Links 10/20/13

Lambert here: Yves had to shred the JPMorgan settlement, so you get an extra ration of links.

Best dressed chicken in town: hens go hi-vis Telegraph

Reprogrammed bacterium speaks new language of life New Scientist. What could go wrong?

JPMorgan Said to Have Reached $13 Billion U.S. Accord Bloomberg

What We’ve Learned from the Financial Crisis HBR. What we’ve learned? Crime pays. And if the market are rigged, what can “shareholder value” possibly mean?

How to Pay Millions and Lag Behind the Market Gretchen Morgenson, Times

How the .0001% Made its Money Priceonomics. Handy chart.

Corporations Now Using Foreign Tribunals to Attack Domestic Court Rulings Eyes on Trade

A Nation Brought to the Verge of Ruin Counterpunch

Larry Summers Snubbed Netanyahu’s Offer to Run Israel’s Banks Atlantic

I’m Not Going To Pretend That I’m Poor To Be Accepted By You Thought Catalog

Senior officer, NCIS agent are among those arrested in Navy bribery scandal WaPo. Makes ya wonder about those two (2) Air Force nuke generals that got defenestrated last week. Doesn’t it.

Shutdown Showdown (Post-Game Analysis)

Tyrone on why the government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis were brilliant Republican strategy Marginal Revolution

What Happens Now? Joe Firestone, New Economic Perspectives

Boxer’s bill aims to take debt limit off table McClatchy

US debt drama haunts ‘risk free’ assets FT 

Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and Their Political, Economic, Social, and Health Correlates [PDF] Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (press release).

Obama’s Goal of Grand Budget Deal Elusive as Talks Begin Businessweek. But since Obama has already put Chained CPI in the budget, the bargain doesn’t have to be “grand” anymore!

ObamaCare Rollout

AP sources: 476,000 applications filed for Obamacare; officials won’t give enrollment figures AP. The question to ask: “How many uncorrupted, valid, unique 834s per day over the last week?”

For thousands, keeping your old health insurance policy isn’t an option McClatchy. Wow, Obama lied about that? I’m shocked.

Out of Network, Not by Choice, and Facing Huge Health Bills Times. NC readers had this story a week ago.

Insurers stumble into latest Obamacare glitch Politico. Direct enrollment is allowed, although that doesn’t allow comparison shopping, but is not yet technically possible.

Obamacare sites pirated copyrighted web scripts RT. Even when software is open source, people should still adhere to the licensing agreements — especially putatively tech savvy people like the ObamaCare implementors. It’s nice of Spry Media, the authors of the scripts, not to sue. (Originally covered by the Weekly Standard, for pity’s sake, because the putatively “reality based community” on the putative left can’t be bothered to put down its pom poms and cover the story.)

Why Government Tech Is So Poor WSJ (and see this seven-part manifesto).

Bad Government Software James Kwak, Baseline Scenario

Republicans relish technical problems with rollout of ‘Obamacare’ FT

Doomed From the Start: Why Obamacare’s Disastrous Rollout is No Surprise Foreign Policy Affairs. On the money.

The latest from the Oregon Medicaid Experiment: Impacts on labor force and public program participation The Incidental Economist

In bellwether district, Va. governor’s race stews in aftermath of federal shutdown WaPo

Hillary Clinton endorses Terry McAuliffe for Virginia governor CBS. That we’re even talking about 2016 is a measure of the desperation of the political class.

In U.S., Perceived Need for Third Party Reaches New High Gallup (DCBlogger)

Food Stamp Outage Highlights Problems With Privatization of Public Services Truthout

Families With Kids Go Homeless as U.S. Rents Exceed Pay: Economy Reuters

Nightmare in Maryville: Teens’ sexual encounter ignites a firestorm against family Kansas City Star

Golden Dawn draws support from surprising sources to retain popularity Macropolis

False fronts CJR. Money quote: “I would never have worn white pants.”

P2P Companies: The Movers and Shakers of China’s Shadow Banking The Diplomat

Modern-Day Slavery: India’s Other Shame The Diplomat

Why Pierre Omidyar decided to join forces with Glenn Greenwald for a new venture in news Jay Rosen

Ma’am, Your Burger Has Been Paid For Times. Somebody did this for me at the University union, so I passed it on.

This column will change your life: the truth about inefficiency Guardian. Zeitgeist alert: “Dark patterns.”

Brandel Chamblee’s PGA Tour season grades are in — and Tiger Woods gets an ‘F’ Golf. Now I know why CEOs like the guy so much.

Born Sixty-Eight Years Ago Today BLCKDGRD

The Exception: How Denmark Saved Its Jews from the Nazis Der Spiegel

Antidote du jour:


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. dearieme

    “Wow, Obama lied about that? I’m shocked.”
    Aw, come on. Nobody really thought he’d read the Bill, did they?

  2. dearieme

    “the putatively “reality based community” on the putative left can’t be bothered to put down its pom poms and cover the story.”

    Slimeballs are slime balls, Yves: you’re old enough to know that.

    1. dearieme

      Oops: “Lambert”. I don’t know how old you are, but assuming you’re out of short trousers “you’re old enough to know that”.

      1. Lambert Strether

        No, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. But given lives at stake, the silence of the putatively “left” hackorcracy is egregious, even more so than usual. Especially given that these dudes are supposed to be technically sharp.

  3. dearieme

    Form ‘Foreign Policy’, a standard American excuse: “But that was in a country whose entire population was seven million.” So what? You could argue that economies of scale should make it easier in a bigger country, not harder. At least they didn’t bring out that lame old excuse that everything is more difficult because the US is federal, as if no other country is.

    1. dearieme

      I spoke too soon; they did plead the old federal excuse: “policymakers regularly rig up complex … federal-state [,] arrangements that are opaque to the public, difficult to administer, and inefficient in their operation”.

      So tough luck Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, … you’re doomed to bloody awful government health insurance systems. Personally, I view much government activity as pretty awful, but not all as equally awful. Is there a better explanation for the US’s modern Peculiar Institution – the “spoils system” perhaps?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think these are the two key paragraphs:

      The real source of Obamacare’s current problems lies in the law’s complexity. A straightforward way to assure coverage would have been to extend an existing, well-worn program to more people. This is how most other countries guarantee health insurance. In the British National Health Service, there is little that beneficiaries need to do in order to receive health insurance, as all residents are automatically entitled. Other countries rely on private intermediaries that provide insurance — nonprofit insurance funds in Germany or Switzerland, for example, or a mix of proprietary and nonprofit insurers in the Netherlands. Even in those instances, benefits packages and entitlements are highly standardized, making these health-care systems relatively uncomplicated from the standpoint of beneficiaries.

      In the United States, political antipathy to government programs precludes this kind of straightforward administrative solution. Faced with such hostility, policymakers regularly rig up complex public-private, and often federal-state, arrangements that are opaque to the public, difficult to administer, and inefficient in their operation — what Andrea Louise Campbell, a professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and I describe as a Rube Goldberg welfare state — because of the complicated way in which it achieves even basic tasks — and what the political scientist Steven Teles aptly labels a “kludgeocracy.”

      This seems to me to be a good deal more acute than what one reads at Politico or TPM or the Times or WaPo, for that matter. Note also that the idea of simply extending coverage (say, via reducing eligibility age for Medicare) simply cannot be spoken of in polite company the “progressive” hackocracy, so we’ve got to go to Foreign Affairs (“Policy” was a typo) to read about it. For pity’s sake.

      And then add in rent-seeking to the kludgeocracy and the Rube Goldberg welfare state (when you see useless complexity, always think rent-seeking) and stop treat “political antipathy” systemically as opposed to some sort of deus ex machina, and you’ve got something.

      1. skylark

        Steve Teles gives the dictionary definition of a kludge as “an ill-assorted collection of parts assembled to fulfill a particular purpose…a clumsy but temporarily effective solution to a particular fault or problem” or an inelegant patch. I prefer the definition given by someone on NC recently as “10 pounds of feces in a 5 pound sack”.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Actually, that is not a kludge but a blivet.

          If you went on to use the blivet as a doorstop or a pillow or a windowsash counterweight, that would be a kludge.

      2. Tim Mason

        I prefer ‘jury-rigged’ and others would go for ‘bricolage, thus shifting the blame over onto Johnny Foreigner. Bismarck (‘Politics is the art of the possible’) and Harold Wilson (‘A week is a long time in politics’) should surely remind you that the USA is no special case in this regard. If you look at the origins of the British NHS, you will find that it was a gigantic kludge from the very beginning, as is true of most of the welfare institutions of the European nations. Teles himself says that he has no data as yet to back up his claim that the ‘kludgeocracy’ is peculiar to the US. I have little doubt that he will find some, but would suggest you keep the salt cellar handy.

    3. Linden

      I was also expecting the cryptic “the United States is a heterogeneous society” excuse, as though the European countries are populated solely by white people who all agree on everything all the time. The Swiss can have a functioning health care system because … they all make cheese and chocolate and yodel from mountaintops, I guess.

      1. anon y'mouse

        see, neoprimitivism works. no need for technological claptrap when you have cheese. yodeling is optional, though. or, no yodeling when you’re making cheese. it might spoil.

  4. John Jones

    From “What We’ve Learned from the Financial Crisis” in HBR

    “But problems arose. Milton Friedman, of the University of Chicago—an adherent of Irving Fisher’s monetarist views—argued that the economic fine-tuning envisioned by the Keynesians was impossible to get right in practice. His opinion gained ground in policy circles during the inflationary 1970s, after Keynesian methods seemed to stop working.”

    Did Keynesian methods really stop working?
    And if so why?

    1. from Mexico

      I don’t believe they did.

      What happened is that Keynesian methods came under such fierce attack by the lords of capital and their hired liars and bumsuckers — the priestly caste of economists who hold high mass in the temples of money worship like Harvard, the University or Chicago and MIT — that they ceased to be implemented.

      In order to complete the picture, you then take an assorted lot of psychopaths, sociopaths and other characteropaths, aka the Nobel prize committe in economics, who ordain people like Milton Friedman and Robert Lucas as the high priests of economics.

      To complete the process, you then get people like Justin Fox to write up vapid, fact-free obscurantism for the Harvard Business Review.

      All this activity is of course purpose driven, and trust me, folks who have to work for a living are not part of the purpose, other than to come up with elaborate sophistries to dupe and exploit them.

    2. Yves Smith

      No, it’s more complicated.

      First, American Keynesianism is NOT Keynes, it’s a bastard form that Keynes disapproved of. It’s basically neoclassical economics that tries appending Keynes as a special case. Even John Hick, the guy who came up with the formalization that American Keynesians adopted, later repudiated his work.

      The big bone of contention is that neoclassicals assume that an economy has a tendency to equilibrium, and that equilbrium is at the full employment rate. Keynes thought there was no propensity to equilibrium. But if you abandon the equilibrium assumption, you can’t do the sort of math that economists wanted to promulgate. So their mathematical pretensions trumped empiricism. (But as an aside, it’s been very successful for them nevertheles: economists are far better paid than other social scientist, are the only social scientists to have a seat at the policy table, and they insist critics deal with them on their terrain, which is their bogus mathematical modeling).

      In the 1960s, the American Keynesians were the architects of government economic policy and were well represented in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Johnson, for political reasons, refused to raise taxes when he was fighting the Vietnam war, a war on poverty, and sending a man to the moon. He believed that the public would see the tax increases as resulting from the Vietnam war and would become even more hostile to it.

      Running large government deficits when the economy was at full employment was guaranteed to generate inflation. Both a Keynesian, Walter Heller, and Milton Friedman issued warnings, but only Friedman later got credit because other Keynesians in policy positions refused to push back on Johnson’s decision.

      So we got inflation. And then when we got a recession, two prominent Keynesians, Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow, said that would solve the inflation. But they used a totally made up theory called the Philips curve which had no empirical foundation and was pretty crappy as pure theory too.

      When we got stagflation, the failure of the Philips curve sank Keynesians. Friedman argued instead for NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment). It has since been repudiated too, but at the time, it looked to work a lot better than the Philips curve, and so the Friedman crowd was off to the races.

      All the monetarist experiments of the early 1980s were abject failures, but the Fed is perversely full of monetary economists, starting with Bernanke.

      1. skippy

        did someone say Friedman?

        David Friedman So how does that make Septic different from the authors of most of the posts in this group? As far as I can tell, they are mostly people who know almost no economics but are convinced that they have The Truth, certain and irrefutable, and conveniently congruent with their political views.

        Then there are a few posts by econ students with questions, not all of whom are trying to get someone else to do their homework, and an occasional honest attempt to answer such questions, often put in terms that suggest some difficulty in translating the relevant mathematics into English or intuition.

        Not, on the whole, an enlightening spectacle. If anyone can point me at a group on FB that actually has serious discussions of economics I would be grateful, but I’m not holding my breath.
        about an hour ago · Like · 4

        Skip here… The guy could not unpack a simple question see:

        Wayward Septic @David Friedman – when you speak of stimulus what are you referring too? And how does that correlate to the unemployment rate.

        Long story short, I got some minion[s who tried to drag the conversation off into the fog and kill it. The best the kid could do was link this:

        The question was “when you speak of stimulus what are you referring too? And how does that correlate to the unemployment rate.” david needed to unpack that statement. Instead I get you running all over the joint. Now you link a vanilla report that is completely unpacked to the factual on the ground evidence. You still have not addressed the employment aspect or the stimulus one.

        Skip here… this is as close as it got out of a 40ish comment thread see:

        Charles Allison In short: stimulus money gives people more money to spend. More money to spend= more jobs.

        Long story short some other rational commenter comes and it agreed that see: Wayward Septic Here a hint – it went to back fill the synthetic financial black hole and not to any productive inducing activity. SO to use the terminology stimulus is not a concise framing of reality.

        Skippy… Anywhy… if that’s indicative of the state of intellectual capital now days… were FOOKED~

        OBunus… Charles Allison I was never even in disagreement with Septic… he just keeps attacking me over stuff that I never even say.

        15 hours ago · Like
        Wayward Septic pathological

        Charles Allison truth teller.
        15 hours ago · Like

        Charles Allison I agree…. I am a pathological truth teller.
        15 hours ago · Like

        Wayward Septic facts are not truth

        PS… Only for the strong of constitution:

  5. Mark Pawelek

    W.r.t, James Kwak and Kimberly Morgan are on the ball. Farhad Manjoo is nonsense:

    [quote]we could remake the nation’s IT infrastructure using off-the-shelf hardware and software and the best tech practices employed by the world’s most admired tech companies.[/quote]

    No, we can’t. No more so than Apple can make a iPhone using off the shelf software.

    PS: Many of the world’s most admired tech companies don’t consistently use best tech practices. To get ‘best tech practices’ hire the best techie you can find and let him/her recruit his/her own team (which will generally be 5 – 15 people).

    1. CB

      I worked for one of those “admired” tech companies and I’d like to know admired how? Stk market prowess and tech prowess sometimes run as skew lines.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Most of the “Just to do this” crowd confuse corporate (or even the startup) scale and scope with government’s. Not the same at all.

    3. Yves Smith

      I’m not buzzword compatible, but Wall Street went from custom IT applications to using as much “off the shelf” as they could. But they still have to do a ton of customization plus build integration (I believe called “middleware”) which is non-trivial.

      So shorter: the idea you can use “off the shelf” and avoid coding is crap. It saves you some debugging, time, and expense, but you still have LOTS of coding to do. And I’m sure they DID use lots of “off the shelf”. No way would any sane person build their own database app, for instance.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        . . but Wall Street went from custom IT applications to using as much “off the shelf” as they could. But they still have to do a ton of customization plus build integration (I believe called “middleware”) which is non-trivial.

        It was the same in the electric utility system control arena in which I spent 40+ years. On some of the earliest systems I was involved with, in the late 60s and early 70s, we even built our own operating systems.

      2. craazyboy

        Here’s quicki cliff notes:

        Typically this is called 3 tier architecture. The front end piece is on the client computer and could be web browser front end or windows program front end. The middle tier resides on the server and most “business logic” is supposed to reside here. It also contains all the database access code that would do things like inserts, edits, queries, and deletes to the database or maybe create flat files, XML files etc. for data transfer somewhere else. The last tier is the database.

        Part of the middle tier usually consists of what is sometimes called middleware. That might be a semi-customizable thing like wordpress that has a pretty well defined function. But for more custom situations, you would buy some necessary software plumbing parts that take care of doing the stuff to create an “empty” middle tier. Then there are code generation tools you use that will auto-generate all the data manipulation code you need for each field of data you have defined in the database.

        Other than that, it’s lots and lots more work coding what the system should do. Most of this is supposed to go in middle tier “objects” so maintenance programmers can find it again (things change – must modify code). Some of this can be reduced by using standardized components for things if they exist. (you buy them as DLLs) One place I was at had a credit scoring component they used. Then nowadays these things probably exist for common interfaces with credit card companies, or transforming whatever a customer may type in for an address into an address format compatible with what the post office or someone else may use.

          1. craazyboy

            That’s correct. But we went 3 tier architecture back in the latter 90s for in-house corporate networks and did the front ends as windows programs – usually using MSFT Visual Basic because it was the fastest way to make a windows program. MTS was the MSFT middle tier framework – it would install as a Windows NT Server service once you’re all done writing the guts. Then you used MSFT SQL Server for the DB.

            One of the selling points was once you had the 3-tier architecture, you could also someday make a web browser front end to access it.

            Then the others had their similar products for the big time UNIX Server world. Oracle DB of course. IBM had DB2. I think “Tuxedo” was the popular middle tier framework. Then IBM had “Websphere”. Then Sun, Oracle and IBM hooked up and developed Java as a programming language – so all this stuff went Java for coding the middle tier “biz logic”.

  6. David Lentini

    Corruption is the New Normal

    You should have paird the Navy scandal more closely with the HBR artcile. Now that we live in a society where money (i.e., power) rules, and therefore crime pays (for the stronger anyway), jobs and professions that require trust are passé. Every job now has to be evaulated on its ability to enable the job holder to obtain more income. (I suspect this could be proved quickly by Posner’s “Law and Economics Movement”.) Concepts such as honor, honesty, and trustworthyness are so 20th Century. So, why be surprised when our military officers just join the bandwagon to maximize the return on their very valuable positions? The ground work was laid when we started contracting out every posssible service for the benefit of CEOs and shareholders, rather than the soldiers, sailors, and airmen (sorry, I won’t use “warriors”) who depend on those services.

    Perhaps the various Navy and Air Force officers in question here should use the “I was just maximizing the value of my job” defense at trial. They could point to Wall Street, Posner, Cheney, and the galaxy of corrupt and corrupting service compaines (like Cheney’s KBR) as evidence that we live in a new century with new values.

  7. diptherio

    Re: I’m Not Going to Pretend To Be Poor To Be Accepted By You

    Oh boo-hoo! “People look down on me for being rich! My life is soooo hard!” F**king whiner. Guess what? poor people have to deal with being looked down upon too…and they don’t have a six-figure salary to salve their wounded egos. Let me find my tiny violin so I can play a dirge just for this poor, poor, wealthy man…

    Koh says, “People shouldn’t make others feel bad about their own personal finances. How people spend their money is their own choice.” While I agree on some level, this seems pretty simplistic. How people (rich or poor) spend their money actually does affect others. So while it is indeed “their own choice,” I think there’s an argument to be made that their choices have caused problems for the rest of us. Perhaps not in this instance, but in the larger scheme of things, for sure.

    But what the author is really missing here is that the class-based ill-will he is experiencing is simply the natural result of living in a highly unequal society. Why do the poor resent the rich? Maybe it’s because they feel like the game is rigged (against them) and that most of the wealthy became that way through luck or shady dealings…you know, like what we talk about here on NC every day. Why wouldn’t they feel resentment? Why should they keep it to themselves? You want to live in a society that allows you to be wealthy while allowing millions to barely make ends meet?…then you better be ready to deal with a little resentment and ill-will. Cry me a river.

    (And we’re supposed to be impressed by the fact that the author got his(?) purse for 70% off at the Mulberry Sample Sale. Here’s what one commenter on the Choosy Beggar website had to say about this year’s Sample sale: “Quite expensive (70% off of 1400 for a bag is still about 400 dollars),…”)

    Are you pissed off about working hard but still getting the sh*t end of the stick from our rigged economic system? Well keep it to yourself! The rich have sensitive feelings, dontchaknow…wouldn’t want them to feel bad about anything, now would we?

    And isn’t it just typical that this upper-income man thinks that his feelings are sooo bloody important. The world is a rough place, Koh, get used to it. If you don’t like being resented for your wealth I have plenty of ideas for how you could get rid of it (and then you wouldn’t have to pretend to be poor…)

    1. diptherio

      Thought Catalog just changed the by-line on that story from Michael Koh to Rachael Sacks, which makes considerably more sense. Please substitute “Sacks” for “Koh” in the above comment.

      1. craazyman

        that young lady is a wannabe novelist looking for PR, and getting it from the New Yawk Post.

        You can’t buy that anywhere.

        She must have connections.

        What a swell piece of performance art!

        1. optimader

          She’d be out of her depth composing a roachcoach menu, no amount of school will fix that. Reposting comes dangerously close to jumping the shark

          1. craazyman

            I don’t know. I was bored enough to read what she wrote and she sketches a few things with pretty clear images and moves it down the page reasonably well. It takes practice and she’s very young. maybe she can bang out some novel of rich girl escapades with a backdrop of moral probity hovering like a pair of eyeglasses on a big billboard in Queens — sound familiar? haha. Mr. Fitzgerald himself might have done something like that. maybe she can do it too. Who knows? LOL It happens sometimes.

              1. craazyman

                We’re all wrong. It’s eyes and glasses . . . and in Queens . . . just typing it out you can feel the power of the genius.

                “But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic — their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.”

                -F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE GREAT GATSBY

            1. optimader

              One can be taught grammar and composition in school, but not how to write. So yes, maybe with time she can become a writer? I guess what strikes me as so trivial is her trying to hard to be cynical w/ apparently not a very deep well of life experience to draw from.
              A burgeoning Charles Bukowski she is not.

              “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”
              ― Charles Bukowski

              1. optimader

                Speaking of grammar and composition, to = too HAHAHA

                Well, soup gone :( back to rolling up the garden for 2013. Many ziplock bags of frozen Pesto in my future. Something more to live for.

        2. anon y'mouse

          glad someone found that out, because as read it looked faked.

          though surely, someone, somewhere at some time or other has actually had thoughts like this.

          granted, they were probably 15 at the time.

  8. Richard Lyon

    re:Corporations Now Using Foreign Tribunals to Attack Domestic Court Rulings

    This article is well worth reading. It is a concrete example of transnational trade agreements undermining the legal systems of nation states.

    1. gordon

      I agree. The old fashioned word for this is “extraterritoriality” – the insistance by a colonial Power that local courts can’t try cases involving its nationals or indeed any cases where its nationals’ interests are at stake. The Chinese had extraterritoriality forced upon them in several “unequal treaties”, and so did other colonised places.

      It’s “back to the future” time.

  9. JohnDT

    Netanyahu wanted Larry Summers as head of the Bank of Israel? – perhaps yesterday.
    Today an Israeli woman was appointed to head the institution.

  10. sailo

    india :slaves
    The [2013] TIP report released by the U.S. State department had put the number of people in some sort of forced labor at an estimated 20 to 65 million : men, women, and children mainly in debt bondage to a local landowner, forced to work in industries such as brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories,” said Hindustan Times. “

    I offer my personal experience on naked capitalism.I am glad to be a investigative journalist for a day.
    i have met few of these slave workers working in textile factories.They are paid wages,food,accommodation,medicines and weekly leaves. The only problem is :they are never allowed to leave the factory premises.The guy i spoke ran away from previous factory in himachal pradesh but joined another one(gujrat) in another state.The factories are always located far far away from city centers so govt officials never go there.The factory where this man worked produced undergarments,which were sold in india and exported.These guys are desperate for income and will do anything to earn some money.The guy i spoke actually brought his entire family(excluding womenfolk) to his new job.He was going away to his native place after non stop work for 8 months.After some 20 yrs of crushing poverty,this guy has earned some money and is now stable financially.
    The worst situation is in one northern state of india where actual slavery is practiced and the factory owners,farmers travel throughout poor areas of country to find suitable slaves.
    The country has huge poor population and govts (mogul,english and indian)has mismanaged everything from last 200 yrs.The people lack discipline like western countries have.They don’t understand economics,finance,modern technology.So this is gonna continue for long time.
    I also know from experience of some workers returned from saudi arabia and dubai.
    The muslim man from my city went to saudi arabia for a job and he worked for 2 yrs without break,16 hrs per day.After he managed to return,he was crying for a week over treatment given to him.He vowed neer to go to gulf countries.
    I met another muslim women who went to dubai to work as a maid.She was beaten,starved but somehow managed to return back and have now opened a small food stall.Her business is thriving and she is happy.

  11. Doug Terpstra

    Thanks for Paul Street ( CounterPunch) and his easy, inevitable logic on the correography of the debt-ceiling dance that none dare call conspiracy. He makes the gaggle of tribal analists at MSDNC sound like chattering monkeys.

    What a lot of noise at “Up With…” Feels like getting the brain dry-cleaned.

  12. JTFaraday

    re: Why Pierre Omidyar decided to join forces with Glenn Greenwald for a new venture in news, Jay Rosen

    “At the core of Newco will be a different plan for how to build a large news organization. It resembles what I called in an earlier post “the personal franchise model” in news. You start with individual journalists who have their own reputations, deep subject matter expertise, clear points of view, an independent and outsider spirit, a dedicated online following, and their own way of working. The idea is to attract these people to NewCo, or find young journalists capable of working in this way, and then support them well.”

    I don’t know. I can’t decide if that’s a wholly good thing or not.

    Certainly, many in the journalistic world deprecate “old fashioned reporting,” on the notion that every single news organization and every single journalist has some sort of perspective, and every single story has some sort of an angle.

    There is truth to this “myth of objectivity”– and Jay Rosen never ceases lamenting the dumb, epistemologically unsophisticated reporters who believe in it– but at the same time it seems to me that one of the problems we see today is the inhibition of reporting, period.

    As in the example from yesterday’s links, where the WSJ didn’t want to run a story on the shenanigans of Rupert Murdoch:

    So, I don’t know. I’m a little hesitant to think that one can build an entire “general news organization” on this kind of “independent voices” model. How does one manage that in such a way that it doesn’t collapse into an organization that primarily finds itself supporting authorial self indulgence?

    David Brooks has a point of view, and has certainly turned himself into a franchise. And so what?

    So, I’m all in favor of experimentation, but I’m not really under the impression that investigative reporting necessarily gets done by those journalists/ bloggers/ whatever who have been busy turning themselves into franchises, or that such people are necessarily the only ones who could do it.

    Rather, it seems to me that working journalists aren’t allowed to. I have been watching Jay Rosen p*ss on working journalists for their managerial problems for years.

    So, I’m all in favor of experimentation, I just hope this Omidyar doesn’t let the intellectual snobbiness of many in the journalistic profession get in his own way.

    1. Jess

      Admittedly, I haven’t done much deep thinking on the NewCo project but off the top of my head it sounds like the idea is to build a “HuffPo that tells the truth.” Instead of dreck like Robert Borosage and Leo Gerard you get Glenzilla and Jeremy Scahill. If that is the intention…

      I’m all for it.

      P.S. If NewCo works out right, wouldn’t it be great if it had a tie-in with NC that widened NC’s audience? Awesome!

        1. JTFaraday

          Here, to see what is meant by “the franchise model,” take a gander at Rosen’s post on this:

          I’m sure any member of the general public will readily agree that said gaggle of (publicly popular) geese does not a general news organization make.

          Rosen’s antipathy to news reporting** does not even permit him to see how he consistently throws in with the forces of destruction of all news reporting.

          **See where he says: “I think news executives are somewhat intimidated by the enormity of the culture shift required within legacy organizations. Instead of trying to renovate the ideology of professional newswork, a huge task that invites grandstanding, it’s easier for the editors of the Washington Post to let Ezra Klein do his (already shifted) thing and then add people to that franchise. They avoid a holy war over news vs. opinion while quietly letting the distinction corrode.”

          Ezra Klein, no less. Yes, we do know that Ezra Klein trafficks in his personal opinions.

          I think maybe someone needs to tell Rosen to take a good historiography course or something. The attempt by the historical profession to try to understand the way that perspective and ideologies, including those ideologies that might be more or less defunct today, have impacted the telling of history, does not lead to the denial of the attempt to determine historical truths.

          Drives me crazy. A little education is a dangerous thing.

          1. Yves Smith

            CJR is pretty hostile to bloggers. And they don’t even recognize it. They let Felix Salmon write there and opine about the Web, but Felix comes out of journalism (he was at Euromoney for years), so he’s sort of a token (I do like Felix, BTW, this is not a diss of Felix, but pointing out CJR’s foibles. I know people at Columbia who’ve actually tried telling them they don’t give bloggers the cred they deserve, and the CJR folks go on tilt, so this is based on third-party reports, not my reading between the lines).

            That reflects the attitude of journalists in general. The problem is traditional reporting got killed by the Web. 1/2 the revenues of newspapers came from classified ads. That’s pretty much gone now. Imagine trying to run a business on half your former top line. And I think bloggers get the brunt of the resentment of what the Web has done to their business, they see us as undercutting their business model and stealing eyeballs that would otherwise go to them.

            And this happens while the reporting environment has gotten more difficult. Years ago I met the WSJ reporter who opened their Shanghai office. He came back to NY after 6 years (this would have been the late 1990s) and was astounded as to how much reporting here had changed in his absence. The big one was that companies had gotten much savvier in information control and spin. He said it had been possible to get to the bottom of most stories in a normal news cycle. The impediments created by the large corporations changed it into being close to impossible.

            So journalism has become significantly access “journalism”.

            You can see why traditional journalists would hate hate hate what Omidyar is trying to do It’s just old-fashioned journalism. Honestly. He might need to recruit people with franchises to get some buzz initially, but the aesthetic is traditional aggressive reporting. If he succeeds, he makes them look really bad.

            Now you are right that if Omidyar gets obsessed with the star factor over aggressive reporting, all bets are off. But no one would mistake Brooks for a journalist. He’s an op-ed writer.

            1. Chris Rogers


              I don’t post as much on NC as I should do, in mitigation, I’ve been blogging/posting on the UK’s Guardian website for several years and have been banned on numerous occasions for my outbursts – essentially one is not prone to utilising ‘pretty language’, much preferring to go for the jugular, which many may find offensive. In mitigation, I’ve never been offended by language which is utilised by those of my background, and despite my years in University, refuse to adopt middle-class language – in this matter I’m influenced heavily by Chomsky and his followers views on language and linguistics which I studied heavily as part of my Sociology studies at ‘A’ Level.

              That said, in the UK journalistic standards have been on a downhill trajectory for at least 20 years, basically since the triumph of neoliberalism epitomised by the implosion of the USSR, no where is this seen more than in the declining standards of the BBC and the Guardian/Observer – most other tabloids and broadsheets being propaganda outlets, rather than actual newspapers – the honourable exception being the Financial Times.

              Given the falling journalistic standards, one benefit of the internet in the past decade has been the explosion in Blogs and News sites offering reader input, such as Comment is Free (CiF) on the Guardian’s website.

              One of the strange realities of UK journalism is that whilst many write and work for rightwing rags, the journo’s themselves are quite left-of-centre and are aware themselves they are propagandising their readership with information they themselves know is far from true – whilst I deplore this, people have to earn a living and as in the USA, most UK media outlets are owned by rightwing corporate interests – hence, the emergence of sites like Naked Capitalism is most welcome, particularly by those seeking the truth and honest opinion, rather than PR spin.

              Now, I’m not sure about Greenwald and his cooperation with eBay’s founder to establish a media presence similar to the Huff Post, however, I’m glad he’s departed from the Guardian which exhibits so many internal contradictions that its become a laughing stock.

              Now on the Guardian CIF section I post under the name of SonsofOwainGlyndwr, this is my latest name as have been banned on several occasions, but used to also post under the following names: Bopeep, Bobeep, ConDemVermin and SonOfNyeBevin – again, one’s intent is always to highlight hypocrisy, outright lies, propaganda and PR spin – and whilst my use of language may be flowery shall we say, I believe we all owe a duty to balance out misleading reportage.

              Anyway, I wish Greenwald well, but am dubious about the notion of media stars and blogosphere stars – I’m all for telling the truth, but firmly against self promotion which to me seems like an oxymoron.

            2. Hugh

              I would say that as much as a business model challenged by the web, there is media consolidation, the high debt loads this engenders, consequent and repeated rounds of cutting back on basic reporting and news staffs, and finally censorship by the corporate owners of any anti-corporate, anti-kleptocratic, journalism. The result is a steadily inferior product being sold at higher and higher prices.

              As I wrote previously, I am skeptical of the Omidyar sugar daddy model of new journalism. I mean if Omidyar or Soros want to send me a check, fine. But I don’t want to have any kind of a relationship with them. They remain pirates and kleptocrats, and I will not endorse them in any way, shape, or form.

  13. Ron

    In bellwether district, Va. governor’s race stews in aftermath of federal shutdown:
    Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and Their Political, Economic, Social, and Health Correlates:

    The national media traditionally projects the GOP as a critical part of the American political landscape and in recent years used the term Red/Blue states to label the U.S. political map but the reality is that without the South the GOP would be a ghost Party. The soft political labels of Blue State Red State along with such labels as the Grand Old Party or The National Party, hides the reality of the Republican Brand that has increasingly become right wing conservative mirroring the John Birch Society. The Tea Party is changing the way national media labels Republicans as Hatch from Utah is now a moderate while the Tea Party is a radical brand out of step within the moderate GOP.
    Reviewing the Republican Platform during the last few Presidential election cycles its hard to find any evidence that this is the Grand Old Party rather its a Right Wing conservative party based on Southern religious and rural lifestyles. The national media can only ignore this reality for so long before the media begins to project a harder courser image of the Party far removed from its current high image as a National Political Party. The Senate GOP understood this shift of national media exposure during the current budget crisis and worked hard to counter act the trend but it will be hard for the Republican image makers to slip past there rank and file base.

    1. Ignim Brites

      We’ll see how the 2014 elections go. If the Republicans lose seats as the current wisdom projects then the core Red States will have to begin to lay the foundations for secession. Conversely, a gain by the Reps will mean that the public intellectuals of the core Blue States wiil have to begin to speak of New York and California secession as a moral and political duty. It’s pretty simple really.

  14. optimader

    “Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and Their Political, Economic, Social, and Health Correlates”

    Breaking research direct from the University of Helsinki!Paging Dr Howard, Dr.Fine, Dr. Howard…
    This fused the contactors on the bllsht alarm and I had to go downstairs and throw the breaker.

    The present investigation was designed to extend theory and
    research in psychology and the geographical sciences by mapping
    the psychological topography of the United States. Characterizing
    regions on the basis of the psychological characteristics of residents
    is important because psychological factors are likely to be
    the force behind the individual-level behaviors that are expressed
    on macrolevel PESH metrics. Our approach to addressing this
    issue provides an entirely novel perspective on geographical personality
    differences. In a sense, our approach challenges the standard
    methods of dividing up the country (e.g., on the basis of
    economic indicators, voting patterns, cultural stereotypes, or geographical
    and physical features) that appear to have become ingrained
    in the way people think about the United States. In their
    stead, our approach offers a new empirically derived system for
    understanding the country that brings psychological characteristics
    to the fore, clustering regions for the first time in terms of psychological
    traits. By showing how these psychological configurations
    relate to important social indicators, the present work underscores
    the value of this new way of thinking. We believe this
    approach offers the promise of unifying the causal nexus that
    drives macrolevel behavioral outcomes.

    1. Lord Koos

      Yes, this pegged my bullshit meter as well. The “study”aper reminded me of something a friend of mine used to say: “There’s two kinds of people in the world; those who think there’s only two kinds of people, and everybody else.”

    2. anon y'mouse

      I stopped when I read “internet sample sourced from a variety of locations.” I don’t have the power to critique such a study, but they warn about this repeatedly in skoool.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Afghanistan was a cakewalk, compared to the Obuggercare minefield:


    To ensure that we make swift progress, and that the consumer experience continues to improve, our team has called in additional help to solve some of the more complex technical issues we are encountering.

    Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve

    Yeah right — just roll in a posse of pimply-faced geeks with screwdrivers and oscilloscopes, replace some vacuum tubes and bang this mess into shape over the weekend.

    Can’t we just pass a law, throw some OPM (Other Peoples Money) at it, and make the problem go away?

    Webmaster O’Barky thinks he’s the greatest online peddler since Jeff Bezos. Share da crack pipe, Mistah Prez!

    1. Jerome Armstrong

      Half the problem is probably outdated guidelines. Something Obama’s CTO should manage across the board, but not how it works with each cabinet having its own chiefdom.

  16. Butch In Waukegan

    Perhaps a divorce is not imminent, but one partner is clearly not happy.

    China Voices Frustration That Its Best Investment Choice Remains U.S. Debt McClatchy

    Some analysts said the editorial served the purpose of bolstering China’s image as a reliable partner in contrast to the United States, whose president, Barack Obama, was forced to cancel trips to summits in Indonesia and Brunei due to the shutdown.

    But others said beyond image making, it also expressed the views of top leaders.

    “They started to really worry that the U.S. is weak,” said Shen Dingli, vice dean of international affairs at Shanghai’s Fudan University. “Not only that Obama is weak, but that the entire system is weak.”

    1. Yves Smith

      This is just noise. Chinese like making noise when the US looks stupid, which is often these days.

      The Chinese want to keep running surpluses with the US? They gotta take our dollars. No way around that. Everyone (US, IMF, ECB, etc) has told them to cool it and rebalance their economy (consume more and export less) and they aren’t getting on with that program. They keep building ginormous empty cities (investing) rather than consuming. And exporting.

      So they can keep the dollars in cash or put them in something else. They put them in Treasuries to get yield.

      End of story.

      1. Chris Rogers


        They are investing in more than US Treasuries, we have just witnessed in the UK our Treasury Secretary – one Mr. Osborne, and the leader of London’s Assembly, one Mr. Boris Johnson, going cap in hand to the Chinese for inward investment – this has resulted in quite a few deals, most of which are not advantageous to the UK taxpayer, namely, they are now building nuclear power stations in the UK, setting up banks with huge dispensations and investing in airports in the North of the country.

        Indeed, the Chinese are now on payback time for two opium wars and the UK’s concessions in Shanghai and Hong Kong gained via gunboat diplomacy – that enough cash is stashed in the UK in businesses and offshored to more than cover these investments is the real insult.

        Still, as we are aware, the elite have no patriotism and will sellout their nation’s, or supposed nation states for the highest dollar, which presently can be found in China.

  17. Jerome Armstrong

    “For thousands, keeping your old health insurance policy isn’t an option McClatchy. Wow, Obama lied about that? I’m shocked.”

    But they will let people that didn’t have health problems continue to pay. Sounds like it’s basically a dumping out of everyone that cuts into their profit margin.

  18. from Mexico

    @ “Nightmare in Maryville: Teens’ sexual encounter ignites a firestorm against family”

    What a sad story.

    I’m glad I live in Mexico, where even though the criminal justice system may be almost as bad as it is in the US, at least people here don’t labor under the delusion of American exceptionalism and freely acknowledge that they are los hijos de la chingada.

    1. anon y'mouse

      all I could think of was a combination of “burn the witch!” along with the typical code of silence stuff.

      small towns frequently fall victim to the same kind of social dynamics one finds in middle/high schools. bullying and blaming the very people who most need fostering and protecting, and rewarding those who are, as you so nicely put it, characteropaths.

  19. JohnDT

    Larry Summers Snubbed Netanyahu’s Offer to Run Israel’s Banks?
    Well, the end result is that Israel now has a great professional lady heading Israel’s Bank, as well as women heading Israel’s Treasury Dept and the 3 largest private banks in Israel.

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