Links 10/1/13 opens at midnight on the day of the government shutdown and lambert finds a bug Corrente

Three-quarters of White House staffers would stay home in a shutdown The Hill

How I botched it on CNBC Salon. Alex Pareene is being modest – he did fine. I especially loved Maria Bartiromo bleating “Oh, the New York Times, of course it’s true if it’s in the New York Times,” just hours after the NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin fulfilled his duties as a CNBC HOST.

Dimon, bank executives to meet Obama on Wednesday over debt ceiling Reuters. I assume handcuffs has nothing to do with this.

J.P. Morgan Employee Helps in U.S. Probe WSJ

CFTC Enforcement Chief to Leave WSJ

Wells Settles With Freddie for $869 Million WSJ

Why Judges Are Scowling At Banks NYT

Florida foreclosure king is a scapegoat, attorney says at hearing Palm Beach Post. That poor, oppressed David J. Stern.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch:

The DEA Thinks Medical Records Don’t Count as “Private” VICE

Wearable tech such as Google Glass, Galaxy Gear raises alarms for privacy advocates Washington Post

Chinese Banker Jailed for Housing Scheme WSJ. They do not take kindly to forged mortgage documents… at least in China, they don’t.

The Trillion Dollar Coin–or, More Sensibly, 1000 Billion-Dollar Coins–Is the Only Way for Obama to Fulfill His Oath of Office Brad DeLong

It Increasingly Looks Like Obama Will Have To Raise The Debt Ceiling All By Himself Business Insider

Obama Should Ignore the Debt Ceiling Henry Aaron

Do not kid yourself that the eurozone is recovering Wolfgang Munchau

Silvio Berlusconi’s party riven over decision to pull out of coalition Guardian

Norway shifts to the right with new coalition Financial Times

Gunmen shut down Libya gas facility BBC

US diplomats expelled from Venezuela for conspiring with ‘extreme right’ Guardian. Never can tell what’s really going on here, but would a soul be surprised if this were true?

Singing mice protect their turf with high-pitched tunes EarthSky (h/t Lambert)

F.A.A. Panel Backs Easing Of Device Rules NYT. Government can still do great things.

U.S. On Verge Of Full-Scale Government Hoedown The Onion (h/t Lambert)

Antidote du jour, to tide you over given the loss of the National Zoo’s panda-cam:


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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. kimyo

    Microsoft’s former chief privacy adviser says he does not have faith in the security of the software company’s technology, following revelations about the US’s NSA spy agency published in the Guardian.

    “I don’t trust Microsoft now,” he said, adding that he only uses open source software where he can examine the underlying code. He also said he has not carried a mobile phone for two years.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Linux Mint is a nice replacement for Windows. It is based on Ubuntu, but it feels much more responsive. For ten-year old machines, I have been using Crunchbang Linux. I set up a Crunchbang system so my niece could watch cartoons on it; however, setting up Crunchbang requires some technical savvy, whereas Linux Mint is designed to be easy for anyone to install and set up†.

      † If your computer is supported. In my experience, any computer more than a year or two old – including the iMac and MacBook Pro – works well with Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

  2. Everythings Jake

    I also thought Pareene did fine. In some ways, I don’t think fact really helps as much as truth. It’s what seems to actually disrupt these courtiers. So “outside the bubble, people are hurting” is more powerful than Krugman’s command of the nuances in policy implementation of Obamacare in his recent appearance with Kristol on “This Week.” Pareene’s “You can Google it” is better than if he had said, well it’s a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, because it made a supposed “news organization” look deeply silly that he could find out news they had no knowledge of. This is not the first time last month that Bartiromo was thrown like that. See her recent appearance with Barney Frank and Hank Paulson on “Meet The Press.” Barney just asked a simple question: if the finance industry needs that much assistance, how do executives justify their exorbitant salaries? You would have thought someone had farted in her face, she was so clearly at a loss for words, and she never really recovered. David Gregory did his shuffle to recover, although it felt a bit more scrambled than usual. Admittedly, his bad shuffle is still better than his duet a la hop with Karl Rove. Whatever you do, don’t Google that before breakfast and an antacid.

    1. petridish

      I love reading Alex Pareene in Salon. He’s witty, insightful and humorously sarcastic.

      But in this case, they sent a boy to do a man’s job. I doubt this fact was lost on the guest booker, the Money Honey or Other Guy. Beating up little guys has become the favorite sport on Wall Street in old New York.

      This was a job for Matt Taibbi, which is, I’m sure, why he didn’t get the call.

  3. Everythings Jake

    I am not as well read on coin seigniorage as I’d like to be, and so perhaps this has been addressed (and if so I’d happily be pointed to that), but it seems to me that it’s a vast expansion of presidential power. I don’t even like it under Obama, who seems very untroubled by the drone murders he authorizes, but it terrifies me under someone who might, oh say, think that the crusades should be revived. It’s a thin, and probably useless veneer of protection that Congress still has to vote to fund the wars they really don’t authorize anymore, but those veneers of protection sometimes buy a pause, e.g., an all out assault on Syria has been halted for a moment anyway.

    1. Brindle

      Re: “Trillion Dollar Coin….Brad DeLong”

      In “comments” section some claim the Fed would not have to accept he coin, Dan Kervick of New Economic Perspectives lays out why that assumption is false:

      —“I don’t see what leg the Fed has to stand on in refusing the deposit of proof platinum coins. The coins would clearly be valid money under the law and the Fed is required by the Federal Reserve Act to act as the fiscal agent of the Treasury.
      It seems to be that the law is written in such a way Treasurer has the right to determine whether the Fed accepts the deposit – not the Fed.”—

    2. LucyLulu

      Congress was given the power to issue paper currency by the Constitution. The Departent of Treasury was granted the power to mint platinum coins in 1996, among others, here:

      31 USC § 5112 – Denominations, specifications, and design of coins

      “(k) The Secretary (of Treasury) may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        US Constitution, Article 1, begins with “The Congress shall have power…” and in Section 8 of the same article:

        To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

        No distinction between paper currency and metal coins there and since there is no mention of the Treasury, one should expect this to go the Supreme Court, which is probably shut down as well…maybe the Justices can volunteer their time.

        No mention of corporations issuing private money either.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘No distinction between paper currency and metal coins’

          No distinction, because paper currency simply isn’t mentioned. Coin is defined as ‘a piece of metal stamped and issued by the authority of a government for use as money.’ The additional verbiage about weights and measures emphasizes that metallic coinage (and nothing but) is what’s authorized.

          Recall also the historical context of popular anger at the wartime inflation which left a legacy of devalued bonds denominated in ‘worthless continentals.’ Thus Article I, Section 10: ‘No State shall … make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;’

          This is crappy drafting, as it left a mile-wide loophole for the Federal Reserve Act to be driven through in 1913. But the 1789-era anti-inflationist intent is clear enough.

          Letting politicians print paper money is about as prudent as giving a randy 16-year-old a bottle of vodka, a gram of cocaine, a box of rubbers, a loaded pistol and the car keys, and telling him to ‘party responsibly.’

          1. Antifa

            Curiously,that’s is the standard recipe Wall Street traders choose for celebrating after work, every damn night.

            And they’re back at their desks at 7 AM the next morning. Can’t imagine how they do it. They must hurry through their breakfasts, ’cause they always have a little powdered sugar on their polished shoes when they come rushing out of the elevators to hit the trading floor.

            Traders like pastry in the morning, I guess.

          2. JerseyJeffersonian

            I think you may have taken a couple of points too far.

            For instance, consider Article 1, Section 8, Subsection 5 of the Federal Constitution: (The Congress shall have the Power…)To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.

            I agree that paper money still had a bad reputation from the days of the Colonial Dollar; but that its issuance never again be contemplated under authority and administration of the centralized Federal government which would succeed the individual States as monetary sovereign should the Constitution be ratified? There is no such specific and explicit prohibition. Congress was certainly explicitly granted the power to “regulate the Value thereof”, and that to my mind left open the understanding that ALL money and its valuation is ultimately a political/economic decision; i.e., all money, even if it is in metallic form is still fiat. There is no intrinsic valuation to gold or silver and what it will secure in an exchange. In this measure, Congress could change the valuation of their issuance howsoever they saw fit – coin, paper – as a matter of practicality as the nation’s internal and foreign needs changed. Among those powers in this subsection is also the setting of comparative values – exchange rates – with foreign coins that might be in circulation or accepted in trade, a nod to the changing needs and power relationships between monetary sovereigns over time. And the phrase on fixing “the Standard of Weights and Measures” had nothing to do with coins, and everything to do with facilitating commerce; without universally agreed upon weights and measures intra-state and international commerce would be needlessly complicated and cast under a cloud. Before shipments at a distance on the basis of a contractual agreement could confidently be undertaken, one would need to know what the agreement REALLY was. Was it your understanding of what constituted a pound of some goods, or was it your counterparty’s understanding of what constituted a pound? Just as every nation has found it advantageous to do, standardization of weights and measures was all about the facilitation of trade.

            Now, let’s turn to Article 1, Section 10. This section is concerned with all of the Powers that, under the proposed Federal Constitution, were to be FORBIDDEN OR AT MINIMUM CONSTRAINED for the States. Previously, under the Articles of Confederation, they were essentially separate nations under a very loose, largely volitional union. Not so under the proposed Federal Constitution; they would have their rights under the Federal structure, but would also have their previous freedoms curtailed. Of particular relevance here is that they would be forbidden to coin Money, or to emit Bills of Credit [], or to make anything but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts. By these restrictions, the individual states were no longer in the business of generating their own currency and assigning it value, or producing paper instruments of their own with assignable value, and had their native coinage put on an equal footing with foreign coinages whose value could be determined by Congress (with an eye to their rapid supercession by Federal coinage). These were measures to put the nation, insofar as possible, under a monetary union run by a single monetary sovereign. Yes, there were nods in recognition of the suspicion of paper money, but as Hamilton quickly demonstrated when given the position of Secretary of Treasury, it was fully understood that the national fortunes were intimately bound up with “the full faith and credit” of the new United States of America being credible as a responsible monetary sovereign.

            Believe me, I too harbor grave misgivings about the Federal Reserve as a legitimate expression of the Constitutional power of control of the currency. Fiat is a fact of life, but placing it in the hands of private bankers who control us by debt has been a recipe for disaster. All forms of money are ultimately social and political agreements, but the currency is a social and political agreement that SHOULD be under control of the People, not a cabal of self-interested bankers. It’s up to us as citizens to retain control of our own nation, and by surrendering our currency into their hands, we lose the Republic.

    3. Mike B.

      I think even with the platinum coin, Congress still has to authorize all spending. The coin is just to get around the debt ceiling issue, and allow the president to carry out spending that has already been authorized. So I don’t think it gives the president any more power. It just takes away the power of Congress to authorize spending and then refuse to pay for it.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        I would like to think you’re right, Mike B, but IMO actually acting on this approach does move the chains. IMO those suggesting that the president simply override Congress with respect to the debt ceiling with an MMT solution need to carefully consider the longer term implications of such a move and the old proverb, “Be careful what you wish for.”

        A short-term solution to what presently appears to be an intractable stalemate arguably transfers the “Power of the Purse” from Congress to the president. IMO too much power has already been concentrated in the executive branch, especially War powers, as “Everything Jake” mentioned above. Congress is the only branch of government which still has any semblance of representing the will of the People. (Yes, I know.)

        Let the mega-rich begin to take some hits to the QE-ZIRP inflated market values of their stock and bond portfolios, which will happen if this drags on, and watch how quickly Congress resolves this illusionary impasse.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I have an idea that I don’t know if people will remember in the future.

        My idea is this: instead of the platinum coin, the government fines banksters a trillion dollars and deposits it with the Fed.

        If the banksters are short on money, they can borrow it from the Fed’s ZIRP program.

        1. craazyboy

          My idea is to have a Navy sub secretly cut the undersea fiber optic cable leading to Grand Cayman, freezing grand Cayman bank accounts. Then declare Grand Cayman the 51st state and re-locate Treasury there. Problem solved.

          Then next year do a similar thing with Panama (tho we may need Army Rangers working on land cable there) and finally win the war on drugs.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Going after offshore money is a must and therefore a great idea. I hope they remember you in the future. But sadly, you are not a blogger. You are just a commenter. Likely they will never know you.

            And the same with fining banksters in order to fund government spending, addressing wealth inequality with the same stone.

            1. JerseyJeffersonian

              I’m in favor of reinvigorating the sadly neglected Congressional Power of issuance of Letters of Marque and Reprisal against all tax haven nations. We’ve got all of these mercenaries lying around, so why not pay them a percentage of the recovered illegally-stashed monies and put them to work doing the nation some good for a change?

              The fly in the ointment may be that the companies of mercenaries may be big depositors in those tax havens, so likely they will be little motivated to exercise these Letters. Damn.

    4. djrichard

      The platinum coin makes Gov affordable. In particular it makes entitlements affordable. It takes power away from the Gov, the power to say that it can’t afford things for the people, now and in the future. And that’s why it won’t be done.

      Push come to shove, Obama will simply raise the debt ceiling on his own. That way, the President can still claim Gov isn’t affordable, while he removes one of the tools that puts the President over a barrel.

  4. Steve

    If $1T is going to be created out of the air, making 1000 coins at $1B each is a far better idea than one coin. They should sell at a premium to collectors.

    1. scott

      Why stop there. Why not make 1000 $1B coins, and another 100,000,000 $10,000 coins, and drop the $10K coins from helicopters?

      1. dcblogger

        He should mint the $60 Trillion dollar coin and wipe out our debt with a single stroke. Then we would never have to have this conversation again.

        1. Antifa

          Eliminating the deficit would shut down Main Street, according to MMT.

          Perhaps a better deed to do would be to pay off every mortgage in the country without warning — on a one day Jubilee.

          Then pay off every student loan the following day, again without warning, on a one day Jubilee.

          Then make education free to all, as far as their grades and hard work can take them on the third day.

          Then make Medicare enrollment available to anyone over 21 on the fourth day.

          Then let Medicare negotiate drug prices and treatment prices on the fifth day.

          Then guarantee every citizen a living wage each month, such that no one was spending less than $35k a year into the economy, whether they earned it themselves or part of it came from a government subsidy, all set up on the sixth day.

          And on the seventh day, rest.

          Chiropractic adjustments to the Main Street economy.

          Or, we could chuck all the above and simply return Glass-Steagal to full effect, and tax wealth instead of income.

          You know, recognize rentiers as a distinct group of the population, and tax their assets also, not just their income in the latest year.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        BS Bernanke abandoned the helo-drop when he realized some lucre could fall outside his cronies’ vaults into unworthy hands—too imprecise

    2. Danb

      I’m holding my breath for the instantaneous creation of one trillion barrels of light sweet crude.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I used to think government was not like a household in that only the government could spy on households.

          But now I am no so sure. I think households can spy on households and earn a little extra money on the side.

          1. Lambert Strether

            No we aren’t. Light sweet crude and money are comparable in exactly the same way as governments and households or (in the cases I can think of) fish and bicycles. Category error.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think it depends though I am not really sure.

              What I am sure of is that being a political sovereign, the government can actually fund itself, over and over, year in, year out, by fining banksters…assuming the fines don’t all go to bank-fraud prosecuting Justice Department attorneys’ bonuses.

    3. diptherio

      The coin(s) would be immediately converted to reserves in the Treasury account. Minting of the coin(s) is simply a legally required intermediate step between Treas. desiring more reserves and the Fed providing them.

    4. Lambert Strether

      It never fails. Every time, every time, there’s a joke about the platinum coin, it’s about the physical nature of the coin which (a) betrays a misunderstanding about where the value of money comes from and (b) distracts from the legality and the benefits of the idea.

    5. craazyman

      not only that, but what if they lost it?

      can you imagine losing $1 trillion dollars?

      how could they ever find the money to replace it?

      much safer to make 1000 of them and then spread them out all over the country.


    6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To me, fantasizing about platinum coins is like dreaming about the continuation of the status quo.

      Here is a chance we have to ‘change’ the status quo…for better, I should add.

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      ARS order pear and cheese as his dessert course as an homage to the famous Italian saying: “Al contadino non far sapere quanto è buono il formaggio con le pere” (Do not let the peasant know how good cheese is with pears). ARS, the brave undercover representative of the 99 percent, orders the signature dish of the one percent’s privilege in order to mock the aristocrat with whom he dines.


      1. Klassy!

        Yes, it was hilarious. I looked up the pear saying and it is indeed real. It would have almost been funnier if it had been fabricated.
        I wish he had debated Bartorimo.

        1. Klassy!

          …but that ARS clip–oy vey! So now I know to be worried that next time Wall Street is bailed out the real problem is that the bankers might not take the money. Very worrisome.

  5. jjmacjohnson

    Ugh. Can’t people live a few minutes with out their devices. Folks with them on planes act like not having them on is like cutting the oxygen off.

  6. Butch in Waukegan

    Pepe Escabar is a keen analyst of foreign affairs and the US empire. He is also a superb critic of American culture, as his latest confirms.

    Breaking American Exceptionalism by Pepe Escobar

    So call this warped western [Breaking Bad] a masterful depiction of American exceptionalism. And mirror it with the soft pull of a dying, lone superpower which is still capable of turning the whole planet into junkies, addicted to the cinematically sumptuous spectacle of its own demise.

    1. JEHR

      Butch, that excerpt says it all. We are, indeed, watching the slow diminuation of a great empire that is euthenizing itself.

  7. AbyNormal

    “When you’re cornered, there are two things you can do: move or fight.” JF

    Josh Fox asks you to join this year’s Global Frackdown! On ***October 19***, thousands of concerned citizens around the world will unite in an international day of action to tell officials that the journey to renewable energy will not be fueled by shale gas. Visit to join the fight and find an event near you.
    “I have to have faith that we’re going to succeed in transforming where we get our energy from. The big worry is whether or not we’re going to do it before it’s too late. And I think nobody knows the answer to that.” JF

  8. Jagger

    From Medical records don’t count as “private”. Very disturbing if you know someone w/Alzheimers. I have reached the conclusion I am much more likely to have a negative encounter w/the police than a criminal.

    — In Sherman, Texas, a man named David Seyfried filed a lawsuit against the City of Lewisville Police Department over a May 29 incident in which several cops shot, Tasered, and cuffed his Alzheimer’s-afflicted 67-year-old wife, Dolores. David says he called an Alzheimer’s support line to say that Dolores was holding a letter opener and was acting belligerent. Without his knowledge or permission, the hotline called the police, who showed up at the Seyfrieds’ door. David’s complaint alleged that the cops ignored his pleas to let him handle his upset and confused wife and shot her with a “less than lethal” shotgun (which probably means beanbag rounds) in the thighs and back, then Tasered her in the back and buttocks. The cops also apparently stood on her wrist while cuffing Seyfried, breaking it in two places, and at some point gave her a head wound that required 17 staples. Adding insult to injury, the lawsuit also states that police then searched the Seyfrieds’ home without permission, and informed the Alzheimer’s hotline that Dolores was not being properly cared for.

    1. Cocomaan

      As I sat waiting to get to the login screen, I clicked “How Can I Get Ready to Enroll” and got an error message:

      Access Denied

      You don’t have permission to access “” on this server.
      Reference #18.6271aad1.1380638325.37720cd

      1. Cocomaan

        Just confirmed Lambert’s problem, no security questions are available, but the fields are required in order to register. Fail.

        1. sleepy

          Yeah, I had the same problem with the security questions myself earlier today.

          The biggest problem I see with these exchange websites is this–they need a quick estimate type page.

          Presently, you have to go through the whole laborious login process to get some idea of the level of insurance offered and what it will cost.

          In other words, I’m just browsing around and want to know what’s available. I should be able to guesstimate my income, plug in my state and age, and see bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans side by side with the premium costs and the subsidies.

          That’s something that should take all of 30 seconds. The way it’s set up is poor marketing. It’s like going through a lengthy application process in order to google something.

          1. Cocomaan

            To be fair, there’s an option below the login option, much smaller, that says “want to learn more first?”

            However I filled it out as someone under 30 with a kid and no health care plan and someone under 30 with employer healthcare, and basically got the same responses from the website. It really looks like you have to register to get to the different plans.

            1. sleepy


              I did that once before and it took me, eventually, to the Kaiser calculator, which only gave me cost and subsidy figures for a bronze plan. I was unable to get any other information about any other plans in terms of cost.

                1. sleepy

                  I just clicked on the “want to know more first” link on the federal site and it sent me to the very same Kaiser calculator it did awhile back, with the very same results.

                  My home state of Iowa has no state exchange. Perhaps those are better.

            2. Lambert Strether

              Here again we see how the Obama administration thinks everything is a political campaign. On a candidate or astroturf site, you immediately collect registration information (a) because you may be incentivized by that numnber (b) your mailing list is your essential intellectual property and (c) kaching!

              So ObamaCare works the very same way. There’s no thought given to the idea that people might want to check out the plans without giving away all their personal information.

        2. Lambert Strether

          It’s especially hilarious because they’ve accepted the actuarial (profit-making) model, where some sign-ups pay for others. And their marketing campaign emphasized projections for sign-ups, and how it important it was to sign up.

          Amd so what happens on day one? People can’t sign up.


          * * *

          The sign-up process is also onerous and ugly. It looks like some body shop built it out with e-commerce software out of a shrink-wrap box. Couldn’t they have gotten Jony Ive to do it?

        1. craazyboy

          Just kidding.

          Personally, I wouldn’t even try logging on until I knew whether congress was “de-funding” O care, or not.

          1. sleepy

            But, but once you sign up, isn’t it like a contract, you know, sacred and all that, where you can legally demand that the other party live up to the bargain? hahaha

  9. Jim Haygood

    Message I’m getting at, at mid-morning:

    Health Insurance Marketplace: Please wait

    We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we’re working to make your experience here better. Please wait here until we send you to the login page. Thanks for your patience!

    Just like the Division of Motor Vehicles: take a number, stand in line.

    After about five minutes, the ‘open an account’ dialogue pages came up, with all the usual complications such as, your password must contain 8 characters including one uppercase, one lowercase and one number. (Why can’t one just shop for plans anonymously, and then go through the registration hassle only to make a purchase?)

    Like Lambert, I got stopped at the nonexistent security questions.

    Not bloody impressive. Plenty of opportunity here for third-party entrepreneurs to set up accessible front-end sites, and suck some traffic and ad dollars away from the dotgov doofuses.

  10. real

    i heard millions of Americans dying after govt shutdown..there are riots in cities…hundreds of cops ,judges and politicians killed…planes are being stolen from airports
    the same thing happened after sequester which janet warned..
    will world survive this tremendous tragedy?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure about those.

      But I think war on Iran may have to be postponed, though I am not really sure about the secret black-box portion of the government spending.

  11. David Chaney

    OK, I know Dimon White House Major Domo Obomba is most comfortable providing oral ministrations to the wrinkled genitalia of his overlords but REALLY, having Dimon over in the daylight with all these [supposed]regulatory charges – and an admission of, ahem, guilt, hanging over him really is a poke in the eye of the American sheeple. Obomba has developed quite a taste for old bankster cock. (As a gay man, I feel I may make liberal use of this metaphor. It is not the act, but the why and the who that make it so repugnant.) I remember Obomba having 18 of the banksters over to the Dimon White House the exact moment Sen. Warren was having hearings on banking malfeasance in the Senate.

    These symbolic jabs are not coincidental.

    So Obomba is going to ask the banksters how to solve the debt ceiling/CR problem. What will not be mentioned is the obvious solution: Liquidate the TBTF banks so we can stop subsidizing them. Win-win.

    Of course, Obomba already waved the white flag on Monday when he said a unilateral solution = i.e. the White House using the 14th amendment as the basis for a device, a “scheme” as the Brits say” to the debt ceiling would be “weak.” “Weak” as opposed to a multilateral deal with insane children who break the toy (contract) every six months, forcing us all to rush to fix it while they point and laugh at us. Yes, that is a powerful contract.

    In my business dealings, and as a housing provider with tenants, I have always lived by the “A contract is only as good as the people involved in it.” I.e., if I feel the person is not trustworthy enough to honor the terms of the contract even w/o a contract, then I don’t do business – or rent – to them.

    Of course, I had no choice but to do business with banksters. That’s a feature, not a bug.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      Holder and Obama in the same week, Dimon!

      Where’s Linda Tripp and Kenneth Starr when you need them?

      Oh, you mean to say NSA and DHS didn’t scan Dimon for devices as he went in for the “meetings?”

      I guess this is what happens when you can’t get Larry a seat.

      Who are these “members of the Financial Services Forum” coming in his steed?

  12. Susan the other

    About the Panda. And animals as antidotes in general, especially the wild ones. They always look honest. The camera doesn’t lie. That’s the beauty of animals. And they say that animals can’t plan for the future (altho’ they do things like migrate and hibernate, etc…); that they just live in the moment. Which must free up their angst considerably, except for the alpha males. OTOH we oh-so-smart humans who can plan and invent and manipulate should have seen this shit coming in great detail at least by 1970. To my thinking, and total disgust, these realities only make Congress more of a joke. What would happen if there were no Congress? We have the computer systems to live by referendum.

    1. subgenius

      But computer systems are easily compromised. The likely solution to rebalancing human life is balkanisation and technological devolution. Neither will happen voluntarily.

    2. craazyman

      the camera doesn’t lie, as long as you’ve got a good make up artist and a photographer who knows lighting.

      if not, it lies.

  13. Hugh

    I was just saying last night how the media were not discussing at all the fact that Obama could end this whole debt ceiling farce anytime he wanted to by minting a multi-trillion dollar platinum coin.

    Such a minting would not spend those trillions into the economy and set off hyperinflation. Just as raising the debt ceiling would not. Both simply create the funds the Congress has already agreed to spend, not a penny more, not a penny less. The first way does this by the government creating the money “out of thin air”. The second way, after all the twists and turns, essentially has the Fed create the money “out of thin air” and transfer it to those who then buy government Treasuries with it. The difference between the two is that in the second case, the government pays an interest subsidy to the mostly rich for the privilege of using its own money.

    You may still think that a platinum coin is a wild ass idea. Me, I think the government paying the rich for it to use its own money is wild ass stupid.

    The obvious answer to the question why Obama does not end this crisis on his own is that this crisis suits his purposes. We all should know by now that Obama wants to “save” Social Security by gutting it, and this crisis gives him leverage to push yet another one of his attacks upon it.

    So before anyone dismisses the platinum coin they need to ask themselves, are they willing to live with the consequences of not using it? All the platinum coin does is give back to the government a power it had before the creation of the Fed in 1913, and which Lincoln notably used to fund the Civil War by issuing “greenbacks”, a usage which was further written into the backbone of our economic system by the 14th Amendment’s command that

    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

    I realize all of us have been indoctrinated to believe in TINA, there is not alternative, that the options which the powers that be give us are the only ones possible, but they are not. They are the ones which, either way, benefit them, and we really need to break away from their thinking and the choices they have prescribed for us. The platinum coin only sounds crazy because we have been trained to believe that the crazy way we currently fund deficits and debt is normal. It isn’t. We should understand that it is a device, yes, even a gimmick, but one with the important purpose of returning the power to create money back to the government from the private banking cartel that is the Fed. This is no more than the restoration of the power assigned to it by the Constitution.

    I should add that money is not in fact created out of thin air. Whether created by the Fed or the government, it is based on the full faith and credit of the American people. We the people are the ones who give our money its value. We should never forget that. Ultimately, the power resides with us, no matter how much and how often the rich and elites school us that it belongs, and has always belonged, to them.

    This is where all these debates eventually end up. We the people are the basis of all power in this country. If we wish it to be used for our benefit, we need to take it back from those who have usurped it.

    1. craazyboy

      ‘cept that if you pump fresh water into a leaky Titanic, the fresh water still leaks out in all the wrong places.

      1. Hugh

        which is why the people need to take back power so that the money spent serves their interests and creates the just, decent, equitable, and fair society, I think, we all want.

        1. craazyboy

          That certainly seems to be the frustrating and annoying part.

          Whenever I get feeling that way, I get pissed at David Rockefeller and review my own pet conspiracy theory.

          David and his Trilateral Commission:

          Criticisms (an excess of democracy is the problem????)

          From the left

          On the left, linguist Noam Chomsky argues that a report issued by the Commission called The Crisis of Democracy which proposes solutions for the “excess of democracy” in the 1960s, embodies “the ideology of the liberal wing of the state capitalist ruling elite”. Chomsky also argues that the group had an undue influence in the administration of Jimmy Carter.[6]

          From the right

          On the right, a number of prominent thinkers and politicians have criticized the Trilateral Commission as encroaching on national sovereignty. In his book With No Apologies, former conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater lambasted the discussion group by suggesting it was “a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power: political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical… [in] the creation of a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved.”[7]


          Then there is David and his Council on Foreign Relations, known as the “most influential” think tank.

          Here’s the past and present chairmen: (Rubin ain’t dead, yet)

          Russell Cornell Leffingwell 1946–53
          John J. McCloy 1953–70
          David Rockefeller 1970–85
          Peter G. Peterson 1985–2007
          Carla A. Hills (co-chairman) 2007–
          Robert E. Rubin (co-chairman) 2007–

          Here’s the membership:


          Yikes! No wonder things are so messed up for the little peoples. We couldn’t possibly run the world as well as they do!

            1. craazyboy

              Of course. She and Bill are members. Check out the membership list.

              Then Pete Peterson spun himself off and put another “think tank” in WDC. Also now covers the consumer infomercial space:

              He is founding Chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (formerly the “Institute for International Economics”, renamed in his honor in 2006), and a Trustee of the Committee for Economic Development. He was also Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York between 2000 and 2004.

              In 2008, he founded the Peter G. Peterson Foundation (PGPF), an organization devoted to spreading public awareness on fiscal sustainability issues related to the national debt, federal deficits, entitlement programs, and tax policies. PGPF distributed the 2008 documentary film I.O.U.S.A.,and did outreach to the 2008 presidential candidates.[12]


              From the looks of the corporate memberships at CFR, it’s a one stop shop for campaign contributions and a policy paper!

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Yes, it’s best to remember one’s place in the natural odor. This is the messiah class, after all, and preventing an excess of democracy is for our own good.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hugh, if the government wants, they can sell off their trillion dollars plus military surplus (which is anything not necessary to protect a peaceful republic*) to countries like Saudi, and there is no need for that platinum coin.

      And if wealth tax is not possible with the legislative branch, just fine banksters $1 trillion. That ought to address the wealthy inequality problem you and I have talked about often. That’s killing two birds with one stone.

      * for example, drones would be military surplus.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We praise them for their good work and as a bonus, give them Greenwich Village additionally to spite those hedgies.

          1. neo-realist

            I think Beverly Hills would sate the Saudis as far as the US. Better looking Harem fodder than Greenwich Village. Outside the U.S., they’d consider Sweden.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              On the other hand, the Chinese might have discovered Beverly Hills first, so, the Saudis would have to settle for Malibu where the air is, lucky for them, fresher.

  14. Susan the other

    +1000. But I’d just like to admonish you on your use of the word “wild” here. Wild ass crazy (yes this describes Congress and most of us in vernacular language beautifully) but I’m all pious today about the true wild. The wild world we have trashed. It has integrity beyond our ken. It is human guile that screws us up every time. Our guile ass crazy world.

  15. AnyDay

    The debt ceiling/cliff is kabuki. The 14th amendment, sec. 4, is quite clear tht the govt. is authorized to pay its debts: Section. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
    Congress controls the purse, govt debt refers to spending authorized by Congress. I worked in the federal govt for 31 years and we all, from lowly GS-4s to SES (senior executive service), were aware of the Anti-Deficiency Act, we could not spend money that hadn’t been authorized by Congress. The debt ceiling is a way to track spending, it isn’t binding. Now, instead of cutting spending via dept. appropriations, which would incur the wrath of whatever constituency relies on those appropriations, Congress is saying, Obama, you do the cutting. This benefits Congress, that doesn’t want to be responsible for cutting programs, and it benefits Obama since it gives him the I-don’t-have-a-choice argument to propose his grand bargain, i.e., to cut Social Security. But the debt ceiling “crisis” is bullshit.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the question is whether there is any spending to be cut, my answer is “I will tell, but I am afraid the NSA might be listening.”

      So, I dodge that question. But I will propose something else instead.

      No cutting. We raise money like girl scouts selling cookies. We sell off our military bases.

      And we sell off our ‘good for nothing’ gold from Fort Knox.

      In sum, 2 types of cookies to be sold:

      1. Military bases
      2. Gold at Fort Knox.

      1. Butch in Waukegan

        Great ideas.

        When the US military leaves Afghanistan, it will evacuate only 20% of the equipment, destroying the rest. Haven’t they heard of Craig’s List? For Sale. 2,000 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Sold as is, must pick up. Make offer.

        According to Wikipedia, Fort Knox has ± 4,500 metric tons of gold and the New York Federal Reserve holds ± 7,700 tons.

        Some of the New York gold is held “in trust” for other countries, and, believe it or not, trust is eroding. Nevertheless, this is New York for cripes sake. I am sure there are Wall Street sharpies who could sell the same gold to several different chumps, and hold it “in trust”.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Can you check my math?

          That works out to be about half of a trillion dollars. Is that right?

          That’s a lot for those ‘useless’ gold.

  16. ohmyheck

    Charles Pierce—TELL IT, BRUTHAH! You have just got to see this.

    “The Reign Of Morons Is Here”

    “In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic.”

    “We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.”

    “This is what they came to Washington to do — to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base.”

    “We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade that believes that its opposition to a bill directing millions of new customers to the nation’s insurance companies is the equivalent of standing up the the Nazis in 1938,”

    Gee, I wish Charles would stop by here and comment once in a while.

    1. Lambert Strether

      If the Greens were stronger, there’d be some other way for voters to slap the Democrats around for s*cking, which they do and did. Hopefully, the Democrats will go the way of the Whigs at some point soon.

  17. rich

    New data: Modest homes hit hardest by flood insurance rate hikes effective Tuesday
    The proof is in: Dramatic flood insurance rate increases taking effect today will have the biggest impact on owners of modest single-family homes not on the water.

    The median value of the 33,000 affected homes in Pinellas County: $132,245. The typical size: 1,430 square feet.

    And roughly two thirds of the homes don’t have water frontage or a water view, according to newly released county property appraiser figures.

    The situation is similar in Hills­borough County, where the property appraiser there has identified more than 21,000 older single-family homes facing dramatically higher rates. Only about 2,000 of those are directly on a bay.

    In Pinellas, the new figures from Dubov’s office belie a popular perception that most of the affected homeowners are rich people living on the beaches or investors who can afford the new, higher rates.

    In fact, about 23,000 of the 33,000 affected houses have homestead exemptions because generally the owners live there.

    About 2,000 of the houses are owned by low-income seniors or people with disability exemptions. Another 2,600 have widow or widower exemptions.

    Bruce Sinclair, a 72-year-old retired Army officer, owns an older, 1,200-square-foot home on St. Peterburg’s Snell Isle that is blocks from the water and has never flooded. Yet he pays $1,784 for flood insurance and will face rate increases of up to 25 percent a year until the house reaches full rates.

    He doesn’t plan on sticking around that long.

    Biggert-Waters intervened.

    “The (flood) premium I just paid for this was $2,200. If I sell the house tomorrow, the new buyer will have to pay $16,000 for the same coverage,” he said.

  18. Paul Tioxon

    For some strange reason, there is no talk of a national coop alliance of health insurance coops, non- profit, in 23 states. Here is the site. Nothing for my state. But then, my state is not letting people get expanded Medicaid or anything else unless baby jesus tells them it’s okay. Maybe my state needs Ed Rendell back after all. Who knew?

  19. mookie

    A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse David Graeber (excerpt from The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement) – The Baffler

    “Even those running the system are reluctantly beginning to conclude that some kind of mass debt cancellation—some kind of jubilee—is inevitable. The real political struggle is going to be over the form that it takes. Well, isn’t the obvious thing to address both problems simultaneously? Why not a planetary debt cancellation, as broad as practically possible, followed by a mass reduction in working hours: a four-hour day, perhaps, or a guaranteed five-month vacation? This might not only save the planet but also (since it’s not like everyone would just be sitting around in their newfound hours of freedom) begin to change our basic conceptions of what value-creating labor might actually be.

    Occupy was surely right not to make demands, but if I were to have to formulate one, that would be it. After all, this would be an attack on the dominant ideology at its very strongest points. The morality of debt and the morality of work are the most powerful ideological weapons in the hands of those running the current system. That’s why they cling to them even as they are effectively destroying everything else. It’s also why debt cancellation would make the perfect revolutionary demand.”

    1. psychohistorian

      Debt cancellation keeps all the current power structure in place…..bad

      Changing the fundamentals of inheritance to reduce the assets of the top 10% to the 90% level ….good

      We need to end the evil ongoing accumulation of property, wealth and power.

      1. skippy

        And some people are foggy on the whole biblical debt, slavery, property jubilee thingy.

        Just one big looters pressure valve… to only start the whole fooking thing over again… wisdom indeed!

        Skippy… Was J’man a TP’er of the day?

  20. Optimader

    SideLang Translation
    а также на…

    Uri Avnery’s Column

    The Real Bomb

    YEARS AGO I disclosed one of the biggest secrets about Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was an agent of the Mossad.
    Suddenly, all the curious details of his behavior made sense. His public fantasies about the disappearance of Israel. His denial of the Holocaust, which until then had been typical only of a lunatic fringe. His boasting about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
    Cui bono? Who had an interest in all this nonsense?
    There is only one sensible answer: Israel.
    His posturing depicted Iran as a state which was both ridiculous and sinister. It justified Israel’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. It diverted attention from Israel’s refusal to discuss the occupation of the Palestinian territories or hold meaningful peace negotiations.
    ANY DOUBT that I may have felt about this international scoop has evaporated now.
    Our political and military leaders almost openly bemoan the demise of Ahmadinejad.
    Obviously, the Supreme Guide, Ali Khamenei, decided that I was right and has quietly disposed of this clown.
    Worse, he has reaffirmed his deadly enmity to the Zionist Entity by pushing forward a person like Hassan Rouhani.
    Rouhani is the very opposite of his predecessor. If the Mossad had been asked to sketch the worst possible Iranian leader Israel could imagine, they would have come up with someone like him.
    An Iranian who recognizes and condemns the Holocaust! An Iranian man who offers sweetness and light! An Iranian who wishes peace and friendship on all nations – even hinting that Israel could be included, if only we give up the occupied Palestinian territories!
    Could you imagine anything worse?
    I AM not joking. This is deadly serious!
    Even before Rouhani could open his mouth after his election, he was condemned outright by Binyamin Netanyahu.
    A wolf in sheep’s clothing! A real anti-Semite! A cheat out to deceive the whole world! A devious politician whose devilish aim is to drive a wedge between Israel and the naive Americans!
    This is the real Iranian bomb, far more threatening than the nuclear one that will be built behind the smokescreen of Rouhani’s sweet talk!
    A nuclear bomb can be deterred by another nuclear bomb. But how do you deter a Rouhani?
    Yuval Steinitz, our failed former Minister of Finance and at present responsible for our “strategic thinking” (yes, really!) exclaimed in despair that the world wants to be deceived by Iran. Binyamin Netanyahu called it a “honey trap”. Commentators who are hand-fed by “official circles” (i.e. the Prime Minister’s Office) proclaim that he is an existential threat.
    All this before he had uttered a word.
    WHEN ROUHANI at long last made his Grand Speech at the UN General Assembly, all the dire forebodings were confirmed.
    Where Ahmadinejad had set off a stampede of delegates from the hall, Rouhani packed them in. Diplomats from all over the world were curious about the man. They could have read the speech a few minutes later, but they wanted to see and hear for themselves. Even the US sent officials to be present. No one left.
    No one, that is, except the Israelis.
    The Israeli diplomats were instructed by Netanyahu to leave the hall demonstratively when the Iranian started to speak.
    That was a stupid gesture. As rational and as effective as a little boy’s tantrum when his favorite toy is taken away.
    Stupid, because it painted Israel as a spoiler, at a time when the entire world is seized by an attack of optimism after the recent events in Damascus and Tehran.
    Stupid, because it proclaims the fact that Israel is at present totally isolated.
    BY THE way, did anyone notice that Rouhani was constantly wiping his brow during his half-hour speech? The man was obviously suffering. Did another Mossad agent sneak into the UN maintenance room and shut down the air-conditioning? Or was it just the heavy robes?
    I never became a priest, not only because I am an atheist (in common with many priests, I suspect) but also because of this obligation to wear the heavy clothes which all creeds demand. Same goes for diplomats.
    After all, priests and diplomats are human beings, too! (Many of them, at least.)
    ONLY ONE Israeli cabinet member dared to criticize the Israeli exit openly. Ya’ir Lapid. What has come over him? Well, polls show that the rising star is not rising any more. As Minister of Finance he has been compelled to take very unpopular steps. Since he does not speak about things like the occupation and peace, he is considered shallow. He has almost been pushed aside. His blunt criticism of Netanyahu may bring him back into the center.
    However, he has put his finger on a central fact: that Netanyahu and his crew behave exactly as the Arab diplomats used to do a generation ago. Meaning, they are stuck in the past. They don’t live in the present.
    Living in the present needs something politicians are loath to do: thinking again.
    Things are changing. Slowly, very slowly, but perceptibly.
    It is far too early to say much about the Decline of the American Empire, but one does not need a seismograph to perceive some movement in that direction.
    The Syrian affair was a good example. Vladimir Putin likes to be photographed in judo poses. In judo, one exploits the momentum of one’s opponent to bring him down. That is exactly what Putin did.
    President Obama has painted himself into a corner. He mouthed belligerent threats and could not retreat, though the US public is in no belligerent mood. Putin released him from the dilemma. For a price.
    I don’t know if Putin is such an agile player that he pounced on a side remark by John Kerry about Bashar Assad’s chance of relinquishing his chemical weapons. I rather suspect that it was all arranged in advance. Either way, Obama got off the hook and Putin was in the game again.
    I have very mixed feelings about Putin. He has done to his Chechen citizens very much what Assad is doing to his Sunni citizens. His treatment of dissidents, such as the Pussy Riot band, is abominable.
    But on the international stage, Putin is now the peacemaker. He has taken the sting out of the chemical weapons’ crisis, and may quite possibly take the initiative in providing a political settlement for that dreadful civil war.
    The next step could well be to play a similar role in the Iranian crisis. If Khamenei has come to the conclusion that his nuclear program may not be worth the economic misery of the sanctions, he may well sell it to the US. In this case, Putin can play a vital role, mediating between two tough traders who have a lot to trade.
    (Unless, of course, Obama behaves like the American who bought a carpet in a Persian bazaar. The seller asked for 1000 dollars, and the American paid up without haggling. When told that the carpet was worth no more than a hundred dollars, he answered: “I know, but I wanted to punish him. Now he won’t be able to sleep, cursing himself for not asking 5000 dollars.”)
    HOW DO we fit into this changing scene?
    First of all, we must starting thinking, much as we would prefer to avoid it. New circumstances demand new thoughts.
    In his own US speech, Obama made a clear connection between the Iranian bomb and the Israeli occupation. This linkage cannot be unlinked. Let’s grasp it.
    The US is today a bit less important than it was yesterday. Russia is a bit more important than it was. As its futile attack on Capitol Hill during the Syrian crisis shows, AIPAC is also less powerful.
    Let’s think again about Iran. It’s too early to conclude how far Tehran is moving, if at all. But we need to try. Walking out of rooms is not a policy. Entering rooms is.
    If we could restore some of our former relationship with Tehran, or even just take the sting out of the present one, that would be a huge gain for Israel. Combining this with a real peace initiative vis-a-vis the Palestinians would be even better.
    Our present course is leading towards disaster. The present changes in the international and the regional scenes can make a change of course possible.
    Let’s help President Obama change American policy, instead of using AIPAC to terrorize Congress into blindly supporting an outdated policy towards Iran and Palestine. Let’s extend cautious feelers towards Russia. Let’s change our public stance, as the leaders of Iran are doing with such success.
    Are they more clever than us?
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