Links 4/8/13

Paws in pantyhose: Disturbing new craze for dressing dogs in STOCKINGS sweeps the Internet Daily Mail

Researchers see antibody evolve against HIV Nature

Fukushima tank springs major leak Japan Times (also a second minor one).

China rebukes North Korea, says no state should sow chaos Reuters

The Missing Workforce: It’s Worse Than the Post Says CEPR

The rise of the precariat and the loss of collective sensibility FT

The Best Of The BBC Class Calculator Vs. The Internet The Poke

Millions will answer call for general strike, says union boss Telegraph

Spain’s youth rally against unemployment Al Jazeera

Debtors’ prisons are back: how heart-warmingly Dickensian! Washington Monthly

Banks under fire for bumping up debt repayments in ‘recreations’ of original loan agreements This Is Money (RS). Very stale. But is there reason to think “produce the note” won’t work for all forms of bank debt, given the shambolic state of banksters’ IT systems?

Underwater: The Netherlands Falls Prey to Economic Crisis Der Spiegel

Self-delusion, not greed, caused HBOS to fail Guardian

Why Rescue Fragile Banks? Outsource Them Instead Bloomberg

How Hedge Funds Are Slowing JOBS Act Rules for Small Businesses Businessweek

Central banks move into riskier assets FT. What could go wrong?

New Skype Malware Makes Computers Mine Bitcoins Geekosystem (RS)

Why Bitcoin scares banks and governments Guardian

The Terrible, Awful Truth About SSDI The Last Psychiatrist (diphtheria)

Chained, chained, chained Democracy in America, Economist. If ObamaCare “bends the cost curve,” Chained CPI may net out OK. Also too ponies.

Carl Hiaasen: NRA’s task is to frighten, sell more guns Miami Herald. The NRA’s self-licking ice cream cone.

Despite Mishaps, NRA Instructor Blasts Bills New Haven Independent

The Cultural Fight for Guns Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

Police teach tactics for handling ‘sovereign citizens LA Times

Enron’s Skilling in Talks With U.S. on Possible New Term Bloomberg (MS). Well, sure. Under Obama Skilling would never have been prosecuted, so where’s the justice in jail time?

If Shareholders Say ‘Enough Already,’ the Board May Listen Gretchen Morgensen, Times

Attention Allocation in Information-Rich Environments: The Case of News Aggregators SSRN

“Saving” ≠ “Saving Resources”* Angry Bear

You Cannot Run a Public Service like a Business, and Here’s Why  Scriptonite Daily

An Election About Nothing Atrios. That should help with turnout (see WaPo’s beat sweetener with DCCC’s Steve Israel).

Biggest US rails to invest $450m in crude FT

Sangerville residents place moratorium on east-west corridor development Bangor Daily News. Home rule win against a potentially extra-territorial privatized highway scheme.

When did you get hooked? LBR. One big spoiler for Game of Thrones.

Antidote du jour:

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Jim Haygood

    From the FT article ‘Rise of the Precariat’:

    A mass study into social class aimed to dismantle our traditional tripartite division of working, middle and upper class. Instead, the academics have now decided on seven classes, encompassing such bands as “emergent service workers” …

    … and one of which surely is themselves, the academic priesthood. Whole new industries have opened to serve their professional advancement needs, says the Times-Titanic:

    The number of journals and conferences has exploded in recent years as scientific publishing has shifted from … subscription revenues to open access, which relies on authors or their backers to pay for the publication of papers online, where anyone can read them.

    Open access got its start about a decade ago and quickly won widespread acclaim with the advent of well-regarded, peer-reviewed journals like those published by the Public Library of Science, known as PLoS.

    But some researchers are now raising the alarm about what they see as the proliferation of online journals that will print seemingly anything for a fee. They warn that nonexperts doing online research will have trouble distinguishing credible research from junk. “Most people don’t know the journal universe,” Dr. Goodman said. “They will not know from a journal’s title if it is for real or not.”

    As the founder and publisher of the prestigious Journal of Modern Monetary Theory (JMMT), I and our distinguished board are now accepting submissions for our inaugural issue this summer.

    Along with your manuscript, please include your email, bank routing code and checking account number.

    Order a hundred or reprints for your colleagues, and receive a complimentary Nobel prize!

    1. craazyman

      –They warn that nonexperts doing online research will have trouble distinguishing credible research from junk. “Most people don’t know the journal universe,” Dr. Goodman said. “They will not know from a journal’s title if it is for real or not.”–

      That’s a problem for NFL fans and talk radio. If your team loses on Sunday, there’s 140,000 fat guys who know more about football than the team’s head coach. Some probly even do.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      Unfortunately, your request for papers is denied. It has come to the attention of the National Science Foundation, that none of your journal’s proposed content meets the standards for certification for by THE DIRECTOR consistent with our statutory mission of providing science to protect the national security and/or the vital economic interests of the homeland. Please, stop publishing immediately or the checks will be discontinued.



      “….Senator Mikulski (D-MD), the floor manager to H.R. 933, a bill to fund federal agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year, accepted an amendment (#65) offered by Tom Coburn (R-OK) to increase scrutiny of National Science Foundation grants in political science. According to the Library of Congress website, Coburn’s amendment was cosponsored by John McCain (R-AZ) and Mark Begich (D-AK). As adopted, the amendment states:

      On page 193, between lines 11 and 12, insert the following:
      Sec. __. (a) None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to carry out the functions of the Political Science Program in the Division of Social and Economic Sciences of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences of the National Science Foundation, except for research projects that the Director of the National Science Foundation certifies as promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States. (emphasis added)
      (b) The Director of the National Science Foundation shall publish a statement of the reason for each certification made pursuant to subsection (a) on the public website of the National Science Foundation.
      (c) Any unobligated balances for the Political Science Program described in subsection (a) may be provided for other scientific research and studies that do not duplicate those being funded by other Federal agencies.”

      1. Bill Smith

        I think what we really need to do is get government out of political science and economic security research and privatize this stuff. Oh, wait.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Both the government and voodoo magicians need to be out.

          But then, there may not be anyone left after that.

      1. Klassy!

        Well, I appreciated your link– hoped it would make today’s links when I saw it yesterday.

    1. Richard Kline

      Well I read the linked article. And the author’s style was indeed engaging. They author’s bias and, yes, ignorance regarding who is on SSI and why (not on _SSDI_ as properly distinguished in the article). If is not easy to get on SSI. SSI is not a ‘payoff’ to the poor. Sure, some segment of the recipients gamed the system to get essentially permanent if quite modest ($550/mo) payments. The large majority of those on SSI are seriously mentally ill or have documented and quite real physical disabilities. Yes, they will never be ‘productive,’ few having worked much if at all, and most never to work again. Are the a social burden? What would the author rather do, gas them? Making joke points at their expense is jejeune at best and sooo 21st century solipsistic snark. As a society, we’re better off covering the rent of the most wretched .25% then having them live out their last days in alleys and jail cells _at far higher expense_. As a budget item, SSI is, frankly, trivial. But for folks who don’t like guvmint or taxes, theirs are an easy butt to kick, so the author is more than willing to polish their aura in that manner.

      My response? Once the author has advanced MS and no family to fall back on, I’ll be interested to here their ‘revised opinion.’ Until then, that individual is manifestly unqualified to comment, in my view.

      1. Yonatan

        Twitterartists write:

        She died today and ATOS has already found her fit for work :)

        We can have her funeral handled by the lowest bidder. It’s what she would have wanted.

        And maybe the Boomtown Rats will release a follow-up single
        I Do Like Mondays

        1. Klassy!

          We can have her funeral handled by the lowest bidder. It’s what she would have wanted.


          1. JohnL

            And from my son in England:

            Reminds me of a Frankie Boyle joke, which referenced the reported cost of plans for her funeral: For that amount of money, they could give every Scottish person a shovel, and we’d dig a hole so deep that we could hand her over to Satan personally.

          2. John L

            More Frankie Boyle:Thatcher is the reason that the tweets saying you shouldn’t joke about her death are riddled with spelling mistakes

          3. Richard Kline

            So John L, Frankie’s my kinda guy. And you realize, that when Scotland holds its independence vote, something like 5% alone of those voting for sovereignty will do so just so no ruler-rapping, Home county, neo-imperialist like Thatcher can ever smack ’em in the gob again? Thatcher is exactly the kind of reason Scotland should pole off the English. Maybe the thistle-kissers won’t do each other any better, but better to be fouled by one’s own than another like her.

      1. JTFaraday

        “British Labour MP Tom Watson decreed: “I hope that people on the left of politics respect a family in grief today.””

        Mm. Maybe not!:

        “Several hundred people gathered in south London on Monday evening to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death with cans of beer, pints of milk and an impromptu street disco playing the soundtrack to her years in power…

        Unemployed Kiki Madden scrawled “you snatched my milk and our hope” on a fence and said she felt slightly guilty taking delight in Thatcher’s death, “but in the end I can’t deny the fact that Thatcher made me so unhappy when I was a kid. I grew up in Liverpool and all my friends’ dads lost their jobs on the docks under Thatcher. It was an awful time.””

    1. JohnL

      George Galloway:

      Thatcher described Nelson Mandela as a “terrorist”. I was there. I saw her lips move. May she burn in the hellfires.
      — George Galloway (@georgegalloway) April 8, 2013

      Tramp the dirt down.
      — George Galloway (@georgegalloway) April 8, 2013

      1. Richard Kline

        And don’t forget to ‘water’ it well.

        Let’s not waste a crocodile tear or a moment of silence on a politician who was the epitome of ideological selfishness and gross class interest. And Stony Maggie would know any sentiment was false: she didn’t care a jot who suffered or what they though from her policies, in her view it was good for them, and would brace them up into productive little toadies fit to serve the likes of her. Don’t let the Iron Gate crack y’ inna bum on yer way down the pipe, Mags, you’re on your way to meet your real inspiration . . . .

        1. Valissa

          Yup, I would enjoy that!

          Meanwhile, some flashbacks…

          Annette & Frankie in… Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)

          The Beach Boys & Annette Funicello – The Monkey’s Uncle

          BONUS TRACK, from Vic’s Las Vegas Lounge on Deep Space 9’s holodeck … a song that reflects a sentiment from an earlier era… (because Frankie Avalon always reminds me of James Darren)

          Vic Fontaine/Benjamin Sisko – The Best Is Yet To Come

          1. Bill Smith

            I always wondered how Annette got her hair to stay like that on the beach. I didn’t know they had force fields back in 1965?

        2. Jessica

          Susan Faludi’s piece on Shulamith Firestone was well-written, touching, and historically interesting.
          I only knew Shulamith from her Dialectics book, which was amazing.
          I never quite realized just how much that set of feminists tore each other apart. Not easy being a prophet before one’s time.

    2. Richard Kline

      “Which old bitch? The IRON bitch! *Ding-dong* the dreadful bitch is de-aaaaa-ad!”

  2. rich

    Making the Truth Illegal – revisited

    It is possible – it happened in the Magnitsky case – for a criminal to buy a bank and be granted a bank license. Yet the law says it is the directors of such a bank who will be relied upon to contact the authorities about suspicious transactions. Criminals don’t often turn themselves in, yet in every country this is the non-system our leaders and financial experts maintain. In the UK the law is set up so that a company can be set up without any due diligence at all being done to determine the character let alone the actual identity of the owner. Because of this ‘loophole’ as the authorities coyly refer to it, the UK is home to tens of thousands of shell companies set up by criminals and used for criminal purposes. This may sound like a fantastic charge and one I cannot possibly substantiate. Yet almost every major case of fraud or money laundering will involve UK shell companies. Follow the Magnitsky money and you will see it pass thorough UK shell companies. The same goes for the $64 billion of state money stolen from Kyrgyzstan much of it then passed through UK shell companies. Or the on-going case of money laundered out of Ukraine by means of a fake oil rig purchase. That money too passed through UK companies.

    I could give you plenty of other examples but the important point is that NO ONE in authority can offer a shred of evidence to show that I am wrong no matter how many criminal companies I claim there are likely to be, for one simple reason. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHO OWNS THE COMPANIES. The system is set up so no one knows. Companies register owners but they can be other companies in other jurisdictions. And it is easy to set up a company in such a way so that no one checks on the owner at all, ever. That is the system we maintain.

  3. Expat

    “Saving” ≠ “Saving Resources”*

    “So in a very real (dynamic) sense, it’s the savers who are “taking resources out of society.”

    This excellent point is expanded upon in Andrew Potter & Joseph Heath’s 2005 book, “Rebel Sell,” in which they explain that production is the driving force behind resource depletion and that it is our jobs in production (or, you finance workers, facilitating and feeding off of production) that are the sine qua nons of consumption.

    They point out that if you are a saver and/or a worker in our neoliberal society, you are destroying the planet even if your consumption is low bcause you are paid to produce something or your savings are used for somebody else’s production or consumption. The nonworking homeless are doing more for future generations than those of us driving hybrids and eating local organic food.

    Obviously, production must be taxed and regulated if we want to leave a livable planet for our grandchildren. However, since Ronald Reagan and the now thankfully deceased Thatcher, we’ve lived in supply side nirvana. And in a mere 35 years, we’ve managed to send every natural system on this planet into collapse AND we’ve destroyed all the institutions capable of dealing with the crisis.

    1. JGordon

      Lately I’ve been thinking that it’s like that humanity is doomed and that all life is doomed–because of nuclear power. Here we have a situation where if one spent fuel-rod pool in Fukushima falls over on its side due to an earthquake most of the life on earth will subsequently be wiped out. And what’s more, there’s hundreds of these things sitting all over the world in other unstable reactors.

      So as for leaving a world for our grandchild, well I don’t even know if anyone will have any grandchildren, unless somehow some of us escape into space.

      1. Expat

        Yes, provided the pension is paid out of “present earnings,” from ecologically sensitive investments. But consider the logical conclusion of Potter’s and Heath’s analysis: since work is the problem, most adults should have some sort of basic income to discourage them from production. If you want to work, there are always the medical, educational and public health professions.

        An economy based on leisure could be vastly superior to neoliberal capitalism. If you accept the analysis by George A. Gonzalez of Miami University, most of what we consume — cars, houses, appliances — was induced demand because 65 years ago US businesses were producing these items. Now we are stuck with the need but it no longer serves a beneficial social purpose.

        If our children are smart enough — and they seem vastly less judgmental than previous generations, which is a start — they can save the world and greatly improve the quality of their lives.

    2. Valissa

      It always amazes me when economist types speak out against savers. People save for all kinds of practical non-academic reasons: for a down payment on a house, for a car, for a vacation, for medical expenses, for retirement, and also in case they lose their job. Eventually the saved money gets spent. There have been many articles written on the fact that many Americans are only two paychecks away from homelessness . Therefore savings represent a very real form of security for the great majority of people.

      The concept of the paradox of thrift could only have conceived by a wealthy person. To the average human, it’s elitist bullshit.

      1. Valissa

        From the article:
        So in a very real (dynamic) sense, it’s the savers who are “taking resources out of society.” (And in a somewhat abstract sense, you can imagine those foregone resources being stored, hoarded, and rendered impotent in ever-growing and largely inert Cayman-island bank accounts.)

        The savers in this case are corporations and wealthy individuals, but the author did not state “wealthy savers” or “corporate savers” so clearly the audience for this article was not “average joe” but for fellow elites who enjoy abstract mental mind games.

        Moralistic beliefs about how individual humans should behave make it impossible for many economists to embrace an aggregate economic reality of which they are fully cognizant.

        Yeah, OK… but many people have strong ideas about how others should behave. This “aggregate economic reality” of economists is a figment of the imagination. It is all a strange kind of religion.

      2. Bill Smith

        “The concept of the paradox of thrift could only have conceived by a wealthy person.

        Or a tenured university economist with a pension.

        The rest of us face the “Paradox of Running Out of Money”.

        1. J Sterling

          You need to go back to Bernard Mandeville, who in 1705 wrote “The Fable of the Bees”. His point was that everybody wagged the finger at rich people for their immoral profligacy and insisted they should be thrifty like the poor. Mandeville pointed out that this was crazy, the poor depended of the profligacy of the rich for their income. We want rich people to be spenders, not savers. Rich people hanging on to their money is what we call a recession. Mandeville was predicting recessions before Malthus and John Stuart Mill did.

          Even today people seem to get their economics confused by thinking every rule has to apply to rich and poor alike. Taxes, good or bad? Spending, good or bad, saving, good or bad? The answer is the rich should be taxed more and the poor less. The rich should spend more, not less, and it’s okay for the poor to save, but bad for the rich to do it.

          The rich aren’t like you and me; they have more money.

      3. Richard Kline

        So Valissa, tenure. One has to have tenure to be able to sneer at the ‘money grubbing class’ who actually have to save to afford big ticket items. Anyone with tenure and a lock on $100k per annum on the lying-speaker circuit would just float a loan and kite it with another if there was any mishap. Only those with no safety net actually *cough* save rather than speculate like any proper 21st century elite capitalist.

  4. JGordon

    From the Guardian bitcoin article:

    “This system was, you will recall, supposed to be based on trust. And then we discovered that that trust had been systematically abused and flouted by all of the institutions involved – not just the commercial banks, but also the central banks, regulators and governments”

    And there lies the problem with fiat currencies. Inevitably the people using them discover the those issuing them are liars and cheats (which is invariably the case), and then the system collapses.

    The only durable currency is a currency without an issuer.

    1. Yonatan

      What happens when bugs are discovered in the BitCoin software? Will that invalidate all bitcoins? Perhaps, in addition to being the perfect currency, the bitcoin software too will be perfect.

      1. JGordon

        Well, I have to compare your theoretical bitcoin flaw to the actual fact that the government (and I would say that the Fed is an unnaccountable, privately-run, fourth branch of the government) is currently creating (that we know about)around 84,000,000,000 currency units every month and handing them out to rich oligarchs on Wall Street.

        So, comparing the theoretical collapse of a currency that no one can debase with the actual (and utterly predictable) collapse of a currency that just about any corrupt banker can debase, I would still go with bitcoin. Although to me that is still a bit like comparing HIV to ghonorrhea. If it’s up to me how to invest my income, I’m putting it into solar panels, rabbits, ammo, how-to books, rations, hand tools and silver just as soon as I get it every pay day. While I still can.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s interesting that Nature doesn’t charge us rent to live here, except we all must vacate the premises eventually, unless you’re the 0.01% on the verge of public-funded immortality.

          1. Antifa

            Not so. The rent is cooperation with natural systems.

            In plain words, finding your place in the existing ecosystem and fitting in until the day comes when you must needs return your every borrowed molecule to the ecosystem.

            By not paying this natural rent, by not fitting in, mankind has put itself very, very much in arrears to nature, and foreclosure is definitely an option for our species.

            Can we put back what we have taken, can we fix what we have destroyed? Can we bring back so many thousands of species we killed without even knowing them?

            Can we find another place to live when the landlord throws us out of where we live now?

    2. god

      Is durability the new libertarian? It means exactly what you want it to and nothing else?

      The idea you propose assumes 2 things-

      1. That such a thing can ever exist. Show me anything at all whithout a “creator” and I’ll show you god.

      2. That if such a thing were possible, that it would stay that way.

      1. JGordon

        That’s funny that you bring up the issue of durability and say that nothing is durable: which I agree with you. Strictly speaking, nothing that exists in this universe will last forever. Hell, even the universe itself probably won’t last forever.

        So let me a lawyerly trick and turn your syllogy around on itself: when do you expect the US economy/government/soceity to collapse exactly? Since you’ve already admitted that it’s going to happen and now we’re just trying to pin down a time table on it, right?

        I make this point because one of the implicit assumption MMTers make is that the US reserve currency status will last forever and that the US economy/empire will never, ever collapse no matter what happens. So it’s refreshing that there you are admitting that collapse is coming, here in this den of fanciful MMTery.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “I make this point because one of the implicit* assumption MMTers make is that the US reserve currency status will last forever and that the US economy/empire will never, ever collapse no matter what happens.”

          That’s like saying that because a plumber knows how the toilet flushes in your house, they think the house is going to last forever. I’m gonna have to invent some sort of rating system for ludicrous claims made against MMT — “five gold bugs” perhaps? — but regardless of the rating system ultimately devised, this claim will rank near the top.

          NOTE * Tactically, kudos for “implicit.” Readers can’t demand evidence of things not seen, and so forth….

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            (One more try – now sure how, but that original one got posted in another article)

            Most people dream about the plumber who 1) knows how things work and 2) will tell you that you can keep flushing the toilet as many times as you can count towards infinity, because you are the sovereign in your castle.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t know if a currency can ever be durable.

        Usually, it’s ‘until death of trust do us part.’

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          More misdirection. Since currency derives its value from the government’s ability to tax, it’s loss of faith in the government’s ability that “debases” the currency.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I thought that was what I wrote ‘until death of trust do us part,’ which approximates losing faith.

            Are you misdirecting me?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              If I am, I am not trying to. There seems to be an argument that one can lose faith in a currency without having lost faith in the state that gives money value through taxation. I just don’t think that’s “true” in the operational sense. You could argue, for example, that DeGaulle introduced “the new Franc” and that the new Franc restored trust in the currency. In reality, DeGaulle introduced DeGaulle through a powerful symbolic gesture.

              adding… wording tweaked.

          2. looselyhuman

            This. Bitcoin is a dead-end for this reason (among others). It can only ever be a transitional or speculative medium. Fun to watch the bubble expand though.

      2. Antifa

        Historically, currencies arose after credit, which is simple handshake trust between members of the same tribe or adjoining tribes.

        Once neighbors are long-accustomed to trading chickens for buffalo hides they move on to “you plow my field in the spring and I’ll give you grain next fall.”

        Later they decide that clam shells or shiny metal in weighed amounts will be a measure of these trust arrangements, even spanning generations.

        Eventually they decide that pieces of paper with numbers on them will be a measure of these trust arrangements.

        Quite naturally (given human nature), wiseguys in politics, banking and other criminal enterprises quickly learn to feed like vampires on this trust, learn to inflate the value of the paper currency and outright steal it without restraint.

        This inevitably gets entirely out of hand eventually, forcing working people to smoothly move back to the previous trust arrangements that worked for them before the wiseguys made the fiat currency hollow.

        Black market exchanges of goods, services, labor and other handshake arrangements of every kind abound in our current economy — a real measure of the necrosis of our fiat currency. “Catch me if you can” is the economy of the unemployed and unemployable. Life doesn’t end after 99 weeks of unemployment checks. Life may be little more than “three hots and a cot” but life goes on. With a lot less paperwork.

        We are well past the point where the Federal government could cancel all taxes and fees whatsoever, and simply print more money to cover the “loss in revenue.” Our fiat currency only operates at this point as a plausibly legal means of continuing to separate things of value from the 99% and transfer them to the 1% and their enablers.

        Logically, a very, very few people will eventually end up “owning” everything of real value through this continuing “grand theft via fiat currency” system, including the water and air and even personal rights to do this or that.

        It will be Orwell’s world: “. . . imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” Everything is pointing in that direction.

        Or, everything fiat will fall down before we get there.

        The very, very few will find it harder and harder to keep the many from actively taking back whatever they need to live, and letting the wealthy eat their paper money for dinner.

        Prometheus always has a real hard time with those last few feet.

  5. Inverness (@Inverness)

    Susan Faludi’s profile of radical feminist Shulamith Firestone is a must. Firestone was a true pioneer who died alone, in her East Village apartment, without medical care. Her schizophrenia kept her in and out of Bellevue. She could be found panhandling, from time to time, on the Lower East Side.

    It addresses divisions in the 70’s feminist movement, and how schizophrenia thrives in urban, isolated settings amongst those with little community support. This is fascinating, because according to the author, people who live in tight-knit communities acquire this mental illness far less frequently.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is a great link and a very sad. I think — yes, I’m a guy — of Prometheus, who stole fire from the Gods and ended up with the eagle gnawing his liver (the fire being feminism and the eagles being the schizphrenia). The terrible price of bringing a new order of things into the world….

      I note also the grotesque and vile misogynny of “the left” in 1968, repeated all over again by “progressive” Obama supporters and our famously free press in 2008* (list).

      I am guessing that Firestone’s vision was realized in fiction by Marge Piercy’s wonderful Woman on the Edge of Time, which I commend to everyone’s attention; reading about Firestone’s “social defeat” reminds me, now, of how Piercy’s protagonist, Connie, was locked up in an asylum. I wonder if that’s coincidence, or whether Piercy was making a conscious reference….

      I also want to underline the concept of “social defeat” as a necessary context for Firestone’s mental deterioration. Quoting Dune inaccurately (I can never find this quote when I want it): “Guilt starts as a feeling of failure. The wise ruler provides many opportunities for failure for his populace.” The decline in health, the decrease in life expectancy, and the suicides brought on by Obama’s successful normalization of high DISemployment are all symptoms of social defeat.

      NOTE * For the avoidance of threadjacking, this is not the implicit issuance of The Coveted Lambert Endorsement For 2016.

      1. Brindle

        “…vile misogyny of “the left” in 1968″…also till about 70-71.
        The macho male leftists of those years viewed women as sperm repositories.

        If a woman spurned the sexual advances of the “male revolutionary” she was labeled as “frigid” or “having issues”.

      2. Jessica

        The Prometheus comparison is very apt. I think it must also be acknowledged that her family background could well have been a contributing factor to her schizophrenia. Reading the Faludi article, I had the sense that she had the eagle eating her liver first and the intensity and fearlessness of her feminism was her response to that.
        Personally, I don’t remember the leftist men I knew in those days being such assholes. But I was never anywhere near the top dog alpha types.
        And the description of the feminist groups Shulamith was part of makes it clear that mutual viciousness in the name of the revolution was hardly a male monopoly in those days.
        In fact, it may well be that part why that viciousness could go unchecked was the illusion that being an asshole is the exclusive province of the oppressor. Or the inverse, the illusion that the oppressed are automatically morally superior from the fact of being oppressed. The oppressed have an extra moral claim for redress, but are not necessarily as individuals or collectively morally superior.

        1. Inverness (@Inverness)

          Correct. There were radical feminists of the period engaged in “trashing.” Faludi mentions that Kate Millet had a nervous breakdown, after facing the wrath of her militant peers. Being a pioneer and being unsupported is a heavy burden.

          I am certainly going to read Marge Piercey again — another novel that comes to mind is Arcadia by Lauren Groff, when hippies in a commune would call for “Creative Criticism” of those who wouldn’t-couldn’t pull their weight in the fields, and harsh everyone’s vibe. They would submit to a ritual cleansing then sit on a proscenium while they are, however delicately, roasted in front of an audience, for the “greater good.”

          It does recall the in-fighting I still see among the left. Important figures that I really find important, like David Graeber and Chris Hedges got heated over the whole Black Bloc thing. It certainly makes sense there would be disagreements — I just worry that it can be too easy to divide and conquer.

          1. Jessica

            I thought that Graeber and Hedges handled that one comparatively well. At least, I have seen a lot worse.
            Basically, if people don’t do a fair amount of inner work, then their unresolved inner issues will show up unhelpful ways in their politics. On the other hand, unfortunately, the folks who have been doing their inner work have mostly completely checked out from anything social. Healing that split is important.
            Reading Spurber’s biography of Marx. Amazing how similar radicals were in those days. Not even sure it is that we are vulnerable to divide and conquer. More like we divide ourselves so easily.

        2. Jim

          Jessica offers some wonderful insights into the issue of militancy and the seeming necessity of moral self-restraint and forgiveness when attempting to build alternative political movements.

          She states “ I never quite realized just how much that set of feminists tore each other apart. Mutual viciousness in the name of the revolution was hardly a male monopoly at that time.”

          Jessica offers further insight when she states “ In fact it may will be that part of why that viciousness cold go unchecked was the illusion that being an asshole is the exclusive province of the oppressor. Or the inverse, the illusion that the oppressed are automatically superior from the fact of being oppressed.”

          It is fascinating to compare the origins of the feminist movement in the US with the origins of the civil rights movement in the US on the issues of militancy and the necessity of forgiveness.

          It can be argued that the civil rights movement in America was built upon the most stable institution in Black southern communities—the Church.

          The Church furnished institutional as well as moral support and a type of spiritual discipline which argued that their oppressors were fellow sinners as well as fellow Southerners.

          Many of the early civil rights leaders seemed to speak not only for black people but for the soul of the entire South.

      3. Jessica

        I second the praise for Marge Piercy’s Women on the Edge of Time.
        It was the clearest expression of the best of the ideals of those times.

      4. JTFaraday

        “I note also the grotesque and vile misogynny of “the left” in 1968, repeated all over again by “progressive” Obama supporters and our famously free press in 2008*”

        Anyone who spent any time in and around academic women’s and gender studies departments in the intervening years could have predicted the race/gender dynamic over the course of the 2008 D-primary to a T.

        That, and the daily dispatches in the press on the working class racists in Pennsyltucky.

        Hillary was fated to lose. They stuck her in front of an virtually unstoppable conceptual bulldozer.

        Personally, I wanted her to lose because I knew this was going to be a rough presidency and I didn’t want to hear about that racist white woman for the next four years.

        Be careful what you ask for…

        1. TK421

          “They stuck her in front of an virtually unstoppable conceptual bulldozer”

          Or, Hillary Clinton spent an irreplaceable pile of money on one of the worst political consultants in the world, kneecapping her campaign almost as soon as it began. One or the other.

    2. TK421

      “She elaborated, with characteristic bluntness: “Pregnancy is barbaric”; childbirth is “like shitting a pumpkin”; and childhood is “a supervised nightmare.” She envisioned a world in which collectives took the place of families”

      Sounds like a real winner. Children do very well in a chaotic family situation like that. Good work.

      1. Mark P.

        Sometimes children do do well in such circumstances.

        Many regular families, too, are such that the children lie awake listening to their parents shout and throw things through the early hours of the morning.

      1. jrs

        Because it’s a very modest degree of safety in an economy where your fate seems half random.

  6. Bunk McNulty

    Many fun facts from the NY Times this morning.

    Did you know? “Investors are ignoring short-term headlines and looking longer term,” he said. “They’re behaving more like investors and less like traders. In the past they didn’t have the emotional mind-set to do that.”

    Did you know? “There are a lot of great underpinnings for the stock market, such as strong housing prices, a pretty healthy labor market.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In a few hundred, people would need a translator to read the NY Times, or just about any writing we have today, just as we struggle with Chaucer’s tales.

        Healthy labor market (circa 2013): market where workers are sick to death from worrying about keeping their jobs.

  7. rich

    Poverty Spikes In America … While the Government Throws Money at the Super-Elite

    We’ve previously reported that income inequality has increased more under Obama than under Bush.

    But we have to go much farther back in history to find inequality as high as in American today. Specifically, inequality in America today is worse than it was in Gilded Age America, modern Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen, many banana republics in Latin America, and worse than experienced by slaves in 1774 colonial America. It is twice as bad as in ancient Rome – which was built on slave labor.

  8. Brindle

    Psilocybin Mushrooms Hold Promise In Treating Depression

    Sound, helpful research is another victim of the Drug War.

    —Research by Nutt has found that psilocybin switches off part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. It was known that this area is overactive in individuals suffering from depression.

    In his tests on healthy individuals, it was found that psilocybin had a profound effect on making these volunteers feel happier weeks after they had taken the drug, said Nutt – who was sacked as the chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 after repeatedly clashing with government ministers about the dangers and classification of illicit drugs.—

    1. Synopticist

      I knew a guy once who’d stuttered really badly since he was a kid.
      When he was about 19, he took some magic mushrooms and went for a walk on a mountain. When he came down he never stuttered again.

  9. diptherio

    You’re IP address will no doubt be labeled by NSA as belonging to a “terrorist sympathizer” if you click on this link, but some of us are already there anyway, so what the hell…

    Spanish Intellectuals Against Austerity Cuts ~Press TV Global News (the Iranian state news agency). It is well worth watching for the footage of the MASSIVE protests, as well as the interviews with both intellectual leaders as well as street protesters.

  10. Jeff Probst

    “Carl Hiaasen: NRA’s task is to frighten, sell more gun”

    I LOVE this – I think we can all see the Obama admin and progressive media’s ongoing push to keep everyone scared to death about some nut opening fire with a gun.

    That’s why we see ten articles a day about gun control, right? It is to keep everyone terrified and keep the fear ratcheted up until they can get gun confiscation/restriction laws passed.

    Then we see articles like the one above calling out NRA fearmongering? I am sure they do fearmonger, but so do gun control advocates. Every..Single..Day..

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I know it’s a wedge issue. But. [Adding…] I’m not especially scared of guns, even though there are a lot of guns in the state of Maine. But even if I am not scared, I don’t feel that others should have to be.] What I truly cannot bear gun is culture’s pollution of the discourse. The only, literally the only justification I have ever heard for collective gun ownership (accepting, arguendo, that the history is correct) is to prevent tyranny. Very well then.

      1. Patriot Act.

      2. FISA reform

      3. DHS, TSA, the whole alphabet soup

      4. All online communication collected and processed in the NSA’s data center in Utah

      5. Whistleblower prosecutions

      6. Obama’s kill list.

      If gun culture held itself to its own standards it would have done something about this, collectively. Petitioning the government for redress of grievances would be a start.

      But gun culture has done squat. Ergo, its public purpose justification is either delusional or self-deceptive.

      Gun ownership is a hobby. It is about the purchase of a consumer good, and the associated feelings — “nothing more than feelings [hums]” — that ownership brings with it. It is to be accorded the same moral status as a hobby. Model railroading, for instance.

      Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, we don’t see psychopaths breaking into schools or standing up in movie theatres and waving tiny little locomotives around, but maybe that happy day will come!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Both sides need to back off.

        Maybe one day we will see a universal ban on guns, in both the private and public sectors.

        But more importantly, we should know that both violence and non-violence kill.

        Non-violent murder acts include spoiling kids, sanctioning a country denying food and medicine for her children/seniors/women, cutting Medicare, etc. – all done without guns or physical force, directly.

      2. Propertius

        But even if I am not scared, I don’t feel that others should have to be.

        People are scared of lots of things, Lambert. To my mind that’s an insufficient justification for restricting individual rights in the absence of provable harm (or intent to cause harm) to others. In fact, most of the abuses you’ve cited (FISA, DHS, the PATRIOT Act, etc) were initially justified on the basis of public fear. Fear-mongering is the authoritarian’s most successful tactic.

        I think you’re operating off of a stereotype of “typical gun owners” that has very little basis in reality – and I’m saying this as a non-gun-owner (albeit one who is now the proud owner of two thoroughly useless 30-round AR-15 magazines – just out of sheer stubborn direspect for arbitrary authoritarianism).

    2. Jim S

      I’ve been thinking about this.

      FDR: “..the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

      Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear: I must not fear. Fear is the mindkiller.

      Somehow the crime rate is falling, the gun crime rate is falling, and the incidence of mass-shootings is falling, yet the official message is that we are facing a gun violence crisis. The NRA responds to this by saying we need more guns in schools and just plain more guns–doubling down on the fear. The NRA solution to everything is more guns (incidentally I had a classmate years ago tell me almost exactly what Hiassen writes, that the NRA is a lobby masquerading as a grassroots movement). Yes, the NRA is absolutely fearmongering for the profit of manufacturers, and it doesn’t care about tyranny at all as long as it can help sell guns. It is not interested any more than the MSM is interested in helping citizens think for themselves.


      As much as I dislike sloganeering, I offer: Guns don’t prevent Tyranny, People prevent Tyranny. Still, guns are sometimes necessary tools for people who fight tyranny…

  11. rich

    Where Bank Regulators Go to Get Rich

    Among the members of Promontory’s advisory board are Arthur Levitt, like Schapiro a former SEC chairman (and now a senior adviser to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and a board member at Bloomberg LP); Frank Zarb, a longtime Wall Street hand at firms such as Lazard, American International Group Inc. and Citigroup; Kenneth Duberstein, the former chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan and a member of the special committee of the board of directors of Dell Inc.; and Alan Blinder, a Princeton University economics professor and former Federal Reserve vice chairman.

    Blinder is a particularly interesting case study of how Promontory works its magic. According to the Promontory website, Blinder is a co-founder of something called Promontory Interfinancial Network, which when you cut through the gobbledygook says it helps smaller financial institutions get some of the same benefits of size enjoyed by our “too big to fail” banks. One of the products Promontory Interfinancial offers customers is Insured Cash Sweep, which according to a fancy video allows someone with more than $250,000 in cash on deposit in a bank — the limit of what the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will insure — to get federal insurance for any amount.

    What the company does is allow someone to hand over, say, $1 million, which is then broken up for him into four $250,000 pieces and farmed out to separate financial institutions so that, voila, each $250,000 is FDIC-insured. The depositor notices no difference on a daily basis — he can still get his money whenever he wants, unless the money is in a savings account, where access is limited to six times a month — but, like magic, $1 million is federally insured instead of just $250,000.

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the best-selling author of the “Black Swan,” describes in his latest book, “Antifragile,” how he ran into Blinder at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, one year and thought he was going to engage the former Fed vice chairman on ideas about how to save the financial system. Instead, Blinder tried to sell him on Insured Cash Sweep. It quickly dawned on Taleb what Blinder was up to.

    “It would allow the super-rich to scam taxpayers by getting free government sponsored insurance,” Taleb wrote. “Yes, scam taxpayers. Legally. With the help of former civil servants who have an insider edge.”

    “Isn’t this unethical?” Taleb asked Blinder.

  12. DeepSouthPopulist

    Re: debtor’s prison. This person left a comment at the Washington Monthly worth highlighting. For anyone who may not be aware, people are being sued by creditors in civil court, and then jailed when they can’t afford the fines that result from “failing to appear.” The net effect is de facto debtor’s prison.


    Keith M Ellis on April 07, 2013 2:05 PM:

    None of these are truly “debtor’s prisons”, although “failure to appear” penalties that result after creditor lawsuits are extremely close.

    But your Think Progress link equivocates “debtor’s prisons” with jailing those who’ve been convicted of crimes, sentenced fines and penalties, and then fail to pay those fines and penalties. This is not remotely like a debtor prison and surely is a right and necessary consequence of having our criminal justice utilize fines and financial penalties in its judgments.

    I mean, really, would you or Think Progress accuse the federal courts of utilizing a “debtor’s prison” when it jails some Wall Street banker who was convicted of fraud and assessed a million dollar fine he subsequently didn’t pay? I think not.

    All this arguably calls into question the use of financial penalties in criminal justice, as they are very regressive and more likely to result in imprisonment of the poor than the wealthy. I find that argument very compelling. But that’s not the argument being offered and, anyway, eliminating financial penalties from American criminal justice won’t happen, for reasons ranging from the practical to cultural.

    Conflating the jailing of those who don’t pay the fines that result from criminal convictions with those who are specifically sued by creditors, don’t appear in court, and are subsequently jailed is doing a deep disservice to the cause of the latter, who are credibly the sufferers of injustice. This is a serious problem that ought to be taken seriously and equivocating with criminal convictions is egregious.

    That said, the “failure to appear” penalties in these cases are only a subcategory of a general mechanism that is self-evidently necessary. The civil courts need to have mechanisms to force compliance, including appearances, or they wouldn’t function.

    If we take it as self-evident that imprisoning people for failing to pay their debts, even in a roundabout fashion, is unjust — and most of us who are progressive, or even have some semblance of human decency agree with this — then this argues that the problem must lie in credit law and how it’s handled in civil courts. I’m not sure how it should be changed, and I fear to speculate because anything I offer off the top of my head will surely have unintended negative consequences. Generally, though, we ought to far more restrict the legal power of creditors, put it more in line with European standards.

    Good luck on that in the US, though.

    1. cwaltz

      The bad part about civil court is that the subpoenas are not required to be hand delivered(at least in my neck of the woods). My husband had a judgment entered against him without him even knowing he had a court date. They ended up settling with him(he’s a disabled vet and it would have taken them forever to collect what they wanted with exemptions allowed for veterans.)

      There ought to be a requirement that any subpoenas be delivered certified mail and in particular for any subpoena that would result in a bench warrant for FTA.

    2. dolleymadison

      A private company abusing the “justice” system to extort fines and penalities (“debts”) not prescribed by law, enforcable with imprisonment, sure sounds like debtors prison to me.

      And, as a matter of fact, MANY banks have been ordered to pay judgements in the tens of thousands, millions even, and have not paid – yet I see no banker in prison. Yet a poor person can languish for years for made-up debts of less than a thousand.

  13. Massinissa

    On Sovereign Citizens:

    Look, theyre delusional and perhaps batshit crazy. And some of them are clearly dangerous.

    But I think labeling them ‘domestic terrorists’ is going too far, especially considering theyre not organized or anything. Its just a collection of wacko’s. I think the term ‘domestic terrorist’ is just going a bit too far.

    Considering the incidents of shooting police, I dont blame the police for making strategies on how to peacefully deal with these people, but I just dont like applying the term ‘domestic terrorist’ too them, it feels like too harsh a term. Its not like any of them have bombed anything (yet).

    1. ScottS

      Harassing homeless is only so much fun as they don’t put up much of a fight. Domestic terrorists — now that’s exciting for a high school bully with a badge and a gun!

    2. jrs

      Call something a “terrorist” in totalitarian U.S.A. and it means someone can be locked away forever without trial and even renditioned for torture, or maybe just killed with no due process. It’s not a term to use lightly as being a terrorist means you have NO RIGHTS, no right to trail, no habeus corpus. NOTHING. It automatically magically takes all that away. So yea throw around the term terrorist lightly feed the police state. Dont’ be suprised if they are even more eager to go after OWS protests (also often considered terrorism) than “soverign citizens”.

    3. jrs

      By the way has the times been bought by Koch or whomever already? That paper seems more right wing by the day! Oh I know ridiculing “soverign citizens” may not seem right wing, but to the extent it enables the authoritarian state it is (f.a.s.c.i.s.t). It’s like another article they had ridiculing Marin for not letting property (a natural area and wilderness habitat) be developed for low income people. Ok at first these reads nice and radical doesn’t it? Rich environmentalists versus the poor. Until you realize it’s the .00001% that is forcing the well off Marin residents into it, then it’s like ok Marin residens may be top 10% but even then are being bullied and falling victim to the really big money, oh and I don’t believe in pitting the environment against the poor.

    4. alex

      labeling them ‘domestic terrorists’ is going too far

      It gets worse – in the article someone refers to people who “squat in foreclosed homes and file phony deeds” as “paper terrorists”.

      Paper terrorists? Maybe so – as long as you put our major banks on the list. Jamie Dimon on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list? Works for me.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    You can’t run a public service like a business.


    But for most taxpayers, it’s important that public employees are accountable, just like in the private sector. (If they are already, fine. Sometimes people repeat obvious things like ‘you can’t run a public service like a business’ and ‘public workers should be accountable just like in a business).

    1. cwaltz

      Employees in the private sector are accountable?

      That’s news to me. I’m pretty sure Corzine got off scott free after essentially stealing deposits. Heck for that matter, the whole banking sector got a bailout with public funds and none of the upper level people responsible for bad decisions got held accountable. Not a single BP executive went to jail after oil seeped into the ocean or I predict will go to jail after the Arkansas incident. The number of charter schools that have gone belly up after stealing public funds isn’t pretty either.

      All in all, the idea that the private sector has more accountability is pretty much a sham.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If they are not, they should be.

        What happens is that it’s just a general statement and so you can not rule out ’employees gone wild.’

        As far as general statements go, though, it’s more likely to be true that bosses are not accountable than employees, in the private sector.

        So, I will update my statement with ‘people in the private sector should be held accountable.’

        1. ScottS

          If they are not, they should be.

          Weak. I’ve worked in nothing but private sector companies since I left school. The lack of accountability and efficiency in the private sector is staggering.

          Whereas my student jobs at the university acquainted me with public university staff and I can tell you they get things done with quality and efficiency. They just don’t have that lick-spittle yes-sir no-sir attitude you get in the private sector.

          Back here in the “real world” people browse Facebook as long as the boss isn’t looking. There’s private sector efficiency for you. And the middle-managers with their petty fiefdoms sabotage any attempt at progress. And upper management is so far removed from reality that even if they wanted to (and I’m not sure they do) craft a practical strategy, they have no idea what real people want or what their underlings do all of which is compounded by surrounding themselves with boot-licking yes-men who tell them their farts smell like roses.

          I’m truly staggered that anything gets made. God forbid we run public institutions like private business.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Sounds like you are saying we are not working private sector workers hard enough.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I suppose the work includes cutting back worker benefits, if they are not let go already?

      2. TK421

        “Employees in the private sector are accountable?”

        Well, the CEO of JC Penney had to make do with a severance package of only $150,000,000 after running his company straight into the ground. Now that’s accountability!

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Shareholders: Enough.

    Board listens.

    Another way is for everyone, including the chairperson, to stand.

    Why does the chairperson have a chair and others don’t?

    Make it equal. Make everyone stand before a wooden board. Go back to the way it was originally.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When you are in a klismos, you don’t worry about comfort.

          I think safety is a more urgent concern.

          1. Valissa

            MLTPB, you got me wondering if I could find any decent cartoons about chairs…

            Safety was a concern here

            Savage Chickens and the productive chair

            The ultimate productive chair

            Chair power

            Oy vey

          2. Bill Smith

            haha. With Clint Eastwood making a campaign speech to an empty chair and Bernie Sanders filibustering a roomful of empty chairs, you gotta start wondering who runs this country?

            I mean, when aliens finally show up and say “Take me to your leader”, should we show them to an empty chair?

            If they sat down should we take that as an insult? Or worse yet, would the Secret Service open fire on the aliens and start Intergalactic War I?

            Does make me wonder.

          3. Bill Smith

            yikes! the Illuminati is a scary bunch. bet the guy that researched the FAQ checked into a nuthouse after finding all that stuff out.

            how could you even handle knowing these two things without your ID, Ego and Libido shrinking down to the size of a small green pea?

            20. And some of them are in touch with aliens from outer space. Some of them ARE aliens. Why would “advanced beings” want to meddle with the affairs of Earthlings? Good question.

            21. Worse, some of them have actual magical powers and are in league with forces from . . . elsewhere. Great huge beings that are madness to look upon, or tiny, malicious things that glare and gibber from dark corners. They have pins and dolls; they know old names.

            then they leave their symbolism everywhere to taunt us. even on our MMT money! and iphones too!


  16. chicagogal

    Lack of original documentation and substituting fraudulent recreated documents sounds familiar…hmmm…oh, that happened with foreclosure fraud!

    Actually, that argument works when you end up in court for non-payment on a credit card. What needs improving here is for the judges to actually dismiss the case WITH prejudice so they don’t get another chance. I used that defense (not an attorney, so not giving legal advice here!) last year and had my cases dismissed without prejudice, even though one of them didn’t even know my address to serve me the court summons! Then when the junk debt buyers sent me collection letters, I responded by stating that they had been identified as junk debt buyers, that I had no relationship with them and to cease and desist any and all collections activities. Much less stress in my life because I was proactive on this issue!

  17. Hugh

    It’s good to see more attention being paid to unemployment and the drop in the participation rate. I have been writing on this for some time. It all revolves around the definitions and how they are used for political reasons to mask the size of the jobs crisis.

    The labor force is the combination of the employed and unemployed.

    Unemployed does not mean no job or even no job but want one. The official definition is without a job but have actively looked for work in the 4 weeks before the survey upon which the report is based is done. In a period of poor job growth (since 2000) or in an economic downturn (since December 2007), the discrepancy between the common sense and official definitions rises into the millions. The official number of unemployed is 11.742 million (seasonally adjusted). I calculate the actual number of unemployed at 20.861 million (also seasonally adjusted). That’s a difference of 9.119 million. It represents the drop off in the participation rate. These are not people who “left” the labor force but were instead defined out of it.

    The participation rate is the the current labor force divided by the potential labor force as represented by the civilian non-institutional population over 16 (NIP). The NIP is a foundational number. As such, it is the one that you want as much as possible to base any revision on and it is the one I use in my recalculation of the number of unemployed. It would not, for example, be susceptible to the problem cited in the CEPR article. Again the participation rate has fallen so precipitously because of those 9 million who have been shifted out of the labor force.

    An unemployment rate of 7.5% simply does not constitute a jobs crisis. When I was growing up, the rule of thumb was that 5% was the “natural”, what today would be called the structural, unemployment rate. Since the current labor force is measured at 155 million, each percent change in unemployment would represent 1.55 million workers. So the difference between the old structural unemployment rate and the current official rate is 2.5% or 3.88 million workers. That is a problem, not a crisis. On top of this, there have been a rash of arguments (skills mismatches, permanent offshoring, robotics, etc.) seeking to increase the structural unemployment rate to 6% and even 7%, reducing what we know to be a major crisis down to almost nothing, at least on paper.

    And of course none of this touches on another major component of the jobs crisis which is the pisspoor quality of the jobs being created. I have also seen recently some stories on this, which is also encouraging.

  18. Blivet Tee ball

    Countdown to October, when fake MLK has to face legal accountability for the first time in his ass-kissing CIA puppet ruler’s life. The Human Rights Committee is going to tear him a new one. It’s gonna be frickin great.

    Also, countdown to whenever gigolo sellout John Kerry stops hiding from the world like a cowardly little torturer’s bitch. Kerry hasn’t been this shit-scared since he threw his medals like a girl and scampered to the safety of Dem Party rough trade.

  19. skippy

    Free Market Fundamentalist Monetarists High Priestess carked-it…. how many numbers did she take with her… imwtk.

    Skippy… someday myself will have no number[s – assigned against – me – by the Monetarists, this even though debt free. They will project their expectations upon or go after the DNA.

    PS. Will the Monetarists be found on the other side of Creation… they seem to think so…

  20. Michael Ann Casey

    Aunt Agnes loved to tell the story of how she wore the polka-dot dress and made Sirhan Sirhan shoot at RFK and then all of Grampa Bill’s best sharpshooters blew RFK’s brains out and then the LAPD took all the evidence and carried it up to Grampa’s attic and it’s still there.

    Well, now Daddy calls President Obama the Sirhan Sirhan of criminal aggression. He’s like our new and improved dark-skinned patsy, Daddy says. Obama’s going to take the rap for everybody we need to kill, everywhere! Mister Brennan says all you do is show Obama a mugshot and he makes this heavy-hangs-the-head-that-wears-the-crown face for a minute and then nods his head, OK kill him. No matter who it is. Once for a goof Mister Brennan showed him a picture of Avigdor Lieberman and President Obama made the OK-kill-him face. That made coffee come out of Mister Lew’s nose from laughing, but he pretended it was coughing.

    Daddy says that when the MK-UTRA people got done with Sirhan, you could make him climb the bars in his jail like a monkey and go, Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah and stuff. I wonder what kind of monkeyshines Mary Margaret will make Obama do? That will be a hoot.

  21. jjmacjohnson

    Game of thrones is high scho0l boy fodder. Sad state of tv fantasy. boobs butts and butt sex.

    lame by any standard.

    1. skippy

      Spartacus “Blood and Sand” makes it look quite – timid – in comparison…

      Skippy… Randian utopia… let the Gawds choose… thingy…

Comments are closed.