Links 4/13/13

‘Ag-gag’ laws to impact beyond US BBC

Salmon Confidential—How a Canadian Government Cover-Up Threatens Your Health, and the Entire Ecosystem Mercola (furzy mouse). Yes, I know Mercola is sensationalistic (as in the link between the salmon diseases and human health risks isn’t proven and even though he acknowledges that, he plays up the possibility that it might be). But farmed salmon is not a good product from a health standpoint (grocery store tell the distributor what shade they want and it is dyed accordingly).

FDA Finds ‘Unsanitary Conditions’ at 30 Specialty Pharmacies Associated Press (Carol B)

Virtual Bitcoin Mining Is a Real-World Environmental Disaster Bloomberg

Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice HotHardware. All your base are belong to us.

Do elite universities admit the academically best students? VoxEU. In case you had any doubts.

BTS flooded after heavy thunderstorm Coconuts Bankgkok

Japan, U.S. agree on Tokyo joining Trans-Pacific trade talks Reuters (Lambert)

Some New Estimates of Japanese Trade Elasticities Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

BoJ deflation war begets curious results Financial Times (Scott)

The Real Cyprus Template (the one you’re not supposed to notice) Charles Hugh Smith (Jeremy B). Really important. Shows how French and German banks were tantamount to hot money investors and managed to get most of their € out before the Troika shot the two big banks.

Cyprus goes from bad to worse by the day; so does Portugal Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Portugal’s elder statesman calls for ‘Argentine-style’ default Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

The Know-It-All Party: Anti-Euro ‘Alternative for Germany’ Launches Der Spiegel. The dismissive headline sounds a tad defensive.

Austerity under fire Financial Times

BBC in hot seat as anti-Thatcher song climbs chart Associated Press v. Ding dong, the … BBC to cut Thatcher protest song short Guardian

Labour market efficiencies from the Roses to the X factor Alex Harrowell

US risks wrath of Moscow with threat to officials Guardian

Chained CPI Means You Can’t Have Nice Things masaccio, Firedoglake

It’s time baseball players were allowed to carry guns on the field Scholars and Rogues (Lambert)

Daniel McGowan Forbidden From Publishing Articles Without Permission Village Voice. From Mrs. G:

America’s gulag (“Communication Management Unit”) … or “CMUs” — new supermax facilities that have been dubbed “little Guantanamos”, apparently specialize in preventing any communication of the prisoner with the outside world. McGowan — who was arrested for environmental activism — was sent there after exemplary behavior at a normal prison. No answers why. It appears that these facilities were created to isolate prisoners who write things unflattering about government and the prison system.

Now, “CMU” inmates have filed a lawsuit to have these freak-horror gulags declared unconstitutional.

The Christian fundamentalism behind Ron Paul’s home-schooling curriculum Sarah Posner, Guardian (John L)

With Police in Schools, More Children in Court New York Times (Carol B). Oh, and just as one of the purposes of school is to get children used to work-day rhythms, this looks also to be to get them to see intensive policing as normal.

“And you’re not going to tell the homeowners?” Elizabeth Warren to Fed and OCC, Senate hearing highlights Corrente

Synchronicity! Thinking about faux centrism:

Radical Centrism: Uniting the Radical Left and the Radical Right Macroeconomic Resilience (diptherio)

Don’t Beat Yourselves Up: Most People Don’t Practice What They Preach heteconomist

Designer Protests and Vanity Arrests in DC Counterpunch (Carol B)

Is Tom Friedman the Most Overrated and Disgraceful Journalist in America? Alternet

IMF to cut US growth forecast amid downbeat retail and confidence data Guardian

Fewer Home Loans Start to Affect Banks New York Times. Might help not to blow up your customers.

Princess Diana’s dresses, marijuana and paying for breast surgery for his porn star girlfriend: How Scripps media heirs ‘squandered’ MILLIONS as the trust fund son is found guilty of defrauding his mother and autistic uncle Daily Mail

Inhuman Radiation Experiments Counterpunch (Carol B)

Notes on Identity, Institutions, and Uprisings Tom Slee (Lambert).

Antidote du jour:


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  1. JGordon

    The expense of bitcoin mining is what gives value to bitcoin. If it were not expensive there would be no reason to use it over USDs.

    People feel good about having a currency that is anonymous and that can’t be devalued at a whim by some other entity, and bitcoin’s limited quantity (although not really since it’s divisible) and non-state nature are what gives it those properties. That’s why people like bitcoin, although I personally still before owning solar panels and hand tools since bitcoins won’t be of much use when the internet is gone.

    1. skippy

      Value = Belief

      Sorry to inform you…. but, Bitcon is no better than any virtual reality world MOG platform exchange belief market – exchange object.

      Skippy… say it ain’t so Miss Watanabe

      Lieutenant Commander

      Re: Star Citizen – Chris Roberts’ new game
      Timby wrote:

      Keep in mind that all we’ve seen is a pre-rendered sizzle reel, and we have no idea whatsoever what development has taken place already, outside of the announcement that it’s running CryEngine 3 and that Roberts has a very rough prototype.

      At the GDC online announcement, Roberts played the mission seen in the trailer in real time. He started off in 1st/3rd person walking around the interior of the carrier, climbed into the cockpit of his fighter, took off, and fought with the raider ships. All without any loading screens or major hiccups (though there were a few minor clipping issues).

      So the basics of the game engine are set, and it was surprisingly polished for a pre-pre-alpha build. From his comments it sounded like the only assets they really had completed were the carrier and the 2 fighter classes, but it’s pretty impressive that they managed to turn CryEngine 3 into a functional flight sim by the time of the announcement. They had a lot more done than most projects that are at the crowdfunding phase. So there’s definitely been a fair amount of development done already.

      The combined totals for the RSI site are just over $1.8 million as I type this, and should surpass the $2million minimum goal very shortly. That’s after just 13 days of fundraising on the RSI site and only 4 days on Kickstarter, so they are likely on their way to a $3 – $4 million total.

      I’m very, very excited about this game. Dusted off my joystick last night and downloaded Diaspora: Shattered Armistice for some practice. I pledged $60 to Star Citizen, and might do more if I can convince the wife that it’s necessary for my well-being.

      Edit – Roberts has also stated that the $2million goal will kick in additional private funding from investors, who wanted Roberts to prove their was a market for this type of game before they committed the money. So the crowdfunding isn’t the only funding stream for this game’s development.

      PS. Vdus

      1. They didn't leave me a choice

        I have to say, skippy, you sure are full of surprises. Or is skippy some arbitary name that is actually a conglomerate of people?

    2. Valissa

      My take on the ‘OMG bitcoin is a virtual mining disaster’ headline from Bloomberg is that it’s a propaganda based hit piece. TPTB disapprove of bitcoin because they don’t control it, so they’re trying various strategies to fight against it. Best way to get certain types of liberals and radicals to turn against something? Call it an environmental disaster… because it’s using a lot of electricity. Wonder how many people will fall for this crap.

    3. F. Beard

      The expense of bitcoin mining is what gives value to bitcoin. JGordon

      No. That expense SUBTRACTS from the value of Bitcoins and is a very stupid way to prevent over-issue and creates the very real danger of under-issue. A much better way to insure the correct issue rate of a money is to allow all existing money holders to vote on whether and how much new money is issued and for what purposes. Common stock is such a money and would be widely used as such EXCEPT it cannot compete with the exiting government-backed counterfeiting cartel, the banks, which allows business to steal their workers’ purchasing power rather than “share” wealth and power with them.

      and bitcoin’s limited quantity (although not really since it’s divisible) JGordon

      Just as a money should not permanently lose purchasing power, it should not permanently gain purchasing power either else risk-free money hoarding is rewarded. But progress requires taking risks, not “burying one’s talent in the ground (Matthew 25:14-30).

        1. swade

          The Bitcoin atticle failed to mention that new asic chips are rapidly pushing out the power hungry gpu miners. In a few months gpu based miners will not be able to mine enough coin to pay for the power it takes. Asic chips consume orders of magnitude less power.

    4. different clue

      If all that electricity were spent smelting aluminum we would have some aluminum. If all that electricity were spent on the energy-component of making more solar panels we would have more solar panels.
      Spending real electricity on imaginary money buys more imaginary money. Reducing it to absurdity, we could switch off all the lights and spend all the electricity making bitcoins until the real economy stops for lack of electricity to power its machines. Lots of bitcoins and nothing to buy with them.

      1. walter_map

        The same could be said of every activity of Wall St. All finance is economic overhead, and it helps to make a distinction between the Financial economy and the Real economy. Of course, the global bankster cartel has long since caused finance to pass from being mere economic overhead to being a destructive parasite, when it’s proper place should be that of a utility service.

        1. different clue

          You are correct. It could. And it should.

          Now that you have said it, others might begin to say “hmmm. . . . just how much electricity DOES all the computer-based financialist bittybyte processing consume?”

  2. burnside

    Regarding the Cyprus template: it’s disturbingly familiar. Latvia’s experience, i.e. the temporary and external propping-up of the financial sector as hot money escaped and the subsequent hollowing out of state assets where ports, services, utilities were picked up at discount.

    One might look a bit deeper into the past and recognize familiar shapes and shadows in Thailand.

    1. Valissa

      I think the most important points are made by the article CHS links to at the end of the Cyprus post.

      The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model

      Forget “austerity”and political theater–the only way to truly comprehend the Eurozone is to understand the Neocolonial-Financialization Model, as that’s the key dynamic of the Eurozone.

      In the old model of Colonialism, the colonizing power conquered or co-opted the Power Elites of the region, and proceeded to exploit the new colony’s resources and labor to enrich the “center,” i.e. the home empire.

      In Neocolonialism, the forces of financialization (debt and leverage controlled by State-approved banking cartels) are used to indenture the local Elites and populace to the banking center: the peripheral “colonials” borrow money to buy the finished goods sold by the “core,” doubly enriching the center with 1) interest and the transactional “skim” of financializing assets such as real estate, and 2) the profits made selling goods to the debtors.

      In essence, the “core” nations of the E.U. colonized the “peripheral” nations via the financializing euro, which enabled a massive expansion of debt and consumption in the periphery.

      This is the big picture of the financial empire building of the .01% and their constant warfare against the ‘little people.’ But it’s a kinder and gentler form of warfare that’s hard to see and harder to fight back against.

  3. timotheus

    Larry Summers is suddenly on the anti-austerity bandwagon. But while part of the Obama economic team, he faithfully carried hod for the Rubinite, bankster-friendly faction now pushing austerity hard enough to embarrass Paul Ryan. Is this the result of a) a blinding flash of light from god; b) the need to reestablish academic credentials and look like less of a toady; c) a new Beltway consensus to push the EU off austerity while continuing to pursue it here; d) 11-dimensional chess?

        1. craazyman

          I stopped eating that fish farm crap a long time ago. It really scares me. I’ve done some fly fishing in the back country and the difference between a wild fish and a stocked fish is like the difference between Adele herself and some local bar’s drunken open-mike Karoke night. So a fish farm fish must be like listening to somebody yell out song lyrics in the shower.

          You can feel the gummy texture dissolve in your mouth like a piece of pound cake.

          Sardines are the way to go. They’re at the bottom of the food chain and naturally wild and organic. One tin plus anchovies and salad greens and your dinner is made in 45 seconds. That frees up at least half an hour you would have been cooking to lay around and do nothing, or even check out Youtube clips of Adele or the Beach Boys Pet Sounds. That’s efficiency!

          I frankly don’t even like the taste of wild salmon that much. I prefer flounder or cod. So the salmon fish farm is a total disaster all the way around.

          1. skippy

            Somalia’s fishermen struggle to make a living from pirate-infested seas

            Fishermen face uphill battle to ply dwindling catch for low prices at Mogadishu market, with some succumbing to the offer of well-paid work for pirate chiefs


            Skippy… oops…

            Will overfishing by foreigners drive Senegalese fishermen to piracy?

            The complaints made by Somali fishermen some years ago about illegal fishing are very similar to those being voiced by the fishermen of Senegal today


            PS. IMF Recognizes the Federal Government of Somalia After 22-year Interval



          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I like salmon, including smoked salmon. This farm fish is bumming me out. I’ll have to develop a taste for sardines, I guess.

            Almost all of what is sold as wild salmon is farmed salmon, including in NYC. This is old but who knows if things are any different:


            I’ve had the real deal (here from a really good fishmonger that of course closed) and in Alaska. It really is different and better.

          3. ambrit

            To ply my trade as semi-spoiler for a bit, but, have you looked into the precarious state of the “wild” fish stocks lately?
            Since the Macondo rig blowout here in the Gulf of Mexico, there have been serious drops in the quality and quantity of wild fish, crabs, and oysters. (My info comes from anecdotal information gleaned from coastal fishermen and denizens, so do include that tasty pinch of salt.) Some other good work is coming out of the local states university systems. (Since said stocks are important economic segments, true figures are generally available, if only to let local planners prepare for mini-shocks to local economies. As in complete collapse?)
            As far as the longer term is concerned, it has been a regular occurrence for local sport anglers to be warned against consuming more than a small amount of wild fish due to environmental contamination by pesticides and mercury.
            Finally, consider the farm fish stocks as a repository from which the wild must one day be restocked. We’re headed towards a “Silent Running” future.

          4. different clue

            To Yves Smith actually,

            I used to sometimes buy and eat Copper River sockeye salmon. It was very expensive. What I have heard/read is that the salmon fishers and the fishstock scientists cooperate on accepting real science-based numbers from the scientists and somehow dividing the permittable catch among the fishboat owners into permitted quotas.

            It seemed to me that the sockeye salmon had all kinds of rich taste and flavor. I tried farmed salmon once more recently and detected nearly no taste or flavor by comparison at all. So I think there was a difference. Now?
            I don’t know.

          5. different clue


            I believe all farmed salmon are species Atlantic salmon. As such they will offer zero replacement for the several species of Pacific salmon should those be driven extinct.

            Also, farmed salmon have zero inherited knowledge of how to survive in the wild. They probably have zero to offer in terms of repopulating anything. Also, they are fed on various feedstocks, just like cattle. So they produce zero food. They destroy several times their own weight in input food to produce several times less the weight of their feed in deeply inferior salmon. Fishfarms are just underwater feedlots.

    1. Chris-Engel

      Summers has been out there for over a year promoting this heavily on mainstream outlets, including CNN.

      But the despite big names opposing austerity for a long time, the corporate media tends to generally promote the “wahhh debt/deficit reduction is necessary dont ask why it just sounds big and bad” line.

  4. Skeptic

    Regarding salmon like Industrialized Matter:

    Meanwhile on the East Coast of Canada, in Nova Scotia, the so-called progressive NDP government has given an industrialized fish farming company $25 million dollars. That company operates fish farms where the virus infestation is out of control and fish have had to be destroyed. Destroyed but still sold into the food chain. Is your salmon dinner virus infested?

    At the same time, that same subsidized industrialized fish farming company invested $20 million in Chile (not part of Canada). With US and CDN bucks at par that gives the company $5 million walking-around-cash to pocket. Nova Scotia governments are traditional chumps and sought by companies the world over as partners to rip off.

    And the ICING ON THE CAKE: the federal neo-conservative government of Canada picks up the tab for all the diseased fish which cannot be sold to unwary consumers! Otherwise the diseased fish companies would go out of business because of the massive losses. Another wonderful neo-con business model.

    And Canadian Regulators, you ask? GONE FISHIN’

    1. Inverness

      Great point. Damn the NDP. I remember when fishing provided for Cape Breton families. Days long past. Yet another example of an extremely resource-rich region that mysteriously cannot provide for working class folk.

      Well, what are the progressive Canadian parties, anyway? Quebec’s PQ are cutting both health services and their famous $7 garderies. Their focus on language politics is the red herring so people won’t notice the province’s high unemployment rate, if you ask me.

      1. Skeptic

        Hello Inverness. Good to see a fellow Nova Scotian who is aware.

        Here on the South Shore I watched as the Feds destroyed the livelihoods of small, independent fishermen. The modus operandi of governments is to destroy anyone who is small and independent. Farmers, fishermen, small woodlot owners, etc. They want any $$$ generating activity to be plugged in directly to Bay St., Wall St., Brussels, etc. Thus we have Clearwater in fishing, Monsanto and other Agribiz in farming, Wall St. destroying small, independent banks, etc.

        A practical example in my neighborhood is a wood supplier for woodstoves who had to borrow money for equipment and now is directly plugged into Bay St. Every log he splits; they get a cut. That is the model internationally: anything that generates a $, plug it into the Mainstream IMF/WTO/BIS system. Anyone not plugged in; eliminate.

        Thus the NS government’s desire for a concentrated, centralized aquaculture system that they can more easily control and get $$$ from.

        The message for me is to unplug as best I can from their system and support businesses that are small, independent.

  5. jjmacjohnson

    Interesting formulation of the cost of Bit Coin mining. By that what does it cost for the computer trading of stocks, currency ect of real world items on Wall Street and beyond?

  6. school2prisonpipeline

    While teaching in NYC public schools, I witnessed a 13-year old with Tourette’s and another kid who stole some school cameras of the same age handcuffed and escorted out of the building by the NYPD in handcuffs, and subsequently kicked out of this school (perhaps the worst punishment of all, since this school was one of the rare, relatively safe environments where kids didn’t have to go through metal detectors and the kids weren’t very disruptive. There was actual learning going on!)

    The youth with Tourette’s physically went after another kid — but was not dangerous, just had a lack of control over his actions. The camera thief was a normally sweet child who apparently really wanted a digital camera. Not real threats to society. The first case was tragic — this boy may have problems for the rest of his life. The second case was just some kid stealing a little school property. A few detentions and a call home would have been sufficient.

    We have a funny tendency in this country to glorify childhood until they cross a boundary — and it needn’t even be as serious as killing, it could be ordinary theft. Or even worse, criminalizing the behavior of a disabled boy.

    There was no discussion of the future ramifications of being treated like a criminal by the staff. This is, of course, par for the course in Bloomberg’s public schools.

  7. Brindle

    Bill Moyers on Silicon Valley:

    —DANIEL GARCIA: This is my tent. This is where I live. I’ve got my transportation, my bike. I have electricity that I run by car battery.

    I worked at a restaurant at Google.

    They have, I don’t know, I guess sixteen or eighteen full-blown restaurants you can go eat at when you work there, for free. I never heard of that in my life.

    They started doing background checks and they did a background check on me. I’m a convicted felon, so they couldn’t keep me there anymore. Right now, I do yard work for people, stuff like that.
    I find bikes I fix them up and resell them.

    1. diane

      I’m not only curious as to why Moyers focused, in large part, on a felon (not at all to say that Daniel not been driven to Felony by ghastly circumstance (after all, our dear Banksters are Felons too) –when there are thousands in Silicon Valley who have lost their shirts without ever breaking the LAW; ….. but also curious as to why that was the only quote you focused on?

      The reality is actually going to have certain folks near ‘rotting in hell’: …if there is a benevolent life force that puts people in their place, momentarily, to momentarily feel the pain they’ve wrought on others …

      1. diane

        I mean,…at some point in time it would hit largely that there homeless natural born “citizens” (Of all COLORS) all over Sly Con Valley ….why not have Moyers do it …with an extra special touch ..about all of those homeless Felons!..and an Alternet …techie whirled …..Follow UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...BY CONCERNED SPECIAL FOLK!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. diane

          To be what some might call crass …in the face of either your stunningly lazy negligence, …. or deliberate deception ……..fuck YOU and the horse you rode in on, brindle. I see no hint whatsoever, in your post, that you are acknowledging the reality for all of those homeless among that obscene wealth.

        2. diane

          To be what some might call crass …in the face of either your stunningly lazy negligence, …. or deliberate deception, ……..f u c k YOU and the horse you rode in on, brindle. I see no hint whatsoever, in your post, that you are acknowledging the reality for all of those homeless among that obscene wealth.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Your daily dose of statism, courtesy of Bloomberg:

    Millions of consumers have only one plan for covering long-term health-care costs. It’s to spend themselves into poverty until Medicaid — the state-run health-care program for the poor — picks up the tab.

    “We’ve got a five-year window to fix this,” says Bruce Chernof, chief executive officer of the SCAN Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on health-care policy.

    The good news: Washington is making another run at the issue. Chernof and 14 other health-care experts have been appointed to a commission on long-term care, created by the tax law that was signed in January. Members include Massachusetts’ Medicaid director, Louisiana’s secretary of health and hospitals and the vice chair of AARP’s board of directors.

    HA HA HA … a fresh conspiracy of insider fixers and leeches — indistinguishable from the folks who gave us the unfolding Obamacare train wreck — is good news?

    HA HA HA

    Next: Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford and Jeffrey Skilling to chair a committee on accounting reform …

  9. Ned Ludd

    Kostas Vaxevanis is the editor of the Greek magazine that published the ‘Lagarde list’. In a video posted at the Guardian, he discusses his new trial and compares the current situation for investigative journalists to “what happened under the junta.”

    There is silence in the mainstream media in Greece. The media owners in Greece are connected with the politics in a most sick way. Media owners get jobs from the Greek state. They are businessmen, investors. They are corrupt like the political system. […]

    There is complete silence in Greece. Had it not been for the foreign media covering my prosecution and what is going on in Greece, concerning media freedom, we would have been in a very difficult situation. It was under the pressure of the international media in Greece that decisions were taken by the Greek courts. We have reached the point where Greeks read the foreign press to find out what’s happening in Greece. It is precisely what happened under the junta. It is not democracy or freedom of the press.

  10. Stefan

    “And you’re not going to tell the homeowners?” Elizabeth Warren to Fed and OCC, Senate hearing highlights Corrente

    Link not working. [?]

  11. Ooooh father - ohh! I have ssinned

    McGowan’s next assignment for Huffpo: text of his Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for discriminatory derogation of his Article 19 right to free expression. Let’s see pink-cheeked flagellant Kathleen Kenney (J.D. Opus Dei, Escriva Fellowship for excellence in devotional spanking) try and defend what passes for law in the BOP gulag. It will be fun to see a screw trying to play lawyer in the free world.

  12. Paul Walker

    McGowan and others like him need to appreciate domestic terrorism and those who support and enable it will be dealt with most harshly. The Sierra Club provides resources to Earth First, a certified domestic terrorist group. Therefore anyone that provides financial support to The Sierra Club is a supporter of domestic terrorism. The list goes on and on and on and includes whistle-blowers, ACLU to the NRA, PETA others. Same holds true for foreign oriented NGO’s as the US government will shop their computer, mail, banking and other data to unfriendly foreign governments and others. It is a growth industry and is stimulating all sorts of economic flows.

    Welcome to the party folks

  13. Jeff Barton

    RE: “It’s time baseball players were allowed to carry guns on the field”

    Love this site except for all the constant drumbeat of anti-gun paranoia. You do realize this issue (Like North Korea) is a smokescreen to divert attention from all the hunger and despair in America’s streets. Please stop devoting your time to hunting out anti-gun articles each day and do some real good.

    avg # of American people killed each day in mass shootings equals .09722

    avg # of American people killed each day by North Korea equals zero

    avg # of American people killed each day by hunger equals ??? what? hundreds?

    Progressives own guns – and we aren’t giving them up.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Why is a parody of a typical poor gun culture argument not acceptable to you?

      Who’s the paranoid when Yves calls for insurance, I call for licensing, and you mentally turn that into confiscation?

      Adding… I wouldn’t give up my model trains either, if I still had any. The difference between my hobby and yours is that your consumer fetish object has a lot of serious externalities that you do not wish to bear, and mine does not.

      1. Propertius

        Who’s the paranoid when Yves calls for insurance, I call for licensing, and you mentally turn that into confiscation?

        Why stop with guns? Beside the obvious need for better regulation of kitchen knives (see:, and of course the recent tragedy in Houston), one must point out that many of these mass killers have been fans of violent video games – something that surely wasn’t envisioned by the Founding Fathers. I think it’s reasonable to impose a licensing and insurance requirement on those who manufacture, distribute, or own games, gaming equipment, or devices that may be employed to “play” such games (e.g. computers, phones, tablets, etc.). Background checks and registration seem entirely reasonable to me, as well as a reasonable waiting period. Such should obviously be completely illegal in New York City, particularly since they’ve been strongly correlated with the consumption of junk food and large sodas.

        Anders Brevik, of course, had a website and a blog – as did Eric Harris (one of the Columbine killers). “Internet homicide” has become a common enough phenomenon to merit its own Wikipedia page – and that doesn’t count the pedophiles and “predators” who lurk behind every keyboard (if the sensationalist mass media are to be believed).

        Clearly background checks, licensure, and registration should be required to use the Internet as well. Certainly no law-abiding citizen could possibly object to scrutiny of his or her emails, web activity, and search history, either. It’s not as though one can claim any reasonable expectation of privacy, given how IP packet routing works. The Founding Fathers surely didn’t have itinerant batches of electrons in mind when they wrote that stuff about “persons, houses, papers, and effects,” after all – an electron that is casually flung out of one’s home onto the net warrants (pardon the pun) no more protection than a piece of paper discarded into a public wastebin (which is to say, none whatsoever). Pseudonyms should obviously be banned, since they’re the Internet equivalent of a “strawman purchase” (perhaps Yves, Lambert, and I can hobnob in the exercise yard at Gitmo after we are detained).

        Of course these reasonable measures will inconvenience a large number of innocent, law-abiding citizens, but surely the prevention of even one senseless, horrific tragedy is justification enough, isn’t it?

        1. Lambert Strether

          Well, why not begin with guns, then? One has to start somewhere, and if your particular hobbyist consumer product has significant externalities, why not it? (Of course, obviously not kitchen knives, since lunatics with kitchen knives are a lot less dangerous in schools, movie theatres, or other public spaces than lunatics with guns.)

          The “______s kill people too” argument never fails to fascinate me, since guns are engineered, optimized for the purpose of killing, and killing people, in the case of handguns and everything marketed as military fetish gear. And the engineering is quite good, as we see whenever a maniac is able to fire off a large number of rounds in a very short time and slaughters a surprising number of bystanders very efficiently. Oddly, or not, this aspect is never discussed when guns are equated with other lethal instruments, like swimming pools, for example, or ladders.

    2. Joe

      If gun owners were allowed to shoot hungry people, wouldn’t that eliminate the problem of people dying of hunger?

    3. PQS

      Which is more paranoid? Calling for reasonable regulations of dangerous equipment – the very same reasonable regulations that the Church of the NRA called for for years and years before they became outlets for gun manufacturers, or assuming that anyone who wants reasonable regulations is a tyrant and ready to “take” something from you?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I mean to say, we have to find ways to unite commenters here.

        ‘Wanna argue?’ – that’s for fun afterwards. After all, we are not that far from the Bonobo world.

        1. Lambert Strether

          The problem is that leaves the rest of us nodding our heads and saying “Uh huh” whenever the NRA issues a new talking point.

          I’m happy to admit the gun culture crowd won the culture war, and I’d be even happier if they’d admit it. Yves isn’t talking confiscation and neither am I, so I’m unclear why I should salute to a straw man.

          1. ambrit

            Dear Lambert;
            At risk of another ‘chastisement’ I’ll say a few words.
            The ‘gun culture crowd’ isn’t admitting victory because they are being herded around by vested interests who are using the old tried and true tactic of fear mongering with them. (How many times lately have I bitten my tongue while hearing the old ‘Liberal Conspiracy’ argument trotted out by otherwise rational people? When I tell them to lighten up, there isn’t going to be any great U.N. Gun Confiscation Day because gun makers run the government, all I get are angry glares. Some people like to feel part of an oppressed “minority” I guess. It gives them an identity to feel “proud” about. Us and them has always been the essence of political control. As an added bonus, as you and Yves have pointed out, since the Authorities have real “super science” weapons now, even a marginally armed populace shouldn’t be too much of a threat to the status quo. So, let the yahoos have their guns, and use the issue to further divide the populace. Divide and conquer yet again.
            As for the ‘confiscation’ issue in general, the idea of the “Market State” solution looks to be the easiest way to get that done. I suggest that one of the hidden goals of such a scheme would be the further ‘criminalization’ of the poor. A ‘criminalized’ population has insurmountable barriers to getting their legitimate grievances aired and dealt with.
            Well, that’s it for now. (Now where’s my Kevlar jockstrap when I need it?)

          2. Jim S

            ambrit, I wasn’t going to comment here but you’ve got me thinking. I’m going to use your comment as a springboard by way of disagreeing; I hope you don’t take offence.

            It seems perfectly clear to me that the post-Newtown show has been a bona fide push for gun control (reducing rather than regulating). NY, CO, and CT have all passed legislation aimed at reduction while CA and MI have conducted limited confiscation under bureaucratic pretexts. There have been a couple of reports of confiscations imposed on veterans by way of the VA bureaucracy. Yves very interesting comment about the President’s lack of spin notwithstanding, he spoke recently in support of CO’s legislation; it may be that the since Mr. Biden has been given the task of leading the effort at the national level, any remarks the President makes on the subject are by definition off the script. While the gun control movement (again, those parties interested in action beyond regulation) may have been checked on the Hill, it still has significant momentum in the aforementioned states and potentially in the Federal bureaucracy. The State of Colorodo vs. the sheriffs of Colorado will be an important test of whether those gains can be held. I wonder if CO will try to follow DE in stripping powers from sheriffs.

            As to gun makers running the government, this doesn’t appear to be true at the state level, given the number of firearms manufacturers that are moving operations out of the aforementioned states. The notable exception is the recent announcement by Remington Arms that it is staying in NY, coincidentally having just been awarded an $80M DoD contract to supply sniper rifles to SOCOM. Remington Arms is controlled by the Freedom Group, which is controlled in turn by Cerebus Capital, which is said to be controlled by the Bush family. After Newtown, Cerebus stated that it was going to divest its interest in gun manufacturing, but this does not seem to have occurred. It’s a stretch to infer anything from this, but it seems that the few control the gun makers rather than the reverse. In any case small arms are chump change compared to the big contracts like the JSF or the LCS.

            1. Lambert Strether

              How is “reduction” equivalent to “confiscation”? Are you arguing that the more guns purchased, the better? Here’s the law as described in USA Today:

              Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed gun bills into law Wednesday that ban ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds and require background checks for firearm purchases made online or through private parties.

              Seems pretty harmless to me. (There’s a case to me made that this is a subset of compliance culture generally, and problematic from that regard, but you’re not making that case.)

          3. ambrit

            Dear Jim S;
            I most certainly do not take offense. Thanks for the caveat anyway. A vigourous debate is needed on this issue.
            (If I had a thin skin I’d certainly not “hang out” here!)
            On the issue of state moves to curtail firearms, it depends on whether or not the Federal Government asserts an overriding claim to jurisdiction. Since the 2nd Amendment is part of the Federal Constitution, an argument can be made that Federal Law trumps State Law. What’s needed is just one plaintiff to argue this issue before a Federal Court to have the SCOTUS bought into play. Given that organizations recent track record, I’d not bet the farm on any “progressive” firearms legislation getting very far right now.
            As to the Cerebrus connection; well, I personally had some minor interactions with some of their lower level functionaries once when I was working as a plumber for a mid sized plumbing contractor. We were part of a renovation team for a Delchamps store in Mandeville Louisiana, which previously defunct southern grocery chain had been bought by Cerebrus and the outlets in conspicuously ‘upscale’ niegbhourhoods were being reopened. Those people were all about the money. If something promised to increase revenue, they took a flier and did it. Expect no less from their stewardship of their firearms manufacturing subsidiary.
            Well, it’s getting late. Nighty night, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

    4. 1stname Lastname

      Stop it with the neurotic anxiety already. Nobody’s gonna take your little popguns. Without ready access to weapons, CIA can’t keep scaring the population with mass murders by hypnotized lone nuts and hired mad bombers. Without a steady supply of button-nosed blonde corpses, it would be much harder to introduce carceral schools to prepare America’s children for totalitarianism.

      You gun nuts are a national treasure for the CIA, the more murderous, the better. Now get out there, you big lug, do your patriotic duty and blast some cute little girls center mass with mercury loads, Uncle Sam needs you!

      1. wunsacon

        Machiavelli said it’s important to raise troops from your own population. The “gun=freedom culture” helps maintain/grow the pool of resources to fill the ranks and expend. I suspect that’s planned, at some level perhaps early in the nation’s history, and not merely fortuitous for recruiters.

    5. Paul Tioxon

      I had a great brunch with extended members of my family. I met a guy a little bit older than me, who retired a few years back from the Philly Police Department. We talked about our kids who have finally grown up and we weren’t worried about our daughters sneaking out to see boyfriends anymore, we were worried about wedding costs. I went home and watched the evening news to see my distant cousin, who had finally found a mellow patch of his life in retirement, had been shot and murdered. It was not a diversion to wait in line with hundreds of neighborhood kids and families who came out to pay respects for their dead little league baseball coach.

      People have lives filled with multiple obligations and do not have time to track down every corrupt act of elected officials because we spend more time dealing with people than making money. We take care of our spouses and children and relatives and friends by helping them to bear the sadness of life, and emotionally supporting them, while also earning a living and supporting them materially. It is may be a diversion to you, but then, you would have to see life as a combat simulation where setting off a big explosion gets all of the troops running in the wrong direction so the hero can sneak in and knock out the great big deus ex machine that will save the day. I don’t have to read the newspapers or dig up studies, I just have to turn another page in my life and almost every issue that is discussed here on NC has personally touched me. Your politics doesn’t merit unpacking, but my life stories shared with the readers here are more than enough refutation for the people like you with your condescension, as if we only suffer one form of indignity at time, in a well ordered hierarchy of ranked importance according some idealistic notions.

  14. holMyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The most effective insult is to ignore that person, or to not see that he/she exists.

    That’s why it hurts not to be picked for the baseball team or the ballet performance or whatever.

    So, don’t say he’s the most disgraceful journalist. He may actually like that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Of course, if you have done zazen for years, it’s possible you are not insulted by being ignored.

      So, that may not work with that guy either.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Scripps media heirs.

    I propose we should promote

    1. sacred use of marijuana only
    2. GDP sharing/wealth tax and have no more trust fund kids
    3. Bonobo love – they make love after an argument (the favorite pickup line in a Bonobo bar is ‘wanna argue with me?’

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Elite universities…academically best students.

    I have waited a long time to say this:

    If your parents are rich, it’s no great achievement you make more money. If you become wealthy in spite of numerous disadvantages, it’s a great accomplishment (hopefully you share it).

    Now, it’s no great achievement (for the university) if it takes the best high school students. It would befit its elite stature if it can take D/F high school students and turn them into A+ college kids.

    1. craazyman

      the Ivy League graduates can take insolvent banks and turn them into bonus pool factories for themselves, so what you’re asking for shouldn’t be hard at all. If they tried.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Baseball players…guns.

    If you watch as many samurai movies as I do, you would know that it was scary to live even in a gunless (almost gunless, thanks to the Portuegese and the Dutch) society.

  18. Jackrabbit

    The Corrente ‘Highlights’ are two videos and transcripts and thereby much is not covered so I am re-posting my comment from yesterday with a list of highlights (with some additional info from yesterday’s discussion).


    Hearing highlights

    1. The Banks choose how many were harmed in each category.
    (as further explained in this Pam Martens post.)

    2. The OCC and Fed admitted to Warren that they never took the steps necessary to make an accurate determination of how much harm was done. (About 100 thousand records were reviewed but how they were selected is unknown to the Regulators.)

    3. Warren asked if the OCC and Fed would release information that they have about illegal foreclosures (see “And You’re Not Going To Tell The Homeowners?”). The OCC and Fed told her that they “have not decided” to release information regarding illegal foreclosures, claiming that information that is provided via bank examination is confidential/privileged (Yves wrote about this Yves has previously written of this.). Such confidentiality is necessary, they claim, to ensure that they get info from the banks.

    4. Warren highlighted the lack of information from the regulators by again pointing out that they have failed to adequately respond to repeated information requests. In letter with 14 specific questions, only one was answered and 3 others had minimal responses.

    5. The regulators initially expected the reviews to take 120 days and a few million dollars!! (Wait – these guys regulate BANKS, right? And have been doing so for many, many years, right?)

    Note: Lambert makes a good point regarding this estimate: If the reviews were initially thought to be so tractable then why did the OCC just do it themselves? (This question is especially poignant, I might add, given that they now claim that quickly getting cash into the hands of those who were harmed is paramount.)

    6. The regulators claimed to not have the authority to discipline consultants that have been selected to work under a Regulator-mandated assignment. They requested that Congress provide them with such power.

      1. transcriber

        Thanks jackrabbit — I updated the post with your comment. I actually haven’t seen the whole hearing, was/am looking forward to Yves’ report. But was much struck by the picture of Elizabeth Warren as the lone senator at the hearing. Want to thank her for showing up to work.

        (Funny too to see C-Span’s committee roster: The only senator with no photo is Elizabeth Warren. Guess she was busy: )

        1. transcriber

          Wait! Sherrod Brown’s there too! (Note to Sherrod: Wear red.)

          So now we know: Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren. You two. Thank you.

          1. transcriber

            Also Sen. Reed was there for part of the hearing (first panel with OCC and Fed) and asked good questions. Other stuff was happening in the Senate at the same time, senators needed to be two places at once. Still, three senators out of the whole subcommittee showed up.

            Sherrod Brown said record will be held open for a week for other senators to ask questions and get answers submitted on paper.

            Next hearing will be Wednesday, 4/17/13, 10a-12p, Helping Homeowners Harmed by Foreclosures: Ensuring Accountability and Transparency in Foreclosure Reviews, Part II, witnesses Lawrance Evans (GAO) and Joseph Smith (nat’l mortgage settlement monitor):

    1. DavidP

      A question in regards to regulators, what branch of Gov hires/appoints them? I ask because in many years(50+) of observing Gov I have observed few who have been relieved of their job for obviously not doing that which they were charged with doing. Do all Fed regulators have no accountable jobs for life?

      1. Jackrabbit

        The President nominates and the Senate confirms the Commissioners/Directors and Head of each Agency. After they are confirmed, I believe that their position is fairly secure during their term (5-years for SEC, FDIC, and 14 years for Fed). This is designed so that they don’t have to respond to political pressure.

        So who are they (really) accountable to?
        1. The Industry: After their term is up they will generally have opportunities available to consult for or join firms in the industry.

        2. President and Party: They want to stay on good terms as it increases their power/value to have these connections

        3. Congress: Regulators have to provide periodic reports and info to Congress. This is usually boring and rote; and no one cares – until something blows up.

        4. Their own conscience

        Recent Examples
        Naturally, there is some variability in the effectiveness of Regulators. And this _might_ be correlated to the opportunities that they have after their term is up.

        Alan Greenspan (Fed) consults via Greenspan Associates.

        Mary Shapiro (SEC) was criticized for not going after Wall Street aggressively. She has now joined Promontory (Consultant) and the Board of GE.

        Sheila Blair (FDIC) is generally believed to have been effective and even pushed for resolving Citibank. She wrote a book.

        1. DavidP

          So exec branch appoints heads of agency = as long as exec is in power no accountability.
          Party in power to remove appointees = no accountability
          Congress (Senate&House) has no power other than assumed political power to remove said appointees.
          As to 5yrs (SEC,FDIC) 14 yrs(Fed) makes them accountable to no one other than Industry regulated, which means no accountablity!
          Why does Congress bother hearings, etc., or is it only optics? snark!

          1. Jackrabbit

            DavidP: This is only a brief summary and I am not an expert.

            There are probably more ways that Congress can have influence besides oversight. Publicity and funding, for example.

            And part of the problem is MSM. They are supposed to be the 4th estates but recently act more like mouthpiece than watchdog.

          2. Jackrabbit

            Obviously the Congressional hearings/oversight was instituted so that there *is* _some_ accountability. You may/do argue that THAT IS NOT ENOUGH; and I doubt many here would disagree. But until there is support for fundamental changes that make government more accountable, it seems worthwhile to support those who are trying to make a difference NOW.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Thanks for doing this. I really like the idea that trade secrets are a shield for illegal acts. It’s a really elegant way of saying that banks (and soon I would think all corporations) are entirely above the law.

    3. transcriber

      Re your first link to Pam Martens — agree it is a bombshell

      but your link needs fixing, take off the ” at the end.

      Working link:

      … it was revealed during yesterday’s Senate hearing that it was the actual banks that engaged in the illegal foreclosure actions that tallied up and classified their wrongdoing under various degrees of harm; deciding themselves how many people would receive $300 and how many $125,000. The outside consultants that were hired to compute the harm were in the dark about this final, and most important, stage of the review process.

      Even has transcript! h/t

      Happened right at the end of the hearing. Like 2:27 (hours:minutes) out of 2:32. Jaw drop. One by one, in response to Warren, each of the consultants denied having anything to do with the payment schedule sheet that classified harm.


  19. Kurt Sperry

    BTS flooded after heavy thunderstorm is a non working link, redirects to site home page where no similarly titled link is to be found.

  20. fresno dan

    Daniel McGowan Forbidden From Publishing Articles Without Permission Village Voice. From Mrs. G:

    “But that’s not the end of it. Back at the halfway house, staff presented McGowan with a document and directed him to sign it. The document stated that “he is not permitted to have any contact with the media without approval from the BOP’s Residential Reentry Manager. Accordingly, Resident McGowan was advised that writing articles, appearing in any type of television or media outlets, news reports and or documentaries without prior BOP approval is strictly prohibited.”

    This is a man with a fair amount of notoriety – imagine what happens to people without lawyers and a support group. Constitutional rights are merely advertzing slogans like “quality is job one” or “don’t be evil” – they really have no substantive meaning.

  21. Susan the other

    On the radical center article by Ashwin in Macroeconomic Resilience. Really great article. Don’t know who Ashwin is but I think he has defined 90% of the problem in societies, economies and governments today. Really good points about keeping a robust safety net, a stable core, and allowing innovation to flourish around it. No more PPP disaster economics designed to pamper crony capitalism. My concern is that yes we need innovation and innovation friendly societies, but nobody ever looks at the profit incentive and says we should do something a little different. Profit and near-monopoly should never be the objective of innovation. But creative destruction does tend in this direction. Some protection for very small business is going to be required because they really don’t innovate and compete that much.

  22. Susan the other

    About the TPP and Japan. Detroit is asking for protection because Japan is notoriously protectionist in its buying habits. And Japan just pretends like it can do nothing about it. This will be interesting. But now I’m wondering not about cars, which are stupid anyway, but about the ocean. If the TPP prevents any kind of protectionism, except for the ultimate protection of capital and investment, what will protect the oceans from over fishing Japan-style and over dumping US-style?

  23. afisher

    The FDA findings at Specialty Pharmacies – and no one seems to care. As a healthcare professional who has been faced with unannounced inspections – I found them to be a PIA, but not because I feared them, that I had other plans that would be put on hold.
    If 2 of these pharmacies refused entry and warrants were required, should that raise red flags – what are you hiding.
    The Libertarians will spout their “free of regulation” stuff, but seeing as how patients haven’t a clue where treatment drugs are being made, this should be a cautionary tale. I doubt that generic employees look to make an unsafe product, but are influenced by management philosophy and its focus: bottom line or patients.
    Should we be forced to agree that Ignorance is Bliss?

    1. Klassy!

      Whoa. I just took a look and the article had the usual nonsense (“the most populist rhetoric in 40 years”) but scrolling through the comments I came upon something called The Plutonomy Memos” (via link to correntewire) and wow. I was not aware of this document. Is this for real? I see what a plush education gets you– learn to Rawls as strategy for division and fostering inequality.

  24. David Petraitis

    As Ex Dodger fan, loved the bit on NRA-MLB! Thanks Lambert!
    STAND YOUR MOUND, Greinke!
    So many other sports could benefit, I’m thinking shotguns in Golf to blow the opponents ball out of the air too. Combining skeet shooting and pro golf should be fun!

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Obviosuly you and I aren’t in that market to know whether the tether is a deal-breaker or not.

  25. Valissa

    Introducing sexcereal, a bargain at $10 a box… New cereal claims you’ll crave sex after breakfast

    There’s Gold in Them Thar Plants
    An international team of scientists has found a way to grow and harvest gold from crop plants. Called phytomining, the technique of finding gold uses plants to extract particles of the precious metal from soil.

    … Gold phytomining won’t ever take the place of traditional gold mining, Anderson said. “The value of it is in the remediation of polluted mine sites,” he added. The chemicals involved in making gold soluble also induce the plants to take up other soil contaminants such as mercury, arsenic and copper — common pollutants found in mine waste that can pose a risk to humans and the environment.

    AstroGnostic: Earthling/Not Earthling
    AstroGnosticism teaches us that human beings were the result of alien consciousness- itself a vastly potent spiritual energy- grafted through whatever means onto the biology of advanced primates. That human beings are trapped on a planet to which their intelligence and consciousness is not merely maladaptive but in fact anti-adaptive, since trying to exist in an admittedly beautiful yet unimaginably destructive biosphere leads to depression, insanity, mass murder and habitat destruction.

  26. JohnB

    Wonder what the salmon is like in Europe then; it’s pretty clear here in Ireland (with the ridiculous situation of horsemeat making its way into the food-chain, labelled as beef), that food regulators can not be trusted to have a proper handle on things.

    I’d love to find out about food testing kits actually, that are affordable (reusable even) and can be used from home, so you can check first-hand that the food you have bought is what it says it is, and isn’t laced with any amount of harmful junk.

  27. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the article about Daniel McGowan, Mrs. G. Besides being an Unconstitutional restriction on his freedom of speech, McGowan is being subjected to incredibly disproportionate punishment IMO. This environmental activist, like a number of others, was given an incredibly harsh sentence due to the legal categorization of his acts as “terrorism”. The crimes for which he and other environmental activists were imprisoned for many years were limited to property damage. Other environmental activists have suffered similar severely disproportionate sentences.

    Meanwhile, Wall Street and corporate racketeers who have engineered massive theft and caused the American people to suffer huge economic losses remain free to enjoy the wealth they have personally accumulated. And into what legal category should the threat of crashing the financial system and economy be placed?

  28. David Petraitis

    Howling hyperbole from the Economist

    That Portugal has managed to stay out of sight for most of the time since it was bailed out in 2011 is an achievement in itself. Its sins were perhaps the least distasteful to creditors. Portugal broke fiscal rules like many others. But it was not mendacious and profligate like Greece; it did not recklessly run a low-tax economic model off the rails like Ireland; it has not lived off dodgy Russian money like Cyprus; and it did not permit a runaway property boom like Spain. Instead Portugal was a chronic underachiever, suffering from years of low growth. It was a bit like Italy, minus the self-indulgent public debt and bunga-bunga parties.

    1. Lambert Strether

      He is an Englishman!
      He is an Englishman!
      For he himself has said it,
      And it’s greatly to his credit,
      That he is an Englishman!
      That he is an Englishman!
      For he might have been a Roosian,
      A French, or Turk, or Proosian,
      Or perhaps Itali-an!
      Or perhaps Itali-an!
      But in spite of all temptations
      To belong to other nations,
      He remains an Englishman!
      He remains an Englishman!
      For in spite of all temptations
      To belong to other nations,
      He remains an Englishman!
      He remains an Englishman!

      –Gilbert & Sullivan, HMS Pinafore

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