars technica (Chuck L)

Russian wardens throw party for Stalin’s gulag Associated Press

South Korea Says Likely North Korea Conducted a Nuclear Test Bloomberg

China overtakes US in world trade Guardian

Chinese money supply jumps MacroBusiness

Attempts to devalue euro could backfire, warns ECB’s Jens Weidmann Telegraph

John Brennan as CIA chief would serve his own interests, not America’s Foreign Policy Journal (Chuck L)

DOJ kill list memo forces many Dems out of the closet as overtly unprincipled hacks Glenn Greenwald

Voters: Obama no better than Bush on security vs civil liberties

S.E.C. Nominee Mary Jo White Discloses Law Firm Wealth New York Times. Her hubby would go non-partner at Cravath if she gets the nod.

The GOP Plan to Flush Your State’s Economy Down the Toilet Lynn Parramore, Alternet

Joe Jones Manifesto: Black Ex-LAPD Cop Says Of Dorner, ‘I Understand’ LAWeekly

Exterminating Angels London Review of Books

“Revolving door” may have hurt SEC money fund reforms: report Reuters (Richard Smith). Quelle surprise!

Kickstart Minsky Now! Steve Keen (Chuck L)

Secular Bear Market “Hibernation” Barry Ritholtz. Scott and a few others beg to differ in comments

Not all “risk assets” are created equal Sober Look

A Database of Names and How They Connect New York Times

How America’s Credit Reporting System Gets Away With 40 Million Errors Clusterstock

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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  1. RatsZinger

    Re: Pope Benedict XVI resigns
    Pope on the ropes…
    Perhaps Palin’s example egged Benedict on to abdicate.

    I’m blaming this one on the precedent set by Sarah Palin. We know that Palin was prone to nearly perpetual pontification. Something they had in common.

    What can we expect when one faith-based spiritual leader sets a bad example by quitting her appointed office before it gets too hard or uncomfortable?

    Let’s give plus points to the pontiff for apparently not having any aspirations to shift into another job. However, he could only have gained more power and prestige by moving to Wall Street, which happens to be currently affiliated with the Devil’s team.

      1. different clue

        Vatican City and Italy are two different countries. So . . . does Poland have an extradition treaty with Vatican City?

        1. Ms G

          And also, does Italy have an extradition treaty with the Vatican. Because unless Vatican City has a private airport/heliport (they *must* do, right?) he’d have to fly out of Fiumicino … and the Carabinieri or the Guardia di Finanza could nab him there or en route … But he probably doesn’t have to worry about getting extraordinarily renditioned or anything like that.

        2. Ms G

          @Larry. I hadn’t thought of that and your most probably right. Still, if one had to weather a scandal, better to be in one’s homeland than elsewhere …

  2. AbyNormal

    re: Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings

    “As a practical matter, the major obstacle to opening PACER likely hinges on finances. The judiciary tells Ars that in addition to financing PACER itself, PACER fees go to pay for “electronic case filing and about a half-dozen other information technology categories” in what it calls its “public access program.” In other words, PACER has become a cash cow for the judicial branch, generating $100 million in profits the court has plowed into non-PACER IT projects.

    It’s understandable the courts wouldn’t want to give up that revenue in an era of austerity.”

    $$$$ FY 2012-2013 Total Judaical Branch Budget 2.95 Billion $$$$

    Greed is the inventor of injustice as well as the current enforcer. j.casablancas

    (thanks for the link Chuck L.)

  3. Laughing_Fascist

    Well good for Obama. He could have appointed to the SEC a not wealthy, law and order type with no major connections to the industry to be regulated. But such an unsophisticated boorish person would be ill equipped to handle the subtleties of the job and would likely file unwise enforcement actions that would have “collateral consequences” [please consult Lanny Breuer for definition].

    Appointing an insider is a stroke of Obama genious. Mary Jo will bring wisdom and maturity and concern for the big picture to the job [please refer to picture of horse above].

    “The Whites’ net worth is most likely far greater than $16 million, which represents the low number in a range of possible amounts. Government officials are required to disclose their net worth only within broad ranges.

    For instance, the Whites own seven different investments — including a Vanguard high yield bond fund and a Vanguard emerging markets fund — worth $1 million to $5 million. At the low end, those seven funds would be worth $7 million; but at the high end, they would be valued at $35 million.

    Ms. White also said that she would avoid some matters for a period of time that involve her former clients, a list that includes JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and UBS.”

    1. Brindle

      Mary Jo white is in effect getting an early present of $2.04 million from Debevoise for her appointment to the SEC.

      —“As for Ms. White, a former United States attorney in Manhattan, she received more than $2.4 million as a Debevoise partner last year, according to the filing. And she said that she planned to retire as a Debevoise partner upon becoming S.E.C. chairwoman, at which point she would enjoy the benefits of the firm’s lucrative retirement plan.

      The disclosure says that Ms. White will receive a monthly lifetime retirement payment of $42,500, amounting to $510,000 annually.

      However, instead of making a monthly retirement payment for the next four years while she runs the commission, Debevoise will make a lump-sum payment within 60 days of her appointment, the filing disclosed.—“

    2. Ed

      If we are supposed to refer to the picture of the horse above, I just wish the picture was showing the other end of the horse.

  4. Jack

    “…organized religion has always been a bit of a mystery to me”

    Yves, now that you are in the second half of life, you may want to think about trying it (organized religion) or, if not that, then at least disorganized religion. You may just like it.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Jack;
      I think you misunderstood her comment. She probably alluded to one of the Pagan Cults. “Mystery” is the key concept. Isis or Cybele sounds about right. Although, now that I think about it, “The Financial Mystery Cult” has a certain cachet.

      1. optimader

        “Mystery”… what greater Mystery than the provenance of 50% of Jesus’s genetic material?

        Mary: “Joseph, are you awake? There is something I would like to talk to you about, is this a good time…”
        Mary was one smooooth operator

    2. Ms G

      I hope this is a proselytizing-free space. Thank you.

      When the Jehovah’s Witnesses rang my uncle’s doorbell he’d open the door with a big smile and invite them in for a glass of scotch.

      1. craazyman

        that would make a Jehova’s Witness out of me if lived nearby.


        sounds like your uncle was enabling adverse selection and moral hazard at the same time.

          1. craazyman

            I have no idea. Maybe you have some kind of psychic gift. Tell me what I can buy tomorrow that will double in one month risk free and I’ll believe you — if it works.

          2. Ms G

            Only people in finance, government and enforcement know that kind of information. For you, there is only .000001% interest (minus fees).

          3. different clue


            Buy an apple with a fruitfly on it (make sure of that fruit fly), and within a month it will have at LEAST two fruit flies on it.

      2. anon y'mouse

        my grandfather once answered the door to some Witnesses who said “we’d like to discuss God with you this afternoon” to which he replied “i AM god!” and slammed the door.

        that bell never rang with their like again.

        but, he would also chastise people who said “oh, god” or “jesus christ!” to some idiocy they’d likely carried out of their own free will with “he had nothing to do with it.”

        blasphemy is contradictory when you’ve been taught by nuns, i guess.

        1. Ms G

          On the contradictory blasphemy. And the tenet that could be cited for “he has nothing to do with it” would be “God helps those who help themselves.” They got ya coming and going :)

        2. different clue

          Someone I used to know told me he said something far cruder but also effective, he said.

          “I just got out of the joint for aggravated rape. But I swear I didn’t do it! Wanna come in for a drink?”

          He says they never came in and they never came back.

  5. "targeted killings"

    Just as “killed in a shootout with police,” is not the same as an execution, assinated by drone is not the same as “killed on a battlefield.”

  6. ignim Brites

    Lynn Parramore’s Alternet piece is yet another argument for why blue States (or at least blue cities) should secede, establish their own sovereign currencies, and enjoy the freedom institute capital controls if required.

    1. ambrit

      Dear iB;
      The secession idea was tried out back in 1860. There’s a reason Obama claims to ‘channel’ Lincoln. I think ‘O’ would fight a war, wait, he is, isn’t he, to maintain the primacy of the Extractive Rentier/Finance Class. Just like Lincoln.
      See, the Square has been Circled.

    2. Klassy!

      Do you feel that whole segments of the population should be written off because they were born in the wrong place?

      1. Ms G

        @Klassy! If he does, then he must have learned it from our Government, which seems to punish those not born in the right social stratum :) :)

  7. Stephen Gardner

    And of course Pope Benedict’s departure has nothing to do with his central role in the coverup of the child molestation scandal. The airing of Mea Maxima Culpa on HBO is purely coincidental.

  8. ohmyheck

    Re GG’s article- the gist–
    “What also made this last week unique was the reaction of the American Right. Progressives love to recite the conceit that Republicans will never praise Obama no matter what he does. This is a complete sham: conservatives, including even Cheney himself, have repeatedly lavished praise on Obama for his embrace of Bush/Cheney policies in these areas. But this past week, they did so with such effusive enthusiasm that the cognitive dissonance could not be ignored.

    Supreme GOP warmonger Lindsey Graham announced his intention to introduce a Senate resolution praising Obama for his assassination program. RedState’s Erick Erickson wrote a Fox News column denouncing civil libertarians and defending Obama: “we must trust that the president and his advisers, when they see a gathering of al-Qaida from the watchful eye of a drone, are going to make the right call and use appropriate restraint and appropriate force to keep us safe.” Michelle Malkin criticized her own staff for attacking Obama and wrote: “On this, I will come to Obama’s defense.” Others vocally defending Obama included John Bolton, Peter King, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann.

    These are not just Republicans. They are the most extreme, far-right, warmongering conservatives in the country. And they are all offering unqualified and enthusiastic praise for Obama and his assassination program. In our political culture, where everything is viewed through the lens of partisan conflict and left-right dichotomies, this lineup of right-wing supporters is powerful evidence of how far Obama has gone in pursuit of this worldview. That, too, made the significance of last week’s events impossible to ignore.”

    Obama Apologists/Obamabots are twisting themsleves into Pretzels of Illogic and it is a sight to see.
    The Antidote du Jour expresses my feelings towards them, those sicko authoritarians who will never admit they are wrong.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘In our political culture, everything is viewed by the Mainstream Media through the lens of partisan conflict and left-right dichotomies’

      There, fixed it for Glenn Greenwald.

      White-haired, toothless Boomers (the MSM’s main audience these days) were brainwashed from infancy to believe that two choices are all you need: Ford or Chevy; Coke or Pepsi; Crest or Ipana; Demonrats or Repugnicans — all healthy alternatives!

      Obama’s state murder regime is a totally bipartisan project. But writers like Lynn Parramore still bang the tired old drum of “D’s good, R’s bad.”

      Get a clue, Lynn — they’re both the enemy!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What they in the Mainstream Media want is for us to ‘parrot more’ what they say.

        Just parrrot more.

  9. jsmith

    Nice breakdown of Obama’s austerity push before the SOTU.

    A look at how the fascist warmongers may be divided over what to do in Syria.

    Hedges on the NDAA lawsuit.

    Must See:

    And just to make sure that you all will see your breakfast one more time this morning watch how fascist war-criminal Paul Bremer and cohorts – “Get Out of Here, dude! Like Totally!!” – laugh off of the murder and maiming of millions of innocent people to the face of an Iraqi man who is finally told by Bremer that he has it better now that Saddam Hussein is gone – all to the applause of murderous sycophants.

    F*cking monsters.

  10. Bam_Man

    Is that a Romanian horse that has so far managed to keep himself from becoming part of the Pasta Bolognese? Looks like he might be taunting his pursuers.

    1. Lidia

      Baloney (Bologna) is a version of Mortadella, traditionally made from donkey meat.

      I had a nice horsemeat stew up in Modena.

      1. Bam_Man

        I know, that’s the funny thing. Anyone that has spent any time in France knows that the “Cheval Burger” always costs more than the regular Hamburger on the menu. So what are these people complaining about? It’s a delicacy!

  11. rjs

    NY Fracking Scandal: Seven Groups Demand Conflict of Interest Investigation of Cuomo Administration – They are asking “whether Lawrence Schwartz, Secretary to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, has a conflict of interest between his stock investments and his involvement in the state’s decision on whether to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.”  Schwartz – dubbed “the ringleader” of Governor Cuomo’s administration – potentially has what these groups describe as a legal conflict-of-interest. A months-long DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Cuomo’s chief-of-staff actually has a direct financial interest in fracking going forward in New York state, potentially falling under the sphere of insider trading.

      1. Skippy

        Newman Government lifts shale oil mining ban to create new revenue stream

        Value added… at the end of a barrel.

        Coal seam gas company threatened to walk away from $16 billion project if approval not granted quickly

        Skippy… its like a viral youtube video…

    1. bob

      Throwing this one on the pile-

      Breaking news…

      “Other states began serious health reviews only after proceeding with widespread (hydrofracking),” Shah wrote in his letter, which was released this afternoon by a spokesman. “In my view, that is not the right approach for New York to take if we are serious that public health is the paramount question in making the (hydrofracking) decision. And as health commissioner, protecting the public health is my primary job.”

      1. AbyNormal

        and at a time when healthcare will be dire to our existence, we’re left with Obamacare

        no wonder they’re god pushers

  12. optimader

    The GOP Plan to Flush Your State’s Economy Down the Toilet
    ther a special edition for Illinois -the State of confusion

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China overtakes US in world trade.

    I am pretty certain they ouvetook us in manufacturing, which is more important, a long time ago.

    1. craazyman

      I see the Chinese money supply is jumping and I was about to go big into AAPL today, because everybody knows Chinese people love iPhones and David Einhorn is gonna make this sucker go up to $900 — but then I saw it was down today over 1% and chickened out. I started thinking it might go to $300. This happens every day, almost. It’s my version of equilibrium.

      1. AbyNormal

        “Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being “wholly” and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”

        (b.lee speaking to me above the machines’ )

  14. Expat

    From the White House Fact Sheet
    Impact of the current sequester agreement, inter alia:

    “U.S. Attorneys – The Department of Justice would prosecute approximately 1,000 fewer criminal cases nationwide, and some civil litigation defending the financial interests of the United States would not be pursued, potentially costing taxpayers billions of dollars.”

    Amazing to think that all those financial industry prosecutions might have to be shut down.

    1. Ms G

      Yes, simply stunning — about Holder having to shut down all those GFC cases that are humming right along.

      In the fine print somewhere it must be written that all remaining skeletal resources will be devoted in a targeted manner to picking off people who violate the unknown, indecipherable, known and odious (etc) provisions of the Obama UnHealth Act.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I imagine that means vampire squid can fly as well.

    That may explain why they are everywhere.

    And blue blooded too.

  16. down2long

    Scott Cohn at CNBC has a very interesing piece to complement the Reuters piece on the SEc revolving door.

    My favorite quote is from the dear quisling Robert L. Khuzami at the end of the article who asks essentially “Who in the private sectorwould hire someone who is so compromised by their complicity, banality, and complete lack of scruples when they were at the SEC that they turned a blind eye to everything for the last five years?” (I may have taken a little literary license but the actual quote is there.)

    Yes Mr. Khuzami, that is a fair question. Your last day was Friday, which y0u spent at the SEC/Citibank vs. Rakoff hearing in the Second Circuit to prove your undying fidelity, love, and eternaL devotion to the banks.

    Mr. Khuzami, I ask you,

    “How goes the job search?” And no. sucking Robert Rubin’s and Timmy “The Rat” Geithner’s benighted cocks at the Council on Foreign Relations for a generous sinecure does not count as a real job. That’s an internship.

    1. Ms G

      The precise quote is much funnier (or not, depending on one’s mood), and if I hadn’t seen it following your link I would have assumed immediately it was from the World’s Greatest News Source. Here it is, for the craik:

      “(T)o put it bluntly, would you hire someone so dishonest, so without principle and held in low esteem by former colleagues … to represent you in matters of importance?”

      Brings to mind the expression “to ask the question is to answer it.”

      1. down2long

        I completely concur with you. His reply was so breathtaking in scope, so succint, and so self-damning I had to read it several times to make sure I wasn’t missing some part. Thans for posting the real deal. Truth is I was out of time, having trouble with my buffer and vamped. The original is pure gold. I hate these people.

        1. down2long

          I think what mosts upsets me most about people like Khuzami, Breuer, et al is that now they have even taken to speaking the naked ugly TRUTH and even THAT rolls off them. I am completelely flummoxed. And I knew tonight would be the Great Prevaricator weaving his web – so this day got off too a rough start.

  17. psychohistorian

    Is the antidote today a picture of the Trojan Horse that is now inside the fortress? Is this the look we get before we see the other end?

    Is the end nigh? or is it their end that is nigh?

    Or is it neigh?

  18. Hugh

    The NYT article on Mary Jo White’s wealth is hysterical. Does anyone think that someone who went out after her turn in government to work for a powerful corporate law firm like Debevoise and Plimpton and is pulling down $2.4 million a year is going to represent anything but corporate interests at the SEC?

    You might well ask why if she is doing so well at Debevoise, she would bother returning to government? Well, she’s 65 and probably was going to retire anyway if not now in the not too distant future. And unless they changed the law after Hank Paulson got to cash out of Goldman to the tune of hundreds of millions tax free, any money White gets from leaving Debevoise would receive the same treatment.

    But how ridiculous, yet typical, is this? We have a multimillionaire who’s worked for the major corps for years now supposed to take a job overseeing them. What could go wrong?

    Poor Mary Jo, only $42,500 a month? However will she make ends meet? What will the neighbors say? Good thing she still has a husband with a regular job and that $50 million ($16 million my ass) nest egg or whatever would she do?

    1. Ms G

      John and Mary Jo won’t have to ration rice and beans, that is for sure. And they won’t need to buy health insurance policies on the Obama Care Exchanges either. Heck they can grow their own (and most of Iowa’s) food in their Iowa acreage.

      And you have to love the conflict mitigation measure involving her husband becoming a non-equity partner but still being entitled to a bonus.

      Something that hasn’t been highlighted sufficiently though is that MJ White did not just go through the revolving door once, she went THREE times — and the round trips were always between Debevoise and either the Southern or Eastern Districts of NY’s US Attorneys’ Offices.

      1976-1978 Debevoise Plimpton (associate)
      1978-1981 Southern District US Attorney’s Office (Chief Appellate Attorney Criminal Division)
      1983-1990 Debevoise Plimpton (litigation partner focusing on SEC enforcement, white collar defense and civil litigation)
      1990-1993 Eastern District of NY US Attorney’s Office (First AUSA and Acting First Attorney)
      1993-2002 United States Attorney for the Southern District of NY
      2002-Present Debevoise Plimpton (partner specializing in white collar criminal defense)
      [2006-2008 Husband John White is Director of Corporate Finance at the SEC]

      Mr. and Mrs. Revolving Door White.

      1. Ms G

        2006-2008 Husband John White is Director of Corporate Finance at the SEC.

        I wonder (assuming that Mrs. Revolving Door had matters before the Corp. Finance Dept. at SEC) if Mr. Revolving Door White recused himself or sought and obtained waivers?

  19. Laughing_Fascist

    So the NYTs Peter Lattman did the public a huge favor pointing out the extreme wealth of the Whites and that Mary Jo’s clients are the big WS firms. This looks pretty bad for the public. But its a commenter in a blog (Ms G) who provides the blockbuster news that she has been doing this back and forth waltz for years.

    Amazing. My money says Lattman included this info in his original article but the times editor thought the public wouldn’t benefit from this additional and possibly inflammatory info. Gotta protect us publis from our passions.

    Of course we actually won’t benefit from the info because we can’t stop wallstreet from infiltrating the gov anymore than Sigourney Weaver could stop the aliens. Until she said: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.

    1. Ms G

      “… anymore than Sigourney Weaver could stop the aliens. Until she said: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.”

      I’m going out to shop for a Sigourney Weaver costume to start wearing around NYC!

    2. Ms G


      Honor where honor is due. This commenter only republished the significant information that another blogger posted.

  20. anon y'mouse

    as for the errors on credit reports, like a good little citizen i sign up every year for the “free” edition of my report from the Big 3 corps. for the past 4 years there is one company that will not give me my report because when they go through their online I.D. verification, they ask me questions about things that i’ve never owned or been connected to, which causes them to believe that i’m someone else attempting to access the records.

    a few years ago, my partner accessed his free reports, and one of them contained address, job and mortgage information for someone similarly named in Michigan. since he’s never been there, and most certainly doesn’t own a home there or work there, he contacted them about having crossed his record with someone else. they made him write in with all kinds of verification of his identity and proof of what he was saying in order to straighten it out. this other person’s information has still been periodically popping up every year when he checks it, and he has to go around with them again about “i’m not THAT john doe and have never lived in Michigan!”

    i’m imagining that my problem stems from the same thing. they want me to verify my identity with one of the 50 other U.S. Jane Doe’s details. since they make the money from selling my information, isn’t it their prerogative to make sure that it is correct? how do the companies that actually PAY for that information feel about how inaccurate it is?

  21. diane

    SEC Revolving Door Database

    ”POGO’s SEC Revolving Door Database is based on post-employment disclosure statements filed by former SEC employees. SEC regulations require former employees to file these statements if they intend to represent an employer or client before the agency within two years of their SEC employment. The database covers statements filed between 2001 and 2010. Each entry in the database represents one disclosure statement. Some former employees have multiple entries.”

    (discovered via a Center for Public Integrity piece on the issue)

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