Links 3/13/13

Whaddya know, my first day of links and it’s a palindrome date.

For Detroit, a Crisis Born of Bad Decisions and Crossed Fingers NYT. Compare the “official story” with: How Deadbeat Banks Pushed Detroit To The Brink by yours truly in The National Memo. A bit of self-promotion, I’ll actually be on MSNBC this morning (10:30am ET), believe it or not, talking about this story. It’s so rare that they do anything on housing/foreclosures, it’s exciting.

Mary Jo White confirmation hearing:

White Pressed on Past Representing Banks WSJ

Elizabeth Warren Skewered the SEC’s Record for the Past Two Years Business Insider

Mary Jo White Testimony: SEC Nominee Promises “Unrelenting” Wall Street Enforcement Huffington Post

Senators Decide Not to Mess With Mary Jo White Bloomberg

Nationstar Suit Questions Servicer’s Authority to Sell Mortgage Notes DSNews (h/t Lisa Epstein)

Can the Fed Burst the Next Bubble Before It’s Too Late Mark Thoma, The Fiscal Times

Taxing Away Inequality: A Conversation with Emmanuel Saez Boston Review (h/t Lambert)

Research ties inequality to a gap in life expectancy The Washington Post. I don’t expect this to make it over to the editorial board.

The Unlikely Friends of Austerity Mainly Macro

Offshore London and the escape from the U.S. Dodd-Frank bill Nick Shaxson (h/t Richard Smith)

Small US Banks Hit By Rising Insurance Costs WSJ

Twinkies sold in private equity deal BBC

Report: Half trillion need to upgrade schools AP

Universities Pile on Faculty Perks as Student Costs Grow Businessweek

What it Costs to Win a Congressional Election The Week

Jeremiah Goulka, C-130 Math and a Cargo of Pork Tom Dispatch

President to appeal ruling on recess appointments WSJ

The drone economy will create 100,000 jobs, say companies who make drones Quartz

Democrats Confront Obama on Drone Policy During Closed-Door Meeting With Senators Huffington Post

Rand Paul’s Lonely Stand The American Prospect

Bradley Manning Full Statement Released Freedom of the Press Foundation

Manufacturing slump sends sterling crashing to three-year low The Guardian (UK)

Majority of British children will soon be growing up in families struggling ‘below the breadline’, Government warned The Independent (UK)

Phillippe Sands quits Lib Dems in protest at support for secret courts The Guardian (UK)

Japan Discovers New Gas Source Macrobusiness

My Testimony at the South Portland City Council hearing on Tar Sands The Punk Patriot

Judge approves use of “truth serum” on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes The Guardian (UK) (h/t Lambert)

MIT’s Role in Aaron Swartz Prosecution Assailed at Memorial GigaOm

The troubling things I learned when I re-reported Bob Woodward’s book on John Belushi Slate. The shoddiness is not new.

Creating indestructible self-healing circuits Science Daily (Lambert)

China river pig toll nears 6,000 BBC

Huge Florida mosquitoes: Monster insects are called “Gallinippers” Christian Science Monitor

Ukranian Killer Dolphins Deserted to Seek Mates RIA Novosti

Now you’re in for a treat. Antidotes du jour on my watch will be my own dogs. Today we have Stella, my 10 year-old Boston terrier:

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. Christopher Fay

    That’s a trick photograph. I see something that might be a big fish eye, but no mammal.

          1. p78

            Yes, but we are not familiar with the dog and the nose looked like a “right eye” eviscerated. Try seeing the ridge between the visible left eye and the black button nose as a “nose”. Now you see? That was the scarry picture everybody was seeing.
            Perception would have been helped by the author if we have seen previously a full photo of the dog, with his square-like head.
            As it was only this photo, many people assumed this is a pointy-head dog with a missing eye. Scary.

          2. pwndecaf

            Took me a minute, too. I wondered why one would put a picture of an obviously abused dog on display.

  2. Ned Ludd

    The Huffington Post article on Democrats confronting Obama is, in fact, about one Deomcrat asking one question.

    “President Barack Obama faced a tough question on drone policy from a fellow Democrat during a Senate meeting Tuesday…”

    Note the singular: Obama faced “a tough question” from “a fellow Democrat”. One tough question from one Democrat. That was all the Democrats could muster. And this tough questioner had to ask their question in private, lest they seem too impertinent. We don’t even know how “tough” that tough question was.

    “There was an exchange, but I don’t want to get into the specifics,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.).

    “Basically, the president said that they’re doing everything they can to comply with the law and to give information to members of the Intelligence Committee,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who paused for a long moment before answering. “And he said they would continue on that path.”

    So everything continues as usual. We don’t know how Obama interprets the law, since Obama won’t release the “kill memos”. Although Rand Paul declared victory over the meaningless Holder letter, for Obama, “military-age males killed in a strike zone are counted as combatants absent explicit posthumous evidence proving otherwise”. Simply being located where a drone falls automatically makes you a combatant, if you happen to be a military-age male. In Pakistan and other foreign countries, Obama will continue to bomb bakeries and slaughter “civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.”

    1. Brindle

      At the top of the HuffPo article it has Ryan Grim listed as co-author and says, “become a fan”.
      Become a fan of shit like this opening sentence??

      —“President Barack Obama faced a tough question on drone policy from a fellow Democrat during a Senate meeting Tuesday and defended his administration’s program, according to sources in the meeting.”—

      It was tough because someone told him it was, not because he knows the actual question. What a joke.

      1. sd

        I always knew that the one with the most money wins. I just didn’t expect to see that as an institutionalized policy that allows the wealthy to avoid prosecution altogether.

  3. Ned Ludd


    I’m happy to see you contributing here at Naked Capitalism. At FDL, you did a good job getting past the pretense to uncover what politicians were really up to. Anytime there was some bold, new progressive posture by the White House, or some legislative squabbling, I read your articles at FDL News to find out what was really going on.

    1. David Dayen Post author

      Thanks, Ned! Glad Yves gave me the opportunity, and hopefully I can check in when it’s manageable for me, in addition to my various other projects. Happy to be here.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Citing the housing bubble in 2005 as an example, Mark Thoma poses the hypothetical question, can the Fed burst the next bubble before it’s too late?

    This is no hypothetical. In fact, the Fed has begun preparing Congress for the looming likelihood that it may lose $500 billion on its $3 trillion-plus portfolio as interest rates ‘normalize’ (a bankster euphemism for ‘rise’).

    As a result, not only will the Fed cease remitting its surplus to the Treasury (since it won’t have any surplus), but also the Fed will be obliged to engage in some aggressively fanciful Enron-style accounting to obscure its negative net worth (a/k/a ‘insolvency’).

    When you’re leveraged more than 50-to-1 and your assets take a hit, you are insolvent. Ask Fannie and Freddie.

    How are foreign central banks, who currently have $3.3 trillion on deposit in the Fed’s off-balance sheet custody account, going to feel about the security of their funds, when the Fed has a gigantic bubbling sinkhole where its equity was supposed to be?

    Is a run on the Fed possible? (You read it here first. I am not joking.)

    Make no mistake: as this misbegotten institution (born in a sordid one-percenter conspiracy to socialize private risks) approaches its hundredth anniversary, it faces an existential crisis that not only ensures Bernanke’s departure next January, but may sweep away the institution itself. Mr. Last Pope, meet Mr. Last Fed Chairman.

    You won’t hear much about it in the MSM till later this year, but Bloomberg has caught on and published an article about the half trillion loss waiting in the wings.

    Who knew that free money could be so costly?

    1. Emperor Wang of Market Mongo

      Here’s the bloomberg link down below.

      Elsewhere, Ben also says he doesn’t want sell and will hold to maturity. Also says he wants to keep buying. Janet says so too. So that means that paying interest on reserves is the only policy tool left if we see inflation sometime in the next 10 years or so. They might have enough cash flow to go up to 3%, I think. But maybe the Fed has determined we’re in for a lost decade or something and we can’t have inflation if the economy sucks?

      Go figure. Maybe it all works out? Assuming we don’t pop a asset bubble in a crappy economy. Oh, the irony if that would happen.


      Fed Faces Explaining Billion-Dollar Losses in QE Exit Stress
      By Craig Torres, Josh Zumbrun & Caroline Salas Gage – Feb 26, 2013 1:35 PM MT

      Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s efforts to rescue the economy could result in more than a half trillion dollars of paper losses on the central bank’s books if interest rates rise abruptly from recent levels.

      That sum is the difference between the value of securities in the Fed’s portfolio on Dec. 31 and what they may fetch in three years, according to data compiled by MSCI Inc. (MSCI) of New York for Bloomberg News. MSCI applied scenarios devised by the Fed itself for stress-testing the nation’s 19 largest banks.

  5. Glenn Condell

    ‘Universities Pile on Faculty Perks as Student Costs Grow’

    At the Uni where I work we are engaged in an industrial dispute with management. There is the usual pay angle which I am never as interested in as the non-salary aspects of these things (devil in that thar detail) but spice is added to their stoic refusal to consider more than the 2% they are offering by a growing realisation that the most senior staff (of whom there are many more than in the olden days) are now on between 400 and well over 900 thou, several multiples of what our PM earns or what these erstwhile academics could have made back in their backwaters. Faustian pact-ish is how it must feel for the more perceptive of them.

    This wouldn’t matter quite so much if the place was being run in the style those salaries might lead you to expect, but severe staff cuts last year were predicated on the fact that the Uni was 113 million short in the previous year’s budget thanks to management’s own figures being out of whack (estimates a tad optimistic, perhaps) ie, accountability was outsourced to staff, with long serving people targeted in order to speed the march to casualisation. Management however all received their bonuses. Meanwhile many excellent teachers, and their students, paid dearly for their vocation and their lack of interest in or talent for research thanks to a metric which crudely measured worth by numbers of journal citations (especially important of course in that most scientific of disciplines, economics, or ‘business’ as they have decided to rechristen that faculty). There are also several big ticket expenditure items that have what might be called ‘issues’.

    Which brings me back to the devilish detail you find when you forget about pay; there is a clause in the new agreement which removes any management obligation to produce documents for consultation with affected staff when Managing Change proposals are made (this is any major change, restructures normally, that significantly affects staff members’ employment, ie redundancy or redeploying to lower paid roles but doing the same work, etc) In my experience are fig leaves anyway, ignored with indecent haste, but at least there was something in black and white you could criticise constructively.

    What they are aiming at is to embed, even legitimise, a lack of management accountability for demonstrably poor decisions. A free hand. When you couple this with another clause that seeks to enshrine a new management right to exclude unions from the bargaining process and also remove its obligation to provide a premises for a staff union on campus, you can see where we are headed.

    There is a staff code of conduct which includes a public comment clause. It is relatively anodyne but if they know they can rid themselves of meddlesome priests with a plausible but unnecessary shuffle of roles, requiring that people be interviewed to continue doing their own job with a different name… they will. It will be a warning to anyone with even a pen-knife to grind.

    If Cardinal Newman was alive now and wrote The Idea of the University, I wonder what it would say. To be fair I guess it’s not just the Uni’s… look at the Church! The State!

    Good to see you here Dave D. You guys are forming quite the supergroup… Cream I guess.

    1. Cynthia

      “Public-University Costs Soar”

      “Tuition at public colleges jumped last year by a record amount as state governments slashed school funding, the latest sign of strain in the U.S. higher-education sector.

      The average amount that students at public colleges paid in tuition, after state and institutional grants and scholarships, climbed 8.3% last year, the biggest jump on record, according to a report based on data from all public institutions in all 50 states to be released Wednesday by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. Median tuition rose 4.5%.”

      [I’d like to know what percentage goes to administrators compared to those doing the actual teaching or contract work that keeps things running? Inquiring minds want to know. Why, with all the electronic technology we now have, does it cost so much more to manage these people compared to 20 years ago? This highlights the fundamental problem everywhere. Grossly overpaid “leadership” that are corrupt as hell.]

    2. bmeisen

      Higher educaiton in the US consists of service brands offering products to individuals. It’s like going shopping. Consumers choose a deal that best suits their needs from the assortment in the aisles labelled Associates, BA, BS, MA, MS, MBA, PhD, etc. Some of the products are pricey – and there’s a reason for the price! That je ne sais quoi, the elegant fragrance, the real birch canoes. Some of the products are less pricey, like the Associates in Hotel and REstaurant Management at Cape Cod Community College! The institutions that succeed in this marketplace deserve rewards, or else the basic tenet of American Freedom – that hard work in a free market brings rewards, inlcuding mucho dinero – will be lose significance. In any case most of these institutions don’t have shareholders or formal owners so you got to push the piles of cash somewhere.

    3. somethingblue

      Note that the headline talks about “perks for faculty,” but the article is all about administrators and executives. (I mean, if truth is not a concern, why not go all the way? “Universities pile on perks for black unwed mothers on welfare as student costs grow”?)

      1. Cynthia

        You also see this happening in the hospital industry as well. Nurse and physician executives are paid significantly more than their clinical counterparts — despite the fact that none of these so-called “executives” ever have to put their license on the line to do what they do, nor do any of them ever have to experience the enormous stress and strain of having to deal with life and death situations. They don’t even provide a billable service to patients. In fact, if any of them ever tried to bill a insurance provider for the services they provide to patients, they probably would be investigated for fraud! Patients don’t base their choice of a hospital on the competency and skills of the executive staff, they base it on the competency and skills on the clinical staff. So tell me, how can hospitals justify paying their executive staff significantly more than their clinical staff?

      1. anon y'mouse

        the perils of self-reporting and all, but many a professor i’ve met says that they never needed food stamps until turning to teaching.

        most professors are not tenured anymore. they are subcontractors who have all the accreditation and skills, but must pick up as many classes as they can to try to make the same living as ‘before’. i surmised that many of them engaged in the work due to the flexible nature of the schedule, allowing them time to do other things like care for children/elders, research for their doctorates, work other jobs, or possibly even try to pretend at semi-retirement.

        most of them are married. i did not enquire, but also surmise that teaching is not a job you can do if you are the only breadwinner. the one female tenured professor that seemed to be in that position (w/children still at home) had two other jobs to supplement her 50k per annum.

        none of them are living the high life from all that can be garnered by appearances.

      2. Joe

        I was a food stamp “professor” for three years.

        I was teaching at a top-30 research university, students addressed me as “professor,” I had a Ph.D., and I was a damn good teacher. Tuition was through the roof.

        I taught three courses per semester (full-time professors in my department typically teach two per semester–famous ones teach less). If I had any hope of landing a real tenure-track job, I also had to do full time research.

        I earned $3,000 per course, for a grand total of $18K per year of contract work (no unemployment benefits if contract wasn’t renewed). No health care benefits. I had a family of four (my spouse a victim of layoffs and crappy job market). Hense the food stamps and medicaid.

        I finally landed a job at a high school and counted myself lucky (many of my fellow grads are still stuck in contingent faculty hell).

        Point being: They can afford to offer those fantastic perks to administrators and rockstar faculty not only because of rising tuition BUT ALSO because contingent, food stamp faculty are quickly replacing full time professors that earn a living wage.

      3. Joe

        To answer the question, though: even among those lucky enough to land tenure-track jobs, there’s clear divisions between the .1%, the 1%, and the 99%.

        It seems too obvious to have to point it out, but most full-time professors aren’t those .1% rockstars that get free houses from Harvard.

        Homi Bhabha, one of those rockstars mentioned in the article, is in my general academic field. Typical entry-level tenure-track salaries in that field are $50-55k at most colleges. For the majority, raises beyond cost of living are usually minimal if at all. Promotion is largely about tenure and title, not money.

        Most Ph.D.’s would kill to have one of those jobs. Even though the money’s nothing fantastic, tenure and teaching can make for an excellent, secure and satisfying career.

        If you’re one of the lucky 1%, though, you can get an entry-level offer of up to $65-75k at a top-tier liberal arts college, flagship public university, or Ivy-league (roughly in that order: you might expect about $65 from Bates or Vassar, $70 from UC Berkeley or Michigan, and $75k from Yale or Princeton). Those plum jobs also come with more considerable raises for tenure and promotion. So you might obtain six figures within anywhere between 5-20 years, depending on how lucky and/or ambitious you are.

        And from that small pool of the academic 1% come the few .1% that get famous and free houses.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks for all the comments. Very educational.

          It seems we need more equality in our colleges/universities, redistributing wealth there. And perhaps that’s where we should start…be on the leading edge.

      1. JTFaraday

        Well, there lots to work with there to be sure.

        Probably the so-called faculty at NYU should have shed their bathrobes to come to the plantation and pay some attention to how the it was being overseen years ago already. Now they’re stuck with the soft sexy afterglow of everything Sexton and his administrative cadres have done in their absence.

        And unlike the faculty and students at the tiny New School a few blocks away, who live and breathe (student supported) autonomy and who successfully rid themselves of Bob Kerrey (albeit not without some serious collateral damage to some of their student activists who were unceremoniously tossed under the bus for an excess of enthusiasm), most of the faculty at NYU live to get bought off– and literally nothing else. John Sexton may be an authoritarian, but he is not a stupid authoritarian.

        Also, did you see that photo, that motley crew of liberal arts professors? No offense to liberal arts professors, but as of now it doesn’t look like anyone can even put two and two together and get four.

        That leaves the students.

        NYU is the biggest private school in the country, and it does have one of the highest tuition rates, given that Jack Lew jacked tuition 40% between 2001 and 2006 while he was jacking enrollment levels and cutting preferred lender deals with Citibank, funneling an excess of student loan interest payments in Bob Rubin’s general direction:

        This looks like a matter of student irritation overcoming student careerism. But, since there’s probably nothing in it for the students at this point, challenging the plantation overseer after the damage has been done, quite possibly lockstep careerism will triumph at Sexton’s highly creative “Enterprise University” and NYU students will eat all the bills.

  6. Jim Haygood

    After emerging from his personal bankruptcy in record time, the brilliant economist Kurgman ends up with sole ownership of the Old Grey Lady, and gives it a fitting editorial remake. Enjoy!

  7. Brindle

    Nice set of links, Dave.

    Re: “Senators Decide To Not Mess With Mary Jo White”

    —“It’s too bad the lawmakers chose not to deeply scrutinize White’s ties to Wall Street banks, or the well-chronicled conflicts of interest that arise from her work and her financial interests as a partner at the New York law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

    Doing so, before the Senate votes on her confirmation, would have been a public service. But that’s not what the senators decided to make a priority. When he nominated White in January, President Barack Obama said: “You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo.” The committee members took his advice.”—

    Mary Jo white’s net worth (including husband) is estimated to be close to $40 million, that puts her well into the upper .01%—who are real rulers of the country.

  8. MIWill

    re China river pig toll nears 6,000

    China’s remark on European horse meat scandal: “Amateurs”

      1. Susan the other

        But 6000 pigs is so mind boggling I can’t believe it. And I’m sure it’s true. Can you imagine some pig farmer/coop transporting 6000 pigs to the banks of the Missouri River and dumping them off some rickety bridge without the authorities stopping them? China is totally lawless. And the pig farmers are laughing their asses off and telling the rest of China to “Let them drink water.” This is bad beyond belief.

  9. Cat Chew

    “Whaddya know, my first day of links and it’s a palindrome date.”

    313 is the area code for Detroit. A local TV station has started a Twitter thingie “Say something nice about Detroit using hashtag #313DLove ” Undecided whether to link your National Memo piece to the tag. It’s reasonable and kind but I’m not sure about nice. Looking forward to seeing your segment on MSNBC.

  10. jjmacjohnson

    Perks for faculty?

    I think they mean management!

    “attract and retain the best leaders we can”?

    Do kids select a school because of management?

    Also the teachers mentioned are managing not just teaching!

  11. AbyNormal

    “Lay down, pup; lay down,” ordered the man. “Good doggie ? lay down, I say. “You’ll have to say, ‘Lie Down,’ Mister,” declared a bystander. “That’s a Boston Terrier.”

    muchas gracias for your signature links, David

  12. the idiot

    Regarding the TomDispatch article on Lockheed Martin, it’s striking how pork and pay-to-play are so common now that the mainstream media regards corruption and massive money from lobby groups from the military industrial complex is met with a massive yawn. This shouldn’t be businesses as usual, but the military and its contractors have become so attached at the hip, that to many, criticizing Lockheed Martin is unpatriotic.

    1. Synopticist

      I must say, despite my cynicism about the military-industrial-pork complex, that I was genuinelly suprised by just how shocking f*cking corrupt and awful that program is. And how long it’s been going on for.

      I thought the F35 was an outlier, Peak Pork if you like. Amazing stuff.

  13. rich

    JPMorgan Chase: Out of Control


    On Friday, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will release the final report on the losses associated with failures of internal controls in JPM’s CIO group. We expect that the findings will demonstrate significant failures of senior management and conclude that the Company’s own investigation was incomplete. It is important to remember that those losses, while the largest and most notable, are only one example of many such failures in recent years.

    In this report we will focus on the risk management and internal control environment at JPMorgan Chase, a bank whose balance sheet is almost one-ninth the size of the United States economy. JPMorgan’s financial filings, its “Task Force” investigation of losses in the CIO’s office and its recent history of significant regulatory failures demonstrate that shareholders of are continuing to be called upon to pay for the firm’s inability to ensure an acceptable control environment.

    We are not suggesting that JPM will meet the fate that Fannie did. But there are notable similarities in the actions taken by these institutions. JPM appears to have taken a page out of the Fannie Mae playbook in which the company perfected the art of cozying up to elected officials, dominating trade associations, employing political heavyweights and their former staffers and creating the image of American Flag-waving, apple-pie-eating, good corporate-citizen, all of which supported an “implied government guarantee” and seemingly lowered their cost of funding. Additionally, rather than being driven by the strength of its operations and management, many of the JPM’s returns appear to be supported by an implied guarantee it receives as a too-big-to-fail institution.

  14. rjs

    in Taxing Away Inequality, Saez explains that “taxation, though a blunt instrument, might be the best available solution.”

    an increase of the minimum wage to $12 hour will work even better; and with all those higher paid workers paying taxes instead of collecting SNAP and TANF benefits, it will raise just as much revenue, and solve social security & medicare to boot..

    1. Eureka Springs

      An increase of the min wage to 22.00 might even establish folks at living wage level. So why not start there? Or perhaps 18.50 with tri-care / health care as a human right – employed or not.

      Sometimes better is nowhere near enough. We’ve 40 years of lost minimum wages to make up for.

      1. monday1929

        Raising the minimum wage will cause great anxiety among the wealthy. They worry that doing so will cause job losses for the poor. They spend most of their waking hours worried about the poor as it is, this will cause even more consternation which might begin to affect their productivity and proclivity to invest in new factories which will still further hurt the poor, increasing the worries of the wealthy even more.
        The best solution for all is slave labor. For the good of us all.

      2. Ms G

        Casey Mulligan at NYT basically advocates that wages are a bad idea. (Reposted from the CatFood thread because so on point in this one!)

        Ms G says:
        March 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm

        Shill for Fix the Budget and Third Way advocates that minimum wage must be REDUCED, not INCREASED, else terrible things will happen to the economy run by and for the .01%.

        In a NYT Op-Ed no less, and entitled “The Hidden Costs of the Minimum Wage.” What would those be — the 3% of the economy that the Kleptocracy has been unable to grab for itself?! This man Casey is a piece of work. But he’s from U. of Chicago.

        Ms G says:
        March 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

        Correction — Mr. Casey’s screed against paid labor is *Not* an Op-ed piece but his entry today in the NYT “economix blog.”

        1. monday1929

          The main point to remember is that the only reason the 1% are in favor of lowering the minimum wage is to increase the job prospects of the 90%. Those who question their motives should remember that when you point a finger of blame four fingers point back to you, Hindsight is 20/20, we must learn from our errors and move forward and not play the blame game. And NO class warfare. Let’s take a deep breath, Folks. (“Folks”= rubes)
          Does anyone here know that Jamie Dimon houses homeless people in his poolhouse? He serves them breakfast in bed, dressed as a cabana boy. But you won’t read that on a site like this. No, just the shrill negative Nellies, whose negativity will be to blame for the next Crash. Which no one could see coming.

        2. the idiot

          If minimum wage is not tagged to inflation, then each year it’s not raised, it is actually being lowered in real money. Minimum wage has not been raised since 1997, so that money is worth less now. But I think most libertarians and free-for-all market side economists think there shouldn’t be a minimum wage. I actually heard somebody say, “some workers just aren’t worth $9.00 an hour.” Really, some jobs aren’t worth being below the poverty line? In terms of real actual labor, I would imagine minimum wage jobs probably require more actual work than say, a Club for Growth New Media Consultant.

    2. taunger

      Sayez is right, b/c high marginal income taxation not only solves inequality problems, it takes away incentives for fraud, regulatory arbitrage, etc. that are rampant and are destroying the social and environmental fabric of our country.

      1. wunsacon

        That’s exactly why I favor progressive (income and/or wealth) tax rates, too.

        When people can reasonably imagine that through their actions they can become kings, some of them set out to do so. We should de-motivate these people.

        And all the ingenuity during the years of high tax rates (50’s-’82) proves people who want to create and invent will create and invent anyway. It’s what many of us do.

  15. jake1

    I remember reading Woodward’s “Wired” when I was around 12 years old. I was a big John Belushi fan and remember thinking “Hey, this seems to be more about how great this Bob Woodward guy is than about John Belushi” – who actually was at a great comedian. At the time I had no idea who Woodward was, but Woodward made sure that we knew how awesome everyone else thought he was.

    1. different clue

      I speedy-skimread this book in my early twenties. I got the feeling that Woodward wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson for a day and thought this was the way to do it. One almost imagines the ghost of John Belusci saying . . . ” I used to know Hunter S. Thompson. Hunter S. Thompson was a friend of mine. And Woodward? You’re no Hunter S. Thompson.”

      Hopefully this will lead to an agonizing re-appraisal of Woodward’s credibility as a reporter or an analyst of anything whatever. And perhaps people might ask themselves why Woodward got so richly rewarded that he is rich now, and why Bernstein got so poorly treated that he is basically poor now.

    1. craazyman

      After 6 bong hits I realized the universe itself is an immortal robot that the Angels of Light are trying to overpower and control with the force of consciousness. Then I ate a whole bag of Doritoes to celebrate my breakthrough.

        1. ohmyheck

          Meh. Everyone knows that Cheetos rule and Dorritos drool.

          If the universe itself is an immortal robot, then if the Angels of Light had any brains, they would just hack that robot. We’ve got a whole list of former, unemployed coders here that could get the job done.

          That was easy. What’s next?

  16. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Research ties inequality to a gap in life expectancy

    Hmm. Page 3 really spills the details:

    “Adults also smoke at nearly double the rate they do in St. Johns, and they are far more likely to be obese and far less likely to be physically active, according to rankings developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.”

    It’s not necessarily the income inequality or the accesses to medical care… it’s the so called lifestyle choices that are different. I’m not sure that less income inequality would help raise life expectancy. The lifestyle taxes would (ala the soda tax), but those would be regressive. Hmm.

    1. taunger

      “lifestyle choices” might be influenced by relative affluence. If you never get a vacation, struggle to pay the bills every month, and constantly have to deal with an overbearing boss, perhaps the five minutes of solitude and chemical fulfillment are the only rewards you can find in a day/week/month/etc.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        I’m not sure I buy that. According the CDC, education has the greatest effect… and the rates are probably based on people quitting and not starting smoking:

        One of the CDC’s comments was on workplace smoking, and the differences of acceptance between white and blue collar workers. If so, this this make a difference:

        In the future, we should be seeing lower life expectance in the south, including Florida which still allows smoking in bars.

          1. Lidia

            Yes, I remember that very study and I find it quite credible.

            Was the other study’s “education” result screened for social class? Because high levels of education and high social class tend to correlate.

    2. different clue

      If you are too poor to have any choices in lifestyle, you take and settle for what little lifestyle you can afford.

      Now . . . if 50 poor and near-poor million sugar/tobacco/lottery users were to boycott sugar/tobacco/lotteries for the rest of their lives, would they feel more pain from giving up these meager pleasures or would the merchants of sugar/tobacco/lottery tickets feel more pain from losing the revenue streams? If it could be definitely established that the poor and near-poor users of these things could inflict more pain on the merchants of these things through boycotting these things than they would feel by giving up these things; would they be motivated to “take the pain” in order to inflict a GREATer pain upon their social class enemies?

      Can spite and rage and hate motivate millions of people to concerted long-term social-economic action?

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Drone economy will create 100,000 jobs…

    Will a slave-importing economy create just as many? Has anyone done a study on that?
    If it will, does it mean we should promote that?

    When we stick to economic growth, government spending to create jobs and increase GDP, whether it is Keyensian, post-K or MMT, you wil always have that dilemma.

    When you say, we have enough wealth, but its not fairly distributed, we don’t need more GDP growth, in fact, we can shrink the GDP and the 99.99% (and nature) better off if we go back to the wealth distribution we had 4 or 5 decades ago, (basically, replay the movie backwards).

    What about progress? That’s always the trick to get people to buy into more GDP growth. You have to challenge yourself to exam what ‘progress’ has brought – disposable shoes, shirts, family members, toxic food, toxic water, toxic air, technical know-how, but no wisdom college education, etc.

    ‘Progress’ and ‘we got to hav more jobs’

    With GDP sharing, we don’t have to have more jobs.

    What we have, we share (work or out-of-work).

    We share – no charity here.

    You don’t have to endure the embarassment (you should be in fact proud to put food on the table for your family) from less sensitive people – here comes the guy (or gal) from Job Gurantee Corp!!!!

    Why? You don’t need charity in a society where ‘we share everything we have’ – a simple 5-word sentence – is written into its constitution.

    Thus, one can see simple can be powerful.

    Many people would want you to believe the government has to be bloated and big to be powerful.

    A powerful government can be small.

  18. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to Bradley Manning’s statement. Do you know if anyone has prepared a transcript that is publicly available?

  19. Hugh

    Universities are hierarchies of inequality. At large universities, most teaching, you know what most muppets think is or should be a university’s primary mission, is done by poorly paid grad students and adjunct non-tenure track “faculty”. The next rung up is comprised of assistant professors. These are on a tenure, publish or perish track. The dirty not so secret secret about them is more and more universities simply run them ragged for their 3 years but have no intention of granting them tenure. And as for what is published, it’s not much of a secret that way north of 95% of it is junk and BS. It says nothing new, it is a rehash of old material in the framework du jour, it is incrementalist and could just have been posted online. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the politics. Look at economics, for example, being a charlatan is not sufficient to get published in a presitigious economics journal, one must be a credentialed or anointed charlatan. It’s absurd, which is to say corrupt. And all this is before, we get to the administrative side where the big bucks and power are.

    What can you say about universities that charge increasingly exorbitant amounts for educations which aren’t even their main priority and which drive their recipients into lifelong debt servitude? What can you say about those who run universities as corporations and view corporate partnerships as their primary purpose? The idea that education to create an informed citizenry and improve the general quality of one’s life has been dead for decades, replaced by universities as conduits to industry. Now even that is failing as universities become markers of class privilege and class identification for the increasing few who can afford them.

    1. craazyman

      You’re being too harsh Hugh. How will the NFL get new players without the college system?

      Look at baseball, they have all Latin America so they don’t need the colleges. Otherwise they’d be toast.

      I went to the University of Magonia for my PhD in Contemporary Analysis. There was no football but I got my butt kicked like a 170 pound right tackle. Fortunately tuition was free so there was plenty of money for red wine and dope. That’s all you really need if you can go to the library

  20. ex-PFC Chuck

    New pope selected, according to BBC. Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, selects the name Francis I.

  21. kevinearick

    by all means, build more drones, on the assumption of a closed subsystem…

    Drugs & Money: Boeing, Microsoft, & US Navy

    The empire pays you to fail; the more people you keep busy, to preserve the status quo, the more free money you get. The problem with diverting money from the military to social programs is that it accelerates empire discharge, deleveraging, exacerbating the social deficit.

    The American middle class has been living off a growing global slave population, and the global demographic insurance ponzi is collapsing. The Fed prints $100B in a week and the reported federal deficit for a year is $1T+. Where do you suppose the difference is? Take a look at the actuarial leverage over time versus money supply.

    Boeing can’t deal with backlash and its stock goes up? What do you suppose backlash will look like in the cloud? How often do you expect it to occur? What is cash flow? What is NPV? What is the value of Buffet’s monopoly? Why is the majority feeding Buffet instead of its own children? Keep loading those rail cars with oil.

    Pensions are a ponzi disguised as a safety net. Empire monopoly is a game played by adults that never graduated from the terrible-twos, selling out their own parents and children on the excuse of pensions and in favor of the manufactured majority, who did the same, expecting to win a game that all eventually lose. Why would anyone start a business inside a global black hole designed to consume it?

    Keep the Dream(liner) alive. Two-yr-olds are persistent; cram as much credit down their throats as they will consume, but you can only drive so much dc into a black hole. You cannot assume a relatively open system inside of an empire, which is why all the local technicians are chasing backlash for “profit” and getting further behind.

    Replacing the labor that designed the technology with cheaper labor is pretty damn stupid, but the empire majority does it every time. That is the nature of office politics. A lawyer requires an accountant, an accountant requires a bank, and a bank requires free money. The law is whatever a political judge says it is and what goes around comes around. What is camping? Treat people like machines and define the corporation as a person, brilliant.

    The ocean may prescribe the land, and its laws, but, relative to the universe, it is a tiny drop in a very small bucket. If you can wire up to the universe, why would you concern yourself with the cost of extracting energy from fossil fuel?

    Labor is overrated, overqualified, right? That is the argument the US Navy, and its make-believe admirals, is trying to prove, whether they know it or not. Good luck with that. How many times can McCain fail and make a profit? What is your definition of success? How far is it from nature?

    Most women are prideful, ride their man until things get difficult, dump them, blame them for everything, and get another. Pretty soon the majority of men are doing the same thing, homosexuality spikes, and the empire implodes. That is History, but who wants to hear that?

    Steal from others, add Latin, teach others, and call yourself a rocket scientist, in a university system built for the purpose. The majority and its gossipy way is the snake in our little story of Adam and Eve.

    Of course America is a drug dealer; stupefying the population is the only way to square the circular books. Dig those holes potheads, enable Benny’s printing press, and bitch, on your way to the churn pool, same as ever. How’s that for new age mystification?

    The majority disciplines the minority, for better or for worse. Discipline yourself beyond the law, or majority peer pressure anxiety will do it for you.

  22. Hugh

    Re Saez, he defines rent as the driver of inequality and defines it as “pay doesn’t correspond to what economists call ‘marginal productivity’—that is, the economic contribution a person is providing.” I call this looting and I would go further. In many cases, take the Walmart heirs, their productivity is zero. They contribute nothing to society. They just inherited tens of billions. Then too there are the banksters and the CEOs who loot their companies and run them in the ground. Their productivity is not just negative, but extremely negative.

    My suggestions for taxation, which I have stated before, are the following:

    1. A 50% tax rate for incomes above $300,000 going to 75% at $1 million.

    2. A marginal 90% tax rate for income above $1 million. All earnings here and abroad from whatever source to be declared and taxed as income. Any wealth and/or income undeclared to be confiscated and subject to additional financial and criminal penalties.

    3. A yearly 10% asset tax on household wealth above $20 million.

    4. Current charitable foundations set up by families (think Gates, Buffet, etc.) to also be taxed at this same rate. Ban family foundations in the future.

    5. A 50% tax on gross corporate profits. All profits and assets here and abroad to be declared or subject to confiscation with additional financial and criminal penalties for both the corporations and their chief officers.

    6. 100% estate tax on all estates over $3.5 million per individual, $7 million for couples. Eliminate most trusts.

    I am flexible on the amounts and rates, but we really need to come to an understanding that our wealth and resources are not infinite and at some point we have to say enough is enough. Any more and you are stealing from the rest of us. Seriously, how many millions does a person need anyway? If we lived in a society with universal healthcare, free education, a right to a job that paid a living wage, and secure retirments, how much more does anyone need? How much more can anyone justify?

    1. JohnL

      Universal health care, check
      Free education, check
      Right to a job – hold on a minute. I’m self employed. I don’t want that. Plus, how does that work?
      Pension, check. As long as is doesn’t depend on that job.

  23. David Petraitis

    I found the principled stand of Philippe Sands in the UK to be encouraging. His resignation speech (or letter… I’m not sure which) is at:

    In it he says:

    This part of the bill (the section creating secret courts) is a messy and unhappy compromise. It is said to have been demanded by the US (which itself has stopped more or less any case that raises ‘national security’ issues from reaching court), on the basis that it won’t share as much sensitive intelligence information if the UK doesn’t rein in its courts.

    I have found that the US pushing its view extra-territorially of “justice” and “fairness” to tend toward less of both, globally. If we strip away the cant of “national security,” in fact we see the hegemonic ideologies which the American Revolution rebelled against in the tyrant George III being re-enacted 250 years later by the so-called democracies. We should beware of the tendency of democratically elected governments to become tyrannies as well.

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    Benjamin Franklin

    1. Synopticist

      Phillip Sands wqas perfectly content to remain a member of a party which has enacted some of the most hard rightwing policies seen in the UK, ever. He had no problem when his party was privatising vast swathes of the NHS, or slashing welfare benefits for the poor, or encouring hate crimes against the diabled, which havbe risen by 60% since his party came to power.

      He’s upset because terrorists will find it harder to sue the British government over something the CIA did to them.
      He’s a lawyer who specialises in suing the British govt, obviously.

      The guy is ther epitome of fake, pseudo-progressive, upper-middle class hypocrisy. A fatcat, economically righwing, anti-poor, anti-working class self-loathing Brit shyster lawyer. I had no idea he was a libdem, but i’m not in the least suprised.

      1. Anon

        Shyster? Self-loathing? Because he’s Jewish?

        Sands has almost single-handedly tried to keep the attention on Bliar and Goldsmith, the then-AG, over Britain’s participation in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and its illegality. He’s also a self-taught environmental law expert, who had a hand in the whole Kyoto thing, so I imagine he sticks to his brief pretty closely, because with his level of expertise, that’s what you do.

        Shirley Williams, however, should have known better on the NHS, but hell, it’s not like the Labour party was any different when it was in power (attempted sell-off of my GP surgery, local hospital threatened for the 99th time in a decade, which was beaten back, and which is now threatened with total annihilation by the ConDems.)

        The LibDems are destroyed in any case at this point, so I wouldn’t sweat it. I don’t think Sands’ resignation will make much difference to their chances in 2015.

    1. JTFaraday

      Oh, yeaaah. I Forgot about His Royal Highness, the permanent Mayor and politically impervious Godhead.

      That reminds me of my theory that Sexton and Bloomberg would get rid of Kerrey for trying to be a human being and actually showing up at the student occupation of the New School student center in what? 2008? and negotiating with The Enemy.

      Sexton was much more appropriate, when they tried to pull the same stunt over there. Much more of a military hard*ss.

      Hm. Wild card.

    1. the idiot

      Neo-feudalism: all the despair and marginalization of the old feudalism, but with reality television.

    1. AbyNormal

      “It’s a war on money, war on corruption, on politically exposed persons, anti-money laundering, organized crime,” said Amit Kumar, who advised the United Nations on Taliban sanctions and is a fellow at the Democratic think tank Center for National Policy.

      this Kumar?

      i got to stop reading this place past 6pm…too many nightmares, too often

    1. Ms G

      Wow, I live in Brooklyn but I would not have known about the peaceful protest and violent NYPD response if I hadn’t seen your post, Lambert

      I did a very quick check of local MSM — NY Post, NY Dailynews, NY Times, WSJ — and zero coverage of the situation in East Flatbush. Except NYT with a typically pseudo-neutral “anger persists” article focusing on the autopsy and mentioning police only in atmospheric detail of flashing cop cars. silent as well.

      According to the thread under the hashtag, there have been arrests, there is a full panoply of NYPD from patrol officers to guys in riot gear, and the netting is coming out for kettling.

      Again, ZERO coverage in local news.

        1. Ms G

          A-ha! I didn’t see this on the front page of NYDN when I visited a couple of hours ago. Thanks for posting.

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