Links 5/16/13

Patient readers: There seems to be rather lot going on, and so I failed to triage Links ruthlessly enough. –lambert

Swedish Man Dies After Having Sex With Hornet’s Nest International Business Times. Richard Smith Anti-Antidote Seal of Approval™.

Humboldt Bay Eagle Cam UStream (direction)

Invasive species: The 18-km2 rat trap Nature

White House scandal watch

Obama ousts IRS commissioner after Tea Party controversy USA Today (cf. the totally unproblematic new normal).

Phony IRS “Scandal” — We’ve Been O’Keefe’d Again Seeing the Forest. Sure. But notice how Obama went out of his way to reinforce the credibility of the Republican Party.

AP phone records seizure reveals telecom’s risks for journalists CJR

The major sea change in media discussions of Obama and civil liberties Glenn Greenwald, Guardian

White House Releases Complete Benghazi Emails NPR. Aren’t document dumps supposed to happen Friday at 5:00PM?

What Are They Hiding? Eschaton. Kayfabe.

Introducing Strongbox New Yorker. Freedom of the press belongs to those who can protect their sources.

Bulls vs. Bears

Bullish investors drive equities higher FT. Front page link: “Gains defy gloomy economic data.”

U.S. Stocks Rise on Stimulus Bets as Manufacturing Falls Bloomberg

Habits of the Bear, Bull Markets and Agency Issues Big Picture

The Song Remains the Same The Archdruid Report

The super soaraway Nikkei [updated] FT Alphaville

Farmland Price Boom Continues, but Pace Moderates Online WSJ

Builder Confidence increases in May Bill McBride, Calculated Risk

doesn’t look like much of a housing recovery- purch app’s down The Center of the Universe

Actually Lehman’s Bankruptcy Worked Out Well For A Lot Of People Dealbreaker

Google chief touts utopian ambitions FT

Will Yahoo! return to its portal roots? Medium

The Fed is not “Printing Money.” It’s Retiring Bonds and Issuing Reserves Angry Bear

How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled Paul Krugman, NYRB

Why do people support austerity? A conjecture Noahpinion

The New Sick Man of Europe: the European Union Pew Research

The Resistible Fall of Europe: An Interview with George Soros Project Syndicate

More Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren… Brad DeLong. I, for one, welcome….

Climate Change Has Shifted the Locations of Earth’s North and South Poles Scientific American

Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise, to Be Less Severe than Feared Reuters

Faulkner County: ExxonMobil’s “Sacrifice Zone” for Tar Sands Pipelines, Fracking FDL Welcome back.

Cormac McCarthy Flaunts Sexy New Beach Body America’s Finest News Source

Dirty medicine Fortune. Harry Lime disease.

PhillyDeals: SEC spares individuals in Harrisburg case Philadelphia Inquirer (and see Bond Girl).

Israel has highest poverty rate in the developed world, OECD report shows Haaretz

The problem with poor people is quite simple… Stop Me Before I Vote Again

Have Plot, Will Unravel Jacob Bacharach. Gatsby.

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs Michael Pollan, Times

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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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. Shane536

    By triage, I assume you mean posting Swedish Onion-ish articles. The “Sex with hornets” one was a satire busting on animal rights campaigners…….in the original they were checking on the welfare of the sexually assaulted hornets…funny.

    1. Richard Kline

      Perhaps the most anodyne antidote I can recall ever at NC, completely impervious to cynicism. I could wear this on a t-shirt and have Budda-nature follow me everywhere . . . .

  2. Jim Haygood

    Two Minutes of Hate for Obamacare, comrades:

    The [Obamacare] repeal vote, which is likely to occur Thursday, will be at least the 43rd day since Republicans took over the House that they have devoted time to voting on the issue.

    By one measure, this House is the least productive one in a decade. As of Tuesday, it had cast just 146 roll-call votes since convening on Jan. 3. Compared with the same period in other Congresses — early January through mid-May of the first session — that is far lower.

    It’s that audible tone of schoolmarmish disapproval in the second graf that left me rolling on the floor in tears of laughter.

    As a [barely] living monument to late 19th century ‘progressivism,’ the elderly editors of the Times-Titanic view legislation like a sausage production line: not only is more better, but also low production reflects moral turpitude.

    In reality, Congress’s crippled output during periods of mixed partisan control has been associated with lower inflation. And outright paralysis, such as this year’s sequestration and 1995’s government shutdown, have been wildly bullish.

    We can only wish that Congress hits a patch of wet concrete this summer, with repealing Obamacare the first order of business each morning after the prayer, and afternoons devoted to probing the bottomless corruption of the Obama regime. Bring on the impeachment rally!

  3. MolonLabe

    From link Invasive species: The 18-km2 rat trap Nature: “I just hated the immigrant killers because I could see what they were doing,”

    Such intolerance at NC.

  4. direction

    Good Morning! The sun is not yet up on this side of the continent, but the sky is brightening. I’d say give it another 10 or 15 minutes and the eagle cam will be showing in full color. Mom’s preening, looks like the chicks are still asleep. We had a misty night last night here on the coast. looks like the lens is still wet.

    1. direction

      They’re up! Let feeding time begin! The babies are enormous now. It was cuter when they were the size of golf balls and they couldn’t balance at all.

      Sorry the camera’s wet today

      1. optimader

        this is so very COOL!! Is ther a donate clicky clicky?

        I have been watching these baby 1% feathered dinosaurs eat some poor 99% critter. They are simultaneously projectile pooping off the edge of the nest while they are fed flesh…

        This has a dedicated window on my computer, sorry about the bandwidth attenuation.

    1. Gardenguy

      “There’s a case for dirtying up your diet,” Sonnenburg told me. Yet advising people not to thoroughly wash their produce is probably unwise in a world of pesticide residues.”

      Yet another reason to eat only organic food which is as pesticide free as you can commercially obtain.

      Also, the gut permability that leads to metabolic syndrome has been demonstrated to be a byproduct of people eating GMOs that are designed to to create gut permiability in and kill insects such as the corn bollworm.

      In effect, people that eat GMO corn are dosing themselves with bacterial DNA that has been incorporated into corn, across species barriers, and is the basis of most junk food, to kill living things by making holes in their digestive systems.

      New research is showing that Roundup is destroying gut bacteria and has many other unforseen consequences.

      Every scientific article that comes out is one more vindication for the organic food movement and for the necessity of eliminating genetically modified food, or at least labeling it so that those that care about their health can avoid it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Does it also make holes in people’s brains as well?

        I strongly suggest we monitor future election results carefully for trends further favoring certain parties.

      2. Gardenguy

        Well, actually it does make holes in the brain…since you asked:

        “A new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—sheds light on its effects within the human body. The paper describes how all of these effects could work together, and with other variables, trigger health problems in humans, including debilitating diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, PARKINSON’S and ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE.(my caps)

        Glyphosate impairs the cytochrome P450 (CYP) gene pathway, which creates enzymes that help to form and also break down molecules in cells. There are myriad important CYP enzymes, including aromatase (the enzyme that converts androgen into estrogen) and 21-Hydroxylase, which creates cortisol (stress hormone) and aldosterone (regulates blood pressure). One function of these CYP enzymes is also to detoxify xenobiotics, which are foreign chemicals like drugs, carcinogens or pesticides. Glyphosate inhibits these CYP enzymes, which has rippling effects throughout our body.

  5. Bob Morris

    Hmm, high level officials at IRS in DC were told to stop using ‘Tea Party’ as a filter, they agreed, they went back to doing it, deliberately disobeying orders. Why did they do that?

    Staffers in Cincinnati gave confidential documents to Propublica. Disclosing private taxpayer data is a no-questions, immediate firing offense at IRS and everyone knows it. So, why did they do something that stupid?

    I do not think the IRS brouhaha is just a tempest in a teapot.

  6. MichaelAnn

    I think Mary Margaret is still a little jealous of Jon Banks. They’ve always had these little rivalries and spats, like that time Jonathan blew the nose off that little Pakistani girl and Mary Margaret made some Texas doctors sew it back on, just to cheese him off. She was like a cartoon girl, big smile, no nose, and everybody was so cuted out that Mister Morell had to censor it.

    Then there was the time Mary Margaret sent that army of hypnotized dabbawallas over the border to get Ray Davis. Mary Margaret showed me the video before she deleted it, it was awesome, like zombie war, blam blam blam, heads exploding all around and they just keep coming. They weren’t even trying to kill Raymond, they were just trying really hard to sell him Aloo Tikki. While they were in their hypnotic state Mary Margaret exposed them to Zig Ziglar.

    I have a feeling this little reshuffle will not help matters. Lately out in the parking lot, all around Jonathan’s new reserved Director’s spot, there’s like a dozen nine-year-olds dressed like JonBenet. They swarm him when he leaves for the night like, Hey there! Big Boy! Yoo-hoo!

    I think they would have better luck with Milt.

  7. AbyNormal

    little amazes me in the merger world BUT THIS

    Glencore (GLEN.L) bosses tightened their grip on the newly enlarged miner and trader on Thursday, as shareholders voted out all former Xstrata directors including the already outgoing chairman, replacing him with former BP boss *Tony Hayward*.

    meet Satan’s large intestine
    “We’ll make a killing out of food crisis, Glencore trading boss Chris Mahoney boasts”
    & Satan’s small intestine
    “What the hell did we do to deserve this?” & “We had to many people working to save the world.”
    bp tony, 5/2/10

    I can hardly forbear hurling things at him. Shakespeare

    1. Susan the other

      StopmebeforeIvoteagain. Michael J. Smith. The problem with poor people. He says it’s poverty. But he leaves out the other reason: they are people. Shame about that. If they weren’t people the Tony Haywards of this world could actually carry out their insane business plans. Smith suggests a great solution: a trust fund to give those in poverty an allowance. Turn the tables. I’ll vote for that before they can stop me.

      1. AbyNormal

        read that piece at sun up…im with you susan, the starting point is the trust fund!

        im still shaking about Hayward. i can’t get a grip on this AT ALL…will we ever surface?

    2. Andrea

      The merger was organized by another Tony, i.e. Blair who was paid a million dollars for his work.

  8. Jackrabbit

    Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise, to Be Less Severe than Feared

    The climate change deniers have moved on to:
    1. It won’t be so bad, we can manage thru it. Anyone who thinks otherwise is hysterical.

    2. We are all to blame.

    Ice2Sea began their effort 4 years ago (when the prevailing wisdom was still that “something would be done” so the rise in global temperatures would be limited). AFAIK, they considered a rise in temperature of 3.5 degrees by 2100. Last November, the World Bank estimated the rise would be 4 – 6 degrees.

    It would’ve been more instructive to see projections for 2, 4, 6, and 8 degrees.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Point #2 is incomplete. It should read:

      2. We are all to blame for inaction – because no one will make the sacrifices needed to stop/slow climate change.


      Oil interests want to propagate these two myths in the lead-up to the expected climate change agreement in 2015.

      This “double whammy” of misdirection is likely to lead to meager steps against climate change and a realization of worst-case outcomes.

    2. Susan the other

      I was confused by yesterday’s article. Today it looks like a clarification that the range expected for sea level rise is between 70cm and 2 meters. If global warming is held down.

      And that curious account from Scientific American about ice melt changing the axis of the poles, moving to the east… but wait… it’s not just ice melt it is also continental drift. Is this the first indication that if the ice continues to melt it will unhinge the continental plates and without the previous ballast at both poles the shifting of continents could be a wild ride?

      1. Jackrabbit

        Today’s article is just reporting on yesterday’s.

        But you can see how any news that plays into myth #1: “it’s manageable!” gets picked up and trumpeted by MSM.


        Yesterday’s Martin Wolf’s FT article was also very disappointing in that he readily accepted myth #2: that “WE” are all to blame for inaction on global warming.

      2. subgenius

        continental drift is NOT why the poles move – the poles are a part of the geomagnetic field which is generated (most probably) by the core, rather than the crust…

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is another approach.

      Just consume less because it is a more spiritual thing to do.

      I mean, otherwise, this can go on forever.

      They can say, it’s not just global warming.

      And we come back and ask what they mean by that.

      ‘well, we could be in the middle of a solar system warming.’

      ‘Like how?’

      ‘You see, as the arms of our galaxy swing around, and we are on one of them, maybe we are going through a ‘hotter’ patch of space, due to purely random fluctuation.’

      ‘Really, you believe that?’

      ‘The only way to verify that is to get the temperature charts of all the planets and moons in the solar system to see if they are all warming up at the same time.’

      ‘That would take a while, to say the least.’

      ‘Well, we have to be thorough. In fact, how do we know we are not experiencing galactic warming? Maybe we need to check all the star systems in the galaxy?’

      ‘Wait just a minute here. You are going too far…’

      1. craazyman

        Maybe the thermometers are all rising. Nobody has thought of that.

        I hate to infuriate people but when I channel global warming I always get a phantom signature. This means it’s a phenomenon of collective consciousness less than geophysical structural change. The internet has given everybody a fit of Id overload and that manifests as perception of heat.

        My research is not sponsored by an oil company or any body. I do it for free.

        In fact, I think the risk is that we hit some really cold sh*t and all freeze our asses off. It’s never what you think it is and I doubt this time will be diferent. The earth is alive and intelligent and is messing with everybody’s head by throwing phantoms at them, but nobody is perceptive enough to see that.

        1. skippy

          Seriously crazzy… you need to get out more, like around the planet and not some intercity bus – train trips or the occasional regional foray.

          The evidence is massive and building, yet, the only push back is from a small ideologically challenged cult of its – all mine – oligarchs, who just love folks like yourself poisoning the well.

          skippy… job well done mate…

  9. wunsacon

    >> The Fed is not “Printing Money.” It’s Retiring Bonds and Issuing Reserves Angry Bear

    “Retiring bonds” = giving cash to bond holders that goes somewhere else, because it’s no longer tied up in the bond

    I doubt anyone who uses the phrase “printing money” means it literally. We use it because it gets the point across.

    The Fed is printing money and giving it away to financial paper holders.

    Don’t believe me? Here’s what I see:
    – Gas doubled off the low and has stayed fairly high despite increased domestic drilling.
    – Stocks doubled.
    – Amid high unemployment, housing bounced 20%. (On a previous thread, I heard the “explanation” that it’s not inflation but hedge funds buying up the supply of housing stock and not worrying about keeping some units empty because interest rates are so low. Gee, I wonder where are they getting the money and why is money so cheap??)
    – Food … I don’t do the shopping but hear it’s gone up rather than down.

    Nothing to see here, move along??

    1. Susan the other

      That article was way interesting in spite of its incoherence. Reserves aren’t money because they can’t be loaned down; no risk of gain or loss. In fact, the more a bank loans “money” (definition pending), the higher the reserve requirement. And the system we have is structural trickle down, aka the wealth effect. Oh yes, and nobody understands it. OK fine. Everybody agrees that the Fed will reimburse Treasury and Treasury will pay interest to the Fed (?). So he asks astutely (this really put me over the top – and out of patience altogether) “MMTers might well ask why out government system requires the injection of that volatility (stimulus) in the first place when Treasury could just issue dollar bills with no expiration dates or interest payments instead of T-bills.” Cool. The reason is obvious: because that would define money once and for all. That would mean we would all be accepting and spending/saving “reserves” – no? So this still begs one big question: Where on earth did the concept of reserves NOT being money come from? So clever.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Wunsacon, I think everyone will tell you that there is no inflation, at least the kind we are ‘educated’ to be on the look out for: core inflation.

        You must ‘learn’ to exclude food and energy. And forget house prices. It’s about its rent equivalent, or something like that.

        There is only inflation when workers are getting higher wages.

        Yes, there is no inflation.


        What inflation?

        1. AbyNormal

          no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no yes
          jim trott
          (bahahahaaaa dude cracks me up)

          1. wunsacon

            >> No no no no no no ..yes

            Heh…reminds me of the “selecting escorts” scene (NSFW) from “History of the World (Part 1)”.

      2. Elbridge Spaulding

        It’s me.
        The article was astoundingly accurate – raising one of THE most importat issues if we are ever to understand the money system.
        If it’s a ‘given’ that the Fed never creates money, and money is what the economy NEEDs, then we have a monetary engine for reserves, but no transmission for ‘money’.
        So we all NEED for someone else to create the money – and that would be the government.
        Reserves are meaningless, bank-CB accounting balances that NEVER affect the real economy.
        They are obsolete – a throwback to the gold-standard era where the bankers kept reserves of gold in case the owners came a-calling, and lent out most of what they held.
        It’s way time to move past a reserve-based currency and money system.

      3. F. Beard

        Where on earth did the concept of reserves NOT being money come from? So clever. STO

        With the banking cartel who cheat us with the ole boom-bust cycle using their own form of necessarily temporary money – so-called “credit” – while using reserves amongst themselves.

    1. Inverness

      Watching Jay Carney and Eric Holder evade accusations is telling. They look like the personable, avuncular kind of guys you’d like to teach your kids: they graduated from the right schools, are personable, “liberal,” and smart. Carney even has a slight lisp! Really, the Bush Administration did us a big favor: it was easy to spot their criminality; Cheney even referred to the “dark side,” and their attorney general sang ridiculous tributes to soaring eagles.

  10. Klassy!

    re: Michael Smith. While I agree with the content, I think Smith picked the wrong whipping boy– Senator Moynihan. I was mostly familiar with Moynihan as “The Culture of Poverty” guy. I did know that he opposed Clinton’s welfare “reform”. In John Marsh’s Class Dismissed: Why We Can’t Teach or Learn our Way our of Inequality he offers a compressed history of The War on Poverty. In it, Marsh describes the outsize role education took in the assault on poverty– “a hand up rather than a hand out”. He writes “As it developed, then, the war on poverty amounted to an only slightly more sophisticated version of the nineteenth century faith in improving poor people.” As Marsh tells it, Moynihan did not buy into the thesis that the problem of poverty was a problem of lack of education and fought for a focus on job creation.
    Marsh believes that the rights of workers to collectively bargain must get more support from the government, that the government should be doing more direct job creation and he looks to Europe to make the point that transfer payments are one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce poverty. I think his case, as presented in the book is air tight (but, preaching to the converted.) It is the first book length treatment of the subject I’ve found.
    Even Nixon offered a plan for a guaranteed minimum income (and Moynihan supported it.)
    I think it is high time to end the equality of opportunity talk.

    1. Susan the other

      +100. And insure its demise by giving the poor 1 to 1 compensation for damages caused by an inefficient economy, aka society.

    2. Hugh

      Equality of opportunity is just a screen to justify massive inequality. It is the demonstrably false myth that those who work hard will get ahead and deserve to. The truth is that the system is gamed so that the have-nots will have less and the haves will have more.

      Like selling the merits of austerity, it is part of the class war, tricking the many into working against their own interests while serving those of the few.

      1. Susan the other

        It must be getting hard for the die-hard capitalists to face the fact that their profits are blood money, and everybody knows it.

        1. optimader

          Mine isn’t
          We do good work, have motivated employees that love there jobs enough to solicit relatives as potential hires..

      2. Klassy!

        And, beyond material advantages (conceding that this is huge) some people are just smarter, some are taller, better looking, better athletes (all things that help you get ahead) and there are people born to relative wealth that still have lousy families. So, you must consder how random the universe is and what we can do to ensure that everyone has enough to live a life of security.
        Marsh discusses FDR’s Four Freedoms speech and points out that the right to a renumerative job or comfortable housing, or adequate housing and recreation were all separate rights– none dependent on one another and certainly not all dependent on the right to a good education.

      3. optimader

        –It is the demonstrably false myth that those who work hard will get ahead and deserve to

        What is demonstrable is that just working hard leaves you in the metaphorical ditch w/ the shovel.. Get a RELEVANT education and work hard and SMART. If you’re persist at keeping your eye on the ball MAINTAIN YOUR RELEVANCE and sacrifice eventually you can hire other people to work hard and smart.
        That’s what still makes the world go ’round in spite of all the degeneration of the system,, gotta a better approach?

        1. Hugh

          Again that’s just part of the myth. Those who are lucky and virtuous ascribe all their success to their virtue, not their luck. Similarly, those who are corrupt or lucky but without any particular virtue will invent a virtue in order to justify their success.

          But here’s the thing. The system is corrupt. Success correlates to chance or corruption, not virtue. So when you come here touting your virtue, you are blowing smoke, and I have to wonder to what end.

        2. hunkerdown

          Aspire to be psychopathic enoguh to be a good field master? Why is that supposed to be awesome, again?

        3. jrs

          It is the demonstrably false myth that those who work hard will get ahead and deserve to

          What is demonstrable is that just working hard leaves you in the metaphorical ditch w/ the shovel.. Get a RELEVANT education and work hard and SMART. If you’re persist at keeping your eye on the ball MAINTAIN YOUR RELEVANCE and sacrifice eventually you can hire other people to work hard and smart.
          That’s what still makes the world go ’round in spite of all the degeneration of the system,, gotta a better approach?


          1. jrs

            Ok that was not meant to be the post. The post was meant to quote that and say: they used to claim hard work was enough. Since that is obviously a steaming pile. They then claimed hard work and education was enough. Since that doesn’t work. They now claim only hard work and the right education is enough. Not even realizing the meritocracy they propose is hell on earth. It’s even bad as meritocracies go, your wealth or poverty entirely dependent on what you didn’t study when you knew nothing about the world at 19 years old.

          2. optimader

            JRS.. Actually, I knew a lot about the world at 19.

            I’ve always had a job since a lowly paper route w/ my siblings when I was ~8yo. Loved it, we had great fun. I observed my parents and there close knit group of friends.. Who succeeded and who didn’t so much.
            Most of my dads peers were engineers by education and I frankly closely observe the trajectory of their lives and learned from it. Generally speaking those that remained employees were either on the stressbubble or flat out got screwed in their mid-50s. Those that migrated to a management role w/ an engineering background usually did better. Those that took a “risk”, dialed back the lifestyle, did a business startup,and maybe a couple before they got it right were a step function more (professionally) successful then the rest of their peers.

            So to say luck? yeah well every day you wake up you’re lucky, one day we will be all “unlucky” But as for how you spend your time checking off the time in this Mortal Coil? Make your own luck. My personal advise is get an engineering degree, strive to understand the natural world and rejigger your lifestyle/cost of living to start a business. Frankly one of the most clever guys I’ve met took his professional experience and started a breakfast omelet burrito take out in the upper peninsula of Michigan on Lake Michigan. Great life.. open from 5:30 am ’til noon and he’s surrounded by CoEds breaking eggs.

            It’s just not that big a deal to carve out a gig at whatever scale and be happy, but I think it really helps to start out with that mindset right out of school.

            Do you really need cable? the 4G phone? need that flat screen? DO you know how to keep a beater car running on your own? ever replace a head gasket? Fix your own washing machine? Know how to cook? Do you eat food that has an ingredients list?
            People have a higher break even requirement and are more dependent these days w/o realizing it than they ever have been in history. That is the formula for bad “luck”.

          3. skippy

            @optimader… this is not your childhood post WWII environment any more… romantic solutions are just that… day dreams of yesterday.

            First and foremost you have to debunk the quasi religious myth, most have been indoctrinated with, next you have to wrest the power away from the priests, that concoct said myth, and preform indoctrination rites from birth.

            Skippy… anything else is just a mental palliative.

          4. Klassy!

            So, your advice is for everyone to get an engineering degree? And what happens when everyone has an engineering degree? The need for garbage collectors will magically disappear?
            And can we can the lectures about 4G and flat screens. Why are you so sure that these are must haves for other commenters? I don’t even carry my non smart phone for cryin’ out loud.

          5. optimader

            First and foremost you have to debunk the quasi religious myth….rites from birth.

            HAHA.. Skippy channeling Elmer Gantry speaking in tounges

          6. skippy


            [ad hominem. –lambert]

            Skippy… neo/classical economics is a religious opinion… religions indoctrinate humanity via its priesthood… what part of history did you miss?

          7. skippy

            August 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm

            How many UMC families have 300K in savings?If they have 300K what is ti doing in a savings account?

            UMC or not I have several times that basically just sitting in savings.. why? the cash burn is less than “investing” it from what i see.,

            Skippy…. you said some about “channeling Elmer Gantry speaking in tongues” seek a mirror out… eh.

            I await some good suggestions on where to park it, get back to me on that..

            Paul Kedrosky’s Infectious Greed Blog


          8. skippy

            @optimader… “Looking for investment advice?”

            No thanks… cashed out all stocks and paper expectations (long ago – electrons of price rubbish) and other stuff. Now I get to look after the kids and let wife peruse her medical career (clinical and educator) save for some pro bono work, suggesting works like Yves et al for informing or fixing up things for folks.

            skippy… Investment is an expectation… good luck with that.

          9. optimader

            Now I get to look after the kids… Investment is an expectation
            Indeed it is, good luck with that.

          10. skippy

            Children are not an ***investment*** they are human beings, but, if you raise them as an investments… well… may that on going social Darwinism project – over there – turn out OK… its doing a bang up job so far…

            skippy… cretin..

    3. optimader

      neo/classical economics is a religious opinion…
      Nailed it.. But your point is without distinction..Which economic sect isn’t R. opinion?

  11. Inverness

    Der Spiegel on ‘Mommy’ Angela Merkel: “It’s been a long time since a German politician dared to have so much national ambition. And this attitude is well received by the general public.”

    Author also posits that since she grew up in East Germany, she is accustomed to avoiding confrontation, and having the rules imposed on a populace.

    Always enjoyable when this major German publication show some teeth against their popular chancellor.

    1. Jessica

      Why is Der Spiegel showing some teeth? Just because there is an unoccupied niche, so they can profit from it a bit? Or is there some deeper reason?

  12. Hugh

    What does economic data have to do with the stock market? Wall Street is a casino running on ZIRP and the $85 billion the Fed is pumping into it. Economic data are just cited when they coincide with stock price moves. When they don’t, they are ignored or “expectations” are cited instead.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just a bunch of abstractions, numbers…

      5 million unemployed? OK.

      10 million? No problemo

      15 million? How is Dow doing today? Great.

      How many died in the 2004 Christmas tsunami? 250,000? What else is in the news today?

      Hmm..yeah…uh, what? Almost a quarter of Cambodians died under Pol Pot? I heard he was a bad dude. How many zeroes is that, again?

      1. John

        I listen to this kind of ‘reporting’ all day.

        Last night was the first time someone just came out and said “Unemployment in much of Europe is higher than it was during the Great Depression.”

        Why is that?

        Also, I keep thinking back to 08′ and the reporters all denying that we were in a ‘technical’ recession. (3 consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth?) All just because it hadn’t been 3 quarters yet.

        I have to wonder when the word depression is going to finally replace recession. My bet’s on never, but even as unwilling as we are to see the truth, eventually we’re all going to have to figure it out.

        Another area I’m thinking of without getting any answers, is what is the end game. Between the combination of our endless accumulation of stuff and culture, and the impending rise of instant manufacturing and digital knowledge assistants… what jobs will be left?

        What will the world look like?

    2. Jackrabbit

      And yet, as transparent as it is, the carnival barkers never fail to find a mark.

      Caveat Emptor

  13. Doug Terpstra

    Haaretz reports Israel as having the highest poverty rate of the developed world at 20.9%. This happens to coincide with (if not correlate with) the percentage of its Arab population at 20.5% (2010)). This is despite its permanent reign as US welfare queen at $3.12 billion a year, $112 cumulative total. That’s a per capita US equivalent of $117 and $4.2 trillion total over six decades ($8.7 trillion adjusted for inflation) — which could mitigate a whole lot of poverty. So perhaps perpetual war is not great economic policy then, except of course for the elite.

    1. reslez

      I really know nothing about this topic, but I assume most of the aid is in the form of weapons. Which makes it basically a subsidy for U.S. weapons manufacturers.

  14. Doug Terpstra

    I rarely disagree with Glenn Greenwald and wish I didn’t now, but his take on a “sea change” against Obama is wishful thinking IMO. I keep hoping for an overreach tipping point that gets impeachment on the table, but if years of lies, constitutional violations and war crimes haven’t prompted any MSM pushback, I’m not expecting much in this illegal assault on the AP.

    Now, it could be that dissing your own ever-loyal stenographers (“journalists”), versus killing Pakistani women and children, is a bridge too far, but I think the Obama regime is cagey enough to muzzle or purge the few uppity ones with a spark of conscience and self-respect. Freedom of the press belongs to its owners after all, and the monopolist few of those are mostly running Obama’s equivalent of Pravda.

    Anyway, Obama personally never knew about any of this of course until he heard it on CNN with the rest of us. And rest assured, he is outraged, see his glare. Ditto for the IRS scrutiny of Koch front groups. That will never happen again. Nonprofit Citizens-United fronts can now sail through unimpeded. This is democracy inaction.

    1. Hugh

      Yes, I think that Greenwald is exaggerating. The only reason, as he himself notes, there is such an uproar this time around is because the media and the Republicans were the targets.

      I am pretty much a spectator to these scandals. I just can’t work up too much indignation when a corrupt Administration goes after corrupt political groups or a corrupt and subservient media.

      I think what is really going on here is the expectation that at some point in a President’s second term, he becomes a lame duck, and the question is whether these scandals are the beginning of that transformation.

    2. optimader

      –keep hoping for an overreach tipping point that gets impeachment on the table, but if years of lies, constitutional violations

      His CV is Constitutional Law isn’t it? Who more dangerous to subvert the Constitution?

      IMO the only differentiation between BHO & GWB is that BHO is methodical and Bush is an idiot.

  15. rich

    Predatory Lenders Still Target Soldiers: ‘Desperate People Accept Any Terms’

    In their reporting, ProPublica and Marketplace cited examples such as a soldier based in South Carolina who borrowed $1600 and ended up paying $15,000 in interest over 32 months, and another in Texas who paid 600% in annual interest for a $400 loan.

    As Kiel explains in the accompanying video, military personnel are particularly vulnerable to these legal loan sharks because “desperate people are willing to accept any terms to get the money.”

    That desperation is fed, in part, because there are “repercussions for soldiers who fall into debt,” including the loss of security clearance, he says. Fear of such reprisals inhibits soldiers from taking advantage of government-sponsored aid agencies that are on the base and offer loans at far better terms, including 0%.

    Soldiers “have a motivation to take care of [money needs] quickly, quietly and discretely; obviously, that’s not what ends up happening,” Kiel continues.

    Indeed, as Marketplace quotes Army Captain Brandon Archuleta: “On a good day I would be notified by the soldier that a payday lender was looking for them because they are in default. On a bad day, it would be almost like an ambush. A phone call looking for such-and-such soldier. They were relentless.”

    1. Mary Bess

      A JAG I know contends that the increasing number of suicides in the military is due primarily to money troubles and the financial predation of businesses that encircle every military base and prey on financially unsophisticated young soldiers.

  16. Hugh

    More well considered blather from Soros:

    “The euro is in the process of destroying the European Union. To some extent, this has already happened, in the sense that the EU was meant to be a voluntary association of equal states. The crisis has turned it into something that is radically different: a relationship between creditors and debtors.”

    Note the lack of human agency. If the euro is the gun, who’s been pulling the trigger? And was it the crisis or those who engineered the crisis who changed the EU into something “radically different”?

    Did Europeans support the EU because it was a “voluntary association of equal states” or because it was a voluntary association of Europe’s peoples in order to secure a fairer, juster, and more prosperous society for them all?

    And who are the “creditors” and the “debtors”? Because those who ran up the debts, the 1%s, are not the ones being coerced into paying them back. That’s falling, through their governments, on the 99%s.

    Soros also would like to see the ECB extend credit to small and mid-sized businesses, which again sounds good until you realize that in an environment of austerity it is just a recasting of supply side economics.

    Soros goes on to defend global capitalism with a riff on the tsar has bad advisors argument, saying that global capitalism is being failed by its institutions.

    And he goes on to defend himself:

    “I have always been very open about my activities. Financial crises are not caused by speculators, but by the authorities, which create or establish the wrong rules that allow speculators to do what people blame them for.”

    Unmentioned is the fact that the speculators own the authorities who make those rules.

    Soros does eventually come out against austerity, but only to endorse quantitative easing.

    Soros calls for a pro-European, anti-Establishment movement, but you have to wonder what that means given everything he has said before and given that it is people like him who own the Establishment, and given that he has just defended himself and his actions. The cynic in me says he is willing to blame the current crop of politicians, sacrifice them on the altars of public sentiment, and then quietly install a new batch of politicians at his beck and call.

    1. diane

      Thank you, and a perfect place to repeat what I just posted on yesterday’s Links thread:

      Simply put, paraphrasing what a quite elderly woman from Italy stated to me recently (and certainly not the first time I’ve heard it expressed), one can’t become (nor stay) that stunningly wealthy being kind.

      Many don’t admit it, but I believe that it’s too frightening to some who still are not falling through the cracks to acknowledge that Soros could give a rats ass about those who have been, and are being crushed. I can kind of understand that as a sort of protection mechanism from desolation for some, what I can’t understand is having the crust to chide about how wonderful Soros is to those who are literally losing their lives – in the most inhumane, white gloved, sadistically punitive manner possible – at the hands of those who consider the world their very own oyster.

      If Soros were actually humane, he would tell those who wish to interview him to go interview those being crushed. Many of whom (the crushed) are every bit as ‘brilliant’ as Soros (which I assume is what some are attracted to in him), what they lack (clearly their downfall), that he has in spades, is a thoroughly egocentric, predatory nature, …. directly underneath that wise old pwogwessive benevolent grampa god sheen so sickeningly hyped.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No need to fear austerity…if it’s applied properly.

      We need austerity for the 0.01%, instead of austerity for the 99.99%.

      We need more money for the 99.99%, instead of unlimited free money for the 0.01%.

      Put gold to productive use, or at least not worship it like a trophy wife locked up in a cage. Distribute gold to the 99.99%…either in the shape of a bar or a disk, it doesn’t matter.

      Taxpayers are the ultimate source of a sovereign currency.

      The healthier financially the taxpayers, the healthier the sovereign currency.

      What can the government give to the taxpayers to make them healthier so the sovereign currency backed ultimately by the taxpayers are healthier?

      No more currency. That’s tautology.

      Give them something tangible. Gold is one of them. Give them land maybe.

      Give them existing public infrastructure…not to a select few, but to all. But that’s essentially the same as holding title in the name of the government. So, no need to give the 99.99% existing public infrastructure. Keep them and run them well. They are already productive.

      But gold…free them. Give the 99.99% circular gold disks.

      1. mookie

        We need a maximum wage, perhaps in the form of the eisenhower-era tax code’s 91% top bracket. No exception for capital gains. The game is defined by the rules and our current rules reward and valorize anti-productive and anti-social greed.

    1. AbyNormal

      “It’s no different than the emergency powers clause in the Weimar constitution [of the German Reich]. It’s a grant of emergency power to the military to rule over parts of the country at their own discretion.”

      “This is where journalism comes in,” says Freedman. “Calling attention to an unauthorized power grab in the hope that it embarrasses the administration.”

      …while Journalist are warned with their phones tapped

      Obama, You Sir Are A COWARD.

    1. optimader

      Obama Has ‘Complete Confidence’ In Attorney General Holder= Eric, you’re Voted off the island

  17. ChrisPacific

    Last line of the Dealbreaker link is a great image:

    The difference here, though, is that Lehman isn’t complaining. Zombie-Lehman is, and zombie-Lehman is not, like, Dick Fuld, but rather a swarm of lawyers being paid very well to represent the interests of everyone who was on the losing side of the Lehman bankruptcy. And now they’re going after the winners, even the sympathetic winners, because that’s their job. And because a swarm of zombie lawyers doesn’t really feel sympathy.

  18. Elbridge Spaulding

    So, the only thing the Fed really supplies to its mandate for the fullest possible employment of the people is some sort of account-balancing service to the private bankers who are making all the money that’s available for the economy as a debt.
    Funny thing is – its all in there.
    It’s all in the power to issue and control the means of exchange for everything.
    The bankers have it. And we don’t.
    It’s all in.
    The reason the wealth accumulates to the issuers of monetary assets is in the nature of money. It answers to the arithmetic of plusses and minuses.
    Have a read of Soddy’s : Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt.

    If you don’t know who you are in this monetary asset lender-borrower equation, you may be dealing with the results of this wealth concentration in terms of the social, political, economic and human crises it manifests on the national economy.
    It’s unnecessary.
    I’ll say it another way : debt-based money.
    Euphemistically econned as endogenous.
    Why is there any form of embrace of this private baankers’ substitute for real public money?
    Either we do something about the structural monetary mechanics that automatically funnels our wealth ‘upwards’ to the fewer, or we don’t.
    We need a new money system.

      1. Elbridge Spaulding

        Yes, I now that MMT believes that.
        Just not true.
        IF the government, in sectoral finance analysis, includes the FRBNY – a private bankcorporation, THEN, just like in UK where BoE is nationalized and public, the government creates and issues three (3) percent of the money supply.
        Please read “Modernizing Money” by Ben Dyson and Andrew Jackson.
        If the government includes the ACTUAL government (Treasury), then the government creates a fraction of one (1)percent of the money supply – a.k.a. ‘coins’.

        MMT is keenly aware that what we need to restore employment is ‘money’.
        But they also accept the private bank-created endogenous debt-based money as the truism of the day.
        So, how does government create the money?

    1. Skippy

      Others beside myself have observed you and comented above. I concur with their assesments.

      Skippy… I feel mentally befouled for having this connversation, investing in the future aka kids… Man what a headjob. Barf…. Got to go, at kids footy, hopefully the experiance will numb the effects this conversation has envoked.

      1. skippy

        Footy over so… like I was saying about neoliberalism – free-market thunkit. Per you linky goodness [about]:

        The Pew Charitable Trusts is an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), founded in 1948. With over US$5 billion in assets, its stated mission is to serve the public interest by “improving public policy, informing the public, and stimulating civic life”.[1]

        The Trusts, a single entity, is the successor to, and sole beneficiary of, seven charitable funds established between 1948 and 1979 by J. Howard Pew, Mary Ethel Pew, Joseph N. Pew, Jr., and Mabel Pew Myrin—the adult sons and daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew. Honoring their parents’ religious conviction that good works should be done quietly, the original Pew Memorial Foundation [2] was a grantmaking organization that made donations anonymously. The foundation became the Pew Memorial Trust in 1956, based in Philadelphia, the donors’ hometown. Between 1957 and 1979, six other trusts were created, representing the personal and complementary philanthropic interests of the four siblings. [3][4]The Trusts remains based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with an office in Washington, D.C.

        Although today the discussion, Joseph Pew and his heirs were themselves politically conservative. The mission of the J. Howard Pew Freedom Trust, one of the seven funds, was to “acquaint the American people with the evils of bureaucracy and the values of a free market and to inform our people of the struggle, persecution, hardship, sacrifice and death by which freedom of the individual was won”. Joseph N. Pew, Jr. called Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal “a gigantic scheme to raze U.S. businesses to a dead level and debase the citizenry into a mass of ballot-casting serfs”.[5]

        Early priorities of the Pew Memorial Trust included cancer research, the American Red Cross, and a pioneering project to assist historically black colleges. Later beneficiaries included conservative organizations such as the John Birch Society, the American Liberty League, and the American Enterprise Institute, as well as environmental organizations such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Oceana, and mainstream think tanks like the Brookings Institution [6][7] The Trusts continues to fund charities in Philadelphia. – wiki

        Skip here… you could, from the very start, just have said you were a freemarket cultist idealog… but naw, that’s to honest a discussion to have out in the open. FWIW your retorts are indicative of that strip IMO, cheap smear jobs.

        skippy… “today the Pew Charitable Trusts is non-partisan and non-ideological,” – TRUTH in ***advertising*** strikes again! – weep~

    2. AbyNormal

      Optimad, you don’t put your money where your mouth is…or does your foot take up too much room?

      only 35% of Pew employees would recommend a career with Pew

      People warned me not to work here, but I, of course, thought “every place has its dysfunction, right?” Pew however, is the craziest and meanest environment you will ever find yourself in. Don’t be seduced by the fact that Pew has a lot of resources and that, as a result, you can really make a difference. It’s not the case. You will not be able to navigate the heavy bureaucracy or erratic decision making in order to get your work done. And the president is so frugal that you will not be able to use the resources effectively to achieve your project goals. This is why so many ambitious and talented people leave. I started with a cohort of 15-20 people a couple of years ago and every single person that I started with (ranging from admins to directors) has quit. Trust me this is not atypical.

      Rebecca Rimel is only concerned with two things: her external reputation and the board. She has no regard for the program work or Pew’s mission and values. I can’t tell you the countless times that I have bore witness to the president forcing her staff to undertake wasteful and ineffective projects that are not strategic, at the expense of existing work. She makes emotional, last minute and ill-informed decisions, rather than fully evaluating the actual goals and costs of her proposed projects and ideas. And none of the senior leadership has the guts to stand up for their work or challenge these bad decisions because they are terrified of her. The president regularly and indiscriminately fires people, merges programs, spends large amounts of money on pet projects, cuts effective and high-performing portfolios all because she has trouble managing staff or erratically decides one day that she doesn’t like someone or a board approved piece of work. I guess it’s easier to waste the Trusts’ investment in good work and people, rather than learn how to be an effective and confident leader. Worst of all, the board is oblivious to everything because the president carefully orchestrates every communication and meeting. In addition, the president tries to force her staff and external partners into doing what she wants by relentlessly hounding people into submission (all while hypocritically preaching the Pew motto “to be polite and trust the people”). This has gotten so out of hand that Pew’s negative reputation now precedes it with stakeholders, policy makers and funders – to the point where prominent figures refuse to be in the same room with the Pew president or program leaders, key partners refuse to work with the institution and funders refuse to direct resources to our campaigns. This doesn’t even include the army of former employees who were/are so disgusted with Pew that they are out there telling people and organizations about what a terrible institution Pew is to work for and partner with. No wonder HR is having trouble recruiting good candidates.

      Don’t think that you can keep your head down and remove yourself from this craziness either. You can’t. The demoralizing management practices extend to senior management, by fostering a state where everyone is consumed with posturing for power and attention, and where a culture of “mean” is not only tolerated, but rewarded. I’ve never seen so many high-achieving, dedicated and passionate people be made to feel worthless and insecure. People are managed from their weaknesses and not their strengths. What’s even more ineffective is the fact that it takes forever to get your work approved. And everything has to be approved by the president, who requires a 4 week review time. This is for both planned and urgent/time sensitive projects that arise in the media or congress. Plus, the only way the president or any of her senior managers communicates is through memos, rather than conversation. If you have an idea or a concern, you have to put it in a memo that will then get edited by no less than five people before it can actually be sent to its intended audience.

      Lastly, instead of being the chief internal and external ambassador for Pew, Rebecca Rimel chooses to spend the majority of her time reviewing staff contracts, many for as little as $5,000 and obsessively scouring the various Pew websites. It’s not normal for a CEO to insist on spending 95% of their time signing every contract and every letter that gets sent out (every single one) instead of being out and about on behalf of the institution.

      This is just the tip of the iceberg. Please take this small purview into the insane world of Pew seriously and spare yourself the worst career decision that you will ever make. Stay where you are or go somewhere else – just don’t come work for Pew.
      read’m all n weep

      your choice of investment mirrors you…enslavement. your such a simpleton Opt…at least you don’t hide it.

      1. skippy

        ““More Toxic Than Congress”

        Project Manager

        Washington, DC

        Current Employee – been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time for more than 3 years
        Pros – Decent Benefits, Talented co-workers, looks good on resume

        Cons – Believe what you read here and really think about whether you want to come work at Pew. The word is out on the street and the negative reviews are 100% true. So true that the president asked her IT and HR leadership “if they could just get rid of Glassdoor and make it go away.”

        OUCH… Glassdoor, make it go away – lool.

        Cults can never accept criticism, never, kills their belief fairy’s I guess.

        Skippy… XTC-Making Plans For Nigel- happy in his own world~

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