Links 4/24/13

Would You Rather Walk a Mile or Walk For 30 Minutes? Kevin Drum. Um, Kevin, it assumes people walk 2 miles an hour. Most people walk 3 MPH or so, so the minutes ARE overstated!

President Could Be Last Hope to Stop CISPA Internet Revolution (Lambert)

Factory orders slide across the world, despite booming stock markets Telegraph

Europe’s bog deepens MacroBusiness

Inside Merkel’s Bet on the Euro’ Future Wall Street Journal

Revealed: George Osborne’s secret veto on fraud inquiries Independent (Richard Smith)

Violence escalates in protest clashes Iraq Oil Report

Filling the Empty Battlefield Tom Engelhardt

Terrorism and the other Religions Juan Cole (psychohistorian)

Boston Suspects Are Seen as Self-Taught and Fueled by Web New York Times

Bloomberg Says Interpretation of Constitution Will ‘Have to Change’ After Boston Bombing Politicker (Lambert)

Occupy The Department of Education Real New Network. Of course, MSM reporting is missing in action.

Them and Them: The Conflict Between the Hasidic and Immigrant Communities in East Ramapo New York Magazine. Lambert: “Read the comments.”

Court hands EPA a victory in fight against mountaintop-removal mining Grist

Chicago Workers Plan Strike on Wages at Dunkin’ to Sears Bloomberg

The Grad Student Who Took Down Reinhart And Rogoff Explains Why They’re Fundamentally Wrong Clusterstock

Currency stabilisation and asset-price anchors: An examination of medieval monetary practices with some implications for modern policy VoxEU. Really interesting but ignore final para.

Random Thoughts on Apple Barry Ritholtz

Regulators to Restrict Big Banks’ Payday Lending New York Times

Watchdog: Banks Are Still Too Intertwined Wall Street Journal

The slowdown in economic activity is right on schedule – for the 4th year in a row Sober Look. Ahem, the 1Q seasonal adjustments recovery fades yet again.

Adam Levitin awarded the Young Scholar’s Medal of the American Law Institute Credit Slips

Nassim Taleb Gets Into Historic Twitter Brawl, Shows Everyone How ANTIFRAGILE He Is Clusterstock

Instability may not be optional Steve Keen, Business Spectator

The generalized resource curse Steve Waldman

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


And a bonus (Jeff N):


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  1. AbyNormal


    “What a sorry state of the world we live in where the bank regulators are the last people we can trust to actually regulate the banks.”

    1. wunsacon

      >> “What a sorry state of the world we live in where the bank regulators are the last people we can trust to actually regulate the banks.”

      Because half the population believe in “free” markets and the tooth fairy, they won’t vote for politicians who (they’re told) “threaten” to do something “radical”. This keeps the Overton Window far away from where it needs to be to let in some politicians who’ll actually do something right rather than just propose half-steps and bullshit.

  2. dearieme

    Part of Juan Cole’s argument is pretty feeble. He deliberately confuses wars fought by Christians with wars that were fought to advance Christianity or one variant of it. Apart from the Spanish Civil War, where part of Franco’s coalition was Roman Catholic Reactionaries, none of the examples he cites makes much sense. Even there, you could well argue that the Catholics were fighting defensively against a violent government campaign against their church.

    The notion that the British fought to advance the cause of the Church of England is risible. It’s pretty stupid of him to point to Sweden having an established church because … well, how many twentieth century wars was Sweden involved in? The case that was obviously an aggressive war fought (in large measure) to advance the interests of a particular church was the Irish War of Independence, which he presumably didn’t think worth mentioning. He could also have mentioned, I suppose, the murderous activities in Yugoslavia – first of Roman Catholic Croats again Orthodox Serbs in WWII, and then of Catholics against Orthodox in Croatia and Orthodox against Muslims and Catholics in Bosnia in the events following the break up of Yugoslavia.

    Anyway his whole argument doesn’t really stand up because people’s worries on this issue are not dominated by looking back to the twentieth century, but looking forward through this one, an age when there is an Islamicist campaign of terror and not much sign of a Christian equivalent.

    1. from Mexico

      dearieme said:

      …people’s worries on this issue are not dominated by looking back to the twentieth century, but looking forward through this one, an age when there is an Islamicist campaign of terror and not much sign of a Christian equivalent.

      Well I suppose one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist. And granted, the revolutionary flame which was once such an important part of Christianity has all but been extinguished.

      As Peter Turchin explains in War and Peace and War:

      Rampant inequality feeds into the perception of the extant social order as unjust and illegitimate, and creates excellent breeding conditions for the rise of revolutionary ideologies. In the early modern period, these ideologies took the religious form. Later, the dominant revolutionary ideologies were nationalistic and Marxist. Today, we are seeing the rise of religious-based revolutonary ideologies again, such as the Washabism.

      John Gray, in Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern, makes a very well documented argument that radical Islam does’t even have a religious pedigree, but a secular one. “The intellectual roots of radical Islam are in the European counter-Enlightenment,” he asserts.

      1. dearieme

        “I suppose one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist” is one of the great stupid remarks of our time. It’s possible to be one, both or neither. One man who was obviously both was John Brown, whom Americans used to sing about. Do they still?

        1. from Mexico

          dearieme said:

          One man who was obviously both was John Brown, whom Americans used to sing about. Do they still?

          Well one thing is for sure, and that is that anti-revolutionary racists don’t.

          You confuse means with ends. Is that deliberate?

          John Brown advocated violent means to bring about the demise of slavery. Did this then make abolition wrong? Your argument seems to be a resounding “Yes!”

          PBS did a documentary called The Abolitionists which explores the deep divide in the abolistionist movement between those who advocated non-violent means, such as Frederick Douglas, and those who advocated violent means, such as Brown. The movie is no longer available on the internet, but the transcript is:

          John Brown (T. Ryder Smith): Your speeches have been an inspiration to us. I do wonder, though, whether speeches will ever be enough.

          Frederick Douglass (Richard Brooks): What do you mean, sir?

          John Brown (T. Ryder Smith): You’ve been at this for years.

          Frederick Douglass (Richard Brooks): Freedom is a long road, Mr. Brown. I don’t know any shortcuts.

          John Brown (T. Ryder Smith): I do, Douglass. I do. Sir — God has placed these mountains here for a reason.

          Frederick Douglass (Richard Brooks): You know God’s thinking?

          John Brown (T. Ryder Smith): I know these mountains. From here, we can strike a blow against the slave masters. The mountains are full of natural fords. One good man could hold off a hundred soldiers. My plan is to take handpicked men and post them in squads of fives on a line here. They come down off the mountains, raid the plantations, bring off the slaves, offer them a chance to fight.

          Frederick Douglass (Richard Brooks): Sir, you have no idea — the entire state of Virginia will rise up against you. They will fight you tooth and claw.

          John Brown (T. Ryder Smith): The colored people must fight back. They will never respect themselves otherwise, nor will they be respected. I read your book, sir. You said yourself, you became a man when you fought Mr. Covey.

          Frederick Douglass (Richard Brooks): I did. But I was young and this is very different. We must follow in our Savior’s footsteps. We must convert the sinner.

          John Brown (T. Ryder Smith): This is the sin, right here! We sit here, all of us, debating this point of law, whether the Constitution says this or that, and in the meantime, day after day, year after year, the slaveholders are free to do their worst.

          Frederick Douglass (Richard Brooks): But if we stoop to bloodshed, we are no better than they are.

          John Brown (T. Ryder Smith): You can preach for all eternity and nothing will change. Mr. Douglass, how many slaveholders have you converted? How many slaves have you freed?

          Like Brown and Douglas, we can argue the morality and ethics of violent vs. nonviolent resistance. But what was the practical upshot of Brown’s armed insurgency? As the documentary goes on to explain:

          John Brown (T. Ryder Smith, audio): Had I interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, I submit.

          Narrator: Shields Green and the other captives had already been sentenced to hang. There could be little doubt that Brown would follow them. From his jail cell, Brown kept up a stream of correspondence and interviews, which were breathlessly reported throughout the North.

          R. Blakeslee Gilpin, Historian: This guy’s just led a raid to destroy slavery. They’ve killed people, and not the first people he’s killed. And he’s suddenly become famously depicted in art, wearing these sort of evening slippers with this long, peaceful old patriarch beard, and he’s the abolitionist grandfather you wish you had.

          James Brewer Stewart, Historian: Brown was absolutely a genius at working the press, at giving interviews, at talking to people and turning himself into as fully committed a Christian sacrificial lamb on the alter of slavery as he could possibly be.

          R. Blakeslee Gilpin, Historian: You have the Northern establishment, every newspaper, saying, “This guy’s a hero. He’s a saint.” How can Southerners look at that and say, “Oh these guys are good negotiating partners. We’re gonna be able to sort this slavery problem out”?

          Tony Horwitz, Author: What Brown has done, ultimately, is just to expose the depth of the divide between North and South. And after that point, that divide can never be bridged.

          Narrator: On the morning of December 2nd, 1859, John Brown was driven from the jail, seated on his own coffin, to the gallows nearby. The evening of Brown’s execution, 4,000 people crowded into Boston’s Tremont Temple. Most of them had come to hear William Lloyd Garrison.

          Lois Brown, Historian: Garrison has to resolve this tension between clearly unapologetic armed resistance and strategy and maneuver, with pacifism and moral suasion. And you can see, or we can hear in that speech that he gives, he just is truly like a boat in rough sea — he’s just rocking back and forth.

          William Lloyd Garrison (Neal Huff, audio): I have labored unremittingly to effect the peaceful abolition of slavery by an appeal to the reason and conscience of the slaveholder. Yet, as a peace man — an “ultra” peace man — I am prepared to say, “Success to every slave insurrection at the South.”

          W. Caleb McDaniel, Historian: When he started his abolitionist campaign as a printer, one could still hope in the early 1830s that maybe arranging types in a case, stringing words together into sentences, publishing articles against slavery, might persuade the nation to rid itself of slavery. But as time goes by, Garrison begins to be swept along by the changing events around him.

          Julie Roy Jeffrey, Historian: I think he recognized that this was a turning point. Garrison was confronting some things that suggested that the future was gonna take a very different path than the past.

          Narrator: Frederick Douglass returned to the United States in the spring of 1860, after Congress decided not to pursue Brown’s accomplices, for fear of creating more martyrs.

          1. dearieme

            “You confuse means with ends.” On the contrary, the burden of my complaint is that you do by repeating that trite folly about freedom fighter and terrorist.

            “Did this then make abolition wrong? Your argument seems to be a resounding “Yes!””
            On the contrary, I made no argument at all about the rights and wrongs of abolition – why on earth did you invent the notion that I think abolition wrong? Are you deliberately arguing in bad faith?

          2. from Mexico

            @ dearieme

            Is that what passes for argument in right-wing circles these days? You don’t seem to be able to move the debate beyond asserting your defactualized tautologies as sure truth. To wit: “ ‘I suppose one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist’ is one of the great stupid remarks of our time.” Then a little later you trot out the same tautology with “the burden of my complaint is that you do by repeating that trite folly about freedom fighter and terrorist.”

            Funny how it is you, and not me, who brought up John Brown, the perfect example of someone who was a mortared freedom fighter for the northern abolitionists while simultaneously being a terrorist for the Southern slave owners.

    2. from Mexico

      dearieme says:

      Part of Juan Cole’s argument is pretty feeble. He deliberately confuses wars fought by Christians with wars that were fought to advance Christianity or one variant of it.

      I don’t believe Cole’s argument is feeble at all. You want to draw a bright red line between secular man and religious man, between material man and spiritual man. Such distinctions between the secular and the religous, however, do not exist in reality. They exist only in men’s minds.

      As the Christian theolgian Reinhold Niebuhr puts it in Moral Man and Immoral Society: “The modern communist’s dream of a completely egalitarian society is a secularized, but still essentially religious, version of the classical religious dream.”

      I believe that both Marxism and Christianity, in their modern-day first world manifestations, have become so perverted and vitiated as to have become as worthless as the teats on a boar hog, revolutionary wise that is. “Human vice and error may…be clothed by religion in garments of divine magnficance and given the prestige of the absolute,” Niebuhr explains. And this is what has pretty much happened to Christianity, as Niebuhr goes on to elaborate:

      Since liberal Protestantism is, on the whole, the religion of the privileged classes of Western civilisation, it is not surprising that its espousal of the ideal of love, in a civilisation reeking with social injustice, should be cynically judged and convicted of hypocrisy by those in whom bitter social experience destroy the sentimentalities and illusions of the comfortable.

    3. Expat

      I find Juan Cole’s historical analysis highly relevant, and, moreover, a much more plausible explanation of why a tiny number of people from countries that have large Muslim populations are striking at US targets could be the trillion plus dollars we American taxpayers are devoting to their extermination, er, I mean, democratization.

    4. Jane Doe

      His point is that the radicalism is there in Chrstians

      In the past it was just done through government action like the Nazis with the Jews

      Nor is it ancient history

      Most of the anti gay terror like Kill The Gays movement and attacks on other religions in Africa are fueled by Christians with American radical Christian support

      Same with abortion bombings

      Same with racial attacks which while the belief is less still draws. On historic beliefs by the kkk that the bible says blacks are inferior

      Nor is this unique to the us

      The lone wolf killer in Norway I believe was radicalized by Chritian thought

      It’s easy to pretend we are different but no face back that up

        1. Jane Doe

          The list is so long that I was bound to forget something

          That’s ultimately the point

          Thei list is long and wide

          It’s easy to look at it and pretend they are all very different when it feel familiar

          It’s also easy to lump the “other” together p

    5. Vernon

      Great replies by NC readers to dearieme.

      Also, I find Juan Cole (psychohistorian) amusing. It appears that NC enjoys Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series as much as I do.

      1. Synopticist

        I found it pretty risable. WW1 and WW2 weren’t wars of Christian religion. Nor were the post-colonial conflicts. But he might have included the Arminian holocaust, with perhaps a million odd dead, the India-Pakistan wars, which were largely religious in nature, and the Algerian civil war, which certainly was.

        1. Vernon

          Synopticist says:
          I found it pretty risable. WW1 and WW2 weren’t wars of Christian religion

          I don’t think Juan Cole is saying the WW1 and WW2 were wars of Christian religion. What I believe Juan Cole is saying is that WW1 and WW2 was waged predominantly by Christians. In addition, civilian populations were deliberately targeted (terrorism) by the axis and allies who were Christian (London missile attacks, firebombing of Dreseden and atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for example).

          What I believe Juan Cole is saying is that Christians are at least as violent and prone to terrorism as Muslims.

          Do you disagree with this? If so, why?

          1. Synopticist

            No, I don’t disagree with that. You get evil people all over the world, there are Buddhists in Burma right now carrying out anti-Muslim pogroms. Horrible stuff.

            But…..I think ignoring, or downplaying, the new wave of Al qeada driven terrorism is a mistake. That is new, and it’s INSPIRED by a hardline, extremist religious interpretation. They are acting AS MUSLIMS. Not AS Britons, or Germans, or French, or Iraqis.

            It’s a form of totalitarian revolutionary expansionism, largely self-fuelled, with global ambitions. It has it’s own dynamic. (Unlike the old-school seventies style Arab terrorism, which was re-active and nationalist).

            It’s new, basically. The world has seen nothing like it since the Anarchists and Bolsheviks were plotting to blow things up in the 1900s.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            You airbrush out that the “Muslim” part of this (in its origins) was incidental.

            1. England promised the Arabs they’d get self determination as a reward for their help in WWI. England and France promised the same land they’d promised to the Arabs to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration

            2. The Brits, and later the Americans also sought to, and did for a long time, did control the oil. So we Judeo Christians were stealing their property. And when the power dynamics shifted in the 1970s we threw our weight behind repressive rulers. We got blowback from the Middle East for stuff we’ve done in Central America for decades. IMHO, the religious element is incidental but has been played up very successfully here (in part because the evangelicals were powerful in politics and the more extreme ones see this all bringing the Rapture nearer).

            The big difference is that that part of the world had its own considerable intellectual accomplishments at one point and had much bigger social structures, both kings and religious organizations, that most “natives” that European colonizers confronted (although some African nations also had had rulers with large geographic footprints).

            So the origins were the usual colonists exploiting the indigenous people. Who doesn’t think Iraq was about oil? It has the second biggest oil reserves in the world, not far behind the Saudis. And not only did we occupy Iraq, we made a mess of the project in every way imaginable. We fucked up the country and didn’t exploit the oil successfully. We’re the ones who kicked this off and you make this about Muslim hatred of Christians? What about Iran being enormously helpful to the US right after 9/11 (Stratfor ran multiple articles over an 12 month+ period talking about “the coming US/Iran alliance”. Then Bush gave that axis of evil speech that blindsided the Iranians).

            You can analogize this (more closely) to Japan and China, if Japan had held on to Manchukuo longer, another colonizer of a then-weak but ancient civilization. The enmity between China and Japan is less on full boil due to China getting its territory back and Japan being a military protectorate of the US, but the underlying character of the enmity is similar, even if the intensity is much much lower, and you don’t have religion to blame it on.

          3. Vernon

            Synopticist says:
            But…..I think ignoring, or downplaying, the new wave of Al qeada driven terrorism is a mistake. That is new, and it’s INSPIRED by a hardline, extremist religious interpretation. They are acting AS MUSLIMS. Not AS Britons, or Germans, or French, or Iraqis.

            Is Al qeada driven terrorism inspired by USA policies or radical Islam? Osama stated that he was upset by USA’s support for the Saudi regime and USA’s stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia.

            Let imagine if Iran was powerful and the USA was weak. Let’s imagine Iran colonized the USA. Eventually Iran grants USA independence but installs a king. Iran also stations troops in the USA, exploits the USA resources, and helps quash any attempts to overthrow the USA king.

            Under the above scenario, what do you think the reaction of the USA populace would be? I daresay the reaction of Christian USA would be quite violent and resort to the same tactics of Osama and find something in Radical Christianity for justification. However, the inspiration for this violence would be Iranian policies, not radical Christianity Do you disagree?

            Note that I am not saying that all terrorism has political roots. Certainly some terrorism, such as the abortion clinic bombings appear to be entirely based on radical Christianity. There are examples for radical Islam and other religions as well.

          4. Synopticist

            “Is Al qeada driven terrorism inspired by USA policies or radical Islam? ”

            There’s the rub. I think it’s inspired by radical Islam. Most of that what driven by Saudi funding for Wahhabi mosques and madrassas, which goes waaay back into the sixties, throughout the Muslim world. That was Saudi foreign policy, to encourage their brand of Islam.
            There’s “blowback”, alright, but not only US blowback. Al qeada is as much Saudi (and Pakistani, come to that) blowback as US/Nato blowback.

            When Osama went to fight in Afghanistan, against the Russians, he was fighting against the West, as he saw it.
            It’s not just a matter of Arabs versus Americans or Europeans. Saudi Arabia was never a colony. So I don’t think the China/Japan analogy is necessarily correct. Or the coloniser /native split. That’s not to say many of their supporters aren’t motivated by those feelings.

            Again I prefer a 1900s bolshivek comparison. While may of early members were driven by a sense of economic injustice, that wasn’t what the party itself was about. They were trying to totally revolutionise society and re-make it in their own, utopian image. They wanted Power. They wanted their “sacred” texts to be realised.

            So I don’t think al qeada are just about tempering western foreign policy ( which old-school Arab terrorism was).
            Anymore than the Bolsheviks just wanted to improve the lot of proletarian factory workers or miners (which old-school socialists did). And the global ambitions are the same.

            It’s movement which seeks to totally alter society. They’re violent, expansionary, revolutionary totalitarians.

          5. from Mexico

            @ Synopticist

            Your thinking is loaded with an internal contradiction.

            First you tell us that radical Islam is “INSPIRED by a hardline, extremist religious interpretation. They are acting AS MUSLIMS.”

            Then, no sooner having said that, you turn around and tell us that “The world has seen nothing like it since the Anarchists and Bolsheviks were plotting to blow things up in the 1900s,” and that “I prefer a 1900s bolshivek comparison.”

            So you first argue radical Islam is a religious movement, and then turn right around and argue it is a secular movement. So what is it?

            Actually I tend to agree with your latter assertion. As John Gray put it: “Al Qaeda sees itself as an alternative to the modern world, but the ideas on which it draws are quintessentially modern. As Karl Kraus said of psychoanalysis: radical Islam is a symptom of the disease of which it pretends to be the cure.”

          6. Vernon

            Synopticist says:
            “Is Al qeada driven terrorism inspired by USA policies or radical Islam? ”

            There’s the rub. I think it’s inspired by radical Islam.

            But that’s not what the terrorists themselves seem to be saying. Osama stated that he wanted to attack the USA because of the USA troops stationed in Saudi Arabia and because of USA support for the Saudi king.

            Based on news reports, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stated that the reason for his and his bother’s terrorist act was the killing of Muslims by the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan.

            It seems to me that if the USA stopped terrorizing Muslims with wars, drone attacks and stopped supporting their corrupt rulers, the USA wouldn’t have to worry about any more 9/11s or Boston bombings.

          7. from Mexico

            @ Synopticist

            You also seem to be in denial of what Charles Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities, something which seems self-evident to me, but obviously not to everyone:

            Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms.

          8. Synopticist

            Well, From Mexico, I think it’s a modern, extremist, religious movement that wants political power.

            There’s nothing contradictory in the Islamic tradition about religious authorities having secular power. Not only on the Iranian model, but especially in the early Caliphates.

          9. from Mexico

            @ synopticist

            But radical Islam does not advocate “religious authorities having secular power.”

            What radical Islam advocates is the same thing that liberal economics and Marxism advocate, which is, according to Gray, “a world without rulers and ruled.” As he explains, this “has no precedent in Islamic thought,” and is “a clear borrowing from European radical ideology.”

          10. Synopticist

            @ Vernon
            There were no US troops in Saudi on 9-11. Osama also said that he’s make peace with the US if everyone became Muslim. It’s pretty easy to “quote mine” with a guy like him I guess. We all remember the bits that suit our own arguments.

            As for that couple of Boston dickheads, yeah, they were angry about US policies, like lots of people. But they only started plotting to bomb civilians when they got radicalised by reading Al qeada stuff, and got super-religious. (at least the older brother did, maybe the second one just followed along).

            The thing is, radical Islam IS expansionist. It’s what it says in the book. That’s Jihad. Thats what they do, military jihadis. They expand. No-one was bothering the Taliban much pre-9-11. After the Chechens won independence from the Russians in the early nineties, within a few years they were bombing Russia and raiding neighbouring territories. Recently in Mali, they’d conquered over half the country, and were looking very pretty for a while. But they launched an opportunistic offensive when there was some f*cked up coup attempt and order broke down.

            There’s no “Sharia in one country” for guys that are that hardcore.

          11. Synopticist

            @From Mexico
            I haven’t read Gray, and I may have to. I love his comparison from Karl Kraus on psychoanalysis.

            But the thing is, that intention of a world that’s without rulers and ruled is clearly not obtainable. Like the idea that the state would wither away after a communist revolution, it can’t happen. Someone is always in charge. That would be the leading jihadis. Like Mullah Omar in Afghanistan.

          12. Vernon

            Synopticist says:
            There were no US troops in Saudi on 9-11.
            Really? Seems like US troops were not withdrawn from Saudi Arabia until 2003.

            Synopticist says:
            Osama also said that he’s make peace with the US if everyone became Muslim. It’s pretty easy to “quote mine” with a guy like him I guess.
            Really? I can’t any such quote by Osama as motive for the 9/11 attacks.

            Synopticist says:
            As for that couple of Boston dickheads, yeah, they were angry about US policies, like lots of people. But they only started plotting to bomb civilians when they got radicalised by reading Al qeada stuff, and got super-religious. (at least the older brother did, maybe the second one just followed along).
            Which came first? The disgust with USA policies or the Muslim radicalization? Did the disgust with USA policies lead to the Muslim radicalization or vice versa?

            Synopticist says:
            The thing is, radical Islam IS expansionist. It’s what it says in the book. That’s Jihad. Thats what they do, military jihadis. They expand. No-one was bothering the Taliban much pre-9-11. After the Chechens won independence from the Russians in the early nineties, within a few years they were bombing Russia and raiding neighbouring territories.
            Yes, with USA encouragement. The USA supported their efforts to try to destabilize Russia and China. Don’t forget that Osama was on the CIA payroll.

            Synopticist says:
            Recently in Mali, they’d conquered over half the country, and were looking very pretty for a while. But they launched an opportunistic offensive when there was some f*cked up coup attempt and order broke down.
            Not sure of your point here. Seems this is more of an ethnic rebellion.

          13. Synopticist

            I didn’t know about US troops not leaving Saudi til 2003. Fair ennough, but it doesn’t change much.
            As for Osamas intentions on 9-11, well it’s easy to quote mine. He said plenty of things, including showing up Americas false humanitarianism, in which he admirably succeeded. He also made some noises about re-conquering Spain for Islam, IIRC. But until 9-11, the world was quite content to let Afghanistan be, despite a bit of ethnic cleansing on the Talibans’ part.

            And the Boston guys? Well there”s plenty of devout Muslims who disagree with US policy, but only a tiny handful get really into Al qeada videos and on-line magazines. Plus the CIA didn’t have much interest in undermining Russia in the mid-nineties. Certainly before, and possibly more recently, but the NATO powers didn’t give a sh*t about Chechnya at the time. They were more bothered with the Balkans.
            (And it has nothing to do with China.)

            There is an ethnic side to Mali. The bit al qeada took was the Tuareg, kind of semi Arab/Berber northern part, along with the big, mostly black African cities of the north. They then set about imposing a totally alien form of extreme Wahhabi Islam that was completely out of character for people who’d always had a really tolerant, scholarly, musical culture. The bit they started invading was the almost totally black southern half. They couldn’t help themselves.

            Al qeada in Iraq hasn’t settled down and chilled out now US forces have left. In Syria they’re fighting against Allawites because they’re Islamic heretics, as far as they’re concerned. No-one ever accused Assad of being a western stooge. (although he did help out with some renditions)

            These guys won’t give up and go back to yoghurt weaving if we suddenly start being fluffy to them. Anymore than the bolsheviks chilled out after the Tzar was overthrown.
            It’s not re-active anymore, if it ever was. Its a totalitarian revolutionary ideology with global pretensions, as I keep saying.

          14. Vernon

            Synopticist says:
            As for Osamas intentions on 9-11, well it’s easy to quote mine. He said plenty of things,

            Sure Osama said many things. But the point is what did Osama state as his motive for the 9/11 attacks? He stated it was USA policy in the Muslim world (USA troops in Saudi Arabia etc.). Anything else Osama said not related to 9/11 motive is not relevant to my point.

            Synopticist says:
            But until 9-11, the world was quite content to let Afghanistan be, despite a bit of ethnic cleansing on the Talibans’ part.

            By world I assume you mean the USA and its Satraps since everyone else pretty much minds their own business. Of course the USA left Afghanistan alone. The USA was happy supporting the people in Afghanistan that were working to destabilize Russia through Chechnya and China through Xinjiang.

            The USA has been seeking to destabilize USSR/Russia since the end of WWI when the USA invaded the USSR. This continued on with Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski destabilizing Afghanistan so that the USSR would be forced to invade. Meanwhile, the USA was busy supporting radical Muslim elements to fight the Soviets. In more recent history, the USA was busy supporting Chechnyan terrorists and even gave Ilyas Akhmadov asylum. The USA encouraged Georgia to pick a fight a Russia and destabilized Ukraine as well. There are many more examples of the USA trying to destabilize USSR/Russia.

            With regard to China, Afghanistan elements were going into China (Xinjiang) and trying to destabilize it. Ever since China’s rise to power, the USA has been trying to destabilize it. What do you think Obama’s Asia pivot is all about?

            Synopticist says:
            And the Boston guys? Well there”s plenty of devout Muslims who disagree with US policy, but only a tiny handful get really into Al qeada videos and on-line magazines.

            I have no idea as to the penetration of Al qeada videos and web sites. But do you agree that USA policy is creating Muslim terrorists?

            Synopticist says:
            Al qeada in Iraq hasn’t settled down and chilled out now US forces have left.

            The troops have left but there are still many contractors. Hopefully, the USA will allow Iraq to sort itself out. It will take many years. It’s much easier to break something than put something broken back together.

            Synopticist says:
            In Syria they’re fighting against Allawites because they’re Islamic heretics

            They are fighting Allawites because they are getting funding, weapons and training from the USA and its Satraps. Otherwise, there would be no war in Syria (nor Libya either).

          1. nonclassical

            synopticist said, “There were no US troops in Saudi on 9-11.”

            ..WRONG-George HW Bush administration, advised by female U.S. Iraqi Ambassador, Saddam needed to know IF D.C. would CARE if Saddam invaded
            Kuwait, as Kuwaitis drilled sideways into Iraq fields…after several days, U.S. Ambassador carried message-“No, U.S. has no CARE should you take control of problem” (paraphrased).

            Saddam invaded-immediately, HW Bush administration offered U.S. troops to “Kingdom”, defining Saudi Arabia next on Saddam list…Saudis blinked-allowed troops. This action reflected Osama “offense”-U.S. troops, on “holy soil”.

            Following HW-“coalition” invasion, troops in Saudi remained…”W” impetus moved troops to Iraq, from neighboring nations=trumped up Iraq invasion..based entirely upon LIES…action taken to secure oil fields, as Oil co’s defined they had no interest in fields on perpetual fire (security must be established), and they were making more with OPEC than ever…

            …viewing Adam Curtis-BBC documentaries, “The Power of Nightmares”, parts 1,2,3, we see real impetus behind U.S. “Project For A New American Century” neocon construction of “threat of terrorism”…which Rumsfeld and Cheney + CIA director-Reagan claimed was product of Soviet “evil empire”…

      2. Valissa

        fyi, psychohistorian is the alias of an NC commenter, who has not been commenting much recently.

        1. Vernon

          Valissa says:
          fyi, psychohistorian is the alias of an NC commenter, who has not been commenting much recently

          Thanks for this clarification. Initially, I though that NC was implying that Juan Cole is a psychohistorian ☺

    6. JohnDT

      Indeed, there is confusion between national causes and religious ones.

      There is no distinction between death during nation wars VS. deliberate targeting of civilians as means of terror. (Would one religion pop up as that which caused the largest number of deaths to unarmed civilians? Do the research and math yourselves).

      I see 16% of the article discussing Israel (count the words) with no mention of the total numbers – one must wonder why? Where is the analysis of Hamas blowing up bombs on civilian buses? How many schools, private residences and civilian flights did the PLO attack? What about the attack during the olympics? Why is there no mention of Hezbollah blowing up buildings, buses, etc.?
      And why don’t you count all the Jews killed BEFORE the state of Israel was established and way before 1967?

      Why is there no mention of Assad’s Syrian regime, which is has already killed more civilians than ALL casualties of the Arab-Israeli conflict combined? Why is there no mention of the Grand Mosque Seizure which makes the number of casualties in attacks mentioned by name pale in comparison?
      Is there any mention of Shiite-Sunni terror in Iraq? Chechnya? Somalia? Morocco? Indonesia? Other?

      A partial biased analysis as means to criticize other unbalanced subjective perspectives? Is that helpful in the search for truth and peace?

    7. Watt4Bob

      dearieme said:

      “…people’s worries on this issue are not dominated by looking back to the twentieth century, but looking forward through this one, an age when there is an Islamicist campaign of terror and not much sign of a Christian equivalent.”

      I’d say that there is at least as much evidence for Christian terrorism as Islamist, that is if you’re the least bit honest about what the ‘west’ has been up to in the ME, and why.

      If you can find it in yourself to honestly consider how the Christian west has treated the Muslim ME, the next logical step would be to discuss the principle of proportionality in relation to the west’s reaction to Islamist terrorism.

    8. MichelleC

      Irrelevant what religion they are. A whole host of prewritten limitations on civil libarties and constitutional guarantees are being prepared to be launched against American citizens.

      Listen to this program by the head of Global Research. He encapsulates it all quite nicely.

  3. MacCruiskeen

    ” it assumes people walk 2 miles an hour. Most people walk 3 MPH or so, so the minutes ARE overstated! ”

    Have you spent much time on the sidewalks lately? There’s a lot of slow-moving people out there. Especially the folks who look like they’ve been eating too many burgers.

    1. Yonatan

      Lion1: Hmmmm, lunch. Who’s got the can opener? WTF! Didn’t any one of you bozos think to bring it!? Looks like its gonna be scrawny gazelle – again.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Trust me, the lions are showing their young cubs what humans look like – strictly educational. Only Homo Not-So-Sapiens would think lions are not capable of that intellectually.

        And these lions are do their extermination in a place, nice and neat, called kitchen.

    1. Jessica

      I was waiting for Lambert to post a “What could go wrong”.
      Michael Polan writes about how corn-fed beef has much less Omega 3 than grass-fed beef and I read something similar about non-wild salmon too. Wheat has much less protein than it did a century ago and tomatoes less nutrients too.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Couldnt they wait until at least the 0.01%’s families are safely ensconced in another hospitable planet?

    1. Goyo Marquez

      It’s kind of intereting that M3 per Shadowstats chart looks just like the deficit chart in the artilce linked about Stephanie Kelton and austerity. As deficit increase M3 decrease as as deficit decrease M3 increases. Something wrong there. As government spending goes up money supply goes down?

    2. Goyo Marquez

      (So many errors I had to repost it.)

      It’s kind of interesting that M3 per Shadowstats chart looks just like the deficit chart in the article linked about Stephanie Kelton and austerity.

      As the deficit increases, M3 decreases as the deficit decreases, M3 increases.

      Something must be wrong there. As government spending goes up money supply goes down?

      1. AbyNormal

        to me its the timing in the liquidity absorption
        a friend of mine suggest…correlation is not causation

    3. Cynthia

      We don’t need to manufacture anything anymore. We can replace all theses productive jobs with service, low end jobs.

      This trend continues and you wonder why the job situation is so messed up.

  4. little shiny rice teeth

    The most compelling evidence of government involvement in this bombing is the coordinated hasbara for repression. This is the government’s criminal MO: stage a scary event, impose additional repressive capacity. First it was spokesmodel Brokaw: “Everyone has to understand tonight that, beginning tomorrow morning early, there are going to be much tougher security considerations all across the country, and however exhausted we may be by that, we’re going to have to learn to live with them, and get along and go forward, and not let them bring us to our knees.” Now it’s Zio-pygmy Bloomberg tickling the ivories of the covert-service wurlitzer.

    Note Bloomberg’s lies. Lying runt Bloomberg presumes to rank-order state obligations and naturally, in accordance with The Line, only safety counts. Bullshit.

    The minimal protective obligations of any sovereign state are set out in the International Bill of Human Rights and the state is on the hook for all of them. Lying weasel Bloomberg cannot pick and choose our rights, we get them all.

    In October we’re going to get a rare independent appraisal of the state’s obligations and compliance from the legal experts of the Human Rights Committee. The USG is frantic to stuff this event down the memory hole.

    Bloomberg. He got little hands. Little eyes. He walk around tellin’ great big lies.

    1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      Over here in Canada, two men were arrested in the past few days for allegedly planning to bomb a Toronto to New York train; they were allegedly preparing their plot, and have now appeared in court. For the impact on Toronto people, etc., I’d have to turn to Canadian news. I don’t think they’ll shred the constitution, or haven’t heard of such plan…

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        The Combating Terrorism Act, or Federal Bill S-7, passed Wednesday evening in the Ottawa Parliament.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Mike Ashton on one inflation dog that IS barking, in a surprising place:

    Home prices continue to accelerate. In fact, as the chart below shows, the year-on-year rise in Existing Home median prices is more than 10% faster than core inflation for only the second time since the data has been kept. The first time that happened was in the midst of the housing bubble.

    Housing is nowhere near bubble territory yet, and as the chart also shows the rise in home prices can persist at better than 10% over CPI for at least a little while. However, it can’t last too long because of the reflexivity of it: eventually, no matter what happens to home prices, the increases will pass into core inflation and the spread will be eaten away from the bottom.

    The simple implication of the fact that home prices continue to accelerate higher is that core inflation is absolutely going to head higher.

    The rise in home prices is the biggest single alarm being sounded about inflation at the moment, and it seems to me that it pays to listen to it, and check that the doors and windows are locked … just to be sure.

    Quantitative easing pumps up the most liquid assets first: stocks and bonds. That’s been underway for four years now.

    Housing’s response was delayed by a large supply overhang. Housing is now getting in gear, but central planners still lean toward easing on weak economic data.

    Sounds to me like a recipe for stagflation. No wonder Ben Bernanke’s skipping the Jackson Hole conference this August: too many negative reviews of his monetary cooking.

  6. McMike

    The interesting thing about Reinhart/Rogoff is the use of averages versus medians and ranges.

    Which I presume also opened the opportunity for monkeying with the weighting. New Zealand 1951!

    On listening to the debunking, I have a hard time not picturing them very much deliberately sitting around a table and tweaking their inputs to see what it did to their charts.

    Not unlike a CFO on earnings day.

    1. TK421

      It’s highly suspicious that they didn’t submit their work for peer review, or let other researchers examine their data.

      1. Synopticist

        They knew what they were doing. I reckon it was mostly aimed at the 2012 election. Once their hard-right oligarch lost to the centre-right corporatist guy, there was no point in concealing it any longer.

  7. Brindle

    Re: “The generalized resource curse”
    Excellent piece.

    A “pernicious stabilty” maintained by the atomizing and slicing & dicing of class consciousness.

    Waldman, from comments:

    —“the main difference is that Marx imagined that the technological trends of his time — the factory-style complementarity of efficient means of production and labor — would continue, pressing labor close together in ways that would simultaneously promote class consciousness and enhance bargaining power.

    instead the exact opposite happened. labor has been extricated from mass production and atomized, while capital has formed into a multicultural, international, but intellectually cohesive class of jetsetters who form real-life coalitions to shape the ideological arena.

    where Marx foresaw conditions whose contradictions would undo themselves, so far what we observe is a pernicious stability.”—

    1. from Mexico

      Waldman’s analysis, however, is completely blinkered and distorted.

      MIA from his post is any mention of the role that Anglos and Eurpeans have played in keeping the local elites in power. He makes it sound as if the sustaining of the local elites were all a local affair, as if these regimes did not come to power or are not kept in power by foreign intervention. These are puppet regimes of the US and Europe, and remain in power only at the whim and the pleasure of the Europeans and Americans.

      What Waldman does is called lying by ommission, because the elephant in the room that he ignores is the role that Anglo and European intervention plays in keeping these criminal states in power.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I think that Waldman’s analysis is indeed “in country.” And in terms of the “resource curse” that’s the frame everyone uses.

        I think it’s interesting to think of this country as suffering from a resource curse, too.

        So, while Waldman’s piece is not the complete toolkit, as you point out, the tool it does contain is not unuseful.

        1. from Mexico

          Lambert Strether says:

          I think that Waldman’s analysis is indeed “in country.” And in terms of the “resource curse” that’s the frame everyone uses.

          Empirically speaking, that is simply not true.

          For a completely different take on what constitutes “resource curse” than that being touted by Waldman, I recommend listening to Michael Parenti’s discussion of “resource curse” here:

          It only takes a few minutes, but is well worth the time.

          The choice between some liberal economic propagandist like Waldman on the one hand and Michael Parenti on the other, for me, is an easy one. Perhaps no one ever summed up folks like Waldman better than George Orwell:

          All left-wing parties in the highly industrialized countries are at bottom a sham… We live by robbing Asiatic coolies, and those of us who are “enlightened” all maintian that those coolies ought to be set free; but our standard of living, and hence our “enlightenment,” demands that the robbery shall continue.

          –GEORGE ORWELL, “Rudyard Kipling”

          1. Expat

            In the main, I don’t see the gap between Waldman and Parenti, given the qualification that the resource curse takes place in an international context policed by the US military on behalf of international corporations. And I agree wtih Orwell’s insight regarding the “curse” of being WEIRD (Jared Diamond’s coinage describing Europeans and North Americans as western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic). Unless I live completely off the grid and never consume anything except that produced by mine own hand, I am abetting the exploitation of poor people everywhere. Even Amish communities are somewhat dependent on international trade.

            I also like the insight that the US is a plundered country as well. The weak political system, easily dominated by a few moneyed interests, has been gamed. Our resources included not only the vast natural wealth stewarded and accumulated by pre-Europeans but, apparently, our open, decentralized democratic form of government. It turns out that our politicians are resources in which the biggest payoffs in history are possible.

            Ethical, or at least majority rule, politicians might not have been such a curse!

          2. nobody

            One might say that, just because the miners discussed in The Road To Wigan Pier are living in part by robbing Asiatic coolies, that doesn’t mean they aren’t being robbed too.

          3. from Mexico

            Expat says:

            In the main, I don’t see the gap between Waldman and Parenti…</blockquote

            I think the Grand Canyon would fit between them.

            The most glaring difference between them is that Waldman speaks only of natural resources causing the resource curse, whereas Parenti includes “the labor of indigenous people as workers or slaves” as part of the resources which can cause the resource curse.

            The only people who can take Waldman seriously are those who believe in liberal economic fairy tales. In his post he asserts that “the invisible hand” is a “logic” that “breaks down in an economy dominated by a valuabe natural resource.” The uncomfortable truth, however, is that “the invisible hand” doesn’t have anything to do with logic. It is anti-logic. It is a piece of magical thinking conjured up by sheer speculative thinking. It doesn’t exist. It has never existed. It is unmitigated mythology, and it is like Erewhon: It is nowhere.

            The evidence has been in for a long time, elaborately detailed by Jean Simonde de Sismondi in the first decades of the 19th century when he visited England and was struck by the misery resulting from industrial progress. The invisible hand has never worked anywhere, at anytime, whether in a labor intensive or natural resources intensive economy, to produce a rational and equitable distribution of goods and services. But in spite of all the evidence, folks like Waldman still believe in the fairy tale of what he bills as “happy capitalism.”

            Of course if one believes in the fairy tale, then it follows that there is no creation of superfluous capital which the lords of capital seek to invest outside the nation. The inconvenient truth, however, is that the unequal distribution of wealth which invariably exists under a capitalistic economic system concentrates wealth which cannot be invested, and produces goods which cannot be be absorbed, in the nation itself. The superfluous capital is therefore invested outside the nation, and the whole nation is therefore called upon to protect the investments and the markets which the economic overlords are forced to seek in other nations.

            For those like Waldlman who believe in liberal economic fairy tales, however, this entire part of the story is missing.

          4. Expat

            Good analysis. I agree that Waldman’s piece does nothing to disturb the comfort of Western capitalist and allows for more hand wringing about the “corruption” of non-WEIRD people who cannot manage their own resources.

          5. from Mexico

            @ Expat

            The other fundamental difference between Parenti and Waldman is this: According to Waldman, these criminal states are something that the peoples of these natural resource rich countries are doing to themselves, whereas with Parenti they are something being done to these peoples. There’s quite a difference there.

          6. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            Waldman mentions “polities”, which I take to refer to nation-states. The nature of the “curse”, where it comes from, and so on, is muddied-up in my opinion by revelation in books such as “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”, by John Perkins. It’s not just 20th century US, as you probably know; also, the British Empire forcing concessions (free ports) to sell opium to the Chinese after the Opium Wars around 1840’s is another example of crass mercantilism or imperialism. Intra-country, there are also tensions to attend to to remain in power: are the army happy? are we doing enough to avoid being overthrown by the upper classes and the French catholics? Are we doing enough to avoid a working classes revolt? This balancing game to “manage threats” inside-country involves astute analysis of factions, parties, ethic groups, etc. and their shifting alliances. If no coup is planned or attempted, then some might never know of a gaovernment with a tenuous grip on power, no?

        2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          Today, ammonia is synthesized using the Haber–Bosch process,
          where the nitrogen is obtained by the ambiant air and the hydrogen from natural gas. Then, ammonia is one of the key ingredients in fertilizers for agriculture.
          But before the discovery of the Haber-Bosch process, nitrogen in fertlizers for agriculture was obtained from organic residue: manure or, better, guano. The guano boom lasted 20-30 years in the Chincha islands and thereabouts off the coast of present-day Chile (I think). The height of the pile of guano went from up to 50 meters down to a few inches (as of today, from my sources). So that was short. Then, the world turned to Chilean saltpeter or Peruvian saltpeter (alias sodium nitrate) after the guano ran out. Googling: “imported Chile saltpeter” will yield relevant information. So, going into WWI, the British had to rely on saltpeter and other natural sources to get ammonia, which is useful for fertilizers, but also had to rely on saltpeter etc. from nature to produce high-yield explosives. Meanwhile, the Germans could use the Haber-Bosch process. The patents filed by Haber, Bosch & Co. didn’t reveal everything, and anyway the Germans had a head-start. According to the book “Imperial Germany, 1871-1918: Economy, Society, Culture, And Politics”, after the outbreak of WWI, German access to Chilean saltpeter was denied by the Allies (maybe Britain’s Navy?). In 1914/1915, Germany’s saltpeter stockpiles were about to run out. Bosch worked at BASF ( ) and turned things into an industrial-scale operation to synthesize ammonia from nitrogen in the air, and hydrogen obtained from natural gas. Before this landmark strategic “success”, it seems Germany’s war machine was “on the ropes” in WWI.

  8. JGordon

    “Boston suspects are seen as self taught…”

    Time to outlaw pressure cookers and ball bearings! You know, because someone somewhere might use those things to commit more terrorism.

    And this is why all the anti-gun hysteria is pure nonsense. There are plenty of more effective ways to commit attrocities than simply shooting people. And there a lot more dangerous ways ways of killing yourself or others also (i.e, smoking, drinking, being fat, driving a car).

    If the gun grabbers were rational and consistent they’d be advocating to keep everyone in bubble wrap and fed through tubes from cradle to grave. At least then the logic would be internally consistent with itself, which is the absolute minimum criteria that any idea has to pass in order for it to not be immediately recognizable as irrational, emotional crap. It’s why I have so much trouble understand why people are against guns; it’s like they don’t realize that they’re talking nonsense. Strange.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Because guns are used by mean people to do mean things and can never ever cook brisket. Peace and Love, and hand over your gun before I beat you to death with my flower. I’ll do it every hour, I’m so vicious!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Raw, organic salad is the way to go, if you can pry it from Monsanto’s hands.

    2. TK421

      “there a lot more dangerous ways ways of killing yourself or others also (i.e, smoking, drinking, being fat, driving a car)”

      Yeah, why aren’t there any laws regulating those activities, huh gun control advocates???

      1. McMike

        Are you being ironic here?

        There are in fact laws against smoking in public and drinking & driving.

        And it is certianly more difficult to obtain (and easier to lose) a drivers license than it is to buy a gun.

    3. Lambert Strether

      Well, the gun nuts seem to have done pretty well with the tools that they have.

      However, I’m pleased to see you owning the externalities. What does it matter if a few kids get slaughtered as long as hobbyists can own their consumer good of choice?

      1. Paul Tioxon

        5,459,240 Number of new firearms manufactured in the U.S. in 2011, 95% of which are sold domestically, according to the ATF

        3,252,404 Number of firearms imported into the U.S. (529,056 shotguns, 998,072 rifles, and 1,725,276 handguns) in 2010, according to the ATF

        846,619 Number of firearms imported into the U.S. in 2011 from Brazil, the leading gun importer to the U.S., according to the ATF

        Read more:

        Thank God, Jesus that is, the CATHOLIC JESUS PLEASE US!, that freedom killing liberal pinkos can’t stop us from importing our AK47s from the Chicoms! Americans are too weak and feminized to produce all the guns we need for liberty, so we are forced to trade with illegal foreigners who were not born in the United States! But we will buy fancy French pressure cookers from THOSE merchants of death!!! Try grabbing my legally imported guns at the border while you let illegals storm the Homeland with impunity!!!!! Try explaining the internal logic of that one!!!!!!!!! Whatever have happened to the rule of consistency!!!!!!!!!!

    4. Jane Doe

      Gun control is about the probability that a device designed to kill will in fact kill

      30000 dead by gun per year
      4 by pressure cooker one year

      A rational policy focuses on likelihood

      Not just possibility

      1. cwaltz

        That statement might make sense if it were true.

        Remind me again how many people a year die due to alcohol related injuries?

        And where the legislation is to make alcohol illegal?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          All the important things in the world get two chances.

          NAFTA – failed the first time, passed the second.

          Bailing out banksters – failed the first time until Paulson got on his knees threatening martial law.

          Prohibition – didn’t fare so well the first time. Maybe a constitutional amendment to ban tobacco will do the trick this time – The Tobacco Prohibition, brought to you by the new moralists.

        2. Jane Doe

          I can’t idiot proof my responses here so you have my at a disadvantage.

          1. As you k now alcohol is in fact heavily regulated.

          2. Alcohol is not in fact designed to kill.

          3. If you want to engage me, say something smart rather than engage in the Sophistry of “something else kills” Yes, a lot o things kill, and we, as best we can, create laws to address them, but they have a separate value outside of their function of killing. There is no other function for guns outside of killing.

          When I speak of possibility and probability, I am speaking of understanding risk management. This is not even high end risk management. Its basic: (1) how dangerous is the event x (2) how likely is the event?

          While millions of people drink each year, the primary effect of alcohol is not the kill either the drinker or anyone else around the drinker. The purpose of a gun when fired is to kill. That affects (1) in the risk management equation.

          That’s what rational businesses (not Wall Street) try to do each day to assess what risks to take.

          It amazes me that I should have to even explain that on a blog about finance and economic issues.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Guns can be for

            1 deterrent (the MAD theory)
            2 firing warning shots
            3 maiming
            4 killing
            5 decorating the wall (like a medieval armor)
            6 cooking (I learned that today)

    5. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      It’s stunning how un-mediatized motor vehicle accidental deaths are: there are about 33,000 fatalities a year in the US, or about 90 fatalities per day …

  9. Johnny Fraudclosure

    Thanks Adam Levitin! Is the mortgage crisis-thingie really all done and over with? How about principle reduction in bankruptcy? That’ll make honest men out of ’em. Why can’t rebels get awards?

  10. Expat

    Bush and Cheney gleefully sent our nation to war because they are cowards who never had to serve. Bloomberg advocates eliminating the Bill of Rights because he is a billionaire politician who will never need it.

    Bloomberg should spend two years without his money, his houses, his jets or his bodyguards. Let him find a cramped room in some urban ghetto, commute two hours to his job at McDonald’s, and then decide just what human and civil rights mean.

    In the meantime, I suggest boycotting Bloomberg’s empire, impeaching him for inciting crimes against humanity, and sending him to Gitmo for some rehabilitation.

  11. rjs

    re the “spring slowdown” at sober look; he’s showing PMIs, which are diffusion indexes, not seasonally adjusted…

    i still think that seasonal adjustments skew other spring reports to the downside (or conversely, make winter reports look better than they’d otherwise be..

    1. rjs

      as an aside, the above comment was posted from newsblur, an alternate to google reader recommended by austin frakt that i’m trying out; unusual to have a reader capable of such an interaction with the website..

    2. rjs

      ok, im wrong about that, they are seasonally adjusted…here’s from the methodology notes at ISM:

      The resulting single index number for those meeting the criteria for seasonal adjustments (PMI™, New Orders, Production, Employment and Supplier Deliveries) is then seasonally adjusted to allow for the effects of repetitive intra-year variations resulting primarily from normal differences in weather conditions, various institutional arrangements, and differences attributable to non-moveable holidays. All seasonal adjustment factors are supplied by the U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject annually to relatively minor changes when conditions warrant them. The PMI™ is a composite index based on the diffusion indexes of five of the indexes with equal weights: New Orders (seasonally adjusted), Production (seasonally adjusted), Employment (seasonally adjusted), Supplier Deliveries (seasonally adjusted), and Inventories.

      ht/ AbyNormal…

  12. alex

    re: Bloomberg Says Interpretation of Constitution Will ‘Have to Change’ After Boston Bombing

    At least he’s consistent. Having appointed himself Mayor for Life, he now takes the next step of a banana republic dictator by saying “our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change”. But of course it’s necessary since “we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days”. Is anybody in the mainstream punditocracy going to call him on such an anti-Constitutional and un-American statement? Does this idiot realize how ridiculous he sounds? Under the Constitution we’ve survived a foreign invasion that, amongst other things, resulted in the destruction of our capital. And a Civil War that killed 200 times as many people as 9/11. Throw in two world wars, the Cold War, riots that have consumed entire cities and domestic terrorism that’s included the assassination of presidents and numerous bombings, including on Wall Street. We’ve also had hundreds of thousands of Americans die defending the aforementioned Constitution. But now, of course, things are “complicated” and dangerous. Listen to yourself idiot, and maybe read a history book. The Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves.

    1. Ms G

      I don’t understand how Mr. Bloomberg managed to complete a B.A. at Johns Hopkins. I really don’t.

  13. Ms G

    Michael Bloomberg perseveres in attempting to frighten people about some danger “Out There,” while it is he who is trampling and destroying our economic and political freedoms (and looting every last inch of land and tax money of New York City for his personal benefit and that of his crony real estate developers, bankers and off-shore-tax-sheltering associates).

    Keeping kids safe in schools (same kids who are getting arrested in school by Mike’s “army”), making it safe to attend a sports event (like the elite NYC Marathon that is closing the Brooklyn Bridge for 72 hours this weekend or that almost ran over the smoldering ashes of Sandy’s devastation), or walking safely in our parks (which Bloomberg has privatized to such a degree that their closure for “private events” (Parties) held by his society friends often ban taxpayers from using them).

    And Bloomberg was the man who overturned the NY City Charter’s mayoral term limits by paying off enough politicians. He has a bluprint ready to go to take on the Bill of Rights — and a reserve of wealth that he has accumulated in “blind trusts” while mayors that no doubt rivals the budgets of several states.

    I wish he would withdraw to his new London compound evermore.

    1. Cynthia

      Mayor Bloomberg on Drones: “Oh it’s Big Brother. Get Used to it”

      I’m shocked, I tell you, that the epicenter of bankers is also now the cutting edge in Big Brother loving attitudes! Bloomberg could not provide a more clear picture of just who and why liberty is under assault in this country. Way to go New Yorkers…how about a third term?

      Perhaps Bloomberg is a modern-day Napoleon, but that would be an offense to the legacy of Napoleon.

      Napoleon beheaded monarchs, liberated the serfs, and established a Civil Code in many European nations. True, he eventually became a tyrant in his own right.

      What the F does Bloomberg have to his name? Banning sodas? Giving cops quotas for arresting people who have a joint on them? Kissing banker ass at every corner?

      He’s no Napoleon. Not even a pretender. He’s a sleazy scumbag with a hideous, monstrous ego.

      The way you stop this is by prosecuting and incarcerating the politicos who are in clear violation of the Constitution. We can start with Bloomberg and the NYPD’s now-normalized daily violation of the Fourth Amendment through their warrant-less searches.

      Needless to say, the city of New York is doomed not if, but when the QE bubble pops. They have no productive industry. Besides tourism, the entire economy is Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (i.e., FIRE) with a big service sector built on the back of those core “industries”. There are less than half a million people working in finance in NYC yet they collect about half of all wages/salaries in the city (total population of city = 8 million, of metro area = approx. 19 million).

      When that QE bubble pops (and as the credit bubble keeps winding down, and as foreign investors are scared out of the banking system), the city will begin its inevitable slide back to 1977 complete with mass unemployment, rampant crime, and a cash-strapped municipality.

      Remember that scene in The Dark Knight Rises where you see a doorman poke his head out of a luxury high-rise’s lobby to see a crowd of hundreds of serfs marching towards him, with the intention of looting? Yeah …

  14. Ms G

    Cooper Union, founded in New York City by industrialist Peter Cooper to educate working-class New Yorkers at *no cost” announces it will begin charging $20,000 per year tuition. This is a tragic death.

    The Board of Trustees that voted this betrayal included alumni — how is that possible?

    Oh, the man responsible for this destruction of this last beacon of high quality public education is current Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha — his compensation? A salary of $750,000 and a free house. As protesting students and faculty noted, Bharucha’s compensation is what is unsustainable, not whatever “budget deficit” he is purporting to “fix” by charging tuition that will put Cooper Union out of reach to the very students that Industrialist Peter Cooper founded the school to serve.

    Full, poisonous, circle.

    1. Klassy!

      It’s all good, Ms. G– just view it from the one percenty perspective (the only perspective that counts). As they mention in the article, Carnegie Mellon’s 46K a year tuition so 20K is pretty cheap. And I’m sure that is what Barucha will claim. Also, Barucha’s compensation is darn near poverty wages when compared to say, NYU’s John Sexton’s 1.5 million a year and 800K annual retirement benefit (see, it pays to “prudently invest” in a board that can most accurately measure your worth. And no fund fees!).

      1. Ms G

        Thanks for putting it all into perspective, Klassy! I almost feel bad for Mr. Barucha — it must be humiliating when he’s at a cocktail party with John Sexton and Jack Lew, poor guy. And yes, what a bargain compared to Carnegie Mellon.

        This is piracy, isn’t it? It just doesn’t involve robberies on the high seas by use of boats and eye patches. Just slick operators in suits with Caribbean tans occupying the intertwined tentacles of the Kleptocracy.

    2. Ms G

      It gets better. Mark Epstein, president of the Board of Trustees that voted this shanda and alum of Cooper (yes, he benefitted by that free tuition), has an interesting non-Cooper Board life as a real estate manager and slumlord through Dara Properties (, where Supreme Court found Dara to have engaged in an illegal lockout of a tenant and awarded Treble Damages, which almost never happens), and the owner of a yacht in Miami hat he rents by the night for $500 through “airbnb.”

      This is the guy that heads the Board that is violating Cooper Union’s mission. I wonder if Dara Properties (or another real estate company he has, Ossa, own property that yields rents via Cooper Union).

      1. Ms G

        It is interesting to note that Cooper Union’s founder, Peter Cooper, was a memeber of the industrialist elite in his day. Unlike some of the specimens constituting today’s elite kleptocrats, Cooper actually used some of his considerable wealth to create a high-quality public school for engineers, architects and artists — a lasting and meaningful contribution to the betterment of our society at large.

        Today’s .01% aren’t doing a whole lot of this sort of thing. In fact, as far as education is concerned, they are doing the opposite — privatize, monetize and elitify [neologism].

    1. Ms G

      Mike Bloomberg is throwing a party in honor of this study — everyone shows up in their private helicopters and does aerial donuts around Manhattan (like drones).

      1. Ms G

        Note — All flights in and out of JKK, La Guardia and Newark suspended for 2 days to ensure the safety of the party and its guests. Take note, cargo-class travelers.

  15. TK421

    “President Could Be Last Hope to Stop CISPA”

    Impossible. The president has no real power to affect policy. There’s nothing Obama can do about anything.

        1. Massinissa

          Yes Scott I am fully aware Obama will NOT veto it.

          But I couldnt tell if TK421’s comment that the president cant effect policy was sarcasm or not: I am assuming however that it is.

    1. AbyNormal

      2009 he wrote “In sum, in its search for credit-crisis villains, law enforcement may not be able to bring successful criminal or regulatory enforcement cases to punish wrongdoing, at least in connection with the most complicated areas of financial transactions involving the largest dollar amounts. At the very least, these investigations will be highly time and resource intensive…”

      “Omnes relinquite spes, o vos intrantes.”

    2. Ms G

      And, of course, a colleague of Mary-Revolving-Door-Jo-White at Debevoise + Plimpton.

      It’s mishpucha [family, in the “familglia” sense] all the way.

    3. Hugh

      Mary Jo White hiring as a Co-director for Enforcement a partner from her old firm Debevoise and Plimpton who was heavily involved in one of the bogus mortgage settlements will, I hope, put to rest once and for all any ideas that White was going to reform the SEC. This is after all the Obama Administration. This is a kleptocracy. White would never have been chosen herself if anyone suspected her capable of even a shred of real reform.

  16. ScottS

    Federal Magistrate Rules That Fifth Amendment Applies To Encryption Keys:

    They don’t even mention the obvious ploy — cops could simply pull a hard disk out of their ass and demand you cough up the decryption keys. Even if you’ve never seen it before and honestly don’t know the key, they could find you in contempt or obstructing justice or whatever cockamamie punishment they had in mind for any suspect who didn’t feel like shooting [his|her]self in the foot.

  17. barrisj

    Re: the TomDispatch article on Scahill’s “Dirty Wars…” – the post-9/11 environment has resulted in the US firmly in war-making mode, none of this business about “stumbling into quagmires” sort of thing. With the rise of JSOC, the Office of the President’s Praetorian Guard – analogous to the SS’s position in the Third Reich – and the militarisation of the CIA into a true paramilitary adjunct to the Executive, the concept of Permanent War is now fully baked into US foreign policy. From Cheney-Bush through Obama, there is nowhere on the planet that drones, mobile assassination squads, “training units”, assorted goon-squads tasked with all manner of secret missions, are barred from operating under the guise of “keeping America safe”. Whether this can be viewed as Imperium Redux, or the end-game of Pax Americana is open to debate, as both funding and mission scope is under the aegis of “top secret”, “state secret”, or “national security” designation, with virtually no oversight of any kind, nor with any meaningful public debate. Currently the emphasis is sorting Muslim countries and their people, but with Obama’s “tilt toward the East”, we will be guaranteed at least another 25-50 years of “low-level conflict” with America’s “enemies” du jour. who seem endless in their number.

      1. barrisj

        Lambert, Permanent War is “value-free”, neither good nor bad, but just the way it is.

  18. Hugh

    Michael Bloomberg’s billions do not represent the value he has added to our society but the value he has extracted from it. If Michael Bloomberg wants to know who the real terrorists are, who is really tearing our society apart, he only has to look in the mirror.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There has only been one Gannibal in history.

        Wonder if that’s a Black Swan event?

        1. ScottS

          I hate to contradict you, but a Google search of Gannibal shows me two:

          Abram Petrovich Gannibal
          Ivan Gannibal

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I meant what happened to the father, not the son, Ivan.

            The son was not kidnapped out of Africa, only to become a noble in Russia, under Peter the Great, and whose descendants today are British aristocrats (some of them anyway). He was also the great grandfather of Pushkin.

            The father’s life story seems to be a Black Swan event, though one wishes it had happened that fortunately more often.

  19. barrisj

    Oh, btw, since the Boston bombings, there have been two reported mass shootings across the US: 5 dead in WA on Sunday, 5 dead in IL today…this along with the usual daily total of gun-mediated homicides and mayhem. Unfortunately, this is but background noise against massive “terrorism” coverage, where fatalities pale in comparison to what heavily armed individuals do to friends, families, and complete strangers on a regular basis. Ah, this is America!

    1. psychohistorian

      And the MSM is basically ignoring the West Texas debacle that killed and hurt more people but was initiated by a “person”/corporation that will never be prosecuted for the murders.

      Will people ever wake up to the propaganda they are being fed?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Only fools try to hurt with violence.

      Smart people do it with non-violence, like cutting Social Security.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe we should tax babies an ‘entrance fee’ to enter this world, payable at birth.

      1. AbyNormal


        America’s financial crisis is laid bare as it’s revealed that every newborn owes more than $13,000 in state debt

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            For exiting the country, the complementary remedy is indeed internal passports.

            For exiting life (in contrast with entering this world), we then are talking about being taxed for moving about between birth and death.

  20. Hugh

    “President could be last hope for _______ (fill in the blank)”

    Comedy as practised in our times. Expecting help for the 99% from this President is about as misplaced as looking forward to a dinner invitation from Hannibal Lector.

  21. CaitlinO

    That delightful creature might be called a kitteh by excel-wielding economists but does anyone know what a biologist would call it?

    1. Erik Turner

      The animal is a baby Baird’s Tapir. I found the original picture on the facebook page for Brevard Zoo (April 9th).

      “Join us in welcoming a baby Baird’s Tapir born April 2. The baby girl is behind the scenes bonding with her mother and will be out on exhibit soon! Baird’s Tapir, an endangered species, are from Mexico and other parts of Central America. The wild population is estimated at less than 5,500. Often called a mountain cow, the Baird’s Tapir is the national animal of Belize.”

  22. Susan the other

    There’s sort of a stability/instability leitmotiv in the links today. And I’m not too happy about Steve Keen’s latest insight – that instability is necessary for capitalism with just a few tweaks to prevent finance ponzi schemes. What happened to the grand unifying theory of economics, the ultimate entropy of innovation? I’m still looking at oil and thinking it could be the next money. Oil credits. But Keen just said he now believes “finance bubbles are a necessary price for innovation.” (not mortgage bubbles, venture capitalist bubbles). We aren’t in the industrial revolution any more. We’re quite far into the high-tech revolution where creativity itself is a bubble. I thought Steve Keen was going to analyze economics with the thought in mind that we must pace our use of the world’s resources and protect the environment. So I hope I misread him today.

    1. Massinissa

      You didnt.

      But hes still a good guy. We all mess up and come to the wrong conclusions some times. It happens. Hes still better than 90%+ of writers right now.

  23. Служба Внешней Разведки

    Remember back when CIA was running Lee Harvey Oswald and he snuck away and next thing you know JFK’s a smelly? And remember that time when CIA was running James Earl Ray and he snuck away and next thing you know MLK’s dead meat? Or that time when CIA was running Khalid Al Mihdhar and Nawaf Al Hazmi and Zacarias Moussaoui and they snuck away and next thing you know some planes and big buildings are foutu? So OK, you know how CIA was running this Tamerlan, and he snuck away and next thing you know arms and legs plopping on the ground?

    We try to spell it out for you as much as we can, because we are eternally grateful for all the young volunteers you sent to us to teach us how to brush our teeth. But when are you dumbshits going to catch on?

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