Links 4/1/13

Human parents for abandoned baby gorilla Gladys BBC

Steve Jobs’ first boss: ‘Very few companies would hire Steve, even today’ Associated Press (Chuck L). “Even”? How about “more so”?

The Dangers of Surveillance Bruce Schneider (Chuck L)

U.S. Denounces North Korea ‘History of Bellicose Rhetoric Bloomberg, I know the North Koreans are horrible dictators, but didn’t we fly a stealth bomber over them? And we’re now surprised they are sputtering, which is pretty much all they can do? I assume this is all proxy Senkaku/Diaoyu..

U.S. Ups Its Show of Force in Korea Wall Street Journal

More Cyprus:

A nation’s anger homing in on central bank governor Cyprus Mail. Not stated anywhere nearly clearly enough is he gave away the Greek branches, increasing the costs to Cypriot depositors.

Cyprus’ President-related company transfers €21 mln to London prior to bailout agreement – report RT (Deontos). I’d love to provide a link, but I was getting 502 errors for all of RT. I’m hoping it resolves by the time you go looking.

Cyprus, the island that has forgotten how to laugh Telegraph

Scramble to find Cypriot cash escape route Financial Times

In Cyprus, Goods Hit a Bottleneck Wall Street Journal

Cypriot archbishop urges finance minister to quit Telegraph

Economics will catch up with the euro Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

Eurogroup English Dictionary (EED) MacroMan

The message sent by America’s invisible victims Glenn Greenwald

The Tar Sands Disaster Thomas Homer-Dixon, New York Times

US inequality will define the Obama era Ed Luce, Financial Times

Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson Says Male Lawmakers Shouldn’t Vote On Abortion Laws At All Addicting Info (Francois T)

Paul Ryan Thrown Out of Easter Mass For Views On Poverty Daily Currant (Chuck L)

This American Life Features Error-Riddled Story On Disability And Children Media Matters. Relevant because the underlying story is still making the rounds.

Your helpful charts ‘o the day Dibgy (Carol B)

Problems with the TSA Sai (Chuck L)

Go For Gold Simon Johnson

David Stockman Writes Huge Unhinged Screed About How America Is Doomed And How You Should Get Out Of The Market NOW Clusterstock

Thomas Friedman Invented His Own Job, Why Shouldn’t You? Dean Baker

Pay for Boards at Banks Soars Amid Cutbacks New York Times.

Some Crappy Resurrection Arthur Silber. Please send him some $ if you’ve ever read him. It sounds like a little would go a LONG way.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Cletus

    Re: Steve Jobs:

    He didn’t finish college. No job for Jobs. Talent and brilliance are no excuse for failure to assimilate.

    Toe the line, Jobs — it’s the key to getting ahead.

    1. ron

      I was an early vendor for Apple and worked with Jobs and he was not employee material, he was totally driven, wanted everything done exactly his way, was not interested in your opinion, a meeting was listening to Steve.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Very few companies would hire U. Grant, more so today – he drank too much.

      Very few companies would hire Deng Xiaoping, more so today – he was too short to be CEO material.

        1. nonclassical

          ..not that I’m a Grant fan-but history notes he informed people he was NOT a “politician”…would therefore trust advice of his advisors…western railway money went to Europe-twice. Some advisors…perhaps their descendants are still in evidence today..

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I didn’t mean to insult Bonaparte.

        He would be too short too for today’s shareholders.

    3. nonclassical

      O.K.-took me twice to “get it”-both times I clicked on “The Dangers of Surveillance”, article on Steve Jobs came up-so surveillance is now controlling our computer clicks…

  2. Voltron

    We flew the B-2 stealth bomber over South Korea, not North Korea. Sends a message, but is not an act of war.

        1. Heretic

          If the US flew stealth bombers over north or South Korea, how come the the North Korean know about this?

          Is there warranty for stealth on those ‘Stealth Bombers’?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Well, that’s an interesting question.

            If you flew a stealth bomber, and no one saw it, was it really over there?

            It’s like, if you threw a party, and no one came, did you still have fun?

            It’s also like, if you printed as much money as you desired, and no one wanted to use it, was it worth it?

    1. optimader

      Low and in daylight so everyone could see it. Free carnival rides in the >$1BB Curtis Jenny!

  3. Jennifer

    “But I’m not really big on this hippie New Testament thing. Too much peace and love, not enough hatred and violence. But hey, it’s all God’s word. So I don’t see why I am excluded from Catholic services just because I like some parts better than others.”
    That is a money quote from Paul Ryan. The New Testament predates the 60’s by 2000 years or so, it’s amazing he feels the need to defame an essential aspect of his faith by linking it to a social movement he knows his supporters hate. It’s terrific to see a Catholic Church call a politician out on something other than abortion.
    That Alan Simpson interview is worth reading-almost everything he says in it makes sense. I have to leave now to look for some flying pigs.

      1. from Mexico

        Either way, we know we’re in a bad way when it’s near impossible to tell the difference between wit and reality.

      1. Terez

        Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is playing jokes and who has been taken in by others’.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am surprised they didn’t satire Alan Simpson about only animal lawmakers can vote on matters concerning animals, and mineral lawmakers vote on matters concerning minerals, etc.

    1. F. Beard

      Ryan fails at basic justice, not to mention “peace and love.”

      And this:

      The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalm 11:5

      I would fear to be hated by the Lord’s soul. How about you Paul Ryan?

      And Paul baby, the above quote is from the “bloody” Old Testament.

    2. briansays

      ryan’s father died when he was young–he grew up and lived off social security survivor’s benefits–a raging hypocrite, i would suspect alienated socially as a youth who found refuge in ayn rand who was a similar hypocrite

      1. from Mexico

        That’s the crux of it.

        What she called “objectivism” was in reality subjectivism and speculative thought carried to a ridiculous extreme.

      2. AbyNormal

        “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”
        –Paul Ryan in a 2005 speech to a group of Rand devotees called the Atlas Society

        “I reject her [Ayn Rand’s] philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.” –Paul Ryan, National Review interview, April 2012

        (they don’t make a pill or a planet for this)

  4. rjs

    for those of you too young to remember david stockman: as Reagan’s budget director in 1981, he dropped the most revealing line ever muttered by a public official:

    “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers.”

    1. taunger

      Thanks. That was just close enough that I had to check the date on the paper to figure it out.

    2. ohmyheck

      “we…conclude that the belief in the existence of our Universe is an illusion, as previously assumed by ancient philosophers, 20th century science fiction authors and contemporary film makers.”

      And a few NC-ers as well.

  5. Bill Smith

    No we did not fly stealth bombers over ‘them’. The stealth bombers flew over South Korea, southern South Korea according to the press releases.

  6. Gerard Pierce

    Re: David Stockman

    Stockman was probably the only Reagan appointee who kinda-sorta knew his butt from third base. That doesn’t mean he was right, he was just a little more logical than the rest of the Republicans of the time.

    It’s interesting to see “Business Insider” have a hissy-fit at his recent statements:

    “There have been numerous warnings from people like Stockman over the last few years, and the market consistently rejects them.”

    Their reaction and the above quote are enough to convince me that if I had any investment in the stock market I would dump it immediately and buy Greek Bonds.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Stockman became damaged goods to the Reaganauts when he committed candor in an interview in The Atlantic in which he essentially said that supply-side economics was BS.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s probably more profitable to leave out Stockman and go straight to the question – should I get out now? Will another market crash finally prompt the 0.01% to do something to fix the economy?

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        The oligarchs’ goal is way broader and deeper than just making money or, for that matter, avoiding losing it. Control, baby, control. If they have to lose a bit now and then to achieve that goal, so be it. Of course they’re incapable of seeing that in doing so they’ll be killing the goose.

  7. Jim Haygood

    In February, when the late Hugo Chávez announced a devaluation of Venezuela’s official exchange rate, I googled to find out the black market bolivar rate.

    The top search result was a site called Lechuga Verde (green lettuce, ay caramba!). It quoted a black market rate of a stunning 20 bolivars per dollar, more than triple the official rate of 6.30.

    Yesterday Bloomberg announced that Lechuga Verde is gone, and so is the money of Venezuelan victims who tried desperately to buy dollars through the site:

    “This isn’t a game, and both you and us can be seriously harmed,” read the message [an unnamed Venezuelan teacher] received, a final plea for silence from Lechuga Verde, or Green Lettuce, before its website, Twitter and Facebook pages vanished overnight on March 8.

    After a decade of currency controls, normally law-abiding Venezuelans and businesses are taking unconventional steps to find the greenbacks needed to protect against growing instability following Hugo Chavez’s death from cancer last month. That’s allowed fraud to proliferate, piling more risk into an illegal market for hard currency that’s being driven further underground as authorities hoard scarce dollars.

    Acting President Nicolas Maduro unveiled an auction system last month to rein in “parasitic bourgeois” speculators he blames for worsening inflation running at 23 percent and pushing down the value of the nation’s currency to more than 20 bolivars per dollar in the black market. Known as Sicad, the auction mechanism seeks to boost the supply of dollars after February’s 32 percent devaluation to 6.3 bolivars per dollar.

    Another victim, a 23-year-old from Valencia now living in the U.S., said he was drawn to Lechuga Verde after reading a number of favorable customer reviews on social networking sites. In his case, he needed the cash to pay for an MBA at Miami’s Millenia Atlantic University. While Venezuelans can obtain dollars to pay tuition at overseas universities, the government only authorizes purchases for degrees it considers of interest to its 21st century socialist revolution. Finance isn’t one.

    There’s more to this article than quoted above, and it’s eye-opening reading.

    At least young Venezuelans aren’t going to heading to Miami to study ‘parasitic bourgeois’ subjects like finance.

    It’s counterrevolutionary, comrades! And you don’t need no PhD Econ to become a black market currency trader.

    Lechuga verde, oye!

    1. Klassy!

      Eye opening? I’m sure you had to search high and wide to find a hit piece on Chavez.

      1. Jim Haygood

        My hobby horse is dual exchange rates, not Chávez. Two LatAm countries have them, Venezuela and Argentina. Both are facing extreme pressures on their currencies.

        Sorry if my parasitic bourgeois interests offend you, comrade.

        1. Klassy!

          Okay, my comment was kind of generic. I’ll give you that, but my thought is so what? when you state “the government only authorizes purchases for degrees it considers of interest to its 21st century socialist revolution. Finance isn’t one.”

          1. from Mexico

            There was a time when the US would send in the convert ops to make Haygood’s wet dream come true. And if that didn’t work, there were always the marines. But the covert ops trick doesn’t work any more, and the last time I checked, the marines were pretty much up to their ass in alligators in Iraq and Afghanistan.

            The unconquerable world! What a bitch if you’re a neocon. Where are those teeming drones when you need them?

    2. Jim Haygood

      But wait, there’s more:

      CARACAS – A Venezuelan government foreign currency auction for local importers has triggered a de facto currency devaluation, the second in less than 50 days, analysts said.

      Venezuela has had strict currency exchange controls since 2003 … fueling a black market with a much higher exchange rate that by law cannot be published.

      The government scrapped a program that exchanged currency at a rate of 5.3 bolivars per dollars … and launched a new plan known as SICAD through which it auctioned $200 million on Wednesday to a group of chosen companies. The government said that 383 companies participated, but did not name them. Neither did they reveal the sale price of the dollar.

      Critics say the auction was a veiled devaluation, and an attempt by the government of acting President Nicolas Maduro to ease a demand for basic goods … ahead of the April 14 presidential election.

      “The government did not announce the results of the foreign currency auction because clearly we are facing a new currency devaluation,” claimed economist Jose Guerra. He estimated that the dollars went for around 12 bolivars per dollar, much higher than official rate of 6.3 bolivars per dollar.

      Devaluation, comrades. For a macho country, a shrinking currency is the monetary equivalent of a shrinking dick.

      Loose lips sink ships! (and presidential campaigns). So leave the lechuga verde alone, okay?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Meanwhile, in the western hemisphere’s other dual exchange rate regime, soybean producers are being threatened with prosecution if they don’t raise dollars to replenish Argentina’s shrinking reserves:

        The president of Sociedad Rural Argentina, Luis Miguel Etchevehere, said that soybean producers have a “right” to sell their goods “when they think it most convenient” because it would be “suicide to sell and retain pesos” with prospective inflation of 30 percent annually.

        The farmer also said that this scenario results from an “arrogant” government and a “complicit” business sector.

        Etchevehere said there is a “plan” of the national government against agricultural leaders which includes the possibility of implementing anti-terrorism laws against soy producers, forcing them to sell and provide dollars to the market.

        The leader reiterated that it is an “exaggeration to presume to apply anti-terrorism laws to producers who do not sell at the time or under the conditions that the government wants,” according to the news agency DyN.

        “Farmers have every right to sell the products of their labor, of their investment, at the time they think most convenient. Above all, it is an act of responsibility, with expected inflation of 30 percent, to keep the proceeds in something that bears some relation to what they have to buy during the year,” he stipulated.

    1. LucyLulu

      What a mess.
      From Exxon-Mobil in link:

      “We regret that this incident has occurred and we apologize for any disruption or inconvenience this has caused.”

      Apart from “disruption or inconvenience” being the understatement of the year for those who have had to evacuate their homes, the fact that Exxon-Mobil is apologizing and participating in the clean-up is rather confusing, given the later statement denying responsibility. It states that the pipeline is under responsibility of the Feds for inspection and maintenance because it is part of an interstate pipeline. Which is it? (suspect Exxon)

      Also, in relation to Yves link from NYTimes about Keystone, the Canadians environmentalists thus far have blocked any proposals for an alternate pipeline directly through Canada to the Pacific (esp. since most of this oil is destined for Asia). They don’t want any more of their country polluted but leave it to the US to volunteer. It’s bad enough that 14,000 sq. miles of their pristine boreal forest in Alberta is destined to become a moonscape wasteland…… But us Americans, we’ll do anything for a couple bucks (for the 1%), even it means spending a lot more (by the 99%) in the long term cleaning up afterwards.

      You need to see a picture of what this “spill” entails for these residents:

  8. diptherio

    The Locust and the Bee: Geoff Mulgan argues that the economic crisis presents a historic opportunity to choose a radically different future for capitalism, one that maximises its creative power and minimises its destructive force. Only available in full until tomorrow.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      April Fools day – I wish I could fool someone telling him today’s April Fools Day.

      1. jrs

        Haha, because downtown in one of the busiest freeway intersections in the country wasn’t bad enough. The problem with L.A. is people spend too little time there stuck in traffic …

      1. rjs

        a friend went to the Spamhaus site and it was all about enforcement and working with law enforcement… go to Cyberbunker & it has a big spread on julian assange…

  9. Massinissa

    I dont know if someone posted this already, but, the Dangers of Surveillance links to the Steve Jobs article.

  10. Paul Tioxon

    BE A MAKER AND NOT A TAKER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Op-Ed Columnist
    Need a Job? Invent It
    Published: March 30, 2013 ………….APRIL FOOLS HAH!

    1. AbyNormal

      “The law itself is beyond argument. It’s there, plainly in place in the community of life. What the takers will deny is that it applies to mankind.”

      ishmael says gud mornin paul ‘ )

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For Ishmael, everything has been downhill ever since the invention of agriculture.

    2. jrs

      Yea Dean hit it on the head. “High skilled” workers have protectionist rackets and that’s why they are so paid (so do medium skilled workers, but not to the same degree).

      The thing is the deliberate political policies that create these sharply divided wage income tiers (and we’re not even getting into capitalists here) is all ultimately unsustainable on a society level. Doctors earning 100 times other workers sooner or later is the vast majority can’t afford to see a doctor. Yea government can subsidize this, and they can subsidize it plus 1000 middlement (Obamacare), but then that’s almost certain to fail.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One can not talk about tea and the Song dynasty, as the article did, without mentioning Huizong of the Northern Song dynasty – the man who loved art so much, he forgot to rule his empire.

      He was a great painter and calligrapher, inventing a very distinct calligraphic style. He loved matcha and regularly held whisking competitions. He drank from tea bowls made at the famous Ru, Ge, Guan, Ding and Jun kilns (the five famous kilns of Song), but according to him, whisked green tea looked its best in black temmoku teabowls.

      Unfortunately, the Jurchens were not so busy with Huizong’s refined distractions and when they took Kaifong, capturing him, his emperor son and other members of the Song 0.01%, they awarded his wife, the ex-empress dowager, to some common solider, probably not young enough to be a concubine nor capable as a maid.

      It’s too bad they haven’t made a movie about the art-loving emperor.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        His son or grandson, can’t remember the exact relationship, then founded the Southern Song Dynasty at Lin’an (today’s Hangzhou) – the topic of the La Angelless Times article.

      2. Hugh

        The pleasure loving emperor who neglects his job for the good life resulting in his fall has a long history in China. I am most familiar with the Emperor Chen Shubao who lost the South kingdom to the North’s Yang Jian in 589 AD at the end of the Northern and Southern Dynasties period. Yang Jian inaugurated the short lived Sui dynasty which was quickly replaced by the Tang, one of the high points in Chinese culture. Chen Shubao composed the Song of Courtyard Flowers, and references to it usually were taken as implicit criticism of the current emperor as well as the tragic fall of empires. My favorite example of this is a satirical and more than a little subversive poem of Li Shang-yin which mocks not only Chen Shubao (the pleasure lover) but Yang Jian (the ruthless general), and keys in on the evanescence of empire in general:

        The Sui Palace

        The halls of his Purple Fountain palace
        are lost in mist and bright cloud.
        He wished to take Wucheng
        and make it his own.
        If Li Yuan (founder of the Tang) had not taken back the imperial seal
        at the sunset of his house,
        He would have stretched the embroidered panels
        of his pavilions to the edges of the sky.

        Now it is all moldy grass
        without even fireflies to light it
        Ending as a place where crows
        gather in ancient broken poplars at night.

        If by chance he might meet
        the late Chen emperor in the underworld,
        Do you think it fitting for late emperor Wen (Yang Jian of Sui)
        to bring up the Song of Courtyard Flowers?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s a nice poem.

          Ironic, isn’t it that Yang Jian’s own son, who might have committed patricide and regicide, was a pleasure loving Son of Heaven as well and the imperial seal, which might have been actually the one made by the first emperor, Qin Shihuang, was taken by their Tuoba cousin, Li Yuan, whom it has been said, did not speak Middle Chinese, whose closest speakers today are found in Fujian, particularly around Zhangzhou, and Taiwan.

          By the way, Chen apparently got off a little easier than another Son of Heaven, Li Houzhu, the last emperor of Southern Tang, whose demise paved the way for another unification of China, this time under Song. This is what Wiki says about Li, another poetry loving ruler:

          He was poisoned by the Song emperor Taizong in 978, after he had written a poem that, in a veiled manner, lamented the destruction of his empire and the rape of his second wife Empress Zhou the Young by the Song emperor. After his death, he was posthumously created the Prince of Wu (吳王).

          1. Hugh

            Chinese history is rich and quite convoluted. The mandate of heaven was inscribed on the seal by the first Qin emperor. The seal was carved from a piece of jade found by a guy named Bian He. He found a rock containing the jade on a mountain and presented it to the king of Chu who promptly called him a fraud and cut off one of his feet. He presented the jade again and had his other foot cut off. Eventually, someone thought to cut open the rock. The jade was found and the rest, more or less, is history. For some reason, I find He’s adventures with the powers that be relevant to contemporary events.

          2. EmilianoZ

            And let’s not forget the emperor Wang Shitung from the Mei Yi Quan dynasty who was so absorbed in the contemplation of a cherry tree that he let the barbarians of Ying Ka Lu burn the celestial palace.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One more irony and by-the-way.

          The Li ruling family, being not completely Chinese, proceeded, over the next few hundred years, to bestow the imperial last name, Li, to many worthy Central Asians. If they were not worthy, but were from, say Samarkand, they merely had ‘Shi’ (as in Shimarkand, I guess) as their common last name.

          How so many Hui’s in north western China today have the last name, Ma, I am not sure. I will have to research more.

        3. Ms G

          Now it is all moldy grass
          without even fireflies to light it
          Ending as a place where crows
          gather in ancient broken poplars at night.

          I love this verse — thank you for the poem and the fascinating little history lesson!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does it comfort anyone that there are a lot of accidents (as in accidental discoveries) in science?

      Of course, the propaganda is that that all accidents have been good so far.

      What if they accidentally destroy the universe, even if it’s just an illusion (as no one likes to have his/her illusions shattered)?

  11. diptherio

    Continuing the volunteering conversation from the last couple days…

    Yves, I understood your point about the surveys and I whole-heartedly agree with your critique. My comments yesterday were just my tangential musings on the topic. This blog that you so awesomely run seems to me to provide as much of a public service (more) than most charities I’m aware of. But you don’t bust your ass to keep this thing going because it makes you feel good, do you? Is that the main reason? Naw, I didn’t think so. That’s sure not why I follow it…(not to say that it doesn’t make me grin from time to time)

    Here’s my last thought on the topic: I remember reading a saying from a Hasidic Rabbi in one of Martin Buber’s books, something like: “The individual life is like a hand, held before the eyes, which blocks out even the highest mountain. If we can remove the hand of our life from before our eyes, we will see the great radiance and splendor with which the world is filled.”

    When we focus on ourselves and our own personal problems, we suffer, and our world seems filled with suffering. When we pull back from our individual lives, we become aware of the suffering of others, and the world still seems filled with suffering. The difference lies in this: we can do nothing about our own suffering, since if we could we would not suffer, but we may be able to assuage the suffering of others, if only in some small way.

    In assuaging the suffering of others, one finds that one’s own individual hardships and suffering seem to fade in importance. One’s perspective shifts, and instead of seeing a world of suffering about which one can do nothing, one increasingly sees the world as full of opportunities to ease suffering.

    As Kali Baba is fond of saying, “you helping me, me helping you: god helping everybody. Me no helping, you no helping: god also no helping.”

    To all those working to ease suffering, in whatever way, jai hosh! [best of luck/victory!]

    1. LucyLulu

      Your musings on suffering sound reminiscent of that of both Buddhist teachings and that found in 12 step rooms, where volunteering and helping others, removing the focus (obsession) from self, is an important step on the path to sobriety. There is a saying in AA (one doesn’t need to be an alcoholic to benefit from the wisdom found in those rooms) that if everybody put their problems in a pot and had to pick problems to take back out, that after inspecting them all closely, they would choose to take their own. I’m often struck by the similar threads that run through the world’s major religions. In fact, if one ignores the petty details, they are more similar than different. Jesus is depicted as the ultimate selfless person who devotes his life to alleviating the suffering of his fellow man. (Too bad this fundamental message seems to have escaped so many “Christians”.) But then wisdom is a universal phenomena.

      And I don’t know why Yves writes this blog. I only know that the effort required must be phenomenal and I’d certainly consider it an act of charity. What donations she receives, if they even cover expenses, couldn’t possibly compensate her for a fraction of what her time is worth. And I’m glad she does it, because so many people, including me, are better off for it. I guess you could say Yves is a maker, and her readers are takers. ;)

    1. AbyNormal

      When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.
      Hélder Câmara

      If we don’t reverse the current trend in food prices, we’ve got until August 2013 before social unrest sweeps the planet, say complexity theorists
      Why food riots are likely to become the new normal
      New Era of Food Scarcity Echoes Collapsed Civilisations

      1. diptherio

        Looking for the Holes ~Ani Difranco

        when we patch things up
        they say a job well done
        but when we ask the question why
        where did the rips come from
        they say we are subversive
        and extreme of course
        we are just trying to track a problem
        to it’s source
        we are looking for the holes

    2. Keeping You Safe

      A lot of you people, you’re not really hungry, your government just gave you cachexia while they were Keeping You Safe and food is not going to do you any good anyway.

  12. JGordon

    Business Insider consistently scrapes the bottom of the barrel as far as journalistic ability/integrity goes. It’s interesting that you all are providing them with a forum to spread thier everything-is-fine, nothing-to-see-here desperate propaganda.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, the Stockman piece really is terrible, even if some of his conclusions may prove to be right. And I like the Clusterstock Daily-Mailish headlines.

      And you are wrong that they say everything is wonderful. They are excitable. They get all amped up about how the world is crumbling if Someone Famous like Marc Faber says so.

    2. Massinissa

      Youre strawmanning again Gordon. This site has articles every so often talking about the decline and unsustainability of Capitalism or, if you prefer, really-existing-capitalism.

      But collapse will probably be slow, at least for the next few years. Sorry, but I think Stockman is probably just overreacting. Though to be fair that article was indeed pretty terrible, but theres nothing wrong with reading an article and coming to ones own conclusion. I dont complain when this site links to an article I dont agree with, mate.

  13. Fred

    Re Simpson’s proposal that male lawmakers not be allowed to vote on abortion, how about Jewish and Palestinian lawmakers not be allowed to vote on aid to Israel or any foreign policy decisions?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Actually, it’s more important that Texan lawmakers, for example, not vote on laws that might impact mostly, say, New York. They don’t understand the problems there.

  14. Michael Anne Casey

    I think it’s fair that Mary Margaret Graham should get to run the Clandestine Service because Daddy says she has people skills, which are very important at the CIA. Like, Mr. Rodriguez would get out his flask around three thirty every day, and if you were working late he might be in a good mood and he would invite us into his office and take the nun boobs out of the formaldehyde jar. And inside I would be like ew, ick, but only just saying, Oh really? because Daddy says Mr. Rodriguez is very talented, but Mary Margaret would be all visibly excited, handling them and feeling them, and she would want to know what the nuns did wrong, like what that nun said to the poor people about their rights, and what did each nun look like, was she pretty, and just all about it. So Mary Margaret was always Mr. Rodriquez’s favorite so she really knows a lot. You know, though, I bet she has a copy of those interrogation videotapes on her ipad at home, even though she said she erased them. At least the hot ones.

  15. Propertius

    I’d love to invent my own job, just like Tom Friedman. Unfortunately, I neglected to take the necessary first step – I forgot to marry a billionaire.

  16. Hugh

    Never understood the myth of Jobs. He was an offshoring, anti-labor corporate kleptocrat of the worst kind selling hyped up, over priced, obsolescence built in toys. No company would hire him, but any company would make him their CEO.

    This all reminded me of a conversation I once had with a professor. His department was looking to fill a position, and he was going through how he was triaging the applications. Candidates had to have PhD in hand as of the application. They had to be from recognized programs. And they had to have publications. I pointed out to him that he had told me he got his first teaching position ABD (all but dissertation) and that a year into it, for a reason I can no longer recall he had to dump the original idea for his thesis and ended up writing on a different subject. While he came from a good, “named” school, he certainly had had no publications until later in his career. He had turned out fine, an authority in his field, but he had precisely because he had been given the time and the opportunity to develop his abilities. He just shrugged and said the market was different now.

    Perhaps it is just me, but I have always found that lack of self-reflection mixed with selective rigor characteristic of the professorial frame of mind.

    1. LucyLulu

      Yes about hiring professors. Teaching skills, or lack thereof, isn’t a consideration when hiring. I typically found those professors with the most distinguished credentials were the worst teachers. They were more concerned with doing their research projects, working on their papers, requiring that you use their awful texts or (software/CAD) products, etc. than covering the course topics.

  17. Ms G


    I am in the same boat. However, the necessary first step that I neglected to take was being born a billionaire.

    Also, Tom Friedman is very deceptive. He did not “invent” his job — he stepped right into the very established job of blathering, incoherent and irrelevant propagandist.

    Ms G

    1. Klassy!

      I was up far too early yesterday and noticed they stopped accepting comments by the time I saw his piece– maybe around 6:30 AM. Well, there are only 80 comments to his column. I guess it was just too much for the moderators. I think they sift through the comments hoping to pluck that one comment that praises his column and make it a Times pick (tm!). Tom is a delicate flower that must be protected from knowing what his readers really feel about him.

      1. Klassy!

        But, as you say “he stepped right into the very established job of blathering, incoherent and irrelevant propagandist.” so it’s not like the readers/commenters are relevant.

        1. Ms G

          The invisible and unpublished NY Times “comments policy” is by now so obvious I think we’ve all figured it out and it’s pretty much as you described it. “Delicate flower” – indeed!

          Hopefully Taibbi will do one of his Friedman burlesque pieces — we have to go elsewhere to read pertinent (non sycophantic and propaganda re-inforcing/amplifying) … next stop, ACTION.

      2. Ms G

        If the article had been about something “cultural,” like the effect of dog walking on the flora of the NYC sidewalks, you can bet the NYT Comments Screening Review Komittee (*) would have allowed the comments to bloat into the high hundreds!

        * I wonder if Bill Son-Of-Oil Keller or Sulzie (Turnip/Truck) Jr. man that Kontrol room personally.

  18. Hugh

    The Luce article is important because it notes that median household income has declined in each of the last 5 years, essentially the Obama years. And:

    “According to David Cay Johnston of Syracuse University, the wealthiest 10 per cent of Americans have taken 149 per cent of the growth since 2009 (the bottom 90 per cent have seen their incomes shrink).”

    This is even more than Saez estimates and most of this is concentrated in the 1% or higher.

    Intellectually, it is a mishmash trying both to justify great wealth and wealth inequality even as it decries them, a sort of bad wealth inequality is bad so we should want good wealth inequality. Whatever.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Interesting story (please google it, as I am not directly any traffic to a commercial site – that’s my new policy):

    Shakespeare was a profiteer and a tax dodger.

    ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the tax farmers!’ – I believe that was edited to read lawyers, instead of tax farmers.

    By the way, under the Mongol Semu caste system, southern Chinese were the most despicable people in their world, and most of their tax farmers in China were Arabs. I wonder if that had anything to do with the disruption in the supply of the Muhammad blue after they kicked the Mongols north and the decline of the Ming blue and white porcelains after Xuande as cobalt blue supplies were depleted?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thus, we learn what was true then is still true today – you may complain about lawyers, but never tax collectors.

      It shall be censored, in the name of inflation-suppression and fiat-currency-validation!

      And IRS really stands for Inflation Reduction Squad.

  20. Capo Regime

    As flawed as the Stockman piece in NYT may be, is it any worse than most of the dreck they publish? Is it not odd it has drawn out so much approbium? Hell, they have had Thom Friedman brandishing all sorts of nonesense for years. Moreover, its an op-ed so conclusions and assertions are par for the course no? Its flawed sure, but is it that much worse than what the NYT typically publishes–not to mention their other behaviors. Could it be the mention of corruption is what has the Obamabots all in a tizzy? I notice none of the critics have touched that. What is it with Krugman and the Ad Hominem of Crankly Old Man? Can we call Krugman an annoying pudgy narcissist and propagandist?

    1. Ms G

      Yes, in this case Krugman has major glass houses and stones issues. It shows what a petty, peevish 10th grader he really is.

  21. WorldisMorphing

    I was finishing the article on David Stockman’s “unhinged screed” in the NY Times.
    At the end of the article, a link like this appears at the bottom of the page: [SEE ALSO: Peak Oil is dead]

    …pointing to here:

    Well, since it’s April 1st, I said to myself: a good laugh would do me good…let’s go for it!

    I clicked…
    No surprise…I got exactly what I was looking for.
    The analysis of a willfully ignorant tool. I mean, it’s really a case study that has to be preserved for anthropology, science, psychology and economic knowledge of future generations…assuming the world still have use for those fields at the time (science most probably, it goes without saying, but the rest…).

    It boggles the mind to consider the particular kind of full-of-shitness needed to come up with a post like this. Yet, the math are not that fucking hard to figure out…

    GDP is not so much correlated to oil price as it is correlated to AVAILABLE STOCKS. European growth is already mainly constrained by fossil fuel supplies.
    Welcome to the Low-to-No-to-Declining-Growth era.
    Get some alcohol and a rocking chair, but don’t bullshit yourselves…

  22. emma

    broken link to Bruce Schneier on surveillance

    “Surveillance is harmful because it can chill the exercise of our civil liberties, especially our intellectual privacy. It is also gives the watcher power over the watched, creating the the risk of a variety of other harms, such as discrimination, coercion, and the threat of selective enforcement, where critics of the government can be prosecuted or blackmailed for wrongdoing unrelated to the purpose of the surveillance.”

    from a paper by Neil M. Richards, Harvard Law Review, 2013, here:

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