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Links 11/30/13

Can Animals Really Make Friends With Other Species? Slate (Nancy S)

Two Black Friday shoppers arrested in Virginia after man, 35, is ‘sliced to the bone’ in a dispute over a Walmart parking spot Daily Mail

Since the retail industry sees its customers as cattle, one can only imagine how they see their workers Lambert

Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries TechCrunch. Aieee!

23andMe Is Terrifying, But Not for the Reasons the FDA Thinks Scientific American (Robert M)

Launch code for US nuclear weapons was as easy as 00000000 Daily Mail

Electricity generated from gravity PhysOrg (Robert M)

Apple Retreats to the Suburbs Bloomberg

Switched at birth, but it took 60 years to discover mistake Independent (Chuck L)

China scrambles fighter jets towards US and Japan aircraft in disputed air zone Guardian

U.S. Advises Carriers to Obey China on Flight Rules New York Times

Arson blamed for big Bangladesh fire BBC

Thousands march to US Embassy ThaiVisa (Furzy mouse)

Thailand’s red-shirt heartland hides its strength Reuters (Lambert)

France in passionate debate over prostitution bill Financial Times

The Netherlands Loses Its Pristine AAA Rating Telegraph

Carney warns against taking out big mortgages Telegraph. A little late for that.

At least three feared dead after police helicopter crashes into Glasgow pub Guardian

Drone Dispute Strains U.S. Ties With Fractious Allies New York Times

OPEC Rift Emerges Over Oil Output Wall Street Journal

Human tragedy unfolds as Gaza runs on empty Telegraph

The Greatest Danger to Israel is the Stupidity of Its Leaders CounterPunch (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Is ‘Doomsday Cache’ Story Latest Effort To Smear Snowden? Mint. I can’t fathom why anyone would buy this as derogatory. People speculated about this early on, that this would be obvious prudent planning.

Information Monopoly Defines the Deep State Rayne, emptywheel (Chuck L)

Obamacare Launch

Obamacare Payment System to Insurers Changed in Setback Bloomberg

End presidential term limits Washington Post

Do-Nothing Congress Dithers on Budget as Deadline Nears Bloomberg. Notice the heavy-handed pro-austerity moralizing.

Shutdown prevention: back-room talks start Politico

Support the Disclosure of Corporate Pay Disparities Public Citizen. Please sign!

Rise of ‘Saudi America’ will alter globe, prolong U.S. superpower role McClatchy. Furzy mouse: “These bullish shale gas stories smell like propaganda to me….”

Real Businessmen Respond to Quantity Signals, Not Price Signals Angry Bear

US shoppers flock to holiday sales Financial Times

On Register’s Other Side, Little to Spend New York Times

Forget Black Friday – think Fordism Financial Times

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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88 comments

  1. charles 2

    Re : “Electricity From gravity”
    This is a stupid idea : all it does is increase the rolling resistance for the cars that pass on this and leads to increased fuel consumption. The overall energy efficiency would of course be dismal. There was a similar, and equally stupid, idea which involved placing micro wind turbines on the side of the road to catch the wind created by the vehicles.
    After Modern Monetary Theory, Modern Energy Generation Theory ?

    1. optimader

      Yet another Ralph Kramden scheme, hopefully Héctor hasn’t quit his dayjob.

      Energy theoretically could be “recovered” (if it was a “downhill” ramp) –notionally akin to regenerative braking.. but still an overly complex shadetree engineering scheme.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am thinking of marketing a bumper sticker/T-shirt with ‘Love is the only clean energy.’

      I need the money to cover my losses in those doom and gloom mutual funds that craazyman is very familiar with.

      1. optimader

        ahem..
        ‘Love is the only clean energy

        http://www.songstube.net/video.php?title=Dirty%20Love&artistid=5819&artist=Frank%20Zappa&id=44969

        Print on flipside of shirt

        “Dirty Love” – frank zappa
        Give me
        Your dirty love
        Like you might surrender
        To some dragon in your dreams

        Give me
        Your dirty love
        Like a pink donation
        To the dragon in your dreams

        I don’t need your sweet devotion
        I don’t want your cheap emotion
        Just whip me up some dragon lotion
        For your dirty love

        Give me
        Your dirty love
        Like some tacky little pamphlet
        In your daddy’s bottom drawer

        Give me
        Your dirty love
        I don’t believe you have ever seen
        That book before

        I don’t need no consolation
        I don’t want your reservation
        I only got one destination
        An’ that’s your dirty love

        Give me
        Your dirty love
        Just like your mama
        Make her fuzzy poodle do

        Give me
        Your dirty love
        The way your mama
        Make that nasty poodle chew

        I’ll ignore your cheap aroma
        And your little-bo-peep diploma
        I’ll just put you in a coma
        With some dirty love

        THE POODLE BITES!
        (Come on, Frenchie)
        THE POODLE CHEWS IT!
        (Snap it!)
        THE POODLE BITES!
        (Come on, Frenchie)
        THE POODLE CHEWS IT!
        (Snap it!)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A possible winner – piezoelectric walking shoes.

      After a brisk walk, you go home, take them off and download the energy to your electric car.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Another possible winner – piezoelectric bed.

        The more passionate you are, the more energy you generate.

        Do it for England!

  2. DakotabornKansan

    Can animals really make friends with other species?

    “Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.” – Samuel Butler, c. 1890

    1. LucyLulu

      Of course different species can form bonds. No studies or journal articles are needed to confirm what has been seen in nature. Nor is it necessarily limited to the young. I had a older horse that was donated to a boys home as a pet. They already had an older llama. The two quickly became inseparable. Both are normally herd animals, thus accustomed to living within social structures and forming bonds with other herd members. With no other members of their own species present, they turned to each other. Goats are commonly used for this purpose when economical (and non-predatory) company is needed for a horse.

      1. subgenius

        …interesting to note that the article totally ignores the phenomena of PETS – what, humans aren’t animals too…?

        1. diptherio

          Yeah, no sh*t, right?

          We’re such incredible narcissists, as a species. We have this bizarre superstition, which seems to be as deeply embedded in scientists as in everyone else, that humans are somehow qualitatively different from every thing else on the planet. We truly do think we’re special, just like the spoiled rich kids everyone hated growing up, who thought they really were better than everyone else…that’s us on a planetary level.

          I would imagine that the origins of this (quite obviously bat-sh*t-insane) belief can be traced back to the creation myths of the ancient Middle-Eastern Semitic peoples who’s world-view we have largely inherited.

          It’s ironic in the extreme that scientists, while rejecting the assumption of the invisible man in the sky, have clung to the theory of humanity’s ultimate uniqueness, which is part and parcel of that same superstitious mental framework.

          As Konrad Lorenz points out in his book King Solomon’s Ring, it is not “anthropomorphism” to assume that animals experience much the same emotions as we do, it is simply an acknowledgement of the fact that we have all evolved from the same basic blueprint, that we all share mammalian nervous systems.

          Scientists couldn’t handle the idea of a Deity, so they questioned, ridiculed and then discarded it…but they liked the idea that they themselves were super-special and unique, the crown of all existence, so they didn’t question the idea of Humanity’s innate superiority over all other species and it’s natural right to universal dominion over the planet.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We ignore the concept of ‘life continuum.’

            It doesn’t make sense that we are one discrete unit outside of a continuum.

            People laugh at the idea that a bat can dress as a human going around saving other defenseless bats from evil bats, but think perfectly Ok that a man can dress as a bat, going round saving other defenseless men from evil men.

            Batman, yes.

            Manbat, no good, or so we egotistically assume.

          2. Benjamin

            >Scientists couldn’t handle the idea of a Deity, so they questioned, ridiculed and then discarded it

            Yes, that’s exactly how it was. They couldn’t ‘handle it’. Not that it was inherently asinine and childish and left by the wayside along with all the other superstitions or anything. And scientists aren’t a hive-mind, thank you very much. Many are practicing believers of one kind or another.

          3. Benjamin

            And another thing, scientists and people who just generally love science are the ones I hear most often emphasising that we aren’t seperate from nature and we should take better care of it.

      1. ambrit

        Dear El Guapo;
        Dearieme has a well refined sense of humour. Not only can his question be seen as subversively all encompassing, but your rejoinder can as well! Welcome to the New World Order! (Same as the Old World Order.)

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      The author, Uri Avnery, is himself Israeli, a veteran of its 1948 war of independence, and now at 90 years old still very much a peace activist.

  3. Skeptic

    Pic

    Another great American pastime: spending Saturday afternoon cleaning Elephant Snot off your shiny, new, heavily financed auto. Only one of the great features of American Culture which will be forever lost if the current trend of Inequality continues.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Skeptic;
      Wait just a minute! Think of all the elephants who will lose their jobs at the car wash if your austerian ideas are enacted! (I shudder to think of all the peanut jokes I’m missing.)

  4. skippy

    Bloody ripper~

    If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire. The claims that the ultra-rich 1% make for themselves – that they are possessed of unique intelligence or creativity or drive – are examples of the self-attribution fallacy. This means crediting yourself with outcomes for which you weren’t responsible. Many of those who are rich today got there because they were able to capture certain jobs. This capture owes less to talent and intelligence than to a combination of the ruthless exploitation of others and accidents of birth, as such jobs are taken disproportionately by people born in certain places and into certain classes.

    The findings of the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, are devastating to the beliefs that financial high-fliers entertain about themselves. He discovered that their apparent success is a cognitive illusion. For example, he studied the results achieved by 25 wealth advisers across eight years. He found that the consistency of their performance was zero. “The results resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest, not a game of skill.” Those who received the biggest bonuses had simply got lucky.

    Such results have been widely replicated. They show that traders and fund managers throughout Wall Street receive their massive remuneration for doing no better than would a chimpanzee flipping a coin. When Kahneman tried to point this out, they blanked him. “The illusion of skill … is deeply ingrained in their culture.”

    So much for the financial sector and its super-educated analysts. As for other kinds of business, you tell me. Is your boss possessed of judgment, vision and management skills superior to those of anyone else in the firm, or did he or she get there through bluff, bullshit and bullying?

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/07/one-per-cent-wealth-destroyers

    Skippy – Peak bull shit seems to be the precursor to all societal collapse… eh… more heads… more plaster on the temples… more gold… more insane mathematical – theoretical physics applied to unknown human actions… fat fingers… drunk and high on coke… partner sleep with someone else… bad day… Bawhahahahaha~

    1. ambrit

      Skippy;
      Since B—–t is a fungible commodity, the concept of Peak B——t seems somewhat, er, strained. B——t can be moved around, (see Fox News for an instance,) and delivered to wherever it is needed most. This would argue for a high value, but, since the supply is well nigh infinite, simple supply and demand argues for a low valuation. My best guess as to the solution to this question would be something like the physics concept of Zero Point energy. Roughly, B——t will appear wherever and whenever it is ‘needed.’ Thusly, B——t would appear, at first blush, to be a valueless commodity. That the MSM and its’ flunkies are paid so handsomely for the production and dissemination of B——t argues for a captured and manipulated market in B——t. As to the whys and wherefors of the B——t Regulation Administrations deficiencies; that is fodder for another days discussion.

    2. Francois T

      ““The illusion of skill … is deeply ingrained in their culture.””

      Without this illusion, they are nothing in their eyes. Without marketing this illusion, they are nothing in the eyes of society.

      No wonder they fear Trend Followers like the plague.

            1. Cassiodorus

              Looks like your standard capitalist booster to me. They only get to be the “non-left Left” if they proclaim themselves to be liberals or progressives or whatever.

      1. ohmyheck

        This needs to go viral. I hope all professional political cartoonists will denounce the racism slur thrown at Ted at Daliy Kos.

        Here is what Ted wrote to Daily Kos readers:
        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/11/28/1258914/-Censored-by-Daily-Kos

        Some of us may not be able to stomach what is written in the comment. Have Brain Bleach on hand if you choose to wade through the muck.

        At this point, they are preening their feathers at their self-congratulatory success. Unbelievable…

          1. Massinissa

            The sad thing is that there are comments on that vid by Republicans who think that Malcolm is only bashing Democrats, and not bashing both parties…

            Partisanship and party affiliation deadens the mind and critical thinking, I swear.

    1. neo-realist

      I haven’t seen Rall’s work up until this piece, but from what I can see, it merely looks like he’s gone to the Matt Groening school of animation, with even more harmless political satire.

  5. Bryan McKown

    “23&Me Is Terifying” is a shallow, ad hominen attack on the company. But, the 11/27/13 comment on the important subject of the company’s use of genetic data by Professor Knoepfler at UC Davis is worth reading.

    For those who fear, support (or both) the linking of genes to electronic medical records, for better or for worse, see Carl Zimmer’s report in the 11/28/13 in New York Times on new methodogy. It’s here folks.

    1. Nemo

      Who says you have to use your real name when you send in the kit?

      You can have a non-related friend use their credit card to pay for it, use a mail drop, created email address accessed at Starbucks etc.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      1. Please Google “ad hominem”. That charge is incorrect.

      2. I might object to the use of the word “terrifying” as over the top, but I find the idea of a company seeking to take and use my genetic information unacceptable. And if you don’t get genetic tests, there’s no linkage, now is there?

      3. I also don’t buy your “nothing to see here” claim. If you pay your doctors yourself and then submit for reimbursement, they don’t have the right to your records unless there is a dispute over a physician’s charge and then only as related to that claim.

  6. William

    Using cars’ rolling energy is a great idea. I’ve often thought how wasteful it is to lose the energy of a vehicle going downhill. What a simple way to recover some of the massive amount of energy it takes to push a 1-2 ton vehicle up a hill.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is a new source of energy just waiting to be tapped.

      Those treadmills in gyms across the world – unplug them and make the exercising runners power them (and other electrical gadgets as well) instead.

      The more turkeys we eat, the more energy output we get from this new source.

      It’s a twofer, we save from the unplugging and we generate from the treading.

      And if you are really frugal, you can drop those breathing masks to heat the building from the runners’ carbon exhaust.

  7. OIFVet

    This guy has figured out what’s wrong with the economy: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/complainers-wreck-economy-125802931.html. The economy is growing, unemployment is decreasing, households are shedding debt. Therefore all is fundamentally sound and good in this best of all possible worlds. So what’s wrong? Must be the complainers, if they would only quit complaining and pick themselves up by the bootstraps… Where has the ingrained American optimism gone? Be panglossian people and all will be well.

    1. AbyNormal

      Fo*lishFu*k will be trampled like a blade of grass in an elephant fight!

      “If a train is coming at you, closing your eyes won’t save you … but if you look right at it, you at least have a chance to jump.”
      Andrew Vachss/The Weight

    2. ambrit

      Dear OIFVet;
      After I stopped chuckling, (this guy perfectly fits Sinclair Lewis’ definition of “boosterism,”) I had to wonder just why the Yahoo folks had to put this in their lineup, and then highlight it by putting it near the top of the queue for so long. Someone in the elites has decided it’s time to whip up some “animal spirits.”

      1. OIFVet

        I think soma would have been a far more efficient way to unleash them animal spirits. Perhaps obamacare will address this problem.

  8. Jim Haygood

    “Fordism” fell apart when global competitors began offering similar products at lower prices.FT article

    As the Great Ford did a hundred years ago, today’s foreign competitors raise wages as productivity grows.

    Whereas here in the Consumer Paradise, minimum wages are hiked because we feel good about ourselves.

    Self esteem, comrades. It’s more precious than gold!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Consumer Paradise”

      Can you imagine the electricity in the air at the elegantly appointed Walton family Thanksgiving table in anticipation of the show that is about to begin?

      Ah, the holidays. Peace on earth, goodwill towards men and a highly entertaining and profitable WWF prole smackdown at the neighborhood Walmart. Because “smart” TVs.

      Life doesn’t get any better that this.

    2. Massinissa

      Are you SERIOUSLY bitching about AMERICAS MINIMUM WAGE?

      The minimum wage which is lower than the lowest minimum wage in canada, and is far lower than the minimum wages in most European countries?

      Bitch about something that matters would you kindly? Wait a minute! I just realized youre talking about RAISING the minimum wage, which we havnt done in 40 years! So raising it every 40 years is too damn much for you?!

      My god man, the min. wage in America becomes more increasingly irrelevant every year because of inflation, but you still bitch about it existing at all. My god man.

      Talk about something that ACTUALLY effects the economy.

    3. Massinissa

      Secondly… ‘Great Ford’? LOL? Why do you like that Nazi sympathizer and anti-semite? He was a fan of Adolf Hitler, even got a honorary medal of some kind from the man (Ford was mentioned very positively in Mein Kampf, actuallY!), and printed hundreds of thousands of English copies of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, that ridiculously stupid anti-semite forgery.

      At least now we know what kind of scumbags you idolize… I mean, you know, a Nazi, anti-semite, who uses labor spies to spy on his workers… Real classy Haygood, real classy.

      1. McKillop

        Is it possible that Haygood is making reference to “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley?
        I read his comment as irony.

    4. Wendy

      No. Productivity in the US has gone through the roof over the past 30 years, while real wages have declined. So, we have not done here what your “Great Ford” did, or our competitors are doing.

      Raising the minimum wage now, after decades of productivity gains and declining wages, is just trying to play catch-up.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Obamacare Payment System to Insurers Changed in Setback

    From the article:

    “Insurers will estimate what they are owed rather than have the government calculate the bill.” And:

    “…the companies will submit estimates that will be ‘trued up’ by the government at a later date…” And, finally:

    “The estimated billings are expected to be close to the actual payments to insurers, according to the memo.”

    Why would it be necessary to ESTIMATE anything? (Especially when it is the insurance companies doing the “estimating.”)

    Subsidies are calculated individually based on income at the time of enrollment. In fact, the subsidies are the basis for the many “better coverage at dirt cheap prices” miracles touted as Obamacare “consumer” success stories.

    Assuming that the quoted subsidies are not themselves estimates, why the need to estimate the total? Just add them up and write the check. I hear computers are really good at adding.

    But here’s the rub. Exchange “consumers” are responsible for any subsidy overpayment made on their behalf as determined AFTER the fact. Should the quoted subsidy and the “estimated” payment differ, how will the two be reconciled? How will the “consumer” know how much was paid on their behalf? Why the need to pay an amount DIFFERENT from what’s been quoted?

    Then there is the concept of the “float.” Insurance companies routinely delay payments to providers in order to use that money for “investments.” Money from money and all that. Since the “floated” amounts are so large, the profits are significant even when the delays are for a short time–days or weeks. The incentive would clearly be for the insurance company to “overestimate” what’s due, “invest” the money and then wait for the government to “true-up.”

    “True-up.” As if that’s ever gonna happen.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Gotta love the subversive humor of those headline writers: ‘Setback.’

      Enough ‘setbacks’ like this, and insurers will be laughing all the way to the bank.

      ‘Please, Brer Barack — whip us, beat us, but don’t throw us in dat estimated-payment briar patch!’

    2. Splashoil

      If you have a pre-existing inaccurate income estimate there may be additional “cost shifting” with respect to any medical services performed besides the collection of your premium. What could possibly go wrong?

  10. TimR

    Here is a fascinating interview from corbettreport.com that I think deserves to be widely heard:
    http://www.corbettreport.com/interview-776-tjeerd-andringa-on-geopolitics-and-cognition/

    A prof from the Univ of Groningen discusses his ideas about (what I would describe as) the interplay of individual psychology with mass society and geopolitics. He talks about two broad personality types, authoritarian and libertarian (using the terms in a psychological sense, not political.) And how different social contexts can trigger or exacerbate them, e.g. terrorism prompts the fear-based authoritarian side. While shutting down the right-brained “pervasive optimization” mode. The brain, as in escaping from a burning building, neglects general well-being, love and connectivity, and operates in a fear-based emergency mode.

    This ties into Operation Gladio, a fear-based program of social control used in the post WWII decades in Europe, and up to the present day in the “Strategy of Tension” — manipulating the masses through simulated or manufactured crises.

    From Prof Andringa’s site, I think he’s non-native English speaker hence typos (geopoliticsandcognition.com):

    “Geopolitics is the struggle for the earth’s resources of which the most important — even more important than oil, gold, fertile lands, and water — is human behavior, or more precisely ‘human agency’. Agency refers the capacity to initialize self-selected behavior. Without human agency none of the other resources would have any value. Since human agency is a topic of cognitive science, geopolitics and cognition are intimately connected.

    Who is at ultimo the beneficiary of your agency? Is that you and everything you love, feel associated with, and would like to support? Or will it be some anonymous group or influence who tricked you into participating in games that you neither fully oversee nor understand and that are, like a casino, set up to guarantee that you loose? The Cypriots recently lost most of their life’s savings, and the Polish even more recently lost half of their pensions. So who have they been working and saving for? Definitely not as much for their own benefit as they thought.

    Actually it is up to you to decide whether you want to be exploited. If you decide to spend your life in a bubble of blissful ignorance and complacency, chances are that people will exploit your ignorance, gullibility, and complacency. This site argues you are exploited by the very influences that made you ignorant, gullible, and complacent in the first place. However in these times of economic and social upheavals, more and more people are realizing that blissful ignorance is a guaranteed loosing strategy.”

    1. ohmyheck

      Terrific link! This ties in with the ideas expressed in the book, “The Authoritarians”, but expands it. This is a must-see page:
      “The Summary of Two Modes of Thought”
      http://geopoliticsandcognition.com/SummaryOfAttitudesTowardsTheWorld.html#summaryofattitudestowardstheworld

      I listened to the interview, and what I loved best was the ending summation: (my transcription…I did my best…)

      “…To start some sort of community, of people and scientists and then develope these ideas better, to do something collaborative, because this project is so big to oversee individually, that allows us to come up with a really firm, scientific basis to understand about how we are manipulated, how we (non-authoritarians) can take charge of the world again, how we can oppose all kinds of central hierarchies, or perhaps to use them, in some sense, to our advantage.”

      Yes indeed.

      1. jrs

        science for anarchy

        The interview was definitely better than my critique below (just so hypersensitive to the neverending BS). Like with Arthur Silber he believes it’s all about whether people are raised in authoritarian households. I’ve always been anti-authoritarian, without an explanation as to why. Because. Happy childhood? But it wasn’t really, not in so many ways, abused, ignored, hid a lot of myself for self-protection, decent amount of suffering, but allowed to go my own way in the cracks perhaps, by sheer parental indifference I think, very mentally deviant, never fit in with peers. Raised in many ways to disobey society, to disobey all but my own weird family. And tend to score very strongly libertarian (technically left libertarian on a 4 way chart).

        Was very skeptical that it was going to be one of those things that convince us how virtuous “our” beliefs are as compared to “them”. We’re just ever so much more mentally evolved than the poltical opposition with their small minds etc.. Yes, yes, keep self-congradulating, it’s the opposite of introspection. But I don’t know agency as opposed to external authorites, really hard to disagree with that for this off the charts anti-authoritarian.

      2. jrs

        Btw with environmental collapse we’re definitely going to get authoritarianism (and doomsday cults), because of the raw edge of fear (survival level fear – species survival level fear) that many people won’t be able to process.

        Also we’re told poverty makes it extremely difficult for people to exercise self-discipline. By this video probably difficult to exercise agency as well.

        If feelihngs of safety is the way out I don’t know meditation or medication. I mean the external world isn’t going to be providing much safety clearly. We’re badly screwed.

    2. jrs

      “Who is at ultimo the beneficiary of your agency? Is that you and everything you love, feel associated with, and would like to support? Or will it be some anonymous group or influence who tricked you into participating in games that you neither fully oversee nor understand and that are, like a casino, set up to guarantee that you loose? The Cypriots recently lost most of their life’s savings, and the Polish even more recently lost half of their pensions. So who have they been working and saving for? Definitely not as much for their own benefit as they thought.”

      good point, but factually I was under the impression it wasn’t most of Cypriots money, it was under 10%. I’m not justifying it, just attempting to ground things in facts rather than hyperbole.

      I think many of us would like to give our money to that we would like to support, it’s just that it seems to me that most of it is even less likely to pay off than bank accounts with counterparty risks. Whether it pays off or not doesn’t matter for charity, but it does if saving for one’s catfood years. Those who would build a better world have no yet built a better alternative :\

      “Actually it is up to you to decide whether you want to be exploited. If you decide to spend your life in a bubble of blissful ignorance and complacency, chances are that people will exploit your ignorance, gullibility, and complacency. This site argues you are exploited by the very influences that made you ignorant, gullible, and complacent in the first place. However in these times of economic and social upheavals, more and more people are realizing that blissful ignorance is a guaranteed loosing strategy.”

      This places entirely too much blame on the individual. I mean as an ideal, rationality, curiousity about the world, indepedence of thought, it’s all a very fine ideal, not new, but good. But as another reason to blame individuals for why they are eating catfood in their retirement (the Cypriots might be), why they deserve their fate, because they didn’t know everything about everything about living in a world full of con-men, it’s BS. *Good* ideals become punitive prosperity gospel BS.

  11. diptherio

    Why I Wouldn’t See 12 Years a Slave With a White Person ~Enuma Okoro, The Atlantic

    Growing up in the rural West, about the only interaction I had with people who’s skin tone was considerably darker than mine was on television. Michael Jordan, Mr. T, Bill Cosby…as far as I knew, all black people were either talented athletes or successful actors.

    Imagine my surprise when my great-uncle from Houston showed up to visit when I was around ten years old…my head almost exploded the first time he nonchalantly referred to someone as a n—–. I can’t imagine, simply can not imagine, what it must be like to be non-white in a place filled with people like my great-uncle, any more than I can imagine what it must be like to give birth.

  12. rich

    Documents in JPMorgan settlement reveal how every large bank in U.S. has committed mortgage fraud

    Published on Nov 29, 2013
    Bill Black: Justice Dept.’s failure to understand pervasive schemes of fraud in financial industry obstructs meaningful prosecution of banks

    http://youtu.be/OIRgUUymTUw

  13. John Glover

    I can remember years ago seeing a bumper sticker stating simply “Americans for Monarchy”. I thought it was a joke.

    Aiee! is right!

    Curse you for the link though. Just blew a good portion of my day reading that post and the many others it links too….

      1. ohmyheck

        This:
        “Leading US banks have warned that they could start charging companies and consumers for deposits if the US Federal Reserve cuts the interest it pays on bank reserves.”

        Executives at two of the top five US banks said a cut in the 0.25 per cent rate of interest on the $2.4tn in reserves they hold at the Fed would lead them to pass on the cost to depositors.

        …Banks say they may have to charge because taking in deposits is not free: they have to pay premiums of a few basis points to a US government insurance programme. “Right now you can at least break even from a revenue perspective,” said one executive, adding that a rate cut by the Fed “would turn it into negative revenue – banks would be disincentivised to take deposits and potentially charge for them”.”
        “I suggested the other day that since the $85 billion a month QE…why not try and give it to the American people instead of the banks? There’s no doubt that would do a lot more to revive the economy. Come to think of it: there’d be another advantage: the people wouldn’t insist on being paid interest on it, and whine and threaten and throw tantrums when they didn’t get it.”

        Oh, please, Bankstanistas, go right ahead and try. Straw—camel—back—-

        I will have the popcorn ready. This is gonna be good.

  14. Ep3

    Yves, regarding the payment systems to insurers for obamacare, I guess I am confused about how ppl are supposed to pay. I thought I go on the website, enroll, pick a plan, find out how much my subsidy is, then I pay the premiums until I file my tax return the following year, where I get a refund based upon my actual computed subsidy. But this sounds like a bonus cash flow for the insurers

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hudson, cancelling debts.

    I would welcome also, the cancelling of my car lease agreement, but allowing me to keep the car though.

    Next time, I am not leasing (from the oligarchs). I am borrowing.

  16. rich

    Stamp Out Campaign Cash Corruption in Our Lifetime

    Since he left his job as CEO of the Vermont-based ice cream company in 1996, Cohen has taken his marketing know-how into progressive politics and in 2012 began Stamp Stampede — the manufacture and sale (at cost) of rubber stamps to be used on paper currency — all perfectly legal — to spread the word to rid government and politics of outside corporate and anonymous cash. There’s a wide assortment of stamps — “Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians” reads one message, “The System Isn’t Broken, It’s Fixed” is another.

    “Every stamped bill will be seen by an average of 875 people,” Cohen claims “and will help grow the movement to #GetMoneyOut of politics. Stamp 5 bills a day for a year and that’s a million eyeballs.”

    He writes:

    We’re already making big waves. So far, 16 states and over 500 municipalities have passed ballot initiatives calling on Congress to propose a constitutional amendment that says: 1) Money is not free speech and 2) Corporations are not people. Over 150 congressmen and President Obama say they would support an amendment. 80 percent of Americans – Democrats and Republicans – think there is too much money in politics. But change won’t happen if we sit back and let other people do the dirty work.

    http://billmoyers.com/2013/11/29/stamp-out-campaign-cash-corruption-in-our-lifetime/

  17. lambert strether

    For the ObamaCare Nov. 1 deadline, there is one metric that matters: The number of clean, error-free 834s (explanation). If the administration doesn’t supply that number, then the relaunch-that-is-not-a-relaunch is certainly a #FAIL, because if the number were good, they’d trumpet it. Of course, if the number is low, that could also be a #FAIL.

    No 834 announcement means:

    1) Obama’s tech dudes didn’t fix their #1 item on the famous HHS “punch list,” and

    2) Some unknown number of ObamaCare consumers [sic] will have screwed up policies, which the insurance companies will have to fix manually, if they fix them at all.

    NOTE If they supply an 834 number, but don’t give an error rate, that’s obviously bullshit.

  18. jfleni

    RE:The Netherlands Loses Its Pristine AAA Rating.

    “Worldwide 10 countries retain AAA ratings from the three agencies(Standard & Poors, Fitch and Moody’s). Of these only Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and Singapore maintain a stable outlook on sovereign debt”.

    Note that none these use the Euro (aka “funny money” or “Gestapo scrip”)!

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