Links 11/15/13

Albino kangaroo – in pictures Guardian. Amazing!

Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half Real Climate (markf)

Polar Bears Waiting at the Edge WWF (Carol B)

Global Forest Change Tim Durusau

Siding With Google, Judge Says Book Search Does Not Infringe Copyright New York Times. As an author, I’m appalled by this decision. Google steals whole sections of books without publisher permission. I can name several recent books I read on Google books that I would have bought but didn’t need to because more than half was online. This is a great way to stop people from writing books. I know I won’t write another with this crap going on. I can’t afford to. Advances, which weren’t that hot for anything other than big name authors (and the majority of authors don’t see a dime more than their advance), have collapsed. Google is one of the reasons why.

ATF Tests Show 3D Printed Guns Can Explode Slashdot (bob)

Removal of Fukushima Fuel Rods Hits a Bump … BEFORE It Even Starts George Washington

OVERNIGHT MONEY: Lew heading to Beijing The Hill. Translation on the TPP part: Lew is going to browbeat Vietnam in person. As if a country that spend 1000 years fighting Chinese occupation and eventually prevailed is easily intimidated.

ECB ready to print, Germany ready to scream Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Job Crisis: Unequal Allies Tackle Youth Unemployment Der Spiegel

French Recovery Fizzles, Germany Slows; OECD Warns France on Reforms Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

An example of how the banking cartels control countries failed evolution (no more banksters)

Christians ‘face extinction’, minister warns Telegraph. No, this is not the Onion. While ethnic and religious cleanings are really awful, this ‘extinction” and “ancient homelands” patter is remarkably disingenuous given the behavior of Christian missionaries and colonists towards indigenous people all over the world. Persecution and violence are bad enough on their own, there’s no need to overegg the pudding.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

C.I.A. Collecting Data on International Money Transfers, Officials Say New York Times

Cyber-attacks ‘are gravest US threat’ Guardian. Even if true, that argues for much more investment in defensive rather than offensive strategies.

DiFi’s Circular Defense of the Phone Dragnet’s Legality Proves It Is Illegal Marcy Wheeler

Americans’ personal data shared with CIA, IRS, others in security probe McClatchy

Obamacare Launch:

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: No, Obama, you’re not “stupid.” You’re pissy, arrogant, and an Emperor with no clothes Lambert. The quotes he flags are astonishing.

‘World War III’ Between Obama and the Insurance Industry Atlantic Wire. The insurance industry is taking a line from the bankster playbook, as in any wee discomfort leads to loud yowls of pain. If you’ve been around a 2 year old, you will recognize the drill. The prime examplar of this approach is Steve Swartzman, who compared a proposal to end a ruse used by the private equity industry to achieve capital gains treatment as tantamount to Hitler invading Poland. But even though the noise is disproportionate, I am nevertheless enjoying the insurers being hoist a bit on their own petard. They wrote the friggin’ legislation, sent out the cancellations and the misleading signup letters, so they created this mess. So now they are getting stuck with unexpected costs. What fun. And where were they when was being built? The inconsistencies in 834s had to have been a known issue. If I were a CIO, I would have wanted to make sure the party building an interface to mine knew my requirements.

Obama vows to fix health ‘fumble’ BBC

Obama admits to rollout ‘fumble’ and offers health insurance fix Guardian. Richard Smith: “Another 12 months to build this monstrosity. Still won’t work.” Moi: By what authority can Obama do this? He needs to pass an amendment to legislation, or is he just running the country by diktat?

10 ways President Obama said he’s sorry Politco. If he has not fired people, he is not that sorry.

Obama’s story in 5 GIFs USA Today. Lambert: “USA Today… In front of every hotel room door America…. And not a right-wing nut job paper in the slightest.”

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Please don’t buy into the Health Sherpa hype Lambert. I looked at the site too and it’s bullshit. To compare insurance policies, you need to look at a number of coverage variables, not just price (see Michael Olenick’s spreadsheet). To the extent people use this site, it will produce uninformed, often poor, decisions.

Can Obamacare survive an enraged middle class? Telegraph. Key quote: “The point is that Obamacare will continue to enrage people if the law’s supporters persist in using such dismissive talking points.”

Democratic Lawmakers Running for Cover Wall Street Journal. Joe Costello: Nothing like falling poll numbers.

Hedges: Jeremy Hammond Exposed State’s Plan to Criminalize Democratic Dissent Real News Network

Fatal Shooting of Black Woman Outside Detroit Stirs Racial Tensions New York Times

Socialist Sawant wins City Council seat SeattlePi (Lambert)

The Mis-guided Efforts of the Occupy Money Cooperative Grassroots Economic Organizing (diptherio)

#AskJPM tweets performed by voice of American Greed & @PuppetsOH YouTube (diptherio)

#askJPM is still going strong! Make this the hashtag that never dies. Pop over and add a question. ohmyheck has a LONG list from yesterday, some of which need to be reworked to tweet length, if you are drawing a blanks.

U.S. Investigates Currency Trades by Major Banks New York Times

Moody’s cuts ratings of three big US banks Financial Times. Wow, Moody’s believe a future Administration won’t rescue JP Morgan and its ilk? They clearly haven’t upgraded their skills since they rated CDOs AAA.

Last witness testifies against $8.5 billion BofA deal Reuters (Deontos). Another astonishing quote, Judge Kapnick dissing Adam Levitin, the top legal expert in the US on mortgage securitizations.

In Yellen Hearing, Senators Push for Fed Changes New York Times

Wall Street feeds the ravenous debt beast again Ed Chancellor, Financial Times

Antidote du jour (Mark H). Backstory here.


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  1. DakotabornKansan

    “A weird time in which we are alive. We can travel anywhere we want, even to other planets. And for what? To sit day after day, declining in morale and hope.” – Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

    Upon a midnight dreary, I pondered, weak and weary…

    Obamacare fiasco…
    Imploding Vichy Left corporatist Democrats…

    Obama’s presser…

    “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” – William Shakespeare, Macbeth

    Deliriously happy Rethugs…

    “The elites cannot do even basic governance anymore.”

    “So the carnival steams by, shakes ANY tree: it rains jackasses.” – Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

  2. Rebecca Tushnet

    If you read a large part of a book on Google, the book was part of the Partner Program and licensed from the publishers. Google Books, the program upheld yesterday, shows only snippets and you can’t read continuous sections using it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Not true. Google abuses it like crazy. They published big sections of ECONNED without the approval of my publisher. I haven’t checked again to see if it was fixed, but they violated it big time during the period when it would do the most damage, shortly after release. I’ve seen other books, best sellers published in the last ten years like The Shock Doctrine, that are still in print where tons is on Google Books. They don’t publish “snippets”, they publish the whole book but remove some pages here and there. I can’t imagine the publisher gave consent.

    2. Jim S

      While the omitted pages are sufficiently inconveniencing to anyone wishing to read the entire book, I’ve found that more often than not when I wish to reference a specific passage that I am able to find it on–in fact the launch page invites the user to use it as a research tool (on the other hand because of the omissions it’s inferior to a library, an institution long hated by publishers). I didn’t pay much attention to the news yesterday, but as a reader what Yves has written causes me to consider the issue more closely–the prospect of fewer books should alarm us all.

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Google’s practice is particularly onerous to authors (and publishers) of non-fiction books. A work of fiction, riddled with omissions, would have had its story arc destroyed, and consequently would be less likely to get the treatment. But non-fiction books can be more successfully cherry-picked; even though the rigor of the author’s argument would be undermined to some degree by omissions of examples and supporting documentation, the core arguments could be preserved through sly editing.

        An excerpt from an email that I wrote to my wife concerning this ruling (she’s a Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library):

        I think that this ruling was the height of idiocy. I guess you only get to have enforceable ownership of intellectual property if you are a trans-national corporation with fierce lawyers on retainer to sue the pants off of anybody you deem to be infringing. If you are an author of limited means, yet with large amounts of time invested in not only writing a book, but in acquiring the knowledge and the skills to do so, you are shit out of luck. This seems to be a dramatic misconstruence of what fair use should be. I hope that this judge’s ruling is reversed, and stingingly, too.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Party discipline, comrades. Now more than ever:

    Washington state’s insurance commissioner, Mike Kreidler, announced Thursday he won’t allow insurers to extend their policies, saying Washington’s state-based exchange was “up and running and successfully enrolling thousands of consumers.”

    “We are staying the course,” said Kreidler, a Democrat.

    Uh huh. Kind of like them Japanese soldiers, still dug in on Pacific islands 30 years after the surrender, ready to hurl fusillades of coconuts at the enemy.

    Karry on, Kriedler!

    1. Cynthia

      In case you were wondering how Obama could wave his magic dictator’s wand and “allow” insurance companies to offer non-compliant (illegal) policies. He can’t. Not really. He can’t make the policies legal, but what he can do is tell the insurance companies he won’t prosecute them for offering illegal policies. So Obama is telling the insurance companies: “Don’t worry, it’s OK to issue illegal policies because I promise my administration won’t prosecute you.” In other words, Obama can’t make the policies legal, so he’s encouraging the insurance companies to break the law.

      So encouraging the insurance companies to break the law is Obama’s big “fix”! So how’s that for great health insurance reform? Oh, yeah, and what a wonderful way to govern the country: encourage law-breaking. Given the example this President sets, why should anyone else feel compelled to follow the law about anything?

      1. dearieme

        Obama has just machine-gunned all the liars who stood up for him, by admitting that his critics have been right all along.

        He’s got form on this. When the birth certificate hullabaloo was going on, his liars said that Hawaii didn’t provide birth certificates of the usual form. Then the White House admitted that it did. So the liars changed their tune, and explained that while Hawaii did of course write conventional birth certificates, alas it would be entirely illegal to issue one for the public to see. Then the White House put on public display what was (or was purported to be) just such a certificate.

        Who will lie for him next time, when you know he’ll get the machine-gun out whenever it suits him?

        1. Cynthia

          Some say Obama got his start running a three-card Monte game in Chicago, perhaps it goes back even further to his childhood days in Hawaii.

      2. Jim Haygood

        ‘Obama can’t make the policies legal, so he’s encouraging the insurance companies to break the law.’

        L’état, c’est moi … don’t you love his ermine cape?

        Gross uncertainty in the enforcement of complex 2,000-page laws equals risk.

        For the minority of insurers willing to shoulder this risk, in the minority of states where insurance commissioners will cooperate with Obama’s extralegal diktats, the obvious strategy to counter risk and discourage renewals is to crank premiums vigorously.

        After all, there are no cost controls in Obamacare. So price is what has to give. FORWARD!

  4. AbyNormal

    from Opti yesterday (2am)…WoW altho ive viewed another doc. on Quants…this one (a geek from inside GS) is way cool! ThanxBrother

    From the makers of the much-praised Quants: the Alchemists of Wall Street and Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box. Now the long-awaited final episode of a trilogy in search of the winners and losers of the tech revolution on Wall Street. Could mankind lose control of this increasingly complex system? uhhhh FU*K YEAH

    “Yesterday was Armageddon. Today we have a Problem!”

    1. optimader

      Google maps this:
      2905 Diehl Road Aurora, IL 60502

      This is the CME Group’s “hive”. Check out the electical power substation and gensets. That’s power Chucko.
      The big and little rings ~1.5 mile north is Fermi Lab, serious electric utility infrastructure in this area.

      SO, people can piss around at the filter feeder level looking at their four flatscreens thinking they are affiliate members of the Masters of the Universe Club, but the reality is it’s a rigged game operating at speed of light –in air (not glass).

    1. anon y'mouse

      there’s gravy in them textbooks.

      just don’t forget your obligatory reference to 9/11 in the opening chapter.

      had about a year and a half there where I couldn’t purchase a textbook without that one chapter in it. and this was not too long ago. what was the point of this? wouldn’t students of the appropriate age know what happened already.

      almost like they were trying to drum some fear in this generation so far inside it’d never come out.

      oh, Krug’s book was the worst of a bad lot.

      boycott textbooks!

  5. XO

    RE: “Obamacare,” generally:

    The syndrome/continuum of clusterfuckery that is the ACA continues to increase in mass and velocity, as we scrutinize and critique the individual symptoms as they manifest themselves.

    “We’ll have to pass it to see what’s in it.”


    The entire shebang looks deformed and insane to me.

    At what point does rationale come into play?

    At what point do we stop to admit that this law is the genetically unviable offspring of the insurance industry, the Heritage Foundation, and the diseased prostitute (in sheep’s clothing, no less), that is the “neo-liberal” Democratic Party?

    At what point do we admit we need a do-over?

    This thing is an abomination. It is cancer. Nurture will not overcome nature.

    Our former system was fucked up beyond redemption, yet all we could do was to make it worse.

    1. Massinissa

      Instead of making democrats legal and prostitutes illegal, it should be the reverse. As long as the Rethugs are deemed illegal too.

      Legalize marijuana and prostitutes (Making sure to tax both), illegalize the Wall Street Parties.

      Amazingly, it would probably make America more moral.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Only when there is inflation do we tax them both…inflation, meaning workers, like truck drivers or people who take orders at fast food restaurants, are getting paid too much.

        Then, we tax them…to fight inflation. Worker wage inflation.

    2. DanB

      What I’d like to see go viral are the clips of Obama and the CEO of United Health explaining why single payer would be “too disruptive” to the “health system” we have….

    3. Cynthia

      Perhaps now, folks will understand why liberals (with a conscience) cannot support Obamacare, because it’s not that Obamacare is not doing enough, it’s just moving us in the wrong direction. The conservative view of “personal responsibility” translated into voucherization of all health care, not just Medicare, plus the insidious high deductible (cruelly called “consumer driven” ), is just a mechanism by which financial risk is transferred to individuals, one at a time, instead of pooling risk over larger groups, thus diluting the notion of “insurance” to just catastrophic events that are covered after one comes up with thousands of dollars he or she doesn’t have, a.k.a. Obamacare health insurance exchanges (including Medicaid in some “forward” thinking States).

      Obviously this is a regressive policy, as we should have all known, considering where the idea came from. So poor and middle income people will get poorer, corporations will get richer, entrepreneurs will find more ways to extract more money from health care selling snake oil to the desperate, and we will all live happily ever after. Or not.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        1) Government intrusion into a private sector
        2) for the benefit of private insurance companies.

        Now, no conservative 99.99 percenters can support 1.

        And no liberal 99.99 percenters can support 2.

        Yes, the law was passed.

        It shows that the (we don’t care we are liberal or conservative as long as it’s money) 0.01% who are in charge here.

  6. diptherio

    A New Direction for the Catholic Church!? ~GEO blog

    I have just been reading the text of a speech that new Pope’s primary spokesperson delivered twice in the US. This is more than a little interesting. It’s like the Church may be picking up on its 1960s Vatican II internal revolution, which is where it was left hanging. If this is Francis’ program, then a major institution could be turning toward equality, solidarity, and democracy.

    “The globalization of the exchange of services, capital and patents has led over the past ten years to establish a world dictatorship of finance capital. The small transcontinental oligarchies that hold the financial capital dominate the planet… The lords of financial capital wield over billions of human beings a power of life and death. Through their investment strategies, their stock market speculations, their alliances, they decide day to day who has the right to live on this planet and who is doomed to die.”

    The vice-pope talking about “a world dictatorship of finance capital”…never thought I’d see the day.

    1. Clive

      Hey diptherio, big thanks for this !

      On the news this morning there was a feature about the Catholic church in England asking people to complete an online survey about “moral attitudes”.

      I thought at the time, okay, more Christian church fretting over what people do with their willies (or other pieces of anatomy) in the privacy of their own homes, why do you (the Catholic church in this case) not get your act together and show a bit of leadership on probably the biggest single issue affecting humanity in the world (and I don’t think that is an exaggeration, happy to take criticism from the floor on that one, but finance/economics strikes at the heart of the lives of everyone — from subsistence farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to Saudi Arabian princesses living in Central Park West).

      Goldman doing “God’s work” ? My arse. So, come on your Holiness, get some backbone and start a little well aimed sermonising.

      Anyhow, that was my rant, but there was nowhere to put it. Now there is. Thanks again !

    2. dearieme

      Is there anything new about the Roman Catholic church complaining about “a world dictatorship of finance capital”? Coming from a family of mixed religions, and having heard a bit of Irish Roman Catholic anti-semitism, I’m a bit leery about this sort of thing.

      1. diptherio

        Right, right…part of you keeps expecting “the Protocols” to come up, I understand. But I don’t think we need to worry about that sort of crazy with the new Pope.

        Michael Johnson, who posted this entry, is an ex-monk and founding member of a 35 year old intentional community. He’s super cool and he knows his way around Catholicism, so if he’s encouraged by these developments, then I feel justified in also feeling encouraged.

        Not that the Catholic church is suddenly going to become an unadulterated force for good in the world, now, but it does seem like a step in the right direction.

        1. Synopticist

          This is more like the RC returning to it’s long-running position really.
          It’s traditionally been economically left of centre and antagonistic to excessive financial speculation and accumulation. At least in theory, less so in practice.

          There must be some big changes going on in the vatican though, you don’t get popes resigning that often.

    3. Rory

      My astute wife’s comment when I read the excerpt of the speech to her: “I hope he doesn’t get assassinated.”

      1. Lambert Strether

        Or end up accidentally hanging from a girder under London Bridge, like another Vatican Banker. Maybe that sent the Vatican a message, and it finally rose to the top of the Pope’s in-tray?

        1. optimader

          I think your referring to Roberto Calvi, but close enough, under different circumstances the actual “Vatican Banker”, (archbishop) Paul Marcinkus might have been found in the trunk of a Buick in a Chicago area Holiday in parking lot.

          Roberto Calvi (13 April 1920 – 17 June 1982) was an Italian banker dubbed “God’s Banker” by the press because of his close association with the Holy See. A native of Milan, Calvi was Chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in one of modern Italy’s biggest political scandals.

          The interesting thread w was Paul Marcinkus (my uncle knew him, they went to Quigley together).

          ….Marcinkus was born in Cicero, Illinois, the son of an immigrant window washer who arrived in Cicero in 1914. His father, Mykolas, had left Lithuania to escape possible induction into the Russian army. Moving to the United States, he briefly lived in Pittsburgh before moving to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to work for a cousin as a farm hand, then moving to Cicero after finding work in a Chicago steel mill. By the time his fourth son, Paulius, arrived, he had started washing windows for the Leo Sheridan Co., a job he would hold for thirty years.

          After attending Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary……

          …..Marcinkus was the president of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, also known as the Vatican Bank, from 1971 to 1989. As early as April 24, 1973, Marcinkus was questioned in his Vatican office by federal prosecutor William Aronwald and Bill Lynch, head of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the United States Department of Justice, about his involvement in the delivery of $14.5 million US worth of counterfeit bonds to the Vatican in July 1971, part of a total request of $950 million US worth stated in a letter on Vatican notepaper.

          His name and the official letter had arisen during the investigation of an international gangster, who eventually served twelve years in prison. Marcinkus “said he considered the charges against him serious but not based enough on fact that he would violate the Vatican Bank’s confidentiality to defend himself. …back in the States it was agreed on the highest levels that the case against Marcinkus could not be pursued any further.” [4]

          In July 1982, Marcinkus was implicated in financial scandals being reported on the front pages of newspapers and magazines throughout Europe, particularly the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano, in which Propaganda Due (aka “P2”), a Masonic Lodge, was involved (Marcinkus had been a director of Ambrosiano Overseas, based in Nassau, Bahamas, and had been involved with Ambrosiano’s chairman, financier Roberto Calvi, for a number of years). He was also involved with Michele Sindona, who had links with the Mafia.

          In 1984, Marcinkus was named as a possible accomplice in the supposed murder of Pope John Paul I by investigative journalist David Yallop in his book In God’s Name. Yallop made allegations regarding a number of suspects associated with Marcinkus’ business dealings, claiming involvement of members of the Mafia on behalf of the Vatican Bank, further stating that Marcinkus might face criminal exposure, should he be removed from his position at the bank.

          Upon the election of Pope John Paul II, Marcinkus was promoted within the Vatican bank and remained in office for several years before the scandal widened, after the body of Calvi, whose Banco Ambrosiano had dealt with Marcinkus, was found hanging under London’s Blackfriars Bridge in June 1982. The death of Calvi was seen by some as symbolic, since Propaganda Due referred to themselves as the “Black Friars.” Adding to the troubles, journalist Mino Pecorelli, who had been investigating Marcinkus, the Vatican Bank and ties to organized crime, was found dead in 1979.[5] Marcinkus himself was never charged with a crime.[6]

      1. savedbyirony

        Definitely agree with you about Francis trying to move the catholic church and its formidable resources and numbers in more of a catholic social justice direction. For example, he has not only spoken out in favor of a new appreciation for Liberation Theology but has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in treating highly politized and polarizing issues (such as abortion)as special cases to be looked at outside of larger social and moral contexts. And, important for the vocation which he has made his life, the man speaks thoughtfully and plainly, and leads/inspires by example. The survey mentioned is intended for all catholics, but the U.S. bishops seem to be trying to keep it out of the people in the pews hands. It deals with issues many non-catholics might think are small in comparison to some hot button issues facing the church, but by doing this “polling” they might very well help to stop the church from losing so many people each year due to being too focused on the letter of the law and not its spirit, so to speak. And the anti-semite statement is a very cheap shot. As regards to Francis, it make no sense at all; and catholicism does NOT teach or promote anti-semitism. Sure, there are catholics who are anti-semite, but if they choose to defend their bigorty by cloaking it in a catholic mantle, they are preverting what is taught.

        1. savedbyirony

          Why do you think he humbly declines to move into the papal appartments? More seriously, he is a Jesuit and they are a very loyal brotherhood. It matters; they’ll have his back. i also am inspired by this man because he appears to be a “labor” Pope. He has already been out there talking with workers who have lost jobs saying that we all need to not only have faith and pray, but we are morally obligated to fight!

      1. optimader

        Didn’t read the article yet, but A-holes in the media loosely using the characterization “looting”..
        You can bet this poor folk aren’t in not in Marcos’s old ‘hood .

        1. optimader

          characterization “looting”..
          You can bet this poor folk aren’t in not in Marcos’s old ‘hood .

          Jeeze = are not in..
          who’s the idiot using the iphone keypad? For whatever reason, my phone only provides abt 2 lines of visible user typing geography..

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Imagine if there were a place where people could borrow and read books without paying for them. Even public buildings built expressly for that purpose. ZOMG. There would probably never be another book written!

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Libraries pay for them and the people who use libraries have time and are income constrained. People who are on the Web skew to higher incomes. So don’t try that line on me. This is stealing from authors.

        And you are full of it re the amount published. Do you run PR for Google? Look at The Shock Doctrine:

        John Cassidy’s 2009 book, still in print:

        Jeff Connaughton’s book The Payoff, still in print:

        A BIG best seller, Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men:

        In fact, every recent book I looked at except ECONNED was almost entirely on Google.

        I raised absolute holy hell with my publisher, and I see they did get Google (finally!) to put only snippets up, so you can see how it is supposed to look. But they had most of the book online for nearly a year:

        I said you’ve are voting for people not to write books. But no, you want content for free. This is the Walmart mentality extended to authors. That will produce the same phenomenon you see in the MSM, that all that gets produced is neoliberal propaganda. Those are the only people (and academics, which in economics are pretty much the same people) who can make money writing in the sort of system you are so keen about. As I said, advances have collapsed, but you refuse to hear about the consequences of having the world designed the way you want.

        1. looselyhuman

          This situation is just like the complete demise of popular music and Hollywood content after the file-sharing revolution.

          Oh, wait…

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Do you get your movies from Netflix for free? Do entire commercial movies get posted on YouTube? Is actor or director or singer pay collapsing?

            Or do you just like ripping people off? Do you also expect people to clean your home or wash your car for free?

            Plus you are straw manning my argument. Did I say anywhere that books would stop being written?

            Go do homework. This isn’t comparable. You might bother finding out how little book authors make on the typical book before making confident assertions. From any objective perspective, doing ECONNED was stupid. I made barely over minimum wage and didn’t see any ancillary benefits, and that’s before I factor in the negative impact it had on the blog (significant opportunity costs due to delaying implementing some things to monetize it better because I had no bandwidth). Prevailing royalties are much lower now, which is a more than bigger offset v. my “established author” status.

            Your position is tantamount to saying you don’t want people like me writing books. Now of course, you may actually like the death of independent voices, that may be a feature for you rather than a bug. You can tell yourself whatever self-serving blather you want to believe, but that’s what it amounts to. It’s no different than buying at Walmart and taking advantage of underpaid workers.

            In the social sciences, the people who will continue to write will be the sort who are paid otherwise, who write a book to enhance their stature, like business authors who are writing books to promote themselves or position themselves as a leader in the latest management fad (the management consulting world is lousy with people like that) or academics or people who work for think tanks or are just recodifying work they did elsewhere (the book as a collection of previously published articles). So you are just voting to be the target of marketing and propaganda all the time. You’ll still see novels produced that will be OK since many writers fantasize that they will be the next JK Rowling.

            1. mpinca

              Totally agree with you, Yves. Here’s a great articulation of the situation for writers today (and I hope NYT compensated the author for his editorial.) Slaves of the Internet, Unite!

              (apologies if you linked to this previously)

              And even in the music and movie industries, artists are starting to weary of the “give it away” mentality. Thom Yorke and other musicians have pulled their work from Spotify, a site that makes buying music completely obsolete, because it pays so little to new artists that it makes it impossible for them to sustain themselves long enough to make it.

            2. susan the other

              Yves, you and a very few other people like you are at the crest of this tsunami. I thought I could get along without buying ECONNED; I never found it in my library and so I paid attention to you, your posts and your readers. And I have learned an enormous amount. Someday I will read your book, and future books, but until then I will read your blog, your posts, and the comments. Your blog might well be part of the reason people choose to just go online. It is my reason. But it is unthinkable for people like you, who have so much knowledge and experience, to not be bloggers. It is where you belong.

              1. optimader

                I am a BIG advocate of library media, but I still purchase content I want to have a copy of.

                In fact I purchase media to donate to the Public Library System, just to assert my subversive nature in my own little way. It’s a good way IMO to influence opinion, or at least expose a population that thinks enough to seek out media.

                The librarians like me, I think they are discretely subversive as well.

              2. EmilianoZ

                This discussion made me look up Econned at my local library. It is there! There’s even a review on the online catalogue:

                ECONned is a remarkable book. The first part is a devastating criticism of the simplistic approach to finance standard economics takes. Many books offer similar appraisals, but this one integrates deep knowledge of the intricacies of modern finance with a good grasp of economic theory. Smith (author of the Naked Capitalism blog ) then reveals the way that this defective economic theory was sold to an unsuspecting public. The heart of the book is a detailed dissection of the workings of modern finance in the run-up to the 2007-08 meltdown. The author ends with an excellent overview of political systems’ inability to create workable oversight structures. The book is well written, and frequent allusions to subjects such as the structure of the German military command or the breakdown of the financial system in 1700 BCE enhance readability. All libraries should own this book. Although some details will be difficult for advanced undergraduates, the writing allows readers to scan difficult sections without losing their train of thought. Specialists will benefit from Smith’s insights into the functioning of the financial system. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduate through research collections. M. Perelman California State University, Chico

                So, who is the reviewer? Regular NC readers know him. He has a book on the invention of capitalism that has been cited here a few times. I think there are some fishy kickbacks going on here.

                I bought the Econned in February 2010. I have a first edition.

          2. Synopticist

            “This situation is just like the complete demise of popular music …after the file-sharing revolution.”

            Well, yes, actually, yes.

            Since I was 12 years old there’s been a great new British rock band every year or two, coming up with a decent, solid couple of albums that would stand the test of time. A regular churn, dependable, variable yet reliable.

            That conveyor belt stopped a decade or so ago. Now it’s just the pappy commercial sh*te that gets through, because the economic model just doesn’t exist any more. You need 5 or 10 rubbish bands to get record contracts in order for one good one to emerge.

            But no-one buys albums anymore, so succesful bands don’t make good money unless they go mega, and they cant subsidise unsuccesful bands like they used to. And as a result, no-one gets development contracts unless they’re a marketing product from the very start.

            People moan about how there’s no decent music anymore, then build vast musical libraries for free and don’t see the connection.

            1. subgenius

              sorry, gotta call bullshit – I was in the music biz in the UK late 80s-late 90s…

              The biz part was always shit for the artist, UNLESS they were the lucky .001% that hit true stardom. The BEST musician I know teaches at a technical college. Several less talented are world famous…

              The demise is due to your tastes. The cutting edge stuff will still get made, as it generally has, by people that dont actually give a shit about the biz. And they will as ever get ripped off by whatever remaining biz there is…

              1. subgenius

                …the “quality” argument you make is baseless – you are not keeping up with the trends – c.f. rock-n-roll, punk, acid house, any other genre that broke ground…

                1. Synopticist

                  No, hang on, I had a bunch of mates who made a decent living in the nineties making, managing or performing music that did nothing or almost nothing commercially.

                  Each of them made enough to ensure the years weren’t wasted or whatever. They made enough to establish themselves financially, even if none of them really cracked it. Now they get to tell stories about how their set went down really well playing after Oasis got booed at a grimy pub in Camden.

                  You can’t do that now. There’s no money in being a musician and not being famous.

            2. Anarcissie

              In my experience, people have always complained that there was no decent music any more. While it’s true the mass media have often run dry, the Internet has enabled me to hear all kinds of material I could almost certainly not have heard unless I was going to hang out in a record store all day. But I suppose I have weird tastes.

              I know it is widely thought among some theorists that what the Net did that reduced album sales was obsolete the strategy of packaging a lot of mediocre material with a few good items. I am sure that damaged the existing structure of the business a lot, but it says nothing about the overall quality of new music in general.

              In regard to the book thing, I was surprised to hear that all people who are on the Internet are well-off, to the extent of being able to buy any book they want to read or use for research. I’m certainly not that well-off — far from it. And I’m not affiliated with any institution that’s going to let me use their library, which I guess is supposed to be the alternative. If my currently defective knee straightens out some, I may be able to hobble over to the NYPL before they ship all the books to New Jersey, I guess. Mostly, the alternative to finding stuff on the Net for me and people like me is not reading it at all. In any case, I’m not seeing how Google’s practices actually cut into anyone’s royalties. It seems just as likely to me that they provide a kind of advertising for the books, which might increase their sales considering what the well-off who frequent this blog say about their buying habits.

              Some counterexamples to your theory: Jack Konrath ( publishes and sells his own stuff, as well as selling ebooks via Amazon and paper editions. At one point he gave away a text (a mystery) free for download, although one could contribute; I think he said he made more money from the donations than he did from selling it. I don’t know if he has continued this practice. Nina Paley ( was able to make a movie only because she gave it away. See the web site for the story.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Kornrath is not germane.

                1. He established his reputation and developed a following by getting books published by a traditional publisher. And if you bothered reading what I wrote, my issue is about social sciences books. But frankly, it applies to novels as well. Why should you expect people to work for your for nothing? That’s your demand. I want none of it. Honestly, you are a hypocrite if you think you are liberal and want people to work for you for nothing. You are in the same vote as people who support Walmart because it has low prices rather than push for better wage arrangements for everyone.

                2. Someone getting a movie optioned by giving a book away is also not germane. That’s luck, not a viable model

                1. Anarcissie

                  I’m not a liberal, I’m a communist. But still, I don’t expect people to work for nothing (although I do, these days — but never mind that). I’m not arguing moral right here, I’m simply describing how things work in practice, when we know how they work. Google enables me to look things up. For me, the alternative is trekking off to a library which may not have the books I need anyway, if I can make that trek. Sure, your elite readers can order the books from Amazon or have the servants get them out of the stacks at the university. I’m not one of those people and shutting me out will not make me one — nor the millions like me.

                  In regard to Google’s publishing of excerpts, we don’t actually know that they cut into book sales. As I pointed out, their practices could serve as a kind of advertising. The argument that they cut into book sales needs some objective evidence. It is possible that people are reading books in any form less than they used to, since there are now so many other media available for them. Maintain the Black Hole of copyright against Google is not going to cure that and it’s not going to feed authors.

        2. hunkerdown

          Yves — I just downloaded a pirate ECONNED pdf from an overseas free web host and left the interwebs’ best estimate of the hardcover list price ($30) in the tip jar. There should be a penny or two left over for your thoughts…

  7. djrichard

    Washington Post: How to avert another debt-ceiling crisis

    Consols issued by the U.S. Treasury would not fall within the scope of the debt ceiling because there is no principal that is an obligation of the U.S. Treasury. If no principal ever comes due, there is no addition to the U.S. debt as defined by the debt-limit legislation.

    1. dearieme

      HMG also has in issue a perpetual irredeemable bond named “War Loan”, currently paying about 4.25% p.a. Although it need not be redeemed, HMG can “call” it whenever they want. People still buy and sell it quite happily.

  8. Cynthia

    re:”Democratic Lawmakers running for cover”

    President Barack Obama’s credibility may have taken a big hit with voters, but he’s also in serious danger of permanently losing the trust of Democrats in Congress. The Obamacare debacle has been bad enough that it’s tough for Democrats to take on faith that the president can fix the problems. His one-time allies are no longer sure that it’s wise to follow him into battle, leaving Obama and his law not only vulnerable to existing critics, but open to new attacks from his own party.

    Who could have known that Cash for Clunkers was going to be their policy high point?

    1. Lambert Strether

      The Democratic pack is still clustered around the alpha male, and some of them are snarling, and some of them are whining, but nobody’s dared to actually challenge him. I grant that Obama’s a very low alpha, but that doesn’t mean others aren’t lower.

      As I keep saying, the only way to get Obama’s attention, other than lots of lovely money, is to inflict pain on him. The gay bundlers and the Hispanic did in 2012 and at least got some lip service. No Democrat in this controversy has inflicted pain on him yet, and hence they will all go down together. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of bankster-coddling weasels.

      Adding, if the Republicans were a serious party, they’d impeach Holder over failure to prosecute the banksters for accounting control fraud, or the bankster-friendly and botched foreclosure settlements, or whatever memos Holder wrote to support Obama whacking US citizens without due process. If they had done that, they might have peeled off a few Democrats anxious to save themselves, exactly as happened with Republicans when the Democrats (rightly) impeached Nixon. But they went with Fast & Furious and Benghazi — I keep joking about Benghazi being a topical cream, but nobody gets it; I guess it’s a generational thing — which is a two-fer: (a) They throw red meat to the base and help with their fundingl and (b) they let Obama twist slowly, slowly in the wind. It’s not even rope-a-dope; it’s more like watching the tanglefoot stumble around until he falls down. Let’s not forget that the Wehrmacht-like Republicans of the 90s who impeached Clinton were also called “stupid,” “crazy,” “insane” and all the adjectives that today’s career “progressives” deploy. And they were! They were! They also went on to win or at least claim two Presidential elections under Bush the Younger. So in a couple years we may be marveling at the brilliance of Republican tactics again; after all, none of them voted for ObamaCare, and right now, that’s looking like a pretty smart move.

      1. zadoofkaflorida

        Lambert, check this out: Go to the Dept of Labor Website, look in the HIPPA area. HIPPA was signed by Bill Clinton in the 90’s and deals with privacy and INSURANCE PORTABILITY. If you are with out insurance for 63 days, and then buy a new policy or get a job (really?) and insurance with your new employer, any previous health problems can BE A CARVE OUT IN YOUR NEW POLICY.

        The 9 million people who got insurance cancellation notices are the people with high blood pressure, diabetics and previous cancer treatment. And the Obamacare website does not work! It is a loophole the insurance companies can use because they cannot exclude illness or people for “pre existing conditions” The will use Bill’s law for their benefit.

        Really, I’m not kidding. Read the HIPPA law.

  9. Kurt Sperry

    Re: ECB ready to print, Germany ready to scream Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph– Soros’ judgment that the only logical outcome is Germany removing itself voluntarily from the EZ is echoed here. Hard to argue with that.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Vietnam…spent 1,000 years fighting Chinese occupation.

    Probably 2,000 year, or more…when Han general Ma Yuan quelled a rebellion led by the Trung sisters, a little over a hundred years after the Han annexation of Nanyue, another Chinese occupation dynasty set up by a former Qin commander, Zhao Tuo.

    It was Ma Yuan who melted down all, or alsmot all, the Dong Son bronze drums – those beautiful drums with a bursting star on top and whose makers might have come from Sichuan’s Sanxindui culture…if so, that’s another Chinese occupation. And it so happened that the founder of Au Lac (a kingdom in the 3rd century BC, before Zhao Tuo and before Ma Yuan), Thuc Phan, was said to have been a prince from the Chinese state of Shu (also pronounced Thuc, by the Vietnamese coincidentally).

    But it is not just Vietnam. The Thai people of Thailand – they came to occupy northland Thailand (not called that then, but under Khmer domination at the time, probably), from, again, China almost 1,000 years ago.

  11. Yonatan

    #askJPM is still going strong!

    When will the #askJPM bubble burst? Before or after the US economy blows up?

  12. Benedict@Large

    Re: “‘World War III’ Between Obama and the Insurance Industry” (Atlantic Wire)

    The insurers are pissed off because Obama exposed their little scam to clean up their book of business. You see, the grandfathering provision was meant so they could keep the part of their existing book that they wanted, while the rule on losing grandfathering if changes were made was put in so they could dump the part of their book they didn’t want, and could blame it on ObamaCare. But the insurers got greedy and overdid the number of cancellations, and then it became a political problem.

    Now that Obama has lifted the provision on losing grandfathering, the insurers will either have to keep business they don’t want, or will have to admit the whole set-up of grandfathering was a scam. And so they’re pissed off. Life’s a bitch.

    1. Benedict@Large

      RE: “Moi: By what authority can Obama do this? He needs to pass an amendment to legislation, or is he just running the country by diktat?”

      Apparently he is allowed to do this by administrative ruling. At least that’s what several reports have said.

      RE: “If he has not fired people, he is not that sorry.”

      I know of at least one person (whose name I don’t recall) who has been put to the street. Whomever it was, he was responsible for overseeing a two billion dollar budget, which is pretty substantial. Should more people hit the street? Maybe. Should Sebalius? I doubt it.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, that’s him asserting and no one bothering to check. And we don’t do anything by the book anyhow in this country, so why should this be any different?

        Some state insurance regulators are saying they aren’t playing ball and he lacks the authority (this from an insurance reg standpoint, not “is this in the ambit of the legislation” which was my issue). Dunno if they will actually challenge him, but you might see that out of some of the Republican states.

  13. different clue

    It was European Christians (mainly Catholic and Protestant) who conducted the missionizing and conquest of indigenous peoples. The various Middle Eastern Christian communities are indeed ancient, indigenous, etc. They are indeed faced with pressure ranging from discrimination up to religiocide and even genocide. It is not “disingenous patter” to point that basic fact out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Nestorian Christians – they might have died out in China.

      Apparently, there was a cryptic Nestorian temple disguised as a Buddhist one in Fujian.

    2. JerseyJeffersonian

      Yes, that was a very ill-informed remark, and worthy of being called out. Christian communities in Muslim majority countries, are largely constrained from conversion of Muslims in their countries. They have to run a low profile because of the intolerance directed at them. With the salafists like the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood breathing down your neck this is quite obvious to the Coptic Chrisian community. The Muslim Brotherhood, theoretical calls for respect for other “Peoples of the Book” notwithstanding, are clearly eliminationist in their thinking. So it is with Islamists in general and their advocacy for democracy: one man, one vote, ONE TIME. Then the pretenses of toleration can be discarded.

    3. LeitrimNYC

      An absolutely beautiful book on the subject is William Dalrymple’s “From the Holy Mountain”
      Dalrymple wrote a combined history/travelogue about his journey through the Christian heartland of the Middle East in the late 1990s. It’s a tribute to a dying culture and sad and beautiful at the same time. He’s a brilliant historian and travel writer in general and his latest book on the first British invasion of Afghanistan is also great.

    1. AbyNormal

      “There is nothing in this world that never takes a step outside a person’s heart.”
      Haruki Murakami

      (and we know the Fed Corporation has a heart cause Dick Cheney said so…we’re so beyond help)

      START OVER ‘)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Go ahead, do the $4.5 billion settlement. We will help you get it all, and more, back.”

  14. susan the other

    The post about all the private banks who “advise” the Greek government on Greek debt issues and are primary dealers of Greek debt. Conflict of interest anyone? And this is happening all around the world. Our own primary dealers have this same control over the debt market. Altho’ our Fed has been confronting them to a small extent – enough to make them whine. When you think about it, this “control” is nothing more than a network of dealers, people who pick up the phone and talk to each other, which the government could do much more efficiently and without the prevailing conflict of interest. The government can just pay money directly into the economy for specific purposes. Don’t bother Eric Holder with these inconvenient facts.

    1. AbyNormal

      some crafty journeyman use to post GS wonks exiting 1st round of Greek debt meetings…i saw a few on youtube. (they’ve since disappeared…as far as i can tell)

      “You never oughta drink water when it ain’t runnin’.”
      Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

  15. bulfinch

    “I think they theory of merit in the distribution of wealth and the reality[…]is beginning to dawn on more and more people…”

    I wish you were right, but I really don’t sense it in the conversations I have/chatter I overhear. Most Americans take the cheap seats and lose the message.

  16. mookie

    The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar Mark Ames, Yasha Levine – NSFWCorp

    Since its founding in 2004, Omidyar Network has committed nearly $300 million to a range of nonprofit and for-profit “charity” outfits. An examination of the ideas behind the Omidyar Network and of the investments it has made suggests that its founder is anything but a “different” sort of billionaire. Instead, what emerges is almost a caricature of neoliberal ideology, complete with the trail of destruction that ensues when that ideology is put into practice. The generous support of the Omidyar Network goes toward “fighting poverty” through micro-lending, reducing third-world illiteracy rates by privatizing education and protecting human rights by expanding property titles (“private property rights”) into slums and villages across the developing world.

  17. optimader

    RE: ATF Tests Show 3D Printed Guns Can Explode

    “The ATF has been testing 3D printed guns …depending on the thermoplastics, 3D printers and CAD designs used, some can explode on the first attempt to shoot them.”

    Well, who’d a thunk

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