Links 7/23/13

Lizards show evolution is predictable Science Daily (furzy mouse)

Sex in Geriatrics Sets Hebrew Home Apart in Elderly Care Bloomberg

Tour of duty theory destabilises troops Financial Times. Another bad idea whose time may be coming.

The population challenge up close and personal Grist

Africa to own the world’s demographic future MacroBusiness

China earthquake: death toll rises Guardian

Take a Train in Jakarta CounterPunch. Carol B: “It’s long and you will skim some paragraphs, but worth the effort. Start with the last paragraph because some of us are sinking to this atrocity.”

What drives protests in Brazil? Corruption, ineptitude and elections VoxEU

Europe’s crisis states should fight back with a ‘debtors’ cartel’ Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

US commander cites risks of Syria action Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Snowden Gets Whistleblower Award in Germany RIA Novosti (Deontos)

Back in the G.D.R. Scott Horton, Harper’s (mookie)

NSA’s PRISM and the Oddity of PalTalk emptywheel

Libertarian Republicans delay Pentagon bill Financial Times

Can This iPhone Accessory Really Stop the NSA? Yep TakePart (Deontos)

A Terrible Precedent for Press Freedom New York Times

MIT Interjects Itself Into Aaron Swartz Secret Service FOIA Case DS Wright, Firedoglake (Carol B). We linked to the underlying Wired story last week, but the more attention on MIT’s bullshit excuses for covering up its bad behavior, the better

Detroit Blazes a Path It Never Wanted New York Times

SAC to Employees: Cohen Didn’t Read Dell Email at Heart of SEC’s Case Wall Street Journal. His attorneys must either be awfully confident or the firm is awfully concerned about losing client assets. Generally speaking, you withhold as much of your litigation strategy as possible from the opposing side (and a memo to employees was guaranteed to go public).

SEC Lawsuit: Paolo Pellegrini’s He-Said/She-Said Perjury David Fiderer, OpEd News

U.S. SEC urges money funds to be prepared for tri-party repo defaults Reuters

Guy Walks Into Citigroup Branch, Loses $40,000 Jonathan Weil, Bloomberg. Managed to miss this piece from last week…

Deception in Counting the Unemployed Atlantic (Carol B)

Housing Recovery Increasingly Prices Out First-Time Buyers Wall Street Journal. Um, you heard this here first. Not hard to anticipate given student debt loads and crappy job market leading to lousy balance sheets and income histories among young people. How do you think you can wreck the labor market and have housing do well on a sustained (as opposed to bounce off a bottom with a little extra juice provided by QE accelerant?)

Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Unexpectedly Decline Bloomberg. Mind you, this before the taper talk would have had much impact on mortgage rates.

US watchdog acts on metals warehousing Financial Times

Insight: Wall Street reshapes commodities business to fend off regulation Reuters (Scott)

Biggest Banks Face Fed Restoring Barriers in Commodities Bloomberg

The Monsters the Left Creates North Star (nathan)

Antidote du jour:


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. AbyNormal

    What a taking was he in when your husband asked who was in the basket!

  2. Steve Baker

    Who is Harris-Perry? Moreover what is the left and the authentic left? Whatever it is, it isn’t widely broadcast, the best in content is generally compromised or not permitted.
    MSNBC should never be taken seriously, and is a good reason to not have a tv, nor any microsuft product, etc

    1. Ned Ludd

      From the article about Melissa Harris-Perry and Tim Wise:

      Her rise to media prominence began as a commentator primarily on racial politics at authentically “left” media outlets such as FAIR, Laura Flanders GritTV, and Democracy NOW. These led to her having been granted a regular column in The Nation, by which point she had established herself as sufficiently “hot property” for consideration at MSNBC.

      “Left” media outlets? Have they been agitating for workers to seize the means of production? Are they organizing people to replace capitalism with an alternative economic model? Liberals are not leftists, in the same way that cheese is not chalk, and apples are not oranges.

      Compare Emma Goldman’s politics to Ralph Nader’s. Compare Rosa Luxemburg to Jill Stein. Liberals and leftists can get along, can work in common cause, and can forge tactical alliances. However, they have fundamentally different attitudes towards capitalism, i.e. using capital to determine ownership of workplaces, land, and nature.

      1. Synopticist

        The left has really fu*ked itself by embracing identity politics and replacing the desire for economic equality with social liberalism. Social liberalism may be a good thing, but it’s no substitute for economic fairness.

        I think this mistake has been more intensivelly made in the US, but it’s happening in Europe as well.

        1. F. Beard

          The left has really fu*ked itself by embracing identity politics and replacing the desire for economic equality with social liberalism. Synopticist

          Yep. Except for the War on Drugs which I don’t recall Leftists ever opposing.

      2. jrs

        Yes, but the people they are talking about aren’t even liberals – they’re fascist Dem party apologists. But Jill Stein and Nader at least are.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Her open letter to Edward Snowden, included in links a while back, was really quite frightening. Rough paraphrase: Come back home so that we can stop writing about you and making you a celebrity. Sure, I know that the US likes to imprison people without trial and torture them, but that doesn’t happen to celebrities! Which of course you won’t be any more if you take my advice. But you should totally come home anyway! Here are some unsubstantiated allegations about how you’re hurting America to provide cover!

      All delivered in a faux-chummy and patronizing style. If she is indeed an administration mouthpiece, I fear for Mr. Snowden’s safety if the US ever does get him back.

  3. Jim Haygood

    From the NYT article about U.S. military options in Syria:

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has provided Congress with its first detailed list of military options to stem the bloody civil war in Syria, suggesting that a campaign to tilt the balance from President Bashar al-Assad to the opposition would be a vast undertaking, costing billions of dollars, and could backfire on the United States.

    General Dempsey, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, provided the unclassified, three-page letter at the request of [Senator Carl] Levin, a Demoncrat, after testifying last week that he believed it was likely that Mr. Assad would be in power a year from now.

    So Dempsey’s Syria report was prepared at the behest of dirty old lizard Carl Levin, who in turn probably was carrying water for AIPAC.

    Levin (in office since 1979) could serve as a poster child for Congressional term limits, in a chamber so fossilized that its members commonly die with their boots on, as New Jersey’s Senator Lautenberg (who only managed to attend a couple of votes this year) did a few weeks ago.

    Once known as the world’s most exclusive club, the Senate now resembles a taxpayer-funded assisted living facility, whose demented inhabitants suffer delusions of grandeur (though doubtless remaining as randy as the inhabitants of the Hebrew home in the Bloomberg article linked above).

    As it readies the next deadly assault on the disappearing American middle class, why should the Congress not be simply closed down as a failed institution? The executive has seized power in a coup d’etat, so spare us the toothless grins of these shameful geriatric clowns mugging for the C-SPAN cameras.

    1. Johnny Thunders

      Wall Street / Pentagon blew up over 3 trillion in Iraq, why stop now? We need to Bankrupt more cities, foreclose and imprison more people, and ram mo’ money into the mouths of the kleptocrats.

  4. squasha

    Back in the G.D.R. Scott Horton, Harper’s

    The guides at former DDR Prison Hohenschönhausen in Berlin are all former inmates, ours had been picked up at 17 for holding up a placard with a slogan we’d consider poignant in its earnestness today. The backdrop props in The Lives of Others are here tangible: the smell-samples, the sweaty linoleum, the bleak totalitarian bureau. It would be too great a stretch to agree with the writer’s contention that torture did not happen here; 2 seconds inside the windowless black rubber-lined rooms in the basement, miniscule spaces where the naked were chilled for hours standing in a few millimeters of water or airless cement rooms packed with terrified prisoners left for countless hours in excruciating ignorance of their fates.

    The tour ends in the tiger-cage, a chain-link enclosure of animal dimensions in which our guide gave the most full-thraoted endorsement of democracy imaginable, one that may or may not have put Obama to shame.

  5. Somebody

    I am Indonesian but apart from the occasional visit to see family, I’ve never worked in the country. I don’t have any desire to live there either. Jakarta is indeed a total mess; the traffic jams are so bad, it can take hours to go from one part of the city to another. No one respects the traffic laws if the police is not around. When flooding gets bad, it is often money that decides which part of the city gets flooded since richer areas would often bribe the controller of the sluice gates to do you know what.

    There is now a plan to create a subway system in the city, but AFAIK, the city itself is actually sinking albeit at a relatively slow rate so I am not sure how viable the project is in the long run.

    The current governor of the city is supposedly someone decent and “corruption free” who used to manage a much smaller city called Solo in a different province. There is now even talk about getting him to be president in the next election. Maybe I am a pessimist, or maybe having seen and visited Jakarta quite a few times has made me one, but what can one honest person do in a den of thieves? Most likely it will be “if you can’t beat them, may as well join them.”

    What’s ironic is that Indonesia is a very beautiful country and the food is amazing (I am biased of course :)).

    1. Procopius

      I don’t know anything about Jakarta, but I’ve seen newspaper articles since 1971 claiming that Bangkok is sinking. It’s usually attributed to draining the artesian wells beneath the city. I’ve seen various rates, but it seems to me that if any of them were accurate the city would be well below sea level before now. We have a successfully deployed subway, and it’s quite popular. I would think there are other problems blocking your subway, probably having to do with land ownership rights and who’s getting the bribes.

  6. from Mexico

    @ “What drives protests in Brazil? Corruption, ineptitude and elections”

    After decades of macroeconomic stability, structural reforms and declining inequality, mass political protests unexpectedly erupted in Brazil.


    Against the stereotype of a laid-back and peaceful people, the historical record suggests the propensity to protest in Brazil is high and may have increased in the last decades.

    Wow! Can they send some of that political energy our way? Just imagine what would happen in Brazil if they had macroeconomic chaos, structural regression and rapidly increasing inequality like we have in the US.

    1. craazyman

      Did the chicken decide to sit on those dogs or did they hatch from eggs?

      This could be an End-Times sign, not an antidote.

      1. AbyNormal

        determining which came first will highlight our state of mind for our final climax ;o)
        And everythings done under the sun
        And you believe at heart, everyone’s a killer.
        Who was born in a house full of pain
        Who was trained not to spit in the fan
        Who was told what to do by the man
        Who was broken by trained personnel
        Who was fitted with collar and chain
        Who was given a pat on the back
        Who was breaking away from the pack
        Who was only a stranger at home
        Who was ground down in the end
        Who was found dead on the phone
        Who was dragged down by the stone.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was going to mention the dialogue between the chicken bull and bully chick.

        Maybe another day…

  7. squasha

    The Monsters the Left Creates

    Certainly the MSNBC team know how to swish a pompom, and Harris-Perry’s disgraceful plea to Edward Snowden was an embarrasment, but there are dots drawn in this article I’m struggling to connect. Could some sage please clarify?

    “That is to say she has from the beginning promoted a fundamentally neoliberal politics of equality of opportunity (as opposed to results) whose success is to be primarily evaluated by the achievement of diversity among ruling political and economic elites and within elite institutions.”

    How is this neoliberal? What does affirmative action have to do with privatization, deregulation, etc etc?

    1. diptherio

      The neo-liberal mythos states that so long as everyone is allowed to compete on a level-playing field, nothing else need bother us. It is the meritocratic fantasy that unbridled competition will lead to a just social sorting of individuals.

      Not being discriminated against because of one’s race or gender is a necessary condition for a just society, but it is far from sufficient. Harris-Perry, as the article points out, is blind to other necessary conditions such as labor rights, privacy rights, and the protection of whistleblowers.

      It is not that affirmative action and neo-liberal economic policies necessarily go hand in hand, but some neo-liberal defenders will deflect attention from fundamental problems in our economic system by focusing on affirmative action to the exclusion of all else.

      Harris-Perry’s position might be likened to a person arguing that the problem with slavery in the old South was simply a problem of racism, not of economics, so simply allowing whites to be owned as slaves along with blacks would take care of any problems. Of course, the problem with slavery is not simply one of race (though in America this was an important part), but mainly one of an unjust economic relationship. Focusing on the racism angle can be a sly way of denying other, deeper problems.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thus, we still have black research slaves, white research slaves, and Asian research slaves in our dark, satanic academic mills.

        It’s all about the economics of tenured professors.

        Hey, they have to eat too!

      2. mookie

        Well put. See for example the Gates Foundation’s tag line: Everyone deserves the chance to live a healthy, productive life.

      3. squasha

        thanks, I think you put your finger on the point precisely that tilts my brain: the notion that rhetorical and legislative efforts to enact a level playing field are synonomous with unbridled free-market competition, rather than contradictions in concept.

        It remains unclear to me how the myopic focus on Rawlsian equality you describe could be defined as neoliberal, liberal, sure, but neoliberal?

        Should anyone who is complicit or apathetic about the national security state be called neoliberal?

    2. craazyman

      Faaak, It’s lunchtime and Y not vent.

      It has nothing to do with anything.

      That’s the first thing to realize when you feel like wasting time reading one of these “intellectuals”.

      The ones on the left are generally morons who’ve spent their whole lives getting indoctrinated in classrooms, trying to blame racism or misogynism for every wrong to any human being ever in the history of mankind, and the ones on the right are so idiotic their word salads — whether written or spoken — defy any kind of rational comprehension.

      The more prestigious the university, the worse it gets. At least the community colleges have the good sense to teach useful things like automobile engine repair and welding. Welding seems kind of cool, actually. Readign articles on welding techniques would be productive time spent indeed.

      The only benefit derived from reading anything these folks write is seeing first hand the stupendously self-evident rationale for ignoring them entirely forever, and going over to Youtube and checking out folks with something real to say — like Adele in “Someone Like You” or “Rolling in the Deep” or even the Beach Boys in the old days with something like “Surfer Girl”. They make sense with every word. The others, they can’t even get lucky with a sentence. It’s non-stop complete nonsense.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In my house, plumbers are worshipped.

        I hope one will descend from Plumbing Heaven soon and all my plumbing problems will be gone.

        1. F. Beard

          During one particularly sinful part of my life, the toilet in my apt got to the point where it would jam up with ANY solid matter. The plumbers tried EVERYTHING including removing the toilet and running a high-powered snake though the pipes.

          I quickly came to the conclusion that I was cursed. I’ve repented a bit since then and now live in a much better apt with two decent toilets.

          It wasn’t me, beefy, in case you’re cursed.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Are you saying it was the plumbers who were cursed – they weren’t really needed?

            1. F. Beard

              No, it was me who was cursed. The embarrassment got to be excruciating since it must have looked like I was an idiot who had flushed something stupid.

              And actually, they weren’t plumbers but the apartment maintenance staff who had plenty of experience.

              1. Paul Niemi

                Odds are it was the toilet itself. It had an internal crack in the porcelain trap caused when a plumber screwed it down too tightly to the floor. Another less likely possibility is a clogged vent stack up to the roof.

                1. F. Beard

                  Could have been the toilet since the maintenance men did not simply try another one. But that could have easily been part of the curse: a temporary blinding of their judgement because they surely tried as hard as they could.

                  Anyway, I’m mostly blessed when I behave. I can not count the times that thinking “The Lord is my Shepherd …” has suddenly caused things to go my way.

                  There’s a lot more to life than just making it easier for oneself but it sure helps!

                  1. Paul Niemi

                    “The meek shall inherit the earth.” It is true even in these times, but it helps to practice being handy.

        2. ambrit

          Dear MLTPB;
          The beatification of plumbers is just another example of the worship of false idols.
          I am a plumber, and must tell you that your trust in us is misplaced just as often as with any other person, place, or thing. Now, if you could be so lucky as to find a True Blue, Four Square plumber, life would be beautiful. Also, do not underestimate your own powers of deduction and handiness. The DIY videos on the internet are an invaluable resource too.
          (Why is it that every time I hear about Plumbers, I think about the Watergate affair? Ah well…)

  8. Brindle

    I started a thread yesterday morning on the Zimmerman verdict and I was away form the ‘puter all day so did not add any other comments. I would like to say that I am not “pro-Zimmerman” anymore than being “pro-Martin”.

    The bigger picture and issue, IMO, is the federal and state govts targeting minorities and especially Afican-Americans via profiling to provide people for the prison/ incarceration industry.

    1. from Mexico

      Brindle says:

      The bigger picture and issue, IMO, is the federal and state govts targeting minorities and especially Afican-Americans via profiling to provide people for the prison/ incarceration industry.

      I agree with that. The criminal justice system in the US is an abominaiton, perhaps ranking right down there with Mexico’s, and it is that system that should be put on trial.

      Here’s a graph of what the problem looks like.

      The Justice Policy Institute commissioned a study, “OFF BALANCE: YOUTH, RACE & CRIME IN THE NEWS,” which begins by speaking of the consequences of all the lies and deception being propagated and disseminated by the criminal justice industry and their MSM spear carriers:

      [Y]outh of color in California were more than eight times as likely to be incarcerated by adult courts as White youth for equally serious crimes… [Y]outh of color are treated more severely than White youth at each stage of the justice system, even when charged with the same offenses… [A]n in depth study of youth prosecuted as adults in 18 of the largest jurisdictions in the country, found racial disparities similar to the earlier reports, and raised serious concerns about the fairness and appropriateness of the process…

      There is evidence that stereotyping is affecting the treatment young people experience at the hands of the juvenile justice system. According to a 1998 analysis by University of Washington researchers, court reports prepared prior to sentencing by probation officers consistently give more negative portrayals of Black youth even when controlling for offense behavior and prior record, thus leading to harsher sentencing recommendations for Blacks. Professor George Bridges concluded that “The children would be charged with the same crime, be the same age and have the same criminal history, but the different ways they were described was just shocking.”

      And if the rampant and ubiquitous racism that pervades the criminal justice industry were not enough, then there’s also this:

      Over the last three decades, the rate of incarceration in the United States has risen at an unprecedented rate. This is true while the rate of criminal activity has dropped steadily. Further, while the rate of much criminal activity is equal across races, the rate of incarceration for Blacks has risen far faster than for whites….

      Plea bargaining has become ubiquitous as the primary method of criminal case disposition in the United States. Indeed, the vast majority of criminal convictions are obtained through a plea bargain. Plea bargaining lowers the transaction cost of criminal prosecutions which combines with political policies favoring large scale incarceration to drive up prison populations… Moreover, the decrease in transaction costs is generally larger for cases against poor defendants which correlates to a decrease in transaction costs for prosecuting Black defendants. Since prosecutors are interested in maximizing successful prosecutions and minimizing costs, they are encouraged to prosecute a disproportionate number of Black defendants.

      Additionally, a defendant negotiates based upon his subjective views of the criminal justice system and his expectation of conviction. He bases these views on objective reality as well as on social, cultural, and economic factors. This analysis leads African American defendants to bargain with a more pessimistic estimate of how they will fare as compared to white defendants, resulting in overall worse, bargains.,%20Douglas.pdf

      1. Brindle

        Noam Chomsky’s broader view on “superfluous population” and neoliberalism meshes with the targeting of mostly poor minorities for filling prison “vacancies”.

        —“In a global economy designed for the interests and needs of international corporations and finance, and sectors that serve them, most people become superfluous. They will be cast aside if the institutional structures of power and privilege function without popular challenge or control.

        ….”Since they’re superfluous for wealth production (meaning profit production), and since the basic ideology is that a person’s human rights depend on what they can get for themselves in the market system, they have no human value.”—

        1. from Mexico

          Great post.

          Henry Steele Commager is entirely right: “If we subvert world order and destroy world peace we must inevitably subvert and destroy our own political institutions first.” The much-feared boomerang effect of the “government of subject races” on the home government during the imperialist era meant that rule by violence in faraway lands would end by affecting the government of England, that the last “subject race” would be the English themselves.

          1. Brindle

            The massive expansion of DHS and Border Patrol over the recent years could easily be focused on the general populace, probably already has in relation to the Occupy movement.
            Obama’s obsession with secrecy and punishing citizens who bring sunlight is another clue that “we the people” are seen as potential enemies of the state.

            1. from Mexico

              The proposed immigration bill would more than double the size of the border patrol:

              projected to add $40 billion to a bill already expected to cost $6.5 billion. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called it a “Christmas list for Halliburton.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News that it “practically militarize[s] the border.” Corker himself called his amendment “almost overkill.”

              The bill [calls for] deploying 20,000 new border patrol agents, erecting 700 miles of fencing between Mexico and the United states, mandating nationwide use of the now-voluntary electronic employee verification system E-Verify, and achieving the “full implementation and activation” of $4.5 billion worth of surveillance technology—including drones.


              But why now, when the flow of Mexicans to the US has stopped, and may even be in reverse?

              After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—most of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed…


              1. hunkerdown

                Strikes me a bit like a canary in a coal mine… if the present dispossessed are heading out, maybe the likely future dispossessed should take warning.

          2. Tim Mason

            The English were the first subject race (see the Harrying of the North), closely followed by the Irish. Periphery later became centre, only to fade again as new conquest offered new opportunities for rapine and accumulation.

      2. Mick

        “For equally serious crimes…”

        Whites’ first offense, Blacks fiftieth offense. That’s why the sentencing disparities.

  9. rich

    Japan’s temples, universities, hospitals haunted by yen bets

    (Reuters) – Ryusho Soeda, 66, has taken on a job for which his career as a Buddhist priest never prepared him: forensic accounting.

    Soeda’s temple is the 1,200-year-old Koyasan, a World Heritage site deep in the mountains of western Japan and long prized as a haven for quiet contemplation. But in recent months monks here have been debating a very worldly question: How did a complex bet on the yen go so horribly wrong?

    Soeda, who was picked to head Koyasan in June after his predecessor was forced out, has promised a full accounting of the temple’s losses, which at one point last year threatened to wipe out half of its endowment.

    “My duty is to find out exactly what has happened and to publish it. Just like Greece published its window-dressing only after they had a new government, the truth will not come to the light unless you change the power,” Soeda told Reuters.

    The financial crisis at Koyasan is an example of an overhang of losses that cash-rich Japanese religious groups, schools, small firms and wealthy individuals are facing – and in some cases fighting in court – because of financial derivatives tied to the yen.

    Fujita Health University, which runs one of Japan’s biggest hospitals, lost $240 million on currency derivatives. Nanzan University in Nagoya said this year it had lost over $230 million. Both schools took their losses from derivatives that were sold to them in the unsupervised, over-the-counter market. In many other cases, the losses have been driven by a product called a “power-reverse dual currency bond,” a derivative marketed heavily to non-profit investors in Japan.

    1. AbyNormal

      and like our OTC Market…they’re multiplying like cockaroaches in 120% humidity!

      Aug 01, 2012
      Japanese swaps growth steady
      Derivatives markets in Japan are continuing to grow thanks to the introduction of central clearing, exchange mergers, increased use of high-frequency trading (HFT), and steady growth of foreign exchange transaction volumes.
      “More of the same can only be expected moving ahead, and, by virtue of this, the nation’s derivatives market will in all probability enjoy substantial growth.”

      “What Could Go Wrong” ~Lambert

      May 4, 2013
      Japanese Derivatives Halted After Osaka System Crashes
      Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures volume plunged more than 90 percent today as a software error forced a halt to Osaka trading of some derivatives, the first outage for Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) technology installed in 2011

      Fear of death [and counterparties] increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.

      Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

      1. rich

        The Great Derivatives Scam

        On the other hand, excess reserves held at the Fed are an ideal form of collateral for derivatives transactions, as my friend Christian Johnson explains, here at p. 9. And, since the Fed pays interest on excess reserves of .25 percent (well over the market rate for short term Treasuries with high liquidity of essentially zero percent), the Fed is basically subsidizing the megabanks’ collateral on derivatives to the tune of billions of dollars per annum. The precise extent of this subsidy is unknowable; but the total subsidy to all commercial banks totals $5 billion per annum (.0025 times $2 trillion in reserves). While the exact numbers are difficult to pin down it is obvious that derivative trading is squeezing out lending and the Fed facilitates this activity through its payment of above market interest rates for banks holding excess reserves. In fact, trading profits are the key driver of megabank earnings as evident here, here, here and here. Simply put huge amounts of derivatives trading are squeezing out lending at the cost of economic growth.

        1. AbyNormal

          rich, you & those dang FRED charts are going to be the end of me…adding the very cool blog to my reader (thanks!)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if it was predictable that Homo Sapiens Idaltu (First Born or Elder) should die out circa 160,000 to 190,000 years ago?

  10. vlade

    Re AEP’s “debtors cartel” article.

    One thing I never ever understood in the whole European debacle is how come none of the states in question ever heard of game of chicken. Germany (mostly, but France helped – I suspect “lest it be noticed too”) managed to persuade all the debtors they have no power while creditors are all powerfull.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’ve wondered the same. The old saying, “If you owe the bank one hundred thousand dollars, you are in trouble; if you owe the bank one hundred million dollars, the bank is in trouble.” springs to mind.

      The debtor nations have Germany’s balls in a vice if they can act in concert and want to play badass.

  11. subgenius

    re. iphone/offpocket…

    old news…this is essentially how people have been stealing “security-tagged” items from stores since the inception of security tags.

    now if you want to see some CLEVER cellphone tech, that likely really irritates the 3lettergang, you need to look to Moxie…

    (sorry, android only, appl would never allow this on the app store…)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And competition is only for the wealth-less.

      For the elite cartel, it’s cooperation, corruption and non-aggression pacts.

  12. McWatt

    “Guy walks in to Citibank”

    This story is the whole point of Glass-Steagall. This same thing was happening in the 1920’s, only it was WW! widows who were getting insurance settlements who were being ripped off by the banks. Glass-Steagall stopped this nonsense.
    However, it was only two years after Glass-Steagall was repealed that I read the first story of a widow being ripped off by a bank with “investments” instead of the financial security she sought.

    1. F. Beard

      Woe to those who enact evil statutes
      And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,
      So as to deprive the needy of justice
      And rob the poor of My people of their rights,
      So that widows may be their spoil
      And that they may plunder the orphans.

      Now what will you do in the day of punishment,
      And in the devastation which will come from afar?
      To whom will you flee for help?
      And where will you leave your wealth?
      Isaiah 10:1-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      1. charles sereno

        My gripe with Isaiah is this. He’s great describing the problems, eg, widows and orphans. Solutions, not so much. In that regard, he reminds me of a recent American prophet, Harry Truman by name, whose chilling words reached my 14 year old ears via radio waves a few days after an historical Event in Japan: “We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.”

        1. F. Beard

          Well, the Bomb has prevented World War III, at least until now because, I suspect, it can reach out and touch the PTB too.

        2. F. Beard

          I guess I should have included this:

          Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives
          Or fall among the slain.
          In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away
          And His hand is still stretched out.
          Isaiah 10:4

  13. rich

    Why can’t the poor pensioners in Detroit do a deal like this?

    MultiPlan Inc. plans to sell $750 million of bonds that allow the health-care cost-management company acquired by BC Partners Ltd. and Silver Lake in 2010 to pay interest with extra debt.

    MultiPlan intends to fund a shareholder payout by adding $100 million to a term loan and issuing so-called payment-in-kind notes due 2018 through its MPH Intermediate Holding unit, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction. The notes may be rated Caa2 by Moody’s Investors Service, said the person, who asked not to be identified because terms aren’t set.

    funny how we pick our winners and losers, no?

  14. Butch in Waukegan

    The proprietress frequently comments on how sleep, and lack of sleep, affects our health. Here is a book review focused on what may come.

    Insomniac Capitalism:

    A new book simply titled 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, addresses this latest modification of the capitalist world. The author, Jonathan Crary, begins his essay with a description of some ongoing attempt by scientists and military services to create a medication that eliminates the need for sleep from the human body. Unlike amphetamine type drugs, which wear one’s body out by keeping it going beyond its natural ability, these drugs would just eliminate the need for the body to rest. Not only would this create an ideal soldier (hence the military’s participation in the research) it would also create the ideal worker, whether that worker is a well-paid trader at the NYSE or an assembler on a factory floor in China. . . . it can be safely stated that capitalism has certainly decided how we spend our time since it began to dominate our lives and how we perceive them. Given this fact, Crary continues his discussion of sleep, stating that it may be the only bodily function that modern capital cannot colonize. Indeed, it may be the only aspect left in modern society’s daily routine that can truly be considered part of what philosopher Hannah Arendt called the private sphere.

    1. F. Beard

      Won’t work, I’d bet.

      People will still go psychotic because the need for sleep isn’t just physical; it’s psychological/spiritual.

      I’m reminded of “Outland.”

  15. charles sereno

    Re: A Train in Jakarta
    My eye-opening paragraph —
    “Some members of Jakarta’s ‘middle class’ ride on the roofs of the trains because they can’t afford the train fare; several people get electrocuted each year, others fall to their death. To keep them off the roofs, compassionate government began hanging concrete balls above the tracks to break their skulls, as well as spraying them with colors, even with excrements. Several stations including Manggarai, attached razor wires to the roofs of the platform, so the people who would try to jump from the roof would get shredded.”

    1. rich

      so was this?

      Palast: Did Fabulous Fabrice Really Cause the Financial Crisis

      “…In August 2007, hot-shot hedge fund manager John Paulson walked into Goldman Sachs with a brilliant plan to cash in on the US housing crisis.

      He paid Goldman to announce that Paulson would invest a big hunk of his fund’s wealth, $200 million, in securities tied to the US mortgage market’s recovery. A few lucky investors would be allowed to give Goldman their billions to bet with Paulson that Americans would not default on their home mortgages.

      It was a con. Secretly, Paulson would bet against the mortgage market, hoping it would collapse – making sure it would collapse. All he needed was Goldman to line up the suckers to put up billions to be his “partners”.

      It was Goldman’s and Paulson’s financial version of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, in which a couple of corrupt theatre producers schemed to suck investors into a deliberate flop…

      What did the Feds do to Paulson? He received… a special tax break.

  16. Propertius

    I always wrap my iPhone in a tasteful tinfoil chapeau when I wish to conceal it from our ne’er do well authorities. A Faraday cage is a Faraday cage, after all – there’s no need to shell out for yet another accessory.

  17. charles sereno

    Like a (fill in the blank), I’m only capable of attaching a comment to something substantial, going along for the ride so to speak. I haven’t yet noticed anyone taking on the scientists talking about lizard evolution. At the risk of embarrassing or worse exposure, my comment is this: It took a thousand or more years to debunk Ptolemy’s elaborate astronomical mechanics or Aristotle’s feather fairy and radiator brain musings. Really, isn’t there such a thing as scientific confirmation bias? Hey Max! When’s the next funeral?

  18. petridish

    RE: Housing Recovery Pricing Out First-Time Buyers

    Paywalled, but that’s OK, so I’ll use Yves’ comment as a jumping off point. To the geniuses on the WSJ editorial board, if you want to shake loose some of my cash, an intuitively obvious headline is not the way to do it. Here are a few headlines guaranteed NOT to make a subscriber out of me:

    “Economists Surprised To Find That $35,000/year Doesn’t Go As Far As It Used To”

    “$200/Month ACA Premiums May Not Be As Affordable As They Seem”

    “Lack Of Purchasing Power Could Result in Fewer Middle Class Purchases”

    “Pent Up Demand Enough To Overcome Lack of Adequate Income?”

    “Hefty Student Loan Payments Could Impact Spending By Consumers with Hefty Student Loans”

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

  19. tongorad

    Obama’s Escalating War on Freedom of the Press

    “The administration’s efforts to quash press freedom are in sync with its unrelenting persecution of whistleblowers. The purpose is to further choke off the flow of crucial information to the public, making informed “consent of the governed” impossible while imposing massive surveillance and other violations of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Behind the assault on civil liberties is maintenance of a warfare state with huge corporate military contracts and endless war. The whole agenda is repugnant and completely unacceptable.”

    Somewhere Glenn Beck is laughging. It turns out Obama really is a demon sent from the smoking pits of hell.

    With Obama, the PTB have found perfect weapon.

    1. tongorad

      “their perfect weapon.” My kingdom for an edit button! And of course, Glenn Beck is a reactionary loon. Broken clocks and all that…

      1. Shutter

        Again, why link to paywalled sites? They’re just cash generators and offer no information other than how to spend money to get to the article. And copying the link and googling brings up… the same paywall site. Frankly, it’d be better to summarize the article rather than frustrate your readers.

        1. Lambert Strether

          “[O]ffer no information other than how to spend money to get to the article….” Even granting the quantity of dis- and misinformation out there (I like to know what the enemy wants me to think) that’s not remotely true. Plenty of readers search for the headlines; it works for me.

          In any case, you are perfectly free not to click through to the pay sites (which become evident pretty quickly), thereby removing the annoyance.

          You are also free to submit other links in comments that, in your judgment, substitute for information provided by the paywall sites you disfavor.

          As for summarizing the article, that sounds perilously close to handing out an assignment to the proprietor of this (free) site.

          1. Shutter

            “As for summarizing the article, that sounds perilously close to handing out an assignment to the proprietor of this (free) site.”

            OK by me. Go ahead, if you’re seconding the idea.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Not, he isn’t, he’s telling you to lay off and that giving me assignments is inconsiderate.

              Please see Barry Ritholtz for a long-form discussion:


              And I notice just about no reader beefing relative to links to paywalled articles (the very few that grumble save you have changed their tune once they are told how to access it for free).

              In case you missed it, 1. The MSM both shapes and represents official opinion (as in not knowing what is going on there leaves you with a big information blind spot) and 2. As Lambert indicated, you can for just about every MSM site read the article for free plus 3. No one gave you an assignment to read every linked article, so I’m at a loss to understand what your complaint is about.

              1. Shutter

                Amazing response.

                “Not, he isn’t, he’s telling you to lay off and that giving me assignments is inconsiderate.”

                Yves, I wasn’t giving you an ‘assignment’ or being ‘inconsiderate’. If anything it was a suggestion, a simple comment intended to AID your site.

                “And I notice just about no reader beefing relative to links to paywalled articles…”

                Actually, had you read the comments, the poster just above mine mentioned the inaccessibility of paywall sites. I was simply going with the thread.

                “No one gave you an assignment to read every linked article, so I’m at a loss to understand what your complaint is about.”

                What is this fixation about ‘assignments’? Why go there? All I wanted to do was read the article y’all posted and couldn’t get thru. If that puts you at a loss to understand, what can I say?

                Ya know, I like your site a lot. You bring a lot of valuable insight into complex situations but you do need to chill out a bit. I meant no harm nor insult.

                1. archer

                  I’m with Yves on this one.

                  Lambert gave a helpful comment on how to access paywalled sites. But you didn’t take the information or even thank him, you went two more rounds arguing with him and telling him or Yves to write article summaries (!!!). So you WERE the one who escalated this into a fight. And then you act like your feelers are hurt? Come on!

              2. Optimader

                Yeah, well you could at least make me some clam chowder…. I really would like some free clam chowder and I dont mind telling you that im getting just a little frustrated. Oh yeah, dont forget the bottle of tabasco and the oyster crackers. And make sure its the good crackers, the round hard ones… You know which ones im talking about.

                  1. Katie Baker

                    Lambert, your response actually hurt. I realize I am just one of the Indonesians–too many cockroaches to count. I can’t do your workaround on my reading device to read beyond the paywall. I haven’t commented becayse it also takes a great deal of effort to write, but I certainly wouldn’t have expected such a dismissal from you. My request for a summary would have been innocent because I am often very interested in what the artivle I cannot read has to say. I would not have realized it would be offensive.

  20. Ed S.

    Guy walks into a Citigroup branch, loses $40,000

    My personal story was getting steered by a Wells rep to the “investment adviser” when I was rolling a CD. “Adviser” offered a product that combined a “principle guarantee” plus nominal interest plus a side-bet on the value of the SP500 at maturity. As I remember (this was a few years ago), you received a nominal interest payment but got a big bonus if the SP500 on the maturity date was between two levels. Above, you didn’t get anything, below, you didn’t get anything. Just said, thanks, not interested.

    An a related anecdote: had an older friend (circa 2003) who confessed that she had invested 1/2 her life savings (she was 70 at the time and her life savings amounted to $50k) in an “aggressive growth tech fund” in 1999. By 2003, it was worthless. So much for “know your customer”.

    What 90% of individuals need is a simple checking account and a saving/money market account. Not “aggressive growth” mutual funds. Not side bets on interest rates, indices, or currencies. Not annuities.

    For the typical individual, walking into a bank today is like a sheep talking to two wolves about what’s for dinner.

  21. Hugh

    I thought NC linked to that article in the Atlantic about unemployment a couple of days ago. I don’t see what the big deal is that Hindery has “discovered” the U6 measure of un- and underemployment.

    The MacroBusiness article on the the population explosion in Africa is idiotic. It’s chart porn. Take Nigeria for instance. It is straining, and probably unsustainable, with its current population of 162 million. So how will it exist with a population 5 times that size in 2100? The answer is it won’t. The country and the population will collapse long before it reaches that point. Once you realize this the rest is just a GIGO exercise.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Clemons (author of Atlantic piece) was way too fawning, that was ick-making

      I saw it as a sign that some people are upset as to how obtuse the Fed is being in its choice of targets for the taper and tightening.

      As for the Africa article, agree, I thought it was pretty scary (that is why I paired it with Grist).

  22. ChrisPacific

    One for Richard Smith – I was doing some searching on offshore tax structures after reading an article about some dodgy behavior, and found this site:

    They have some phone numbers and e-mail addresses but no clue as to where they physically operate – the (few) street addresses supplied appear to be shells.

    Here’s an example of their advice:

    I can only imagine what their client list looks like. I suggest not reading too much of the site content – it’s bad for the digestion.

  23. crazy canuck

    “Guy walks into a Citigroup branch, loses $40,000”

    Aaaaaand… it’s gone.

    Further proof that South Park’s “Margaritaville” episode explains everything consumers need to know about banking.

  24. skippy


    and… Living Anthropologically:

    At the very end, however, is a quote from Daniel Everett, which goes quite nicely with UC Santa Barbara trained anthropologist Brian Haley’s comment, corresponds to the basic message of Anthropology and Human Nature, and would also fit with what Marshall Sahlins describes in The Western Illusion of Human Nature. Here’s Daniel Everett:

    Theoretically I agree with Chagnon that, contrary to Marvin Harris’s work, culture is not simply the reflection of material environment. On the other hand, I find no evidence in Chagnon’s work for a notion that human nature either exists or that human cultures directly reflect human biology. The great leap forward of human beings has been their cognitive flexibility, not their rigidity.

    Chagnon is controversial, but he ought not to be. The controversy doesn’t emerge from his descriptions but from our biases of how people ought to live and how western scientists should manage these peoples’ “image.” His descriptive work is first–rate, a sentiment also expressed by missionaries who have lived among the Yanomamö decades longer than Chagnon. Many of them think his descriptions are the best written on this people.

    Yet I disagree that Chagnon has shown anything about either “human nature” or the evolution of our species. What he has shown us is valuable and important just the same–that there are a variety of human experiences and that in learning about this variety we learn more about our species. In fact, when I compare the descriptions of Amazonian and other communities around the world, including the community of social scientists, I reach the opposite conclusion–human nature is a fiction that some folks find convenient. When we finally liberate ourselves from this 19th century idea (going back to Adolph Bastian’s work on the “psychic unity of mankind”) we may begin to see the richness in human diversity. (Daniel Everett on Napoleon Chagnon at The Edge)

    Or, as Marshall Sahlins might say: The National Academy of Sciences, The Edge, Human Nature, Goodbye to all that.

    Daniel Everett has written a similar overview in The New York Daily News, Where nature and nurture clash: Pioneering a new theory of language:

    We certainly are all cut from the same biological mode. But nature made us flexible not rigid. That is why the bold idea of Chomsky and the evolutionary psychologists simply cannot explain what we know about human diversity.

    This shortcoming has lead to a new “nurture revolution” gathering steam around the world among primatologists, psychologists, philosophers, linguists, and evolutionary biologists. The basic idea of this nurture revolution is simple: Humans are not canned. We are flexible.

    Meanwhile, from a helpful Kenan Malik tweet–one that really should be on The Edge–The Genome in Turmoil:

    In part, this reluctance is a familiar story in every scientific field where new ideas challenge long-entrenched theories. But perhaps part of the initial aversion to epigenetics was motivated by something in our cultural consciousness. Epigenetics undermines age-old ideas of the organism, particularly the human being, as having a stable essence–whether it is a divine soul, a curled-up miniature being waiting to unfold into a fully formed adult, or a molecular program from which we can read off a biologically predestined future. The claim that “it’s in our DNA,” it seems, no longer offers the reassuring bedrock of certainty that we once thought it did. (Nessa Carey, author of The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance)

    And then there’s Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes:

    Like silt deposited on the cogs of a finely tuned machine after the seawater of a tsunami recedes, our experiences, and those of our forebears, are never gone, even if they have been forgotten. They become a part of us, a molecular residue holding fast to our genetic scaffolding. The DNA remains the same, but psychological and behavioral tendencies are inherited. You might have inherited not just your grandmother’s knobby knees, but also her predisposition toward depression caused by the neglect she suffered as a newborn.

    Or not. If your grandmother was adopted by nurturing parents, you might be enjoying the boost she received thanks to their love and support. The mechanisms of behavioral epigenetics underlie not only deficits and weaknesses but strengths and resiliencies, too. And for those unlucky enough to descend from miserable or withholding grandparents, emerging drug treatments could reset not just mood, but the epigenetic changes themselves. Like grandmother’s vintage dress, you could wear it or have it altered. The genome has long been known as the blueprint of life, but the epigenome is life’s Etch A Sketch: Shake it hard enough, and you can wipe clean the family curse.

    Thanks to biological anthropologist Patrick Clarkin for the link, who has written about such issues in How the World Gets Under Our Skin. Clarkin writes of plasticity and the process of development: “Through that process of development, multiple biological outcomes from the same genes are possible. Evolutionarily speaking, it makes sense that natural selection would favor genes that give an organism some plasticity to respond to environments that change within a single lifetime.”

    skippy… what we do know is… the Orb… cough… part of the Universe… did not begin as a Market [science stuff]… oh wait… two imaginary beings made a bet~~~ the thunkit that keeps on giving… eh…

  25. diane

    07/23/13 White House urges Congress to reject moves to curb NSA surveillance
    Obama administration alarmed by vote on ‘Amash amendment’ aimed at blocking blanket surveillance of phone records

    “It’s been an extraordinary day on Capitol Hill as insiders scramble to block the growing chorus of support for the Amash anti-surveillance amendment,” said David Segal, the executive director of the progressive organisation Demand Progress, which supports Amash’s amendment.

    “It’s appropriate: Just as the NSA’s domestic spying apparatus is evidence of some of our leaders’ fear of the American people, these extraordinary actions by the White House and the NSA evidence their fear that the will of Americans will be codified in the law tomorrow.

    “They’ve been brought to this point because in the last 24 hours tens of thousands of Americans, organised by a broad coalition of progressive and conservative organizations – along with several web platforms – have called Congress to make it known that they will not stand for broad based domestic spying by our own government.”


  26. favour

    My name is Mrs. favour jeffry,From USA ,and I’m happily married with a lovely husband and three children.I had a very big problem with my husband few months ago,to the extent that he even packed his things away from our house. He left I and my kids for almost 5 months,and i tried all my possible best and effort to bring him back.I discussed it with a very good friend of mine,and he gave me an advice concerning a spell caster, that he is the only one that can handle my situations and problem,that he’s always ready and able to do anything related to spell casting and helping of the needy, Pls every one i would like you all to contact him with his email address,which is as follows.””. I never believed in spell casting,but My friend convinced me and i had no choice than to follow my friend advice,because i never dreamed of loosing my lovely Husband. And i contacted him with his email address,and i discussed with him all my problems and worries and so surprisingly,he told me that I’ll get my husband back a day after. I didn’t believed Him, until when i got home,the next day,my husband called me to inform me that he is coming back home…..So Amazing!! That’s how i got my back through spell casting and our relationship was stronger than ever. One of the price i was asked to pay was to tell it to the people around me that problems like this,can always be solved by Dr. smart. So! my advice to you out there is to visit this same E-mail address,and tell him your problems too,if you are in any condition related to love issue or getting your ex back or and problem at all, pls Contact him and have a happy life. you can contact him via email ( ) all you can call him +2348104933655.

  27. Shira


    Broken hearted? WIPE AWAY YOUR TEARS. Get your husband, boyfriend, wife or girlfriend back or do you want spell to make your business flourish, do you want spell to get money and a lot of contract. Let High Priestess Shira make him or her run back to you. 100% confidentiality. Even though High Priestess Shira is an adept of supernatural forces, he is as human as you with a heart that beats in his chest. He understands the pain you are going through. He is here for you.
    Welcome To The Most Powerful African Love Spells Due to the strength of these High Priestess Shira love spells and money making spells, it is unlikely that your partner will leave you again, regardless of how you will treat him or her. Therefore, High Priestess Shira needs to be convinced that your partner will be treated well upon his/her return to you. You will quickly realize that High Priestess Shira is simply gifted. 23 YEARS of experience with magic spells for love.
    Submit your lover and problems to High Priestess Shira hands and see for yourself. You deserve to work with the best love spell and money spell caster.

Comments are closed.