Links 2/9/13

‘In Cold Blood’ Tainted by Long-Lost Files Wall Street Journal

Richard III, a king in Machiavellian mode Simon Schama, Financial Times

Malaysia Seeks Help Abroad Over Dead Borneo Elephants ThaiVisa (furzy mouse). See Rare pygmy elephants ‘poisoned’ in Borneo BBC

Don’t Call This Storm Nemo Gawker

Half a million without power in US storm Financial Times

Storm’s Heavy Snow and High Winds Lash at the Northeast New York Times. Holey moley, all cars banned from driving in Mass.

The Best Home Videos And Newscasts From The Blizzards Of 1978 Gothamist (Lambert). I remember the blizzard of ’78!

DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border Wired. I hope everyone starts encrypting their hard disks…

Berkeley researchers find evidence for a “molecular fountain of youth” Gizmag (furzy mouse)

Soccer’s New Match-Fixing Scandal Grantland (Lambert via Felix Salmon)

The inside story of Aaron Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings Law & Disorder (April Charney)

Aaron Swartz Isn’t the First Hacker to Commit Suicide in the Face of a Federal Investigation Atlantic (dcblogger)

02.05.13: Civil Disobedience David Byrne. It annoys me that he takes up the “Swartz was a thief” line. See here why that is simply untrue. But this has some interesting material nevertheless.

BlackBerry surrenders in Japan Telegraph

Japan steps up threat on China ship BBC

Surge in Chinese credit raises fears Financial Times

EU leaders reach historic budget deal – as it happened Guardian

An Explanation Of The Derivatives Scandal That Could End Up Reshaping The Italian Election Clusterstock

The Exterminators Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch (Carol B)

FAA Releases New Drone List – Is Your Town On the Map? LeakSource (martha r)

Blade Runner In the Senate: All These Truths Lost in Time, Like Tiered Threats in Rain Gawker

The law of war does not shield the CIA or the drone kill list Morris Davix, Guardian

Charges against Occupy Boston have been dropped. So why aren’t we celebrating? 99% Boston (martha r)

Appeals Court Hears Arguments on Judge Rakoff’s Rejection of Citigroup Deal New York Times

Banks Should Defer Bonuses for Up to 10 Years, Jenkins Says Bloomberg

Housing: Recovering, But Big Headwinds Persist Global Economic Intersection

Apologies for Bankruptcy Bob Lawless, Credit Slips

Gasoline prices on the rise; may pose risk to consumer sentiment Sober Look

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

And Richard Smith provided this bonus ratidote:

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  1. mookie

    Matt Taibbi Reddit AMA
    Among other good Q&A, something that will be of interest to naked capitalism readers:

    I am posting this question for my 63 year old father, who is in the middle of his commute. He is a dedicated reader of your articles and asks:

    “You’ve now written two well informed and well documented columns harshly critical of SEC Chair nominee Mary Jo White. But Neil Barofsky, author of “Bailout”, former Special Inspector General of TARP and himself hardly a friend of the Too Big To Fail spoke glowingly about Ms. White when her nomination was announced by the President. Any sense of why you two differ so strongly on this nomination? Thank you for your time.”

    Gruasty, great question. Neil and I talked about that just the other day. He knows Mary Jo, worked with her, she actually hired him if I’m not mistaken. And I trust his judgement about pretty much everything. So this has been confusing to me. One thing we talked about is that in most cases, the switch she’s making, from defending Wall Street for millions to policing it, doesn’t really work. But he believes she’s in the small minority of people who can pull it off. We’ll see. I like Neil a lot, he’s an honest person, hope he’s right.

  2. Tiresias

    Recommended: Kim Hill is an intelligent interviewer:

    Guy Standing is Professor of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and founder member and co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network, an international non-governmental organisation that promotes a citizenship income for all. His most recent book is The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (2011, Bloomsbury, ISBN: 978-1-849-66351-9), and he is currently working on a large-scale pilot for a basic income scheme in India. He is visiting New Zealand as keynote speaker at the Precarious Work and Living Wage Symposium.

  3. mookie

    Re: the David Byrne link
    David Byrne draws a direct parallel between earlier protesters and modern copyright protesters, but, unfortunately, as Yves ponts out, doesn’t understand the nature of the transgression.

    it seems he illegally hacked his way into an MIT database that contained many, many academic and technical papers and downloaded them onto his hard drive, rather than paying for access.

    uh, no David. I love much of your music but you clearly do not understand the issue here. Swartz did NOT “illegally hack himself into an MIT database….. rather than paying for access.” The data was not MIT’s, nor was it even JSTOR’s. Byrne is correct that “the academic papers in the JSTOR archive were unfairly behind a paywall, but he clearly does not understand the copyright issues at stake in this case and thus should not be commenting on the issue. I am a huge fan of David Byrne’s music, and his ignorance on this issue he presumes to lecture upon saddens me.

    1. Laughing_Fascist

      David Byrne owns copyrighted music that we can assume is often pirated. So he has an axe to grind. Which explains his deliberate misrepresentation of Swartz’ legal access to MIT servers as theft. The moral of Byrne’s story is don’t steal copyrighted stuff. Too bad he decided to use Swartz to make his (botched) point.

  4. Ned Ludd

    From Kathryn Bigelow to Truman Capote, it seems non-fiction is filled with agitprop designed to flatter people with authority. “Mr. Capote expressly articulated his intention to make Mr. Dewey the hero of the book.” So Capote decided it was okay to just lie.

    Nineteen days passed before a prison inmate, Floyd Wells, offered an answer. Mr. Wells, a former employee on the Clutter farm, came forward to announce that one of his former cellmates, Mr. Hickock, had told him he intended to rob and kill the Clutters with the help of Mr. Smith, another ex-convict. […]

    The KBI documents appear to support what Mr. West, the former prosecutor, has been saying for years: that the KBI didn’t act immediately on the Wells tip because Mr. Dewey didn’t believe it. “Alvin Dewey pooh-poohed the Wells tip,” says Mr. West. “He said Wells was a no-good criminal who had made the whole thing up.”

    It appears that the case was solved by the willingness of a “no-good criminal” to give the KBI information against a former cellmate, apparently unsolicited and apparently dismissed by Capote’s hero. So Capote simply changed the facts to fix the narrative. But according to “Mr. Capote’s defenders,” this was all okay because “the rules of non-fiction-book writing, including the footnoting of source material, hardened only after Mr. Capote helped pioneer the genre.” But who are these defenders? This appears to be the reporter simply inserting his opinion into the story, to pre-excuse Capote. Even when lies are exposed, the exposé comes packaged with apologia.

    1. Garrett Pace

      Sure. But look at us, the audience. Something we have come to expect from history is that it make sense, that it adhere to a certain narrative structure, that it (horrors!) have good guys and bad guys, and that it flatter our existing beliefs and attitudes. So storytellers give us that. All stories true or not leave things out – things that, if included, would make for a very different, and probably less interesting, story. That is Capote’s gift, right? (And Bigelow’s, too, for that matter.) To entertain and inform, but not necessarily according to any standard of “truth” that is external to the consumer’s own credulity.

      This is a difficult tide to swim against. You notice that Capote’s account isn’t being assailed by THE TRUTH, but rather a competing, alternative narrative that may be more closely in line with the recollections of some Kansans, but that’s not the narrative’s only attraction; it offers other inducements as well, as it prompts you to say: “non-fiction is filled with agitprop designed to flatter people with authority”.

      To an astonishing degree that I am only now coming to appreciate, it’s the narrative that is convincing, not “the facts”. While you and I are sympathetic to a revised interpretation that shows how storytellers go cheap for money and power, the new “truth” is potentially no more real than Capote’s account.

      Bigelow and Capote were depicting others’ experiences, but the problem exists, or maybe is even worse, when people describe their own experiences. Novelist Wright Morris: “Anything processed by memory is fiction.”

      Paul Fussell’s seminal “The Great War and Modern Memory” describes at length the difficulty of writing war memoirs that are both true and informative, i.e. get across the idea of what WWI was actually like. (Mostly, I think, because the events were so bad and the experiences so alien that people were resistant to their messages.) In endorsing Robert Graves’ highly fictionalized “Good-bye to All That”, Fussell writes:

      “We expect a memoir dealing with a great historical event to ‘dramatize’ things. We have seen Sassoon’s memoir doing just that. But with Graves we have to expect it more than with others, for he is ‘first and last,’ as Jarrell sees, ‘a poet: in between he is a Graves.’ A poet, we remember Aristotle saying, is one who has mastered the art of telling lies successfully, that is, dramatically, interestingly. And what is a Graves? A Graves is a tongue-in-cheek neurasthenic farceur whose material is ‘facts.'”

      That is an ENDORSEMENT.

  5. Ned Ludd

    For encryption, TrueCrypt works well. Once you encrypt a partition with TrueCrypt, it is indistinguishable from random noise. However, it (and most encryption software) can be defeated by key-logging: malicious software, surreptitiously installed on your computer, captures the keys you type, thereby acquiring your password. That is why on-line banking sites sometimes have you enter part of your password using a random keypad that you click on with your mouse.

    1. wunsacon

      TrueCrypt transparently converts/encrypts existing Windows partitions. So, yes, it can probably benefit most people reading this board.

      Avoid using wireless keyboards, if you’re worried about someone/something possibly sensing your keystrokes.

      1. wunsacon

        In addition to the wireless vulnerability, I have to wonder whether keyboard manufacturers won’t someday hide tiny memory chips into their devices, for the express purpose of capturing pre-boot decryption passphrases and turning them over to the sovereign when asked.

    2. lambert strether

      And what happens when the Stasi ask for the password at the border? You’re no better off than before.

      If you work with text or programs, the files are relatively small. Conpress them (maybe with encryption), upload them somewhere, then take a clean machine across the border. Download and decompress, and you’re good to go. Or mail yorself a CD.

      1. Tiresias

        TrueCrypt has provision for the creation of a hidden encrypted partition within the ‘front’ encrypted one. When the Stasi ask for the password at the border you give them the password for the ‘front’ partition which contains naughty stuff you don’t mind the Stasi seeing while the hidden partition remains, ah, hidden within the background noise. If you don’t know there’s a hidden partition there’s no clue to its existance.

      2. wunsacon

        How are you “cleaning” your system while you traverse borders? Are you using ? Otherwise, as you probably know, anything not “securely deleted” can be recovered.

        In any event, consider Tiresias’ remark.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I think if they get that point I’m probably in for it anyhow… It’s like burglar alarms stop the amatuers, not the pros. If they get to the point where they’re running recovery routines on my hard drive, then they’ll plant material anyhow.

          1. wunsacon

            Lambert, if someone’s out to get you, maybe it’s better they have no option but to plant false stuff instead of collecting real data from you that might help them later harass your friends or sources.

  6. Jessica

    Yves Smith: “My understanding is Japanese in the Kansai (west, like around Osaka) has significant differences in standard usage as well as accent.”
    Yes, “Kansai-ben” is very different from Tokyo Japanese, which is the standardized (hyojungo) form taught in Japanese schools and in materials for foreigners. I think in this regard, the US, Canada, and Australia (and Russia too) are the outliers in that they have comparatively very little dialect difference. (I am not including native languages or pockets of other non-native languages, such as Cajun in Louisiana.) In these cases, it is due to “inflation” – English/Russian speakers expanded across huge territories too fast for big differences in their speech to emerge. Universal mass education also makes a huge difference.
    Which dialects wound up becoming separate languages involves a lot of history and politics, not just linguistics. The difference between the positions of Cantonese and Kansai reflects the long presence of the British Colony in Hong Kong.
    I personally find the process of language/dialect assimilation sociologically fascinating. In Singapore, I met a retired ethnic-Chinese engineer who told me that he had to go back to school to learn Mandarin to be able to speak to his own grandchildren. (The engineer spoke English and a southern Chinese language, not Mandarin.)

    {from yesterday’s China-Japan tiny islands discussion}

  7. Jennifer

    EU cuts budget by 34 billion euros, infrastructure spending hit (from the Guardian link). From Is the Euro crisis over ” . . . would set the positive market environment for a resumption of economic growth across the euro zone” . The confidence fairy lives!

  8. Ep3

    Yves, here in Michigan, our republican governor has issued his new budget. And of course as a republican that means no bigger govt and no taxes. So he has proposed raising the gasoline tax 19 cents a gallon and using those funds, plus other funds to spend $1.5 billion repairing our roads, which are the worst in the nation.
    Of course, this has created an uproar in our politics. Local mayors are very upset that they aren’t getting a pile of money too. (end of sarcasm)
    Yves, if this had been a democrat governor, heads would have rolled. Yet, the news is talking like this is a good thing (it is to fix the roads). When our previous governor even mentioned the slightest hint that maybe she would raise taxes, or spend money, the republican legislature held press conferences and made radio and tv appearances stating that her budget would go nowhere and that ppl were going to throw her out of office.
    But Koch republican governor and devos republican legislature results in mass spending and higher taxes on working and retired persons (low income person’s).

    1. reslez

      Here’s for bipartisanship — when it comes to increasing regressive taxes on the middle class, Republicans and Democrats are in a perfect frenzy of agreement.

    2. different clue

      I have heard on our semilocal state public radio news that we will see on the next election ballot an initiative to fund road repair with a sales tax rise on “everything bought and sold exCEPT gas” to 9%. If that initiative passes, part of it will be to pre-empt and cancel the gas tax rise and car registration fee rise to pay for those roads. I haven’t looked into it any deeper to see if it is really true that such a ballot item will appear.

      If it IS true, you may be sure that all car-owners and/or other gasoline buyers will certainly vote for it to try making all us car NONowning NONdrivers pay with OUR taxes for THEIR roads. Will car NONowning NONdrivers be organized enough to vote it down? In order to make the people who drive do the paying for the roads that THEY drive on?

        1. Skippy

          Its like watching Rome in retreat from the periphery territory’s.

          Skippy… once your not providing profitable inputs… its bye… bye.

        2. different clue

          If gas pays the tax, that part of the gastax rise which is involved in getting goods to me will be passed on to me in the price of the goods moved over the roads. So I will end up paying my “move the goods” share of any new gas tax.

          What I object to, and will vote against, is any effort to make NONdriving NON carowning buyers of goods pay the sole and only tax involved in maintaining the roads that Drivers Drive on. Will they pay any share of that back to me? No, they will not. So I will vote against any efforts to extort unearned gifts from ME and ALL the REST of US to strictly and only NObody but THEM.

    3. Paul Tioxon

      Grover Norquist, the Tom Joad of The Right Wing Movement.

      In PA, the Gov, who somehow avoided prosecuting Sandusky for years, even though he could have at least arrested him, and taken him out of action, put him off the PSU campus and closed off the youth charity that he used as a feeder system to molest, including his own adopted son, who the incredibly loyal wife now says is some kind of trouble maker, he is also raising gasoline taxes, on the wholesale level, which will trickle down to me and then cause a flood out of my wallet. But then, his announcement to destroy the state teachers pension system, sell off the State Liquor Store and Wholesale system monopoly on selling alcohol, among other things, is getting a lot of attention. But don’t worry, the leading tax avenger and lifelong NRA member who sits on the NRA board, Grover Norquist, has denounced the PA governor. It seems Grover is a frequent flier and vociferous outside agitator in state after state and other localities, where ever a tax man is hitting a entrepreneur, where ever there is accounting trickery to take from the makers, he will be there, just like Tom Joad.

      Global Grover: Italian Version.

      Can the EU survive the insertion of the anti-tax pledge movement, along with stop and go crisis management of fiscal unification reform? Tune in and see!!

  9. Laughing_Fascist

    We can be certain that waterboarding a hairless rat will not result in actionable intelligence.

    Unless the varmint is not a U.S citizen (and even if he is). In which case national security authorizes this action. And we won’t know if the rodent has info on AQ until after the interrogation. So lets not make pre-mature announcements on the quality of intel. And how did you come into possession of this video? Are you a loyal citizen of the U.S.?

  10. Laughing_Fascist

    The link from the Gawker – the author pointed out what a farce the Brennan confirmation hearing was:

    “Feinstein was downright plummy. Was it not true that Anwar al-Awlaki was a very bad man, Mr. Brennan? And Mr. Brennan said yes. Was it not true that you had proof of al-Awlaki’s involvement with many very bad things? And Mr. Brennan said yes.”

    And then there is this:

    “Later, Rachel Maddow painted the hearings as an all-out critique from all the Democrats, when Feinstein alone undermines the assertion.”

    So was Maddow mis-lead by her script writer or is she just a mindless party hack for dems.

    1. Garrett Pace

      I found that exchange very striking also. It made me think about public justice – judgments and punishments meted out in open court, with the standards and laws forming the basis of the verdict on full display, to be observed, argued over, and approved or disapproved by the public.

      None of this happens anymore. Legislation is hammered out in backroom deals with interested corporate parties. Evidence is gathered in secret by surveillance agencies. And judgment and execution are carried out by benevolent dictators acting in secrecy.

      We are in an odd position: we cannot even object to what our leaders do in our name, for we have no full understanding what they are doing and why. We also can’t approve of it, for the same reason. We can only object to (or approve) their keeping it secret from us.

    2. Garrett Pace

      There’s this gem:

      “Levin repeatedly tried to get Brennan to acknowledge that waterboarding is torture, to which Brennan stubbornly and conveniently repeatedly replied, “I am not a lawyer.””

      That’s fitting. Any child can tell the truth. You need a lawyer or learned divine to tell a convincing lie.

    3. knock head 3 times

      But Feinstein had to show due deference and respect, she was talking to the head of state. The Senate is just an honorarium, like the board of the Girl Scouts. Feinstein is an exiguous pissant and it behooves her to ingratiate herself with the caudillo.

    4. neo-realist

      Taking the gold from MSNBC requires that even a bright person like Maddow stoops to being a party hack for the dems.

      1. Ms G

        RM is indeed bright. But if she had an ounce of (journalistic) integrity she would have resigned during Drone President’s first term. She may well rationalize remaining on the payroll at MSNBC as a subtle-hack by telling herself that she’s a hybrid type journo … the kind that is entertaining to highly articulate and educated white people in the 30 – 70 age bracket.

        Her an Jon Stewart are in a way far more insidious than the screechers at Fox because they “pass” as “progressives.”

  11. from Mexico

    If one takes a look at a graph of federal expenditures by president for the past 60 years, it’s difficult to discern a correlation between fiscal conservatism and one’s party:

    The Republicans have consistently been just as big of spenders, if not bigger, than the Democrats.

    If one takes a look at a graph of US Federal Debt as Percent of GDP by President, however, there does seem to emerge a correlation between financial conservatism and partisanship. Beginning in 1980, the Republicans demonstrate a clear propensity to borrow and spend, whereas the Democrats lean more towards tax and spend:

  12. Keenan

    RE: Molecular fountain of youth.

    Evidence that there are others:

    Dr Jiang said the evidence is mounting that hydrogen sulfide slows aging by inhibiting free-radical reactions, by activating SIRT1, an enzyme believed to be a regulator of lifespan, and probably through its interactions with a gene age-related called Klotho, which appears to have its own market basket of anti-aging activity.

    The gene Klotho, which appears to be upregulated by hydrogen sulfide, is thought to extend lifespan via a number of different pathways, some of which promote production of endogenous antioxidants, according to the scientists……..

    ….A decline in hydrogen sulfide is also thought to undermine neurological health. Endogenous hydrogen sulfide has been found wanting in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease, and is found to be depressed in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. There are even suggestions, mostly in animal models, but also in human studies, that hydrogen sulfide may be protective against cancer.

    “Data available so far strongly suggest that H2S may become the next potent agent for preventing and ameliorating the symptoms of aging and age-associated diseases,” Dr Jiang said. “In the future, people may take H2S via food, or as an anti-aging supplement.”

    Hmmm… so sewer gas, in moderation, would appear to have health benefits ?

    1. invient

      The toxicity of H2S is comparable with that of hydrogen cyanide. It forms a complex bond with iron in the mitochondrial cytochrome enzymes, thus preventing cellular respiration. (wiki)

      I would assume less cellular respiration would lead to longer life span… an analog to cyanide pretty much puts this in the WHY! list.

  13. rich

    Sen. Bernie Sanders

    Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders is the first person elected to the Senate to identify as a socialist, though he caucuses with the Democrats. He previously served 16 years in the House and is the longest serving independent member of Congress in U.S. history. He also served four terms as mayor of Burlington, VT and lectured at Harvard’s JFK School of Government and Hamilton College in upstate New York. Sanders’ legislative interests include a focus on America’s shrinking middle class and widening income gap, and, in the current (113th) Congress, he serves on five standing committees, including Budget and Veterans’ Affairs, which he chairs.

  14. jjmacjohnson

    I agree some interesting things in the Byrne article but the thief part I also do not agree with. Sometimes I think David thinks he is a polymath when he is clearly not.

  15. rbm411

    RE: The Exterminators

    Isn’t it a shame that the mainstream American press never publishes stories on these abuses. America, where did you go?

  16. wunsacon

    >> Gasoline prices on the rise; may pose risk to consumer sentiment

    Who cares? Indeed, with *less* the proles consume (e.g., soccer moms chauffeuring their kids around), the *more* gasoline remains for Bernanke-backed plutocrats to fuel their yachts.

  17. two^12bitcrypto

    Yves, one good way to keep prying eyes from one’s computer is to create a “rabbit garden” (as described in Robert Crichton’s excellent book, The Secret of Santa Vittoria.)

    Simply create an additional user account on your computer where you store some stuff but not anything particularly sensitive. Configure your laptop to boot into that user automatically without a password, so it’s not terribly obvious that the real, encrypted user account is separate.

    When traveling I use the rabbit garden account for random web browsing like reading the news. No password needed, and if they discovered the other account I might have trouble remembering its password, ahem. “Yep, lost access and had to create a new user–perhaps your experts could crack the password for me.” (Good encryption; fat chance.)

    Of course this is different from the book. In the Secret of Santa Vittoria the town is keeping wine from the Nazis and here we’re keeping information from the, well, uh…nevermind.

  18. down2long

    Yesterday I posted the LAPD spokseman’s inadvertantly revealing comment re: the rogue cop who is scaring the bejeesus out of SoCal blue shirts:

    “Of course we’re scared of him. We trained him.” To which I replied “Welcome to the club.”

    Turns out they shot a 71 year old newspaper carrier and her passenger in their zeal. I always say you’re safer walking around Watts at 3 AM than in LAPD custody, handcuffed. In Watts, you at least have a chance of survival:

    1. Klassy!

      “They still have to give the guy an opportunity to surrender. You can’t just execute him,” the lawyer said.

      Oh Mr. Lawyer, you are well intentioned I’m sure, but what country are you living in?

  19. down2long

    Re: The bankruptcy post in which the assertion is made you have a slightly better chance of having your Chap. 13 payment plan approved if you appear “remorseful.”

    This is, of course, a disgrace, and reflects the conflicts of interest the BK judges have: Serve on the bench for a five year term at $150K a year, or – if you play your cards rights and are sufficiently punitive of debtors and solicitious of creditors, go work for a BK creditor law firm and make $500K a year.

    In any event, the BK judges are not shining lights of our judiciary.

    In my Chap. 11 Plan Approved (I really was remorseful – first time I ever missed a payment in my life, and boom, everything collapses in the great 2006 washout.) Anyhow, Plan approved, paid off all my unsecured a year early, paid all post-confirmation mortgages as agreed. 2 banks refused the court ordered payments, filed NODs.

    Reopened my BK, new BK judge, was absolutely unmoved by my best efforts, and compleltely ignored bank’s behaviors. Refused to issue stay, lost building.

    Lesson learned: I have gone rogue, just like the bankers. It’s like the Charleston: Everyone’s doing it.

    BK judges ALWAYS have a conflict of interest. Being not the brightest bulbs in the shed, only a few shine. The rest burn out/sell out go to work for creditor law firms and go stand before new BK judge as shining examples of what luxury awaits if the judges plays their cards right.

    Disgraceful. But in no way surprising.

  20. Jim Haygood

    Race to the bottom:

    Social Security’s financial outlook took another hit this week, as the Congressional Budget Office hiked its estimate for cash deficits from 2013 to 2022 by $212 billion.

    The wider deficits — mainly due to weaker revenue estimates — mean a quicker depletion of Social Security’s trust fund, after which the program could only afford to pay about 75% of benefits.

    CBO’s fresh estimates point to the trust fund running dry in 2031.

    Check out the chart of annual cash deficits, near the top of the article. Ten years from now, it’ll be ‘$200 billion deficits as far as the eye can see,’ as ol’ David Stockman used to joke back when I was a toddler. *wink*

    Too bad SocSec don’t invest in a diversified bond-equity portfolio, like every other pension fund in the country does.

    Invest for low returns (all Treasuries, all the time), and you … run out money to pay benefits.

    *claps hand to forehead*


    1. different clue

      Better they run the fund back down to zero paying benefits to people who paid for those benefits their whole FICA paying lives . . . then to leave money in the fund till the upper class can figure out how to steal it from the fund.

    2. scraping_by

      Oh, please.

      “The trust fund earns interest on its existing stock of bonds, and right now it’s taking part of its interest payments in cash (rather than more bonds) in order to make up the shortfall from payroll taxes. These interest payments are paid out of the general fund and thus affect the deficit. Within a few years, interest payments will no longer be enough to cover the shortfall and Social Security will start redeeming the treasury bonds in its trust fund.”

      So, yes, if benefits are on inflation-adjustment and taxes aren’t, (the bizarre $110,000 income cap stays in place) income won’t cover the outgo. At worst, the trust fund will have to be cashed in.

      The alternate plan of allowing the financial industry to churn like wild things until the money’s been worn away, with a few bankrupt companies thrown in just for fun, makes sense only in the FRAU, the Far Right Alternate Universe.

      I mean, that’s the plan made the operators rich in Chile, the UK, and several US states. Why shouldn’t Americans fall for it? Think they’re too good or something?

      1. different clue

        And who lives in the FRAU? The Far Right Wing Universe Dastards . . . the FRAUDS.

        The trust fund is suPPOSED to be payed back out through redemptions to eventual zero. That’s why the trust fund was created through doubled FICA prepayment taxing of every FICA payer since 1983 to begin with . . . to create a Trust Fund for the Baby Boomers which would be spent back down to zero paying back out the benefits to all the Baby Boomers who began PREpaying DOUble INto the Trust Fund for that very purpose to begin with. After the last PRE paid for Boomer dies, then it is back to PayGo for Social Security, is it not?

  21. fcc

    Re: The storm

    Seen plenty of storms like this in my 30 years in Central Ma, and to tell the truth it was nothing special. What was special was the robo call from our town emergency manager informing us that the town had declared a state of emergency, and in conjunction with the governors declaration, all travel after 4:00 PM (travel was the word used) was forbidden under penalty of law. The call came at 4:05 PM.

    My first thought was gee, my civil liberties have just been suspended!. Had I been at my shop two miles down the road and traveled home I could have been subject to arrest. No matter that it would not have happened, but that it could, and that it did not even take the governor to do it; my local selectmen/neighbors also have the power.

    They have trained us well, post 9/11, and the instruction continues.

    Yes, I know only a moron travels in those conditions, but we do have (or did) the right to do stupid things. Because Republicans if for no other reason.

    1. nkvd

      And get a load of his The-Russians-Are-Coming “authority:”

      I wonder if § 8A has been tested in court to determine if it conforms to the requirements, binding at all levels of government, of CCPR Article 4. It renders all laws inoperable if they’re inconsistent with a decree.

      Patrick is a crooked Obamoid scumbag, and this is his audition for big-time national repression.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Yep. Hysterical fear followed by compliance. One seems to sense a pattern.

      It was a big storm. That happens every so often in the Northern Hemisphere. It wasn’t the Blizzard of 78, it wasn’t the 38 Hurricane, and it most definitely wasn’t Sandy.

      Yet we react like frightened children.

      UPDATE Adding, I looked at Weather Underground, and the snow totals are pretty amazing. So maybe the Blizzard of 2013 is on a par with the Blizzard of 78. All the same, the compliance regime in place now is notbing like that in place then.

    3. nocarrier

      Fellow Central MA resident here.

      I think the whole “subject to arrest” business is bunk, but I am sympathetic to the general idea of imposing fines on people who violate the travel ban. It gives employees leverage against unscrupulous employers in non-essential sectors who wrongly insist that personnel should report to work, and might provide a disincentive for the less bright amongst us from going out for trivial reasons. Having been subject to the former plenty of times during my stints in retail, I can confirm that there’s a certain variety of the latter that comes out of the woodwork during severe snowstorms because they can’t bear the thought of going 48 hours without a five year old iteration of the Madden NFL videogames.

      The people that don’t make it to the store because they crashed their car tie up emergency response resources that are probably needed for legitimate emergencies, make it difficult to clear the roads for emergency responders to get to and fro, and so forth. Occasionally, these people that don’t make it into the store wind up wandering into utility poles, which introduces a whole host of unnecessary problems.

      I wish it were different, but you really can’t rely on people to have the innate sense to stay off of the roads when they really have no business being out and about.

  22. cockroach general quarters

    John Bennett’s really tickling the ivories of his mighty Wurlitzer! Alternet reprinted WhoWhatWhy’s study of the STRATFOR emails on Wikileaks. Only now it’s titled, Was General David Petraeus Targeted for Take-down by the Military?

    … because, Virginia, ah, the military wants death squads and CIA wants drone murder, and Petraeus, as the CIA’s hood ornament, naturally supports drone murder too (he even put his director’s chop on a CIA request for more drones, that proves it!), Right? Right?

    But way back on page three, for those who happen to click through, is: “CENTCOM leaked their rec for $1.2 billion assistance funding for Yemeni special forces (this was all Petraeus.)” Petraeus is the Death Squad Guy, the guy who built his glorious career on successive militia clusterfucks in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and wanted one more chance in Yemen. Petraeus just wants that awesome CIA covert impunity for his murder and torture. But the Clandestine Service, things are kind of uncomfortably hot for them just now, they would prefer to hide in suburbia and play Grand Theft Auto with little wog kids, blowing their widdle arms and legs off Nine to Five.

    So John Bennett coughed Petraeus up like a furball. End of story.

    1. cockroach GQ

      Contra Silber, I don’t think NCS gives a shit about congressional approval. Every answer from Brennan was the verbal equivalent of him making comically exaggerated jerkoff gestures at his groveling senate flunkies. Or sometimes he would cough fuckyou into his hand or unzip his pants and waggle his dick around, in effect, or drop trou and shit on their desks. NCS has demonstrated absolute contempt for congress. They have discredited the institution, made a laughingstock of congress. War powers ceded to the executive, power of the purse lost to the Fed, and now advice and consent openly derided. Can’t blame him, congress is the inert coprolith of a long-extinct dinosaur republic. It has no reason to exist.

  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    Aaron Swartz isn’t the first “hacker” (using their pejorative term), nor was he the first environmental activist (“ecoterrorist”, again applying their disparaging labeling).

    It’s about control of media, and the language used.

    This is all very sad. The re-labeling by corporate media of those who caused the collapse of the financial system would be helpful, as would changes in language employed in other spheres.

    1. Skippy

      Meat is meat, acquired tastes to the individual offerings.

      Skippy.. Fact in advertising? Well supply side profit forbids it… Demand crated via cortex injection is still supply side creation… rubbish tips don’t lie.

  24. Skippy

    BTW is anyone keeping a tab on expenditures… chasing after *one* ex cop over how many states? How much is this going to cost, who will pay at the end of the day?

    Skippy… when was the last time such a endeavor was undertaken… eh.

    1. Skippy

      Attorney Glen Jonas said Maggie Carranza, 47, and her mother, 71-year-old Emma Hernandez, were delivering Los Angeles Times newspapers around 5:15 a.m. in Torrance when the officers opened fire on their vehicle.

      Jonas said, “There was no warning. There were no orders. No commands. Just gunshots.”

      A patrol unit was reportedly assigned to protect the home of a high-ranking LAPD officer during the manhunt for 33-year-old Dorner, who is believed to have killed a Riverside cop Thursday and an Irvine couple Sunday.

      Comments are interesting…

      BACKSTABBERREPORTDOTCOM says:If you think any of these cops (6 were placed on administrative leave) will be prosecuted, think again.

      Shortly after this shooting Dorner was officially made a “Domestic Terrorist” which will provide a “mitigating circumstances” defense to the shoot first, ask later cops. And how many times have we all seen videos of cops executing suspects and unarmed citizens, only to have it be determined as a justified shooting by the higher ups.

      Domestic Terrorist designation now changes the rules of engagement, basically allowing the killing of Dorner on sight, with no warning or offer of surrender required. Any further shootings, or killings of innocents can be considered collateral damage like those near battlefield, hit by “friendly fire.”

      Scary s**t and no doubt the government will use this Dorner incident to justify those drones they want airborne in order to monitor American citizens.

      DURAMBO says:Two cops standing guard all night get approached by a truck in the dark with it’s windows downs driving quickly through the neighborhood, by two people who may not speak English very well.
      This, just after a truck pulls along side two LAPD cops sitting in a car and shoots them with a rifle.
      Yeah, I can see how this situation unfolded, but I’m not a movie watching expert, like most idiots commenting here.

      Skippy… LOL… *noone* is – safe – until this mad man is cought… noone…

      1. annie

        yes, i was thinking this yesterday: say he wanted to surrender, just to have his day in court, to go on the record.
        no, they will not allow this.
        i was trying to imagine how he might give himself up….go to another state? country?

        remembering the steve mcqueen peckinpah film with the garbage truck….

  25. alex morfesis

    too old to rock and roll and too greedy to retire…

    who cares what a no talent twit like david byrne has to say…the ultimate corporate liar…have always been amused at the “Grand Value” placed in CBGB’s where there was hardly enough room for 70 people and somehow playing a 3 dollar cover charge room with six other 40 minute acts was a big accomplishment…my family had the parking lot on the corner…at bowery and second street…never much business at night from cbgb’s until the late 70’s…he borrowed from more than one genre in his career…oh I’m sorry, he was introducing suburbia to “exotic” beats…snorefest…

    jstor resells taxpayer funded research…sounds like a massive qui tam case in the making…converting government paid for assets…

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