Links 4/19/13

‘Most Earth-like’ worlds detected BBC

Smacking does children no harm if they feel loved, study claims Telegraph

Sketch artist experiment shows women underestimate themselves AmericaBlog

Google gets consumer service ultimatum from German consumer groups PCWorld. Long overdue.

Yen Falls as Aso Says Japan’s Policies Unopposed at G-20 Meeting Bloomberg

Reasons behind emerging markets correction Sober Look

Cyprus bail-out vote stirs fresh jitters Telegraph

Italy: Lost in stagnation Financial Times (Scott)

Are Germans really poorer than Spaniards, Italians and Greeks? VoxEU (EmilianoZ)

Classified American embassy cables obtained by Wikileaks cannot be used as evidence in English and Welsh courts because they breach diplomatic privilege Guardian (YY)

Catfood watch:

Many options exist for raising revenue in a smart and progressive manner Economic Policy Institute (Carol B)

Income inequality: Why cutting Social Security is the last thing we should do Daily Kos (Carol B)

Girl, 9, dies after being shot in the head by mother’s boyfriend who was practicing holstering his gun Daily Mail

How the gun lobby has already blocked Boston’s bombing investigators MSNBC

Never attribute to stupidity what can be explained by malice Michael Smith

Boston bombing:

FBI releases photos of marathon suspects. Vindication for surveillance video? Christian Science Monitor

MIT Police Officer Slain, Prompting Mayhem in Boston Bloomberg

Is missing student Sunil Tripathi Marathon Bomber #2? Reddit (Lambert)

Boston bombings: one suspect killed, one on the loose – live updates Guardian. Holey moley, this got a Guardian live blog??? BTW @AKitz tweeted it.

Explosives Detonated in Massachusetts Standoff New York Times

Watertown shooting may be linked to Boston bombing, 1 suspect arrested – police RT. The right is going crazy over the Che T-shirt

Arizona Bill Bans Cities From Destroying Surrendered Guns, Forces Police To Sell Them Instead Addicting Info (Chuck L)

Episcopal Church wins Virginia Supreme Court ruling Washington Post (Lambert)

High School Principal Threatens Girl For Speaking Out Against Wildly Dishonest Abstinence-Only Presentation Addicting Info (Chuck L)

More Reinhart/Rogoff fallout:

On Reinhart and Rogoff Of Thought & Action (Richard)

George Osborne’s case for austerity has just started to wobble Polly Toynbee, Guardian (YY)

Debunking austerity claims makes no difference to Europe’s monks and zealots Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

The Fed’s Foreclosure-Relief Fail Dave Dayen, American Prospect

Eminent domain to fix troubled mortgages makes a Calif. comeback Reuters (Lisa Epstein). We discussed this idea at length earlier. It’s dreadful, yet it had become a pet of liberals who’ve been marketed to by the well-funded private equity fund promoters, Mortgage Resolution Partners. This is a gimmie for people who are current. The program details are also inconsistent with how public domain works in CA (we’ve discussed this in nauseating detail in earlier posts) and so investors have a very good chance of beating it back in court (the assumption is investors won’t mobilize because they were so inactive when they were raped by servicers, but the investor community was united in its opposition the first time around). The promoters fail to grok that a mortgage that has been performing for five+ years can be worth more than the market value of the house. Oh, and this scheme is also based on gaming the FHA. If they were forcing mods of non-performing mortgages, this might pass the smell test. But this is just another PE enrichment scheme that exploits overly aggressive Federal housing subsidies.

Pirate Democracy? Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (Chuck L). Fails to pick up on the fact that there is a long-standing tradition of not-big disparities in the division of returns for maritime entrepreneurs. In Maine in the same period, sea captains (who organized fishing expeditions that typically took 4-6 weeks) and the cook got 2 shares of the haul, and everyone else got one share.

Pulling the Trigger Yasha Levine, NSFW (mookie). A must read and you need to read it today, since it is outside the paywall temporarily

Antidote du jour. Josh lost his 15 year old cat to cancer. He now has a new kitten, Soba:

photo 3

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214 comments

  1. wunsacon

    >> Sketch artist experiment shows [men] [ov]erestimate themselves AmericaBlog

    Alternative title, no? The more we can do to reduce the prevalance of Dunning-Kruger syndrome, the better. :-)

    1. Yearning to Learn

      I can assure you that I really am pretty awesome. I can even prove it in an objective scientific way.

      it helps if I compare myself to other men. You know, set the bar low.
      :)

    2. lakewoebegoner

      as a corollary, a wild guess, but I’d imagine 85% of men think that they have an above average-sized gentleman’s toolkit.

    3. j

      The study still implies that beauty is still the most important thing. “Women underestimate their beautiful faces, how horrible!” Maybe they’re too busy being confident in their actual abilities, how do you know?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was given a good advice not long ago about not to dwell too much on the gender thing.

        Still, I wonder if women neither over-estimate nor under-estimate, but accurately precisely assess men’s worth, which they perceive as little, not worth much.

        Intuitively, I think women over-estimate men’s reliability and under-estimate men’s stupidity, far, far too often.

        It’s at this point I am reminded that perhaps I am too obsessed with women this and women that, maybe even showing a bit of tendency to blame women for everything.

        And maybe I should not pay too much attention to this gender thing.

        1. AbyNormal

          Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s scepter, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.
          mary wollstonecraft

          let me fix that for ya mary…
          IF taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s scepter, then the mind would shape itself to the body, and roam around its gilt cage, only seeking to adorn its prison.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I try to teach the female cat in house that beauty is no scepter, but civility – we don’t scratch other living beings while playing and never pick a fight with my ankles.

      2. craazyman

        maybe if they looked at themselves after a few beers their self-score would rise. bwaaaaaaaak!

  2. Anon

    I know Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. They are both outstanding IMF/Harvard economists. Their integrity is beyond question. So the saga saddens me.

    Ambrose, these people have blood on their hands. Real, actual, non-Excel-encoded blood.

    Wake the fuck up, for god’s sake.

  3. down2long

    Bloomberg: “Wells Fargo Taps Former Notre Dame Coach for Mortgage Boost” http://bloom.bg/ZyWzOb

    The article points out how Wells’ profit is all mortgage based, how their mortgageorigination stream is drying up, partly due to refi-ed out customers, partly due to one third of all sales being all cash (the 001 percent is doing fine, thank you, and don’t need your crooked loans, but thanks for decimating the competition,) and also because their “hand-off” margins are shrinking from 1.8% to 1 %. Another little problem – no inventory since everyone is upside down and can’t sell.

    Wells and I go way back. They foreclosed on one of my properties, refusing my offer in Chapter 11, instead foreclosing, taking an additional $65K in fees (Someone accidentally sent me the closing escrow papers) and then carried the loan for the new buyer. (That was a MERS foreclosure – you know that paper’s good.) On another loan, they’ve been refusing my court-ordered payments for more than two years. They”ve tried to foreclose twice.

    A friend of mine refied with Wells. He and his wife both had 829 plus FICO, had been Wells commercial customers for more than 20 years, and were doing a 35% LTV refi. Took over 90 days and Wells treated them like credit criminals.

    The article does point out that Wells is trying to reduce the refi cycle from 90 days to 60. WTF?

    So, having Lou Holtz who led Notre Dame to victory in 1988, is supposed to rev up realtors in a talk that Wells is sponsoring to pitch real estate agents to refer buyers to Wells. Wow, as they say, “That’s all you got?”

    Despite Bernanke’s free money waterfall, and the complicity of the co-conspirators the DoJ, the OCC, the FDIC, the Fed, et al keeping these banks afloat as they await the return of “the consumer” these a**holes have yet to figure out that they killed their consumers five years ago and they ain’t gonna be crawling in the door any time soon.

    Those that have lots of money don’t need a bank (all cash) and those than could borrow money are terrified of a new bank scam, or of the home’s chain of title, or they know if they stub their toe on a mortgage they will lose the house (and maybe even if they don’t.)And no one can sell them a house anyhow, because everyone’s underwater.

    That’s right John Stumpf you spawn of a serpent, Lou Holtz, 77 years old and a winner of a season 25 years ago is going to fix the poison that you unleashed upon the citizenry in this country. Choke on it, you bastid.

    1. Anonymous2

      “So, having Lou Holtz who led Notre Dame to victory in 1988, is supposed to rev up realtors in a talk that Wells is sponsoring to pitch real estate agents to refer buyers to Wells. Wow, as they say, “That’s all you got?””

      My partner owns a rental property. He recently had a vacancy and advertised for renters. He got overwhelming interest and responses. One of the responses to the rental ad was something like this:

      “Hi, we are very interested in your property for lease. We are three roommates who work locally. [One of us] is a teacher at a [local catholic elementary school] who graduated from [a catholic university,] [another] is a teacher at [another local catholic elementary school] who also graduated at [same catholic university,] and [the third roommate writing the email] is a teacher at [yet another local catholic high school] who graduated from [an east coast catholic university.] We are very clean and responsible tenants, and your rental is exactly what we are looking for. Please let us know when we can schedule an appointment to discuss and view it.”

      Moral of story–Wells Fargo is “Dog-Whistling.”

  4. down2long

    Also Josh, sorry for your loss. I know how painful it can be to lose a kitty. Soba is beautiful. May she bring you much joy.

      1. Procopius

        Lovely color. Something I might expect to see here. I can’t tell from the picture, does she seem to have a bit is Siamese in her?

  5. Jim Haygood

    Email received yesterday from a friend in Buenos Aires, just before he hit the streets.

    He’s a 75-year-old gay man, still working. My translation, his punctuation:

    IF YOU THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you think it’s good that the government doesn’t permit you to use your money to buy dollars …

    If you think it’s good that with retired people’s money, they subsidize Aerolineas Argentinas which loses $2 million a day, but has increased its executive staff by 25%!!!! While refusing to bring retirees’ pensions up to date with living costs …

    If you think that the trains are running well and that they’ve resolved the technical problems …

    If you think that insecurity due to crime is just a ‘feeling,’ that the inflation rate is what Indec tells us, that there’s no poverty in the streets, that there’s no corruption!!!!!!!!!!

    If you think that it’s better to be friends with Iran, Cuba and Venezuela instead of with countries that are advancing and improving …

    If you think that all three branches of government should be managed by a president who’s ill and authoritarian!!!!

    And there are many more “If you think’s” …

    If you think so … then today don’t go out and protest!!!!!!!!!!!! But tomorrow …

    *********** DON’T COMPLAIN ***********

    1. skippy

      Neoliberalism is like pedophilia… once befouled… you can never go back… you can only hope other never share… that experience… humanity broken on the rack of… its mine[!!!]

    2. Nancy Kramer

      Argentina is a government created economic disaster.
      I totally agree with your friend.
      I am an American shareholder of YPF Scientific which was nationalized recently by the Argentine head dictator lady.
      Now Argentina is having trouble developing their oil resources. No one want to invest -Duh

      Argentina is so bad it makes the US look great. I guess all things are relative.

      1. skippy

        Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF; English: “Treasury Petroleum Fields”) is an Argentine energy company.

        Founded in 1922 under Argentinian President Hipólito Yrigoyen’s administration, YPF was the first oil company in the world established as a state enterprise and the first to become vertically integrated.[2] Its founder and first director was Enrique Mosconi, who advocated economic independence and starting in 1928, Nationalization of oil supplies; the latter, however, was never achieved due to a 1930 military coup backed by foreign oil trusts against Yrigoyen.[3] YPF was privatized in 1993 and bought by the Spanish firm Repsol in 1999; the resulting merger produced Repsol YPF. The renationalization of 51% of the firm was initiated in 2012 by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.[4]

        skippy…. try blood diamonds… they have better mobsters backing them…. and make you feel pretty…

        1. Nathanael

          I made a lot of money off evil oil companies. I decided it was time to get out, though. There’s a difference between investing in evil companies, and investing in evil companies which are *riding for a fall*.

          Lots of people held onto the tobacco companies too long, and they fell hard. The same is going to happen to every oil company in the world, now that global warming is obvious. I can’t tell you what year it’ll happen though.

          1. davidgmills

            Global warming obvious? The globe hasn’t warmed for 17 years. And this is the Met admitting it. Imagine what skeptics think.

          2. skippy

            @David I don’t know how well you understand the ideological – terminological referencing – climate change – and what it means… as its not indicative of the science behind it… its an MSM term. Its a dumbed down (thank you MSM) reference to a change in energy distribution within our atmosphere, its not a linear process of warming ***everywhere***. Hell the mean global could go down and yet… not factually represent the the regional mean temp changes.

            How much does the desert temp swing from night to day… duh…. yet is a desert.

            Skippy… thermodynamics… learn some.

    3. Nathanael

      Venezuela IS advancing and improving. It’s actually doing the best of all countries in South America by several social indicators.

      Sigh. The current Argentine government isn’t stupid.

      1. Nathanael

        Capital controls are going to be instituted pretty much everywhere in a few years, FWIW. They’re the only way of restraining certain types of international fraud by multinational banks.

  6. AbyNormal

    الشباب يجب أن تمتنع عن البطر استجواب من الولايات الحكومية … وبدلا من ذلك، يجب أن يتفانوا في دراسة العمل والخدمة العسكرية، ينبغي أن تعلم أن نفكر جماعيا. e.guevara

  7. Richard Kline

    Re: “the Che t-shirt,” the right _is_ crazy so they don’t have to go anywhere.

    I don’t think Che would’ve been down with the bombers, though. He picked up a gun and won in a fair fight until he didn’t more or less. One can argue whether that was a good idea, but one can’t argue he used terror tactics against unaware civilians.

    I can’t think of a single insurgent terror bombing program which has _ever_ worked. Maybe there’s one somewhere, but as a tactic it’s literally insane since the instigators always end up in a worse position after than before if they rely upon it. Any putative political grievances involved are secondary to the fact that the instigators are, from that standpoint, madmen. So whatever talk about ‘the goals and connections’ of the instigators in this instance we will shortly be bombarded with ad infinitum, it’s worth bearing in mind that the guys are, essentially, nuts, and self-defeating losers. That is the real story, to me, no matter who tries to appropriate the issue to advance their pet bigotry or personal career. Another act of madness in a world where such are in no short supply already . . . .

    1. Richard Kline

      Oh and another note in a diminished key: tail-enders in beaten insurgencies are amongst the saddest, bitterest, and zombified of all revolutionaries. Their dream is dead but their fuses are still live; very desolate individuals. It doesn’t matter if the cause was just or not, the condtion of being in the endgame on the lost side has no redeeming feature. Something to consider for anyone deciding to kill their way to justice . . . .

      1. Working Class Nero

        I can think of two “terrorist” type bombing campaigns that eventually, in the long run, resulted in victory. The first was during the Algerian War the FLN launched a bombing campaign which resulted in the Battle of Algiers (there is an excellent movie of the same name). The French certainly won the battle when they resorted to mass torture camps and squeezed enough information out to liquidate every carefully constructed FLN cell in Algiers. But the battle destroyed French moral (they had basically turned into the Nazi’s that they had sometimes fought against a little more than a decade before) and reinforced Algerian moral so that a few years later the French withdrew and “le pouvoir” has been in place since. Undoubtedly the Algerians are soon going to get Arab Springed as the US liquidates the old model secular authoritarian regimes in the region and replaces them with shiny new Islamic authoritarian regimes, but that’s another story.

        The other “terrorist” bombing campaign that worked was Hezbollah’s attacks on US and French troops in Beirut in 1983. This gained the immediate withdrawal of Western forces and eventually Hezbollah were even able to evict the Israeli occupying forces in 2000 although they certainly used more standard insurgency tactics.

        One could also argue that the IRA campaign in Britain was relatively successful in that Irish Catholics have full rights and nothing to complain about anymore in Northern Ireland. It’s true the campaign did not reunite Ireland but that may be seen as something as a blessing today since the British continue to pour welfare money into NI to maintain the peace. It is doubtful given the sad state of the Irish Republic’s financial affairs that Nationalists would even vote to rejoin the South given that it would mean a huge cut is social spending in NI.

        A “terrorist” bombing campaign can also serve “false flag” purposes; that is to discredit the group that is supposedly executing the bombing. The “Quiet American” explored this concept but these cases quickly devolve into a Wilderness of Mirrors situation where claim and counterclaim bounce back and forth. But given that the Boston Bombing seems to have been carried out by Chechen terrorists, there will no doubt eventually be claims from even beyond the usual Alex Jones suspects that Vladimir Putin was a rather happy man on hearing this news.

        1. skippy

          Cough…. King David Hotel bombing.

          That country’s very existence was predicated on terror, denoted as the modern example of said tools can deliver.

          Skippy… which is now derided as a means to an ends… lolz.

          1. koch

            Remember that the King David hotel bombing was one of many in a campaign that immediately preceded the formation of the state of Israel.

            The Semiramis Hotel bombing killed at least 24.

            The sinking of the Patria in 1940 which killed more than 250 Jewish refugeees being deported by the British from Palestine to Mauritius was also a Haganah (bungled) operation.

            The Irgun and Lehi favored the use of vehicle bombs against public gathering places such as public markets and buildings.

          2. Nathanael

            So, we have several examples now.

            And it’s worth noting that *bombs are fairly new*, historically, so we can’t find “terrorist bombing” campaigns before the late 1860s.

        2. Richard Kline

          Yes, the Algerian insurgency, and the Ulster campaigns of the IRA could be argued, at first blush, as successes. A better example is the one given by skippy, the Jewish terror campaign in Palestine 1947. But none of these was purely a bombing campaign. Moreover, the bombing campaigns themselves were _complete failures_ which greatly damaged the larger movements in the first two instances.

          Algeria involved a terror campaign of assassinations and bombing, largely urban; a subsequent widespread rural insurgency, armed infiltration over the border, and a campaign of international diplomacy. The urban bombing campaign was crushed, and set the Algerians back by 5-6 years. The ability to sustain the rural insurgency exhausted the French (they went bankrupt twice), and the diplomatic campaign was a broad success. Arguably the Ulster campaign was defeated. The bombers never changed government policy. Ulster is still part of the UK. The Catholics are still a minority. Civil rights came in the 90s—and likely could have been secured in the 60s by civil disobedience. The bombing campaign was completely a negative. The most successful terrorist campaign of the 20th century is the Jewish program in Palestine, but again, terror bombing was a tiny fraction of the effort. The Palmach was highly organized, band the Zionists in Palestine already had a functioning shadow government (and a plan, soon implemented, of ethnic cleansing) of a very high level of organization. Virtually all of the Jewish population in Palestine was in support. The British were thinking of withdrawing anyway, already near bankrupt, demoralized by the concurrent ongoing evacuation of South Asia, and much else.

          Yes, some successful insurgencies _using a broad based strategy_ have also used terror bombing and still succeeded. The bombing campaigns were nearly always detrimental to that success, however. And it was the broad based nature of the insurgency together with high-order organization which won. A more typical example of a terror bombing enterprise would be the ETA insurgency. The Tupamaros in Uruguay fit the model fairly well too. Chechnya itself degenerated into a terror campaign after the Chechens were battered in the field—and dragged that insurgency down to an unwinnable running sore. Their ends are the typical result of terror by the weak.

          1. Roland

            The bombers play “bad cop” while the politicals play “good cop.”

            Walk on two legs.

            Russian anarchists took out thousands of Tsarist officials in the decades leading up to 1917. That was the “ground game,” of small yards and a lot of bruises, that helped to open up the backfield for the glorious Lenin to Trotsky end zone reception.

            But nowadays, people only look at the famous replay, and don’t pay attention to how the many revolutionists, making small yards “running it up the gut,” helped to wear down the enemy defense. Sometimes you have to get dirty and play smash-mouth football.

    2. skippy

      Humans will fight with what they have and according to their ability… rightly or wrongly.

      Skippy… those without capital… well… uniforms or instruments of death… ain’t a hard choice.

    1. Lambert Strether

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/19/us/boston-marathon-things-we-know/?sr=google_news&google_editors_picks=true

      http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/19/17824210-suspects-in-marathon-bombings-are-brothers-authorities-say?lite

      above rules out reddit che guy

      http://stream.wsj.com/story/boston-marathon-explosions/SS-2-211979/

      above 10 mins ago two suspects chechen borthers (!)

      http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/19/17817173-one-boston-marathon-suspect-killed-second-suspect-his-brother-on-loose-after-firefight?lite

      above… after photos released by fbi

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      1. direction

        Thanks Lambert,
        I love that I can often get my news here first and avoid the major networks completely.

    2. Andreas K. Strassmeir

      Confusing wealth of info in RT about the brothers’ pergrinations. The family lived a while in Khzakhstan. The little brother briefly had refugee status in Dagestan as an ethnic Chechen – from Kyrgyzstan?! Later the older brother gained refugee status in the US?!?

      This is going to be crucial when the dust settles in a few years. The brothers were growing up in the “wild east” post-Soviet era, when our spooks invaded Central Asia in golden hordes. You know these kids were somebody’s skin on the wall. Find out who was running them and who let them get away.

      1. Andy S

        An agent you recruited and got credit for. Some of the suspects’ associates will come under panopticon scrutiny. Some won’t. Keep your eye on them.

      2. Nathanael

        The backstory does look extremely suspicious. And the CIA has repeatedly done insane things which backfired on the US.

  8. Klassy!

    I’m confused. They know where the bomber is, so aren’t there UAVs for such occasions? If only there were some sort of handy guide telling you when drone strikes are permissible.

    1. Richard Kline

      Don’t give the higher-ups any ideas because their dumb enough nerds to actually use them. I’m just sayin’ . . . .

      1. Klassy!

        Don’t worry– I got a hold of the algorithm and it begins with something about skin shade and ends with “will this put the kibosh on social security “fixes”, so the answer is no, not time for UAVs.

    2. Brindle

      Pretty much Martial Law now in effect in parts of Boston area.
      What if you are a citizen who knows the risks and chooses to go about their daily life (jogging, going to work, walking the dog etc.).

          1. Bridget

            Disclosure. I am a long time pressure cooker owner. My pressure cooker is, however, devoted to the peaceful purpose of cooking beans.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The sad fact is a mad man could inflict more damage with much less than a pressure cooker.

              He/she could just invite a lot of people to a drinking party and let them drive themselves home after.

            2. ScottS

              Pressure cookers are dual-purpose, just like Playstations and cryptography, and should therefore be banned from export.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think we are lucky to have all those surveillance cameras, even though we complain much.

          1. Susan the other

            So very lucky. Because look. We see two guys walking in single file in the exact spot to make them look suspicious. Both with backkpacks. I can, however, be confident that neither backpack contained anything so obvious as a pressure cooker. I mean really. They would have looked like hunchbacks. Then there is the surveillance camera in the 7-11 when perp #2 (?) decided to rob lit. Are you kidding me? That sounds like he did it to set the other brother up. And of course the other brother has been conveniently shot dead.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            All the confusion can be cleared up with more surveillance cameras. says Big Brother with unlimited supply of money.

          3. Nathanael

            The thing about surveillance cameras is that they have turned out to cut both ways. Camera footage has repeatedly exonerated people who were being framed by the police. “Missing” camera footage should be considered prima facie evidence of a frame-up by now.

            Now that EVERYONE has cameras, it’s become much easier to prove police misconduct, too.

      1. Valissa

        I live in Watertown, but the action is on the east side of town and we live on the west side (~1.5 away). At about 2:30am this morning we got a robocall from the Watertown Police telling us to stay in our homes. I was a bit freaked out about that but went back to sleep. No police have been in our neighborhood so far. I’ve been glued to NECN all morning. The neighborhood is eerily quiet. Personally I am totally OK with staying at home for the time being.

        Today I feel no urge to make snarky comments about the police or the feds and related political issues. The lockdown seems very reasonable to me, until the guy is caught. I have a dinner party to go to tonight in Boston, and hoping it’s all over by then and we can drive to see our friends.

          1. Valissa

            Very educational, thanks for the link! I have been studying some military history geopolitical theory in recent years and find it fascinating to be in the middle of this current situation. Not crazy about the lockdown (just because I understand it doesn’t mean I like it), and I keep hoping they’ll narrow it down to a couple of key areas so I can get on with my life!

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I was in London in 1984. IRA bombings were a regular event. You got a on a bus knowing there were itty bitty odds it was the wrong bus.

          People went about their lives and were alert to unattended packages.

          This freakout and lockdown is way over the top and looks like taking advantage of a bad situation to condition people to vastly more aggressive policing and surveillance.

          1. Valissa

            Agreed that it’s over the top. I’ve been concerned about increased surveillance and related totalitarian behavior ever since the bombs went off on Monday. As I said above, just because I understand why the authorities are doing what they are doing (and I am complying with) does not mean I approve of it.

          2. Valissa

            Further, the longer the lockdown goes on the more ridiculous it seems. Early this morning locking down all of Watertown made sense to me when an arrest seemed imminent, but at this point in the afternoon I think they should narrow things down to a few very small areas and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

          3. Doug Terpstra

            There is nothing to fear but insufficient fear — blowback is the intended consequence of the global war of terror.

          4. John

            Hey val…think about this-

            Those cops have been working flat out all week. They are easily onto triple time.

            What is that dounut circle down the street costing you?

            Did you get a ride on a blackhawk with the gov and mayor?

          5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Guidance with love (so no harm will be done) from Big Brother with Infinitely Deep Pockets.

          6. Valissa

            I truly hate the phrase ‘shelter in place’… way too Orwellian, refuse to use it. I much prefer calling it a lockdown, that’s more accurate and truthful. And yes, it sucks, but we are trying to make the best of it.

            btw, I walked out to the street corner (Main St) and hung out on the sidewalk to see what I could see. Several police cars drove by, as well as a few other cars and trucks, but no one told stopped to tell me to go back inside. I observed one bicyclist checking things out and a young couple walking up another side street. None of them were harassed for being outside either.

          7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Don’t worry. Your every step has been recorded via surveillance cameras.

            The information will be stored in a huge database securely somewhere.

            Look for your lockdown violation citation in the mail in the next few days. Shouldn’t cost you more than a few thousand dollars.

            That’s how I imagine it as a besieged driver here in La Angelless.

          8. Harry

            Inexplicable.

            Given the resources devoted to anti-terror initiatives, then it must be a substantial problem. A lock-down is not something you can do with a City the size of Boston without handing the Terrorists a “win” in terms of damaging your economy.

            Which one is it? Small problem which hardly ever happens or giant problem which needs huge resources thrown at it?

      2. lakewoebegoner

        sheesh, hate to feed the troll, but telling people to stay at home with a potential suicide bomber running around town does not = martial law.

        bonus points for not calling it marshall law though.

        1. taunger

          Hmm, police orders to stay at home and at least implied seizure if violated seems martial to me. I live in a surrounding community and I don’t feel so great about this. Shades of MPs on the DC streets after 9/11. That didn’t lead to anything good.

          1. taunger

            Naw, brindle, that was fine. I’m honestly pretty upset a major metro area was shut down for a manhunt.

          2. curlydan

            One likely dangerous suspect is casuing a metro area with millions of residents to “shelter in place” according to what I’ve heard? It seems like a big over-reaction to me that creates orders of magnitude more fear than is justified.

          3. Lambert Strether

            But how are we going to train people to comply with orders to shut down whole cities without training people to comply with orders to shut down whole cities?

            Never let a crisis go to waste, as Rahm says.

          4. Kurt Sperry

            The over the top response seems like it would be pretty easy for terrorists to actually game to their considerable advantage. The huge asymmetry of the resources expended between provocation and response fairly begs for it to be exploited to force massive economic disruption with a relatively small effort.

  9. dnm

    From the NSFW piece:

    “Pacific Research Institute was lobbying hard against the healthcare reform and a government-run medical system, saying that it would inevitably result in Soviet-style shortages and the rationing of medical care.”

    Sounds like Yves is on-message:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/04/supply-chain-problems-hitting-hospitals-near-you.html

    (Sorry if my first ever comment sounds like trolling, but I thought the linked piece was dodgy when I first read it, and this kind of comment from privitisation lobbyist does nothing to reduce my suspicions.)

  10. AbyNormal

    re Pulling the Trigger

    “Put simply, a parent trigger law allows a group of parents to hand over their kids’ public schools to private contractors, and then allows these new private contractors to tear up teacher union contracts and fire or hire as they see fit — all while receiving taxpayer money to fund their private-charter school business.”

    …Triggering the Truest quote of the week:
    “PRIVATIZATION IS A MECHANISM FOR LOOTING.” ~ YVES

    “Parent Revolution is a direct outgrowth of the charter school industry. Ben Austin, the outfit’s leader, previously headed a large charter-school firm called Green Dot Schools, whose backers overlap nicely with Parent Revolution’s backers — Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Eli Broad, Phillip Anschutz, and others. Austin’s replacement at Green Dot Schools is a former partner at Bain, Mitt Romney’s old firm.

    Potentates from the extraction industry, Wall Street hedge fund tycoons and others have invested huge sums into privatizing America’s public education system. For them, it is a public trough filled with up to $1 trillion just waiting to be converted into private profit, whatever the consequences for children.

    Former “Junk Bond King” and convicted felon Michael Milken, Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, Netflix founder Reed Hastings and billionaire venture capitalist John Doerr are just some of the names betting heavily on privatized education. Black Rock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and just about every other big name in Wall Street and private equity are in on the action, as well.

    Adelanto Charter Academy, a new publicly-funded charter school that embraced “conservative and Christian values” run by a couple of businessmen with deep connections to San Bernardino County’s GOP political machine. At the time, it was Adelanto’s only charter school. District officials started to notice something was up when they discovered administrators didn’t bother with even the most basic bookkeeping, and a deeper audit revealed that the school failed to meet basic education requirements, served tainted food and functioned as little more than a shell company that diverted public education funds into private bank accounts and political campaigns.”

    “No social problem is as universal as the oppression of the child.” Marie Montessori

      1. AbyNormal

        heavy links today…took me a cold shower and another pot of coffee to get Jeffery

        “They have no responsibility to pay taxes, they have no responsibility to their clients, they have no responsibility to people… counterparties in transactions. They are tough, greedy, aggressive, and feel absolutely out of control, in a quite literal sense. And they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent and they have a docile president, a docile White House and a docile regulatory system that absolutely can’t find its voice. It’s terrified of these companies.” Sachs

        Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness. george bernard shaw

        1. Susan the other

          Even so Parent Revolution had to use every hard-sell trick in the book to co-opt Adelanto parents. Blatant extortion and bribery in the end. Those parents were smart and tough. And as I see it Adelanto is a defeat for the cartered privatizers. Clearly. And isn’t that Michelle Rhee in the corner, losing her credibility? Right next to Mitt Romney.

  11. Mike Walters

    Re:Girl, 9, dies after being shot in the head by mother’s boyfriend who was practicing holstering his gun

    In a society where people are allowed to own guns, like the U.S., sometimes accidents happen, even tragic ones.

    NC, What was your thought process in adding this link? That all guns should be removed from the public? Is that your agenda here?

    Please post all links to stories of gun accidents, but make sure to never ever post a link to someone who used a gun to protect themselves or their family from a home invasion or other violence – that way people can get a truly unbiased view. /sarc

    1. lolcar

      There was a study in the 90s that showed for every time a gun was fired in self-defense in the home, it could be expected to be fired 7 times in an assault/murder, 4 times resulting in accidental injury and 11 times in an attempted suicide. 1 pro-gun link to 22 against seems fair then. That way people can get a truly unbiased view.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s not quite as bad as one Lotto winner for every 100 million losers.

        But we get 100 million stories about that winner and 0 story about the 100 million losers.

    2. JohnL

      Owning guns is one thing. Playing with loaded guns in the presence of children is something else. Is “accident” really the word you would choose?

    3. sd

      HIgh school friend was killed in a stupid and easily preventable gun accident.

      So how to prevent accidents from happening again? Basic gun safety. I am a firm believer that gun safety classes should be required before anyone takes a gun home. It should also be mandatory for everyone who lives in a house with a gun.

      In fact, I’d like to see gun safety taught in schools starting as early as kindergarten.

      1. Yearning to Learn

        sd:
        the research is VERY clear. Gun safety education DOES NOT WORK for reducing accidental gun related deaths.

        One of the most interesting studies is that researchers took some boys and put them in a room with a hidden gun and watched what happened.

        Basically, if they boys found the gun they played with it, and often pulled the trigger. It did not matter whether or not they had gun safety education. (a lot of it has to do with the lack of ability of abstract thought in children).

        If you have a gun, it should ALWAYS be locked away with a trigger lock. ALWAYS.

        Jackman GA, Farah MM, Kellermann AL,
        Simon HK. Seeing is believing: what do boys
        do when they find a real gun? Pediatrics.
        2001;107(6):1247–1250
        Twenty-nine groups of boys (n = 64) took part in the study. The mean age of participants was 9.8 years. Twenty-one of the groups (72%) discovered the handgun (n = 48 boys); 16 groups (76%) handled it (n = 30 boys). One or more members in 10 of the groups (48%) pulled the trigger (n = 16 boys). Approximately half of the 48 boys who found the gun thought that it was a toy or were unsure whether it was real. Parental estimates of their child’s interest in guns did not predict actual behavior on finding the handgun. Boys who were believed to have a low interest in real guns were as likely to handle the handgun or pull the trigger as boys who were perceived to have a moderate or high interest in guns. More than 90% of the boys who handled the gun or pulled the trigger reported that they had previously received some sort of gun safety instruction.

        other studies:
        Hardy MS. Teaching firearm safety to children:
        failure of a program. J Dev Behav
        Pediatr. 2002;23(2):71–76

        Himle MBM, Miltenberger RG, Gatheridge
        BJM, Flessner CA. An evaluation of two
        procedures for training skills to prevent
        gun play in children. Pediatrics. 2004;113(1
        pt 1):70–77

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s a good point.

          Gun safety education should be for adults or those at least of a certain age that they can actually benefit from the education, just like sex education is a waste on a 6 year old.

        2. Clorox

          What would happen if you put a group of boys in a room with a “hidden” bottle of clorox?

          How many would try to taste it?

        3. sd

          Gun safety should start in childhood, however, for parents, it should be mandatory. The whole point is to start the discussion and expectation that guns require safety.

        4. Nathanael

          However, the research is ALSO clear on something else.

          Requiring that someone pass a test of gun safety practices PRIOR to allowing them to have a handgun permit… that DOES reduce gun accidents. Substantially. To near-zero levels.

          (In short, the problem is not children finding guns lying around… the problem is adults LEAVING guns lying around, which should never, ever happen.)

      2. Lambert Strether

        There’s an engineering idea that the safest and most reliable parts are the parts that aren’t there; they never break down.

        In the same way, the form of training that maximizes gun safety will train people never to own guns in the first place.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s why I thought after encountering more and more scientists-gone-wild these days.

      1. Valissa

        There is already too much liberal group think on this blog, IMO. I welcome a diversity of opinion and do not feel threatened by it, nor does it anger me. Pluralism in practice means respecting that people have different opinions.

        1. lolcar

          Agreed – all opinions are welcome. However, to imply that there are an equal number of “homeowner successfully defends themselves with firearm” stories as “child shot by family member” stories out there is simply untrue.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes, that’s the point. I even looked at a site which compiled “gun helped someone be safer” stories from the news. Not only were there remarkably few, but when you read the actual stories, in at least 1/3 of the cases, there was no evidence that a gun was necessary to ward off the intruder (ie, they would have left when found, they thought the house was empty and just wanted a no-hassle robbery).

            I feel MUCH safer in NYC and when I lived in Sydney which have tough gun control laws than I do in places that don’t. Period. I interceded in a what is best described as a domestic violence situation in Sydney. I wouldn’t have dared in NYC. So there is a crime prevented (the guy went to prison in the end) due to the ABSENCE of guns.

          2. Nathanael

            FWIW, I’ve been annoyed that nobody has seriously discussed the value of the Canadian firearms regulations — which require people to actually *prove competence* and *prove understanding of safety* before they can have gun permits.

            Hunting accidents went from lots to near-zero. Home gun accidents went from lots to near-zero. Pretty much in the first year.

            The problem in the US is that the NRA leadership hates responsible gun owners. The NRA is working for gun *manufacturers*, who want to sell as many guns as possible, and only selling guns to sane, competent people would reduce sales.

            The NRA, therefore, has fought against any regulations which would give gun owners a better reputation by excluding the crazies. Of course, the NRA is currently run by a madman who should not have a gun permit because he threatens his employees with guns.

          1. jrs

            I think it’s the reverse, liberals used to be at least well liberals. Progressives in the 21st century have pretty much *always* been bad, nothing more than code for “Obama supporter” – always a bad thing.

            Unless one is referring to the early 20th century definition of progressivism, which I have no idea why everyone is so eager to attach themselves to anyway. It’s responsible for things like the introduction of the initiative, referendum, and recall in California (ie the propositions, the recall of Gray Davis etc.). I still fall in favor of these things, but they are *still* controversial (and not even that popular among many liberals). The early 20th century progessivism movement always struck me as more populist than ever really leftist. So I don’t see the desire to jump all over that term, instead of liberal (social democrat) or leftist (radical) depending on which fits better.

            And my only desire is to get far far away from anyone calling themselves progressives, because using a term that bad (unless you are referring to it’s actual meaning as favoring certain populist early 20th century laws)…. ugh … probably just another obamabot … get away.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I must confess when people described things they liked as bad, as in, your bank account balance or SAT score (or their 40 yard time) was bad, I initially wondered why they celebrated, instead of getting depressed over that.

        2. Lidia

          “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan

          The facts in the case of gun killings have a well-known liberal bias: the vast majority of those killed by guns are “good guys”, not “bad guys”.

          That said, there are far more people killed by automobiles than by handguns each year, and yet no one really seems to think of cars as deadly weapons (except, of course, when it comes to LICENSING them and requiring INSURANCE). I think all gun owners should be required to PASS EXAMS, renew their licenses yearly and carry INSURANCE, just like the owners and drivers of cars have to do.

          But the gun lobby wouldn’t stand for that, nor any other sensible REGULATING of a “well-regulated” citizen militia. They have gone off the deep end, today rejecting positions they embraced a couple of decades ago. They know the cards of fear, racial hatred and gov’t. hatred are running in their favor: they’re the ones supplying the deck.

          1. Valissa

            To clarify my own position, I am personally for regulating gun use. What’s important to me is to respect the fact that other’s feel differently than I do. To me that’s part of practicing tolerance of the world as it is, not as I wish it to be.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am for regulating (or better, banning) both guns and drones, for real persons, corporations and governments.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I’m gonna write the National Pressure Cooker Association immediately. If the rest of the family had owned pressure cookers and been trained to use them, these terrible events might never have happened.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Trust me, if more cat ‘owners’ are trained in how to use their cats, less blood will be shed.

        2. AbyNormal

          hell i’d be happy with Pressure Cooking Mental Health…this doesn’t have to be so damn difficult

    4. Nathanael

      “In a society where people are allowed to own guns, like the U.S., sometimes accidents happen, even tragic ones.”

      In Canada, where people are allowed to own guns, accidents like this do NOT happen.

      Why? There are strict safety and marksmanship tests, which must be passed before gun permits are issued.

      It doesn’t do anything about intentional killings, but it pretty much eliminates gun accidents, entirely.

  12. lakewoebegoner

    yet another reason to be careful with meat products:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/business/report-on-us-meat-sounds-alarm-on-superbugs.html

    More than half of samples of ground turkey, pork chops and ground beef collected from supermarkets for testing by the federal government contained a bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to a new report highlighting the findings.

    The data, collected in 2011 by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System — a joint program of the Food and Drug Administration….

    1. AbyNormal

      prepare to puke

      http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/aprilmay-2013/fdae28099s-changing-culture-what-every-food-company-needs-to-know/
      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is undergoing a major culture change, and nowhere is that impact being felt more than in the food industry. While visibly preparing new regulations to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the agency is quietly becoming much more inspection-oriented and enforcement-minded, even before FSMA is fully implemented. This trend will only continue as FDA completes FSMA rulemaking and begins enforcing the act.

      This cultural change means that the practices that made food companies successful in the past may not be enough to make them successful today. Companies must be fully prepared for today’s FDA inspections or expect to face enforcement consequences.

      *****But wait, stop the bus an let my brother jack off*****

      http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/11-6

      While President Obama’s new budget proposal has drawn widespread criticism for its cuts to Medicare and Social Security, another lesser known provision within the austerity heavy plan has caused great alarm from food safety advocates—a cutback on food inspection, most notably in the meat and poultry industries.

      In Obama’s budget, far less money would be allocated for federal food safety regulators, leaving room for a scheme promoted by Obama earlier this year in which *****industry employees are assigned to regulate themselves*****.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I blame this mess on Social Security.

          And, this is one responsible way to reduce the number of SS recipients.

          (sarcasm)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Another responsible way to save Social Security is to have more GM foods in our diet.

            How can we ever thank all those scientists-gone-wild?

    2. Lambert Strether

      More supply chain issues. Technical experts correct me, but I worry more about the bugs getting into trucks, or plumbing, or production lines permanently than I worry about this or that batch of food (bad though that is).

  13. MIWill

    I thought I had taken the red pill quite some time ago, but apparently I only licked it a bit.

    1. Jim S

      Scientists ask if we are living in a computer simulation, but it’s becoming clear to me that we are living in a Batman movie.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I question if we are really ‘living,’ in the sense that parts in a machine are not really living.

  14. Brindle

    Marcy Wheeler’s excellent take on Boston:

    —“What’s happening in Boston is horrible (though undoubtedly exacerbated by the 24-hour crappy cable coverage and the decision to tip the perpetrators and set off this massive manhunt).

    But I’m hearing a lot about this Boston tragedy being unique. The only thing that makes it unique is the media response.”—

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/04/19/meanwhile-across-the-globe/

    1. dadanada

      A US drone killed at least 5 pakistanis yesterday; they’re still sorting through the rubble for bodies. What goes around comes around.

      1. CB

        Yes, my first thought is Karma. More crudely put as, If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.

        1. Lambert Strether

          All we’re really saying is that Americans can’t take casualties. (We’re telling that to ourselves, too.) If you want to know about death and destruction, read up on the Battle of the Somme or Stalingrade.

    2. jrs

      No not unique even for the U.S. (although the decision to shut down a whole city is). Remember a few months ago when cops were going around killing random people in CA over the Dorner thing, nope not unique.

  15. JGordon

    There’s a lot of desperate anti-gun propaganda linked above. And all of it is amusingly irrelevant. You really have to stretch to include that stuff.

    I wonder how many anti-gun/freedom laws would have prevented the Boston Massacre anyway. Oh, that’s right. None.

    1. Jim Haygood

      When Massachusetts finally addresses the urgent need for pressure cooker control, they’ll allow you to have one big enough to cook one carrot.

      1. craazyman

        I always thought somebody had to be insane to use a pressure cooker.

        The first time I tried one with my then-girlfriend we both ran out of the kitchen and hid beind a cement wall when it started to hiss. You had to crane your neck around the wall to see it, but what good would that do if it exploded while you were watching. Nobody can move that fast.

        my grandmother could safely operate one, somehow without the slightest concern, but I wasn’t about to tempt fate. Turned the burner off with a yardstick and waited half an hour to touch it. No Mas.

        1. Klassy!

          They’re a lot safer now. If I’ve used one as many times as I have, and nobody’s been killed or anything then they’re pretty much safe for anyone.
          But I’ll hand mine over to the state if I must.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We need more links about our common cause against vampire squid and fewer gender-related or other divisive links.

      1. Jim S

        Hey MLTPB,

        Remember that scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker puts bombs on two ferries–one filled with convicts and the other filled with commuters–and tells each set of passengers that they have the detonation triggers to the bomb on the other boat? Then each boat erupts in chaos as they argue whether to push the button or not, until finally this huge convict grabs the trigger device on the convict ferry and hurls it over the side. The Joker just sits there waiting with a disappointed look growing on his face.

        I really liked that scene. You did too, didn’t you?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Vaguely. Usually, movies they go by so fast.

          Now that you mention it, it sounds like a good scene to meditate over – your life is on the life and do you save yourself or think about others.

          An economist would probably want to set up a model first and run some trials to generate empirical data.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Chained CPI, comrades. It’s like filching a silver spoon from the Titanic’s tableware:

    The change to the chained consumer price index is a benefit cut, one which will lower the buying power of seniors as they get older.

    According to the 2012 report of the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds, the system has a $20.5 trillion shortfall, which should start affecting beneficiaries in 2033. That statement means anyone who is 47 or younger will retire after the trust funds are gone. It means anyone who is 64 or younger expects to live long enough to be affected by the forced benefit cuts.

    The $2.7 trillion held by the OASDI trust funds are the only funds that exist for Social Security, and would pay for about 3 ½ years of full benefits.

    [Chained CPI] will not fix Social Security or even make it solvent. Some writers find these facts troubling, and some don’t. The one thing that we know for certain is that the longer we do nothing, the bigger the bus grows.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/changing-the-cola-wont-fix-social-security-2013-04-19?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I didn’t know exactly chained CPI was so I got this from Investopedia:

      The chain weighted CPI incorporates changes in both the quantities and prices of products. For example, let’s examine clothing purchases between two years. Last year you bought a sweater for $40 and two t-shirts at $35 each. This year, two sweaters were purchased at $35 each and one t-shirt for $45.

      Standard CPI calculations would produce an inflation level of 13.64%
      ((1 x 35 + 2 x 45)/ (1 x 40 + 2 x 35)) =1.1364

      The chain weighted approach estimates inflation to be 4.55%
      ((2 x 35 + 1 x 45)/ (1 x 40 + 2 x 35)) =1.0455.

      Using the chain weighted approach reveals the impact of a customer purchasing more sweaters than t-shirts

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So you buying pattern changes.

        Why?

        Maybe t-shirts have become too expensive and you really like t-shirts.

        You may spend less, but you get even less satisfaction, from the compromise.

        Here is another example.

        Last year, you, living on Social Security, bought 360 cans of catfood at $0.99 each and 360 bottles of minearl water @ $1.00/ea.

        This year, because it costs $3.00/can, you only bought (could only afford, more accurately) 50 cans of catfood but 450 bottles of water (to stop the hunger pangs, I guess).

        Let’s do the math again.

        (50×3 + 450×1)/ (360×0.99 + 360×1) = 600/716.4 = 0.8375

        Inflation? What cat-food inflation?

        This means, next year, your Social Security will be REDUCED, spelled R E D U C E D, 16.25%. And you can looking to even more negative inflation, reducing your SS checks even further.

        It’s a virtuous cycle.

      2. Claudius

        Chained CPI’s (C-CPI) annualized rate of inflation is, intrinsically, 0.3 percent lower than the CPI-U (income) and CPI-W (Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment), translating into a benefits cut of 3% after 10 years, close to 6% after 20 years, and around 9% after 30 years.

        If C-CPI had come into effect in 2001, the real reduction benefits would have wiped out the entire 2012 SS Cola. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) modeled an ‘elderly index’ (“CPI-E”).

        It showed seniors spend, proportionally, more of their income on medical care and housing (factors not easy to substitute – other than with death; which reduces both medical and housing cost to zero), both trending to outpace the same factors in the CPI-U CPI-W combined; 0.3 percentage points higher. The full-benefits retirement age (now 66) is to rise to 67 (2017-2022), which amount to a cut in benefits (i.e. working and “contributing” longer for the same entitlements). For those wanting to retire early at 62, after 2022, the decrease in benefits will be 10% (a strong disincentive not to retire early).

        So, if C-CPI comes into effect this year. A fifty’ish years old employee today, retiring in 2030 (the 60’s baby boomers – demographically the largest retirement group in the US) will see a loss of net benefits income, in real terms, of approximately 5.3 % at the point of retirement, and an incremental reduction of benefits income, in real terms, of 0.6% ( on the C-CPI + CPI-E) annually. The chances are that these numbers will be higher – as this demographically large group will almost certainly, drive up the inflation pace of seniors’ health and housing costs.

        Not to worry, retirees can simply continue working, even for a few more years (keep active both mentally and physically don’t you know?) or depend on other forms of income – just, keep the taxable income level “sensible”; don’t sweat it; just build up a tidy sum of pocket money for cat food, and chill out. Well, the median income for seniors 2011/12 was $25,757, the income mode (most common; 12.6%) level was between $15,000 and $19,999 annually; 86% of people age 65 and older “depend” on Social Security; the median Social Security payment amount was $15,701 and the majority of retirees (65%) got half or more of their income from Social Security. Over a third (36%) of people age 65 and older receives at least 90% of their income as a monthly Social Security payment.

        Still, some seniors also bring in extra retirement income by renting out property or earn royalties from work done earlier in their career (9%); however, it is only a small amount of income from these type of assets – the median being just $1,260 (a figure that is likely to decline by the time today’s, post GFC, 50-somethings reach retirement).
        Some seniors have military or federal, state, or local government access to private pensions or annuities (27%) or public pensions (15%). The median pension was worth $12,700. Government employee pensions generally paid considerably higher annual benefits ($20,000) than private pensions and annuities ($8,844). Just over a quarter (26%) of Americans, ages 65 (present retirement age) and older hold a paid job or are self-employed, earning a median of $28,000 (compared with a median of $45,000 earned by people age 62-64).

        If you are one of the 26% (a percentage that will, demographically, increase from 2017 onward) who will continue to work after 67 years old (post 2022), in the first year of retirement, your post retirement income (set against the median earned) is likely to drop by 62%, by virtue of retirement alone. It will suffer a loss of 5.3% in real terms due to benefits that have not kept pace with inflation, plus 0.6% cost on the C-CPI + CPI-E combined; or, put another way, approximately a 70% reduction in income, in real terms.

        By applying C-CPI to all government programs, including the annual adjustment in income tax brackets, it would cause those thresholds to rise more slowly than they do now, ‘floating’ the middle and lower incomes into higher tax brackets faster (effectively becoming a passive, universal tax). So, if you are one of the 26% (30%, 35%…..) retirees still working in 2022 onwards, with an supplementary income between $10,000 and $20,000 you could experience an increased tax burden of 14.5 percent, while those with incomes over $1,000,000 would just see an increase of 0.1 percent.

        The average US citizens’ life expectancy is 78’ish; as such, probably one third of all seniors can expect to spend the last ten years or so of their life appreciating the nuances cat food cuisine; or not if ( by doing your government a favor) you die earlier.

    2. Claudius

      If Chained CPI’s (C-CPI) had come into effect in 2001, the real reduction benefits would have wiped out the entire 2012 SS COLA. C-CPI’s annualized rate of inflation is, intrinsically, 0.3 percent lower than the CPI-U (income) and CPI-W (Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment), which translates into a benefits cut of 3% after 10 years, close to 6% after 20 years, and around 9% after 30 years.

      The BLS has an ‘elderly index’ (“CPI-E”) model; it shows seniors spend, proportionally, more of their income on medical care and housing (factors not easy to substitute); both trending higher to outpace the same factors in the CPI-U CPI-W combined, by 0.3%.
      The full-benefits retirement age (now 66) rises to 67 2017 through 2022, which amount to a cut in benefits (i.e. working and “contributing” longer for the same entitlements). So, if C-CPI comes into effect this year. a fifty’ish year old employee today, retiring in 2030 (the 60’s baby) will see a loss of net benefits income, in real terms, of approximately 5.3% at the point of retirement, and an incremental reduction of benefits income, in real terms, of 0.6% (based on C-CPI + CPI-E) annually. The chances are that these numbers will be higher – as this demographically large group will almost certainly, drive up the inflation of seniors’ health and housing costs.

      Not to worry, retirees can simply continue working, even for a few more years or depend on other forms of income – just, keep the taxable income level “sensible”; don’t sweat it; just build up a tidy sum of pocket money for cat food, and chill out. Well, the median income for seniors in 2011/12 was $25,757, the income mode (12.6%) level was between $15,000 and $19,999 annually.

      86% of people age 65 and older “depend” on Social Security; the median Social Security payment amount was $15,701 and the majority of retirees (65%) got half or more of their income from Social Security. Over a third (36%) of people age 65 and older receives at least 90% of their income as a monthly Social Security payment.

      Still, some seniors also bring in extra retirement income by renting out property. The median income of this type the being just $1,260 (a figure that is likely to decline by the time today’s, post GFC, 50-somethings reach retirement). Okay, but some seniors have military or federal, state, or local government access to private pensions or annuities (27%) or public pensions (15%).

      The median pension was worth $12,700. Government pensions generally paid higher annual benefits ($20,000) than private pensions and annuities ($8,844). Just over a quarter (26%) of Americans, ages 65 (present retirement age) and older hold a paid job or are self-employed, earning a median of $28,000 (compared with a median of $45,000 earned by people age 62-64).

      If you are one of the 26% (a percentage that will demographically increase from 2017 onward) who will continue to work after 67 years old (post 2022), in the first year of retirement, your post retirement income (set against the median earned) is likely to drop by 62%, by virtue of retirement alone. It will suffer a loss of 5.3% in real terms due to benefits that have not kept pace with inflation, plus 0.6% cost on the C-CPI + CPI-E combined; or, put another way, approximately a 70% reduction in income, in real terms.

      By applying C-CPI to all government programs, including the annual adjustment in income tax brackets, it would cause those thresholds to rise more slowly than they do now, ‘floating’ the middle and lower incomes into higher tax brackets faster (effectively becoming a passive, universal tax).

      So, if you are one of the 26% (30%, 35%…..) retirees still working in 2022 onward, with an supplementary income between $10,000 and $20,000 you could experience an increased tax burden of 14.5 percent, while those with incomes over $1,000,000 would just see an increase of 0.1 percent.

      The average US citizens’ life expectancy is 78′; as such, probably half of all seniors can expect to spend the last ten years or so of their life appreciating the nuances feline cuisine; unless, by doing your government a favor, you die before retirement.

  17. tyaresun

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/apr/19/sea-lions-struggle-san-diego-coast/

    More on the SoCal sea lion pups.

    “Right now, we don’t know what that cause is, but the leading hypothesis is that its related to a food issue. That there’s a food shortage,” said Cynthia Smith of the National Marine Mammal Foundation. “And the animals either aren’t able to find the fish that are there, or the fish have moved away, or the numbers have declined.”

    Hundreds of starving, undersized sea lions have been rescued and even more can be seen along the Southern California coast. Seaworld promises an unlimited capacity to help in San Diego county, but other rescue centers are feeling the strain. Some are turning away all but the most critically ill pups.

  18. Timotheus

    Re Yasha Levine piece on school privatization: breathtaking loathsomeness, even for a confirmed cynic. I need to take a purifying bath.

    1. mookie

      I used another subscriber unlock to keep the link readable by non-subscribers for another 48 hours. It’s an important story and all the power and money is on the side of the privatizers/looters. Witness the Koch wu mao gang come out of the woodwork here with ad hominems.
      I don’t subscribe to a lot of sites/magazines, but wholeheartedly recommend subscribing to Naked Capitalism and NSFWCORP on the electronic side and Harper’s and Lapham’s Quarterly on the print side.

  19. Tommy

    Why do you keep posting NSFW crowd? These guys are losers. Please stop with the Mark Ames. He stinks he really does. I’m no libertarian and his libertarian scare mongering in ridiculous.

      1. Tommy

        John Tyner thing not serious? Love blog, and think it would improve if NC didn’t legitimize Koch theatrics.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That’s called an ad hominem, buddy, and the Yasha Levine piece is excellent. Can you read? Yasha is not Mark and NSFW is a site that is funded by VCs. They recruited Mark to write on their site. So a well funded venture wants to have him write for them and you declare him a “loser”? People who know the terrain better than you think the opposite.

      And Ames is a great writer and journalist. He’s the one who discovered the role of the Kochs in funding the Tea Party and libertarianism generally.

      Go read another blog, please. Thought policing is not welcome.

      1. allcoppedout

        I’m sure in practical terms you are right Yves – but deep down in the philosophy of argument ad hom can just be the eristic component in which we express profound disagreement. In a sense other than you mean here, it would be good to confront the austerity bureaucracy with the direct profound disagreement of, say, a bunch of Greek kids rooting in bins to keep themselves alive. No support of this guy intended.

    2. YankeeFrank

      “These guys are losers.”

      What is this, high school? Ames and Levine are two of very few ethical journalists still publishing in the great ole’ US of A. They are incredible muckrakers that break important stories, and effectively out corporate “journalists”.

      I can’t imagine what your idea of a journalist actually is… Wolf Blitzer? Charlie Rose?

      Talk about losers…

    3. JohnB

      I take a particular interest in Libertarian-busting writing, especially that which digs into and roots out the corrupt nature of their ideologues and think tank network, and Ames writing (among others possibly, at NSFW) has been pretty excellent and informative, where it comes to tearing Libertarianism apart.

      The witty invective he sends their way, is more than deserved, given the repugnant, consciously-corrupt moral/intellectual edifice, that Right/Austro-Libertarian ideology is built upon.

  20. Garrett Pace

    Most other things will get pushed out of the news today in favor of police state manhunts, but this is a significant step culturally.

    Boy Scouts to abandon homosexual ban:

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/04/19/us-usa-boyscouts-ban-idINBRE93I0OY20130419

    This will probably prompt a significant change in the relationship between the BSA and the LDS church, and be challenging for both parties.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/18/us/mormons-and-scouts-act-as-partners-in-molding-boys.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    “In 2011, Mormon-sponsored packs and troops accounted for more than one-third of the country’s scout units, and the 421,000 boys they enrolled, from ages 8 to 18, made up 15 percent of the country’s 2.7 million registered scouts.”

    1. Garrett Pace

      (Though perhaps it might not change the relationship. LDS don’t forbid anyone from attending worship meetings. And non-LDS kids are eagerly invited to take part in scouting, so why not gays as well. There’s a chance this ends up being a non-issue for LDS leadership, too early to tell.)

      1. will nadauld

        I was raised LDS. I was a scout. I support gays in scouting and gay marriage on constitutional grounds. I can now support and encourage my son to be a scout. That said, my son is five and a discussion we had makes me wonder where he is getting his information. We were discussing moms and dads and moms and moms and dads and dads. He understood the concept of being gay. We haven’t taught him that nor do we expose him to mass culture (we don’t even own a tv.) I told my wife (uber liberal) that I hope he is straight and I asked her if I’m homophobic. She says no. When I analyze my feelings a little, I have decided I hope he’s straight so his life will be easier with less conflict. Does that mean I’ve analyzed societys treatment of gays correctly or does it mean I’m chicken shit or does it mean I’m a little homophobic?

  21. Another Gordon

    Re: Are Germans really poorer than Spaniards, Italians and Greeks?

    For me the really startling thing about this is the very high inequality in Germany. How do they get away with it?

    I suspect that when inequality in a country rises above a certain level the economy starts to unravel as the lost spending power of the great majority fails to be counterbalanced by the higher luxury spending of the 1% (market segmentation adds to this) creating an overall deficiency of demand. So how does the German economy escape this trap?

    Only because of its export prowess; export demand substitutes for the lost internal demand of the impoverished 99% and so stabilises the situation politically.

    Perhaps this is why the German elite is so resistant to change; it would destabilise domestic politics that currently suit the 1% rather well.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They are exporting their inequality to other countries.

      Something to think about when looking at the ‘value and quality’ of an import…from lots of countries in the world, not just Germany.

    1. Nathanael

      Eric Schmidt is a smart and decent man. Heck, if we have to have feudal lords, I’d prefer him over the loons currently running the country.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As one gets older, one learns to live with errors and mistakes…even math errors.

      You know a year is not exactly 365.25 days, but we go on.

      And people die from under-countering unemployment, but no one seems to be doing anything about it.

  22. Maxwell Smart reporting for duty

    How did the kid brother get away? Ask Spike Bowman, Navy Intelligence, NSA Judge advocate, FBI (ret.), who shut down surveillance on Moussaoui and destroyed the anthrax evidence. Ask Spike who took over for him as fake investigator fucking up terror cases and you’ll find the new Special Agent in charge of the Strategy of Tension Division.

    1. Nathanael

      The FBI devising terrorist plots, suggesting them to various people, funding them, and delivering explosives to them, has now happened so many times that it’s embarassing.

      Of course, they may not have done it this time, but they’ve admitted to doing it so many times (as your links attest to) that it does come to one’s mind as a possibility, almost immediately. Sigh.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Smacking kids no harmful if they feel loved.

    If I dont’ speak up, this bit of brainwashing will be firmly planted in your sub consciousness.

    Is that like whipping the slaves is not harmful if they feel loved?

  24. Pat

    There’s an interesting interview with the mother of the Chechen Brothers on RT television, the Russian channel. She is currently in Dagestan.
    The RT article says, “her biggest suspicion surrounding the case was the constant FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She is surprised that having been so stringent with the entire family, the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act.”

    The mother says, “they were set up, FBI followed them for years.”

    And more: “They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [the older, 26-y/o Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act! Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!”

    Wow, it sure looks like the older brother was nothing but a patsy, cultivated years ahead of time in anticipation of a false flag event like this.
    Probably Tamerlan never did anything except make a few pro-Chechen statements on Facebook and maybe join a Chechen organization.

    Honestly, do you really thing that someone would carry out an act of mass slaughter when the FBI was following him and visting his home and family? Of course not, that would be absurd.

    The other brother will never be allowed to survive and tell the real story, if he’s not dead already.

    1. Synopticist

      A mother just heard one of her sons is dead, killed in a shootout, and the other’s on the run.

      What do you expect her to say?

    2. Nathanael

      The most charitable explanation still makes the FBI, and the area police in general, look completely incompetent.

      (1) They followed two suspects around for years…
      (2) then failed to notice when the suspects decided to bomb the marathon…
      (3) failed to prevent the bombing…
      (4) failed to find the suspects after the bombing, until…
      (5) the suspects suddently decided to commit an additional armed robbery…
      (6) which was *successful*, and where they killed a police officer (but an MIT one, not part of the power structure)…
      (7) and GOT AWAY AGAIN…
      (8) and were surrounded by militarized police in Watertown…
      (9) after which one of them GOT AWAY AGAIN…
      (10) and the police made a stupid “lockdown” and marched around in a show of force but still couldn’t find the suspect…
      (11) and finally a random homeowner found him and called the police…
      (12) and then they finally did their job and captured him alive…
      (13) after which they failed to read him his rights.

      This does not reflect well on the police.

      The least charitable explanation is a false flag event. However, we don’t need to go there. Incompetence reflects badly enough on the police.

  25. gordon

    What happened to the naked guy who was a Boston bombing “suspect”? Is he now the dead suspect? He looked OK when they were putting him in the police car.

    1. Ms G

      How on earth did scanner chatter end up on public streaming?! Is this deliberate by DHS/FBI/Boston PD or a successful hack of the frequency?

      1. hunkerdown

        Are you asking why are they communicating in the clear? Matt Blaze co-authored a paper a couple years back on that question and has coincidentally (pre-Boston) been revisiting it recently on his Twitter feed. Long story short: a system that imposes a net burden to boots-on-the-ground in accomplishing objectives will almost always be circumvented or neglected in favor of productivity and convenience.

  26. AbyNormal

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    La. ‘Sinkhole’ Warnings, Contingency Plan Enacted: Deadly Hydrogen Sulfide, 2nd Sinkhole, Increased Instability

    Gov. Jindal warned Monday at a meeting in Baton Rouge with officials that deadly hydrogen sulfide could be released and another sinkhole could form if Texas Brine LLC’s second failing cavern collapses and he warned about increased instability in the Napoleonville Salt Dome, also collapsing.

    http://goingglobaleastmeetswest.blogspot.com/2013/03/louisiana-sink-hole-update-march-15th.html

    “The proposed contingency plan is based upon three color levels (green, yellow, and red) of potential seismic activity associated with the Oxy-Geismar No. 1 and the related action level as described below,” the Continency Plan text reads.

    “The response is currently in green status.” (See the full Contingency Plan below)

    The proposed contingency plan is based upon three color levels (green, yellow, and red) of potential seismic activity associated with the Oxy-Geismar No. 1 and the related action level as described below. The response is currently in green status.
    (we’re doing c o l o r s again?)

    The collapsing 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville Salt Dome has forced evacuation of people in 150 nearby Bayou Corne homes.

    Energy refugees displaced since early August have “strongly criticized the governor’s absence,” WAFBreports.

    ?energy refugees?

    1. Ms G

      Or let’s not hope that the pressure cooker was bought by the suspect’s roommate (if he had one) where the roommate was an FBI undercover, and educated the suspect on the dual-use item features of a pressure-cooker: cook food, bomb crowds.

    2. barrisj

      Their mother certainly let the FBI have it in an overseas interview – if at any time either or both of the brothers was on the FBI watchlist, or had an FBI minder on the case, someone has a bit of ‘splainin’ to do…but don’t bet on any of it appearing in the public sphere.

    1. affinis

      Teen ‘fearful’ after portrayal as US bomber

      “Barhoum said there were only two reasons he had been labelled a suspect: his bag and his brown skin”

      “teenager says he is scared to go outside after he was portrayed on the internet and on the front page of the New York Post as connected to the deadly Boston Marathon bombings….He said he was so fearful on Thursday that he ran back to the high school after a track meet when he saw a man in a car staring at him, talking into a phone. Barhoum’s father, El Houssein Barhoum, who moved his family from Morocco five years ago, said he was worried his son would be shot and fears for his wife and two young daughters.”

  27. Lambert Strether

    Seems that the suspect is in bad shape at the hospital (will he live?) and wasn’t Mirandized. If the suspect had been Mirandized, that would have been what America is all about and a real cause for celebration.

    1. Ms G

      They are hoping he will make “spontaneous utterances” in his semi-conscious state. These are a term of art: if a person in custody says something while not being questioned, that statement is admissible as evidence and Miranda not necessary because only applies to custodial interrogations.

      1. Ms G

        Nope. Turns out Feds are deliberately not Mirandizing the young man by invoking the “public safety exception” … an interesting tack given that in 5 days no evidence (apparently) has surfaced that the bomb attacks were anything except a plan by two brothers.

        Police state on steroids.

        1. Nathanael

          This sort of insane, abusive behavior — the “let’s throw away all our laws” attitude — is a good way to *breed more mad bombers*.

          Idiots in charge.

      2. Claudius

        The Quarles v. US made clear that public safety exception to Miranda only apply to those questions necessary for the police “to secure their immediate safety”. Beyond that Miranda rights apply, However, this judgement was “clouded” by U.S. v. Mobley, when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the public safety exception applied even when the subject had invoked his right to counsel.The court recognized that a threat to public safety still may exist even after Miranda rights are provided. Seem to me that what we have here is both a legal particle and a wave…. hmmmm

        1. Ms G

          “to secure their immediate safety”

          That was the cornerstone of the (cynical) exception to Miranda. AUSA Ortiz’s invocation of that exception in the case of the Boston suspect makes it perfectly clear that “immediate safety” is at best an irrelevance as far as DOJ is concerned. At least in the root case the suspect had thrown the gun a few feet away from where the cop nabbed him. Where’s the “immediate safety” for the arresting cop when the argument for interrogating without Mirandizing is that “this might be part of a terrorist plot” — the latter being a concept infinite in time and space (as defined by our War Lord State).

  28. Nathanael

    “Never attribute to stupidity what can be explained by malice Michael Smith”

    The comments on this article are more interesting than the article itself.

  29. JohnB

    I use RSSOwl to watch NC’s feed, and there appears to be something malformed in the feed which is breaking RSSOwl, which you can see highlighted on this page:
    http://feedvalidator.org/check.cgi?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2Ffeed

    I think it is the line 118 bit that is breaking RSSOwl; fixing it should just be a matter of fixing/removing that bit of formatting, from the problematic post/feed (I have little experience with maintaining RSS feeds though).

  30. brazza

    As you may know Italian parliament is having significant problems electing a new President (7 years mandate) because the last election results have split parliament in 3 roughly camps: right, left, and … Grillo’s direct democracy revolution. Yesterday the left imploded, its reps using the secret ballot to sink their own official candidate, Romano Prodi.

    Grillo’s candidate is gaining ground, left-leaning jurist Stefano Rodota’. It appears as if there is significant interest among NC readers in understanding more of the relatively-unknown Grillo, his appeal, and approach. So I’m posting this brief video shot a few days ago after a rally in the North-Eastern part of Italy, in which a supporter (apparently one of many financially-troubled “imprenditori” (entrepreneurs) takes Grillo aside and passionately begs him to represent his perspective. The dialogue (mostly a soliloquy) renders an eye-opening perspective on the relationship between Grillo (notice how he presents himself publicly with no protection) and his electorate.

    I have translated the conversation:

    X (reaching out to shake his hand): “Grillo save us from the shit! Save us from the shit!
    Grillo: “Are you managing to put some on the side”?
    X: “Shit? There is so much of it …
    G: “I know …. I know”
    X: “But listen to me now … I’ve followed you for years. Try to collaborate (reach compromise) if you can ”
    G: “I know (be patient) … we’ve now reached the end-game”
    X: “Grillo! Otherwise they’ll say that we were there but we didn’t act.”
    G. “Yes, yes. Because they are looking for justifications … ”
    X: “You have to do your best, Grillo!”
    G: “Relax, stay calm …”
    X: “OUT with the thieves! These … grabbers! 40k Euros of pension, Grillo! OUT with these people!
    G: “You are right .. I know …”
    X (finger pointing): “But listen … that isn’t enough! Then you must also govern! Governing doesn’t mean chasing out people casually or without proper reason. Cutting excesses of course … but using also your common sense.”
    G: “Yes … we do need to cut back somewhat …”
    X (voice breaking): “Grillo … I’m only a 66 year-old dick-head who lives on 480 Euros per month. I’m not trying to save my own skin … I don’t give a shit. But these people … we have to get rid of them … these grabbers! Thieves and grabbers OUT! They’ve bought outcomes of legal court-cases against them! And when someone enters politics must declare publicly his properties and financial situation … and the death penalty for those who steel from the public! Grillo … have you understood?”

    http://bcove.me/ve9n548v

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