Links 9/10/13

If you are in NYC, be sure to vote for Eliot Spitzer for New York City comptroller today! As links below show, this has gotten to be a tight race, so your vote matters. I know there has been some grumbling about his past support for charter schools, but if you check the reporting on the Comptroller’s race, you’ll see the union that actually has a dog in this fight, the teachers’ union, hasn’t made any noise, perhaps for the logical reason that the Comptroller has squat to do with educational policies. The unions that have been making waves are ones like the SEIU who carry Democratic party water in return for payoffs of various sorts.

You are also getting somewhat thin links tonight (I scheduled this post to launch after I turned in). I am really trying to be on a normal schedule and the cat drama cut into my day. Apologies.

How we turned ‘tame’ cats into killing machines: Scientist claims neutering pets means felines only evolve in the wild where hunting skills are key to survival Daily Mail (Lambert). Puhleeze. As you will see below, I am a the sort of bad person who has purebred cats rather than shelter cats because an Abyssinian adopted me at a pet store years ago. Once you’ve been an Aby’s human, you get hooked on them. Abys are also one of the oldest cat breeds. The breeders have succeeded in cultivating a people-oriented personality, but the difference relative to other cats isn’t enormous, and they still are very good hunters (my older cat, Blake, was an excellent mouser when he lived a while in a 24/7 office).

Could a teenager save the world’s oceans? Student, 19, claims his invention could clean up the seas in just five years Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Observation or Admitted? The Cost of Hospital Care Can Depend on Your Status Patient Safety Blog

Judges Hear Arguments on Rules for Internet New York Times (Lambert)

Is Crowdsourcing On Decline? Resilient Communications (Chuck L). Wow, if so, people are acting less like marks than I had anticipated.

The predictions through the years that turned out to be spectacularly wrong Telegraph

Spain – The Recession May Be Ending But The Crisis Continues Ed Hugh

The IMF knows that the Fed is playing with fire in emerging markets Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Egypt launches assault on militants Guardian


Heitkamp is sixth Senate Democrat to oppose Syria resolution Washington Post

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Support Is Fading for U.S. Attack in Syria Wall Street Journal

US to halt attacks if Syria cedes control of arms Financial Times

Syria: Lavrov Checkmates Kerry Over Offhand Remark Moon of Alabama

Obama’s business in Congress put at risk Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Cowboy of the NSA Foreign Policy (Chuck L)

James Clapper’s Financial War on the World Marcy Wheeler. Also her fundraising week. Please chip in!

NSA Has Apparently Targeted SWIFT Network, Petrobras, and the French Diplomatic Network Kevin Drum

Helicopter circles US consulate in spy probe The Local (Slashdot)

Johns Hopkins and the Case of the Missing NSA Blog Post ProPublica

Teen unemployment portends ‘lost generation’ of Americans Twin Cities (Chuck L)

Spitzer slipping in NYC comptroller’s race: Q Poll Albany Watch versus Comptroller race down to wire AM NY (Lambert)

Class Is Seen Dividing Harvard Business School New York Times

Neil Barofsky Is Joining A Huge White Collar Law Firm Where He’ll Represent Hedge Funds and Private Equity Firms Clusterstock

The Economist House-Price Index Barry Ritholtz

Elizabeth Warren’s Powerful Speech: Supreme Court Is on the Path to Being a “Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Big Business” Alternet

Follow the Money: Payday Laundry Edition Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Why institutions matter (more than ever) Andrew Haldane

Antidote du jour: This is Gabriel, the cat that got stuck and was the object of considerable reader concern (thanks for all the helpful suggestions!). He’s looking annoyed because I dragged him to the lobby tonight to be photoed (I don’t have a smartphone and can’t be bothered with getting a digital camera since I pretty much never take photos). But this angle also disguises how porky he’s become. He is on his way to being an Abyssinian-colored football.

Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 1.34.02 AM

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    1. craazyboy

      This picture and this whole episode of stuck cats in narrow spaces just gave me a brainstorm for a useful cat product.

      Whisker extenders!

      Say you have an aging, couch potato cat whose girth has grown past whisker sensor range. No problem! Just attach some whisker extenders on each side and your cat will never enter stoopid places again!

  1. XO

    IMO, best cat breed ever: The Maine Coon. Large, friendly, no or minimal “meow.” Had one who picked us out from a dumpster in FL, years ago (unfortunately, it died from some virus it had picked up while feral).

    I sense a trend developing (the trend being that I am a sucker for a hard-knocks cat).

    Still waiting someone to take the Orange Interloper off my hands.


    As for the article on cleaning the oceans: Everyone knows that the only way to save the planet is by engaging in never ending war and human suffering as a source of corporate profits. We can’t afford environmentalism — it’s not doing “god’s work.”

    Goddamned hippies with their beards, sandals and long hair. Jesus Christ.

    1. Concerned Citizen

      Much of the plastic in the ocean is broken up into tiny pieces by the elements and the sun’s UV rays. They are suspended to who knows how deep beneath the surface. How will the machine efficiently collect those bits? What if some big object, like a bunch of tangled nets or something, blocks the intakes? Who will be there to dislodge them?

      I don’t know about this guy’s proposal. It’d better to focus more on the source of the pollution (us) than come up with some fancy techno-solution.

      1. Eeyores enigma

        “I don’t know about this guy’s proposal.”

        It is never intended to solve anything.

        This story, which is going semi-viral, is simply designed to perpetuate the almost biblical scale myth that technology will save us from everything.

        This allows the general public to dismiss any conserns and grt back to borrowing and consuming.

        1. Dr. Noschidt

          Ee, especially since plastic bits are masquerading as plankton, and being consumed as such, to the detriment of the sea’s food chain.

          Indeed, there is no hi-tech panacea for this.

          1. hunkerdown

            Is Spielberg a player in this space? I seem to remember James Cameron is from his work on the Deepwater Horizon…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I had a thought before about equipping a vacuum cleaner under every car so that as one drives down the freeway, one also hoovers up all the pollutants that hover just above the road surface.

        I think my idea can clean up America’s freeways in a few days.

        “The more you drive, the more you clean up America!”

      3. coboarts

        It’s an elegant solution and I hope the beginning of a techno-healing process that will complement the effort to reduce, reuse, recycle.

      4. Bruno Marr

        Yes. Most of the viewable ocean trash is located along the coasts (and in a handful–maybe two handfulls– of locations around the world). Stopping pollution at its source is always easier than recapturing it. Since 30% of ocean trash is toxic cigarette butts we know where one source is. A destination/source is the great Pacific vortex of trash. Send floating recycling ships to the vortex and clean it up!

        As for the student project: nice 3D graphic, but the ocean is rarely as calm as depicted (those booms would go bust rapidly in real ocean conditions).

      5. Jeff W

        The project director of says that the proposed “Ocean Cleanup Array” won’t work for a lot of reasons, including some mentioned here by other commenters—better to focus on “reducing our consumption and production of plastic waste” and cleaning up beaches (where the plastic eventually ends up), he says.

  2. Joe

    There is a short interview with Noam Chomsky on Counterpunch today by Frank Barat:
    Syria, Israel and Peace in Palestine: An Interview with Noam Chomsky

    “There’s also no such thing as “Responsibility to Protect”, that’s a fraud perpetrated in Western intellectual culture. There is a notion, in fact two notions: there’s one passed by the UN General Assembly, which does talk about “Responsibility to Protect,” but it offers no authorisation for any kind of intervention except under conditions of the United Nations charter. There is another version, which is adopted only by the West, the US and its allies, which is unilateral and says R2P permits “military intervention by regional organisations in the region of their authority without Security Council authorisation”.

    Well, translating that into English, this means that it provides authorisation for the US and NATO to use violence wherever they choose without Security Council authorisation. That’s what’s called “Responsibility to Protect” in Western discourse. If it weren’t so tragic it would be farcical.”

    1. JohnDT

      Sure, Russia and China would promote military action that would undermine their interests via the UN.
      Chomsky is such an enlightened liberal he does not care that more people have been butchered by Assad than all the civilians killed in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began, or that this familia-ran dictatorship, which has used chemical weapons against its own citizens in the past, will continue its brutal rule for years to come. Sure, the Israelis were wrong to bomb the Syrian nuclear program a few years back – this would have given Assad the ultimate veto right to commit genocide.
      As Chomsky said in the past “Iran is pursuing the nuclear out of fear”. He only neglected to mention it was fear for the future of the theocracy that oppresses the vast majority of Iranians.
      This is not a cute little philosophical game. Russia is there for the gas and arms contracts, Iran is there to deflect pressure via proxies as it builds up its regional stance and arsenal, the Saudis are there to keep the monarchy up and divert militants’ energies while blocking the Iranians, the US economy is extremely sensitive to oil price and flow of goods via Suez, Israel is now surrounded by Salafi and Shiite militants with long-range missiles on all fronts, the UN forces in Syria and Lebanon have done very little to help the humanitarian situation, non-conventional weapons and long-range missile proliferation is on the rise and you think you can avoid the long-term strategic costs by having a nice discussion in the UN?

        1. Joe

          Yeah, mentioning Chomsky is like waving red meat at a hungry lion. I better not mention Robert Fisk either :) I wouldn’t want anyone to get their panties in an even bigger wad.

          1. JohnDT

            Chomsky may seem to some a provocateur, but I merely noted his bias (did he really have to put Syria in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian entanglement?), over simplification (e.g. ‘just go to the UN’) and lack of coherent argumentation (i.e. avoid the use of force even if somebody else is using brutal force and also uphold some humanitarian values while neglecting others).
            Cynicism won’t take away from the validity of the critical points, even if the person criticized is perceived a genius in some domains.

              1. JohnDT

                Funny reply indeed, and yes, I agree, a stupid move by the Israeli government (although they are right to feel outnumbered and under pressure from a delegitimization campaign never seen against China, Russia, Saudi Arabia et al.)

      1. diptherio

        A few questions:

        How many people have been killed in the Congo in the last decade? Why we aren’t storming in there? Why aren’t you proselytizing for military intervention to stop the on-going slaughter there?

        Why are non-conventional weapons such a problem? Why are they so much worse than conventional weapons? Dead is dead, far as I can tell. And why don’t you consider white phosphorus or DU ammunition “non-conventional” weapons? Would it be because those are the ones WE use?

        And what are these “strategic costs” we will have to pay if we fail to fire some of our own long-range missiles at Syria? In order to have a strategy, we must first have a goal…what’s the goal we’re trying to accomplish? We never really seem to have an honest discussion about that one, for some unfathomable reason. We all know that democracy ain’t the goal…and if our goals are, in themselves, indefensible, then why should we concern ourselves about “strategic costs”?

        1. LucyLulu

          “what’s the goal we’re trying to accomplish?”

          Hey, that’s an easy one. STABILITY!

          Haven’t ya noticed how nice and stable the region’s been the last few decades since we started firing our missiles? /s

          1. Foppe

            I forget who wrote/talked about this, but the point being striven for is a stable property regime, without the population having the right to self-determination (this last right is often taken away in the name of ‘free trade’); in light of Iraq, the point is to make the country ‘safe for democracy [read: capitalism]’. Social stability is therefore undesirable, because it increases the chance that people will band together and start working towards creating a better country…

        2. JohnDT

          A few answers:
          1. Unfortunately, neither the international community nor the US do their utmost to resolve violent conflicts, prevent genocide and stop brutal dictators.
          On the other hand, in realistic terms there are ‘simply’ not enough resources to go beyond selfish national interests.
          Accordingly, the US, EU, NATO and also Russia, China etc. would confront regimes where they foresee implications that go beyond local conflicts, as horrible as this may be.

          2. Non-conventional weapons are a problem because their proliferation and use have broader effects – they take away the advantage from large regular military apparatuses (i.e. the ‘monopoly over the use of force to win’), and by means of simultaneous mass killing enable a-symmetrical warfare, giving non-state and small-state actors leverage/deterrence/ability to impact regional and global affairs.

          3. I do consider white phosphorus or DU ammunition “non-conventional” weapons? However, biological and chemical weapons delivered in some forms have a much larger impact, not to mention nuclear weapons.
          The Assad regime with its biological and chemical weapons has more sway than this familia-led violent ethnic group would have had otherwise.

          4. Some would say that the strategic costs relate to access to regional oil, nearby gas fields+pipes and flow of good through Suez, which may impact the US and EU indebted and aging economies. If the Russian-Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance gains more power, then Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are next to be destabilized.
          Others feel that failure of the regional democratization process at this stage will bring about more missile+non-conventional weapons proliferation, strengthen anti-Western dictatorships, enable militants to flourish in failed states, increase long-term instability and eventually come back to knock on our doors, bearing a higher price tag. (See US isolation after WWI and the eventual need to get involved in WWII). That is, even if you don’t care at all about the lives of the people of the region, our lifestyle does still depend of global stability, open commerce routes, access to energy sources, growth of markets, human progress etc. (not necessarily in this order…). Democracies are great platforms to establish new markets, gain access to cheap labor, get new governments as clients, while also giving some poor people in far away places a little hope for socio-economic mobility…

          5. As for strategy – we need to have a well-defined yet evolving desirable end state, from which goals are derived.
          We do not have an honest discussion because who in the US wants to really know the ends and means that enable us to enjoy our lives? And who wants complex answers when one can keep things simple and pursue happiness.

  3. skippy

    Politicizing and Monetizing science only gives – you – a managers prospective.

    ” In one case, we have a lot of mainstream science that says if human society keeps burning fossil fuels with abandon, considerable land ice could melt and the ocean could rise as much as three feet by the year 2100. We have some outlier science that says the problem could be quite a bit worse than that, with a maximum rise exceeding five feet.

    The drafters of the report went with the lower numbers, choosing to treat the outlier science as not very credible.

    In the second case, we have mainstream science that says if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles, which is well on its way to happening, the long-term rise in the temperature of the earth will be at least 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but more likely above 5 degrees. We have outlier science that says the rise could come in well below 3 degrees.

    In this case, the drafters of the report lowered the bottom end in a range of temperatures for how much the earth could warm, treating the outlier science as credible.

    Climate change skeptics often disparage these periodic reports from the United Nations, claiming that the panel writing them routinely stretches the boundaries of scientific evidence to make the problem look as dire as possible. So it is interesting to see that in these two important cases, the panel seems to be bending over backward to be scientifically conservative. – snip

    Likewise, with temperature, the panel is saying only that the lowball numbers are possible, not that they are likely. In fact, the metric used in the scientific literature, the temperature effect of doubled carbon dioxide, is merely a convenient way of comparing studies. Many people make the mistake of thinking that is how much of a global temperature increase will actually occur.

    At the pace we are going, there is no reason to think that we will stop burning fossil fuels when carbon dioxide doubles. We could be on our way to tripling or quadrupling the amount of that heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. In that case, experts believe, even an earth that turns out to be somewhat insensitive to carbon dioxide will undergo drastic changes.

    Obviously, the high estimates are even scarier. So it would be nice to hear an explanation from the drafters of this coming report as to why they made decisions that effectively play up the low-end possibilities. But with the report still officially under wraps, they are not speaking publicly. We are thus left wondering whether it is a matter of pure professional judgment — or whether they have been cowed by the attacks of recent years.

    Assuming these decisions withstand final review, it will be fascinating to hear the detailed explanations in Stockholm. – snip

    skip here… Firstly the only scale that matters is in Kelvin and not F or C scales, furthermore what it really denotes is the an “increase – more energetic energy” transmission between the planetary thermosinks which in turn exacerbates the spreading – distribution of all kinds of nasty stuff ie human, plant and animal disease, spreading of foreign species not indigenous to region, weakening of indigenous species to historical disease (overcoming evolutionary defenses), etc at a pace faster than in all of human history, plus, it’s a huge multiplier effect. Stone tools vs Iron tools thingy.

    skippy… how MSM or marketing gurus started the hole – temperature obsession – in beyond me. Its like staring at one pixel of a very complex photograph…. whack some credit on it… she’ll be right… sigh.

  4. financial matters

    Debt has many facets and the ‘human’ aspect of the origin of credit and money is often neglected in modern textbooks… David Graeber ‘Debt: The First Five Thousand Years’ does of good job of going beyond the ‘rational person’ neoliberal dogma to examining how the economy really is and how it evolved from anthropologic evidence.. He also emphasizes how violence is behind much credit creation.

    “”During the 1760s alone, perhaps a hundred thousand Africans were shipped down the Cross River to Calabar and nearby ports, where they were put in chains, placed on British, French, or other European ships, and shipped across the Atlantic – part of perhaps a million and a half exported from the Bight of Biafra during the whole period of the Atlantic slave trade. Some of them had been captured in wars or raids, or simply kidnapped. The majority, though, were carried off because of debts.

    The Atlantic Slave Trade as a whole was a gigantic network of credit arrangements. Ship-owners based in Liverpool or Bristol would acquire goods on easy credit terms from local wholesalers, expecting to make good by selling slaves (also on credit) to planters in the Antilles and America, with commission agents in the city of London ultimately financing the affair though the profits of the sugar and tobacco trade. Ship-owners would then transport their wares to African ports like Old Calabar. Calabar itself was the quintessential mercantile city-state, dominated by rich African merchants who dressed in European clothes, lived in European-style houses, and in some cases even sent their children to England to be educated.

    The obvious problem was how to secure the debt. The trade was an extraordinary duplicitous and brutal business, and slave raiders were unlikely to be dependable credit risks – especially when dealing with foreign merchants who they might never see again. As a result, a system quickly developed in which European captains would demand security in the form of pawns.

    Debtors would pledge family members as surety for loans; these pawns would then become dependents in the creditors’ households, working their fields and tending to their household chores – their persons acting as security while their labor, effectively, substituted for interest. At times this created major political crises when captains, tired of waiting for delayed shipments, decided to take off with a cargo of pawns instead”

    and from a link a few days ago..

    Mother of the Domestic Slave Trade [PDF] Richmond Fed. MBS for slaves. Everything old is new again…

    “The confluence of easy credit, abundant land, and a steady supply of slaves eventually led to overproduction of cotton, and when cotton prices collapsed, “nobody was able to make the interest payments on their mortgage loans, which meant the banks couldn’t make the interest payments
    on their bonds,” Baptist says. “And that was, as far as I can tell, the cause of the Panic of 1837.””

    1. Jim Haygood

      With the introduction of the income tax in the annus horribilis of 1913, government bonds now monetize the future income of the entire enslaved population.

      Have you met your production quota today, comrade?

    2. Dr. Noschidt

      fm, the debt-bondage twist is soooooo “British” (so perverse, so cruel, so neat).

      “ATLAS OF THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE” by David Eltis and David Richardson, Foreword by David Brion Davis, Afterword by David W. Blight (copyright 2010 by Yale University, YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, New Haven and London) — “Published with assistance from the Kingsley Trust Association Publication Fund established by the Scroll and Key Society of Yale College and with assistance from the Annie Burr Lewis Fund.”

      Gotta love those *Trusts*. Eli Yale! USA! EliUSA! (It’s ‘Biblical’).

    3. Lambert Strether

      Glad somebody read that “Mother of Slavery” article. So much of it still rings true today: The financial instruments, the class structure in part, the denialism. And not so long ago: “Two seventy year-old grandmothers back to back,” as Louis CK said, it would have to be 8 years ago.

  5. rich

    Invasive Tactic in Foreclosures Draws Scrutiny

    Faced with more than 10 million foreclosures that have piled up since the start of the mortgage crisis, the nation’s largest banks are turning behind the scenes to property management firms, with the Ohio-based Safeguard the largest, to help them navigate the wreckage, determine the occupancy of the troubled properties and preserve them until the homes can be resold.

    But the firms are coming under fire for using questionable and possibly illegal tactics. The scrutiny threatens to ensnare JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and other lenders that depend on the firms. Legal aid offices in California, Nevada, Florida, Michigan and New York say calls about Safeguard’s aggressive tactics rank among the top complaints.

    On Monday, Illinois became the first state to take on the property management firms legally, contending in a lawsuit that Safeguard wrongfully dispossessed hundreds of homeowners in the state. In suing Safeguard, Lisa Madigan, the attorney general, contends that the company broke into homes despite stark evidence that homeowners still lived in them, bullied tenants into leaving even though they had no legal obligation to do so and, in some instances, damaged the very homes they were sent to protect, according to the suit.

    “This is a homeowner’s worst nightmare,” Ms. Madigan said in an interview on Friday, noting that her office had received more than 400 complaints about Safeguard.

    1. PWC, Raleigh

      Thanks very much for sharing this Dealbook item on the violence committed by subcontracted henchmen thugs by the biggest banking brands in America.

      I had stopped reading Dealbook altogether, but this item was well worth the visit.

      The new normal Wild Wild West of residential real property in America: Are we (still) having fun yet?

      1. Joe

        Thanks for the link Carla. It seems like there is always some dirt bag willing to swoop in to take advantage of others misfortune. Why is this practice even legal?

        Morris Berman in Why America Failed points out that we are and have always been a nation of hustlers. It makes me angry and sad.

      2. rich

        she lost her home…………………

        Those homeowners found out about the mistakes in time to fight. Ninety-five-year-old Daisy Dolsey, living in a nursing home and struggling with Alzheimer’s, wasn’t so lucky: She lost her $300,000 house over a $44.79 tax debt even after she paid her taxes.

        “It really is the stereotype of bad government — it’s appalling,” said Amy Mix, a lawyer for AARP’s Legal Counsel for the Elderly,which has turned up numerous errors in tax lien cases. “It’s not enough people doing their jobs and not enough people caring.”

          1. rich

            Is that the only war?

            Richard Posner Explains SEC Refusal to Act in Lehman Brothers Case

            Posner is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, a group devoted to spreading the cause of neoliberalism. I’m sure Judge Posner is delighted to see his theory put into practice by the SEC and the Department of Justice, under Eric Holder and Barack Obama. Posner’s idea is so preposterous that only the feral rich, their neoliberal tools, people utterly insulated from reality, and fools could possibly endorse it. And so we come to George S. Cannellos, who headed up the SEC team of investigators.
            It is deeply moving to see Cannellos’ concerns.


            1. Ms G

              And Cannellos, who stood firm on the “high road” (of “doing justice” because the Repo scheme was no longer material), was promoted to co-chief of the current Enforcement Squad (paraphrase) by none other than MaryJo RevolvingDoor White.

              Quelle surprise.

            2. craazyboy

              “Or, as Judge Richard Posner explained it to us simpletons in a 1985 article in the Columbia Law Review:

              This means that the criminal law is designed primarily for the nonaffluent; the affluent are kept in line, for the most part, by tort law. This may seem to be a left-wing kind of suggestion (“criminal law keeps the lid on the lower classes”), but it is not. It is efficient to use different sanctions depending on an offender’s wealth. P. 1204-5, fn omitted.”

              Um, in my very limited knowledge of corporate law, I believe that employees, including rich executives, are shielded from tort law and can only charged with criminal cases. Civil suits can be brought against the corporation, but execs get to keep jobs, pay and bonuses. Thusly IMO, a civil suit against the corporation is like suing us passive shareholders, which in Lehman’s case are now poor people.

              I see a flaw in the Honorable Judges reasoning.

              On to Regulator Cannellos.

              “The S.E.C. team also concluded that Repo 105 would not have been “material” to investors because the firm’s leverage ratio was trending downward regardless of Repo 105.”

              Um, maybe repo counterparties smelled sumthin fishy and began declining to be counterparties and this caused Lehman’s leverage ratio to go down?

              Dunno. Call the SEC. Maybe some accounting problem. Oh wait…

              1. Ms G

                I’d never seen this Posner quote; thank you for publishing it.

                “This means that the criminal law is designed primarily for the nonaffluent; the affluent are kept in line, for the most part, by tort law. This may seem to be a left-wing kind of suggestion (“criminal law keeps the lid on the lower classes”), but it is not. It is efficient to use different sanctions depending on an offender’s wealth. P. 1204-5, fn omitted.”

                The cornerstone of the playbook that DOJ-SEC-OOC-FDIC-CFTC et al have been following since 2007. Who knew there was a written manual (with a “respectable justification”) for the Obama Years of Inaction against the biggest criminals in the country!

    2. Dr. Noschidt

      rich, MERS is evidence of a “Conspiracy” to commit [Financial] “War Crimes” and “Crimes Against Humanity” in the United States. MERS was DESIGNED to SUBVERT the American People’s property rights under the Law of the Land expressed in the Constitution of the United States.

      Arrest all involved in the creation, promulgation, and promotion of MERS for treason against the People/Government of/by/for the People of the United States, and for Financial/Real Property War Crimes/Crimes Against Humanity.

    1. anon y'mouse


      “first, you leave. then you trap me under a bookcase, and now you drag me down here. what next? a bath?”

  6. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    Re: US Sen. Heitkamp
    I read the proposed Manchin-Heitkamp resolution over at Politico. The proposed resolution actually asks the President to deliver to the Senate and/or House a report addressing specific “Syria-related questions” no later than 45 days after the passage of said resolution. The Manchin-Heitkamp resolution is only about 5 pages long as of now, so it doesn’t take weeks to read it.
    The Atlantic has a story out on the joint efforts of Sens. Manchin and Heitkamp:

  7. Michael Fiorillo

    Sorry, Yves, but Spitzer’s support for charter schools is quite current, and not “past:” he is supported by the execrable Democrats for Education Reform, made up entirely of Hedgistanis, and has filmed ads for his current campaign in charter schools, using kids as props.

    This race is a tough call, since as you’ve said, Spitzer’s opponent is a regular party hack. That said, Stringer has appointed a defender of public education and a man of integrity, Patrick Sullivan, to the rubber stamp Panel on Educational Policy, where he has persistently opposed charter expropriation of public school facilities and public school closings.

    I’ll also point out again that among the many things charters schools are, they are a real estate play, which adds a potential conflict of interest, given the source of Spitzer’s family fortune.

    If Wall Street fears Spitzer so much, why is its stalking horse in the public schools supporting him?

    1. nycTerrierist

      NYer here. So torn about Spitzer.
      I want to vote for him but this charter school
      thing and its looter backers are toxic. Ugh…

      1. Lambert Strether

        Banksters in orange jumpsuits first. Charter weasels in orange jumpsuits next…. Seriously, the time is a lot more ripe for the first than the second and as Yves points out, the teacher’s unions haven’t weighed in against Spitzer, as you would expect.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Lambert, you’re mistaken: the UFT – whose leadership is complicit with the so-called education reformers and which I’ve long opposed – has most certainly come out against Spitzer and has endorsed his opponent.

          The union leadership’s political endorsements have for years been the kiss of death, but as I said before, this is a tough call, especially since, contrary to what you suggest, there is no separating the banksters and Hedgistanis from the charter school weasels and TFA scabs.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Ah, thanks. Spitzer makes nice (I assume). I yield to nobody in my hate for the charters, but I’d rather have Spitzer stamp on some of the bankster roach infestation right now and deal with the termites at TFA etc. a little later, if you see what I mean. (I agree that in class terms there’s no difference, it’s the same crowd of rentiers with chitinous mandibles — but in tactical terms — this is an election! — I think there is a difference.)

            1. Ms G

              Unfortunately as Comptroller there is exactly bupkis that Spitzer would have the power to do in terms of (even in any minimally meaningful way) stamping out banksters.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            This is now moot, since polls are closed, but I’m pretty appalled by your misrepresentation. If you go to the UFT site, there are not only lots of prominent items on the first page re the elections today, but there is nothing against Spitzer. I did a search and the last item they had on Spitzer was in 2012:


            And if the UFT had come out against Spitzer, you can guarantee it would have been amplified. The banks and the Dem machine have the knives out for him.

            The UFT endorsed Stringer in February but has been SILENT since then. You’d expect them to clear their throats and reaffirm after the Spitzer entry in July.:


            That to me suggests either division among the leadership or ranks. You’d expect them to come out and provide more vocal support for Stringer otherwise.

      2. Ms G

        Behind all the sound, fury and bluster about Wall Street, Spitzer is — at hear — a member of a big real estate clan in New York City. Draw your own conclusions.

    2. Kim Kaufman

      Absolutely privatizing public schools and replacing with charters is a real estate play (as well as getting rid of unions, of course). In NY, banksters are the big dogs but in LA real estate guys own this place and it’s staggering watching them take over our public school system one step after another and I think more damage has been done in LA than anywhere else. The money behind this is awesome. I think Spitzer is sort of like Elizabeth Warren – one or two good ideas but otherwise a corporatist on all other issues. Glad I don’t have to decide who to vote for today in that race.

      1. Alexa

        KK, wasn’t it a corporatist [Democratic] Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who succeeded in “privatizing” much of the public school system in LA?

        I’m not from California, but I do know that many of the states who won “Race To The Top” grants, did so because of their willingness and proposed plans to dismantle public education (as we know it).

        Within days of TN winning over one-half billion dollars of “Race To The Top” grant money, churches in the state were “breaking ground” on new church schools in anticipation of the “voucher” legislation (and beefed up “charter school” legislation) which was summarily passed.

        IMHO, the privatization of our public school systems is one of the biggest scams ever pulled on the American citizenry.

        And, from what I’ve read, the movement to “bust the teachers’ unions” has especially negatively impacted the minority middle class, since many of the school closings have been in minority neighborhoods. (Which is not to say that it is not equally devastating for a non-minority teacher to be “canned.”)

        I’m not personally vested in the Comptroller race–just hope that it doesn’t spawn another “Third Way” Dem onto the national scene at some later date, regardless of which Democratic Candidate receives the nomination.

        Already there is talk of Andrew Cuomo Presidential Candidate in 2016.

        Now, it’s been a while, but I believe that I’ve read that Cuumo’s not particularly “union friendly,” for lack of a better expression.

        What really amazes me is that unions continue to support corporatist Dems. Frankly, I’m beginning to have less sympathy for them, although I don’t blame the union rank-and-file because some of their “bosses” have sold them out.

        Good luck to New York educators!

        1. neo-realist

          Re: Cuomo on the Dem ticket in 2016

          That depends on Hillary. Supposedly, he said that if Hillary runs, he won’t run–presumably, she’ll suck up all the donations.

  8. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    Re: Abyssinian cats, Abyssinia, Ethiopia
    By looking at the Portuguese Wikipedia page on Ethiopia, I gathered that “Lucy”, an Astralopithecus from about 3.2 million years ago, lived in what is now Ethiopia. Also, the Ethiopians have a script or alphabet quite unlike the Roman, Greek or Cyrillic alphabet.
    P.S.: I realize that the English Wikipedia article on Ethiopia is much, much longer, although no “vignette” of Lucy makes the highlights. Wiki. Ethiopia (English):

      1. Procopius

        Neiher Amharic (the alphabet they use now) nor Ge’ez (the old alphabet now used only for liturgical purposes) look very much like Meriotic. A great resource for questions like this is They have a truly mind-boggling collection of alphabets. I first got interested when I started wondering how King Rangkhamhaeng devised the Thai alphabet from some (apparently) Northern Indian alphabet. Never have figured it out, but see some similarities to the vowel system in Hindi.

  9. Patccmoi

    Sorry, question from non-english native speaker, not sure I understand what ‘not acting like marks’ means with regards to the Kickstarter article?

    1. Tim Mason


      “In cases of criminalfraud, victims find they must suddenly adapt themselves to the loss of sources of security and status which they had taken for granted. A consideration of this adaptation to loss can lead us to an understanding of some relations in our society between involvements and the selves that are involved. In the argot of the criminal world, the term “mark” refers to any individual who is a victim or prospective victim of certain forms of planned illegal exploitation. The mark is the sucker‑the person who is taken in. An instance of the operation of any particular racket, taken through the full cycle of its steps or phases, is sometimes called a play. The persons who operate the racket and “take” the mark are occasionally called operators.”

      The rest of Goffman’s essay, from which this is taken, will be found at–Cooling.htm

      1. Lambert Strether

        Total kudos for bringing in a Goffman link. Did Goffman write anything on the sociology of finance or banking, do you know? Perhaps not, since IIRC he wrote at the start of whatever era we’re in, that started in the mid-70s….

        1. Tim Mason

          Goffman first came to notice in 1956, with ‘The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.’ By and large ‘everyday life’ remained his domain of predilection. It is said that his final words were ‘we should have studied the rich,’ but he himself did little ‘studying up,’ although his work on bureaucracies has implications for the world of finance. As, I think, does the essay I linked to (dating from 1952), with politicians and the media charged with the ‘cooling out’ function.

  10. p78

    Another victory for the bank lobby:

    Exclusive: EU lawyers say transaction tax plan is illegal

    … a measure[…] to make banks pay governments about 35 billion euros a year after receiving taxpayer aid during the 2007-09 financial crisis.

    But the legal services for EU member states said in their opinion dated September 6 and obtained by Reuters that the transaction tax plan “exceeds member states’ jurisdiction for taxation under the norms of international customary law”.
    The plan is also not compatible with the EU treaty “as it infringes upon the taxing competences of non participating member states”, the document said.
    A transaction tax only in some member states would also be “discriminatory and likely to lead to distortion of competition to the detriment of non participating member states”.
    The tax would also be an “obstacle” to the free movement of capital and services within the single market, breaching two tenets of the EU’s founding treaty.[…]

    [A] “substantive” part of the financial institutions and types of transactions that would be taxed “have had no part whatsoever in the crisis and are not liable to contribute to any crisis in the future”.[…]
    The legal opinion said the levy would be imposed to a large extent on activities with a “genuine economic substance that are not liable to contribute to systemic risk and which are indispensable for the activities of non-financial business entities”.

    1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      The ACCA is an association of accountants, not of lawyers … And a legal opinion drafted by an expert on taxation, an attorney/solicitor inside ACCA is just that: the opinion of one attorney with obvious ties to ACCA.

  11. real

    The IMF knows that the Fed is playing with fire in emerging markets Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,

    i think enforcement arm of global banking syndicate want to take back loans..err gold and resources before tap finally runs out…
    indian govt is busy planning how to steal gold from temples and citizens .The final looting of Indian citizenry by their own masters is almost complete(after being looted by almost everybody in world from last 1000 years)…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Gold belongs to the 99.99%.

      The government really has no use for it and the 0.01% should not be allowed to monopolize it.

      Unless we ship all the gold here on Earth to Pluto or some distant planet (in that case, you might wonder why it was created here in the first place), gold should be distributed evenly to the people.

  12. craazyman

    Wouldn’t It Be Nice

    I’ve never seen so many nice policicians as I have today! This is amazing. They come right up to you smiling and work your hand like the lever of a water pump!

    There’s a dude in my neighborhood running for office and he took over a hair salon for his HQ. He’s a good dude, I talked to him the other day and he’s got that politician handshake. The big hand squeezing yours almost till it hurts into the bones. Chuck Shumer shakes hands like that too. I bet Bill Clinton does but I doubt Obama does. I bet Obama just sort of nods your way and points.

    anyway. If it was like this everyday, I bet things would be better than they are. Not that they’re all that bad, but they could be better. For example, there could be a place to go fly fishing in central park. They could make a mountain stream inside the park and stock it with fish and you could go in there under the trees and do some fly fishing on a Saturday evening. They could also make an indoor wave pool where you could go surfing year round. I’ve seen these, in pictures. But we don’t have one in New York. That’s an outrage. But what’s even more reprehensible is that there’s nowhere to go skiiing in the summer. Even Dubai has an indoor ski resort that makes snow even when the outside temperature is 100 degrees fahrenheit and the skies are clear for 100 miles in every direction.

    How many jobs would these three ideas create? Probably a lot. Those are three things politicians could do, beginning right now.

    I tried to find Jessica Lappin but couldn’t locate her in the crowd. A few years back I asked her if, as a city council member, she could kick Goldman Sachs off Manhattan Island. She didn’ quite answer the question but gave me a funny look. This was, I think, in 2008. Maybe she would listen to me today, but I doubt it. Let’s start with the Central Park trout stream and go from there.

    1. ambrit

      Dear craazyman;
      Looks like you’re finally getting with the “Homo Superior” game plan!
      (Full snark here.)
      The setting up of exclusive idyllic mini environments reserved for the ‘deserving’ elements of society will preserve ‘superior’ humans in the lifestyle they expect and deserve! I’m surprised the Peter Pinguid Society hasn’t weighed in in full fledged support of your idea. Gladys, are you out there? If you haven’t been ‘disappeared’ by your employer, do give us the benefit of your insight.

      1. craazyman

        Oh man, ambrit, I’m imagining these as public works projects that all New York citizens can enjoy. Central Park for example is a successful public works project & it’s not an elitist place. Anybody can go there. Even I go there. There’s lots of room in Western Queens for a wave machine and surfing facility. You have no idea how much empty space is there unless, like me, you wander around there by yourself. It’s like the Adirondack Park but with railroad tracks and long low warehouses.

        1. craazyboy

          With all the tall buildings in NYC, I’m surprised bungee cord jumping isn’t more popular. I know bankers don’t do that anymore, but it is something the little folk may still enjoy?

          1. Patricia

            Great idea. I wonder whether we could get a few of our bankers, since their experts are historically best on this matter, to demonstrate how that bungee jumping would work? And since they have all the highest and greatest real estate, perhaps they could open, at designated hours, their penthouse roofs to city citizens for the greater enjoyment of all.

            I volunteer to store and maintain the golden cords especially made for them. I’d move to NYC just for that.

              1. Patricia

                Yeah, ok. But I wouldn’t mind seeing that. Hanging digits, zeroes and ones, alllll the wayyy down to the future. In real time. I mean, they aren’t secure these days, anyway, what with the NSA&DEA&DOD&FBI&CIA. And more.

                (Nosirreee, they aren’t exempt just because they run the show. It’s called total surveillance which by definition means total insecurity. See Applebaum.)

                The Crash of the Golden Bungee Futures, one second ahead of wherever you are. I’m ready. The benefit is that no one needs to clean up bodies afterwards, although I wouldn’t’ve minded doing that.

                I use my digits to knit. In real time.

                1. craazyboy

                  They sell you the futures contract at the penthouse office and the contract calls for delivery at the 3rd floor.

                  1. Patricia

                    Now you’re scaring me with those mafiosi words, giving me second thoughts….Yeah, no thank you, I’m staying right here in Detroit where things are quiet. Real real quiet. And flat.

                    1. craazyboy

                      Can I interest you in any of our risk hedging products?

                      Estate planning maybe?

                      If you agree to donate your used bungee cord to the Mayor Bloomberg Bungee Cord Cleanup Fund you may get a $4.95 tax write off this tax year (check with your CPA) – and you also help NYC’s homeless too ’cause they get 50 cents from Mike for each bungee cord they find on the street and bring to the Democratic Party Bungee Cord Recycling Center.

                      Don’t be scared. Come visit the Big Apple and get an official “I Love NY” coffee cup at one of our many souvenir shops! 16 oz size only $8.95 or whopping 31 oz family size only $17.95. Plus state and local sales tax and ongoing use fee. Signature of legal liability release form and proof of age necessary. Check with your doctor before doing anything.

            1. Joe

              I volunteer to measure those banker’s golden bungees. I wan’t to make sure that they are long enough. Extra long. Really excessively extra long. I promise to make sure they get all they deserve.

    2. diptherio

      Great idea! Anything that keeps east coast fly-fishing enthusiasts from polluting our western trout streams gets my full support! (kidding)

      I’m currently developing a new “sport” which I came up with while watching our local fisherman. I’ve combined catch-and-release fishing with duck hunting. You guessed it: catch-and-release duck hunting. All it requires is a snorkel and a little bit of stealth….if there’s a duck pond in the city you could start today…

    3. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      I once caressed the thought of interviewing/quizzing a candidate for some office where my vote counts, but never bothered to do it.

  13. petridish

    RE: Class Divides at Harvard Business School

    My heart just broke for those poor HBS students who couldn’t keep up with their “ultraprivileged” classmates “socially.” That pesky wealth gap just seems to keep popping up in the darndest places!

    Those HBS alumni are thinking, though. How about we “apply a simple admissions rule: anyone from an ultraprivileged background needs to have done something of significant social value to be admitted.” I just can’t wait to hear what anyone associated with that institution thinks “significant social value” even MEANS.

    The students’ idea was more workable. Harvard has a big endowment. Just use some of that money to “supply financial aid for basic extracurricular activities like section events.” Apparently HBS sock hops require some pretty expensive socks.

    Here’s my two cents. I think there’s a country in the Middle East that’s going to have some chemical weapons they need to get rid of in a hurry pretty soon….

    1. Joe

      petridish says:

      I just can’t wait to hear what anyone associated with that institution thinks “significant social value” even MEANS.

      That would be making large amounts of money for yourself by any means possible.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The prevailing wisdom is this:

      If you are from the upper class, you have class.

      If you are from the lower class, you have no class. For you, there is also no class at Harvard for you today.

      Also, in a capitalist country, everyone has class. In a communist nation, no one has class.

      And some people have too much that to cure themselves, they have to cut class.

  14. peace

    1) Thank you soo much for the cute photo of Gabriel! He deserves a hug with a sweet-voiced, motherese, non-comprehensible chastisement of “Bad Kitty.”

    2) Thank you even more for your activist suggestions “vote” “call” etc. with phone numbers. Catalyze change and suggest practical steps to enact change. Empowerment central. “You Rock!”


    1. peace

      My friends offline are arguing with me against Spitzer. I respect Yves but I must think more carefully and I at least temporarily retract my adament support for him.

        1. peace

          Generalized comments about being a hypocrit.
          I forgot it was the primary today and I was not prepared. I am not the best at following local news.

          1. peace

            My most vocal friend did not trust Spitzer after the prostitution scandal and Troopergate. Now that I have time to examine the basis of NC and my friend’s arguments, I agree with NC that these ethical violations do not outweigh Spitzer’s anti-corruption achievements and potential.
            I am disappointed that due to my busy work schedule I did not research my vote in advance.

    1. Eeyores enigma

      Clearly Stockman is clueless.

      If we can’t ligimitaly go around the world demanding that heads of state, despotic or not, do exactly what we say or else we will “bomb them back to the stone age” then thats the end of the petro-dollar and the end to the American way of life.

      Few acknowledge that whatever wealth and prosperity we as Americans enjoy is a direct effect of having a massive global military presence focused heavily on resource rich regions of strategic corridors to transport said resources.

      Take away the war department and America will look more like the rest of the developing world only worse because we are clueless on how to cope.


      Orrrr…. Americans need to learn how to live on the equivalent of $10,000 a year or less.

  15. WorldisMorphing

    That ocean cleaning machine seems to be a pretty good idea. It’s been a while since any one of those techno “great idea” actually manage to impress or even make sense to me.

    1. craazyboy

      Or…”Fishermen Use Nets To Catch Fish And Plastic At Same Time. Plastic Recycling Adds Additional Revenue Stream.”

      1. diptherio

        There’s actually a city in Brazil (IIRC) where the mayor implemented a scheme whereby residents can get paid in bus tokens for collecting and sorting recyclable trash. When fisherman are having a slow day with the fish, they use their nets to round up floating flotsam instead.

  16. down2long

    Dalas Fed Says Crisis Cost US up to $28 Billion, a secret tax of $120K per US Citizen. Link to report also included
    On a happier note.glad your gorgeous cat is liberated Yves. I was worried. He really doesn’t look fat in that pic – maybe just big boned for an Aby

      1. down2long

        Yes TRILLIONS. I’m having PTSD relapses. Five years ago 8/28/08 I filed Chpater 11 two week before Lehman collapsed. Let me tell you, there were some scairt folks in BK court land. The end looked near, big time. (And should’ve been for a lot of oligarchs.) But seriously, the ruling class was worried, the $600K a year BK lawyers, the judges, the trustees. What if this thing BLOWS UP and can’t be, um, “reorganized.”

        Five years on, I’m still fighting the banksters, and they’re using every penny they got against me. Somehow, don’t seem fair. But I’ll still fightin’, which says something about this old carcass. Resentment and revenge keep me alive.

  17. Seb

    Curious reasoning in the article on cats. Dr. says 80% of kittens are born to feral or stray cats. But there aren’t many feral cats where I live, and stray cats are formerly domesticated cats so they wouldn’t pass on any ‘wild’ genes.

    Dr. also says the cat’s domestication is ‘incomplete’, as per their inexpressive faces and hunting behaviour. Apparently dogs are the norm here. I don’t think people would appreciate their cat behaving like a dog.

  18. dSquib

    It would surely be interesting if Russia resolved the CW issue without engaging in the usual cant of the “humanitarians”. This is the sacred cow, you have to at least pretend to care about human rights, or whatever war-tailored definition of it is most fashionable in Washington and London presently. It’s interesting to see the cold-blooded realpolitiking of Putin et al carry the day, and the mealy-mouthed hypocrisy of the US flounder.

    I’m not an advocate of realpolitik thought particularly. But if war is averted by the Putins of the world, so be it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not often one gets a Nobel Peace for stopping another Nobel Peace winner from going to war.

  19. AbyNormal

    FRONTLINE: Five years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, are we safe from another crash?

    Right now, FRONTLINE is hosting a two-day conversation
    with some of the country’s leading financial reporters:

    Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace
    Gillian Tett, The Financial Times
    David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
    Felix Salmon, Reuters
    Neil Irwin, The Washington Post
    Jesse Eisenger, ProPublica
    Bethany McLean, Vanity Fair

    Today, our panel will explore how the meltdown reshaped the nation. And tomorrow, we’ll look at the policing of Wall Street, and whether those responsible for the crisis are being held accountable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When will they include some hair sytlists, taxi drivers, plumbers and fast food workers in those conversations?

      We need more than ex-perts.

      We need in-perts.

      1. AbyNormal

        and the yakkers NEVER connect the rest of the worlds Horrors to US…The Globes Financial Hub

        im sick and tired…people are sufferning out and anyone with a mic in their face is claiming economy turn around

  20. AbyNormal

    you know what ….FU*K THIS! after scrolling down the comments of the interviewees, all i see is Redskins whining and glass half full bs

    an nothin Pure about McLean (except maybe the snuff film she did over the weekend:

    Bethany McLean

    “At the risk of making everyone – Jesse! – shriek in horror, I’m a little sympathetic to the bankers’ arguments. I think the problem is that we haven’t made the tough decision, or even had a conversation, about what kind of financial system works for a modern economy. So we save the banks, make them bigger —but then throw a ton of regulation (complete with loopholes they will undoubtedly exploit, thereby bringing on the next financial crisis) and rhetoric at them. It doesn’t make sense. I’d take Glass Steagall over the Volcker rule anyway. Maybe I’m too much of a purist.”

    if frontline wanted the real lo-down they shoulda just come over here for a day…we’ll supply spf for their lillyas*es

  21. rich

    “Make the Economy Scream”: Secret Documents Show Nixon, Kissinger Role Backing 1973 Chile Coup

    We continue our coverage of the 40th anniversary of the overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende with a look at the critical U.S. role under President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. Peter Kornbluh, who spearheaded the effort to declassify more than 20,000 secret documents that revealed the role of the CIA and the White House in the Chilean coup, discusses how Nixon and Kissinger backed the Chilean military’s ouster of Allende and then offered critical support as it committed atrocities to cement its newfound rule. Kornbluh is author of the newly updated book, “The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability,” and director of the Chile Documentation Project at the National Security Archive. In 1970, the CIA’s deputy director of plans wrote in a secret memo: “It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. … It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG [the U.S. government] and American hand be well hidden.” That same year President Nixon ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream” in Chile to “prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him.” We’re also joined by Juan Garcés, a former personal adviser to Allende who later led the successful legal effort to arrest and prosecute coup leader Augusto Pinochet.

    1. psychohistorian

      40 years ago I was in college studying the future and had access to some of the BS rationalization for our empire building coming out of Battelle and Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

      It was not just Chile that we raped in those days and it radicalized me….but we could only stop a senseless war then…and I burned out.

      I hope this information gets lots of attention so folks see what American empire does and has done for 40+ years that I have been watching.

      1. skippy

        The Wall St Red Mist Sun is emitting thermal pulses methinks, probably 2nd or even 3rd. Next comes unstable neutron star with rotational increase provided by computational shell and then[!!!] the hole thingy~

        skippy… no matter or information can flow from the interior of a black hole to an outside observer thingy caveat – although quantum effects may allow deviations (derivatives) from this strict rule – phew~ at least we have that. See even the Universe recognizes First Class passenger status ergo Titanic meme.

  22. WorldisMorphing

    Haldane’s paper is a good, concise and well developed framing of the system wide institutional flaw… of capitalism, that is:
    [“If short-term reactions are clouding long-term judgements, the doer crowding-out the planner, the immediate the important, then more hurry may be generating less speed.”]

    I think that flaw would have (and has) been raised and protested in the past. Now Haldane just unearthed it to add some new elements of information\network theory, propping it now with a more ‘teflon’ intellectual legitimacy.

    Still a good read though, and kinda’ of the sort that lends one to conceive of a small glimmer of hope for the future. After all, isn’t he a banker ?
    But after a few seconds of careful reflection, I still arrive at the conclusion that it is ultimately irrelevant; since people have long mistakenly took hereditary privileges as closest thing to justice, the earth’s bountiful resources as limitless, and confused freedom with not-having-to-plan.

    Nonetheless, the paper appear to be a decent stepping stone, perhaps leading to somewhere…

  23. Hugh

    The Cowboy at the NSA is, of course, Keith Alexander. It does some good work laying out Alexander’s connection to James Heath and their championing expensive intelligence projects that don’t work, but it has lots of blind spots, as when the author avers out of nowhere that Alexander’s intelligence efforts turned the tide in Iraq. What tide precisely was turned there? We’re gone, and Iraq remains a deeply troubled semi-failed state.

    The author portrays Alexander as an overzealous Boy Scout and backs this up with quotes, almost always from unnamed sources, like the following:

    “There’s a feeling within the NSA that they’re all patriotic citizens interested in protecting privacy, but they lose sight of the fact that people don’t trust the government.”

    Even Alexander’s strongest critics don’t doubt his good intentions. “He’s not a nefarious guy,” says the former administration official. “I really do feel like he believes he’s doing this for the right reasons.”

    This is hogwash. Having the government ride rough shod over my rights (which the Constitution does not confer upon me, but simply recognizes I have) is not a matter of “trust”. It is a matter of riding rough shod over my rights. Trust has nothing to do with it.

    The author also needs to get out more. Alexander’s “strongest” critics, in fact, do question his intentions. Naïve Boy Scouts do not end up running the nation’s biggest spying organization but dedicated true believing fascists do. Additionally, Alexander’s supposed naïveté is at odds with the author’s contention that he is a consumate political infighter.

    Nor does the author ever really address the argument he places in Alexander’s mouth that not supporting the NSA’s spying programs now means we will be responsible for the next terrorist attack and the even more invasive spying programs Alexander will push for following it.

    There’s an implied threat in that statement. If Alexander doesn’t get all the information he wants, he cannot do his job. “He never says it explicitly, but the message is, ‘You don’t want to be the one to make me miss,'” says the former administration official. “You don’t want to be the one that denied me these capabilities before the next attack.”

    The problem with this argument is there no evidence that the NSA has stopped any major terrorist threat (far from keeping it all hush hush, Alexander would be leaking details of such a feat that would make Snowden look like a piker). We need to realize the NSA, however it is configured, will not stop the next attack, just as it has not stopped any previous attack. So why should we the public want even greater unconstitutional spying programs directed against us as a result?

    We live in a kleptocracy. We need to keep repeating that. The surveillance state, of which Alexander and the NSA are important parts, is not about protecting but controlling us. The powers that be, the rich and elites, have no interest in our safety. They did not save us from the housing bubble that is costing ten million their homes. They did not protect us from the meltdown they themselves created, and which cost millions their jobs and ten of millions more their shirts. The Obamacare mandate affecting 30-40 million Americans is not going to protect their health. It simply loots them by forcing them to buy crappy insurance they will find too expensive to use.

    In such an environment, when Alexander says, he wants to “protect” us, what even does that mean? His organization has never protected us. It does, however, have a record of stripping us of our rights through its invasive spying on us. So Alexander and the NSA not only are not protecting us. They are doing the opposite. It would have been nice for the author to explore that issue.

    1. Joe

      The new iPhone includes a fingerprint scanner. I’m one hundred percent positive that data won’t end up in the NSA’s database. There’s no way that Apple would hand over that kind of private info to the American Stasi. No way. I’m sure of it. /sarcasm

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Apple tries to warn you though.

        “This is an Apple product. Don’t be seduced by me.”

        But people don’t get the warning. Perhaps because their store employees don’t look like snakes.

        1. Joe

          I have to admit that I don’t know Lambert. I haven’t seen info that I can point to yet that’s decisive. Apple does say that the fingerprint reader is built into the home button so even if the unlock feature isn’t being used, you are still going to have to touch it. I’m probably just paranoid but with all the info that has come out about back doors and such, I sure don’t trust any tech company any more.

        2. Joe

          I found this on the Guardian UK website:

          “The fingerprint scanner is built into the home button, protected by a sapphire crystal coating, and uses a low radio frequency signal to map the unique lines of its owner’s index finger or thumb. It is able to scan the dermis layer underneath the surface of the skin, avoiding problems caused by damaged or dry fingertips. Without pressing, the owner will be able to unlock their phone with one touch, and once inside the device, a fingerprint will suffice as proof of identity to purchase music, films, books and applications from Apple’s stores.”

  24. Oneaboveall

    If you want to see what the problem is, look at the comments for the “Teen unemployment portends ‘lost generation’ of Americans” article. Yeesh! it’s amazing how many people focus their anger at the people suffering instead of the people causing the suffering. It’s like the slaves who helped their master’s put down revolts.

    1. psychohistorian

      This is really, really sick.

      I think we used to call this slavery of some sort or another.

      We have been brainwashed into a very sick society by the plutocrats who want others to be as sick as they are so we don’t come and take their money/property away.

  25. AbyNormal

    End the Corporate Hypocisy on GMOs!

    “On top of the amount mentioned below of funding by these corporations in opposition to I-522 , Monsanto just forked over another $4.5 million in the last couple of days. You can bet they’ll continue to provide whatever their hired guns request in their desperate attempt to defeat the right of the people to know what’s in their food. Yes On 522 can use all the support it can get from folks everywhere.”

  26. Kim Kaufman

    Wasn’t this a link here yesterday? I saw it somewhere:

    This says “In an interview, Mr. Barofsky said that joining Jenner & Block was a natural next step because the firm specialized in helping government agencies and major corporations with in-depth investigations of problematic practices. Such investigations, he said, are similar to the work he did at TARP. In addition, unlike many other large law firms, Jenner & Block represents clients bringing suits against large financial institutions.”

    Totally different message from today’s link.

    1. Ms G

      J&B also represents a lot of hedge funds. I somehow doubt that Barofsky made his partnerhsip at J&B contingent on never being asked to represent the sell-side (otherwise known as the Fraud Team).

      They are all tools.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Supreme Court..,wholly owned subsidiary of Big Business.

    Vertical integration is the key to success for any big business.

    Still, they say you can buy opinions, legal or illegal, cheaper in China.

  28. rich

    Censored in the USA: John Hopkins Cryptography Professor Told to Take Down Blog Post

    There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of censorship in the morning…and that’s exactly what happened to John Hopkins cryptography professor Matthew Green on September 9th. I’ve seen Matthew’s tweets come across my stream from time to time so I knew that he was highly regarded. ArsTechnica reports that:

    Matthew Green is a well-known cryptography professor, currently teaching in the computer science department of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Last week, Green authored a long and interesting blog post about the recent revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has, among much else, subverted crypto standards. In his words, “The TL;DR [‘too long; didn’t read’ version] is that the NSA has been doing some very bad things.” And Green went on to speculate at some length about what those “bad things” were and what they might mean.

    Today, Green’s academic dean contacted him to ask that “all copies” of the blog post be removed from university servers. Green said that the move was not “my Dean’s fault,” but he did not elaborate.

    If you made unexpected movements they yelled at you from the telescreen.
    —Part III, Chapter I, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    go ahead, laugh…but it’s not funny.

  29. down2long

    Trillions. And could be twice that. Sorry I was having PTSD from the Times’ piece on Banker’s contractors breaking into homes. I came home once early foreclosure process to find alll my locks changed and all windows nailed shut from the inside. I was able to use a ladder and get in on a second floor window they missed. Went to the police – they couldn’t be bothered. Were querelous as to why I was upset at being locked out – wasn’t I in foreclosure?

    Later when I had moved and a tenant had moved in at a token rent on a four year lease] [LA Rent Control sez tenants can stay post foreclosure] the bank tried to break in the French door while the tenant stood looking at him.. He called me I called the police. Police were like “What’s the prob – the bank owns the bldg.” I was adamant “The bank accepted rent. This is their tenant.

  30. Alexa

    Gabriel is a handsome fellow. It must be the “camera angle,” ’cause he looks to be a healthy, but not at all obese.

    But this is coming from someone who’s been lectured by our vet (admittedly more than once) that I must “rein in” our dogs’ treats–so what do I know, LOL!

    Anyway, glad that all turned out well . . .

  31. Lambert Strether

    Spitzer v. String, 19% reporting:

    Scott Stringer 52.1% 57,739
    Eliot Spitzer 47.9% 53,142

    Stupid tablet-friendly site doesn’t have URLs for particular race, so click on “COMP DEM”

    * * *

    33% reporting, same numbers, but no call.

    * * *

    45% of precincts as of 10:27 pm
    Scott Stringer 51.6% 119,502
    Eliot Spitzer 48.4% 112,161

    Don’t know boroughs well enough to say who has votes coming in. No call.

    * * *

    64% of precincts as of 10:40 pm winner
    Scott Stringer 51.6% 172,017
    Eliot Spitzer 48.4% 161,082

    No call.

    * * *

    89% of precincts as of 11:08 pm winner
    Scott Stringer 51.9% 249,170
    Eliot Spitzer 48.1% 231,119

    Going, going….

    Take a look at the map; I’m betting, in this contest, race is a proxy for class.

    * * *

    93% of precincts as of 11:21 pm winner
    Scott Stringer 51.82% 263,695
    Eliot Spitzer 48.18% 245,132

    CALLED for Stringer.

    Not sure if:

    1) People aren’t willing to overlook a hooker scandal

    2) Uphill battle for Spitzer against ALL media

    3) Financialized NY voted their interests (I think the WYNC map shows race is a proxy for class, in this case)

    4) The teachers sank Spitzer over charters

    5) Unknown factors. I don’t know why Spitzer’s polls cratered — and I also sure didn’t hear much from the guy, either, so I’m really not sure of the quality of his campaign (though Stringer surely defines grey-colored non-entity).

    Oh well. Banksters get another free pass, well done, all.

    1. down2long

      Thanks Lambert. So I get the bad news from you. This really tops off a kind’ve lousing day. At least Obombya got bitchslapped by the American people. I’m hanging on that like a drowning man hanging onto a donut.(Pun intended.)

  32. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the article titled “The IMF knows that the Fed is playing with fire in emerging markets”, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at The Telegraph (UK)

    Interesting that the IMF is evidently focusing solely on the actions of the Fed with respect to possible “tapering” of so called “quantitative easing” when the Fed’s balance sheet has increased by $835Bn, or 29 percent in the last year alone, and has more than quadrupled in size since early September 2008.

    Conversely, over the past 12 months the ECB’s balance sheet has contracted by 717 Bn euros, an amount roughly equivalent to $946Bn.

    Based upon the IMF’s focus, I presume that Christine LaGarde’s and the IMF’s expressed concerns relate more to the role “Bucky” plays as the world’s so called reserve currency and the amount of “Emerging Markets” debt denominated in US dollars, rather than global liquidity generally. However, one wonders what more the Fed could possibly do than the U.S. central bank has already done that would appease the IMF, and why the ECB’s contraction has not been more closely scrutinized, particularly given the well founded criticism of Austerity policy within the IMF itself?

  33. Hugh

    From Obama’s Syria speech tonight:

    after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.

    That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief. But I’m also the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress. And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.

    This is more Obama off his meds. In the absence of an imminent threat, the President has no power under the Constitution or the 1973 War Powers Act to engage in hostilities.

    From the War Powers Act:

    Sec.2(c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.


    SEC. 4. (a) In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced–
    (1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;
    (2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or
    (3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation; the president shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth
    (A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
    (B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and
    (C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.

    “Imminent” is used repeatedly in the language of the War Powers Act. The Act was written to allow the President to act quickly in the nation’s defense, but then to seek sanction for his actions from the Congress. In the case of Syria, there is no imminent threat or emergency to the United States. And none of the 3 legal justifications are met: no declaration of war, no statutory authorization, and no national emergency. Quite simply, Obama is lying. This lie and any attempt to act upon it would constitute a high crime and misdemeanor in a bill of impeachment.
    On the one hand, we have the joke of Obama the Constitutional scholar and lawyer. On the other, Obama the imperial President who ignores the Constitution at will and makes up his justifications as he goes along.
    As for his statement that “And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.” can anything be further from the truth? In this whole Syria affair, Obama has acted so oddly and inconsistently that the vast majority of the country, and even the political classes, standing together are doing so in opposition to him.

    Obama has already flouted the War Powers Act in Libya. His rationale then was that US involvement did not rise to the level where the War Powers Act applied and as long as US armed forces, as in people, did not physically cross into the “territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation” the War Powers Act did not apply. But in Libya, this was not true since US planes, and hence people, did cross into Libyan airspace. And in any case, the War Powers Act does not place any lower limit on its scope. In Libya, Obama did have a UN resolution which he proceeded to distort beyond all measure into a vehicle of regime change.

    This time around in Syria, there is and will be no UN resolution. There will not be a declaration of war. Nor by Obama’s own admission is there any imminent threat. As a result, Obama has no legal standing for an attack on Syria, none. The moment an American airplane breaks Syrian airspace, the War Powers Act applies and the Act demands one of 3 legal justifications. Two of these are out. A third used in Libya is also a non-starter. That leaves statutory authorization. So however much Obama says he doesn’t need Congressional authorization, that is exactly what he needs, and more importantly what he clearly is acting like he needs.

    The only argument I can see Obama using, and it is a very weasely one, is that cruise missiles fired from ships in the Mediterranean would not constitute US armed forces breaking the “territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation”. This is clearly in violation of the intentions of the Act (hostilities are hostilities are hostilities), but we are talking about a fairly lawless President who seems to recognize the law only when it is a question of CYA. The problem is that cruise missiles are expensive and, while they would do some damage, they would not degrade Assad’s war machine or his chemical weapons in any significant way. So once again we return to Congressional authorization, which Obama said he did not need, but acted very much like he did.

    As we all know, Obama has now asked that a vote on such authorization be postponed. He is citing renewed attempts to get a UN resolution, but the truth is he knows he would lose a vote now likely in both Houses of Congress. I am not sure a UN resolution is possible. Certainly, I think Russia and China would press to make it crystal clear that such a resolution did not in any way, shape, or form call for or authorize an attack. However, I can see Obama being Obama returning to Congress for an authorization which he could twist into a justification for the use of force. The problem is that no one on the international stage or in the Congress has any reason to help Obama out on this one, and many have reasons to see him fail. There looks to be not even a hint of legal justification in the offing which leaves Obama the one twisting around this time, if so it could not happen to a more deserving guy.

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