Links 11/1/13

I didn’t get it confirmed, but I believe my interview with Harry Shearer earlier this week is running on Sunday, so be sure to tune if you are a Le Show fan. Local times here.

Falling trend in CO2 emissions BBC

Johns Hopkins medical unit rarely finds black lung, helping coal industry defeat miners’ claims Center for Public Integrity (Jeremy B)

Loose Laser Surgery Regulations Put Patients at Risk Patient Safety Blog

Citation Needed blarg? (Lambert)

Tepco split looms as utility lacks ability to deal with Fukushima disaster Vancouver Sun (John L)

Bitcoin cashes in as its first ATM opens in Vancouver Guardian

UK Energy Firms Guilty of Market Manipulation to Face Criminal Charges OilPrice

Mediobanca hints at Italian euro exit unless Germany shifts on EMU policy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Finally a Drone Report Done Right David Swanson, Firedoglake

God Decides Who Lives, Who Dies – Unless There’s a Drone CNN. Grayson on drones.

Syria’s weapons sites ‘destroyed’ Guardian

Israel ‘conducts Syria air strike’ BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA: “We’re really screwed now:” Mainstream media turns around Daily Kos

Kerry admits spying went too far BBC

Tech leaders demand curbs on NSA programs Washington Post

Angry Mom and First Principles: What is the Nature of a Broken Lock? Rayne, emptywheel

Edward Snowden Says He’s Willing To Come To Germany After Meeting With German Lawmaker Reuters (Deontos)

Congress Acting Surprised By NSA Spying Is Like a Parent Saying “I Can’t Believe You Got Drunk … Just Because I Left You a Keg Of Beer and a Note That Said ‘Do Whatever The F@ck You Want, For As Long As You Want!’” George Washington. I have a real weakness for Daily Mail-ish headlines…

The Smartest European Blowback In the World Marcy Wheeler. As predicted….

Obamacare Rollout:

The failure to factcheck ‘You can keep it’ Columbia Journalism Review

Physical Therapist in NY Chimes in on Health Care Costs Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Early health plan enrollment favors Medicaid over private insurance Washington Post

The Obamacare sabotage campaign Politico. Lead story.

Racism In White Americans Linked To Gun Ownership And Gun Control Opposition Medical Daily (furzy mouse)

Hillary Clinton’s Lucrative Goldman Sachs Speaking Gigs National Review

US court blocks NYPD stop-and-frisk ruling and removes judge from case Guardian. Oh, this WAS stupid. Same mistake Judge Penfield Jackson made in the Microsoft antitrust case. If she’d just kept her mouth shut, the ruling probably would have stuck.

Parents of autistic teen arrested in undercover drug sting sue school district Raw Story (emptyfull)

A War on the Poor Paul Krugman, New York Times

Oracle shareholders vote against Ellison’s compensation package TechWorld. More proof of shareholder disenfranchisement.

The Fed’s Last Troublemaker National Journal (Scott)

Fannie Mae Sues Banks for $800 Million Over Libor Rigging Bloomberg. A big other shoe is beginning to drop. If the private Libor suits get anywhere, the banks are going to be in a world of hurt. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

From Anonymity to Scourge of Wall Street New York Times. Huh? The biggest component of the pending JPM settlement is the FHFA putback suit, for which the Administration does not deserve credit. This settlement is a bunch of claims rolled together, including state attorney general claims.

The US stock bubble charted MacroBusiness

“Your Life Savings Are Not A Spectator Sport” Paul Amery, Index Universe

The Bailout Caused the Sucky “Recovery” Ian Welsh (Carol B)

What If Chained CPI Had Been Used to Calculate COLAs Since 2002? Doug Short (fresno dan). Circulate to everyone you know 45 or older. Adn tell them Janet Yellen has been pushing chained CPI hard since her days at the Council of Economic Advisers under Clinton.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. skippy

    Bitcoin see:

    But the real meat of this article is where it becomes clear the market is being manipulated.

    “In Step 1 of the cycle, the shark squad makes a large buyup, causing prices to skyrocket. Illustrated here, the buyup at 10:00 European time on Thursday September 12, 2013, from USD 135 to 145.9, an instant 8-percent increase. This causes a lot of downward-betting traders to flush out.
    In step 2, the shark squad reverses this trend by causing a slow pullback, causing those who bought in greed to sell off in panic as the market has reversed and causing more stop losses to trigger and people to sell to the squad‘s bids. Note that I write causes a pullback – this is not a normal market pullback. Let’s look at the big picture first as displayed by the sitebitcoinwisdom, which displays much more detail than most sites. You can see the pullback over Thursday lunch-to-afternoon (blue box, right half), and there is also a display of the current order book (yellow box) and the recent transactions (red box) which we will look at shortly. Note how the recent transactions in the indicated red box are all red, red, red, indicating a massive selloff – there’s nobody buying at all on cursory inspection, only selling, and a lot of selling.
    However, let’s take a closer look at the minute details of the recent transactions in the bottom right corner, displaying time, price, and amount of the last bitcoin transactions:
    Do you see a pattern here? All the transactions are for exactly one bitcoin, and the transactions are spaced exactly five seconds apart. This pattern can continue for hours, a claim verifiable by checking the MtGox transaction history. This is not market trading; this is one (1) automated process intended to give the illusion of many different players panic-selling. Furthermore, let’s take a closer look at the order book:

    Do you see the numbers below and to the left of the current big red price? That’s the bid order book. That’s the current buy orders. Note how the currently executing buy orders are at 7-8 bitcoin each, placed just 0.0001 (!) bitcoin apart in price, evading detection on most sites. This is coordinated with the selling person. Those buy orders keep replenishing as the sales orders keep ticking one bitcoin per five seconds; they are coordinated. This is one person in the Shark Squad selling to another person in the Shark Squad, to give the illusion of market downward pressure and sell volume.”

    skippy… same old story… opaqueness in a breeding ground for fraud.

  2. scott

    That Politicao hack piece is like watching MSNBC.

    As tens of millions are finding out, they were lied to dozens of times by our President himself as his cronies were planning the destruction of the individual insurance market.

    Unlike the Obamacare tax on archery equipment (look it up, if there ever was a red-state targeted tax, this is it), targeting business owners and the self-employed while promising “you can keep your plan” is going to hurt enough of O’s base (including self-employed media types) that criticizing Obama may not be taboo by the end of the year.

    As O’s perception as a disinterested liar grows, his approval rating will plummet.

    1. XO

      I agree that Obama is a liar, a turncoat, Bushco 1.1, and a squanderer of a once-in-a-century opportunity to get our country back on track.

      Obama is a fraud.

      However, his promise that ” . . . you can keep your existing insurance . . .” was never intended to mean that the market would continue providing that service.

      Cancellation of plans is on the Insurance industry.

      The whole problem with Obama’s opposition is that they never focus on the actual misdeeds of this wolf in sheep’s clothing — preferring, instead to miscast his more minor deeds, or to go full retard and accuse him of something for which there is no basis in fact or reality.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘Cancellation of plans is on the Insurance industry.’

        Not really. ACA set minimum standards (such as maternity coverage, mental health coverage, etc.) which some existing plans didn’t meet. Not that they’re good guys or anything, but insurance companies are required by law to cancel those non-compliant plans.

        Presumably the grasping fedgov claims authority under the interstate commerce clause to dictate health coverage terms, despite insurance being state-regulated (as indicated by the 50 state exchanges) and thus BY DEFINITION not a service traded in interstate commerce.

        You are correct that Obama is a fraud. Obama’s a constitutional scholar like I’m a rock star — air guitar, baby. Bring on the groupies …

        1. docg

          Obama’s misleading reassurances were based on an inability or unwillingness to anticipate unintended consequences. What he should have said is: “There is nothing in ACA that should impact those who are happy with their present plan, assuming their present carrier is willing to abide by the new ACA standards, which are in place to protect YOU.”

          1. docg

            Just want to add that there is something in the makeup of a great many politicians, including Obama, that assumes the American public is incapable of processing anything but the most obvious, simple-minded language. Which makes it easy to make promises, and often very difficult to keep them.

      2. Jerome Armstrong

        “Cancellation of plans is on the Insurance industry.”

        That’s mostly propaganda. Some have been cut because very healthy people that have mild savings would rather have a low premium and a higher deductible. The government has enforced that the highest deductible a person can have is around $6000 now.

        Of course, this was Obama colluding with the insurance companies to fatten their profit. It’s obviously something that the insurance firms pushed to have in this bill. They can bet on these healthy people to stay that way, and get to double the monthly rate in the process.

        The insurance companies will say ‘the gov’t made us do it’ and the gov’t can rely on partisan propaganda like the above to blame insurance companies.

  3. Klassy!

    Re: physical therapist letter. This is just the question I was thinking about. I did a double take when I read “comptetition among insurance providers would bring down health care costs” (according to the administration). It may or may not bring down insurance costs, but how exactly does competition among insurance providers bring down health care costs when large hospital systems are engaged in a buying spree or joining forces with other large hospital systems?

    1. BellToll

      The theory behind the ACO would be adopting a new payment model rather than FFS. Basically the hospital/physician system is given a budget(based on historical experience) and they share in gain/deficit between that and actual year expenditures. (This share may be adjusted on “quality” metrics.)

      I would presume the RWJ report in the article was looking at consolidated systems being paid FFS. Since ACO’s and similar private insurer models are relatively new creation the outstanding question is if the change in payment results in increases in quality and cost saving that counteract the consolidation.

      One of the largest ACOs(Thedacare) recently wrote an editorial in JAMA. Basically complaining that the benefits of the ACO contracts have spilled over to the private insurers.

  4. skippy

    More stuff…

    The Most Rigorous Research Shows Minimum Wage Increases Do Not Reduce Employment

    The opinion of the economics profession on the impact of the minimum wage has shifted significantly over the past fifteen years. Today, the most rigorous research snows little evidence of job reductions from a higher minimum wage. Indicative is a 2013 survey by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in which leading economists agreed by a nearly 4 to 1 margin that the benefits of raising and indexing the minimum wage outweigh the costs.

    This page reviews the most widely-cited and influential studies on the impact of minimum wage increases on employment, and examines the primary reasons why low-wage employers can afford higher wages today.

    skippy… Doc where are you…

  5. craazyman

    Seems like there’s a lot of sh*t going on just about everywhere that could hit the fan any moment now.

    It must have been like this when they all gathered on the hill outside of London in the 1600s waiting for the Lord to come and end the world. I read about that in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Nowdays, crowds are supposed to be smart, like the market, not delusional.

    I guess, eventually, everybody on the hill collected themselves and straggled on home, figuring they weren’t really wrong, but they just had the day wrong. It gets like that since there’s always another day to be right.

    In fact, it’s like that every day these days. You go out to the hill, day after day, waiting for the Lord to come and end the world. And then you go home. Then one day you say “Fuhck it, this is getting ridiculous. I’m not going anywhere near that hill today.” That’s the day it all happens.

    1. Emma


      I’d like to share my new word of the day with you as it might shed some light on the way of our craazyworld!


      Meaning: Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.

      It comes from the Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad.

      A great question from a past quote (don’t know the origin) for our time too:

      “Is ours a government of the people, by the people, for the people, or a kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?”

      1. Lambert Strether

        Wittgenstein’s Vienna has a joke so similar I can’t believe that they don’t stem from the same root:

        The society is Kakania•-in other words, Habsburg Vienna during the last twenty-five or thirty years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as captured with such perceptive irony by Robert Musil in the first documentary volume of his novel The Man Without Qualities. The culture is, or appears at first sight to be, our own twentieth-century culture in its infancy …

        * This name was invented b y Robert Musil, and combines two senses on different levels. On the surface, it is a coinage from the initials K.K. or K. u. K., standing for “Imperial-Royal” or “Imperial and Royal,” which distinguished all the major institutions of the Habsburg Empire… But to anyone familiar with German nursery language, it carries also the secondary sense of “Excrementia” or “Shitland.”

        The sweet smell of imperial decay…

          1. OIFVet

            Good one. I grew up in Eastern Europe and satire being one of the few resistance weapons available, Shveik jokes were ubiquitous (and of course adopted to skewer the stupidity of the apparatchiks). Shveik stories were very comforting to me during my own deployment to Iraq every time I had to deal with the absurdity that only a bloated bureaucracy like our military chain of command can dream up.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Imagine living in a kakistocracy flooded with unlimited corrupt kakis money called Kakis und Korrupten.

    2. Mark Pawelek

      UK Economics students want a proper economics course!

      Rethinking Economics

      STUDENTS and RECENT ex-students of economics: We have been invited to feed into a new curriculum reform project, the CORE project, and we are seeking feedback on their course outline. If you have half an hour to spare this weekend, please drop an email to rethinkingeconomicsuk [at] gmail [dot] com, or post your email to us here, to access the pilot website – and change the future of economics education!

      [Posted this once already but it vanished]

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    That John Hopkins story is appalling.

    What has remained in the shadows is the work of a small unit of radiologists who are professors at the medical school and physicians at the hospital. For 40 years, these doctors have been perhaps the most sought-after and prolific readers of chest films on behalf of coal companies seeking to defeat miners’ claims. Their fees flow directly to the university, which supports their work, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News has found. According to the university, none of the money goes directly to the doctors.

    Their reports — seemingly ubiquitous and almost unwaveringly negative for black lung — have appeared in the cases of thousands of miners, and the doctors’ credentials, combined with the prestigious Johns Hopkins imprimatur, carry great weight. Their opinions often negate or outweigh whatever positive interpretations a miner can produce.
    A) Those doctors should all lose their licenses.

    B) John Hopkins itself ought to be severely punished.

    1. Paul Tioxon



      2010 Rank Organization Name (Top 100 Only) 2010 Total
      1 JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY $686,498,501
      3 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON $570,724,570
      7 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY $449,470,281
      8 YALE UNIVERSITY $442,396,184
      10 DUKE UNIVERSITY $438,916,636

      Read more:


      Johns Hopkins University received $1.9 billion for R&D from the federal government in 2011, more than twice as any other university, according to a listing by 24/7 Wall St.

      “Of all 896 schools that received federal money for R&D, approximately 20% of those funds went to just 10 universities,” the report said, citing data from a National Science Foundation study.

      University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, Columbia University and Duke University were among the others on the list.

      24/7 Wall St. compiled the list based on inputs from the National Science Foundation and the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

      Here are some from that list, along with their rankings and excerpts from 24/7 Wall St.:

      # 1. Johns Hopkins University
      · Total federal R&D grant money: $1.88 billion
      · Pct. R&D spending from government: 87.8%
      · 2012 endowment: $2.59 billion
      “More than $609 million came from the Department of Defense, while more than $202 million came from NASA. The reason for this is that one division of the university, the Applied Physics Laboratory, employs thousands of engineers and scientists primarily in support of defense programs.”

      1. Mark P.

        They’re junior league next to MIT and its Lincoln Labs — $1.7 billion in DOD money as compared to $1.3 billion in publicly-visible funding, last time I checked.

        You just don’t hear about it because quite a bit of what gets worked on at MIT are black projects.

  7. ambrit

    One from the “Captured Media” front; CNBC: ‘Insurance Canceled Because of Obamacare? Relax’.
    If this isn’t a full bore propaganda campaign disguising itself as “news,” I don’t know what is.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        In Philadelphia, not 2 blocks from the NASDAQ options future trading building, the former Philadelphia Stock exchange, just so you know, we are talking about a prominent, upscale area, the police, homeland security, the FBI and numerous other upstanding citizens, watched day after day, as a man with a broken arm in a cast operated a piece of heavy construction equipment, until he knocked down a wall that killed 6 people. Now, if the same man, an African-American, had droopy pants and a baseball hat to the back, walked through the same area day after day, he would be stopped and frisked, and questioned as to what business he had to be seen on the block throughout the week, not seeming to have any where in particular to go to.

        Normally newsy NIMBY neighborhood types, also missed this activity. The fact that it happened over an open air subway entrance on a corner, with no protective covering overhead for the demolition, did not bother SEPTA, the local transit authority, that usually looks out for problems on its routes, such a construction that would cause detours. However, a hi-def bus camera that usually tracks down fare skipping juveniles did catch the collapse as the bus approached. At least that form of surveillance to watch over petty criminals came to some good use. And the bus was not directly under the collapse, another stroke of good fortune. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than to have a hegemonic global spying network in place.

  8. charger01

    Man-this antidote really got to me this morning. Seriously, as a grown man moved to tears over one picture. Thanks Yves.

    1. OIFVet

      Ditto. Of course there is the flip side of this picture: the psychological scarring suffered by the service animals in the course of their service. Many military dogs and rescue dogs experience symptoms akin to PTSD following their deployments. I can only hope that their humans provide them with the same level of support as that shown in the antidote.

  9. optimader

    Jim S
    Thanks for the link from yesterday:
    Rupert Sheldrake at EU 2013—”Science Set Free” (Part 1)

    I’ll watch this over the weekend.

    (excuse the repost)
    I did post the following yesterday evening but I think it went into moderation purgatory for a while so you may have missed it. The FNL lecture series events are always great, if you are not geographically convenient to attend but interested in the subject, recordings are usually posted under the Archive Link, as I am sure this one will be.

    (The Theorists are always fascinating of course, what you can riddle out at least, but the Experimentalists are the guys that demonstrate theory as reality. Breathtakingly amazing contraptions they conceive of and execute.)

    optimader says:

    October 31, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Fermilab Lecture Series presents:

    Moderated by Chris Miller and Featuring Don Lincoln, Hugh Lippincott, Tia Miceli, Brian Nord & Chris Polly
    Friday, November 15, 2013 @ 8 p.m.
    Tickets – $7

    Prix Fixe Dinner at Chez Leon starts at 6 p.m. – $30 – Call 630/840.ARTS for reservations

    Multiple physicists duke it over in short presentations about their respective topics. YOU get to choose which one does it best! This event sold out to an enthusiastic audience last year, and we are sure it will sell out again, so order early!


    Speaker: Don Lincoln
    Title: Recreating the Big Bang in the Lab……..

    Speaker: Hugh Lippincott
    Title: Hunting for Dark Matter

    Synopsis: 95% of the Universe is a mystery to humanity. A significant part of that mystery is called dark matter, which is basically a romantic name for matter that does not interact with light in the usual way. Without dark matter, large scale structure would not have formed and we wouldn’t be here to enjoy events like the Physics Slam, and yet we don’t really know anything about dark matter except that it exists. This talk will cover why we think it exists, what we think it might be, and how we go about trying to detect it.

    Bio: Hugh Lippincott is a postdoc at Fermilab whose research is focused on the direct detection of dark matter particles. It’s quite possible that the last 10 years of his life have been spent looking for something that might not ever be found, but he tries not to think about that too often. When he’s not in Chicago or Batavia, he spends a lot of time wearing a blue jumpsuit and a hair net over a mile underground in a nickel mine in Northern Ontario, in a place called SNOLAB that really could be the set of a 1980s science fiction movie. This will be his first Physics Slam, or really Slam of any sort.

    Speaker: Tia Miceli
    Title: The Case Files of the Neutrino…….

    Speaker: Brian Nord
    Title: Cosmic Nightly News: A Day in the Life of the Universe……..

    Speaker: Chris Polly
    Title: Universal mysteries: Revealing clues with mus…..


    1. Jim S

      I posted a comment a week ago on cosmology that I still think hasn’t turned up, so I sympathise with you. In the scheme of things it’s very trivial, though, isn’t it?

      I remember visiting Fermilab during HS with my AP class, I think, very cool. Adler Planetarium had (and probably still does) a great lecture series that got me interested in stellar life cycles and such, but back then we didn’t have 1% of the knowledge at our fingertips like we do today.

      Fermilab is a bit too far these days for me, sadly, but I will cruise over to the archives. Do you have any favorites you recommend?

      1. optimader

        “I posted a comment a week ago on cosmology that I still think hasn’t turned up, so I sympathise with you. In the scheme of things it’s very trivial, though, isn’t it?”

        Actually it did get posted, just delayed probably due to a content filter trigger. Not complaining, it is what it needs to be, and frankly it is wildly OT content for a “economic policy” blog.

        I have a habit of running this type of matl (archive links, as well, books on CD) in the background when pushing a mouse around in XL or equally mundane task.
        As good a place as any to start:

        Title Dark Energy & The Runaway Universe

        Presenter Dr. Alexei Filippenko

        Date 5/20/2011 8:04:44 PM

        Description Fermilab Lecture Series

  10. newyorker

    ‘War on the poor’ krugman ignore the fact that this country lacks the social cohesion it once enjoyed when coping with other crises such as the depression. There really is a resistance on the part of white people to fund programs that disproportionately benefit brown and black people.

    And who’s to blame for that?

    Maybe the government overestimated the generosity of american citizens when it was deemed suitable to flood the country with mostly alien immigrants post 1965. The beneficiaries were mostly capitalists who loved cheap and docile labor, not the average white american and certainly not the black.

    A point could be made that the gov’t abused, even betrayed its citizenry by forcing an alien invasion on them and denigrating the understandably resentful for lacking in the goodheartedness and openess usually characteristic of american culture. But americans are generous mostly to folks more or less like them. It was asking to much for them to extend it to all and sundry.

    So here we are. That oh so meanspirited tea party represents karmic comeuppance. Okay, we were forced to let these folks live among us but hell no we won’t support them.

    Sow the wind, reap the whilwind.

    1. James Levy

      Man, you are full of wild blueberry muffins. Blacks are the issue, and they didn’t arrive post-1965. They came circa 1650-1807, and they are the ones whites don’t want to see their tax dollars go to. I lived for over six years in Syosset (you know, out on the North Shore of Long Island) and the place was crawling with doctors and engineers and businessmen. However, unlike your skewed narrative, they were overwhelmingly Indians, Chinese, Koreans, and Isrealis. The Sikhs liked to ride around in Bentleys. I rented a little house there I couldn’t afford so that my kids could take advantage of the wonderful high school where the parents tell the teachers to kick the kid’s asses and get them to work hard, where intellectual excellence is admired, not mocked.

      The vast majority of immigrants I’ve seen, from living in Jersey City to living in Syosset, bring capital, energy, skills, and drive to this country. As for our treatment of our black fellow citizens, well, it’s a disgrace. But trying to tie immigrants to our lousy attitudes towards the poor is disingenuous. Remember, most poor people are white.

    2. Whine Country

      I disagree with the proposition that it was the flood of alien immigrants post 1965 per-se that caused the backlash. I believe it is the inevitible result of dividing “people” into special interest group sub-categories, and those sub-categories are not necessarily by race. Sub-categorization leads to cohesion within the sub-category and inevitibly creates an us verses them result.

      1. James Levy

        It’s ironic that you say that, as the claim by the entire mainstream of political science and sociology for decades was that the clash of interest groups allowed for a free market of ideas and competition for votes and attention that ensured a stable democracy. The alternative, they well knew, was class politics, and that they ran away from like the plague.

        In the old style of Talcott Parsons, groups exist for interest articulation and interest aggregation. It’s hard to see politics not organized in some fashion. Unless we assume that their is one, absolute, and overriding “interest” that is good for everyone and hurts no one, we are going to see groups of some kind emerge to express the ideas and interests of real people.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s ironic that you say that, as the claim by the entire mainstream of political science and sociology for decades was that the clash of interest groups allowed for a free market of ideas and competition for votes and attention that ensured a stable democracy. The alternative, they well knew, was class politics, and that they ran away from like the plague.

          The mainstream does not talk about philosophy in front of the servants.

          Two fields of study that mainly inure to the benefit of elite power aren’t going to engage class politics; in fact, it would be thoroughly expected of such academics to subordinate their own perceived interests to those of their patrons and to be (wittingly or unwittingly) thus motivated to construct ideological conditions under which class analysis cannot take place. Indeed, identity politics could be construed as a lowball bid meant to undermine class politics, akin to the high-faith, low-works sparkle ponies offered by casual ersatz Christendom.

          As for imagining other forms of politics, it’s hard to see them when There Is No Alternative is performative speech.

    3. diptherio

      “…flood the country with mostly alien immigrants…”

      What a meaningless turn of phrase, “alien immigrants”: all immigrants are “aliens” by definition. So I’m guessing by “alien” you mean “not white”…or are you referring to the great Venusian influx of the 1980s?…maybe you’re upset by all the Martians?…

    4. Wall Marter

      +10000. That’s what the government gets for letting in all those Wops, Dagos, Polaks, Krauts, Mics, Sheenies, and Squareheads because they are far too alien to ever become real Americans.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not to mention all the illegal cats crossing over from Canada.

        And if birds and butterflies want to migrate, let them fly over the ocean (the Pacific or the Atlantic).

      2. Jess

        Unfortunately, NewYorker has a point, although he/she probably didn’t explain it as well as they could have.

        First came the fight with the unions for equal job access for blacks. The UAW and the steel mills (both located overwhelmingly in the north and upper Midwest) were among the first big battle grounds. Lots of working class blacks came home from Vietnam and demanded access to those well-paying jobs. Many of those blacks were also against the war, which helped increase friction and resentment among white workers who had a family tradition of proud military service during WWII and Korea, and who viewed those good jobs as a form of inheritance.

        Then came the post-1965 illegal immigration wave. First it was farm workers, then the menial service sector (bus boys, dishwashers, garbage men, landscapers). But in the early 1980’s illegal immigrants began to make major inroads in the good, skilled, building trades. It started out west but now has spread across most of the country. In many areas it’s hard to find a construction crew that isn’t made up primarily of Hispanics. Many are first generation illegals but others are native-born citizen descendants of earlier illegal immigrants who arrived in the 70’s and 80’s.

        As a result, wages went down. In my area, the wage drop was 40% in real dollars (not inflation adjusted). And the number of union jobs plummeted.

        The simple fact is, we imported workers and exported jobs. It was Valhalla for the employers but Hell for the blue collar working class and the economy as a whole.

      3. newyorker

        What did all those wops etc have in common? They were all europeans whose respective cultures were not identical but shared enough to make their or their children’s eventual assimilation inevitable.

        Forestalling the next item always brought up-‘what about the know-nothing party?’ Well they were right and wrong. Right in objecting to the sheer volume of famine refugees flooding their cities to quickly to be absorbed, wrong in that they were inherently unassimilable.

        Now we’re encountering another flood w/o the shared advantage of similar backgrounds but third-worlders who are alike only in their shared desperation to escape the hellholes their cultures-yes, their cultures- created. Even those successful chi ese and indians somebody above are escaping. Why don’t they stay put and help reform the governments to improve thei homelands?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The lawfully well-to-do (materially) will only escape if we have won in the cultural war.

          Having los their own culture, they now aspire to live in the imperial culture…CIA promoted modern art, fast food and high energy footprint living style

          The unlawful well-to-do, those who have polluted their own homeland, well, they are escaping their karma (they think) and imprisonment.

        2. afisher

          There are 2 different threads that some seem to want to conjoin. Those folks who are already in the country and that the GOP want to continue to use as punching bags and those folks who some really rich guys want to give H1B visas to flood the market to lower wages in a specific market.

          If no one here knows a ‘Dreamer’ who has a degree that already completed their degree, but can’t work in their field of expertise – them you may not get out much…and that is sad.

          Quit demonizing the 11M + who are here, who add to the economic growth of this country and then move forward. The false (political) meme about people have been waiting in line, ignore the actual facts that these same folks have a long wait ahead and the “amnesty” wordplay is accepted by those who can’t or won’t read.

      4. Fíréan

        In reply Wall Marter’s ” +10000. That’s what the government gets for letting in all those Wops, Dagos, Polaks, Krauts, Mics, Sheenies, and Squareheads because they are far too alien to ever become real Americans.”

        Where did the first “real Americans” come (emmigrate) from ? or have i misssed the sarcasm in your comment ?

  11. Bridget

    Aargh. If I hear another political hack claiming that existing plans in the individual market were substandard, and that the poor schmucks involuntarily “transitioned” to Obamacare should be grateful. I am going to puke.

    I’ve been checking out the Obamacare plans available in rural areas of my state, and they are significantly more substandard than individual plans previously available to people in those areas. I know this because I have previously purchased coverage in the individual market. Not only were the premiums and the deductibles lower, the networks included providers all over the state, including the flagship care centers like MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Plus, for those few providers not in the network, out of network coverage was provided at 60-70%.

    The Obamacare plans have higher deductibles, higher premiums, and no out of network coverage. The latter is meaningful because the networks are really thin, in some counties only covering providers in the county. In rural counties, that’s mighty few providers. What’s a rural cancer patient going to do? I know what I’d do, use the address of a friend or relative in Houston.

    I don’t know how much longer these hacks think they are going to be able to drown out the voices of the hapless formerly insured individuals. By definition, this segment of the population will include a lot of entrepreneurial types, people who are sophisticated consumers of health insurance, people who are accustomed to taking responsibility for their own health care decisions. They understand perfectly well that they have been screwed and that the political hacks are delivering a ginormous crock to the public.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I think Lambert means the opposite of what you think he meant, as in “marketplace” = exchanges.

          I’ll ping him to clarify.

            1. different clue

              Thanks for clarification. Yes, I thought you had meant the pre Obamacare “real” markets for their current individual insurance.

  12. optimader

    RE: Snowden

    At the least, in Germany in it will be much more likely for Mr. Snowden to inexplicably die of sudden heart failure, or the like.

    On the other hand,

    “…Russian President Vladimir Putin …granting him a temporary asylum in early August which can be extended annually….Russia would shelter Snowden only if he stopped harming the United States…”

    is legally squishier than a ripe cranberry bog. Framed in the context of an assumption he (was) “doing harms to the US”, means it would take nothing more than the NSA/Putin pulling a piece of “intelligence” out of the bag labeled “harm to the US” and he’s in a unmarked Gulfstream to Guantanamo when the nexus of mutual benefit arises.

    On another level, is it wrong to spy on foreign Heads of State? Hardly a new or unilateral development, is it? And, it’s not like over, say the past 100 years or so that Germany has the most sterling record on the International relations front.
    Quite frankly, I hope Mr. Abe in Japan is fully wired.

    (IMO) The great harm the sociopaths and compliant idiots in our Government have done results from their inability to distinguish the distinction between collecting foreign government intelligence, hardly a new development, and the unwarranted unconstitutional ubiquitous invasion of privacy and data collection on our Citizens, very much a new and toxic development.

    1. different clue

      If Snowden goes to Germany he will either be assassinated or estradited or extraordinarily renditioned somewhere. I thought he is supposed to be a bright young man. Is he really dumm enough to go to Germany?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Actually, I don’t think the risk is Germany. The Germans are now really pissed with the US over surveillance. And rendering someone visibly out of a supposed ally would be such a violation of sovereignity there would be a massive uproar. The cost in international political terms isn’t worth it.

        But look at map. Germany does not have a border with Russia. I think Poland, for instance, would have no trouble stopping a train and arresting Snowden on an Interpol warrant (remember, there is one outstanding) or forcing down an airplane.

        1. different clue

          I understand that the Germans are highly unhappy now. Would they still be able to prevent deeply undercover CIA or other agents from killing or kidnapping Snowden?
          The Poland problem is easy to see. I should have seen it.
          If Snowden leaves the land of Putin’s Protection, then he is too dumm to live. I hope his protectors can get him fully convinced of that.

  13. rich

    Feinstein debuts NSA “reform” bill that’s really about the status quo
    A battle is brewing in Congress between surveillance reformers and hawks.

    Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has been one of the most stalwart defenders of widespread NSA surveillance since leaks with information about the programs started seeping out nearly five months ago. Civil libertarians and reformers have been none too pleased with her rhetoric—and they’re not going to get any happier after reading the bill she introduced today.

    The FISA Improvements Act has already attracted plenty of critics who view it as no improvement at all. In fact, they say, Feinstein’s bill would make things much worse. It would actually enshrine the NSA “bulk data” collection programs into law and grant official Congressional approval to widespread surveillance programs that haven’t ever received such affirmation before.

    Her bill comes on the heels of a competing bill introduced earlier this week that reformers say would be a real step in the right direction. It would outright ban some of the programs that Feinstein is vociferously defending. Dozens of politicians have now stated they’re ready to end the controversial “bulk data” programs, including the NSA’s practice of keeping a log of every phone call made in the United States. In the House of Representatives, 70 members signed on to a bill proffered by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the sponsor of the original Patriot Act, which would shut the programs down. A companion bill in the Senate has a dozen co-sponsors, as well.

    “I’d laugh if I weren’t so offended,” said Jennifer Granick, of the Center for Internet and Society, in an e-mailed comment about Feinstein’s bill. “It legalizes the currently illegal bulk collection of phone records and its language—whether sloppily or intentionally, I don’t know—encourages the NSA to conduct bulk collection of other kinds of records under 215, as well as content, without even the bill’s purported ‘safeguards.'”

    The “enhanced criminal penalties” for unauthorized access to data actually criminalizes anyone who accesses a computer “without authorization,” noted Ruthann Robson, professor of Law at City University of New York. “While couched in protecting privacy and data, this provision would also further sanction and chill whistleblowers.”

    1. optimader

      whomever commented the other day that she is struggling to get in front of it and call it her parade nailed it.

      She should be criminally investigated, a subject rich target.

    2. different clue

      If the Feinstein bill is as you say, then our CheneyBush Democratic President Obama will support it, as will all the major NSA Democrats in the House and Senate. I suspect Pelosi will work her hardest for it, given everything she is and everything she stands for.

  14. DakotabornKansan

    Nat Parry, “Russell Brand-bashing and the left’s preferred powerlessness,”

    “What is perhaps most remarkable though is the way that Brand was immediately attacked by factions of the left, which decided that rather than piggyback off of the sudden popular interest in revolutionary ideas that Brand’s comments provided, they would rather denounce him as an inauthentic revolutionary who fails to pay due attention to favored leftist causes such as fighting patriarchy, LGBTQ liberation and immigrant rights.

    That’s right – the left is briefly given a window of opportunity in which much of the country is openly discussing revolutionary ideas, and instead of welcoming and leveraging that opportunity, the leftist instinct is to attack the messenger and effectively shut the window by bringing up divisive issues related to identity politics and the culture wars…

    Perhaps the left is uninterested in revolution (or even developing a viable third party electoral challenge to the status quo) because that would mean that they would actually have to take responsibility for something and come up with solutions to our many problems. The left may be more comfortable remaining a protest movement lobbing complaints from the sidelines than in seizing the reins of power in order to establish a just, democratic and sustainable world.

    In other words, it seems the left may have decided (whether consciously or unconsciously) to consign itself to a permanent state of powerlessness, if not irrelevance.”

    Maybe they all need to look at Jo Freeman’s classic article on the manipulative tendencies of unstructured groups, “Tyranny of Structurelessness”:

    1. neo-realist

      Some of those “factions of the left” attacking Brand may not really be lefty’s—-per Carl Bernstein’s piece he wrote for Rolling Stone. All about discrediting potential viable poltical alternatives and perspectives.

    2. Synopticist

      “…the left, which decided that rather than piggyback off of the sudden popular interest in revolutionary ideas that Brand’s comments provided, they would rather denounce him as an inauthentic revolutionary who fails to pay due attention to favored leftist causes such as fighting patriarchy, LGBTQ liberation and immigrant rights.”

      That’s intersting. In the UK, he was criticised for encouraging non-voting.

    3. Jerome Armstrong

      The “left” at a turning here, away from these small-minded groups that shun populist revolt because of whatever meism they have going on (which just needs to be ignored).

      I’d echo the above hesitation though, because Natasha Lennard is British-born, so who knows what sort of baggage she brings to it. And from the other linked story: Suey Park is an Ethnic Studies MA student, and Isabelle Nastasia is at Brooklyn College where she is studying critical pedagogy and intersectionality.

      it’s just three gals in Brooklyn. But, you should take a look at the pic on their blog, which TruthOut wouldn’t bring over:

      “Russell Brand “plays Indian” (aka appropriates Native culture) at ex-wife Katy Perry’s birthday party. – Photo via Indian Country Media Network”

      Last night my daughter appropriated Pirate culture so I’m obviously blowing it.

      Brand’s unique though, as he will alternatively tell these people to go fuck themselves, or that he wants to fuck them himself.

  15. diptherio

    Stumbled across this gem the other day. It’s one of those ‘restore your faith in humanity’ type pieces.

    Who the F#@k is Jacques Ranciere? ~Critical Theory

    You see, someone at One Laptop Per Child had the bright idea of just dumping a bunch of Motorola Zoom tablets in an Ethiopan village full of kids. The children did not speak English, which was the language loaded on the tablet, and they had never seen a computer before. Within weeks these kids were f–king wizards with the things so much so that they actually figured out how to jailbreak them.

    “We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”

    There’s more. These other researchers decided to give this whole universal education thing a shot and gave a bunch of molecular biology textbooks to a bunch of Tamil-speaking kids in South India. The text books were in English.

    Left on their own for two months, without external help or instruction, the researchers felt that surely this task would demonstrate that ‘yes, we need teachers for certain things’ (Mitra 2010). Indeed, after two months, when Mitra asked them what they understood of molecular biology, the children confirmed that they understood nothing. What gets the biggest laugh at Mitra’s numerous talks, however, is the response of one girl from the group, who explained: ‘Apart from the fact that improper replication of the DNA molecule causes genetic disease, we understood nothing else.’ – Of Slumdogs and Schoolmasters – Jacotot, Ranciere and Mitra on Self-Organized Learning

    1. AbyNormal

      “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

      made my day, Thanx Diptherio!

      “The child, in fact, once he feels sure of himself, will no longer seek the approval of authority after every step.”

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Racism…gun control opposition.

    At least as far as opposition to gun-less police is concerned, I can see why minority victims feel that way, though civil disobedient casualties of brutality would say we are all victims.

    1. Thisson

      I thought that gun control article was propaganda, especially due to how they defined racism. If you don’t agree with social welfare policy, you’re racist!

  17. Emma

    Re Hillary Clinton and paid talking gigs at Goldman

    This must be part of ‘God’s work’ in the kitchen cooking up a feast fit only for greed……

    When your diminutively divine larder is overflowing with the goodess of golden fruit n’ fibre and for which you have no immediate need ……then thousands of dollars to pay Hillary pop in and talk, is inarguably for pure entertainment value, isn’t it?

    It’s the icing on the cake for the payment of bonuses to Goldman employees, and helps “keep the firm together” as Blankfein reminded us all recently.

    It clearly doesn’t take the biscuit either, because it makes as much sense as the point Blankfein allegedly uttered to OWS at the recent Clinton Global Initiative “”I would say to Occupy Wall Street, that business has helped lift more people out of poverty than philanthropy,”.

    Surely however, the $400,000 for the paid gigs at Goldman over the course of six days, is as much money as at least 4, 5, or 6 average American families earn in a year combined, and who, if not already in poverty, are pretty close to the poverty line?

    But how truly can bankers and politicians know the flavor of our hidden lives when they’re making out in the kitchen together? Guess it’s so hot, the few brain cells melt, and any visible brawn steams with the obesity of over self-indulgence.

    The escalation of increases in executive compensation and bonuses, global competition for most non-service jobs and the growing attribution of corporate profits to capital, (i.e stockholders) have conspired to reduce real income BIG-TIME for non-bankers and non-politicians ie. the rest of us.

    It’s the “hypercapitalism” of a superb crackerjack recipe fool-proofed by a parturitional technique, and makes the gluttonous promiscuity of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette lick wound bites in shame.

    Adjusted for inflation, the average worker in the US now earns less than they did in the early 70s. Income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient is now off the charts, especially compared with other Western countries. This decline in real income was first compensated by putting more women in the workplace – dual incomes – which made the labor market both more productive AND more competitive, yet has only further increased profits to capital, and further depressed real wages.

    The excessive corporate profits and executive compensation levels create a glut of capital which has an inherent preference for fixed-income investments anyway. Result as we’ve already seen: too much money looking for a home in capital markets making money cheap to borrow. Greenspan (an idiot) by the way, was the whip of a tail in this situation, not the rescuedog portrayed in the antidote du jour photo today.

    And the provision of cheap money to bankers in bailouts allows them to continue to speculate, incessantly raising bubbles. The likes of Blankfein (and politicians incl.) will gladly let it continue to happen, because of the huge bonuses to be had which can be siphoned off to campaign funding and as also already seen, won’t be taken back when the inevitable happens yet again.

    It’s the pill for a hard-on; the spark-plugs for an unreliable engine, and it is the un-skilled, under-paid, insufficiently covered, living-on-food-stamps, two-jobs-if-you-can-get-it chef. It is alas in many ways, the diminution of the earning power in the US of the bottom 95% for the benefit of the top 1%, and has created an economy which is fundamentally unsustainable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not only does the average worker make less than they did in the early ’70s, but the average job quality has probably gone down as well…more dis-satisfaction with one’s job.

      Here is one proxy index I use for the average US job quality – internet blog comment quality.

      When the latter goes up, when you see more quality, thoughtful comments, it implies more quality, thoughtful persons are not occupied by quality work at their jobs, thus time to post on the internet.

      When we have more quality jobs, people will have less time to post quality comments, as they will be more fully engaged in their interesting jobs, except during non-working hours or coffee/lunch breaks.

      That’s my wacky theory anyway.

      1. hunkerdown

        It’s not wacky, but it does have a sizable hole in it: actual working hours are also a factor in job quality, especially in salaried positions.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s difficult to fully explain the phenomenon.

          So many quality, thoughtful ideas that require time to generate. I can only assume the current jobs are not fully utilizing the potentials, thus the comment about job quality. Perhaps there is something else.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bailout…sucky “recovery.”

    It takes the whole village to pull off a recovery. But when some people are bailed out and can make ‘easy money*’ off ZIRP, the team effort is gone…no more.

    Thus the sucky ‘recovery.’

    * There was no ‘easy money’ when Neanderthals roamed the world. Everyone had to work hard for his/her money.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Congress acting surprised by NSA spying…

    I wonder if senators were told by the NSA to act surprised or else the public might know something you don’t want them to know.

    But luckily for us, only Hoover would do something like that.

  20. docg

    Re today’s antidote: Talking about how one picture can tell a story. What a great example. And what a touching story!

  21. Synopticist

    The big news in Syria in the last few days is not the 6th Israeli airstrike since the conflict started, but the capture by the regime of Sfira, a town south-east of Allepo.

    It’s considered the gateway to eastern Allepo, which has been held by the rebels for a couple of years.
    Also, the Kurds, in the far east of the country, have driven al qeada out of their strongholds on the Iraqi border.

    The butthurt among jihadis on twitter was a sight to warm the cockles of your heart.

  22. Hugh

    Krugman waves finger at war on poor waged by crazy Republicans. Of course, the Democrats have done jack to help the poor and in Obama’s support of austerity and in his attempts to gut Social Security and Medicare, they are doing everything in their power to increase the number of poor. Naturally, Krugman the Democratic tribalist fails to mention any of this.

    1. different clue

      Besides which, how many millions of people did Krugman help drive into poverty to begin with by lending his academic credibility to Free Trade?

  23. Jerome Armstrong

    RE: Clinton love with GS

    I was told by a person working in labor that there is a opening in the Democratic primary for someone that goes after the Democratic party, and her, for the bankster ties/issiues and what not. Of course, I am entirely gullible with that going down.

    I doubt it would bring her down in the Democratic primary system. But it would really be a damn good debate to have happen. At least at first glance, Brian Schwietzer is perfectly situated to run on that message. He said this in Sept 2008:
    “They say, ‘My God, this looks like a condition where the powerful are going to give money to the rich. What’s new?’ ” Schweitzer told CNN in an interview at a ranch on the outskirts of Helena.

  24. fresno dan

    The Bailout Caused the Sucky “Recovery” Ian Welsh (Carol B)

    Probably essentially the same thing stated by most NC commenters – but still nice to see it stated again, as an antidote to those who continuously state that the financial crisis was impossible to foresee.

    And also to be clear that the way the FED chooses to deal with a financial crisis is that no rich person suffers…

  25. Jerome Armstrong

    Dylan Ratigan: Revolutionary Vibrations ~*~

    This is a really good self-described transformation of change.

    Where he wound up at MSNBC before quitting the oligarchy:

    A. Knowing that the solutions to reform the system already exist.

    B. That pretending we don’t know the solutions exist is the easiest way to maintain the system.

    The new 99: “99% of the people on the world are fearful, narcissistic, and insane.”

    Start vibrating revolution people. What gives me some hope nowadays for a revolution is that we are beginning to see people integrate the spiritual with the political.

  26. Mark Pawelek

    UK students want a new economics course!

    Rethinking Economics

    STUDENTS and RECENT ex-students of economics: We have been invited to feed into a new curriculum reform project, the CORE project, and we are seeking feedback on their course outline. If you have half an hour to spare this weekend, please drop an email to rethinkingeconomicsuk [at] gmail [dot] com, or post your email to us here, to access the pilot website – and change the future of economics education!

  27. optimader

    On cloud storage competition
    Cloud storage/data center and passive cooling sources.

    It will be interesting how Google’s oilfired, physically constrained, and seawater cooled data center biz model (that has to remain floating) economically stacks up compared to Iceland’s steam powered (literally) and air-air heat xchngd approach?
    Iceland is the technology leader in cheap geothermal power conversion, so much so that it is economical to ship bauxite from South America to smelt in electric arc furnaces in Reykjavik.
    I really dig this little country that is absent of all the annoying: “For Your Safety: blah-bah-blah” sign pollution. Best tasting fresh water in the world as well.

  28. p78

    UK: Snowden reporter’s partner involved in ‘espionage’ and ‘terrorism’

    After his release and return to Rio, Miranda filed a legal action against the British government, seeking the return of materials seized from him by British authorities and a judicial review of the legality of his detention.
    At a London court hearing this week for Miranda’s lawsuit, a document called a “Ports Circulation Sheet” was read into the record. It was prepared by Scotland Yard – in consultation with the MI5 counterintelligence agency – and circulated to British border posts before Miranda’s arrival. The precise date of the document is unclear.

    “Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security,” according to the document.
    “We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material the release of which would endanger people’s lives,” the document continued. “Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism…”[…]

    In a separate document read into the court record, MI5, also known as the Security Service, indicated British authorities’ interest in Miranda was spurred by his apparent role as a courier ferrying material from Laura Poitras, a Berlin-based filmmaker, to Greenwald, who lives with Miranda in Brazil. “We strongly assess that Miranda is carrying items which will assist in Greenwald releasing more of the NSA and GCHQ material we judge to be in Greenwald’s possession,” said the document, described as a “National Security Justification” prepared for police. “Our main objectives against David Miranda are to understand the nature of any material he is carrying, mitigate the risks to national security that this material poses,” the document added.

  29. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Dan Gross has a terrific article up at Daily Beast:

    Critics tend to think of food stamps as a form of welfare. They are—for the people who get them, and for the stores at which they are spent.

    In Friday’s Wall Street Journal, Shelly Banjo and Annie Gasparro reported “Walmart estimates it rakes in about 18 percent of total U.S. outlays on food stamps. That would mean it pulled in $14 billion of the $80 billion the USDA says was appropriated for food stamps in the year ended in September 2012.”

    Think about that for a minute. Walmart accounts for about 10 percent of total U.S. sales but gets 18 percent of the nation’s food-stamp-related sales. That means it punches well above its weight compared with other retailers. Put another way, Walmart customers are far more likely than shoppers at other stores to finance their purchases with food stamps.

    Wow, this could get mighty interesting.

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