Links 8/6/13

Exclusive: Censored EPA PA Fracking Water Contamination Presentation Published for First Time DeSmogBlog

PN Bakken: Crude trains keep rolling Petroleum News (Carol B)

Fukushima radioactive water leak an ’emergency’ BBC

Children given lifelong ban on talking about fracking Guardian. Who was the family’s lawyer? He/she should be sued for malpractice. The intent was clearly to impose a gag order that the kids were likely (more like certain) to violate, and then sue to get the $750,000 back for violating the agreement (yeah, I know the pretext was “we always get gag orders, so it happens to cover kids this time” but I don’t buy that for a second. Plus can the parents bind the kids legally? How can the gag order be binding when they become adults? They presumably aren’t competent to sign as children).

Europe’s Fake Normal Mohamed El-Erian, Project Syndicate

Room For Hope? Fourth Largest Industry In France: It’s “Never Been This Catastrophic” Testosterone Pit

Italian Recession Becomes Longest On Record Clusterstock

UK industrial output rises at fastest pace in more than two years Telegraph

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Mass Data: Transfers from Germany Aid US Surveillance Der Spiegel (Deontos)

Members of Congress denied access to basic information about NSA Glenn Greenwald

The Uninformed to Liberals: Terry Connell Patrick Durusau (Lambert)

Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon Washington Post. I happened to see this news item first on Gawker, and so was not sure it was real. So will Bezos have the WaPo writers working on Amazon warehouse worker pay scales?

Jeff Bezos’s landmark purchase of the Washington Post Columbia Journalism Review

RNC threatens 2016 debates boycott Guardian

Precious Art Appraised as Detroit Tries to Dig Out of Debt Gawker

FBI Finds Holes in System Protecting Economic Data Wall Street Journal

ObamaCare Spurs Shift Away From 30-34-Hour Workweek Investors Business Daily. FYI, IBD is right wing and as much as we are ObamaCare critics here, I’m still not sure this meme is proven. Expect to see a new round of dueling analysis.

Will liberals stand up to “corporate school reform” Salon (Carol B). The answer is easy: “No, they haven’t and it’s pretty close to too late, particularly if you are merely at the deciding to get your hands dirty stage.”

The “New Economy” Is The No Jobs Economy Paul Craig Roberts (rich)

Did The CFTC Do The Right Thing With EC Swaps Deal? Forbes

Bank commodity hoarding to end? MacroBusiness

Online Lenders Told to Abide by Interest Rate Cap in New York New York Times

President renews call for housing reforms Financial Times

The regulatory war on repo will have unintended consequences Walter Kurtz

Antidote du jour:


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      1. rjs

        diptherio, since i dont know the source or the date of the data they referred to, i cant respond to them; but as i’ve pointed out in my previous posts on the LPS mortgage monitor, their data tends to run a few percent lower that the MBA (mortgage bankers) who only publish quarterly…

        if you’re reluctant to open the pdf, here’s the summary from their chief economist, who tries to tell us not to worry too much about one month’s data:

        the 10% increase he refers to is ALL delinquencies, not just the new ones

  1. Ep3

    Yves, just watched the vivid weinergate video. First, the woman’s story is hard to believe. I am sure people find love on Facebook. But I find it hard that a congressman from new York was having trouble finding love in a city of 12 million so he has to search the Internet in southern illinois. Then she talks about how she has had sugar daddy’s in the past. One lasted 3 years, yet “nothing happened”. I am going to take a further step. The tattoos tell me a lot. It’s one thing to have a heart or whatever on the shoulder, back, foot, whatever. But she has one on the hip, back of the arm, and all over her back. In other words, she’s enjoying this, and getting highly compensated for this. Of course, what a coincidence that this comes out just as the congressman tries to rebuild his political career.
    Finally, she was the only one? I know you don’t have a cell phone yves. But you must know that text messages are pretty easy to create and send, at any time. This was a political hit from start to finish. Think about what we know about the NSA data/spying. Sure pretty easy for them to pull up these records.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘On June 19, Grayson wrote to the House Intelligence Committee requesting … FISA court opinions directing the collection of telephone records for Americans, as well as documents relating to the PRISM program.

    ‘But just over four weeks later, the Chairman of the Committee, GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, wrote to Grayson informing him that his requests had been denied by a Committee “voice vote”.’

    This anecdote illustrates what has been apparent for years now: unless your Congressional rep is a top-ranking member of the leadership or the Intelligence committee, then they are just a low-level schlub who finds out about black budgets and NSA spying the same way we do: by reading about it in the Guardian.

    Needless to say, members of Congress cannot perform their constitutional duties to oversee tens of billions in black budget spending, including classified domestic spying, when they are denied basic facts by an insider cabal of perhaps a dozen members (or, in the case of Senator Ron Wyden, prohibited from speaking plainly about what they know).

    Why kid ourselves? This is not democracy: it is a sham of democracy, exhibiting its external form, but without the substance. Having slipped free of its constitutional moorings, the U.S. government has lost its legitimacy. As Paul Craig Roberts wrote a few weeks ago, this is a usurper government. Act accordingly, comrades.

  3. Jim Haygood

    O’Bomber’s latest ‘Snowden missiles’:

    (CNN) — A pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes killed four al Qaeda militants in Yemen as the United States maintained a heightened security alert in the country and urged all Americans to leave immediately.

    Security sources told CNN about the strikes but didn’t offer additional details. A Yemeni official said four drone strikes have been carried out in the past 10 days.

    Hell, I can’t even tell whether the phrase ‘heightened security alert in the country’ refers to the U.S. or Yemen. Does it matter?

    1. Brindle

      Read this letter to Obama from a Yemeni man whose brother-in-law and nephew were killed by a drone strike.

      Seems Obama’s basic dishonesty is noticed around the world.

      h/t Spencer Ackerman.

      —“Why, then, last August, did you both send drones to attack my innocent brother-in-law and nephew? Our family are not your enemy. In fact, the people you killed had strongly and publicly opposed al-Qa’ida. Salem was an imam. The Friday before his death, he gave a guest sermon in the Khashamir mosque denouncing al-Qa’ida’s hateful ideology. It was not the first of these sermons, but regrettably, it was his last.

      In months of grieving, my family have received no acknowledgement or apology from the U.S. or Yemen. We’ve struggled to square our tragedy with the words in your speeches.”—

      1. scraping_by

        The tinfoil hat explanation is that Muslims have only one role in the blood theatre called the War on Terror. If they flub their lines, they get the hook.

        The real enemies of Obama and the rest of the right wing aren’t Muslims who want to place bombs, they’re Muslims who want to live a life according to their own lights. That excludes neoliberal consumerism and the world wide empire the Saudis work for. The rest of us Americans have no enemies there.

        The more reasonable explanation is that the drone warriors aren’t killing people, they’re following flow charts. If someone at a particular place does a particular thing, the arrow is followed to the box that has the properly indirect phrase. That means arbitrary death. A cold crime rather than a hot one. Dead inside rather than too passionate to stop.

  4. Hugh

    Pinch Sulzberger and the Grahams have got to be some of the biggest idiots on the planet. Sure, both the Post and NYT are Establishment propaganda rags, but consider the Sulzbergers bought the Boston Globe for more than a billion and they ended up giving it away for minus $40 million: a $70 million “price” tag but they kept $110 million in pension liabilities. Kleptocrats are often evil, psychopathic, and greedy. Smart often doesn’t enter into it. Pinch is still rich as blazes but even as he leads the NYT from one well deserved disaster to the next.

    If anything, the Grahams are even worse. They make their money off the scamy Kaplan test prep service. But they already managed to drive Newsweek into the ground. And they were doing much the same with the Post.

    The thing is it never occurred to either Pinch or the Grahams, and probably won’t to the recent buyers, to maybe offer their readers news and reality based analysis instead of warmed over propaganda. But then why would a bunch of kleptocrats want to put out information that might lead to their eventual elimination?

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Disagree. They’re plenty smart. It’s not always about the money, esp. when your so called “net worth” is over $25 billion.

      It’s far beyond disintermediating the local bookstore now. IMO this acquisition is all about media leverage and control, and the national newspaper of record is the crown jewel. Over the past year Bezos has begun to see some blowback from corporate policies ranging from hiring of fascist German subcontractors to treatment of employees in U.S. warehouses and direct and indirect government subsidies and ties ranging from tax forbearance to cloud service contracts. Extraordinary long-term support now spanning decades from leading Wall Street banks and attendant operating and financial leverage have enabled WaPo’s buyer to accumulate enormous personal wealth from stock price appreciation despite long-time marginal financial performance and losses at Amazon. This has been a level of financial support given a business model that other entrepreneurs can only dream about… and it begs the question “Why?”

      Here is another recent article through the CJR from the hometown newspaper containing observations that I expect will become increasingly rare to see going forward. It took courage to write and publish this piece in the company’s hometown:

      Although they may use quarterly EPS as a disciplinary tool, these people think very long term. It is time for us to do likewise and call on our legislators to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in media.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Half of newspaper revenues came from classified ads. The Web COMPLETELY killed that. Web advertising has also eaten somewhat into newspaper display ads.

      Tell me how you do more/better journalism on 50% of your former revenues, and this as the Web is accelerating news cycles and you have to have a web and print version of your paper (at least for the Times, pretty most of the money comes from the declining print version).

      1. Hugh

        And yet when the Sulzbergers wanted to, they found a billion to buy the Globe, and they remain rich.

        As Chauncey Gardiner notes above, somehow Bezos has managed to make $25 billion out of a company that has never really run a profit.

        Nor is this a case of the NYT struggling mightily to turn out quality journalism despite ongoing changes in the corporate landscape and in business models. It is a neoliberal Establishment rag content to trade on its PR manufactured prestige, turning out an increasingly inferior and overpriced product.

        1. Optimader

          Refrigerate the route trucks and include a fried fish and chips in every paper… Thats about all theyre good for

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          That was 1993, before much of anyone aside from hard core geeks was on the Web. Cell phone use was even pretty new then. I was an early cell phone adopter in 1994 and cancelled my contract. Also an early Palm user, couldn’t make the character recognition thingie work on mine and sent that back.

          In other words, an irrelevant datapoint. No one then imagined the Web would explode and suck more than half the revenues out of print advertising within a decade.

  5. Butch in Waukegan

    Re Bezos & the Washington Post. “So will Bezos have the WaPo writers working on Amazon warehouse worker pay scales?”

    More likely he’ll follow the HuffPo model for original content — piece work, plus “donations” by hungry writers looking for exposure, encouraged by the paper’s pipeline to millions of Kindles.

    Maybe the content will mirror HuffPo too, with headlines that contain the words “wardrobe malfunction”, “side boob” and the like.

  6. rich

    Private-Equity Payout Debt Surges
    Private-equity firms are adding debt to companies they own to fund payouts to themselves at a record pace, as fears mount that the window for these deals will close if interest rates rise. So far this year, $47.4 billion of new loans and bonds have been sold by companies to pay dividends to the private-equity firms that own them, according to data provider S&P Capital IQ LCD. That is 62% more than the same period last year, which wound up being the biggest year on record, with $64.2 billion sold to fund private-equity payouts.

    The added debt, known as a recapitalization, can increase companies’ risk of default, according to a recent study by Moody’s Investors Service.

    Dividend deals are like “taking out a home-equity loan and then using the money to go on vacation,” said Ray Kennedy, a high-yield bond fund manager at Hotchkis & Wiley Capital Management LLC in Los Angeles, which he said generally tries to avoid dividend deals. “You didn’t use the money to do anything productive in the house like redo a room; you just went out and spent the money.”

    don’t build it…borrow non recourse against it…thanks benny.

    1. scraping_by

      The old loot ‘n scoot predated the current inflationary regime and the central bank. While low interest rates are the current cover story, it’s been part of financial engineering for decades. Heck, they did it back in the late 70’s when breaking up the conglomerates that had been put together in the 60’s, and that wasn’t a low interest rate environment by any means.

      No, this is an insider play. Get a banker willing to sign over cash, pay it to yourselves as ‘management fee’ or some other hoot, and retire. Or find the next corporate management open to bribery. Not very complicated at all.

      1. Synopticist

        Yes, it’s a pretty simple business model, even if it shouldn’t actually exist in a rational market. It’s a tax on dumb investors.

    1. diptherio

      I had an American Anole when I was a kid that liked to snuggle, so it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility, but he does look a more than a little annoyed.

    2. direction

      Do lizards experience happy? Maybe just satisfied? They sometimes desire the donation of a little extra body heat so cuddling is not out of the question, but I don’t know if they experience the fuzzy part of that “warm and fuzzy feeling.”

  7. rjs

    re: ObamaCare Spurs Shift Away From 30-34-Hour Workweek; what about the mandatory furloughs of government workers associated with the sequester? 650,000 civilian employees of DoD are having their hours cut by 20% during July and August…meanwhile, they obamacare employer mandate has been put on hold for a year…

    the household survey doesnt query workers as to why their hours were cut, so there is no data to determine the cause in the spike of part time workers..

    anyhow, here’s something else interesting…

    The rich really are different: Their bodies contain unique chemical pollutants

    1. AbyNormal

      the rich may be different but their history is the same

      Lead and Lead Poisoning in Antiquity (1983) by Jerome O. Nriagu; “Saturnine Gout Among Roman Aristocrats: Did Lead Poisoning Contribute to the Fall of the Empire?

      1. Synopticist

        The Romans actually understood that lead poisoning was bad for them, but the alternatives were less effective and more expensive to maintain. So they didn’t do anything about it.
        That has a very modern ring, does it not?

        1. F. Beard

          A modern ring indeed. Some guy was explaining to me that Equity financing was more expensive than bank credit. Well indeed it is! What can beat legalized theft for cheap financing?

    2. Jed Graham

      The article & chart are based on average monthly data for Q2. The pattern of fewer workers clocking 30-34 hours and more working 25-29 is clear in each month of the quarter.

      Certainly in April, furloughs were pretty minimal. Also, losing 8 hours of a 40-hour week would increase the # working 30-34 hours.

  8. rich

    Charity Commission chairman issues charity pay warning

    William Shawcross questioned whether high salaries were “fair” to donors and taxpayers

    Large salaries paid to charity staff could “bring the charitable world into disrepute”, a regulator has warned.

    Charity Commission chairman William Shawcross said organisations must ask if pay levels are “really appropriate”.

    ‘Deeply unhelpful’

    British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nick Young was paid £184,000 last year, two Save the Children executives received more than £160,000 each and Christian Aid chief executive Loretta Minghella was paid £126,072.

    The number of staff being paid more than £100,000 at the 14 charities it focused on had risen from 19 since 2010, the newspaper said.

    Imagine if he got to glance at the salaries of US based charities and foundations…he’d blush.

    It’s actually unfair to those supposedly being served by the charity not the donors…..the elite always know how to play victim.

    1. William C

      Are those pay levels supposed to be high? I know plenty of bankers who would not get out of bed for that sort of money.

      I believe Shawcross wrote the ‘approved’ book on Murdoch. Make of that what you will.

    2. Synopticist

      These figures may not sound all that high, but remember a lot of these guys will be based off-shore for tax purposes. That’s the coup with working for 3rd world/UN/emergency relief type of charities. No income tax.

      1. William C

        I have no idea what Nick Young’s tax arrangments might be but he runs an organisation with 3600 employees. The CEO of a comparable profit-making organisation would pick up what – 10X his salary? Or maybe 100X if he was a hedge fund CEO?

  9. Tokai Tuna

    I don’t think Bezos will fire the pro-military, pro-banking, pro-human rights abusing stupid asshole writers at the WaPo, but the paper should still have a few of the better writers.

  10. Tokai Tuna

    I don’t think Bezos will fire the pro-military, pro-banking, pro-human rights abusing stu#$d f$%^&*g a@@Wle writers at the WaPo, but the paper should still have a few of the better writers

  11. Ms G

    “Members of Congress denied access to basic information about NSA” Glenn Greenwald

    Must Read. Directly contradicts Obama’s early blabber that “Congress was kept informed …” about all of the PRISM business (and the rest of the abominations that Snowden and Greenwald have kindly made public).

    The article recounts the ordinary details by which — literally — any time a Senator asked for information from the NSA or the Senate Subcommittee they were stonewalled or told “no.” Bottom line: 99.9% of Congress learned about Obama’s Total Spying on Citizens Program when we did — from the Snowden’s revelations in the Guardian.

    1. Bev

      Well, perhaps Congress could catch up quickly if they could only get through to washingtonsblog, which when googled has the following:

      Error establishing a database connection


      Congress should also see:

      NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice Offers More Details on the Wiretapping of Senator Feinstein

      Tuesday, 16. July 2013

      A Rogue NSA with Leverage & the Power of Blackmail

      – See more at:


      1. jrs

        I’m not sure about Russ Tice these days, he’s pretty far out there. Not that I put anything past our criminal elite though.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Must read indeed. The gyrations of secrecy, foreign intrigue, propaganda and preparation for war are now so intense, so hot, that it’s as if an enormous pressure cooker is about the blow.

      (Oh damn, I just flagged this comment for my dossier.)

      1. Brindle

        ….or just continue to ratchet up the pressure, so the feeling of living in a police state is considered normal.

        Remember Andrew Card saying in 02′ that “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

        Wonder what the “new products” we might see/experience in September are?

    3. ChrisPacific

      Yes, that was a remarkable article. Obama hit the point about Congressional oversight very hard. The message was: You, the American people, have control over these programs, if not directly then through the agency of your representatives in Congress, who are elected to represent your interests.

      Now it turns out that’s not true, unless your rep happens to be on the Intelligence Committee – and even if they are and they discover something they are unhappy about, they can’t tell you about it, because the proceedings are classified.

  12. Butch in Waukegan

    Chicago is the One Percent’s proving ground for their smash-and-grab of every bit of public space. In Chicago, everything for sale.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago City Digital Network billboard deal, the latest step in our lurch into an alternate, electronic universe, clears the way for a major assault on that last bastion of reality: the landscape. The screens—with hypnotically morphing images, bigger than life, brighter than day, and so compelling that you can’t not look at them—will soon be looming over our highways. TV on a stick, their critics call them. Trash in the sky.

    1. Ms G

      Hey, wait a minute Butch! I resemble that remark. I think NYC has been the main Point Oh One Percent’s proving ground for hoovering up public assets and money — under 12-year Tinpot Tyrant Bloomberg’s reign!

      Said with some cheek. And too many links would have to be excavated to to prove my point :)

      1. Klassy!

        Ms G, can’t resist a chance to brag about your mayor can you? Chicago is still the second city, but Rahm is making admirable strides in making it a third world city.

        1. Ms G

          I know, Klassy!, I need a xanax or something for when I see those opportunity to brag :)

          You’re right about Rahm hurtling Chicago towards Third World status. I think all of our great cities are in the same forced race, including NY. I suppose it’s “mission accomplished” for the Rubinite-Bloombergian-Rahmian-Petersenian crew with respect to Detroit.

          I’m assuming the “gameplan” is: (1) turn city into Third World place; (2) then build “growth” (i.e. monetize the “rebirth).

          1. skippy

            Monetize the “rebirth” Ms G

            skippy… lov did you mean Birth… I think you really meant Monetize Birth… its the “rational economic” imperative methinks.

              1. skippy

                Surly you understand the – Future Expectations Clause – in the “Right to Live” amendment.

                skippy… its in the “If they can think it – it can be so – contract. Pre – approved before you were born thingo…

  13. taunger

    i recently got hired in a permenant, professional role . . . at 25-29 hours per week. No bennies. We’ll see what health care subsidies are available in the fall when its reup time. This was the best job available after 2+ years of searching and doing contract work.

  14. David Lentini

    School Reform, Liberals, and Getting Hoisted on One’s Pétard

    As a school board member and the spouse of a teacher, I’ve written a lot about the reform efforts of our Tea Party, ALEC-today Governor and Commissioner of Education here in Maine, which you can read in the Portland Press Herald

    Before I got involved in commenting on education policy, I spent a lot of time reading about the history of public education in America and education reform. I don’t think anyone can comment effectively on our current mess without doing some basic research, which is why coherent commentary is so lacking. Several references I strongly recommend are:

    Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform

    Education and the Cult of Efficiency: A Study of the Social Forces That Have Shaped the Administration of the Public Schools and

    John Taylor Gatto’s Web site The Underground History of American Education (Although I don’t agree with “unschooling”.)

    These references, and there are many more, demonstrate several important points:

    Education reform has been nearly continuous for over a century, and has been driven by the business élites in conjunction with the academic education schools, especially those at the élite schools like Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, and Stanford.

    Back in the 1890s, the robber barons wanted to control the burgeoning public school systems that were struggling to meet the legal requirements for public education amidst the tidal wave of immigration from eastern and southern Europe by insisting on applying the ideas of Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford to education. But also, the élites clearly wanted to limit the ability of the lower- and middle classes to attend the best universities, instead pushing for a second-rate and limited education for the children of the masses that would enable them to function efficiently as labor but little more. The scions of the rich would get the far better intellectual experiences of the private schools. These efforts gave use textbooks, platoon schooling (i.e., the “factory-style” classrooms the current reformers constantly mock), vocational training, and large centralized schools over smaller local schools.

    Today, the sides are still drawn the same way. The financial élites of Silicon Valley and Wall Street want to re-make education in their own image: Virtual schools in which children take nearly all of their lessons over computer networks. (And the élites will pocket most of the difference in cost.) Of course, the academic institutions are still on the sides of the money, always ready with more “programs” and “studies” that push the educational agenda of the 1% who wouldn’t dream of sending their kids to the schools they force on the public.

    Public Education Has Often Been About Control and Job Training

    Despite Thomas Jefferson’s plans for free education through the third grade, the push for mandatory public education came from New England during the rise of the industrial revolution, when local governments began complaining about unsupervised children. In other words, almost from the start public education has served as a way of taking kids off the streets to instill the puritanical virtues of obedience and self-discipline. Indeed, the model for the first state-wide public school system in Massachusetts were the Prussian schools visited by Horace Mann in the mid-19th Century. It was the Prussian “drill and discipline” methods that John Dewey and the original progressive reformers attacked at the end of that century.

    The Liberal Progressive Emphasis on Personal “Choice” Has Come Home to Roost

    At the end of the 19th Century, Harvard president Charles Eliot abandoned much of mandatory curriculum in favor of electives chosen by the students. Over the succeeding decades, the idea of elective choices filtered down into the high schools. Also, just as in the colleges, the “chosen” courses tended to be those thought by the students to give the greatest chance of entry to highly paid jobs. As a result, the sorts of course traditionally taken to develop intellectual skills and provide a cultural foundation gradually faded away. Thus, schools started offering more and more offerings at the expense of an integrated education that could provide a strong intellectual and cultural foundation for public school graduates—the sort of education found in the élite private schools.

    In addition, the progressive reformers often rejected the classical educational goals of intellectual development (e.g., as found in the trivium), often over the objections of parents and teachers, in favor of “life skills”, known as the Life Adjustment Movement. Thus, starting in the 1920s schools stopped teaching subjects such as mathematics in favor of “home economics” and “shopping”. In the end, the public became increasingly frustrated with public education that looked like an expensive day camp and boondoggle. The book racks of ’50s through the ’90s are full of books raging about the wasted time and money of public education, often pointing to the sorts of “basket weaving” courses offered at all levels of public schooling.

    Now of course, the current outbreak of reformers is using the “choice” mantra as a wedge into the liberal camp. And the liberals, who love “choice” and see technology in nearly utopian terms as a means for greater “choice” and “expression” as ripe for the reformer’s siren song.

    Technology Has Always Been Seen as the Way to the Promised Land

    From Edison’s campaign to bring movies into the schools, in order to allow students to watch the best lectures, to Marconi’s campaign to bring radio into the schools, in order to allow students to listen to the best lectures, to film strips, television, cable television, and, starting in the ’60s and ’70s, computers (yes, even then!), technology has been held out as the means to bring utopia to public education.

    Did it work? Did anything really change? I would argue that today’s reformers are the answer to both questions, and the answers to those questions are the same regarding today’s reformers.

    Education is about intellectual development, and so it requires human interactions. Technology typically separates human interactions.

    So, before you get into fray please take the time to get up to speed on the history. You’ll find very little has changed in over a century. Indeed, the reform themes run on a cycle of about 20–20 years (i.e., about every generation). The only things that change are the details, which are often irrelevant. Maybe one day, Americans will stop thrashing about for easy answers and accept the reality of what good educations require.

    1. JTFaraday

      “Education is about intellectual development, and so it requires human interactions.”

      Well, my morning reading reveals that there is at least one contemporary reformer (albeit in higher ed) who adopts this line:

      ““People have to learn from people,” says Mr. Skiff. “There has to be a relationship between the student and the teacher.””

      Of course, when I read that I quipped “sounds like psychotherapy.” (Not that groups of 25-30 is the gold standard for that).

      I think it is a mistake to think that today’s reformers have any interest in educational outcomes one way or another. They are not, for example, seeking to outfit people for the factory, as did the previous generation(s) of industrial era reformers, because they have no vision of what the future holds.

      They have no “educational” goal whatsoever–whether anyone else agrees with that goal or not. They are exclusively seeking to cream off a stream of income today, justified by any narrative frame that enables them to pull it off.

      I do think this is new. It is pure predation, of no use to no constituency but themselves, through the act of extraction.

      It is no surprise that hedge funds and private equity–with a long trail of broken companies already in its wake–have become such big players here.

    2. Klassy!

      I would say the chickens are coming home to roost when educators have argued that education is the key to economic security, mobility, and productivity since compulsory education’s beginnings. Isn’t for-profit education and educational reform the logical end point of this argument?
      We must reject the idea that education is going to solve our inequality problem. There are better and more direct routes to do this.

      1. Ms G

        Exactly. Let’s remember, for example, how Bill Clinton (before he was a multi millionaire giver of speeches) “reassured” all opposed to NAFTA because millions would lose good jobs in the U.S. that he had it covered with a “worker retraining program” [re-education to solve massive sudden joblessness.]

        Yeah, that one worked out real well! (Not that I think anyone exactly kept track of how many of the suddenly unemployed NAFTA victims fared career-wise with whatever “re-education” or “re-training” they received.)

      2. Ms G

        Exactly. Let’s remember, for example, how Bill Clinton (before he was a multi millionaire giver of speeches) “reassured” all opposed to NAFTA because millions would lose good jobs in the U.S. that he had it covered with a “worker retraining program” [re-education to solve massive sudden joblessness.]

        Yeah, that one worked out real well! (Not that I think anyone exactly kept track of how many of the suddenly unemployed NAFTA victims fared career-wise with whatever “re-education” or “re-training” they received – if they did.)

          1. Ms G

            Ya … but not the “some people” who supposedly were going to be a-ok and everything-is-jake after attending one of Clinton’s “retraining programs.” Those “some people”‘s stories have not been written about much.

      3. JTFaraday

        I largely agree with the idea that education has served a social, political, and especially economic cure-all in the US, a point the American political historian Bernard Bailyn makes in Education in the Forming of American Society and made compellingly Rush Welter in Popular Education and Democratic Thought in America, which argues that education has served as a critical means of depoliticizing the citizenry throughout the nation’s history.

        Education performs this depoliticizing work even when it’s good–and especially when it’s good– precisely because it promotes the idea that individuals can get their act together and pull themselves up by their mental bootstraps.

        Thus, no need for politics.

        1. JTFaraday

          Sorry for the typos. I have a headache–maybe I should logoff rather than pollute the internets!

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Online courses to train humanoid robots for filling robotic jobs … what could be more fitting … OJT for jobs of tomorrow. Employers need invest nothing of theirs in our brave new paradigm for popular dehumanization, and better yet, might profit directly. How delicious!

  15. AbyNormal

    “Through art mysterious bonds of understanding and of knowledge are established among men. They are the bonds of a great Brotherhood. Those who are of the Brotherhood know each other, and time and space cannot separate them. The Brotherhood is powerful. It has many members. They are of all places and of all times. The members do not die. One is member to the degree that he can be member, no more, no less. And that part of him that is of the Brotherhood does not die. The work of the Brotherhood does not deal with surface events. Institutions on the world surface can rise and become powerful and they can destroy each other. Statesmen can put patch upon patch to make things continue to stand still. No matter what may happen on the surface the Brotherhood goes steadily on. It is the evolution of man. Let the surface destroy itself, the Brotherhood will start it again. For in all cases, no matter how strong the surface institutions become, no matter what laws may be laid down, what patches may be made, all change that is real is due to the Brotherhood.”
    Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

    אַ דאַנק Asher Lev & ST

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Everyone is in the brotherhood.

      Everyone is in the sisterhood.

      You have to believe it – we are all artists.

      1. AbyNormal

        Everyone is in A brotherhood.

        A Curve does not exist in its full power until contrasted with a straight line. RH

  16. rich

    France warns of money laundering in vineyard sales to Chinese

    France’s money laundering investigators have called for “increased vigilance” in sales of vineyards to Chinese buyers, as more of the country’s finest wineries are sold to investors from the world’s second-largest economy.

    The annual report of the anti-money laundering unit of the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, Tracfin, released last month has also singled out Russian and Ukrainian buyers, but has noticed a “growing presence of investors with ties to China”.

    Some of these buyers would use “complex judicial arrangements with holding companies located in fiscally privileged countries” to obtain these vineyards, making it difficult to establish the origin and the legality of the funds brought into France.

    The report comes as China has raised the issue of money laundering to the “national strategic level” in an attempt to reign in the massive outflow of funds from the country, according to remarks by the People’s Bank of China’s deputy governor Li Dongrong in May.

    The Chinese economy lost US$3.79 trillion in illicit financial outflows betweem 2000 and 2011, the Washington, DC-based research and advocacy group Global Financial Integrity said in a study last year.

    I guess none of this funny money made it to our shores?..cough, cough…?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If would be funny if they just buy a pork processor and not follow up with acquiring a rice company…apparently, the ‘rice with cadmium’ lunch special is not gaining much popularity.

      Thus the hard choice between moving to France or moving upstream the Yangtze, all the way to Tibet, in order to avoid industrial pollutants in Jiangnan.

  17. Doug Terpstra

    “Without Warning, US Bombs Yemen”

    Well, without warning we bomb anyone we want…just as long as they can’t defend themselves.

    “As of this posting it was unclear what the ‘collateral damage’ in terms of innocent civilians was, in the execution of said four militants, who one assumes are not affiliated with the al Qaeda “militants” on the ground in Syria, or those that are supported by the US and its allies.” … and who one also assumes are not members of al Qaeda currently receiving US military contracts in Afghanistan. How asinine are we?

    It is almost inevitable that the unprecedented score of embassy closings is a prelude to war. It could be prep for one or more specific false flag events initially, but the blanket closings of regional embassies only really make sense as defense against widespread unrest or blowback like what occurred during the Iranian hostage crisis, or is already unfolding in much of Arabia. This would be the predictable reaction to massive crimes that we, ourselves are about to commit — another aggressive US war, in concert with Israel or at its behest. Syria and/or Iran, of course, are in the crosshairs; Yemen, we may deduce, is an opening pawn or misdirection at best.

    War is by far the most reliable weapon of mass distraction, the unfailing propaganda tool, so the preparation we are now witnessing may well mean that Snowden’s heroism is far more dreadful* and far more devastating for this regime than anything exposed so far. War is the most compelling crime to cover up high crimes in high places and to drown dissent under waves of blind patriotism. Thus it is quite possible Snowden has specific goods on key people in power, maybe even the Charlatan-in-Chief. Snowden may hold a critical thread of the emperor’s unraveling cloak.

    Think about that. How exquisitely ironic would that be, huh?, embarrassing the greatest fraud of all, the champion of war and Wall Street — and turning the NSA’s own blatant crimes against humanity against itself? It’s metallic irony you can taste!

    Why else would the otherwise unflappable pretender be tripping over himself, begging, bullying and snubbing Russia, threatening would-be asylum grantors, and desperately downing a sovereign’s plane to get Snowden? We would be hearing about a drone strike in Russia this morning, except for the fact that, as Chomsky would note, Russia can defend itself.

    *What could be more dreadful than the fact that human beings everywhere are being systematically stripped naked of any shred of privacy, and with barely a whimper of dissent, and nothing from the servile media? The self-evident fact is that these crimes, the NSA’s, the military-intelligence complex’s, are not committed to prevent terrorism at all because isolated acts of retaliation or blowback like Boston apparently can’t be prevented anyway. No, they exist to secure the privilege and power of a tiny, undeserving elite.

    Who are they kidding? Oh wait… What happened to the American spirit? Why have we become like lambs-to-slaughter, acquiescing so meekly to our own destruction? Anyone?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The answer is quite simple…probably takes less than 1 minute if one does one’s research on youtube. But first, I have to finish watching a pre-recorded NFL exhibition game. So, let me get back to you later.

  18. barrisj

    Couldn’t resist this:

    George W. Bush has heart surgery for blocked artery
    Former president George W. Bush is in “high spirits” after heart surgery Tuesday morning, his office said.

    During a physical examination Monday, doctors found a blockage in the artery of the former president’s heart, said Bush spokesman Freddy Ford.
    Aides said Bush is in good shape because of early detection.

    Bush “is grateful to the skilled medical professionals who have cared for him,” Ford said. “He thanks his family, friends and fellow citizens for their prayers and well wishes.”

    Ford added: “And he encourages us all to get our regular check-ups.”

    Yeah, ain’t Merkan medicine grand! Unfortunately, heart disease amongst the poorer members of society in the US is most often undetected and untreated until one is gasping on a gurney in ER. No “skilled medical professionals” for many of us, that’s for sure.

    1. Jim Haygood

      One is astonished to learn that the Decider actually HAS a heart.

      Couldn’t it just be replaced with a centrifugal pump like Cheney’s?

  19. rich

    Mayday for America’s middle class
    Trickle-down economics have worked out terribly for most Americans.

    It’s a vision with popular appeal, but history exposes the flaws in that reasoning. Since the late 1970s, under Democrats as well as Republican presidents, Washington has embraced the kind of pro-business, trickle-down economics House Republicans continue to call for. And things have worked out terribly for much of middle-class America, the 70% with family incomes from $30,000 to just over $100,000.

    We have become two Americas — literally, the 99% and the 1%. We have what a Citigroup investment brochure called the most eye-popping concentration of wealth in a great power since 16th century Spain. The numbers are staggering. From 1979 to 2011, 84% of the nation’s increase in income has gone to the wealthiest 1%, according to Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist who now chairs the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

    We are still in the grip of that long-term trend. As the president observed at Knox College in Illinois recently: “The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40% since 2009. The average American earns less than he or she did in 1999.”

    This split between corporate profits and middle-class living standards — call it America’s “wedge economics” — had its roots in the late 1970s, with Democrats in control of Congress and the White House.

    For the previous 30 years, from 1945 through the 1970s, middle-class Americans shared in the nation’s growing prosperity. Based on Labor Department reports, economists tell us the productivity of the U.S. workforce rose 97% from 1945 to 1973, and the income of the average family rose 95%. In short, average workers reaped the benefits of rising U.S. efficiency along with their bosses.

    But since 1973, the picture has changed: Productivity has risen 80%, economists report, but the average family’s income has risen only 10%, and that bump has come primarily because more women have entered the workforce, not because wages have gone up. According to the Census Bureau, the typical male worker made the same hourly pay and benefits in 2011 as in 1978, adjusted for inflation. Three decades of going nowhere.
    This has serious consequences for all of us.,0,1194197.story

    What You Tolerate You’ll Never Change!

    1. Paul Niemi

      Yes, and I also read the New Economy is the No Jobs Economy. Let me tell you what I think is an un-talked-about reason manufacturing jobs and support jobs are vanishing in this economy. Population growth is consuming and driving up the relative price of the resources needed for manufacturing, in an environment where public investment to develop those resources is neglected. Manufacturing takes lots of water, sewer, electricity, gas, and motor fuel. If investment in new infrastructure capacity does not take place, then residential uses will crowd out the manufacturing jobs as the population grows. I think for many years the extra cost of resources from residential competition was compensated for by tax breaks for manufacturers, but recently it has not been enough and this has been a factor in precipitating movement of manufacturing out of the country, where foreign labor costs have been enough lower to justify the activity. Commenters like to point fingers at NIMBYs and unions and finance and fiat and whatnot, but the fixed overhead cost increases relative to the price of everything else need to be addressed.

  20. optimader

    Fukushima radioactive water leak an ’emergency’

    A retooling of the word emergency

    1: an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action

    I have been making a point to catch the NHK News/France 24 or DW in the evening when possible. They actually cover the story and have fresh file footage. There is nothing “unforeseen about this, or shouldn’t be at least. It is the inexorable 3mph 100 car freight-train going off the bridge.

    The “immediate action” seems to be watching it spill into the Bay.

    This is like an old Lucille Ball Show episode morphed into a horror story of IDIOTS scurrying around trying to catch water in pots and pans.

    For me, this has forever altered my frame of reference when I see someone do something really stupid like, say, pouring gas on a grill from a gas can.

    1. rich

      new news…wonder how many earn min wage….trapped.

      State to suspend driving licenses of tax delinquents

      Approved in March, an initiative to suspend the driver’s license of New Yorkers who owe more than $10,000 in back taxes will begin this week.

      The state Tax Department will send the first round of 16,000 suspension notices to tax delinquents this week. Scofflaws will have 60 days to respond before receiving a second notice, giving him or her 15 more days. If taxpayer again fails to arrange payment, the license will be suspended until the debt is paid.

      keep believing….

  21. jrs

    Terry Connel: the NSA is so scientific see … you can’t deny it without denying science and technology. Uh if the idea is that the NSA metadata gathering is like a scientific experiment well then: INVOLUNTARY HUMAN EXPERIEMENTS are outlawed by the Geneva convention. How quaint of me I know, do I really have the nerve to bring those old musty luddide principles up?

    1. jrs

      By the way, working in IT, I also didn’t suddenly just fall off the turnip truck and find out what metadata is when it came out of Greenwalds pen for the first time.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With every bit of ‘scientific’ innovation/discovery, you always have to ask yourself this question: Will this hurt or help me? Is this more likely to be used to control and manipulate me?

        Don’t jump for joy everything you read something you think will help you impress your dinner date, like, ‘my dear, have you read in the news that we know how the brain works now? Are we the smartest generation?’

        We don’t know.

        They know.

        Not you.

        1. jrs

          One of the few things I take comfort in now, they can’t read our thoughts that are expressed to noone. I don’t await the day that they can.

          1. Emma

            Well, if the National Sheep Asylum begin to hire psychics, they’ll surely be able to census (ha ha…sorry…). And that is only going to make it harder to keep their world of magic apart from our world of facts.

    1. Yonatan

      I see Yuma is on the list. Knowing the mindset of the authoritarians who serve in the US gov STASI, I am certain they will show no sense of yuma should anyone try to overload their search system.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Your search – Rootkit PLO Chemical weapon Disaster medical assistance team Malware Service … – did not match any documents.


  22. charles sereno

    A view from below: As a naif economist, here’s how I see it. If I touch on some truth, fine; if I provoke laughter, great! (comedy was always my weak point). A Fed guv from Chicago said something about “taperall” and that seemed to have more effect on the market’s boring, linear rise since the Helicopter Man’s delphic readings. Sorry, that’s it. I ran out of ideas.

  23. run75441

    PPACA shortening the work week?

    Spencer England writes on the topic here:

    “The unusually large increase in part time employment is due almost exclusively to the sequester. For example, at the Department of Defense (DOD) some 650,000 civilians must take 11 days off in the second and third quarters. They have 26 weeks, but after adjusting for federal holidays, vacations, sick leave, etc., the effective time is 22 weeks. This works out that DOD employees must take an involuntary, unpaid day-off every other week. Consequently, on any given week about half of the DOD civilian workers (325,000) became part time employees. That is 55% of the 589,000 jump in part time employment in the first half of 2013.”

    and here:

    “The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.2 million in July.

    Part time employment as a share of total employment rose from 18.8% to 18.9%. Many are arguing that the rise in part time employment is due to Obamcare. Maybe, but it is not an open and shut case. The series is highly volatile and can be heavily influenced by which sectors are growing. For example, if manufacturing employment is weak and retail employment is strong it will generate an increase in part time work because manufactures use few part-timers while retailers rely heavily on part-timers.”

    Jared Bernstein adds to the topic of the PPACA impacting part time employment here:

    “First off, the ACA is not big enough as a share of the economy or workforce to have large effects. Holahan and Garrett emphasize that its expenditures amount to well under 0.5% of GDP, and that’s once it’s fully phased in. So it seems implausible to argue that a program of that relative magnitude could be significantly disruptive to job creation.” “Job Creation and the Affordable Care Act Have Little to Do with Each Other”

  24. Chris A

    RE: The Uninformed to Liberals: Terry Connell

    Can someone spell out what exactly this piece is trying to say? Is it simply that “big data” in the hands of the state is an ominous development and greatly subject to abuse? I know that already. Beyond that, I’m afraid I myself am having trouble connecting some dots here.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not just Bid Data.

      Big Money Printing Press also.

      Beware of MMTers bearing gifts of virtuous politicians.

  25. rich

    The New York Times Endorses Plutocracy!

    If you happened to have read The New York Times’ opinion section this weekend, you may have noticed you were told that the U.S. Senate – the body comprised primarily of millionaires – apparently needs more lawmakers who are very close to the wealthy.
    Yes, despite every member of the upper house raising huge amounts of campaign money primarily from the American aristocracy, and despite the fact that legalized bribery results in votes that consistently defend the aristocracy’s economic interests at the expense of everyone else — the grey lady’s editorial board implored voters to see Senate candidates’ all-too-close relationship with America’s uber-rich not as something suspicious or repugnant, but as something commendable and worthy of reward.

    Some of Mr. Booker’s opponents are trying to denigrate those assets — his fame, his ability to work with Republicans, his coziness with the moneyed class.

    You read that correctly: According to the Times, being “cozy with the moneyed class” should be seen by voters as an “asset” for an aspiring senator – one the Times insinuates shouldn’t dare be “denigrated” by other candidates.

    Of course, the Times is fairly accurate in declaring Booker as “cozy with the moneyed class.” If anything, in fact, it’s an understatement – Booker is one of Corporate America’s most loyal and obedient Democratic politicians.

    As the Republic Report and ThinkProgress both document, Booker’s entire political career has been bankrolled by Wall Street. According to The Record newspaper, that includes his current U.S. Senate race, in which Booker “is tapping high-tech billionaires (and) Wall Street hedge-fund managers” to finance his campaign.

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