Links 6/1/13

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The island of long life Guardian

Conde Nast Traveler: Eerily Beautiful Abandoned Places Huffington Post (Carol B)

How to test Weinstein’s provocative theory of everything New Scientist (Richard Smith)

Dear American Consumers: Please Don’t Start Eating Healthfully. Sincerely, the Food Industry Scientific America (MWW). From mid-May, still worth reading.

Why a Saudi Virus Is Spreading Alarm Council on Foreign Relations. This is nuts.

Small batch artisanal high-fructose corn syrup BoingBoing (Lambert). Also nuts.

Protests on Okinawa aren’t always what they appear to be Stars and Stripes (Lance N)

‘Truly Abysmal’: Europe Needs Overhaul, EU Commissioner Says Der Spiegel (May S)

A portrait of European policy failure Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Ex-MI5 chief joins board of HSBC BBC (John L)

The Islamist government of turkey is about to fall. Minute by minute updates. Reddit (AP). Headline for the thread probably overstated, but the flip side is the MSM is underreporting this story. Oh, and see this.

Thousands call on Turkey’s leader to quit Financial Times. Take it back a bit, the MSM is catching up with social media.

How Syria Became a More Dangerous Quagmire Than Iraq CounterPunch (Carol B)

Petraeus to head KKR’s global institute USA Today. John L: “Am I seeing a pattern?” (note MI5 link above)

The Imperial Mindset CounterPunch (Carol B)

Guantánamo Bay hunger strikers call for new doctors Guardian

Is Force-Feeding Torture? Joe Nocera, New York Times. Lordie, this makes waterboarding look good.

Justice for All or Justice for Sale? American Interest (Triple Crisis)

MSNBC Lands In Fourth Place In May; Maddow Hits Ratings Lows Huffington Post. Schadenfreude alert.

Bombers could have been thwarted, Keating reports Boston Globe

Record of Meeting of the Federal Advisory Council and the Board of Governors Federal Reserve. Released at 3:00 PM. J33 believe page 15 is why Mr. Market had a fright at the end of the trading day.

Prices Barely Rise Wall Street Journal

8 College Graduates Who Are Getting Crushed By Student Debt Clusterstock (May S)

A Brand New Report Shows Just How Wrong Silicon Valley Is About A Tech Worker Shortage Clusterstock (May S). Unemployment is higher among new computer science grads than among those routinely demonized English majors. If you read Slashdot, this is no surprised. There have been regular accounts there for years on the dearth of entry level IT jobs.

CNET Founder Halsey Minor Bankrupt 5 Years After Firm’s $1.8 Billion Sale Daily Finance (Carol B)

Zosia Mamet: the trouble with crowd-funding Guardian. Quelle surprise!

New Ambac MBS complaint expands successor liability theory vs BofA Alison Frankel (Deontos)

The Dangerous Aristocrats of Finance BreakingViews

Andy Haldane: The Counter-Reformation in Banking Has Just Begun Marshall Auerback, INET (Richard Smith)

Antidote du jour. Jerry the Wagyu bull with Jack the rabbit (Scott):


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  1. Chris Engel

    Saw this article from AB that piqued my interest and confused me a little:

    on the 29th the CFPB apparently passed some new rules (toning down previous talk about major mortgage rule overhaul) and I dont know what to make of them really — listed under the 29th.

    Very little press, hard to find a good analysis of it…

  2. Can't Help It

    I am sure I am going to be branded as elitist, but as someone who has worked in IT both in the US and overseas, I can attest that there’s a shortage of truly skilled IT professionals. Nowadays the field of computer is so complex i.e. we are talking about linking hundreds/thousands of computers together (not going to be taught in less than stellar computer departments, and I am talking top 20-30) with related reputational damage should something go wrong that I simply struggle nowadays to think what an entry level graduate can contribute coming in. As such the field is now morphing to another 1% vs 99% where a relatively small number of experts who’s done Google/Getco, etc level work hops around different companies getting paid higher and higher while the rest does not get a chance to upgrade their skills.

    There will still be plenty of work non related to complex issues though, but if someone with more experience overseas can do them cheaper, it’s hard to justify doing them at higher cost in the US.

    One more thing. One thing often said in the circle of computer professionals is how a good guy is at least 10 times more productive than just an average guy, and this is so true. Computer programming is about finding the simplest solution to a given problem, and less than stellar guys often solve a problem in the MOST COMPLEX way possible adding to problems, maintenance issues, etc.

    One possible solution to this is to do some sort of masters apprentice arrangement and good firms do this through coding kata (that’s a Japanese word), etc, and I do this quite often in my work where I would sit with a couple of more junior professionals to show them how I would attack a given problem. It’s hit or miss though in my experience. People just get it or they don’t.

    1. ron

      Many industrial jobs require years of on the job experience to develop the necessary skill sets to bring a high level to decision making.In my old manufacturing experience going back to the 60’s it took years to develop workers capable of performing difficult tasks that today have been replaced by digital technology or the entire business itself has been thrown on into the business junkyard.
      The reality is that it takes time to develop skill sets from fire fighting to complicated industrial jobs. Even a very simple task such as digging a ditch has a very different look when an experienced ditch digger vs a newbie does the job.

    2. Jazzbuff

      I have been in IT for way too many years. I have worked with and managed many off-shore teams and H1B and L1 visa holders here. This has nothing to do with skills. It is all about “cheap” labor. I put quotes because there are other costs both managerial and cultural that overwhelm the apparent savings. The big advantage to H1B labor is that they are very compliant as loss of visa means a quick return to the home country. Many of the large tech companies in Silicon Valley regularly violate wage and hour laws as relates to overtime pay. Visa holders wont complain. Yes, things are getting more complex in terms of technology interactions. Almost no recent graduates have the required knowledge. On the job training is the only way to learn. There are many skilled experienced workers in The Valley who will not be hired because of age descrimination – they are over 30 or 40 years old. They are the ones who can be ten times as productive but they will not be hired.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Many … will not be hired because of age discrimination – they are over 30′

        In our youth, the over-30 cohort was called ‘The Establishment.’

        Now they’re called ‘The Unemployable.’

    3. Jagger

      ——There will still be plenty of work non related to complex issues though, but if someone with more experience overseas can do them cheaper, it’s hard to justify doing them at higher cost in the US.—–

      The problem is we don’t put to work young programmers, the US will lose programming capability in 10-20 years. We won’t have senior programmers because we never gave our young programmers experience and work. We will be totally dependent on foreign programmers who will form their own companies soon enough overseas. As a country it makes just as much sense to shift our programming overseas as it made to shift our manufacturing overseas. Great for corporations and disaster for the company. It is the job of government to look out for the best interests of the country as a whole and not allow a small segment to benefit at the expense of the overall country. Government has failed.

    4. Benny

      Ron is right but its not just the “professional” occupations that can take years to master. It takes ten years on the job to make a pipefitter worthy of the insureance liability. Screw up a steel pipe fitting and you can gut an entire shopping centre.
      Apprentice programs are in decline in every country Ive worked in. Certified artisans are getting older and older and they are less and less interested in training young workers. Copanies all want ready-made experts out of the box and expect you to find your own trainng – from trainers that can make far more taking advantage of the higher wages the shrinking number of really experienced workers can demand. I think this is a much bigger problem in the long run. What’s more important for a civilised life? Sanitation systems or the server farms at Facebook?

    5. BondsOfSteel

      What this article misses is that in STEM, many of the recent college grads _are_ foreign nationals.

      I managed teams at a top software company, and half my employees were on H-1Bs, and with the exception of the Canadians, all graduated with advanced degrees from US schools. (FYI: There are a lot of Canadians on H-1Bs.)

      More H-1Bs would be nice… but even better would be a new visa that allowed people with a US college degree, especially an advanced degree, the right to stay here 5 (or more) years after graduation. Oh, and a open two-way visa program with Canada would be nice. I wouldn’t mind working in Montreal for a while…

      P.S. People got paid based on their performance, not on their visa status.

    6. neo-realist

      I don’t work in the industry, but living in the Seattle/Puget Sound area, people that I know who work in the industry that have been laid off were able to find employment within a short time–Web Developers, Software Developers, Data Base guys. The puget sound might be an exception, but appears to be an easier nut to crack for employment than other parts of the country, particularly with the presence of Microsoft, who some of them would never work for because they refuse to drink their “koolaid”.

  3. AbyNormal

    re, CNET’s founder files bankruptcy
    “By 2012, The LA Times says, California declared Minor and his wife to be the state’s top income-tax delinquents, with an unpaid bill of $10.5 million.
    Minor blames his financial downfall on speculation outside the tech industry, which he calls his “comfort zone.” In addition to art, he invested heavily in real estate, hotels and horses.”

    !I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.! steve martin

  4. Tim Alex Graham

    When are we going to stop hearing about all these “college” students who were so dumb that they took out horrendous loans and are now boohooing because they have to pay the money back? Were they forced? I don’t get it. It is just basic: borrow money, pay it back. The problem of poor employment has been with us since 2008; can’t these looser youths figure anything out?

    1. skippy

      Personally thinking here…. they should do a class action under reps and warranty’s.

      skippy… not fit for advertised *purpose* thingy~

    2. SufferinSuccotash

      Gee, you’re right! Those lazy shiftless losers should have been born into richer families in societies where earning a decent living doesn’t depend on getting a college degree. Such lack of foresight on their part deserves severe punishment.

      1. optimader

        1. Live at home and go to a Junior College, work parttime, get good grades and make sure all credits are transferable to the State University of choice.

        2. Go to the State University, take rqd courses in sequence to matriculate in two years. Focus on an degree that has better employment prospects than a Barista. Work a part time job at school , they are available

        A very straightforward but VERY unfashionable approach to getting a college education.

        I regularly hear the backstory on how idiotically large school loans are spooled up and I shake my head.

        No an education does not have to be about “total immersion in the social experience”.

        Yes, a four year University can be hugely and stupidly expensive…. Can costs be controlled? Yes

        No, life is not fair, get over it. Plenty of non-Trust Fund children successfully graduate and get good entry level professional jobs.

        Ask me how I know.

        (BTW I still crave a good PB & J with a cup of coffee, albeit better coffee, bread, and PB and jelly these days)

        1. from Mexico

          @ optimader

          Point taken.

          But to argue that structural factors do not enter the picture is a distortion and a half-truth.

          I was able, with a lot of help from others, some who were complete strangers, to lift myself from the working-class to the middle-class using the methods you outline. The structure that allowed that to happen, however, is now in tatters.

          To argue that young people today of working-class origin have the same opportunities to lift themselves up as I did is, I believe, a lie.

          There are many differences between now and when I attended university 40 years ago, but probably the most important one is that that was a time before the merchants of debt became ubiquitous, casting their ruinous spell over every niche and corner of American life.

          1. optimader

            Sr. Mexico,
            .”.There are many differences…casting their ruinous spell over every niche and corner of American life…”

            Absolutely, Agreed.

            And quite honestly I would not want to be starting out now.

            I think we agree that College/University has become one more venue to fall down the financialization rabbit hole. That said, it is a pox on our generation (society) for going along with it, indeed, demanding the “product”, that is, all the superficial aspects of the “college experience” that have spooled up cost but not value. No less our societies “ubiquitization” of the perceived necessity of a BA of anything, rather than, say, equally weighting trades education or even OJT.

            Bottom line, there are a lot of kids that allow themselves to be stove-piped into college that are not prepared for it, that really don’t belong there, that ultimately either don’t matriculate or leave with w/ a “BA in BS” of questionable practical utility and a big note.

            The fact that worthless commercial colleges that are merely vehicles for debt generation are STILL qualified for shilling student loans is unconscionable and could be stopped next week if that public mandate existed.

            (sidebar.. read a piece here on COSTCO.. and my Hat Tip to that organization. I bought stock in them ~15 years ago because of my respect for their biz model and the CEO.

            Costco does not require a “BA in BS” to be hired into an entry level living wage job. Instead, they cull through employees like a hot knife w/ a probation program. If one demonstrates initative and persists, the organization recognizes and rewards contribution. Job hint to any unemployed readers)

            Bottom line, a young person now has to be more vigilant than ever to make reasonably prudent choices. I see plenty that do and plenty that don’t.

          2. optimader

            Sr. Mexico

            I’ll watch that video later, thx for posting it. I have been to China enough to realize (for me) it would be a version of hell on earth to live there.

            I think the Chinese economy/society is a veneer façade that will not end well, much to the shock of MSM that shill it’s “miracle”.
            Even with the damage wrought to higher education in this country, do not think there is equivalency in China relative to quality of education.

        2. PunchNRun

          Best to be born with 40 years experience so all this wisdom is readily available and you can ignore all the experts telling you how the investment of a great education will pay off so borrow the money now and get started on that high paying career sooner.

    3. diptherio

      Consider: you are eighteen years old, hardly more than a tall child; you have been told since kindergarten that a college degree is not only advisable, but necessary if you don’t want to end up mopping public restrooms for a living. But tution is increasing nearly five times as fast as the CPI, which means it’s hella’ expensive.

      Luckily, the helpful university people get you into a subsidized student loan, (which practically every student does). All you have to do is sign on the line, simple as that. Don’t worry about paying it back: everyone knows that your college degree will get you a good job come graduation and loan repayment will be a cinch. Besides, what other options do you have to pay for school (the immense value of which, you’ll recall, has been drilled into our heads since childhood)? There is military service, I suppose…which do you prefer a little debt or the chance to kill and/or be killed?

      Then you graduate with $20-100,000 worth of debt and, shucks, the economy happened to tank while you were in school. The Feds then pass a law that says you can never get out from under your student loan debt, even if you file bankruptcy. You find out too late what the “fallacy of composition” means in real life (i.e. everyone’s got a BA now, so yours aint’ worth shit, despite what you were told)*.

      Then, when you register your disapproval with a system that nudges (rather roughly) people (children really) into taking on massive amounts of debt, some genius pipes up and tells you to “take responsibility” for your actions. Because, you know, teenagers should totally be expected to buck the social system that they have been raised in and call bullshit on all those well-dressed, serious, adults at the Universtiy who are assuring them that Stafford loans are the way to go. Riiiight…

      *Meanwhile, your alma mater decide to give the college president and the football coach a pay bump, while axing a few more adjunct professors.

      1. psychohistorian

        Excellent characterization of the situation.

        Isn’t it amazing that the Big Lie machine can turn your/my view of reality into the lie of only supporting college welfare kings and queens.

        The people that perpetuate these Lies are puppets of the inheritance fed Plutocracy we live under.

      2. J.

        Very true, and the parents have been indoctrinated the same way: they believe the children need a name brand degree, the most expensive one that can be afforded.

        I’m watching some of my friends go through this right now. They can’t even get their minds around going against the conventional wisdom.

        Nobody has the faintest idea that the paradigm has changed.

    4. Lena

      IMO, not only is the issue that university costs are so out of reach, a loan is completely necessary, but the fact that the interest rates are ridiculous. Corporations can borrow at nearly 0%; why should students pay 6.8%??

    5. ron

      I paid for my 3 children to attend college and as a result they were debt free upon graduation and able to use there new found work income on supporting themselves. Most college students do not come from families able to pay for there over priced education and need a combination of funding sources to get degrees, it would seem that our society should offer our brightest students the best and least expensive alternatives to fund there college experience rather then create a system that keeps them in financial slavery upon graduation.

      1. petridish

        It is impossible to take a comment on education, especially HIGHER education, seriously from an individual who doesn’t know the correct usage of the words there, their and they’re.

        While you may have made a valid point, it’s just not possible to ignore the incorrect usage THREE TIMES IN ONE PARAGRAPH. It makes your comment unreadable (unless one reads out loud.)

        1. AbyNormal

          it did give pause to my lips :o))

          Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

        2. from Mexico

          @ petridish

          I really must object. Your pedantry is one of the ways elites maintain control.

          Speaking of the superior articulateness of the elite, and especially of the technocrats, Daniel Yanelovich explained in Coming to Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World:

          American leadership is recruited from the specialized worlds of the legal profession, business management, finance, the foreign policy community, the higher ranks of the civil service, academia, the sciences, the church, journalism, and so on… They belong to distinct subcultures, each with its own outlook. Often they are graduates of elite colleges and universities, which indoctrinates them with a noneradicable feeling of superiority to the general public…

          They assume that they have much of value to impart to the public, without imagining that the public has much of value to impart to them.


          [Language] serves many purposes; a principal one is a gatekeepr function. No force is more powerful in maintaining the distinction between insiders and outsiders: if you do not speak the lingo, you are automatically an outsider, which thereby safeguards the subculture from invasion by outsiders and preserves it for insiders.

          1. petridish

            OK, OK. I take it back. I’ve been accused of many things before, but being an “elite pedantic” has cut me to my core.

            From now on, I will suffer these grammatical insults in silence. But know this: I will always be watching for the use of to when too is correct, of it’s when its is correct and, my own personal hell, the creation of the plural using an APOSTROPHE.

            And somehow I will find a way to add the transgression to the perpetrator’s PERMANENT RECORD. (I hope you all know I’m just kidding. There ain’t no way I’m taking these language errors lying down.)

          2. charles sereno

            @ petridish
            Hell IS a personal choice. Hang on to your orthographic rules. Something solid beneath your feat (I’m not being sarcastic). If you agree with me, it’s a lot more transparent than economics.

          3. JTFaraday

            …”From now on, I will suffer these grammatical insults in silence. But know this: I will always be watching for the use of to when too is correct, of it’s when its is correct and, my own personal hell, the creation of the plural using an APOSTROPHE.”

            Dude, seriously? I write some needlessly convoluted sentences on this blog, hopelessly afflicted with my own interior rhythm and syntax (due to laziness probably). I also misuse the comma.

            But I had to read that second sentence of yours three times before I figured out what you were saying, even knowing the context.

            I’m sure it’s technically correct.

          4. Robert Hurst

            No, using language correctly is power. It is DIY. Otherwise you have to pay somebody who knows how to use language to edit your spiel into coherence in order for it to be taken seriously. Eliminate the middleman.

            But then, Naked Capitalism posts have more grammar errors and typos — and more substance — than just about anything on the web.

            RE There/their… even though I know how to use these words it often happens that I just accidentally type ‘their’ when I meant ‘there.’ More of a typo than anything else. Looks worse than that though. If you misuse their/there and then/than in the same sentence it looks like you didn’t bother or simply couldn’t figure out something that is very easy to figure out.

          5. AbyNormal

            Robert, we’re tripping over your power-trip

            I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, ‘There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge?

            The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.

        3. optimader

          Unclear use of language/grammar is a slippery slope to a self-imposed class distinction, no less a risk of ultimately not being able to convey a clear and concise thought to a larger audience.
          And yes, it’s difficult to look at sometimes.

          OTOH, maybe more a reflection on education than intelligence/critical thinking skills? I for one would probably be doomed trying to learn the nuance of English as a second language.

          Fortunately the human brain is quite sympathetic to filtering appallingly misspelled written language into a perceived order (even if it is not necessarily the intended thought being conveyed?) File under: misunderstood sarcasm)

          1. LucyLulu

            Many of our readers are foreign-born and English is their second, third, or later language. Of those who use perfect grammar, for how many languages can you write and use perfect grammar and syntax?

            I can use perfect grammar and spelling if I don’t make careless mistakes. It was never difficult for me. However I’d prefer to read an insightful, thought-provoking, or even humorous, comment with some minor errors than some boring dribble that is perfectly composed.

            This is the comment section of a financial blog, not English 101. Is it really that hard to translate there to their?

        4. craazyman

          If sumbody can’t spel rite they shouldent be posting commints becuz there only embarasing themselfs and making the rest of us waist are tyme reeding an unedukated opinyun.

        5. lambert strether

          From Mexico: So, you think that non-elites are too stupid to spell correctly? E.P. Thompson must be rolling his grave; I’m thinking of the Correspondence Societies where, as I am sure you will be the first to understand, correct spelling and usage (not to mention fine writing) are essential to correspondence. Lots of self-education going on there.

          Labeling the person who’s investing time in giving you the opportunity to improve your work is simply foolish. Knock the chip off your shoulder and clever up.

    6. Jackrabbit

      How much should we protect people from themselves?

      Nobody forced you to smoke.
      Nobody forced you to eat fast food.
      Nobody forced you to take a sub-prime loan.
      Nobody forced you to take a student loan.
      Nobody forced you to burn oil (contributing to global warming).
      and on, and on…

      But these are systemic risks that most people can not judge well. And behaviors that are risky are, or are practically, addicting. Furthermore, there are predatory capitalists that have no moral/ethical problem with destroying people lives to make a buck and try to block any attempt to regulate or warn consumers.

      1. F. Beard

        Nobody forced you to take a sub-prime loan.
        Nobody forced you to take a student loan.

        What part of “loans create deposits” = counterfeiting don’t you get?

        1. Jackrabbit


          These are meant to be examples of how unscrupulous companies take advantage of an all-too-trusting public.

          I thought that was clear in the paragraph below the examples, but maybe I should’ve put these recriminations in quotes because they represent the uncaring push-back of free-market(*) capitalists.

          (*)The costs they push on to society are NOT free.

      2. skippy

        @jackrabbit… what part of advertising cortex injections from birth don’t you understand…

        1. Jackrabbit


          I do understand. Maybe I wasn’t clear.

          These are examples of how people have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous companies.

      3. Jackrabbit

        It seems that some people misunderstood my comment.

        Just for the record, I was responding to a comment that read, in part: “When are we going to stop hearing about all these “college” students who were so dumb that they took out horrendous loans and are now boohooing because they have to pay the money back? Were they forced?”

        My comment mocked this by listing several big scandals/scams that had met with the same kind of push-back.

        While ‘we’ (via government) have not done well at protecting naive, unsuspecting people from the unscrupulous, the question of how far we go to do so remains open.

        When a ‘free-marketer’ or libertarian claims that people should be free to choose – even if it is harmful to them in ways that they can’t fully appreciate – then AT WHAT POINT do you draw the line so as to protect people (from themselves AND/OR the unscrupulous).

        1. skippy

          Toe in sand…

          Knowledge (what is and what is not known) plus choice = power

          Power plus + behavior = increased human welfare (that is, personal and public health)


          skippy… it would not be so hard if for the ownership of information and the poisoning of the well, so too speak, so people could make informed choices. Seems that there is a – stronger – behavioral actor in play… ummm?

          1. Jackrabbit

            I think Elizabeth Warren would say that the only thing we can demand is appropriate labeling.

            But the battle over ‘appropriate’ is a moving target. Political influence, information asymmetry, and propaganda give the corporations a big edge.

            More and more, it seems like its ‘caveat emptor’ all the way, and any trust in gov/corp protection makes one vulnerable. In large part, this is a natural outgrowth of money-in-politics.

    7. wunsacon


      – Taxpayers guarantee private lenders “free money” by guaranteeing loans (of, ironically, taxpayer-subsidized/provided money) to students. The decoupling of reward/risk encourages excessive lending.

      – Before 2005, the federal government used to protect students in bankruptcy from their creditors. Now, it doesn’t. Instead, it burdens these students for life. Prior generations didn’t contend with that.

      The combination is oppressive.

      I also agree *strongly* with diptherio’s first par.

      1. wunsacon

        Of course, the student-loan scheme is a gubmint policy failure. In turn, of course, that’s the policy success of do-little-steal-lots capitalists who finance candidates for office.

      2. from Mexico

        The student loan debacle is just the latest scam perpetrated upon the American people by the merchants of debt.

        1. optimader

          The student loan debacle is just the latest scam perpetrated upon the American people by the merchants of debt.


          The inexorable raising of the cost to go to “institutions of higher education”is the product of long trend before the financial cliff dive of schools to pour money into non academic facilities, bureaucratic overhead, and other detritus that doesn’t contribute to the core mission of education –competing with each other to present the more alluring “experience”.

          They marketed to a willing (read: demanding) clientele, and of course the financial aide staff conspired w/ the student loan entities, the former motivated to populate the headcount to cover O&M costs and the later being behaviourly predictable loan sharks. People were STUPID ENOUGH TO BUY IN, because it had become fashionably acceptable in this country to live off cash flow while carrying unsustainable debt in a post-financialization society.

          No one had a gun to their head to barrow recourse loan monies, regardless of payment terms.

          Now what is the remedy? That should be between those that took loans, those that made poorly evaluated loans and…period! The operative part of that is settle it without the now seemingly acceptable remedy of public wealth stripping.

          1. from Mexico


            Is it?

            There is quite a correlation between the blowing of debt bubbles and the proliferation of non-productive investment. Michael Hudson and Steve Keen have written voluminously on this correlation, and make some pretty convincing arguments that debt bubbles cause malinvestment.

            As this graph shows, the US is now suffering from the greatest debt bubble in its history:


            It is far greater than the debt bubble which caused the Great Depression.

            And what causes debt bubbles? I would cite two principle causes:

            1) Deregulation.

            As this paper explains:

            Factors Underlying the Buildup in Household Debt

            In each of these episodes, a loosening of credit constraints allowed households to increase their debt. This increase in credit availability was associated with financial innovation and liberalization and declining lending standards. A wave of household optimism about future income and wealth prospects also played a role.


            2) Serial bailouts of the banks and the financial sector.

            In Bad Money, Kevin Phillips lists 12 different occasions since 1982 that the United States government has moved heaven and earth to bailout the financial sector for its imprudent lending behavior.

            Now let me ask you a question. And I know this is a really difficult question, but here goes. Was it working-class people who went to Washington and spent billions upon billions of dollars lobbying over the last 30 years to do away with regulaiton and to bailout the banks not just once, but a dozen times?

        2. optimader

          Sr. Mexico,
          but it drills deeper.
          “…perpetrated on (and accepted by) Americans”.
          As a society we have been willing victims. Nothing to be proud of, but the inability to evaluate risk or just disregard it ULIMATLY bears some individual culpability.
          Just because a dodgy looking individual is selling Heroin at the corner, and the first six months are at an attractive introductory price, and heck “my neighbors have one in the dive way”, DOES NOT mean it is sensible to victimize oneself.

          1. optimader

            BTW, I concur with the quoted excerpts.. That institutional risk is inoculated with public funds is an ongoing, immoral trainwreck IMO.
            Made a bad loan? stockholders and bondholders should live with it. Made too many bad loans? the institution should be replaced with one with a better risk/reward model. Quite simple actually, that is if the regulator institutions are not run by corrupt appointees reflecting the will of the corrupt elected representatives.

            Unfortunately the Public has very modest requirements when it come to fidelity to the rule of law…apparently.

    8. Dr. Device

      From the Last Psychiatrist:

      Imagine a large corporate machine mobilized to get you to buy something you don’t need at a tremendously inflated cost, complete with advertising, marketing, and branding that says you’re not hip if you don’t have one, but when you get one you discover it’s of poor quality and obsolete in ten months. That’s a [Bachelor of Arts degree]…

      …Fact: college is a waste, but we haven’t yet hit that point in society where we can bypass it. So we have to pass through another generation of massive college debt. How to pull in the suckers in? Answer: these articles. By getting you to say, “these hipsters should be able to get jobs because they are college graduates!” you are saying, “college is worth something.” It isn’t. But by directing your hate towards hipsters, you are protecting the system against change.

      Recommend you and everyone else read the whole thing, and even the entire “Hipsters on Food stamps” series if you’ve got the time.

        1. skippy

          Going bio-architecture myself, help ramp it up over here.

          skippy… sadly as its not a job creator enterprise… there is friction from the usual suspects.

  5. AbyNormal

    ‘shackle OBAMA to a special chair (which looks like the electric chair); apply the head restraints if he resists; push a feeding tube painfully down his nose for a half-hour or so of ingestion of nutritional supplements; transfer OBAMA to a “dry cell,” where, if he vomits, strap him back into the chair until GMO food is digested’

    A Journalist Chronicles Lives After Guantanamo Bay
    (do not drive while listening to this)

  6. financial matters

    What’s Inside the Government’s Deal With Citigroup? Jonathan Weil, Bloomberg

    This is a link from yesterday but it’s causing me some confusion. If the Fed is using QE to buy MBS from the GSE’s how does that money show up as a reserve balance at the banks. It seems that it would have more of an effect on boosting the stock price of Fannie and Freddie..

    “”When the FHFA filed the 17 lawsuits, it said the bond issuers had misled Fannie and Freddie about the soundness of the loans underlying $196 billion of mortgage-backed securities. Other defendants include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of America Corp., and Ally Financial Inc. — the last of which is still majority-owned by the government””

    1. LucyLulu

      The Federal Reserve is buying Fannie/Freddie MBS AND buying Treasury bonds from the banks, for a total of $85B/month. The latter contributes to the banks’ increased reserves.

      The article from yesterday is only tangentially related to the former above. FHFA, who is the conservator for Fannie and Freddie, is suing the large banks over $196B of crappy loans the banks sold to F & F (didn’t meet stated underwriting standards) during the run-up to the financial crisis. Fannie and Freddie, now the federal government, insures these mortgages when they default, i.e. must pay off the remaining principle to the investors. The link between the two is that the Federal Reserve has been buying some of the loan pools that contain these crappy loans, about $40B/month assuming they stuck to their original plan.

      1. financial matters

        Yes, thanks, I follow that. It seems that some have been claiming that all of the Fed’s QE is just an exchange of financial instruments with the banks reserves.

        As you say ‘insures these mortgages when they default, i.e. must pay off the remaining principal to the investors.’; So this QE is leaking back into the real economy including many financial institutions who were holding these products. This continues to support housing prices artificially and provides money outside the reserve system for various carry trades.

        This seems like a very obvious public pumping up of Fannie and Freddie stock and yet we get comments like this ‘“The turn in the housing market has helped Fannie generate profits again,” ‘

  7. Ann

    Not only are there very few positions for entry-level programmers, there are no positions are intermediate-level people either. Senior level people, on the other and, can write their own tickets.

    Since the bigger companies started offshoring jobs and bringing in people on H1B visas, most of the available jobs are concentrated among the smaller companies for whom there’s no argument these methods are cost-effective. But smaller companies have smaller staffs, and realistically have to perform with fewer people. So there’s always room for someone in a senior role, and occasionally they create a entry-level job for someone to do the gruntwork. Nothing left for anyone in-between.

    Once upon a time the bigger companies could support people in the middle, skill-wise, and in a year or two you might be ready for that senior position. Not anymore.

    1. Ned Ludd

      AJE Reporter Rawya Rageh is posting updates on Turkey and #OccupyGezi.

      Rawya Rageh:Nationalist party (14% in recent elex) joining protest alongside liberals & leftists in #OccupyGezi protests #Turkey

      Rawya Rageh:Protests now are in İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Bursa, Antalia, Eskisehir

      Rawya Rageh:Protesters breaking police siege of Gezi Park

    2. Ned Ludd

      Rawya Rageh posted a picture from one of the hotels in Istanbul’s Taksim Square that is handing out lemons. According to the New York Times, “shopkeepers offered sliced lemons to soothe the burning sensation of the [tear] gas, and pharmacists doled out ointments for skin burns.”

      The chaos followed a dawn raid on an Occupy Wall Street-style encampment in Gezi Park, near Taksim, in which the police also used tear gas to drive away protesters and later barricaded the park. In an earlier raid on the camp, on Thursday, the police set fire to some tents. The brief occupation of the park, which began after bulldozers had started to take down trees, had taken on a festival-like atmosphere, with yoga, barbecues and musical performances, while those gathered chanted, “Taksim is ours! Istanbul is ours!” […]

      “It’s all about superiority, and ruling over the people like sultans,” said one of the protesters, Seckin Barbaros, 26, a former journalist who is now unemployed. “When were we asked what we wanted? We have three times the amount of mosques as we do schools. Yet they are building new mosques. There are eight shopping malls in the vicinity of Taksim, yet they want to build another.” […]

      She added: “Where are the opera houses? The theaters? The culture and youth centers? What about those? They only choose what will bring them the most profit without considering what we need.”

      Another demonstrator, Seyfettin Sabaz, who is training to be a dentist, said: “Many of the Turkish public think that we are here as environmentalists to save our sycamore trees. But that’s not it. We are here to stand up against those that are trying to make a profit from our land.”

      Mahir Zeynalov, a former LA Times correspondent, posted an article about the “Lady in red who started İstanbul protests”.

    3. Working Class Nero

      In their fight against Islamists, the Turkish liberal / left have a huge advantage over people in Europe who are starting to resist creeping Islamization — the Turks don’t have a liberal / left calling them racists for not wanting to be dominated by Islamists someday

    4. Chris A

      Al Jazeera English was all over this story this morning. They are very useful, especially at times like this, while the likes of CNN may be snoozing.

  8. Ned Ludd

    From the CounterPunch article, on how the civil war in Syria is impacting Turkey:

    Three years ago, Ankara was able to deal peaceably with Syria, Iraq and Iran, but now it has poisonous relations with all three. Engagement in Syria on the side of the rebels isn’t popular at home and the government is clearly surprised that the conflict hasn’t yet ended. There are signs that the violence is spilling over Turkey’s 510-mile frontier with Syria, across which insurgent groups advance and retreat at will. On 11 May, two bombs in a Turkish border town killed 49 people, almost all Turkish. An angry crowd of Turks marched down the main street chanting ‘kill the Syrians’ as they assaulted Syrian shopkeepers. Arab politicians wonder whether the Turks know what they are getting into and how they will handle it.

    Cockburn’s article looks at the other countries in the region and how they are affected by the civil war in Syria. “In Iraq, the Syrian civil war has reignited a sectarian conflict that never entirely ended. The destabilising of his country that Maliki predicted in the event of an opposition victory [in Syria] has already begun.”

    1. from Mexico

      It just goes to show that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t cast stones.

      Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who many describe as being just as dictatorial, authoritarian and brutal as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, threw his unbridled support behind the insurgents in Syria. Now he finds himself facing an insurection.

      Oh well, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

        1. Ned Ludd

          There is a brief mention of Turkey’s economy in the article by The New York Times:

          The anger in the streets is also a rebuke to the economic policies of the government, which have relied heavily on construction and new housing in Istanbul to power economic growth. Turkey has had a resilient economy that emerged relatively unscathed from the global financial crisis, eclipsing the performance of Europe and many other nations. But some analysts worry the government’s focus on construction projects could lead to a bubble much like the one in the United States that led to the economic collapse of 2008.

          Richard Seymour, writing at The Guardian, mentions that “The privatisation process has led to accelerated inequality, accompanied by repression. But it has also attracted floods of international investment, leading to growth rates of close to 5% a year.” Seymour links to an article at Ahram Online that I have not read yet: “A warning from Erdogan’s Turkey”:

          Often cited as a model for Arab Spring countries, Turkey is marked by a massive divide between rich and poor as well as heavy state repression of labour unionists, journalists, students and Kurdish nationalists

        2. from Mexico

          Rapid runup of private debt?

          Rapidly increasing current account deficit?

          Rapidly increasing trade deficit?

          It worked great too for Ireland and Spain, until it didn’t.

        3. Ned Ludd

          The Ahram Online article, which The Guardian linked to, lays out evidence that, “Growth has, in other words, been coupled with little social benefit”.

          In 2001, the official unemployment rate hovered around 10.3 percent. This was the year of the big economic crisis in Turkey. Since then—that is, during the 12 years of AKP rule—unemployment never fell below 9.5 percent, a level that it now maintains.

          Official unemployment rates are notoriously unreliable, however. Labour unions, for example, estimate unemployment at 15 percent, while youth unemployment is estimated at 23 percent, as it is growing at much higher rate than average unemployment in society.

          The author also cites a “recent survey of the Ministry of Family and Social Rights [that] showed that close to 40 percent of Turkish society lives at, or below, minimum wage, set at 773 Turkish Lira per month”. According to Google, the minimum wage of 773 Turkish Lira per month is, as of now, worth about US$412 or €318. “In addition, 6.4 percent of Turkish families live on less than TL 430 a month, a level that brings hunger and malnutrition.”

          1. charles sereno

            Thanks to all for throwing light on the “Turkish Miracle.” Should the incipient “Turkish Spring” persist, and, of course, I hope so, I also hope it doesn’t follow the trajectory of the “Egyptian Spring.” The waters ever flow anew. Alas, punishing repression followed by a measured respite seems to be the favored, successful tactic du jour.

      1. peace

        Turkey Bloody Friday

        Policeman about to club an unknowing calm old man! (requires Facebook login)

        Huge Protests across Turkey (requires Facebook login)

        More Protests (requires Facebook login)

        Residents across Istanbul protested from their balconies Friday night. Reminds me of the movie Network. I bet some of them are yelling in Turkish “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

        Before the crackdown there were calls to action including this comparison of Taksim Park to New York’s Central Park

        Call to action Video asked citizens to “Stand up for Taksim Park!” (requires Facebook login)

        Hat tip to @unigenclik

  9. Chris of Stumptown

    I think Yves mischaracterizes the state of computer science grads. The article does not say that computer science grads have higher unemployment than English grads, in fact the article says the opposite.

    The information systems graduates have a high unemployment but this has never been a reputable degree among those that do software. I would prefer to hire a self taught kid who has learned python or C# or whatever versus an information systems graduate.

    I can well imagine that corporate America outside of software companies has less of a need for programmers. I’m not saying that, because I don’t know, but I could believe the claims other commenters are making. But as someone involved in the software field, its as vibrant as it has ever been, and recruiting good people is not easy. And from what I see graduates are getting taken up in the workplace.

    1. optimader

      “…I would prefer to hire a self taught kid who has learned python or C# or whatever versus an information systems graduate…”

      Yes yes yes… It’s presumably just more difficult to do that in the Corporate Leviathan in most instances?

      Bottom line, you can teach someone to use tools, you cannot teach innate creativity. (File next to: Commercial Artists, hire them based on their portfolio or artwork, not the degree or school)

      1. psychohistorian

        That works for small business but unfortunately big business does not hire creative types except at the very top. All the rest implement and help manage the package decisions the top ones decide on…..and don’t ask questions.

    2. Doubt Wisdom

      What is the difference between what the computer science graduates have studied and what the information systems graduates have studied?

      1. Chris of Stumptown

        I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t know what is in the typical “information systems” curricula. I’ve never even received a resume for a programming position from a graduate either, which may explain my ignorance. When I check google, the first link that pops up is for DeVry, which should indicate something.

    3. Howard Beale IV

      Who cares about C#, Java or Python, when there’s dearth of IBM mainframe skill sets (CICS, IMS, Assembler) that haven’t been taught in academia in decades, yet are still needed as the cost and risk of moving off of system that are 20+ years old and have been heavily optimized for the business is no walk in the park?

      1. Chris of Stumptown

        Who cares? I do, for one. I wouldn’t hire a CICS expert to staff a java or python shop. I think the typical silicon valley hiring manager feels the same way, which was the presumable point of the article, no?

  10. Ned Ludd

    Salon’s Alex Pareene contrasts MSNBC’s viewers, who are “young liberals”, with Fox’s viewers, who are “angry old people”. He provides no evidence, though, that young people prefer MSNBC. Here are the actual ratings for what Huffington Post calls “the all-important A25-54 demo”:

    All Day
    • Fox: 236,000 viewers 25-54
    • MSNBC: 115,000

    • Fox: 308,000 viewers 25-54
    • MSNBC: 175,000

    I used to watch Countdown in the early years, when the show was unpredictable and varied. Even later, I would still check the web for interviews with people like Jonathan Turley. When was the last time Jonathan Turley was on MSNBC? I checked awhile back and it seemed he disappeared from the network about six months after Obama became president.

    Today’s MSNBC hosts and analysts are smug and shallow, with no principles other than cheer-leading Obama and the Democrats who agree with Obama. The numbers show neither young people nor old people want to watch.

    1. petridish

      The problem is simple, really. The relentless Republican bashing on MSNBC is just as contrived, uninformative and boring as the relentless Democrat bashing that is done on Fox.

      And Rev. Al Sharpton’s tortured attempts to negotiate the English language are just plain physically painful. This sandwiched in between TWO HOURS of Chris Matthews’ manic raving and constant saliva spray.

      Who has any energy left for Hayes or Maddow, let alone Lawrence O’Donnell?

    2. Chris Engel

      Hayes and Maddow are okay, and you’ll get some independent thought out of them and they’ve both demonstrated an understanding of the corruption and corporate influence of both parties.

      The rest are cheerleaders.

    3. bob

      MSNBC is a joke. Going back to Phil Donahue being “sidelined” due to his questions about iraq straight through to Ratigan.

      Even the name…MS stood for Microsoft…right?

      The right gets the mainstream media (fox is mainstream by any measure) and the branded, prez approved “left” gets a washed up cable ‘concept’ channel.

  11. wunsacon

    >> Ex-MI5 chief joins board of HSBC BBC (John L)

    How closely do these two industries work together, along with political coordination financed and thus working on behalf of “the wealthy” (a revolving community of interest that retains its “interests” and goals despite membership changes)?

  12. rich

    Taibbi: Allegedly SEC Policy Not To Pursue Investment Management Fraud Allegations LIke Madoff

    It sometimes looks like open season on the small investor and the public at large with some very selective enforcement of the laws.

    “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

    Why Didn’t the SEC Catch Madoff? It Might Have Been Policy Not To
    By Matt Taibbi
    May 31, 5:20 PM ET

    More and more embarrassing stories of keep leaking out the SEC, which is beginning to look somehow worse than corrupt – it’s hard to find the right language exactly, but “aggressively clueless” comes pretty close to summing up the atmosphere that seems to be ruling the country’s top financial gendarmes.

    The most recent contribution to the broadening canvas of dysfunction and incompetence surrounding the SEC is a whistleblower complaint filed by 56-year-old Kathleen Furey, a senior lawyer who worked in the New York Regional Office (NYRO), the agency outpost with direct jurisdiction over Wall Street.

    Furey’s complaint is full of startling revelations about the SEC, but the most amazing of them is that Furey and the other 20-odd lawyers who worked in her unit at the NYRO were actually barred by a superior from bringing cases under two of the four main securities laws governing Wall Street, the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and the Investment Company Act of 1940.

    1. optimader

      “aggressively clueless”

      hmmm..try “evil, criminality enabling bureaucratic ciphers”?

      Call it what it is.

  13. Hugh

    Re: gene patenting and the MERS virus. If you own the patent for the gene, why aren’t you responsible for what the gene does?

    1. Susan the other

      No, no, no. It is person who gets sick who is to be sued for using your patent without permission.

    2. Hugh

      Well now, apparently there is a second Hugh on this site. Perhaps he could be Hugh the Other.

      1. diane

        And, quite apparently, that Hugh the Other is You.

        From all I’ve seen, been reading this site for at least a year, his comment (which you’ve responded to as if he is a fraud), fits perfectly with his outrage against those robber barons who are attempting to destroy anything decent worth staying alive to defend.

          1. diane

            You are so very welcome, dear ( ;0) ).

            The defenders of a hideous, $adiStic, barbaric, lifeless $y$tem appear to be all over the map here, as the outrage against that same hideous, $adiStic, barbaric, lifeless $y$tem increases overwhelmingly here.

            ( :0) )

          2. diane

            (I would swear on my life, that the Power$ that be have whored Html Coders who are stunningly down on their ‘luck’ (or worse, simply sleazebags) into cooking up bot software – ultimately in order to troll those places where the most damning condemnations are being declared – that deliberately introduces deep mistrust, confusion and blather, to obscure and destroy relevant commentary.

            Hugh the Other, may just be software. There were phone bots which answered calls regarding train trips, in the early 21st ‘century’, which were quite easily mistaken for humans, as those bots excercised ‘simple logic.’ There is now software which can write sports articles and appear to be a human author, at a minimum.)

          3. efschumacher

            Diane says: I would swear on my life, that the Power$ that be have whored Html Coders who are stunningly down on their ‘luck’ (or worse, simply sleazebags) into cooking up bot software –

            The difference between Information Systems graduates and Computer Science graduates: Any information systems grad can write html (providing it doesn’t require too much javascript). It takes real computer science talent to write, deploy and exploit a botnet.

          4. diane

            Thanks for that correction, looks like I should have used the term Computer Science Grads (and their equivalents in bot deployment abilities), versus using the words Html Coders.

        1. Hugh

          Nothing apparent about it. The orginal comment is good. It just was not made by the person who has been commenting on this site for the last few years under the name Hugh, because that’s me.

          1. diane

            Oh, I thought for sure the first one was you, since Hugh is not so common of a name. I’m sorry. I guess at least you’re both very generally on the same side, but it’s unfortunate that the filters can’t block duplicate poster names. Hope the new Hugh adds something to discern between the two of you.

  14. b2020

    A comment on the Haldane speech and the article about it:

    I have come to believe that TBTFail/Jail/Manage is a red herring. One of the most important aspects of the HSBC “settlement” by the DOJ was that the DOJ refused not only to prosecute the corporation or its current officers, but explicitly even executives that had already been replaced were considered off limits. TBTF pretends not only that the institution cannot be changed without unacceptable economic impact, but that the same immunity-by-necessity extends to current *and past* corporate officers.

    Former executives are not TBTF. Presumably, corporate executives are replaceable. In logical extension of SarbOx, to change TBTF institutions you have to target the executives. To be able to target the executives, they best be *former* executives – surely, a sound financial institution will not be affected by the fate of its former employees. Hence, it should be mandated by law that any settlement deal requires the replacement of the executives under investigation, as well as full corporation with the investigation of the soon-to-be-former executives. To avoid hostage taking, settlements cannot be negotiated with any current executive – the board of directors, or even shareholders directly, are to be the point of contact. If former executives wish to settle their own personal cases, any such settlement should be mandated by law to bar them from ever accepting an executive position again.

    The deceit is that we are discussing institutions larger than life, not people. But the crimes committed are not necessitated by the institution, they are merely permitted and incentivized. Executives have a choice, just like elected representatives. Incumbency is not a necessity, especially not for the materially wealthy. The law expects all of us to resist incentives. It might not be possible to dismantle the institutions by fiat, but it surely is possible to dismantle the careers of those that failed to discharge their responsibilities.

    1. Susan the other

      I was disappointed by Haldane’s speech too. It sounded like very watered-down Haldane. The tidbit about how derivatives used to be stuffed into the depositary until Lehman collapsed and everyone was aghast at the tax bill. Huh? I thought US banks just passed a papal bill allowing the TBTFs to stuff all their derivatives into the depositary. Is this the diff between British and US banks? Has this practice just been stopped in the UK? The reason I get the feeling this TBTF talk is a deception is because derivatives are the problem and they have to find a way to wind them all down, which will take years. Especially since they haven’t outlawed them yet because they are the best way to wind down previous derivatives. So Marshall Auerbach calmly asserts it will take another 20 years to reduce the size of the TBTFs. What the world will look like in 20 years is anybody’s guess. I feel like there’s no now now.

      1. Chris Rogers

        Susan & B2020,

        You should not be surprised that Mr. Haldane has toned his language down a bit of late – may I remind you, when he side with the likes of the FDIC’s Hoenig in late 2012 against both TBTF and the over-complexities of Basel III, he was slapped down by none other than Mark Carney – at the time Governor of the Bank of Canada and now Haldane’s boss at the Bank of England.

        Further, and in relation with derivatives regulation, please be aware a large spate is currently going on between the EU and the CFTC with regards section VII of Dodd-Franks and extra-territorial reach of said legislation.

        In other words, Haldane now has to watch his lip, which is regrettable given he’s one of the most ablest staff at the BoE presently and would have made a great Governor – hopefully, one day his time will come, and then we can have a real discussion on the actual monetary system globally, which is in need of much TLC I can tell you.

  15. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Why a Saudi Virus Is Spreading Alarm

    More confirmation that the unregulated free market will be the death of us all.

  16. BondsOfSteel

    RE: 8 College Graduates Who Are Getting Crushed By Student Debt

    These people will never pay off their debts, and the current law will not let them discharge them in bankruptcy. They are debt slaves, peons. What’s worse is most of them are victims of the financial industry. The rates they pay.. and the fees are clearly usurious.

    My personal advice to them is not to wait for congress to change the law… emigrate. Move to Canada, Australia, or any HDI country. Heck even Argentina would be better. Put that degree to work and start life again. You can always come back if the law is changes.

    1. optimader

      “emigrate. Move to Canada, Australia, or any HDI country

      Actually not a bad choice in anycase. Will recourse debt follow them? I don’t know, but I have my suspicions.
      Argentina? love the place to death.. Patagonia.. magnificent. Would I recommend some one w/ no resources try and move there? Not so much.. but as always exception to the rule. Someone with the correct technical education and fluency, could work out nicely.

      On the top of my list, Iceland, love the place. Go with a practical skillset and enjoy the life

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      That’s a plan, but it is not as easy to emigrate as you think, even for young people. Visiting a country is completely different than getting residence, let alone permanent residence.

  17. charles sereno

    I had trouble getting past the first Link — “The island of life (Guardian)”
    Vichy MSM (like the Guardian and now El Pais) have to hang on to their meal ticket, unlike real Greeks without a ticket. The article is a diverting, disgusting piece of crap.

  18. Walter Map

    Ex-MI5 chief joins board of HSBC BBC (John L)
    Petraeus to head KKR’s global institute USA Today.

    John L: “Am I seeing a pattern?”

    Yes, there is a pattern. Financialization and militarism are complementary weapons.

  19. Walter Map

    I haven’t seen a mention of this on NC, but it might be important:

    Insight: How Treasury’s tax loophole mistake saves companies billions each year

    What began in 1996 as an effort by the Treasury Department to simplify the U.S. tax code mistakenly ended up as a massive tax loophole for corporate America, which seized upon it and has never let go.;_ylt=AlKdIS0S1588Hi_gLvDtlJiiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTN1MWRzaWprBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIE1lZ2F0cm9uIDIEcGtnAzUzZDYxYjQ5LWI2YmQtMzQ5Ny05MmYxLTc0YzhmZDYwMzFmOQRwb3MDMQRzZWMDbWVnYXRyb24EdmVyA2

    The failure to tax the rich functionally amounts to enabling them with yet another means to pillage the country.

    Think Mexico. Once you’ve gotten used to that, think Haiti. A lot of the U.S. is already there.

      1. Walter Map

        No, I don’t follow NC very closely, and I don’t follow the issues very closely anymore, either.

        It’s depressing, watching the Masters of Mankind murdering civilization and destroying the planet in the process. I don’t see anything even slowing them down, much less reversing present trends, so I expect the coming dystopia will be horrific.

        I thank god I am not young in so thoroughly finished a world.

  20. financial matters

    Why a Saudi Virus Is Spreading Alarm Council on Foreign Relations. This is nuts.

    I think Indonesia had some fair claims back in 2005..

    “”Supari declined to share samples of the dangerous bird flu viruses that were then rampant in her country with outsiders, on the grounds that they would be used to manufacture patented products that would benefit foreign companies, and that the products they produced would be unaffordable to Indonesians.””

    Which makes Dr. Margaret Chan’s (director-general of the World Health Organization) comment interesting..

    “”Supari’s contentions spawned a long, difficult period of negotiations that led to the 2011 PIP, the WHO’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework. The PIP augments the International Health Regulations, creating a series of understandings that are flu-specific regarding sample sharing, patents, and profits from products derived from viral discovery. Chan’s response to Memish’s accusations no doubt stems from her concern that the Saudis could invoke provisions of the flu-specific PIP, demanding control over the MERS-CoV samples, patents, and products””

    Laurie Garrett has written 2 very good infectious disease books. Infectious disease and bioterrorism make strange bedfellows. It seems that our biggest threat are naturally occurring mutations in various pathogens but genomes can be so easily altered these days and things like antibody resistance, virulence factors etc better understood..

    The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance by Laurie Garrett (Oct 1, 1995)

    Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health by Garrett, Laurie (May 10, 2011

  21. Hugh

    I love these virtue and vice explanations. They are a great boon to kleptocrats everywhere. At their core, they are all about blaming the victim, which is a very useful tool for the looters in the class war they prosecuting against us.

    So all those subprime, Alt-A, and NINJA loans? We are supposed to believe that millions and millions of Americans, most who would have trouble balancing their checkbook, somehow tricked banks, with their legal and accounting staffs and legions of loan officers, all across the country into making them loans for houses they could not afford. Clearly, the pure, unsuspecting banks and bankers were taken in, their trust was abused, o the humanity! Just as clearly, wily, scheming, conniving Americans were profligate, irresponsible, lacking in virtue.

    That banks lured ordinary people into buying too much house on false promises and dodgy terms, no that could never happen. That they bundled mortgages up in wads, with sloppy or no paperwork, and converted them into even dodgier securities, and then made massive bets on these, eventually blowing up the whole financial system, well obviously it is all the borrowers’ fault and they should pay. Who reasonably could say otherwise?

    This is such a wonderful argument that it has been extended to cover whole countries. The never ending euro crisis has been cast in these terms. It’s not that Germany benefited from the conversion to the euro while Southern countries were harmed by their conversions. It is not that with this and with labor concessions and wealth transfers wrung out of German workers through the Hartz “reforms”, that Germany rigged trade relations with its neighbors. It is not that German lending to Southern banks blew up big bubbles in those Southern countries and that they should have known that these bubbles would burst. No, it is none of that. Rather virtuous German banks innocently lent to *gasp* profligate Southerners. Their good faith was betrayed! Who could have known? It is only fair and right that they must be made whole, and if this means (and it does) dumping the repayment for those bad debts on the governments of the South, if the peoples of the South must do without and their economies driven into depression, so be it!

    So now we have the latest iteration, student debt. It’s not the banks, the government, or the universities who are responsible for making loans to students for overpriced educations and saddling them with those debts for life. It’s the fault of those 18 and 19 year olds and their parents. They should have analyzed the job market and household incomes over the last 15 years. It’s not like they didn’t have other options. They could have signed up to get blown up in one of the Administration’s wars. They could have sold an organ or become prostitutes. It is just outrageous to think they are not to blame and they didn’t bring this on themselves.

    But as anyone who was born rich, or succeeded in this society and ascribed that success, not to dumb luck, but to the much more flattering lie of their virtue, can tell you, life is unfair. Get over it.

    1. charles sereno

      Wow! Rings true. Reminds of of my first course in Medieval European History. You know, all that lord/vassal stuff. I learned there are always more vassals than lords. Just blindly picking from a lottery pot, I came up with “college administrators.” Jackpot. Vassals extraordinaire.

    2. anon y'mouse

      what I love is the multitude of “college–who needs it?” justifications. as in, you’re better getting a bankable degree or going to trade-school or finding some, or any other path than college as a way to dissuade those of use who weren’t 4.5GPA, Max SAT and with a college savings account from trying to attend.
      we have way more knowledge now than when the k-12 and higher education systems were created. how many of these yaps think that a person is a functioning, intelligent adult capable of managing their own affairs and navigating unscathed through all of the dubious tricks of the propaganda/business/money interests upon graduation from H.S. in the U.S.?
      these types I can only brand as actively fomenting the attitude that college is not available, a scarce resource and must be reserved for only the “brightest minds”, whoeverthehellthey are (generally, people like the poster or their own children, most likely).
      this seems an sly way of forwarding an agenda to chase away the less financially or even academically competent from trying to live a life of the mind. you see this argument any time you read the “paying for 4 years of drinking, drugging & screwing seems pointlessly expensive” and the concomitant “the only degrees of value are those that can be turned immediately to financial profit of your overlords.” although, they never seem to cast their argument like that. it’s more along the lines of “any degree outside STEM is for dimwits & losers.”

      now they’re trying the “we never promised you a job, college losers. try paying back your loans by quoting Kant, you cluckers!” while I don’t think that we should have been training up kids to believe that college will allow them a life that puts them higher on the social scale than the people who serve them food in restaurants, everyone needs to work. I also agree that on-the-job training is probably the only way to go for almost ANY job, and that apprenticeships should be far more widespread. that doesn’t mean that I believe people who choose jobs that do not require college should not go.

      just seems to me that these folks would have liked to attend colleges where only ‘smart’ people were in attendance, and that their ideal is to restrict college back to the elite space it used to be, regardless of how they justify their arguments with financial extrapolations.

      1. LucyLulu

        Well-written, mouse!

        People have forgotten about the era of the GI bill after WWII that brought fully paid for college educations to families for the first time and the economic prosperity that followed. Even today, those with college degrees will have lifetime earnings that far exceed those who don’t. THAT is why kids today are taking on debt up to their eyeballs to get those degrees. Check out the want ads and see how many jobs are offered that don’t require a degree and pay a livable wage. A degree may not guarantee a decent job, but no degree pretty much guarantees one will never have one. It’s not much of a choice. One can choose to go to a less expensive public institution however. (I would argue that spending two years at a community college will put the student at a distinct disadvantage his/her final two years, having taught at the community college level, especially if choosing a rigorous program. CC courses are significantly easier and cover less material. Most CC students won’t make it at a 4 year.)

        But outside of the economic benefits, there are intellectual and cultural benefits from attending university. Yes, you can learn the same material on your own by reading some texts but you won’t get the same stimulation from discussion provided by professors and classmates. Some professors are mediocre, some downright lousy, but some profoundly changed the way I thought and looked at the world. More than anything else, that is why I am so thankful I had the opportunity to attend college…… not once, but twice.

        If only I could find a job that pays to attend college and earn degrees, I would be a perpetual student. Hell, it’s been 15 years, it’s time for a new career again! So many choices, so little time……..

      1. LucyLulu

        Agreed, eloquently stated. I will copy and burn your post to memory as a response to victim blamers.

  22. from Mexico

    By the way, Pride SF had a meeting last night on their highly controversial decision to rescind Bradley Manning as Grand Marshall.

    Here’s the NBC local affiliate’s news coverage of the event:!/news/local/Supporters-Push-Manning-for-Pride-Grand-Marshal/209769621

    I have it on authority from someone was there:

    Those speaking against Manning: 3

    Those speaking in favor of Manning: 70

    There were also dozens more in favor of Manning who time didn’t allow to speak, and 1 against.

    It has been alleged that the anti-Manning brigade is made up of nothing more than astroturfers: folks with lots of hat but no cattle. Last night’s meeting seems to have confirmed that allegation.

    I became suspicious that the anti-Manning outcry was pure astroturfing when Sean Sala’s nation-wide anti-Manning petition could only garner 250 signatures:

  23. Mark P.

    B2020 writes: “Former executives are not TBTF … to change TBTF institutions you have to target the executives.”

    That’s very unlikely to happen. Jesse explains it well enough: –

    “A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including themselves.

    “The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.

    “And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining …Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system.”

  24. diane

    Not to worry anyone, I’m sure our betters (right at this very moment!) are desperately attempting to solve what the outcomes of our lives are to be, in the U$ version: NORML (not to worry about that huge grammatical error implied, after all it’s a convention of Smart [NORML ] folks, who do know how to spell in the predominant language…..), of Davo$.

  25. optimader

    RE: A Brand New Report Shows Just How Wrong Silicon Valley Is About A Tech Worker Shortage Clusterstock

    The articles comments are more illuminating tan the article.

    College/University failure to maintain freshness date on curriculum.
    Don’t need to be teaching IBM 360/370 assembler code.

    1. diane

      That’s certainly an interesting comment, optimader, since the power broker Multi National Corporations in $ilicon Valley, who are crying for unlimited visas, have been thoroughly entwined, as Power Broker$ in the educational systems (and Political $ystem$) in $ilicon Valley, for decades.

      1. diane

        in other words, I think you’re full of it, and I suspect that you know you are, optimader.

    2. Larry Barber

      This illustrates on of the biggest issues behind the so-called shortage. Corporations being unwilling to invest even the smallest amount in training and educating their work force. A good programmer can be up and running and producing good, functional code in a week in a new language. Maybe a little longer if the language is based on totally different paradigm than what the programmer is used to, but not that much longer. Not saying that the programmer won’t get better after that week, of course she will.

      The situation is worsened by the corporate practice of using HR departments to most of the initial screening of applicants. If the HR people were capable of doing technical work, they would be doing that, instead, they play “buzz word bingo” with resumes. They don’t know that there isn’t really that much difference between any of the ‘C’ based languages, and that Linux and Solaris aren’t that different, so if your application doesn’t have the exact terminology they’re looking for it’s get rejected. And even if they do know these things, they completely lack the background to be able to tell if an applicant can actually do the job competently.

      BTW, not hating on HR people here, they’ve been put in an impossible situation, being forced to do a job that they cannot possibly do well.

      1. LucyLulu

        Exactly. Ads for programmers have criteria for obscure programming languages and familiarity with using proprietary systems and software. Long lists of them. It DOES take maybe a week to pick up a new language. My senior year I took a class, Programming Languages, had to write a program, couple pages code, in a different language every couple weeks. Easy class, maybe the run-time compiled languages like Lisp were confusing at first. When I was teaching, I was assigned to teach a scripted language I’d never seen before when my regular class didn’t fill, was notified the night before the first day of class. No big deal (the css was trickiest part, wasn’t a web person). If you’re familiar with Unix/Solaris/Linux/vi, Mac, DOS (not so much anymore)/Windows, is any OS really different? Any software a problem learning? (I also had to teach the MS Office Suite which other than Word I barely knew, was more Unix/Linux person.) But technically I’m not even close to qualified for the advertised jobs.

        A lot depends on location I think. I have a friend moving to San Antonio after two years unemployed. Austin, California, the Northwest are hot. Kentucky, NC outside the research triangle, are not. I even have a cousin who skipped high school, at 17 left college one semester short of his master’s to start his own company writing software for the big banks, legacy still in use today. He couldn’t find a job two or three years ago so is doing academic research with some Boston hot shots (tried to get into doctoral program, MIT or Harvard, can never remember which, but wouldn’t take him, no hs diploma, no BS, no MS). Fortunately since selling company (saw Y2K coming before anyone else and sold) he started working as a hobby vs. for a living. So yeah, he’s good, and he couldn’t find a job, nor could any of his friends with lots of experience and talent.

    3. LucyLulu

      Not familiar with that assembler code but which one is irrelevant. Few programmers will write in assembler code and even if they do, there are typically about 20 or so instructions, IIRC. Assembly languages tend to look similar. The point is to provide the students exposure to assembly languages and an understanding how programming languages are broken down at compile time into instructions that the registers can then process. Some programmers/EE folks WILL write compilers, and they deserve a very special place in heaven, IMHO (having had to write one my last semester of school……. only female in class of 44, this was year 2000, and only one of maybe 4 who wasn’t clueless so had young guys flocking to me for help, lol).

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Uhhhh…yer close, but still off. Unless your High-level language compiler understands machine instruction pipelining based on the target processor’s architecture, peephole optimization, and hardware feature exploitation, assembler hacks like me will always be around to squeeze that last few percentage points of CPU reduction out of the app-which can make or break a budget. Back in the 1990s IBM added hardware opcode support in the mainframes for supporting the C/C++ language; the latest zEC12 processors added all sorts of support to shrink the instruction path length for Java. And IBM had compression/encryption support as single assembler opcodes with assist processors long before Intel/AMD had the AES-NI instruction set in their silicon.

    4. Howard Beale IV

      Today’s IBM z/Architecture boxes aren’t your father’s IBM 360/370–far from it. The Principles of Operation manuals over the last 20 years have grown in size by two orders of magnitude. Some twit predicted the last mainframe would be unplugged in 1995, yet not only do they still exist, the cost and risk of moving off those platforms for many long-established companies is just out of the question.

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