Links 11/25/13

Uber Now Delivering Kittens For 15-Minute Cuddle Sessions Gizmodo Australia

Australia’s sea of crimson claws BBC

* * *

What We’ve Learned From Nafta: It Successfully Undermined Regulations Yves Smith*, Room for Debate, Times. “‘[I]nvestor-state’ arbitration panels … give foreign investors greater rights than those of home country citizens and businesses.”
* * *

$13 Billion, Yes, but What Took So Long? Gretchen Morgenson, Times. “Had the Justice Department aggressively investigated the banks’ practices using its full array of powers, who knows how much more it could have generated?”

Shadow Banking and Systemic Risk Regulation Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

If this is “secular stagnation”, I want my old job back Crooked Timber

US banks warn Fed interest cut could force them to charge depositors FT

Iran Deal

A Temporary Deal With Iran Moon of Alabama

Historic P5+1 Interim Agreement With Iran Buys Time for Permanent Solution emptywheel

Follow the money: How lobby interests are spinning Iran nuclear deal Pepe Escobar, RT

Now for the Hard Part Foreign Policy

The Geopolitics of a US-Iran Détente The Diplomat

World recognizes Iran’s nuclear rights: Rouhani Teheran Times

Iran sanctions deal to unleash oil supply but Saudi wild card looms Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Obama has leeway on Iran, despite U.S. lawmakers’ concerns Reuters

Disagreements break out within hours of Iran accord FT

After Iran nuclear deal, tough challenges ahead WaPo

Warsaw climate talks set 2015 target for plans to curb emissions Guardian

US Court Denies Halt on Pipeline Set to Replace Keystone XL Northern Half DeSmogBlog

Learning to Live in the Anthropocene Truthout

ObamaCare Launch

The federal health-care exchange’s abysmal success rate WaPo. Keen interactive charts.

In rural Kentucky, health-care debate takes back seat as the long-uninsured line up WaPo. Note that Medicaid expansion requires neither the Exchange nor the mandate. It would have been just as simple to lower the eligibility age for Medicare and call that ObamaCare as it was to raise the income eligibility for Medicaid.

Obamacare Ain’t Lookin’ Too Caring Economic Populist

Chief of Hawaii’s O-Care exchange to resign The Hill. Finally. A scalp.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

US spying fuels popularity of secure messaging app Wickr FT. Funded by a VC late of In-Q-Tel? Gee, I’m not so sure about this…

Shaken NSA Grapples With an Overhaul Online WSJ

NSA deputy director skeptical on sharing data with FBI and others Guardian. So Feinstein’s “reform” bill would let the FBI and DEA search NSA’s data? Alrighty then.

Cryptography Part 1: Drunken rambling introduction Self Evident (parts 2, 3, and 4).

Multi-term Synonym Mapping in Solr Another Word for It. Whatever tool the NSA is using for data mining, it’s not stock SOLR or anything like it.

How word targets help creative procrastination John Quiggin

Swiss Voters Reject High-Pay Initiative Online WSJ

Questions raised about role of British company in South African mining massacre The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Greece’s “Meaningless” Debt; Puppies Beg for Treats; Euro Debate Greece Isn’t Having; Sisyphean Tasks Global Economic Analysis

Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour signs ‘anti-protest law’ Guardian

Philippine Diaspora to Rescue Shows Remittance Reliance: Economy Bloomberg

Think Black Friday is best day to get a deal? Think again LA Times

Black Magic, White Soul The New Enquiry

I is for Ideology Michael Hudson. “Ideology: A set of assumptions so appealing that one looks at their abstract logic rather than at how the world actually works. (See Insanity.)” I love this series.

Antidote du jour (From Mexico). They promised me a pony and now my pony is here!!!!!!


NOTE * Yves apologizes for the lack of an original post; she’s been doing a lot of work back stage for the site relaunch.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. AbyNormal

    re: US banks warn Fed interest cut could force them to charge depositors…

    “3 people get stranded on a remote Island

    A Banker/Bugfu*ker, a Daily Mail reader & an Asylum seeker

    All they have to eat is a box of 10 Mars bars

    The Banker/Bugfu*ker says “Because of my expertise in asset management, I’ll look after our resources”

    The other 2 agree

    So the Banker/BugFu*ker opens the box, gobbles down 9 of the Mars bars and hands the last one to the Daily Mail reader

    ‘Bugfu*ker’ then says “I’d keep an eye on that Asylum seeker, he’s after your Mars Bar”
    Brookmyre, When the Devil Drives

    1. DolleyMadison

      too funny…except it would go down exactly like that. Does their hubris know no bounds? We will now PAY them to offer us nothing in return for the use of our money. Unfreaking believable.

    2. Jackrabbit

      A more complete and Americanized version would be:

      There are 10 people, one is a banker, one is a fast-talking marketing type, one is a body builder, and three are welfare recipients. The other four constitute the ‘middle-class’: two are Tea-Party types, one is neutral, and one is a lefty progressive type.

      They agree to vote for leaders. The marketing guy is elected President, the banker is voted Treasurer, and the body builder is made ‘General’ and charged with security.

      There are ten boxes of highly nutritious protein bars, each with 10 bars – enough to feed everyone until there is a rescue in a week or so.

      The banker declares the bars to be a scare resource. The President calls for shared sacrifice. The General Agrees: food security is vital! The others must forage for food if they want some bars. Only the four ‘middle-class’ people forage successfully. After they have done so, the President urges the group to eat the berries and bark and save the bars for a special occasion or emergency.

      The middle-class people complain but are out-voted 6-4. The lefty, who complains the loudest, is beaten by the General.

      For the remaining days until rescue, the Tea-Partiers forage, while the welfare recipients perform personal services for the executives.

      Ten days later, a plane arrives (the good ship ‘Retirement’). But there is only room for three. The President, Treasurer, and General board the plane and tell the others that they can have the bars until another plane or boat arrives. When the others get back to camp they find that only two bars remain.

      The executives convince the plane crew to fly them all the way back home, stopping only to refuel. Rescue for the others is delayed for many days. During that time, the ‘executives’ are media darlings and ink book and movie deals.

      1. Jackrabbit


        1) The middle-class forages, not just the Tea-Partiers.
        2) Only the President and Treasurer board the plane.
        3) Someone dies before rescue and some have lasting effects from the starvation diet, but most say nice things about the executives later, sucking up to the celebrities that they have become.

        My version is not so funny. But neither is the real-life version.

  2. JTFaraday

    re: I is for Ideology Michael Hudson. “Ideology: A set of assumptions so appealing that one looks at their abstract logic rather than at how the world actually works. (See Insanity.)” I love this series.

    That’s it? I got set for a whole essay on ideology by MH.

    No pony at that link! Not even a 15 minute kitty cuddle.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      After looking at how the world really works, one has 2 choices.

      1. stay at being ‘descriptive.’ Join the party of bribery, special privileges, bailing out banksters, all that modern money ‘descriptive’ stuff.

      2. Say no to how the world really works and say, we don’t want corruption in government.

      I say, stop being just descriptive.

      1. Ulysses

        Yes! X1000!! Staying “above the fray” in an ivory tower of “apolitical” observation will not be an option for very much longer.

        Today Chris Hedges shared this somber thought:
        “The forces of life, including the ecosystem, are being transformed into forces of death. The monster Typhoon Haiyan is only one of the first tragedies. Nature and global elites seeking to exploit the planet’s last drops of blood and its repressed masses are joining to make the days of descent squalid and terrifying. And in this extremity we will have to find our place. There will come a time, if there is no radical change, when we too will be forced to choose how we will die, whom we will cling to, what we will risk. There will be no moral hierarchy to resistance. We will be pulled one way or another by fate and love. And these different routes of resistance will all be legitimate as long as we do not, as Edelman said, attempt ‘to survive at the expense of somebody else.'”

        (N.B.– “Edelman” is of course the hero of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, not the plucky receiver/punt returner who contributed to last night’s amazing comeback victory of the Patriots against the Broncos)

  3. Doug Terpstra

    New rule: always look a gift horse in the mouth and its underbelly when presented by the great Trojan Horse himself. Re: Iran at Moon of AL, it sure looks like a setup. When, not if, Iran is judged to have failed to meet the terms, then Bibi’s war can proceed with the usual AIPAC-imposed unanimity in the US Knesset.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      Another astonishingly beautiful and moving antidote, thank you very much for the positive start to my day.

    2. Synopticist

      Obama may be a dick and a sell-out, but he does NOT want to launch another war in the ME. He had that opportunity in Syria. Getting a deal with Iran was probably his no. 1 or 2 foreign policy priority for a second term.

      I think he’s enjoying giving the Israelis a pointed lesson in diplomacy, and moving the US further away from the Saudis, something that has been going on for a decade or more. Just about everyone theses days hates the Saudis, and the hold on US policy by the Israeli lobby is weakening.

  4. charger01

    From the “uber” story- wake me up when they have golden retrievers on loan.

    The daily antidote is non-stop awesome.

    1. AbyNormal

      i keep returning to the beauty
      FromMexico takes my heart hostage…Again

      “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals… In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
      Henry Beston

  5. tyler

    The simple fact is that we’d be at or near full employment right now if the president and Congress had not raised taxes and cut spending.

    1. Massinissa

      “had not raised taxes”

      When were taxes raised?

      And when they were, I assume it was something regressive.

      1. tyler

        tobacco tax, tanning tax, expiration of payroll tax holiday, expiration of Bush tax cuts for the rich, tax increases in ObamaCare

        1. Shutter

          One more tax he should add… a 100% tax on firearms and any and all related accessories, including ammunition.

          Tax them into oblivion.

  6. DakotabornKansan

    Iran deal…

    Herculean efforts to torpedo the deal in bound from Israel, AIPAC, Congress, and everyone’s favorite theocracy, Saudi Arabia.

    Warnings that new sanctions against Iran could lead to war.

    “Do our Middle East “allies” really have our best interests at heart when they clamor for us to go to war for them?” – Zbigniew Brzezinski

    The spin war…

    Edward Bernays, Propaganda 101: Repeat a thing often enough, it becomes accepted as true.

    “In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves.” – Peter Beinart, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,”

    “As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.” – Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, recent speech to the U.S. Congress

    Yehuda Bauer, a Holocaust historian and the academic adviser to Yad Vashem, Israel’s primary Holocaust memorial and museum, says, “People in Israel misuse the Holocaust in politics and other areas all the time. It’s used mainly by the right wing but also by the left and center to [vilify political adversaries].

    Bauer calls Jews the “impossible people.” ‏(the actual Hebrew word is “mehutzaf,” which in normal usage means “insolent” or “impertinent”) “The Jews were always in opposition to the whole world. The Jewish people would be endangered by unity. The quarrels and disputes are the engine that drives its culture forward, backward or sideways. That is its elixir of life.

    “Internecine strife is a trait of the Jewish people. Jewish culture is based on these internal conflicts…The endless debates, from the Middle Ages to our own time, constitute the vitality of this people, so I call it chutzpah [a variation on the Hebrew title]. There is some inner cultural asset which is special and intriguing, and sometimes also repulsive and disgusting.”

    “If you do something for long enough the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries. International law progresses through violations.” – Charles Freeman, quoting the former head of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Legal Department

    Focusing on the Iran threat unites Netanyahu’s hawkish base, while diverting focus from establishing peace with the Palestinians. Iran serves a similar function for the US hawkish base, while diverting attention from the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli apartheid.

    “If this isolation from Palestinians were confined to American Jewry, it would be bad enough. But to a striking degree, the same insularity characterizes debate about Israel in Washington.” – Peter Beinart, “The American Jewish Cocoon”

    1. Jim Haygood

      Bloomberg news: ‘In exchange for a selective easing of sanctions, the agreement requires Iran to curtail sensitive nuclear activities, reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium and agree to increased international inspections of its nuclear facilities.’

      If only Israel were signed up to a deal like this too, the whole world could breathe easier.

      Netanyahu’s reckless threats of a unilateral attack on Iran implicitly include the possible use of Israel’s estimated 200 nuclear warheads.

      This is a far more serious, credible and globally destabilizing risk that anything Iran is capable of doing. Disgracefully, Israel’s contemptuous, decades-long flouting of international law is explicitly underwritten by the United States.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We shouldn’t pick on Israel like that.

        That kind of disarmament agreement should perhaps starts with France.

        Then India.

        Then Britain.

        Then China.

        And so on.

        Unless we assume Plato’s Ideal State, run by virtuous statesmen, exists today…in that, er, exceptional case, it is exempt.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘The Jewish people would be endangered by unity. The quarrels and disputes are the engine that drives its culture forward, backward or sideways. That is its elixir of life.’

      It gives one hope that all humans are alike, no one (or one group) is more special than others…that we all quarrel and dispute nonstop. I don’t care if they are Christian, Hebrew or Buddhist theologians. I don’t care if topic is religion, art or politics.

      It would be a misuse to characterize only one group of people is by its quarrels and disputes. No one is more special. We are all equally Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens.

      We are not, alas, even dogs.

      This is what a dog does, in haiku

      A dog does not say,
      he and I, not the same breed
      I won’t play with him.

      1. from Mexico

        It’s amazing how human beings operate.

        The evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson calls the average person a “facultative sociopath.”

        In addition to a rich archeological, anthropological, and historical record of murder and mayhem, there is ample psychological evidence that we are hardwired to ditinguish between “us” and “them” and to behave inhumanely toward “them” at the slightest provocation, as science journalist David Berreby recounts i his book Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind. Much of this research was initiated in the aftermath of World War II to explain how decent people could have participated in the Holocaust. Henri Tajfel, a Holocaust survivor, discovered that he could trigger us-versus-them thinking merely by assigning people to arbitrary groups. In what has become known as the Robbers Cave experiment, social psychologist Muzafer Sherif and his colleagues showed that well-bred American boys at a summer camp could be easily set against each other by housing them in separate cabins and reunited just as easily by giving them a common task. Contemporary books such as Among the Thugs by Bill Buford and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges describe violent conflict as instinctively pleasurable, like a sexual experience… My dictionary defines a sociopath as “a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior.” An ounce of evolutionary thinking makes it obvious that “extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior” do not necessarily reflect a personality trait or a disorder, but may be an evolved tendency that can be expressed by ayone in the grip of us-versus-them thinking.

        –DAVID SLOAN WILSON, Evoluton for Everyone

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It appears we have misplaced our inner Bonobo-ape self.

          Perhaps we had killed it in order to become ‘civilized.’

          1. ambrit

            Dear MLTPB;
            It probably withered when we had to leave the relative peace and security of the jungle habitat during the great “Drying Out” that began a few million years ago in the Garden. I’m still not sure whether the bonobo is our first cousin or our auntie.
            Unfortunately for our post-Romantic sensibilities, we became the powerhouse species we are because we are social and cooperative creatures AND ruthless killers. The balance is all.

        2. Garrett Pace

          This sort of Manichean worldview does manifest itself early. My four year old is happy to assign labels to “good guys” and “villains”, and media content for people his age is obliging in making obvious who is who. Offering a more nuanced view of the good and bad that all people are equally capable of presents a rather large conceptual difficulty. Results have been uneven, but there’s been some success. Now he goes around saying things like:

          “Jabba the Hutt makes bad choices.”

        3. Benjamin

          It was much better to imagine men in some smokey room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over brandy. You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you didn’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told the children bed time stories, were capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people. It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, then what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things. – Terry Pratchett, Jingo

      2. tim s

        Nature is not so kind either. I have seen my dogs chasing cats for sport, chasing possums & other critters of the night for trespassing on their property, and catching and killing a squirrel because, well, SQUIRREL!!!

        I’ve had my new kitten (AWW, KITTENS) killed by the four Dachshunds next door because it finally got old enough to jump it’s first fence.

        Disney exists nowhere but on the screen.

        speaking of screens, watch PLANET EARTH or BLUE PLANET to see how much animals love each other.

    3. Cynthia

      Netanyahu is nuts. I think there should be sanctions against Israel until it dismantles its nuclear weapons, returns the land it forcefully stole from Palestinians and pays war reparations for all of the grief and death they have sown.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Rural Kentucky/Uninsured (Note that Medicaid expansion requires neither the exchange nor the mandate.)

    No kidding. Note also that for the next 3(?) years, the entire cost of the Medicaid expansion in all states that are expanding is borne by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. I’m guessing that means that all the lung spots and “moles” that have been simmering for years will be treated at the expense of the Feds.

    Really??? They just cut FOOD STAMPS for Chrissakes!

    Has everyone forgotten that there was a government “shutdown” a few short weeks ago over the budget deficit/national debt and another one scheduled for the first of the year?

    So along comes Obamacare promising to pay for ALL Medicaid expansion, subsidies on insurance premiums with no restrictions on raises, and to cover any losses insurance companies will suffer as a result of this new law.

    Someone, somewhere is DELUSIONAL. They just cut FOOD STAMPS for Chrissakes!!!

    This is by no means a value judgement–whether these people should be treated or not–they should have been treated a long time ago. I’m just sayin’ that when you’re willing to cut food stamps and unemployment, I don’t see any way this gets funded for very long.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Especially when this (posted in links yesterday)
      is the way governments want to treat expanded liberty/ small business.

      Maintain the police state, the prison complex and add in absurd regulation incredibly high taxation ( two proposed 25 to 30 percent taxation points, plus other smaller ones on one agro product) at needless points.

      The entire article, especially the thoughts and actions of the key figure in the article. Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at U.C.L.A. is a perfect demonstration of what goes wrong when gov’t, so-called liberal and so-called conservatives agree in Chicago school, I mean UCLA neoliberalism.

      1. bmeisen

        Kleiman seems to have a point – legalization of pot is unlikely to eliminate the sale of pot under the table. He seems to be using a pricing model which may evoke (neo)liberal ideologies in some readers: if the price of legal pot is 10 and Tom’s neighbor is selling it for 5 then Tom is likely to buy from his neighbor. Kleiman argues for more policing to “blow the paper tiger over”, and maybe that’s what’s bugging you.

        I appreciate some of your concerns. Instead of trying to win customers by suppressing the illegal trade, the state could adopt tried and true marketing tactics: loss leaders, quality arguments, rebates, two-for-ones, “Guaranteed lowest price in town!” The challenge is for the state to lure potheads to the legal market and it can do that without bullying dealers.

  8. Jackrabbit

    Well, since all the links are for the Iran deal are out today, my comment from yesterday seems more relevant so I am re-posting below with a few modifications:

    Note: As has been stated clearly: there is no agreement on anything until a final agreement. Most commentators seem to be ignoring this stipulation; assuming, prehaps, that it is empty words that are necessary to comfort the hardliners. But the fact remains that this is an interim agreement that is also conditioned on Iran’s good behavior.

    Both sides get something valuable via this deal but that doesn’t mean they are any closer to a lasting settlement of differences. And hardliners on both sides are not likely to stand still. So anyone who has become skeptical of anything from the Obama Administration might well ask:
    * Is this Lucy holding the football (yet again)?
    * Wouldn’t an attack on Iran also pull Syria into the conflict? (along with allies that were previously reluctant to participate in a Syria attack)

    = = = =
    Interim Agreement with Iran

    I think critics are right that Iran gains more from this deal. The deal puts restraints on enrichment activity but is silent about other activities that are important for a nuclear arms capability. For example:

    * The Iranians can’t use their new centrifuges – but they can still manufacture them (or components).
    * The Iranians have to restrict enrichment – but not development of delivery vehicles (e.g. missiles)

    It may well have been the Iranians that did not want to include those other activities or would have done so only with more concessions such as an EXPLICIT acknowledgement of their right to enrichment. But continuing these activities provides fodder to critics.

    At the same time, the Administration’s summary of the deal describes their motivation to take this ‘first-step’ as a final step before an attack:

    … without this phased approach, the international sanctions coalition would begin to fray because Iran would make the case to the world that it was serious about a diplomatic solution and we were not.

    Given the fraught history of negotiations over the Iran nuclear project, one might expect that the negotiations will take all of the six months and more. However, the ‘deal’ actually can be terminated early if Iran misbehaves so Iran maybe expecting to have more time than they ultimately get.

    So here’s the rub: during the interim period, whether the Iranians are serious about reaching a final agreement or not, they have an incentive to redouble their efforts in every area not specifically disallowed by the interim agreement so as to be prepared for the possibility that a satisfactory final agreement is not reached. But critics will seize on any advances (real or imagined) as evidence that the Iranians are NOT serious and just playing for time. Cynics might say that the leeway allowed in this deal(*) is designed for exactly that purpose: to give Iran enough rope to hang themselves (with a little help from the anti-Iran hardliners).

    * Even if it was the Iranians that refused a more comprehensive ‘freeze’ (probably wanting more concessions form the West in return such as an EXPLICIT acknowledgement of Iran’s right to enrich).

  9. down2long

    Royal Bank of Scotland drove companies into default so that they could strip assets, etc.

    Who wants to bet this was system wide, including in the U.S., and that it continues today.

    In my own experience this is very common here in the U.S: Wells and Deutsche refused/returned (in the case of Wells continue to refuse) my court ordered payments for my mortgage payments, Chase “electively” foreclosed on my performing loan, Wells sold (and fundedthe subsequent loan)on a property they foreclosed upon at half the price I had offered in Chap. 11, then sold the wiped out second as a performing loan to another bank.

    The question is a rhetorical one: In England the B of E has stepped up direct loans to small businesses to help them get around the banks refusals there to loan to small business. Will Auntie Yellen do this?

    Will Eric “Place” Holder investigate? Will Obombya—oh never mind. Oh, one does amuse oneself with these silly questions.

  10. down2long

    This just in: British Prince Andrew (formerly known as Randy Andy, now just known as a well-fed corporatist prig, right down to his Monopoly top hat) had Jamie “Slimin'” Dimon and many of his well heeled friends over to Buckingham Palace and a nice dinner of roasted peasant — I mean pheasant — and long luxurious talks between musical sets by the Philharmonic on how to phinally phinish off the peasantry.

    A delightful time was had by all, although the British were upset by the increasing commercialization (!!!) and obvious class alliances of their dear Royal Family. Tish, tosh.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Very interesting.

    In marketwatch today, there is this article: If you want to get rich, read fiction.

    I thought it was ‘if you want to get really rich, write fiction.’

    Especially the propaganda kind of fiction…buy my smartphone, lease my car brand, watch my channel, listen to my rock music….

  12. susan the other

    Truthout. Peter Rugh. The Anthropocene. How do we leave the growth mindset? Maybe this is where software can shine. Because Tuttle lives. Let’s do this: let’s move out of this house by taking only what we need and a few souvenirs we cherish. Move into an eco-house all set up to do all the sustainability things. Then we can create a vast new industry coordinated by the internet and methodically recycle the old house and everything in it and the car in the garage, categorizing everything; and also create a massive new warehouse system of perfectly useable goods saving zillions in fossil-fueled manufacturing. Because you can only leave it if you have someplace else to go.

  13. rich

    New York Fed’s Strange New Role: Big Bank Equity Analyst

    By Pam Martens: November 25, 2013

    Dudley is perhaps not the best candidate to be lecturing Wall Street on public trust. As we previously reported, Dudley’s wife, Ann Darby, was a former Vice President at JPMorgan Chase and has been receiving $190,000 a year from the Bank from deferred compensation plans during her husband’s presidency at the New York Fed. According to a disclosure document, those $190,000 payments are to continue until 2021.

    “With regard to the deferred compensation, as we have previously stated, after further discussions and analysis by the New York Fed’s lawyers, it was agreed that Ms. Darby’s fixed deferred compensation from her previous employer neither posed a conflict nor required a waiver.”

    At the current dividend rate of 38 cents a quarter per share of JPMorgan Chase stock, $190,000 is equivalent to receiving the annual income on 125,000 shares of JPMorgan stock. That seems like a big deal, especially considering that Steven Gilchrist is being criminally prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice for working at the SEC and owning a handful of bank stocks.

    According to a statement by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara earlier this month, when Gilchrist was charged, “We will not tolerate abuses of trust and violations of law by individuals tasked with safeguarding our markets. As an SEC examiner, Steven Gilchrist had a duty to avoid conflicts of interest that might compromise or even appear to compromise his integrity. Instead, as alleged, he violated the SEC’s internal rules about stock ownership and repeatedly lied to the SEC about his holdings.”

    According to the complaint filed by Bharara, Gilchrist asked the SEC for a waiver on holding shares of Citigroup, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley on the basis that he had inherited the stocks from his father, had owned them for a long time without any trading, didn’t think of them as investments, and that they made up a “fraction of his portfolio.” Gilchrist, a lowly compliance examiner at the SEC at the time of his alleged infraction, faces 15 years in prison if convicted.

  14. down2long

    #AskJPM Slimin’ Dimon at Bucky Palace with disgraced corporate shill Prince Andrew. Insults Andy by saying That’s why I’m richer than you.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Pettis: Markets rational?

    Are humans rational?

    How does one get something rational (markets) from something not rational (humans)?

    How does one get something that’s supposed to be good for all (optimal resource allocation) from something that’s questionable (just be selfish, looking out for your own best economic interest)?

    Is ‘creatio ex nihilo’ somehow involved here?

  16. tongorad

    Dean Baker shilling for Obamacare:

    “…by Washington standards Obama could easily take credit for the sharp slowdown in health care costs over the last five years. In reality, the ACA probably does deserve some of the credit, but regardless of the cause the slowdown is a really big deal. As a result, health care is much more affordable than would otherwise be the case.”

    Baker discusses some “caveats,” such as gosh, that economic collapse thingy, but heartily concludes “it is hard not to see the slowing of cost growth as a very good thing. This will free up money for other purposes, including providing health care to a greater segment of the population.”

    In other words, a sheltered academic elite with no grasp of working class reality spouting pure bollocks…never trust an economist.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe I am imagining, but I thought I saw a bumper sticker that said, ‘Republicans for Obama in 2016!’

  17. EmilianoZ

    I cant make any sense of this ranking of countries with the highest rates of antidepressant use:

    Among the top 5 you find: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden. Aren’t these nice socialist countries with high quality of life? I read somewhere that Denmark had the highest percentage of people rating themselves as happy. This is completely contradictory.

    It’s based on an OECD report. Is it complete bunk? Or should we stick to rabid capitalism?

    1. Synopticist

      To see Sweden, Denmark and Iceland in the top 5 doesn’t surprise me. Those scandanavians have always been famously depressive.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Equality can only do so much to overcome short, dark winter days.

        Australiah, I think, is there due to people there living in a world that is upside down.

        1. Ulysses

          Ha! I recall my friend Hamish, from New Zealand, being pushed to a sputtering rage by my friend Andy insisting that he must feel great living in the U.S. now “and not having to deal with all that blood rushing to your head all the time.”

  18. rich

    Wall Street May Take Derivatives Regulator to Court

    Wall Street banks reeling from a flurry of activity by departing U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler are considering taking the agency to court.

    Scalia Consulted

    This time, the banks have decided they have little recourse except to sue the agency for not following the proper procedures for issuing regulations, said the people briefed. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Wall Street’s main lobbying group, recently set up a conference call that included the firms’ general counsels and attorney Eugene Scalia, a Washington lawyer who has filed several cases seeking to overturn Dodd-Frank rules.

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, another Wall Street-dominated trade group, has also consulted with law firm Mayer Brown about the legality of Gensler’s maneuvers, one of the people said.

    A lawsuit could be filed as early as this week, the person said.

    Scalia and ISDA didn’t respond to requests for comment. Liz Pierce, a Sifma spokeswoman, declined to comment.

    Rob Nichols, the president of the Financial Services Forum in Washington, which represents the chief executives of the major Wall Street firms, said that his members want to make sure that regulators in the U.S. and Europe are “rowing in the same direction” so the global swaps market isn’t disrupted. Gensler’s guidance on foreign trading is “counter-productive,” he added.
    ‘Raising Concerns’

    1. down2long

      What is it with our country that whenever banksters want, they have access to the top echelon of people. Why is this not prohibited. We have Slimin’ slobbering on Eric “Place” Holder’s nubby knob (or is it the reverse). And now, God I can’t even visualize it, banskters consorting with Fat Tony Scalia to front run a regulatory agency ruling provided for in that travesty Dodd-Frank mess. So someone actually finds a way, despite all the lobbying by the banksters, to put Dodd-Frank to use, and they go right to Fat Tony for a summary judgment, or a scowl, or a speech, or whatever Fat Tony will drop for them from his abundant behind. When will Fat Tony die of a well-deserved heart attack?

      1. down2long

        How embarassing. In my fury I neglected to note that it was Fat Tony’s disgraceful SON whom the banksters will hire, not thinking that that will affect Fat Tony’s position on this. I jumped the gun. I will read more carefully next time. I offer an abject apology (to anyone I might have offended, as the congrescritters are won’t to say.)

  19. Jessica

    If this is “secular stagnation”, I want my old job back from
    Crooked Timber
    I think that a powerful underlying factor setting the stage is that knowledge-driven production requires a different set of rules in order to function well. (Because the real productivity gains require that the knowledge be turned loose, but no one yet knows how to do that and simultaneously compensate/motivate those who do the work. )
    Thus the internet and telecommunications infrastructure did not set off the wave of development that, for example, electrification did.
    For lack of productive investments (that could function within social organization for thing-driven production), investment flowed into financial shenanigans and arbitraging between wage levels in the first world and the newly accessible (to multinational capital) Chinese and ex-Soviet block work forces.
    And Crooked Timber is quite correct that all of this was quite visible and pointed out in real time, even if that fact is inconvenient for elite-tolerated discourse.

    1. Jessica

      And Crooked Timber is quite correct that all of this was quite visible and pointed out in real time, even if that fact is inconvenient for elite-tolerated discourse. ->

      All of this = all of what Crooked Timber talked about, not what I said.
      Sigh. I want an editing function for Christmas.

  20. TomDority

    Just thought I would put it out there.
    Probably doing it because, having not practiced the twelve ounce curl for some time, I am in need of practice.

    So let me see if I got this here – economic – thing figured.
    There be some people with a lot of pie and, they got a whole other bunch of people that have some pie but not enough to go around. Obviously, they all want to be……civil like, to everyone. No need for a messy brawl in a church….just wouldn’t be kindly; if ya know what I mean.
    So then you got to have some sort a person to make sure a brawl don’t break out or something. Seems ta me that there needs to be some sort of… arbitrator In a match up like we have here, some neutral party has got to stand in….the only neutral party I know of is that big crowd of people that ain’t got pie.

    Don’t mean to go on a tangent but, I am.

    Taxes exist because; there are some bad apples in the barrel and, we all do stupid things. Taxes don’t pay for nothing really. Really they pay for nothing. The only thing taxes do is; they try to keep the barrel full of fresh apples and, try to keep the stupidity to a minimum. I mean, who ever heard of an unfunded war!!!!? I guess it didn’t get funded because nobody wants to purchase war….except maybe a few bad apples and General stupidity. You would think, through the magic of supply and demand….that wars should cost next to nothing Being one and the same thing, taxes are meant to keep your neighbor from pissing in your soup. If it weren’t for people that like to piss in your soup…there wouldn’t be a reason for taxes. All MMT’ers and all sovereign nations know that. Fact is, we all signed up for that deal under the Constitution of the United States….you know…cause we are citizens….some of us more prone to stupidity than others…like me.

    Well, I am going back to the pie fight I alluded to above.

    If I were that referee, I would first assess the situation.

    I got a few people with a lot of pie on the one hand, and a bunch of starving people with a little pie on the other hand.

    At that point, I would be compelled to stop the fight. I mean, for the love of humanity….how could I not? You got a few people with a bunch of pie against an army of starving people and a little pie. That ain’t no fight….that just a pure sign of stupidity that stupefies one’s imagination. Those with a lot of pie…..they will be decimated….ain’t no contest.

    First thing I would say to the pie heavy is: what? are you stupid??

    First thing I’d do is tax their stupidity.

    Of course, no hands would touch those that bake the pies……Pie good. War bad.

  21. Bet Mulligan

    I’ve read a few of the FedRes’s papers on shadow banking. Unfortunately, they don’t tell us anything we don’t already know but I’ll read this latest one anyway, just because. What I’d really like to read is their shadow banking crime and punishment paper.

    Right. In my dreams.

  22. McWatt

    “Obama Care Not Too Caring”

    Just got a letter from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. My rates are going up $75.00

    a month because of costs mandated by the Affordable Care Act. $1650.00 for

    two adults one child.

  23. Sammy Maudlin

    In “Black Magic, White Soul” Emily Lordi takes liberties with, and ignores a source she cites to create a false authoritarian paradigm around the creation of the song “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).”

    Ms. Lordi cites Matt Dobkin’s book “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You: Aretha Franklin, respect, and the making of a soul music masterpiece” for the proposition that it was Ms. Franklin’s “magic chord” that was the true catalyst for the arrangement and recording of the song. She avers that Spooner Oldham’s decision to leave the acoustic piano playing duties to Ms. Franklin on the record was a key event, and that the movie Muscle Shoals falsely gives credit to Mr. Oldham for providing the musical impetus to the arrangement. According to other (uncited, yet presumably more accurate) sources, Mr. Oldham confirms this version of history.

    However, Mr. Dobkin’s book tells a far different tale that the one Ms. Lordi attempts to relate. In the book, Mr. Oldham is universally recognized as having placed the keystone for the recording of the song. The session had lost momentum (even after Ms. Franklin had played the “magic chord”) in large part because the musicians didn’t really like the song. The demo was of extremely low quality and most thought it a tired blues cliche. However, Jerry Wexler insisted the song wasn’t that bad, and it was part of the album sessions in large part because Ms. Franklin’s husband Ted White “discovered” the song through a signee to his recording label.

    At some point, Mr. Oldham began playing the now-famous 3/4 time Wurlitzer organ part that leads the song musically. Engineer Chips Moman heard Mr. Oldham and declared “Spooner’s got it! Spooner’s got it!” Mr. Oldham kept playing, Ms. Franklin then worked her magic and began singing (without par) over the organ part. The rest of the musicians arranged their parts (without input from anyone, including Ms. Franklin), the track was cut, and music history was made.

    Furthermore, there is no acoustic piano until the second verse of the song. The “magic chord” was her vamping at the beginning of the session, not the bedrock of the song’s arrangement. Even the best musicians have a few favorite “licks” they’ll play when they first pick up an instrument to get the ball rolling. (An aside, one of my favorite Jimi Hendrix “compositions” is a two minute clip of him tuning up before a concert in San Diego in 1969, jaw dropping stuff).

    Ms. Lordi takes liberties with the facts to promote the idea that Ms. Franklin is being slighted her share of the credit for the recording of the song. She states:

    [The “magic chord” story] reminds us that she laid the instrumental foundation for her own recordings with Atlantic, arranging the songs through “head sessions” in which, as she explains, the band would “listen to what I was doing, and then they would decide what they were going to do, around that.” The image of Franklin in the driver’s seat of her own recordings powerfully contests the dominant story that casts her as a young ingénue just drifting, waiting for white men like producer Jerry Wexler to “know what to do with her.”

    This passage implies that it was standard practice for Ms. Franklin to take the lead in arranging songs she tracked for Atlantic, and that this part of the tale is left out of Muscle Shoals. However, “I Never Loved a Man” was the first song she ever recorded for Atlantic. She had never worked this way previously. Prior to this session, Columbia had tried to capitalize on her talent by making her sing show tunes and ballads with string arrangements in an attempt to make her the “black barbara Streisand.” (Dobkin, p. 27)

    All of Ms. Franklin’s contemporaries were at the mercy of their record labels. Misuse at the hands of a clueless record label was not a race or gender-specific problem. No record label “knew what to with” Willie Nelson, either. Years of Nashville strings and other false starts marred his early records. It wasn’t until Red Headed Stranger hit big that Columbia “knew what to do with” him.

    Ms. Franklin was not the authority in charge of the recording sessions for “I Never Loved a Man,” no one was. Music was in charge. She, the musicians, engineers, producers, and yes, record label owners came together to produce a piece of recorded magic that may never be duplicated. Ms. Lordi backhandedly dismisses other great talents such as Duane Allman, Rick Hall, and the Muscle Shoals musicians themselves. It’s a pity that, in order to further her viewpoint that a black woman is not receiving enough credit for her talent, she must argue that white men necessarily are receiving too much.

    Music is art and is colorblind. The Muscle Shoals musicians loved the music they were making, it wasn’t a blackface gag. There’s simply no need to take the piss out of their legacy the way Ms. Lordi attempts to do.

    James Brown said it best: “it’s not black or white, it’s what’s right!”

  24. Foy

    Re: Shadow Banking and Systemic Risk Regulation

    Interesting quote from the speech:
    Cash lenders in the tri-party repo market thus came to expect that the two clearing banks would always unwind their maturing trades in the morning, returning cash to their account, despite the absence of a contractual provision requiring them to do so. As a result, they grew comfortable in the belief that they held a cash-equivalent asset that was perfectly safe and liquid. But as the crisis deepened, cash lenders became aware of the fact that the clearing banks were not contractually obligated to unwind repo trades….

    ‘became aware’?! In other words the players forgot how the instruments they created and were trading actually worked! And then systemic oops. Thanks guys.

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