Links 4/23/13

Inside a mile-deep open-pit copper mine after a catastrophic landslide BoingBoing. Lambert: “Definitely Yikes. Click through for spectacular image.”

Space collisions expected to rise BBC

The Biotech Industry Has Trotted Out a Flimsy Lie to Avoid Labeling the Food We Buy as Genetically Modified Alternet

The Disconcerting Details: How Facebook Teams Up With Data Brokers to Show You Targeted Ads EFF (Lambert)

Some Windows XP Users Can’t Afford To Upgrade Slashdot (Chuck L)

Boeing in the dark over 787 battery fires Financial Times

Why the Rush to Return to the Gulf of Mexico? OilPrice

The Hidden Global Poverty Problem Triple Crisis

China’s post-modern macro data (or, when Q1 is not Q1) FTAlphaville

Is crisis spreading east? Guardian. More like independent gestation. The Japanese had trouble managing the transition from an export-driven to a more balanced economy, and deliberately blew asset bubbles to try to stimulate more consumption. Oops!

The great Aussie rip-off MacroBusiness. This makes me feel an itty bitty bit less sad about not living in Sydney.

Thatcher Commons Seat Won in Rigged Vote: Biography Bloomberg

Did Chavez’ Pick Steal the Election in Venezuela? Greg Palast

CONFIRMED: The Economic Crisis Has Infected Europe’s Core Clusterstock

EU near austerity limit, says Barroso Guardian. This is a BIG deal. The EU has now joined the IMF in backing off from austerity. This puts them at loggerheads with Germany. Fur is gonna fly!

Yet more Boston Bombing:

The Dzhokhar Complaint Marcy Wheeler

Why is Boston ‘terrorism’ but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine? Glenn Greenwald“>Boston is the end result of a broken system Ian Welsh

Boston Terror Narrative Starts Falling Apart George Washington. The headline is overly dramatic, but if nothing else, look at the YouTube link of a “voluntary” search

Taylor Swift Now Dating Watertown Boat Onion (Lambert)

Showdown looms over State Secrets Privilege in ‘No-Fly List’ Case Politico (Chuck L)

Fed Still Owes Congress a Blueprint on Its Emergency Lending New York Times

Release of Attica Riot records seems likely The Daily News

Judge Rules Anti-Choice Terrorist Can Claim Religious Protection for Conversations with Tiller Murderer Firedoglake (Carol B)

Markets Insight: Misuse of collateral creates systemic risk Satyajit Das, Financial Times

Regulators Get Banks to Rein In Bonus Pay Wall Street Journal. Before you get too excited, none of the banks in question are TBTF.

Protecting Boards from Their Own Shareholders James Kwak

Bribery probe lifts Walmart directors’ pay Financial Times. A wee incentive problem here, no?

Should bishops run the banks? Robert Peston, BBC

Do entrepreneurs matter? VoxEU

Why Politics and Economics Are a Toxic Cocktail Mark Thoma, The Fiscal Times

Economists afraid of ethics? MacroBusiness

The Recovery in Housing Is Behind Us: David Rosenberg Daily Ticker v. Existing Home Sales: Conventional Sales up Sharply Calculated Risk. Readers?

Antidote du jour:


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  1. Charles LeSeau

    Dear data brokers:

    Note well in your data that I think you’re a bunch of weasels and the world would be better off without you on it. Lots better.

    1. curlydan

      Dear data brokers (and with apologies to Bob Dylan):

      “I will not go down under the ground
      ’Cause somebody tells me that [you’re] comin’ ’round
      An’ I will not carry myself down to die
      When I go to my grave my head will be high
      Let me die in my footsteps
      Before I go down under the ground”

  2. Inverness

    Re: Great Aussie Rip-Off: Data is fascinating. Note that Vancouver has become more expensive than both New York and Moscow! Of course, a major reason beyond high Vancouver rents is the high price of goods in Canada, especially compared with South of the border, leading many a Canadian to cross the border to buy stuff.

    1. BikeShopStiff

      I thought the Aussie high prices were offset by doubly high wages? I read the average annual income was more than US$80K. The genius being that the domestic pricing is a wash to Aussies but hugely expensive to tourists.

    2. sleepy

      I spent some time last year in the Maritime provinces and in Newfoundland and Labrador. For the things that tourists buy–restaurant food, gas, and lodging–prices seemed roughly 50% higher than in the US. Other than that though, prices seemed about the same.

      I think much of the price differential–outside of bubbles like Vancouver–is most likely due to the strong rise in the Canadian dollar which is now at parity with the USD. At one point a dozen or so years ago, I believe the Canadian dollar was worth only c. 70 US cents and I would cross into Ontario from Minnesota just to shop for the cheap Canadian goods.

      Also, I believe the lowest provincial minimum wage in Canada is c. $9/hr if not higher.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      No kidding. Go to Costco or Trader Joe’s here in Bellingham to see how many Canadians shop across border. Prices are insane in Vancouver, but that’s nothing new, prices have always been insane there.

    4. gordon

      Eating in Melbourne’s CBD is always going to be more expensive than in the suburbs. The CBD is where the high-paid people work, so that’s where restaurants and indeed all retail prices will be highest. As well as that simple calculation, store owners (including restauranteurs) have to pay ruinous rents there, just to encourage them to milk the DINKs and professionals as hard as they can. Those prices have little or nothing to do with the pay of employees. They don’t eat in the CBD; they couldn’t afford to.

    1. David Lentini

      … and excellent commentary. Our “security theater” is guaranteed to give us bigger and bigger shows.

  3. fresno dan

    “Why is Boston ‘terrorism’ but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine? Glenn Greenwald”

    Because 3 people killed by terrorists (i.e., foreigners, or foreign influenced) are profoundly more important because *** than hundreds killed by common domestic criminals/nuts.

    *** Uh, because we see the Boston bombing on TV 24/7, and we debate what to do about terrorism endlessly, and we ACTUALLY do things (most of which I don’t agree with, but we DO SOMETHING)and people might be afraid, and not go to sporting events, and than TV advertizing of sporting events might decrease, profits for TV and athletic shoes would crater, and the economy would be sunk.

    1. Working Class Nero

      I thought the article was just more butthurt from the left over the bombers turning out to be Muslim. The pathetic defenses and weak semantic arguments are just going to get more embarrassing as time goes on and more damaging information “leaks” out. A far more productive strategy would be to redefine the bombers as wingnuts and declare victory in the partisan Boston Bomber blame game.

      There is already substantial evidence that the Brothers Tsarnaev, particularly the ring leader Tamerlan, were serious Reich-wing nuts. First of all they grew up at ground zero of enlightened blue state paradise, Cambridge MA. There is no more progressive place on earth to grow up and these two were unhappy! Cambridge whose citizens voted over 80% for Obama, is full of well-intentioned, politically correct, enlightened, and highly educated people — the very best a blue state can offer. But still the Tsarnaevs rejected all this goodness. We all know for a fact that there is only one type of person that would not thrive in that environment: a reactionary crypto-Tea Party cadre. They probably would have been just fine if they had grown up in a rural red state environment like Utah.

      Tamerlan Tsarnaev would not exactly be a poster boy for gender sensitivity either. Sure he was an uber-alpha male sociopath, so he will earn a few passes from the usual suspects on that count. But he also took a beautiful, upper-middle class woman out of her university, stuck her barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, and then put a hijab over her head, and went on to beat her ass a couple times. In some ways this could very well be seen as kind of sexist.

      MLK is a sacred icon for racial justice in America. Even the most recidivist white nationalist has at least a few good things to say about MLK. But Tamerlan Tsarnaev hated MLK! He disrupted the proceedings of an entire mosque just at the mention of the great man’s name. Racism could be an issue here.

      Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an enthusiastic member of a homophobic religion; namely Islam. Not only does Islam not recognize marriage equality; homosexuality is sometimes punished by the death penalty in certain Islamic states. Now sure it would worse if he had ended up being Catholic, but once again on a sliding scale from left to right, Tamerlan Tsarnaev is turning up somewhere to the right of Pat Buchanan but a little left of the Pope.

      So really, partisan lefties should just let all the butthurt go and realize that you have been right the whole time. The bombers, at least Tamerlan, did turn out to be disgruntled Caucasian, sexist, racist, wingnuts, just as so many on the left had hoped!

      1. Bakasone

        We also have our share of self-hate over here in Europe (see the Guardian piece listed under today’s links). What trendy lefties apparently don’t understand is that however much you appease islamists (read: islamists, not: followers of Islam) they will not like you back. They are driven by religious feelings, a powerful justification for mass murder throughout history. They don’t belong to the usual kind of depraved killers messing up American malls.

        1. down2long

          Re the Islamic death penalty for gay folk. I had this Iranian worker (young) who told me oh so happily that his grandfather said in Iran they would put gay folk in a big bag, hang them up in a tree, and the locals would come by and whack at them like a pinata until they were dead.

          The kid’s eye lit up with up with joy at the retelling. As a gay person, it was very difficult to work my traditional “easing the person off their stance with positive familiarity” thing. That was truly repugnant.

        2. landanna

          How would you characterize the US government’s propensity for mass murder on a scale that makes islamists look like Telletubbies? Religious fanaticism or something else?

          Also, is there any point in trying to appease the US government?

      2. Jane Doe

        Nice attempts to deflect from bigotry

        The two guys last week acted alone

        There is no reason to call last week terrorism but not the killing sprees that occur frequently

        That’s not a leftist issue

        It’s one about explaining inconsistency that can’t be explained logically

        1. Working Class Nero

          You seem to be mixing lots of stuff up here so let’s start with some basic definitions and examples. Typically there are three necessary components to declaring an act terrorism; public violence intended to induce fear, targeting of civilians, and an ideological, political, or religious goal behind the act.

          Notice how “acting alone” is not part of this definition. For example in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik blew up a government building and then slaughtered lots of teenagers at a socialist retreat. The fact that he acted alone does not somehow magically make his acts not terrorism. They fit all three components of the definition and so he is a terrorist despite the fact he acted alone.

          What may be confusing you are the labels international or domestic terrorism. If it does turn out that the Brothers Tsarnaev acted alone (it will be hard to know since Tamerlan was the ring leader and is now dead and he didn’t necessarily fill his little brother in on all the details of how the act was planned) then this would be an act of domestic Islamic terrorism. I seriously doubt that Al Qaida was involved in the Boston bombing since they are currently working with the US to effect regime change in Syria. My personal pet conspiracy theory, that I don’t hold so strongly, is that Russia manipulated this in order to help them in Syria.

          As for the other cases, in Arizona Loughner’s attack could at the limit be called terrorism. There was public violence and innocent civilians were targeted. Just to be clear if he had only shot at the congresswoman then it would not be terrorism (she is not a civilian in this case), it would be a political assassination. Loughner did leave rambling manifestos so there could be a political motive involved. The fact that he is clearly insane though would tend to towards the conclusion that a clear motive cannot really be established and so I would hesitate to call it terrorism.

          In Colorado there has never been a motive presented that involves an ideological, political, or religious goal and again Holmes is pretty insane so it would not qualify as terrorism.

          And in Newtown, again, there has never been a motive presented that involves an ideological, political, or religious goal so no dice on Adam Lanza being posthumously awarded the terrorist title.

          At this point it is true that no one is “certain” of the Brothers Tsarnaev’s motives but everything is pointing towards a religious motivation. And there is as yet no signs that they are / were insane. So the most we can say is that it is likely a terrorist attack.

          1. Jane Doe

            I await the next white guy spree killing to see how you change your tun

            The problem is consistency

      3. Bev


        Chechen terrorists have had a lot of help from US neocons

        Chechen Terrorists and the Neocons
        April 19, 2013

        The revelation that the family of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings was from Chechnya prompted new speculation about the attack as Islamic terrorism. Less discussed was the history of U.S. neocons supporting Chechen terrorists as a strategy to weaken Russia, as ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley recalls.

        By Coleen Rowley


        Chechen Terrorists and the Neocons
        April 19, 2013

        The revelation that the family of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings was from Chechnya prompted new speculation about the attack as Islamic terrorism. Less discussed was the history of U.S. neocons supporting Chechen terrorists as a strategy to weaken Russia, as ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley recalls.

        By Coleen Rowley

        I almost choked on my coffee listening to neoconservative Rudy Giuliani pompously claim on national TV that he was surprised about any Chechens being responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because he’s never seen any indication that Chechen extremists harbored animosity toward the U.S.; Guiliani thought they were only focused on Russia.

        Giuliani knows full well how the Chechen “terrorists” proved useful to the U.S. in keeping pressure on the Russians, much as the Afghan mujahedeen were used in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989. In fact, many neocons signed up as Chechnya’s “friends,” including former CIA Director James Woolsey.

        Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

        For instance, see this 2004 article in the UK Guardian, entitled, “The Chechens’ American friends: The Washington neocons’ commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own.”

        Author John Laughland wrote: “the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled ‘distinguished Americans’ who are its members is a roll call of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusiastically support the ‘war on terror.’

        “They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be ‘a cakewalk’; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R. James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush’s plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.”

        The ACPC later sanitized “Chechnya” to “Caucasus” so it’s rebranded itself as the “American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus.”


        1. Bev

          Boston bombers’ uncle married daughter of top CIA official

          Now we’ll be hearing lots and lots of stuff like this:

          Exclusive: The Awlaki/Tsarnaev Connection
          by Daniel Klaidman Apr 26, 2013 5:30 PM EDT

          Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators that he and his brother were influenced by the Internet sermons of the notorious preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, Daniel Klaidman reports. Plus: the feds now know who “Misha” is.

          … but almost nothing about stuff like this:

          Boston bombers’ uncle married daughter of top CIA official

          Read more.

          Boston bombers’ uncle married daughter of top CIA official
          Posted on April 26, 2013 by Daniel Hopsicker



          Boston bombers ‘Uncle Ruslan’ was Halliburton contractor
          Posted on April 24, 2013 by Daniel Hopsicker

          Out on the ragged bleeding edge of the former Soviet Union, Ruslan Tsarni had a decade-long business relationship with Halliburton, the multinational juggernaut run by Dick Cheney before he became Vice President of the United States.

          Delving into the business connections of “Uncle Ruslan” Tsarni, as he became known after his well-received condemnation of the atrocities allegedly committed by his nephews Dzhokhar and Tamerlan at the Boston Marathon has led to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone of the Boston Marathon bombing.

          Like the elaborately carved stone unearthed almost 200 years ago which led to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, digging through Ruslan Tsarni’s curiculum vitae has yielded clues to unlocking the puzzling riddles left behind after last week’s attack.

          Two oil fields with a side of natural gas, please



          BFP BREAKING NEWS: Boston Terror, CIA’s Graham Fuller & NATO-CIA Operation Gladio B-Caucasus & Central Asia

          Saturday, 27. April 2013

          Graham Fuller: Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege, FBI Gladio-B Target, Handler-Sponsor of Turkey’s Imam Gulen
          A major break in the Boston Terror CIA Connection took place last night when I came across a post outing CIA Operative Graham Fuller as the father of the woman married to Boston terror suspect’s infamous uncle Ruslan Tsarni. Further confirmation of this bombshell was received via mainstream reporter Laura Rozen here. Let me first provide a few excerpts from the original reporting site (a real alternative media):

          Boston Bombers’ Uncle Married Daughter of Top CIA Official

          The uncle of the two suspected Boston bombers in last week’s attack, Ruslan Tsarni, was married to the daughter of former top CIA official Graham Fuller . Ruslan Tsarni married the daughter of former top CIA official Graham Fuller, who spent 20 years as operations officer in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong. In 1982 Fuller was appointed the National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia at the CIA, and in 1986, under Ronald Reagan, he became the Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, with overall responsibility for national level strategic forecasting.

          Now, take a look at the most explosive aspect of this original report on Graham Fuller’s outing in the CIA Boston Terror Connection [All Emphasis Mine]:

          On a more ominous note, Graham Fuller was listed as one of the American Deep State rogues on Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery,. Edmonds explained it featured subjects of FBI investigations she became aware of during her time as an FBI translator.

          Criminal activities were being protected by claims of State Secrets, she asserted. After Attorney General John Ashcroft went all the way to the Supreme Court to muzzle her under a little-used doctrine of State Secrets, she put up twenty-one photos, with no names. One of them was Graham Fuller.

          I presented CIA’s Graham Fuller as one of the top culprits in my State Secrets Privilege Case when the government invoked the State Secrets Privilege and several additional gag orders to cover up the FBI’s investigations and files pertaining to CIA-NATO terror operations in Central Asia & the Caucasus since the mid-1990s. Guess what? I provided this information to the US media long before it became public in 2008 via my website and this website. Not a single media outlet (including quasi and pseudo ones) was willing to touch this. And this, despite of all the gag orders, state secrets privilege invocations, congressional gag orders … you name it. I could name more than a dozen publications that said: ‘no way.’

          Not only that. I have been covering one of the main CIA operation figures in Central Asia & the Caucasus-Imam Fethullah Gulen, and this Turkish Imam’s relationship and official Connections to CIA’s Graham Fuller. I’ve been doing this since 2009. Let me provide you with a few explosive examples and excerpts. First a few excerpts from over two years ago published at Boiling Frogs Post:

          Turkish Intel Chief Exposes CIA Operations via Islamic Group in Central Asia

          First of all, there have been tens if not hundreds of articles establishing Graham Fuller as one of Gulen’s official references to the court for his residency, you can view some of these here, here, here. This quote comes from Foreign Policy Journal:

          Fethullah Gulen became a green card holder despite serious opposition from FBI and from Homeland Security Department. Former CIA officers (formally and informally) such as Graham Fuller and Morton Abromovitz were some of the prominent references in Gulen’s green card application.

          And Stein let that slide?! I’d quickly ask: ‘how often do you write to the FBI on people you think have been unfairly targeted or treated by them?!’ Last but not least on Graham Fuller is my own on-the-record, more accurately, on-the-album, naming of individuals implicated (criminally) in my case, thus protected via invocation of the State Secrets Privilege:…

          Then the following excerpt from an article I wrote in 2010:

          After years of investigating him the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, due to his guardian angels in the State Department and the CIA, are prevented from bringing an indictment against him, so they try to kick him out of the US. But once again Gulen’s CIA angels step in and portray Gulen as a scholar, despite the fact that Fethullah Gulen doesn’t even have a high-school diploma and never went beyond the 5th grade. Among his angels who vouched for him were Graham Fuller, George Fidas, and Morton Abramowitz.


          1. Bev


            CIA’s Graham Fuller, connected to Tsarnaevs -9/11 cover-up

            Daniel Hopsicker – the intrepid investigative reporter who revealed to the world that the “Mohamed Atta” in Florida relished pork chops and lived with a stripper – just published a very interesting piece on the Boston bombings. According to Hopsicker, the Tsarnaev brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, married the daughter of rogue CIA operative Graham Fuller.

            Graham Fuller is on FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds’ list of National Security State criminals who are known to be criminals by the FBI, but are being protected under the State Secrets Privilege.

            During my three-week speaking tour of Turkey two years ago, I learned another interesting fact about Fuller: He led the CIA’s 9/11 cover-up in Turkey.

            By September 12th, 2001, most of the leading international-affairs journalists in Turkey knew or suspected that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been an inside job. But few wrote about their suspicions. Why not? Because Fuller had threatened them, and they feared for their lives.



            Dear Journalists….

          2. Bev

            To Dear Journalists…


            AA Exposes Bush’s ‘Big Lie’: Flight 11 DID NOT FLY on 911!
            by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

            American Airlines is the source for information that AA Flights 11 (North Tower) and 77 (Pentagon) did not fly on 911. If neither flew on 911, the Bush ‘theory’ is a lie. If the Bush ‘theory’ is a lie, there remains only one explanation and that is: 911 was an inside job given a green-light by Bush himself.

            These flights are critical to the the government’s crumbling cover up! Conan Doyle, the brilliant creator of the character Sherlock Holmes, said: “When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains however implausible must be the truth!” Bush’s official conspiracy theory of 911 is not only impossible, it’s absurd and insulting to intelligent people!

            The Bush Conspiracy Theory is impossible! And it is a Lie!


          3. Bev

            A Dear Journalist…


            Palast reports from Kazakhstan
            FBI Spiked Chechen Jihadi Investigation

            Friday, May 3, 2013

            By Greg Palast from UK

            [Astana, Kazakhstan] Following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, I received documents marked “SECRET” from the files of the FBI’s Washington field office. The information in those files will make you sick.


      4. Lidia

        Yet overt Christian terrorists get special religious protection (linked above, “Judge Rules Anti-choice Terrorist Can Claim Religious Protection for Conversations with Tiller Murderer”).

    2. barra neck

      Well, knock me over with a feather! Stevie’s Uncle Ruslan turns out to be quite the international man of mystery, with USAID jobs and proprietaries with harebrained schemes. The press-conference ventriloquism is priceless.

      Yeah, cuz he was a islamist. That’s why.

      1. Valissa

        I have been waiting for a good version of “the CIA did it”, so thanks for the links!

        One of the things that’s fascinating to me is to observe how people look at events and find a way explain them that reinforces their existing political worldview, and related narratives of good and evil (good guys & bad guys).

        Please note that I’m not saying the CIA isn’t involved, because anything is possible. I have no idea what the truth is yet, but I am having fun hearing all the creative stories people are telling to try and explain this terrible incident.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Slashdot’s article mentions a doctor running Windows XP to avoid a $10,000 fee for upgrading specialty software to Win 7. One of the comments notes:

    We have Medisoft running in Windows XP Mode under Windows 7 right now. It works like a champ. It’s only compatible with XP so we waited a long time to upgrade but we finally did it with a virtual machine and Windows 7.

    Since Windows XP (arguably Microsoft’s first acceptably functional and stable OS) a more common reason for not upgrading is that it introduces new risks with no compelling benefits.

    For keyboard-centric users, Windows 8 offers no compelling benefits over Windows 7. I just bought an OEM-refurbished Win 7 laptop before the supply dries up. User comments on Amazon were overwhelmingly negative on the Win 8 version.

    No wonder PC sales are going off a cliff, as PC vendors flog an OS to which many buyers have an active aversion. Consumer choice? Not in dictatorial Windowstan! Microsoft should adopt a new service mark:

    Still sucking after thirty-three years.(SM)

    1. Jessica

      I just checked on the latest models of the Thinkpad I use and they are being sold with Windows 7. Windows 8 is available as a free cross-grade. I would have sworn they were all being sold with Windows 8 a while back.

      1. Valissa

        Last November I went to buy a new laptop at Microcenter (Cambridge, MA), and even though it was only a few weeks after the release of Windows 8 almost every laptop/notebook/pc was coming preloaded with Windows 8. But I had been the reviews and new I didn’t want that. So I scanned their most recent advertising circular and eventually found a few models. Then I called the store of make sure they had them in stock (and out on display) so I could check them out.

        I made my feelings about practically being forced to buy a Windows 8 product when I didn’t want one. I was polite, but made it clear that it was a bad business idea on their part to have so few items available with Windows 7. Fortunately I found a Windows laptop I liked and got the last one left in stock. I am guessing I wasn’t the only person who said that to them because the next month’s advertising circular had clearly demarcated columns showing which laptops/notebooks/pcs were available with Windows 7 and there were now quite a few of them. Local businesses will respond to customer desires.

        1. Valissa

          Wow, I really should have reread and edited that comment. Hopefully the key points are clear enough so not going to correct everything, except to say it was a Windows 7 laptop I ended up buying.

    1. Jessica

      Doesn’t Al Qaeda despise Shiites as some kind of pretend-Muslims and therefore even worse than completely infidels?

      1. Yonatan


        Iran also detained some al Qaeda suspects shortly after 9/11. Look how well that worked out for them – the US still has Iran in its sights and now works with al Qaeda in Syria.

  5. efschumacher

    Barroso said. “We haven’t done everything right … The policy has reached its limits because it has to have a minimum of political and social support”.

    Much like the Inquisition in medieval Europe and Witch burning in early modern Europe carried on for uncomfortable lengths of time because they had ‘political and social support’.

  6. Brizie

    Re: The great Aussie rip-off

    This article may be very misleading. I can’t tell.

    Aussies may be better off than we are, on balance, because of their higher prices. The prices may reflect higher wages.

    It appears most Aussies are paid more than we Americans are. A typical Aussies’ purchasing power (the ratio of income to costs) may be significantly higher than ours. Apparently they have a minimum wage scale much higher than ours.

    I’ve been curious about this since I spent last November in Australia. Early in my visit a tour guide complained about his $22/hour minimum wage!? After that I regularly took time to chat with various service workers about minimum wages and prices down under. The anecdotal impression I was left with is, yes prices are high, but they manage nicely on their higher pay.

    I’d like to see Aussie prices analyzed as a function of worker pay. And I’d like to see the Aussies various income classes’ purchasing power analyzed. Maybe they have a better template for managing an economy than we do. Maybe higher prices is a better way to go if most people are better off as a result of those prices supporting higher worker income.

    1. down2long

      Interesting article recently in the New Yorker about the world’s (formerly) richest woman, Gina Rinehart, the Australian mining, um, scion. Would make a John Bircher blush. She wants the Australian minimum wage repealed. apparently it’s holding her back. Depending on commodity bubble froth, she is worth almost $60 Billion dollars. And of course, all of her money is made extracting minerals out of Australian earth and she is mightly pissed that the almost non-existent extraction taxes exist at all, tht she has to pay (minimal) tax, and don’t get her started on the Indiginous Aboriginal people whose land she is destroying.

      Charming. But the article does give good nuance on the labor/wage/political landscape in Australia.

      1. AbyNormal

        Yikes …this ‘bubble’ of a woman looks like she could hurt our Skippy

        If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working.~Gina

        Our Future

        The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife

        And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life

        Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth

        And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth

        Is our future threatened with massive debts run up by political hacks

        Who dig themselves out by unleashing rampant tax

        The end result is sending Australian investment, growth and jobs offshore

        This type of direction is harmful to our core

        Some envious unthinking people have been conned

        To think prosperity is created by waving a magic wand

        Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled

        Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world

        Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores

        To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores

        The world’s poor need our resources: do not leave them to their fate

        Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late …by BubbleGina

      2. AbyNormal

        knew i had this somewhere in my files: Gina 2011

        Australia needs guest labour. Just think where Australia could be if we welcomed guest labour, even if limited to hot or remote areas or to unskilled and semi-skilled positions. This should be considered on humanitarian grounds alone. Please consider the terrible plight of very poor people in our neighbouring countries in Asia. We should, on humanitarian grounds, give more of these people the opportunity of guest labour work in Australia, so that they can feed and clothe their families and pay for medical and other pressing needs. Singapore, Dubai and even Europe have had guest workers for decades. Also, think about the lack of adequate services for our own war veterans, the elderly and the disabled, and how much better their lives and their carers’ lives would be if we gave guest workers temporary visas to assist :-/

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I would love to hear her ideas about developing Mars.

          Regarding foreign workers, the hard choice for the 0.01% has always been between foreign (guest and non guest) workers and robots.

        2. Synopticist

          Are you seriously suggesting she’s only interested in bringing in dirt cheap third world labour in order to reduce her wages bill and boost her profits? Oh c’mon.

          1. Synopticist

            It’s scary what motivates a true hereditary .0001%er.

            Penurising your own country’s midddle class, importing third-world workers, and paying as little tax as conceivable.

          2. skippy

            Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and co believe they are sovereign, they would bend the hole world if they could… to their image.

            Skippy…. Their wealth and power are like a mental magnifier, every billion is another order of power of desire increased.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If so, what is driving sales these days? Pent up demand? Low rates? The return of no-down payment loans?

      1. Larry

        I think it’s all of those factors you list. There are a good deal of people in certain markets that are doing fine and see their employment as stable, so are moving on homes. Beyond individuals, CR notes that investors are still piling into the single family homes in distressed markets. Interest rates are at all time lows.

        As an aside, I rent a home, and have done so before everything crashed. But I would like a little more space. I live in suburban Boston and finding four bedroom homes to rent is not really possible. Those are only for sale. But I do not have strong job security and don’t want to lock myself into a home in case I need to be flexible about where I move next. Others in my cohort are less cautious and are upgrading their housing. I know of one family that sold their last home at a loss and moved into a bigger home in a more desirable home. One person got a promotion making it possible.

      2. curlydan

        I’d say a few things are driving sales:
        *pent up demand
        *healthier 401k balances
        *declining inventory
        *hedge fund buying (e.g. Blackstone)
        *big #s of bank REO’s held off the market
        *households now disaggregating a big (kid finally moves out or maybe other things like divorces that might occur more now that the economy is better)

        So put on your happy realtor’s face because there’s never been a better time to buy (or SELL) your home!

    2. burnside

      I’m sceptical. (We knew that.)

      I don’t see conventional sales making up nearly enough of the marketplace to recognize a housing recovery. Although they represent more of the mix year over year, they’re at levels not seen in decades.

      As homes purchased to become rentals meet a swelling rental inventory, I expect they’ll come back onto the markets in significant numbers. Not sure of Rosenberg’s rationale, but I tend to agree with his conclusion.

  7. Valissa

    re: Should bishops run the banks?

    Been there, done that! Perhaps Robert Preston has not read the David Graeber book “Debt, the First 5000 Years”.

    In the chapter on the middle ages, he says:
    At the same time, economic life, from the conduct of international trade to the organization of local markets, came to fall increasingly under the regulation of religious authorities. One was a widespread movement to control, or even forbid, predatory lending. Another was the return, across Eurasia, to various forms of credit money.

    Graeber then goes on to point out how Christian churches, and Hindu and Buddhist temples all got into the money business.

    Personally, I have no desire to return to that money mode!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Apparently Inca rulers (including their priests, I suppose) had lots of gold and silver, but they likely didn’t use it as money. They used it for making statues, jewelry, etc.

      This contrasts with what people say, when gold is proposed for use as money, that it has no practical use…no value.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Paper is also valuable.

          And some people consider sovereignty to be valuable too.

  8. Valissa

    MF Global Trustee Sues Corzine Over Firm’s Collapse

    The lawsuit echoes a report Mr. Freeh issued this month that blamed MF Global executives for engineering a “risky business strategy” and ignoring “glaring deficiencies” in internal controls. The report and the lawsuit also blamed the executives for allowing more than $1 billion in customer money to disappear from the firm.

    The lawsuit, which could help Mr. Freeh recover money for MF Global’s creditors, blamed Mr. Corzine for ramping up a risky bet on European debt. While the bonds were not by themselves to blame for the collapse of MF Global, the wager spooked the firm’s investors and ratings agencies, helping to send it into a tailspin.

    “Corzine engaged in risky trading strategies that strained the company’s liquidity and could not be properly monitored by the company’s inadequate controls and procedures,” Mr. Freeh said.

    … In recent months, customers have recovered much of their missing money. By early April, MF Global’s customers in the United States had recovered about 89 percent of the shortfall.

    Hoping this isn’t too dumb a question, what does it mean exactly when they say that the customer’s money has been recovered? Does that mean MF Global coughed up the money and paid back the customer? My memory is foggy on the MF Global details as it’s been a while since that was the top focus. But I thought I remembered them saying they didn’t know where the money had gone. I know that was probably a lie, but using the word “recover” in the article implies finding a lost object.

  9. from Mexico

    @ “The Hidden Global Poverty Problem”

    Some aspects of this article just don’t ring true to me.

    Surely it is hardly a good thing that the population of those living on “fragile lands” has doubled.

    However, I was on a tour of some of these “fragile lands” high in the Bolivian Andes just a few days ago. And what kept crossing my mind is if there were some sort of black swan event, these might, just might be the ones to have a greater chance of survival, much more so than those living in urban environments. Though these people are very poor, they are nevertheless autonomous and self-sufficient. When society collapses, as it did for instance in the fall of the Roman Empire, these autonomous and self-sufficient ones were the ones who had the greatest chance of survival. (see The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization, Bryan Ward-Perkins)

    And why the rush by the IMF to disposess these rural peoples of their land? The disposession of the indigenous peoples of their lands is something that has been occurring in Mexico since the Spanish conquest, slowly but inexorably. That’s what the murder of Emilio Zapata was all about, as he took the last great stand as the protector of the Indian’s claim to the land. He obviously had to be eliminated so that the dispossesion could continue. The Aztec empire allowed local communal land ownership and local autonomous rule to continue in conquered populations. It only demanded tribute. The Spanish empire, on the other hand, began the process of confiscation of the land. Land ownership was no longer communal but private, and rule was centralized and not local. Now, after 500 years, the process that the Spanish empire began is all but complete, and almost all of the Mexican campesinos have been removed to the big cities where they live in abject poverty.

    According to Arundhati Roy the same sort of process that began in Mexico 500 years ago is now only beginning in India. Here’s how she put it:

    Most of the genocidal killing from the fifteenth century onwards has been an integral part of Europe’s search for what the German geographer and zoologist Friedrich Ratzel famously called lebensraum, living space. Lebensraum was a word he coined to describe what he thought of as dominant human species’ natural impulse to expand their territory in their search for not just space, but sustenance. The idea of lebensraum was set out in precise terms in 1901, but Europe had already begun her quest for lebensraum four hundred years earlier, when Columbus landed in America.


    If you look at a map of India’s forests, its mineral wealth, and the homelands of the Adivasi people, you’ll see that they’re stacked up over each other. So in reality, those who we call poor are the truly wealthy. As the globalized corporate economy strengthens its grip on our lives and our imaginations, its beneficiaries have united and seceded into outer space. From there they look down at the forests and river valleys where the poor live and see superfluous people sitting on precious resources. They are puzzled. They wonder: What’s our water doing in their rivers, what’s our bauxite doing in their mountains? What’s our iron-ore doing in their forests? The Nazis had a phrase for superfluous people — überzähligen Essern, superfluous eaters.


    The battle for land lies at the heart of India’s ‘Development’ debate. A year ago, India’s former finance minister P. Chidambaram said that his vision was to get 85 per cent of India’s population to live in cities.1 Realizing this ‘vision’ would require social engineering on an unimaginable scale. It would mean inducing, or forcing, about five hundred million people to migrate from the countryside into cities. That process is well under way and is quickly turning India into a police state in which people who refuse to surrender their land are being made to do so at gunpoint.

    What the transnational capitalist class is now doing to peasants in India is the same thing that the Spanish did to the indigenous peoples in the Americas (which of course pales in comparison to the barbarity of what the English imperialists did to the native peoples of the Americas), but it is doing it on a much accelerated time scale.

    1. Valissa

      Your comment reminds me of this article…

      World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco
      In the name of environmental protection, the World Bank is brokering carbon emission trading arrangements that destroy indigenous farmlands around the world. …

      The World Bank touts the CDM as an “integral part of the Bank’s mission to reduce poverty through its environment and energy strategies.” However, in Latin America as in other parts of the developing world, the global carbon market is proving to be largely detrimental to the indigenous and the poor. With little or no input on how a project is conducted, local communities have virtually no control over how their land, water, and resources will be affected. …

      While the World Bank pays constant lip service to the importance of sustainability and poverty alleviation in the CDM, it continually fails to deliver positive results for either the environment or disadvantaged communities in the developing world. The global carbon market is proving to be simply another weapon used by multinational corporations to accelerate their incursion on the rights of indigenous peoples and small-scale landholders in Latin America.

      The irony of this situation takes on an especially tragic hue since many of the communities at risk have been living in a sustainable manner for centuries and thus should be seen as models in the fight against environmental degradation and climate change.

      Neoliberalism strikes again!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This is typical of the discrimination I experience everyday –

        “These people are Luddites. They are the lowest of all castes and deserve everything they got.”

  10. Jackrabbit

    Rosenberg vs. CR

    So the housing market is living in a Fed Disneyland of ZIRP/QE and yet sales increased by only about 10% over the past year before _unexpectingly_ falling a bit last month.

    Rosenberg sees this as a sign that the ‘housing recovery’ is “behind us”, while CR sees a silver lining: fewer distressed sales (and thus a relatively greater number of “conventional sales”).

    It seems to me that CR is splitting hairs. My impression/understanding is that the housing market is being manipulated to seem healthier than it is; that there is a lot of shadow inventory as well as artificial support from the Fed (via QE/ZIRP, etc.). I sincerely doubt that housing will get much better until we have a real recovery.

    Without a strong fundamental economy, Fed support for housing (QE/ZIRP) is just blowing bubbles (cui bono?). Unfortunately for the Banks and the Fed, the ‘suckers’ are getting smarter or are unemployed. Hoocoodanode?

    1. taunger

      I’m not sure CR would disagree with your opinion about market manipulation, which in my mind gives McBride an edge over Rosenberg. CR acknowledges the investor action, whereas Rosenberg argues against gov’t action to increase demand. Granted, the Fed and gov’t policies spurring investor action aren’t necessarily spurring demand , but by ignoring them Rosenberg undercuts his arguments.

      So yeah, big suprise they both end up wrong on important parts of the analysis: Rosenberg on the active assumptions, CR on the conclusion that the activity is positive. Yglesias came out with a real whopper on the conclusion, too.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Re Calculated Risk, NAR housing propaganda.

      Low interest loans, interest-only loans, 30-50% investor sales (varying by region), sequestered inventory by the so-called Fed, extend and pretend, etc., — all comprise enormous distortions in the wholly rigged housing market. And, as Charles Hugh Smith proves decisively, for all the trillions in public bailouts squandered on banksters and corporate welfare, for all its toxic mortgage “asset” purchases, there has been no measurable progress toward economic viability for housing or for the gloabl economy. None. See the charts. Everything is worse.

      The Global Status Quo Strategy: Do More of What Has Failed Spectacularly

      See also Dr. Housing Bubble on the return of infamous interest-only subprime, the pinnacle (or nadir) of absurdity/insanity.

      And remember it always gets worse before it gets really, really bad. Hence, for all the “Fed’s” counterfeiting, the gambling stake in its member banks, insolvency has been made worse — papered over with dubious austerity data, false stats, propaganda and distracting political circuses (terror arrests, gun control, gay marriage, contraception, immigration, celebrity trivia, etc.).

      So, on the brink of collapse, when all else fails, Social Security and other so-called entitlements are finally set up as the latest false targets, the last source of loot … painted as the terrible millstones around the necks of the kleptocrats—sorry, job-creators—which only austerity for the 99% can possibly remedy. And if accurate accounting and math don’t support their malevolent schemes, then without hesitation, they will manufacture a new reality to make it so. This, in the end, is the essence of the change that Barack Obama has inflicted upon us. Worse than a disgrace.

      1. skippy

        Thanks Doug and if I might add… literary on top of those sub prime – sub par RE assets is another sub prime financial time bomb… the solar installations.

        Skippy… same MO.

  11. Left of Che

    Not seeing much news on this outside of Canuckistan, so I’m posting it here…

    Our Mounties, in cooperation with several other Canadian and American security agencies, foiled a plot to bomb a passenger train. They claim the suspects were monitored for a year and were never close to carrying out their plan, so we can assume that the timing of arrests and the (very scripted and hyped) press announcement were left to the discretion of the investigating agencies.

    HERE’S THE THING: They chose at their leisure to make this announcement, replete with praise for continental security cooperation, on the SAME DAY the Conservatice govt forced the tabling of its new anti-terrorism bull in parliament. And the announcement was made on Earth Day, scuttling prepared news stories about environmental issues.

    Little Canada is all grown up, with orchestrated security theatre of its own, inspired by the antics of its national sercurity BFF to the south.

  12. Jackrabbit

    ZH just put up a post regarding headline-making comments from Rajoy:

    *EU countries’ giving up sovereignty to the bloc is crucial for its future

  13. duffolonious

    Re: housing sales – yes in the Twin Cities, MN houses are selling like crazy. We (me and the wif [sic]) were going to go to 2 open houses but they were already sold by the time the weekend rolled around. They are the slightly more urban and higher end homes (but not that much above the median – $300-$400K).

    More anecdotal evidence – friends house in Madison took 1 day to sell at list price (I think it was what they bought it for in ’08).

  14. AbyNormal

    Walmart Audit:
    “The chair of the audit committee, Christopher Williams, head of the Williams Capital investment bank who joined the committee in 2005, had his retainer doubled from $85,000 to $170,000.”

    “HELLOOOOOO, why am I all alone” ~madoff

  15. diane

    Over Night

    So this is what’s been demonstrated. A city can be militarized over night. Not metaphorically over night. Literally.

    Yes, and one might’ve thought end day CAPITALISM! lessons would have been learned from the ‘handling’ of Hurricane Katrina and all those ‘undesirables’ in that stadium and the 9th ward ….. at that entrance to the Mississippi River, that historic gut of U$ FREE TRADE, having the time of their lives ….. according to that blue taffeta’d, body bag effect immunized bitch, Babs …

    Yes, it’s getting really late in the day ….. the chairs are swiftly disappearing in that ‘game’ of….

    ♫ Musical Chairs ♫

    1. diane

      (oh, … ooopsie dooopsie, …I forget that trademark, . After all, some masters of our universe have a copyright on that cooked up, hideous Capitalistic ‘game’ called ♫ Musical Chairs ♫ , which was pawned off on every single non entitled school child in the U$ at one point in time, to teach them to be an asshole in order to survive so that those masters of the universe would have dirt on them at the end of the day, even though those masters of the universe were not only assholes, they were/are literally Gentile MONSTERS.)

      1. Valissa

        Or it could have been done as a malicious prank! When I was a teen my friends and I went through of phase of making silly prank phone calls. Like… calling and asking someone if their refrigerator was running, and if they said yes, telling them they better go catch it, and then quickly hanging up the phone and giggling (yeah, I know, really dumb). Some people don’t outgrow those adolescent urges.

        1. AbyNormal

          keep watching…that was yet another major ToW (transfer of wealth) with a beneficiary…they’ll surface

          1. AbyNormal

            heat of earnings too
            Apr 23/a AAPL T AMGN VMW YUM NSC BRCM FTI

          2. Valissa

            Of course it was a ToW!! That’s the ultimate goal of the prank…. the mindgames are merely part of the fun for that sort.

          3. Valissa

            Well Aby, how do you think the money makers from that event are feeling right now? I bet they are smiling and chuckling and in general being pretty happy with the results of their money & power gambit. The fact that others (like us little people) are unhappy about it means nothing to them.

    1. bob

      In the past, to “hack” the AP and get a false headline run, you would have had to do quite a bit of work, face to face.

      Now, with one password you can take over the media mouth.

  16. Lambert Strether

    Full text of the criminal complaint against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Kudos to Yahoo for converting it to full text and putting it online in searchable form). This is, in essence, the timeline some of us were looking for. The words of the carjacked guy are in there, and physical evidence from the Watertown shootout. Via HuffPo, here’s nothing on the MIT policeman.

    * * *

    Note that this is one clear and immediate benefit from — gasp!!!! — trying a terrorist suspect in the criminal court system; there’s at least some level of transparency. I’m sure the administration would have liked to handle this case like the “kill list” or Gitmo, by unilaterally dubbing secret administrative procedures due process, but ultimately they did not, which (to an optimist) would mean that the rot of corruption in the political class has in this small instance been checked.

    1. sniffle sniffle

      Yeah, heartwarming, custodial questioning of a semiconscious prisoner with life-threatening injuries constituting failure to inform the charged person of his right to defend himself in breach of CCPR Article 14(3)(d) and coercion of confession in breach of Article 14(3)(g). Just makes me want to run right out and simper with a cheesy flag at a Sox game.

    2. Pat

      This is not a complaint but rather an affidavit laying out the basic evidence and citing the most central codes, so that he can be arrested and held in custody without bail. The real complaint will be much longer with lots more details and many more charges. Probably the facts will change over time.

      I don’t think there will ever be a trial and we will never find out what really happened. The Feds will threaten him with the death penalty and/or lifetime solitary confinement in a terrible place like Pelican Bay. He will instead accept a plea bargain where he will get slightly more comfortable conditions, and will not contest the federal charges at all (and the Feds’ version of the facts).

      What’s new in this affidavit is that the Feds apparently have a lot of video evidence that they haven’t released to the public, such as Dzokhar loitering behind the stands and putting his backpack on the ground. Also semi-new is the suggestion that the bombs were triggered by cell-phone and that Dzokhar himself may have triggered them. Will we ever see this video? I doubt it.
      One puzzling contradiction I noticed is that Dzokhar’s meanderings do not match the affidavit. The affidavit says that Dzokhar pretty much stayed along the street and paused there for several minutes. Yet in a publicly-released photo we clearly see Dzokhar standing in the stands, right near the 8 year old boy who was killed. So, do you think Dzokhar said to himself, “Before I plant a bomb and kill and maim a lot of people, I want to catch a little bit of the race”?

      As I said before, the simplest explanation is that the Tsernaev brothers had Spook handlers who told them to show up at that location at such-and-such a time and answer their phones for further instructions. It’s the Lee Harvey Oswald ploy – put the patsy at the scene of the crime.

    3. Yonatan

      Now I understand why the ‘weapon of mass destruction’ charge is valid.

      “Each explosion … damaged public and private property, including the streets, sidewalk, barriers, and property owned by people and businesses in the locations where the explosions occurred.”

      Property was damaged! Oh, the humanity! Won’t somebody please think of the property?

    4. Jim Haygood

      ‘This is one clear and immediate benefit from — gasp!!!! — trying a terrorist suspect in the criminal court system; there’s at least some level of transparency.’

      It’s a start, for sure. But 90-plus percent of federal criminal trials are plea-bargained, meaning that hearings are only for procedural aspects and finally a sentencing.

      In long-ago days when trials were actually held, the prosecution would have had to present evidence and witnesses to prove its case.

      Typical procedure these days is to file capital charges, then offer a plea bargain for a life sentence. If the case follows this route, additional factual details may be limited.

    5. sigh sigh

      Captured on Friday, informed of his rights on Monday – about equal to the 72-hour torture window at Camp Nama, and just as illegal (except in time of public emergency that threatens the life of the nation and is officially proclaimed.)

      Also important what JH says, that confessions are coerced with the threat of extreme sentences. In any case with national-security ramifications, federal courts lose any vestige of independence. Their only function is to keep juries out of it.

      When a state can’t meet minimal standards, there’s no partial credit for sucking less than Uzbekistan. We didn’t give Ted Bundy gold stars for strangling fewer girls, and rabid barrow Carmen Ortiz is no less of a disgrace for some trivial concession.

  17. Garrett Pace

    Copper mine landslide

    That’s close to where I live. I saw the mine a few years ago. The scale is impressive; the giant trucks laboring up and down seem so pitiful compared to its grandeur, and yet it was those trucks that dug out the whole thing.

    This is really something. From the article:

    “Big mines like Bingham run on schedules that extend decades into the future.”

    Dig a big whole and you fool yourself into thinking you have complete control over the elements. These silly men compound it by thinking they know the future.

      1. Valissa

        Fewer and fewer people all the time believe what Israeli officials say if it has anything to do with Iran, Syria or any other of Israel’s enemies. Jeez… they make “the boy who cried wolf” look good!

        I found it interesting that the second link I posted, from an Israeli news site, was the one that pointed out pretty clearly (allowing for diplomacy speak) that there were in fact no chemical weapons.

  18. Elliot

    re: copper mine

    Reminds me of Butte MT, a city eaten away by the previous “world’s largest open pit mine”. Many such things are out here in the west, still regarded as the handmaiden of industry, corporations and wall street. And are as generally unnoticed, disregarded, unrecompensed.

  19. barrisj

    Random musing: Reading an article on openDemocracy online, a claim is put forth that the Italian comic cum politician Beppo Grillo first coined the term, “bankster” round 1998. And here all along I thought that neologism originated here at NC! Can this be true?

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Bankster’ is a 1930s coinage:

      Coincidentally or not, Time magazine in the 1930s was fond of bankster as a descriptor for crooked lenders. “Bankster Jailed,” reads the headline on a Sept. 5, 1932, story about “Scottish immigrant, onetime plumber, Bankster [John] Bain [who] had prospered in real estate, then branched into banking.” And “Bankster’s Moll” was the Runyonesque headline on a 1933 review of a novel that attacked “U. S. economic conditions in general, on small-town banksters in particular.”

      I seem to remember Congressman Wright Patman, a heroic Fed fighter who represented the district where I grew up, slanging the banksters. But the internet doesn’t.

  20. wunsacon

    >> Did Chavez’ Pick Steal the Election in Venezuela? Greg Palast

    Christ! This is Obama, Kerry, and the Democrats. Disgusting.

    1. AbyNormal

      Wells Fargo Rep. out right LAUGHS about fee disclosure after blaming the customer…Chase Rep. looses his breath, laughs and talks about his beliefs. Prudential Rep. says she’s never read studies on Index Low Cost Funds performances.

      Maybe this world is another planet’s hell. huxley

  21. financial matters

    Markets Insight: Misuse of collateral creates systemic risk Satyajit Das, Financial Times

    “”Economist Hyman Minsky identified three phases of finance. Hedge financing is where income flows can meet principal and interest on debt used as finance. Speculative financing is where income flows cover interest payments but not principal, requiring debt to be continually refinanced. Ponzi finance is where income flows cover neither principal nor interest repayments, with the borrower relying on increasing asset values to service debt.

    In the progression, asset prices become completely delinked from fundamental values until the structure collapses, as no one is willing to borrow or lend the required amounts to finance asset purchases””

  22. Buy twitter followers paypal

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