Links 10/29/13

Tangled Eagles Rescued After Talons Get Stuck Together (PHOTO) Huffington Post (Carol B)

Fukushima horse breeder braves high radiation levels to care for animals Guardian (Deontos)

Snakes on the brain: Are primates hard-wired to recognize snakes? Science Daily (Chuck L)

Amazon Rainforest is ‘at Higher Risk of Tree Loss’ Climate Central (Chuck L)

Defense Department seeks to implant devices capable of stimulating depressed soldiers’ brains in real-time Raw Story. As in, in stimulating blood-lust or pushing them to go on without sleep. Required reading: Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time. A bit too deliberately feminist for my taste, but the stuff on the experimentation rings awfully true.

Modern art was CIA ‘weapon’ Independent

Holy Logic: Computer Scientists ‘Prove’ God Exists Der Spiegel (Richard Smith)

Trouble at the lab [Data Skepticism] Tim Durusau

Is Google floating mystery barges around the world? Christian Science Monitor

Thailand’s Rural Boom Yields Mercedes and $6,000 Jacuzzis Bloomberg

St Jude’s Storm: Four killed as 100mph winds batter the south Telegraph

Bank Born Out of Black Death Struggles to Survive Bloomberg

Greece’s New Tax Law Collects More Anger Than Money New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Feinstein demands total US intelligence review Financial Times. Most likely DiFi trying to get in front of the mob and call it a parade, but still…

France feared US spied on its president; was Israel’s Mossad involved? Times of India (furzy mouse)

Spain summons US ambassador over claim NSA tracked 60m calls a month Guardian

How the feds won a key warrantless wiretapping ruling by misleading the Supreme Court Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Canadians sue spy agency over secret surveillance People’s World (Deontos)

The Oversight Black Hole of the Merkel Tap Marcy Wheeler

As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media Glenn Greenwald, Guardian

Shutdown Budget Showdown

The right way to make a federal budget Los Angeles Times

Time to Eliminate the Debt Ceiling Linda Beale, Angry Bear

Obamacare Rollout

Obama administration knew millions could not keep their health insurance NBC

White House rejects NBC Obamacare report Politico

A little known, but potentially fantastic provision of the Affordable Care Act Daily Kos. Um, I think this is, “look, there’s a plane!” See this much bigger feature, corporatization of health care.

Recovery? What Recovery?

Pending Sales of Existing Homes Slump by Most in Three Years Bloomberg and US pending home sales drop 5.6% Financial Times

First fall in US manufacturing output since 2009 as the Eurozone pulls ahead Sober Look

But then we have: Q&A: Deadbeat gamblers as economic indicator Associated Press (Lambert)

Is DIP financing the best option for Detroit? Bond Girl, FT Alphaville

Subway tunnel repairs show challenge of Sandy clean-up Financial Times. I was astonished at how quickly they got the subways back up and figured I was somehow wrong about the salt damage, that they’d been able to flush critical circuits in time. Looks like not after all.

New York to Create Nation’s First State-Based Strategic Gasoline Reserve OilPrice

U.S. to Hit Infosys With Record Immigration Fine Wall Street Journal

Criminal Investigation of Madoff and JPMorgan Shines Harsh Light on NYU Pam Martens

JPMorgan Still Isn’t Sure What It Bought in 2008 Matt Levine, Bloomberg. I think there’s a shorter way to debunk the JPM “all your money are belong to us” theory on this one. JPM is saying, “Our contract says JPM is not liable for XYZ bad things WaMu did.” Retort: “Yes, but there was enough money in the dead body of WaMu to more than cover XYZ. So how is JPM liable?”

Billionaires: Decline of the West, Rise of the Rest Triple Crisis

NYSE Margin Debt at Record High Barry Ritholtz

Basic Income and the Atavistic Appeal of Austerity Pieria

The Prophet Helaine Olen, Pacific Standard. More important than the not-at-all-informative headline suggests.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. YankeeFrank

    Regarding “The Prophet”, this Dave Ramsey is a classic huckster. His quotable quotation: “the borrower is the slave of the lender” is right out of the neoliberal playbook. My quotable quote is: “we don’t have slaves anymore and bankruptcy is your patriotic duty”.

    And of course he eschews bankrtupcy for his dupes, I mean “clients”, even though he declared in ’88. What a piece of garbage this guy is, selling snake oil to desperate people. Of course they want to hear they are in control. Problem is the control they have they don’t use, read: vote the scum out of office and demand bankster prosecutions. If even half these middle-American dupes did that the country would change almost overnight. Oh well, the sucker party rolls on and middle America drags us all down with it.

    1. Pogonip

      Well, the basic idea he’s preaching, stay out of debt, is a good one. But like any other good idea, he and his fans are carrying it to extremes. You have to look at your situation in a logical and businesslike manner. The people who were trying to pay off 86K with $500/month, for example, are in way too deep and should be giving up and starting over, if they can (can’t remember if their 86K was student loans or not). I might also note that Ramsey and his fans are engaging in very selective Bible reading. They should be calling their Congresscritters and pushing for a debt jubilee.

    2. anon y'mouse

      the whole thing is dressed up as religious salvation. stop being a sinner (debt doofus), achieve salvation through ascetism and self-flagellation, feel guilt when you backslide, be ‘saved’ in the debt-deliverance scream. and never, never close that wallet to those $39 dollar revival tickets.

      the fact that they are following him to some small level of economic sanity (reducing debt) is a side effect. in fact, this is the -perfect- religion in our economy because one can’t help becoming a sinner and thus must go and repent at these revival meetings. it’s a cross between New Year’s resolutions, catholic absolution, and homegrown apple-pie financial ‘wisdom’.

      if people want to fool themselves, and even gain a bit of peace of mind by following this guy, that’s on them. but the fact that he’s living large because of it is disgusting.

      never follow a preacher that lives more richly than you do. if you do, then you ARE the sheep being fleeced.

      1. curlydan

        As I read the Ramsey article, I kept wondering, if he couches his advice closely with the Bible and Christiantiy, why would he not have the courage and truthfulness to at least partly blame and castigate the “money changers”. But then I remembered, oh yeah, you can’t get on commercial radio or TV if you say anything to upset the money changers lest you be called a “socialist” and burned at the proverbial stake.

    3. tim s

      I have no love lost for a failed real estate speculator myself, but no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater based on those personal feelings. For the most part, the message is sound. I have never personally heard or read a word of his (other than the occasional bumper sticker), but I live as if I had. That’s just the way I am, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

      The only payments other than taxes I have ever had to pay was a mortgage, and the thought of the money spent on interest still makes me sick. I paid extra every month to pay off that note, and paid off a 15 year loan in seven years. I don’t want to come off as bragging, which I hate as much as the debt…just saying. Granted, I am in a part of the country where the housing bubble was not particularly inflated and $150K will buy a pretty decent house, and i did have an engineering job, but I was clear sighted enough to not over buy, which my agent did try to push me into (typical)

      Why take on the excess debt? A boat, camper, car, personal loans, credit card – status BS better left behind. I feel for those with medical emergencies. That’s a rock & hard place situation, especially in the US with it’s many predatory traps. Most of the other debt is avoidable, though. I manage to make ends meet without debt, all while driving used cars, shopping at thrift shops, preparing my own foods and rarely eating out. It is a good life, and I am the sole supporter of a wife and three kids. It takes a bit more know-how to maintain older cars, houses, appliances, but all of that stuff saves $$ and builds confidence. Resources abound to learn how to improve self-sufficiency.

      So, is Ramsey a snake? Maybe. Big effin deal if he is. He is just playing a drum that happened to be rolling by that people need to hear at this time anyway. He’s not saying anything that my (our) grandparents wouldn’t have said anyway.

      Speaking of snakes, he can’t be a bigger one than many of the people in the corporations that profit off of all of the interest being paid by all of those in debt. Pay off debt and make THEM suffer. I’d like to see the rentiers starve – they are a much bigger problem than Dave Ramsey.

      It’s not easy to resist the lure of debt. Our society (US) has evolved to be based on it, but just realize how predatory our society is. Eliminating the personal debt burden is one of our best tools to fight back.

      1. anon y'mouse

        why take on the excess debt? oh, I dunno…could it be because wages are so low that there isn’t enough left over after living expenses to pay for semi-emergency situations, like a broken washing machine, broken down car, broken crown on your tooth?

        if the bosses paid people enough to live AND save, then perhaps some people (not all, hence the idiot who bought a boat=hole in the water into which you throw money) would not be in debt.

    4. RanDomino

      “vote the scum out of office and demand bankster prosecutions.”
      If that’s your strategy, then you have a lot of nerve calling others naive.

  2. David Lentini

    Pieria’s comment about the failure of the élites to return to Keynesian economics overlooks two serious obstacles.

    First, we have the demonstrated phenomenon that modern economics cannot learn from its mistakes. As the Guardian pointed out, and Paul Krugman has complained, economics faculty simply ignore the evidence and continue to teach economics as dogma to suit the wealthy. In short, modern economics has become a cult with a stranglehold over policy.

    Second, why do commentators keep assuming that policy is about maximizing consumption and economic output? That was Keynesian thinking. But what if policy has become about obtaining and keeping power? Then austerity makes a lot of sense. The élites will dispense just enough to keep the population at rest; otherwise they will own and control everything. In short, don’t forget that human history is about power, not production.

    Finally, the just-so story about Lent is idiotic. Lent comes in the winter, because Easter is chosen to coincide with the Spring as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus and, of course, the Jewish tradition of Passover. The 40-day Lenten period represents the periods of Christ and the Israelites in the Wilderness. The fact that the Lenten period coincides with late Winter has nothing to do with conserving food.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      Oh good, your post helps me to show off the one piece of important Christian trivia that I know:

      How is the date for Easter decided ?

      It’s the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox (which we declare the first day of Spring.)

      1. Solar Hero


        It’s the first Sunday, after the first LITURGICAL full moon, after the vernal equinox … different churches determine that full moon differently … why do you think Orthodox and Catholic Easter are usually different?

        1. Bill the Psychologist

          I didn’t know the Orthodox church pays no attention to Astronomy, but am not surprised.

          However, that doesn’t make me Wrong ! as you so joyfully put it.

    2. from Mexico

      David Lentini says:

      Second, why do commentators keep assuming that policy is about maximizing consumption and economic output? That was Keynesian thinking.

      Well it was Keynesian thinking, but one must take into account that Keynesian thinking falls under the more encompassing rubric that preceded it by 150 years, that of liberal economic thinking. Maximizing aggregate utility — the “wealth of nations” as Adam Smith put it — is the alpha and the omega of liberal economic theory. And as is often said, “Keynes came to save capitalism, not to bury it.”

      The rub between Keynes and the earlier capitalists was not over ends — all agreed that maximizing aggregate utility was the desired end — but over how to achieve that end. Without that end of maximizing aggregate utility, and the possibility of achieving it, capitalism loses its moral and intellectual raison d’être.

      I would not want to paint all austerians with the same broad brush, because there definitely are Malthusians amongst the austerian faithful. With them the philosophy is this: if you don’t have a shortage of foodstuffs and primary materials, then make one.

      But amongst the austerian faithful are those who fit the old liberal economic mold too, that of Ricardo and Mill. To them, when it comes to maximizing aggregate utility, consumer spending of the workers is bad. Investment spending and consumer spending of the rich industrialists is good. They had one idea about how to maximize aggegate utility. Keynes had another, as Streithorst explains here:

      Keynes saw it 80 years ago. If you are saving, you are not spending in my store. If you are not spending, if my inventory is pilling up, I won’t be purchasing from my suppliers and I will be firing, not hiring workers. The treasury view that Keynes battled against (what we call austerity today), said that unemployment would force wages to fall, at which point, employers would start hiring again. But of course, since workers are also consumers, cutting their wages will only cut their spending as well. Yes, we will arrive at an equilibrium but it certainly won’t be a full employment equilibrium. The answer, Keynes told us, is deficit spending. The government puts money in consumers’ pockets, which they will spend, allowing the animal spirits of entrepreneurs to return. We all learned this years ago, when we studied Economics 101.

      Peter G. Peterson, for instance, falls squarely in the Ricardo and Mill school of austerians, and not the Malthus school of austerians. In a recent position paper published by his foundation, for instance, is a lament about the “fiscal drag” of “a contraction in discrectionary spending” on “a still-struggling economy.” “The recent fiscal drag,” the paper asserts, “has slowed the annualized rate of growth in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.” You can read the position paper here:

      I think the real crisis which capitalism faces is not the conflict between the Ricardians and the Keynesians, but whether growth, due to limits of the biosphere, can be maintained. These were not problems that Keynes, in his day and age, had to struggle with. This is aluded to in another NC post today:

      …the world is going to run headlong into the fact that the current financial and geopolitical system has been built up around the consumption of carbon—transitioning to another system is going to be painful, both economically and politically.


      The autor of the post, Rory Johnson, warns of “stranded fossil fuels.” But what about stranded housing stock? Much of our housing stock will be downgraded due to the demise of cheap energy and the private automobile. And the way cities in the US are designed, with vast urban sprawl, replacing the private automobile with more energy efficient public transportation will be no easy feat. I see vast destruction of capital assets. Will capitalism be able to survive this?

      1. Hugh

        As an aside, I don’t know what utility is, except in the broadest sense, or how it can be quantified, let alone maximized. Even so, I do know utility and consumerism are antithetical. Consumerism is about maximizing consumption without regard to utility. It is about getting people to buy what they don’t need, that is things of little or no use to them. That we live in a consumer society is just another indication that modern economics has nothing to do with the world in which we actually live.

      2. skippy

        For you fMex

        Crowdfunding as consumer activism is an evolution of the conscious/ethical consumption movements that garnered much attention in the 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century. In particular, the deliberate tying of crowdfunding to the notions of progress, creativity and charity is quite similar to the manner in which the fair trade movement aimed to correct economic injustice and soothe the moral crises experienced by the ‘haves’ of the Global North (as against the ‘have-nots’ of the Global South). Kara Newhouse’s critique of the fair trade movement identifies ‘autonomisation’ (the location of ‘the power to transform economic inequality in the purchasing capacities of individual consumers, often using first-person directives to suggest that consumers are part of a social movement’) as an integral element of the fair trade movement but also acknowledges that consumers remained physically and socially separate from their beneficiaries except during token interactions at fair trade stores.

        Crowdfunding, on the other hand, embraces autonomisation but has made consumer/producer interaction a central feature of the crowdfunding process.

        The two major crowdfunding sites, Kickstarter and Indiegogo (and the Australian-based Pozible), have social media-account linking and commenting facilities built into their platforms. These serve a dual purpose: firstly, they allow the quick spread of information about projects across the Internet, fuelling public and media interest and attracting new pledges; secondly, they facilitate the exchange of information between creators and consumers of the kind that presents opportunities for creators to gain a better idea of customer desires and for consumers to obtain detailed information about the projects in which they are considering investing. The success of the social media and interaction sides of crowdfunding has led to a new approach to mass communication: crowdspeaking.

        For product developers, crowdfunding has many advantages: as well as aggregating capital, developers can set investment targets that, if not met, will release investors from their commitment to buy; and, by tying investment to the purchase of a product rather than a stake in the company, developers can retain control of their companies (though suggestions from the venture capital industry have been made about how to participate in crowdfunding and still obtain a stake and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan is currently engaged in consultations around a proposal to allow equity crowdfunding).

        Yet, while the ability to secure substantial capital without loss of equity and the encouragement of social media interaction to create viral campaigns are in themselves important and distinctive features of crowdsourcing, they are overshadowed by the association of crowdsourcing with the notions of progress, creativity and charity. As Tanya Prive writes:

        The idea of ‘its not what you do, but why you do it,’ really hits home here. By focusing on a bigger purpose, the driving force behind a brand, project creators will be able to create a unique community of likeminded individuals.

        This is the core attraction of crowdfunding: that, by pledging, you are not only supporting but are participating in the process of making the world a better place. Whether consumers remain separated from producers or not, by advocating market-based solutions and placing responsibility for problem solving upon the actions of individuals, both crowdfunding and the fair trade movement must be seen as neoliberal methods for change.

        skippy… Ah the tubes where if your not a neoliberal fudie, your a commie in the wood pile… it bloody cracks me up.

  3. rich

    House, Set to Vote on 2 Bills, Is Seen as an Ally of Wall St.

    “The House is the odd man out in terms of doing Wall Street’s bidding,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, a nonprofit group critical of the financial industry. “They’re letting Wall Street write the law to its own benefit in ways that harm the public.”

    The lawmakers who support the bills say the legislation is good for the nation, not just the bank’s bottom lines.

    Still, in the case of the derivatives trading bill, Citigroup’s lobbyists redrafted the proposal, striking out certain phrases and inserting others, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. The House Financial Services Committee, a magnet for Wall Street campaign donations, adopted the bank’s recommendations in 2012 and again this May.

    Wall Street’s support from the House extends beyond favorable votes. When bank executives are called to testify before Congress, industry lobbyists distribute proposed questions to lawmakers and their staff, seeking to exert some control over the debate, according to emails written by staff members on the House Financial Services Committee that were reviewed by The Times.

    One House aide, in an email exchange among House Financial Services staff members last year, warned that lawmakers should not mimic the talking points from lobbyists.

    “I know that some of our members are inclined to whore, but we cannot be apes,” the Republican aide said.

    1. armchair

      C’mon, she’s got to be getting close to some incumbency records. Let her have another three terms. Besides, the democratic party would never allow a challenger within the party, so that leaves republicans. I don’t think an independent run by a Silicon Valley billionaire will solve the underlying problem. This is why Russel Brand doesn’t vote.

    1. Linden

      The Dems won’t primary her, the Greens aren’t powerful enough, and the Republicans would be worse. There’s never been any serious opposition to her.

      1. jrs

        California’s open primary system absolutely eliminates any chance of Greens even being on the ballot. Only the top two contenders on the ballot. This often leaves 1 Dem and 1 Rep, and sometimes leaves 2 Dems (it’s a blue state afterall) but it pretty much NEVER leaves an option for a 3rd party candidate (except for the U.S. Presidency). Yes she should be recalled (if that’s possible, it is for state offices). But good luck replacing her with a Green in the California primary system.

      2. Bruno Marr

        California has 36 million people. About half of them vote. They are spread over a wide area. It takes expensive media ads to mount a primary campaign. DiFi is wealthy beyond belief. She would be difficult to challenge.

        She has five years to go before up for re-election. She’s an old hag at this point, and will probably retire at the end of her term.

  4. Butch in Waukegan

    Re Snakes on the Brain . . . Carl Sagan suggested something like this in The Dragons of Eden, Speculations on the Evolutions of Human Intelligence:

    The pervasiveness of dragon myths in the folk legends of many cultures is probably no accident. The implacable mutual hostility between man and dragon, as exemplified in the myth of St. George, is strongest in the West. (In chapter 3 of the Book of Genesis, God ordains an eternal enmity between reptiles and humans.) But it is not a Western anomaly. It is a worldwide phenomenon. Is it only an accident that the common human sounds commanding silence or attracting attention seem strangely imitative of the hissing of reptiles? Is it possible that dragons posed a problem for our protohuman ancestors of a few million years ago, and that the terror they evoked and the deaths they caused helped bring about the evolution of human intelligence? Or does the metaphor of the serpent refer to the use of the aggressive and ritualistic reptilian component of our brain in the further evolution of the neocortex? With one exception, the Genesis account of the temptation by a reptile in Eden is the only instance in the Bible of humans understanding the language of animals. When we feared the dragons, were we fearing a part of ourselves? One way or another, there were dragons in Eden.

  5. Jim Haygood

    From the NBC News article, busting the huckster-in-chief:

    Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

    The administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them. Yet President Obama was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

    Successful sales people don’t lie. Arguably ‘Crazy Barry’ shouldn’t be demeaning his office as a peddler in the first place. But it’s far worse that he holds his customers in such contempt that he told whoppers which he KNEW would be exposed.

    When our government openly lies and steals, it seems entirely appropriate to respond in kind. At the least, amp up your dependents on Form W-4 and sidestep the Obamacare penalty. They only steal it from refunds.

    1. tank

      I think Obama did it for greater good.Had he spoken truth,Obamacare might have been repealed.His lie actually allowed 30 million uninsured to get health insurance.
      BTW the website malfunction,chaotic execution,people not signing up is all repubs fault.

    2. Jim Haygood

      From an article titled ‘Docs Resisting Obamacare’:

      Nearly eight in 10 [doctors] — 77 percent — said they had not been given a fee schedule to show much they’ll get paid if they sign up.

      Sign up without knowing the fee schedule? Looks like both the provider and ‘consumer’ ends are being kept clueless about the ultimate cost, by the most untransparent administration in history.

      Seriously — if descriptions of Obamacare as ‘quasi Medicaid’ are accurate, then presumably only a desperate minority of ‘Medicaid mill’ physicians are going to sign up for derisory, at-cost compensation.

      Any guesses about the quality of care under this system?

      1. Kokuanani

        A related issue that gets almost NO coverage is the increasing percentage of doctors who opt out of Medicare [yes, Medicare, not Medicaid]. These folks go through the formal procedure whereby they vow not to accept ANY Medicare patient.

        Spend a little time trying to find a doctor who will take you as a “new” Medicare patient [if you happen to move to his/her area] or who doesn’t kick you out of his/her practice once you hit Medicare age [even if you’ve been a member of the practice for decades]. I’m old enough to have done this for a few years, as have more and more of my contemporaries.

        So some folks think docs are going to refuse “Obamacare” patients? It’s already happening, and will only get wider and worse.

        1. afisher

          Fortunately that particular myth has been debunked, but like any good zombie, keeps being repeated at intervals. The last redux of this was a few weeks ago and the physicians opting out were really scary – psychologists….oh the horror!

          No longer have the link, but it was via HHS.

  6. optimader

    File under: WTF

    Are these people insane?

    “…They hoped to learn how the cesium moved from fallen leaves to soil.

    The results of more than 2 years of research show that rain washed cesium off leaves…”
    Study: cesium from plant staying in forest soil

    A team of Japanese researchers says most of the radioactive cesium that was released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and fell on forest soil remains there.

    Researchers at the government-affiliated Japan Atomic Energy Agency installed monitoring equipment in woods of northern Ibaraki Prefecture, near Fukushima Prefecture, in May 2011, 2 months after the accident. They hoped to learn how the cesium moved from fallen leaves to soil.

    The results of more than 2 years of research show that rain washed cesium off leaves 6 months after the accident, and that as the leaves decomposed, it moved to the surface of underlying soil.

    The researchers found that only about 0.1 to 0.2 percent of the cesium went 10 centimeters deep into the ground each year.

    They concluded that underground water very likely has not carried cesium from the soil to nearby areas.

    Researcher Takahiro Nakanishi said the results suggest that the cesium has not gone deep underground. He said the findings would be useful in efforts to decontaminate affected areas.

    Oct. 29, 2013 – Updated 10:10 UTC

    1. anon y'mouse

      proving the point that no matter how evil and foul and preventable a disaster occurs, the upside is always valued as a teaching/learning moment.

      we do stuff just so we can watch what happens, whether intentionally or not. like burning ants with a magnifying glass. the human race appears to never mature beyond this point.

      1. craazyboy

        I guess this is the wrong time to make sure you get your 1 gram a day of omega 3 fish oil that the American Heart Assc. has been recommending.

        1. craazyboy

          ‘Twould be something if this took away some of the allure of organic CA produce and grass fed beef and the new rage became Greenhouse produce and factory meat.

          Bought a 6 month supply of green tea too. They claimed it came from China, but now I think I gotta check the jet stream map before purchasing again. Depending on how that goes, maybe I find out safe food comes from China? That would be weird.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Only if that safe food travels west like the Dutch through the Indian Ocean and up the Atlantic, but not if it follows the route of the Spanish across the Pacific through the radiation zone of the Wa people.

            Perhaps the Dutch were smarter than the Spanish…or maybe not.

            1. Walter Map

              Say goodbye to the oceans. The quantities of radioactive materials getting dumped wholesale are enormous, and it will take years to stop it.

              If ever.

              The chances that this disaster may result in the collapse of the global economy, global human population, and/or civilization are still being calculated. It will take a few days to come up with a number. The chances can be expected to increase for as long as it takes to contain the disaster, and at this point there is no reason to believe that it can be contained.

              If it can’t, well, it’s been nice knowing you all.

      2. different clue

        One wonders if the Japanese authorities know all about this and are dragging the Fukushima affair out as long as possible to get even for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    For some unexplained reason, this Homo Not-So-Sapiens imposes himself on a canine household having their family dinner.

    And he is the only one smiling?

    Why are we so species-self-centered?

    I mean, no other animal (or vegetable) says we are sapient except ourselves. Conflict of interest much?

      1. anon y'mouse

        yours is funniest.

        the obvious one:

        “happy birthday dear eddieeee! *aside* good lord, when can we wrap up this sausage-fest. imagine, a grown man wanting streamers!”

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Primates hardwired to recognize snakes?

    Are we hardwired to worship other humans who can jump 3′, come up with philosophical paradoxes or author dust-gathering, impenetrable tomes?

    Most animals fear shining, big teeth (except my cat, I guess – she looks at me like I’m a lunatic when I LOL), but we seem to worship them…at least at all the beauty contests I have witnessed.

    1. optimader

      Primates hardwired to recognize snakes?

      There the ones w/ no paws right? Now do I get to be a primate?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By the way, someone said that the word lunatic came from lunar, something to do with the moon, or perhaps the full moon.

    3. Garrett Pace

      If you’ve ever been surprised by a rattlesnake’s rattle, you don’t need a scientific study to know it’s hard-wired into us.

      I just wish we were better at distinguishing them from sticks…

    1. anon y'mouse

      he’s missing a couple.

      increase SS retirement to suitably comfortable level, so that people do not feel compelled to have kids as the fail-safe retirement option. take away the fear of dying alone in the streets for lack of progeny.

      knowledge sharing is free, therefore education at all years and levels should be free. revamp the education system to accommodate this, with an eye towards wise use of resources (eliminate crappily written textbooks, for starters—Krugman, i’m lookin’ at YOU!). education helps the public, the person and their profession. educated individuals usually have better health and fewer children. our ed. system needs reform around what is best for the learner, not “how can we test more to ensure that we’re earning our paychecks!” society as a whole ‘earns the paychecks’ of education.

      1. Bridget

        “Increase SS retirement to suitably comfortable level, so that people do not feel compelled to have kids as the fail-safe retirement option.”

        And compel the dwindling number of kids who manage to get themselves born to to support you at levels you deem suitably comfortable? Don’t be surprised if they opt to kick you to the curb instead. Best have a fallback retirement option.

          1. Bridget

            At the risk of being too flippant, let me put it this way. I’d never have enough faith in anybody’s economic theory to risk putting myself at the mercy of other people’s children to sustain me in my old age.

            1. anon y'mouse

              so you’re saying I should have children, then?

              I mean, everyone who gets old is ‘putting themselves at the mercy of someone else’s children’, aren’t they? you rely upon trading your saved tokens of worth for things that other people’s children are producing. their productivity level still has to be sufficient to support both themselves and you, right?

              by the way, your comment was pretty rude. are you here to discuss ideas, or simply to snipe at people?

        1. anon y'mouse

          what’s the solution? have more children? how’s that environmental degradation with the current 7 billion workin’ out for ya?

          note I said “comfortable”, not “luxurious”. something above no heat in winter and catfood for dinner, not gold-swathed truffles and ermine footcozies.

          1. Bridget

            “what’s the solution? have more children? how’s that environmental degradation with the current 7 billion workin’ out for ya?”

            There’s always that paycheck thing. Hopefully accompanied by that saving thing.

            1. anon y'mouse

              and what should I do if I can never earn enough to pay sufficiently for present cost of living, much less save extra? die in the streets?

              and even if I am capable of being smart or skilled enough to do so, someone is going to be doing those ‘poorly skilled’ jobs at the bottom of our society, which usually do not pay enough to live on day to day, much less save retirement money from. should they, upon reaching the destination of not being able to work anymore, commit suicide?

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Deadbeat gamblers – economic indicator.

    I think the correct term is Lotto investors.

    The key here is they (mean TPTB) are using none of the 0.01%’s money, but only 99.99% money to keep the 99.99% entertained.

    Isn’t that great or what?

  10. craazyman

    faaak would Russel Brand make a great Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN or what? This such a no brainer I can’t believe they’re not out right now filming. Not sure if Johnny Depp would still be interested. Of course, he owns it, so if he wants it he gets it. But if he doesn’t want it, bring on Mr. Brand. He wouldn’t even need a costume.

    If you want to talk about a revolution, make the movie first!

    I can see it now: the Black Pearl out on the high seas happens upon a ragged band of refugees adrift, exhuasted and days away from death. They’re hauled aboard and tell how they’ve escaped a prison colony island nation where the population is enslaved by moneylenders and zombie security goon enforcers. One of the refugees is a very bodacious lass whose brother is being held in the maximum security stockade for progressive agitation by the island’s ruler — the oozingly repulsive Governor Elijha Squid. There is a rebellion in progress on the island but it needs a charistmatic leader — will Captain Jack Sparrow come to the rescue, lead the rebellion and defeat the forces of evil? Yes, I think he will. :)

    does anybody else have “Sweet Jane” pumping through their head over and over. I do. but this sort of thing happens to me alot so I don’t worry about it.

    1. craazyboy

      Sure seems obvious. Grand Cayman is in the Caribbean.

      Captain Jack Brand might look at his official Rand-McNally map and see nothing but a great big sea monster in the vicinity of these isles, however.

      But this is where the Voodoo Princess comes in. With potions, spells, and Eye of Newt she conjures Jack Brand a Vampire Bat which has an overwhelming desire to fly in the general direction of the vile Governor Squid. “Follow that Bat mon!” he shouts to his crew. They set sail on their new found course.

      Not sure how it goes from there, but they got screen writers that do stuff like that.

  11. anon y'mouse

    10 policies for a steady-state economy potentially missed two:

    raise SSDI to a comfortable level, so that people will not feel impelled to have kids as a fail-safe retirement policy, thereby encouraging many to forgo having them since they don’t have to worry about dying alone in the gutter.

    along with his ‘free exchange of knowledge’ should be reinvestment in our education at all levels and for all purposes, with an eye towards careful use of resource. education helps us meet a number of our needs, and is about knowledge-sharing which is vital for every human endeavor, personal, public & professional. educated people have fewer serious health problems and fewer children. education should be free and open to anyone their life-long. as long as you work to achieve your education (talks about what that mean should be based on what actually works to benefit the learner, not “how we can measure that we’re earning our paychecks”) it should be a public good.

  12. rich

    Dead Man Walking

    Michael Stillman, M.D., and Monalisa Tailor, M.D.

    October 23, 2013

    Mr. Davis had had an inkling that something was awry, but he’d been unable to pay for an evaluation. As his wife sobbed next to him in our examination room, he recounted his months of weight loss, the unbearable pain of his bowel movements, and his gnawing suspicion that he had cancer. “If we’d found it sooner,” he contended, “it would have made a difference. But now I’m just a dead man walking.”

    For many of our patients, poverty alone limits access to care. We recently saw a man with AIDS and a full-body rash who couldn’t afford bus fare to a dermatology appointment. We sometimes pay for our patients’ medications because they are unable to cover even a $4 copayment. But a fair number of our patients — the medical “have-nots” — are denied basic services simply because they lack insurance, and our country’s response to this problem has, at times, seemed toothless.

  13. fresno dan

    Feinstein demands total US intelligence review

    President Obama, when informed that NSA was also spying upon him, replied, “Good! I’ll finally get to the bottom of what I know, and when I knew it”

    1. Eureka Springs

      Never ever trust Di Fi.

      Yesterday, Dianne Feinstein announced, “a total review of all intelligence programs … so that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are fully informed as to what is actually being carried out by the intelligence community.”

      Today, her committee will nevertheless conduct a mark-up of her bill to not fix the spying targeted at Americans.

      Umm, given that she just admitted she doesn’t know everything the NSA has been doing — and that she hasn’t been fully informed — don’t you think the comprehensive review should precede the new legislation?

      – See more at:

  14. docg

    It’s really hard for me to believe that Angela Merkel would entrust important conversations bearing on governmental and economic policy to an unsecured phone line. It stands to reason there would be attempts to bug her conversations, if not by the NSA then any number of other organizations, governments, businesses, and investors, especially given the influence these conversations could have on the economics and finance of the Eurozone. Talk about insider information!!!

    This whole brouhaha over the bugging of national leaders strikes me as monumentally naive. Obviously such people are going to be the target of bugging attempts and obviously they’ve taken measures to prevent that.

    1. from Mexico

      Well maybe Merkel and other foreign heads of state are miffed because “important conversations” bearing on their love lives were listened in on.

      As Hoover proved, there’s a lot more than “important conversations of governmental and economic policy” which can be brought to bear on public policy.

    2. hohumjob

      What strikes me as monumentally naive is people who seem to have no awareness of Articles 22 and 27 of the Vienna Convention of 1961, supreme law of the land and most-subscribed treaty in the world. Diplomatic communications and premises are inviolate, and the application of those protections to a head of state is embarrassingly obvious. The Obama administration’s global black-bag job is a massive international delict with serious consequences in international law. This is what happens when you let 95-IQ military apes flounder around in matters of state. At bottom it’s further confirmation that Obama is a helpless puppet ruler. His civil-service drones are stampeding him and the poor dumb empty suit has no survival skills to ward off predictable disasters.

      1. docg

        No, it’s naive to think that intelligence organizations from ANY country abide by those rules. And if that’s what Merkel believed, she is a fool. If her phone was on an open line, then she should have anticipated that her calls would be bugged by any number of actors, from any number of sources, not only the US. And if it was on a secure line, that tells us she already understood that her conversations could be bugged and had taken precautions to prevent that from happening. What’s been revealed, assuming the US or any other entity actually did manage to listen in on her conversations, is the inadequacy of German security.

        Let’s assume, by the way, that Obama manages to do what he’s claimed to do, change NSA policy to “make sure” such calls are not tapped in future. Who is to guarantee that any number of NSA hackers, or Russian hackers, or Chinese hackers, or Spanish hackers, etc., or even Wall St. hackers, already familiar with the tricks of the trade, won’t find ways to tap into such phone lines after all, purely on their own, and for their own reasons? Spying is a way of life, the genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to squeeze it back in.

    3. hohumjob

      Did you blame the victims when the troops raped Iraqi kids, too? That someone in the world might commit a crime proves what?

      You’re talking nonsense. Obama and the state he heads just lost plausible deniability. Again. It’s one more exposure of the criminal enterprise he heads. Another disgrace. USA USA USA now sits atop the fecal roster of the world, a basket-case rogue state with nukes. Obama’s pissed away the last driblets of US soft power. Fortunately, he’s the perfect disposable scapegoat.

  15. Tyler Healey

    It makes no sense to provide a basic income to people who already have a basic income. The simple way to ensure everyone has a basic income is by providing generous financial support to the unemployed. This will ensure the unemployed do not fall into poverty. It will also make them less desperate for work, which will force employers to pay at least a living wage.

    1. from Mexico

      A universal basic income avoids issues of fairness, just as the way FDR set up social security did.

      It may not make sense in a strictly logical sense, but in a political sense it makes all the sense in the world.

  16. Synopticist

    On Madoff and JPM…
    “…well-documented district court filing that showed JPMorgan was well aware that Madoff was claiming to invest tens of billions of dollars in a strategy that involved buying large cap stocks in the Standard and Poor’s 500 index while simultaneously hedging with options. But the Madoff firm’s primary bank account at JPMorgan, which the bank had intimate access to review for over 20 years, was devoid of evidence of stock or options trading….”

    Oh God, so they knew all along. But that didn’t stop them from juicing it, they just made sure they got out before everyone else. And they tipped off the London regulators, but not the US.

    The more you find out, the worse it is.

    1. Fíréan

      And Jamie Dimon is still a Trustee of the NYU Hosptials Centre.
      “On the same tax return disclosing NYU Hospitals Center’s loss from the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, the nonprofit also revealed that there was an ongoing business relationship between two members of its Board of Trustees, Jamie Dimon and Heidi G. Miller. At the time the Madoff losses were discovered, Jamie Dimon was serving as both a Trustee to the NYU Hospitals Center as well as Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Heidi Miller was both a Trustee and CEO of Treasury and Securities Services at JPMorgan Chase.”
      quote from the linked website.

  17. fresno dan

    “The economy spun headlong into a great recession; and then it “recovered”; but during the “recovery”, the richest 1% captured 95% of the gains. Millions faced chronic unemployment and poverty. Social mobility was low and decreasing. Life expectancy was dropping.

    In short, life in CapitalismStan was getting shorter, nastier, unhappier, and harder. Meanwhile, other rich nations—notably those which did not worship the invisible hand so completely, totally, obediently, and unflappably—had prospered.

    Does CapitalismStan’s story sound a little bit like America’s to you?”

    “Maybe what’s practiced in the USA isn’t capitalism at all. It seems to be a toxic admixture of capitalism for the poor, who are ruthlessly whittled down, in brutal Darwinian contests; and socialism for the rich, for whom there appears to be no limit to bailouts, subsidies, and privileges. It’s a lethal cocktail of cronyism for the powerful; and endless struggle for the powerless. It’s neither fish nor fowl; but a chimera.”

    So what is this system that is faltering, precisely, if it’s not quite capitalism?

    I’d call it “growthism.” It’s not just a system or a set of institutions. It’s a mindset; an ideology; a set of cherished beliefs. And one that’s hardened into dogma. A dogma which is palpably failing; but can’t be dislodged—because it’s become an article of faith, the central belief of a cult, whose priests and acolytes threaten mysterious, terrible, divine revenge whenever their authority is questioned.

    Growthism says: growth must be achieved at all costs. When growth is achieved; societies are said to be successful; when it is not, they are said to be failing.

    If the HBR questions “growth” as an on encompassing metric, maybe some progress is being made….

    1. anon y'mouse

      um, I don’t have a completely logical, historically-buttressed philosophy worked out yet, but how is ‘growthism’ distinguishable from Capitalism?

      he says “that’s not what we have…”

      what if this is the climax ecosystem of Capitalism?

      otherwise, great article!

  18. down2long

    Re: Barry Ritholz on NYSE Margin Ratios, and whether this is a the beginning, end, or Armageddon of the “secular bull market”

    What does “secular” mean in this instance. Yes, I know it is not related to spiritual or religious, other than the God of Mannon/AmeriKoch.

    Could someone please explain. Or it is another one of those Lingua Franca bullshit words to make those of us not in the Wall Street worship service to feel stupid, therefore I need a “financial advisor” to translate?

    1. craazyboy

      Anyone can explain it

      Definition of ‘Secular Market’
      A market driven by forces that could be in place for many years, causing the price of a particular investment or asset class to rise or fall over a long period of time. In a secular bull market, strong investor sentiment drives prices higher, as there are more net buyers than sellers. In a secular bear market, weak sentiment causes selling pressure over an extended period of time.

      So this means a secular bull market is a long term up market that has nothing to do with religious ideology or praying to any Deity to make it happen.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That makes intuitive sense; otherwise, you would think bull-worshiping Hindus would be the richest investors in the world and bull-killing Spaniards would suffer in eternal stock market hell.

        1. craazyboy

          Yes, it is their “faith” that causes them to fail.

          The Spanish stab the Bull in effigy to make The Fallen One fall, but He does not. The Hindu worship the bull to uplift The Fallen One, but none comes.

          In America, we have market science, and we know The Market and The Fallen One are One – The Fallen One cannot fall – but at worst the Throne may be sat upon by an incarnate of the previous Fallen One. The body may change, but the spirit lives on.

          Except for market crashes, but those are technical factors that pass. The Fallen One and The Market find someone to milk – but it is not the Bull.

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Interesting linked article today from the Independent dated October 1995 that modern art was used as a propaganda tool by U.S. intelligence against the USSR to demonstrate Western creative freedom. Stalin allowed a few comics to perform and political cartoonists to publish their work inside the USSR, possibly for similar reasons.

    Truth can be a very difficult commodity to derive. One approach is to consider an artist based upon the content of their art. For example, Jackson Pollock painted the U.S. flag in currency green. Likewise, comedian Russell Brand today has some deeply insightful observations. IMO it’s the “What” they are saying that is important.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ideally, it’s an audience participation kind of art where each of us also gets to express the things that are important to us, not just leaving that to professional artists.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In a robot economy, where robots produce for other robots to consume – with the excess flowing to the 0.01% – what will everyone (in the 99.99% group) be?

    2. anon y'mouse

      they intended this to happen. this is why ‘group tasks’ have been foisted on everyone in higher ed. (and for all I know, lower ed as well) since well before the crises.

      google thinktank is poison. indenture yourself for life to an elite? who else could come up with something that sounds so benign and is basically neo-slavery.

      1. anon y'mouse

        by the way, this is the most important thing I’ve read today.

        thank you, diptherio. people—this is the FUTURE. the glorious one where you rent yourself out like some kind of hooker (I have no personal problem with sex as work, freely chosen) simply to survive, and rename having to take out a 50k loan with ‘income based repayment’ to some overlord “freedom from (work) location”.

        yeah, I really like to work in my skivs sitting crosslegged on the floor with my laptop on a milkcrate. I can use this handy empty pizza box as a chair, see? it’s neo-punk. all I need is some razorwire around here to complete the ambience. nowait, that’s jail. bad vibes, baaad vibes!

  20. diptherio

    Community Investment through DPOs with a new Kickstarter-type site. Interested in what investor types think about this:

    “For the first time in a long time, Main Street investment is open to all,” claims Cutting Edge X’s (CEX) company website. The new social enterprise is dedicated to building a new, healthier, more sustainable economy through its Direct Public Offerings (DPOs) marketplace. Unlike private offerings, the mainstream way of raising capital, DPOs are securities offerings open to all investors no matter their financial background or accreditation status. CEX gives everyone the opportunity to support social enterprises they believe in, while at the same time giving entrepreneurs a better way to raise capital from friends, neighbors, and colleagues who care about strengthening local economies.

  21. Karl

    Not just modern art was promoted by the CIA out of the New York School.

    The Frankfurt School was promoted as well. The Long March Through America’s Institutions has come to an end and they are captive to the heirs of the Frankfurt School. Aided and abetting their relatives that run the Fed and the banks.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Re: … “The Frankfurt School was promoted as well. The Long March Through America’s Institutions has come to an end and they are captive to the heirs of the Frankfurt School. Aided and abetting their relatives that run the Fed and the banks.”

      … How so? It is difficult for me to discern much in the way of a shared socioeconomic or political world view among the members of the Frankfurt School, either before or after the school supposedly emigrated to Columbia University. Just seemed to me to be a bunch of smart guys who happened to find themselves in the same place. Friedman and the Chicago School seem to me to have been and continue to be the current ideological drivers. I believe Bernanke has himself said as much pertaining to his own views.

      Thanks, Karl.

  22. Bill Frank

    Japan is on the verge of enacting a “States Secrets” law that will seriously threaten reporting on developments at Fukushima. This development as TEPCO prepares to move highly radiated spent fuel rods from the damaged storage pool. Anyone paying attention knows this unprecedented process is incredibly dangerous with unimaginable consequences if there is a mishap.


    1. Howard Beale IV

      The $64,000 question is what particles and corresponding half-lives are coming forth from Fukushima and at what levels?

      Alpha particles? Wear a mask.

      Beta particles? Now ya should worry.

      Gamma? GTFO.

      Half-life is just as important. Half-lifes of 6 days? Yawn. Half-lives of 5,000+ years? Worry.

      As long as we’re not talking Gray-levels of radiation, meebe ya might want to dial the fear down a skoch.

      1. pero no

        Grey-levels of radiation? Huh?

        The Japanese government is probably worried that there will be a mass exodus from Japan if news of what’s really going on gets out.

    1. optimader

      Part of the inexorable slide to “Questionable Bargain” as the ObamaWhatever Starship enters the atmosphere w/ it’s ablative heat-shield pointed to space.

  23. Jay Goldfarb

    “Most likely DiFi trying to get in front of the mob and call it a parade, but still…”

    More likely she’s trying to co-opt the process to make sure NSA has as much freedom as possible.

  24. participant-observer-observed

    Labor Secretary Thomas Perez Says More Employers Need To Follow Costco’s Example

    “”There’s this notion out there — and it’s a categorically false notion — that the only business model in the service industry is the minimum-wage business model. I say phooey to that,” Perez said at the event, which was hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “You go to a Costco store and you see people there who’ve been working there for years and years. They’re making $15, $20 an hour, plus health benefits.”

    Perez went on to praise Costco cofounder Jim Sinegal, saying the former CEO’s business philosophy valued workers as much as investors. Sinegal, Perez argued, “debunked” the notion that retail wages need to be rock-bottom in order for companies to turn a profit. ”

  25. Ep3

    Yves, do u believe that someone is serious about buying and remodeling an old abandoned plant like this? What’s the motivation?
    I have a wild idea. How about we stop importing iPads and iPhones and start building them in the abandoned Packard plant? Or stop importing the millions of other items and just build them in all the other abandoned factories that can easily be found in Detroit.

    1. Howard Beale IV

      Today’s followup from the Freep is starting to turn into a howl:

      “On the same day Wayne County set a one-day deadline for a $2-million down payment to buy the Packard plant, the top bidder and her investor group issued a bizarre, rambling statement that raises concerns about the seriousness of their plan.

      Reached by phone Tuesday night, suburban Dallas family doctor Jill Van Horn said she and her investors have the $6 million that she bid for the property and she intended to come to Detroit to create jobs by investing in the site as a manufacturing plant.

      She confirmed her group released the three-page statement Tuesday afternoon. The document, full of typos and titled “The Posential Energy in Detroits Assets,” contains nonsensical passages about her group’s plans for the plant and other vacant properties in Detroit. It mentions Van Horn’s “prophecy” to “resurrect Detroit.”

    1. Otter

      A scintillating compilation of the bonest bons mots of others, all properly cited, climaxing with an urgent call for resistance… which seems an odd thing, after demonstrating that the barbarians have long since broken down the gates, plundered, and installed bureaucrats to squeeze new tribute from the repurposed survivors. As you say, “kayfabe all the way, baby!”.

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