Links Thanksgiving 2013

Think you know nature? Name that animal! Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Editorial: The cougar killed in Illinois was looking for love Chicago Tribune (Howard Beale IV)

How the US Media Would Cover Thanksgiving if it Were in Another Country Slate. Oh, and what about the fact that Mayflower passage was a planning disaster and half the passengers and crew died? The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of survival and relief that game was super abundant, which would more than offset any issues with cultivating crops.

Why Are Big Retailers Trying to Kill Thanksgiving? Kevin Drum

Analysis: No checkouts, no chocolate: Online shopping hits impulse buys Reuters

IT pro says he threw out 7,500 bitcoins, now worth $7.5 million ars technica

How Much Money Could a Well Insulated House Save You? OilPrice

Biden to raise China’s ‘unsettling behaviour’ in visit Financial Times

China Appears to Backpedal on New Air Defense Zone New York Times

Beijing plays a longer game with its air defence zone grab Financial Times

China chases its shadow banking tail Macrobusiness

Thai PM survives no-confidence vote BBC

War Between Spain and Germany Erupts Over Next Round of Watered Down Stress Tests; Germany Complains About the “Carry Trade” Michael Shedlock

Euro-Zone Financial System Stress Is at Pre-Crisis Levels, E.C.B. Says New York Times

Brooks ‘ordered purge of NI emails’ Guardian

Pressure grows on Karzai to sign deal with U.S. Washington Post. Well, he’s ignored the US pretty much consistently, so why should now be any different?

Pakistani Party Says It Exposed C.I.A. Official to Stop Drones New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA ‘planned to discredit radicals over web-porn use’ (ScottS) BBC

NSA spied on 2010 G8, G20 summits in Toronto with Canadian help RT

NSA surveillance: Europe threatens to freeze US data-sharing arrangements Guardian

The FT could not be more wrong about Brazil and the Internet. Alex Harrowell, Fistful of Euros

Call-Log App Aims to Reverse-Engineer NSA Surveillance MIT Technology Review

Obamacare Launch

Even if website works, Obamacare could see trouble ahead Reuters

Few Think Affordable Care Act Has Improved Their Lives Jon Walker, Firedoglake

We’re now entering the phase of Obamacare VentureBeat

Obama vs. Karl Rove? New campaign finance proposal called a power grab Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Michelle Obama ‘leans in’, just not in the direction privileged feminists want Guardian. I am not a fan of Michelle, but this post is a case study of what a dubious bunch self-styled feminists are these days (BTW this post would go blank right after loading in two different browsers. I had to copy it quickly and paste it into a blank document to read it).

Democrat mayors prohibiting feeding the homeless in public Lambert

Recasting high school, German firms transplant apprentice model to U.S. Washington Post

These Retailers Say No to Thanksgiving Madness Wall Street Journal

Blind Indiana woman giving up eviction fight Chicago Tribune (Howard Beale IV)

Still Deleveraging American Homeowners Alan White, Credit Slips. But student debt is making up for it.

Will US investors pull the pin on housing? MacroBusiness

Antidote du jour (from NWTF). Wild turkey seem to be becoming the new deer, except they won’t eat your gardenias. They used to be wary of humans and thus seldom seen by normal folks, but a large flock has taken to wandering about the island I visit in Maine in the last three years, and I’ve heard of turkey sightings in suburbs.



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  1. mookie

    Native Intelligence Charles C. Mann – Smithsonian
    The Indians who first feasted with the English colonists were far more sophisticated than you were taught in school. But that wasn’t enough to save them

    On March 22, 1621, a Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to meet with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement. At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum, a distrusted captive, whom Massasoit had brought along only reluctantly as an interpreter.

    1. AbyNormal

      “The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”

      Chief Seattle, The Chief Seattle’s Speech

        1. AbyNormal

          Appreciate the clarification dearieme!

          “The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”

          Ted Perry, Screen writer for ‘Home’

      1. F. Beard


        ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.’ Leviticus 25:23 [bold added]

        The purpose of Leviticus 25 is that no Hebrew farm family would ever permantly lose their farms, vineyards, orchards, etc.

        But the banks have stolen many a farm in the US and legally too.

        1. AbyNormal

          eventually, we all will realize they got their greedy legalities and we got ours…based on survival.

          Happy Giving Beard!

          “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” Camus

    2. DakotabornKansan

      “It is easy to mock past attempts to venerate and sanctify the Pilgrims, especially given what their sons and grandsons did to the Native Americans. And yet we must look with something more than cynicism at a people who maintained more than half a century of peace with their Native American neighbors…

      “The term Thanksgiving, first applied in the nineteenth century, [in 1863 Abraham Lincoln established the holiday of Thanksgiving – a cathartic celebration of nationhood that would have baffled and probably appalled the godly Pilgrims] was not used by the Pilgrims themselves. For the Pilgrims a thanksgiving was a time of spiritual devotion. Since just about everything the Pilgrims did had religious overtones, there was certainly much about the gathering in the fall of 1621 that would have been made it a proper thanksgiving. But as Winslow’s description makes clear, there was also much about the gathering that was similar to a traditional English harvest festival – a secular celebration that dated back to the Middle Ages in which villagers ate, drank, and played games.

      Countless Victorian-era engravings notwithstanding, the Pilgrims did not spend the day sitting around a long table draped with a white linen cloth, clasping each other’s hands in prayer as a few curious Indians looked on. Instead of an English affair, the first Thanksgiving soon became an overwhelmingly Native celebration when Massasoit and a hundred Pokanokets (more than twice the entire English population of Plymouth) arrived at the settlement and soon provided five freshly killed deer…most of the celebrants stood, squatted, or sat on the ground as they clustered around outdoor fires, where the deer and birds turned on wooden spit and where pottages – stews into which varieties of meats and vegetables were thrown – simmered invitingly…The Pilgrims ate with their fingers and their knives [there were no forks]…

      For the Pilgrims, some of whom had slept in a wigwam and all of whom had enjoyed eating and drinking with the Indians during that First Thanksgiving, these were not a despicable pack of barbarians (even if some of their habits, such as their refusal to wear clothes, struck them as “savage”); these were human beings, much like themselves – “very trust[worth]ly, quick of apprehension, ripe witted, just,” according to Edward Winslow.” – Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower

      Fast forward centuries later to their great-great-great-great-great-great-grandsons and granddaughters:

      “Teenagers and college students can spend only so much time cooped up with their families on a holiday like Thanksgiving. This year, some retailers are betting that this target spending group dashes out the door after dinner, perhaps dodging dishwashing or other duties, and in all likelihood ditching their parents. Destination: the mall. [________], 20, of New York City, said shopping on Thanksgiving definitely had appeal. As she stood in a Forever 21 in Manhattan, she added, “That seems like a good way to celebrate to me.”

      “Because” kill poor workers’ holidays!

      1. Procopius

        Well, I guess we should be thankful that there are so many people with lots of money to form insane mobs and try to buy stuff they don’t really need while trampling the weaker members. How many people is it who are unemployed? How many need food stamps to have enough for more than two meals a day?

  2. CB

    I’ve read that wild turkeys are the greatest comeback story of wildlife rescue efforts. NJ is lousy with them, they were sighted in Hoboken yrs ago. See a hen now and again in my suburban yd. Spent a very entertaining few minutes watching two toms so cautiously approach a group of seven or eight hens pecking for food and pretending not to notice the guys. These days even suburban deer aren’t much bothered by people.

    1. scott

      The mountain lions are following the deer population Eastward. Expect bobcats, coyotes, and racoons to follow turkeys into their new habitat.

      1. CB

        Coyotes have been here for yrs, probably decades. I saw a dog-like animal cringing and confused in the median strip on the Black Horse Pk in Williamstown NJ more than 10 yrs ago. It was trying to figure a way across the unending stream of evening commuter traffic and I was several minutes past when the light of recognition went on. Talking to a few animal cognescenti confirmed that coyotes had been in NJ for awhile, altho no one was certain how they had arrived: pets gotten loose or migration.

  3. XO

    Democrat mayors prohibiting feeding the homeless in public

    What more proof is needed to demonstrate that the typical Democrat politician is now to the political right of Reagan (a heartless, treasonous, money-grubbing, crony capitalistic, non-Christian/immoral, fucker if there ever was one)?

    Rahm Emanuel is the poster boy for right-wing traitors hiding behind left wing masks.

    Fuck the republicans and the democrats and the tea-party. Fuck them all. (Is it possible to apologize for foul language, but not to actually feel remorse? If so, I apologize for my language).

    When the time comes to reform, I can only hope that no mercy or leniency is shown to these turncoats.

    First thing we’ll need to do is to convert one of our Supermax prisons (or Gitmo), from the modern-day equivalent of the Bastille into the modern-day version of Spandau Prison.

    We can put the likes of Cheney and Obama a single cell located in the SHU, together. There, they can fulfill their destinies and serve the cause of justice by punking each other to death.

    Oh . . . I almost forgot: Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

    Tres Oy.

    BTW: If this posts twice, please pardon me for the repetition.

  4. ArkansasAngie

    what about the fact that Mayflower passage was a planning disaster and half the passengers and crew died?


    Come on guys … in those days that was a success.

    I’m a true blue tin foil hatter … but I give credit where credit is due.

    My son-in-law is on a military medical transport as I type … wounded by an IED 2 days ago in Afghanistan.

    I am comforted by the fact that our troops swear to the constitution and not the government.

      1. ArkansasAngie

        My son in law would beg to differ.

        I suggest you seeking out members of the military and talk to them. You have more in common than you might think.

        No more wedgies.

        1. skippy

          Ex – military here Angie, if you damage your self, out of negligence ie. ‘lost-time’ or ‘bad-time’, you can be summarily charged with an Article 15 punishment or some other form of treatment.

          Additionally: Although less well known than the part about self-incrimination, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution also says: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury … nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

          However, the Fifth Amendment goes on to say: “except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militias, when in actual service in time of war or public danger.” – see Bradly Manning

          Angie Catch 22 is a military term, GI means government issue, so what is said and what is applied are two completely different things.

          skippy… we have laws for the financial and corporate sector… Catch 22[???].

          1. DakotabornKansan

            Ex – military here also Skippy,

            “The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.”

            “It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”

            “When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don’t see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy.”

            “Mankind is resilient: the atrocities that horrified us a week ago become acceptable tomorrow.”

            “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

            “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.

            “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.”

            ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

            @ Angie – I hope your son-in-law fares well.
            I remember, when I was at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas (late 1960s) awaiting my transfer to Germany, watching the medevac airlifts arriving daily with the seriously wounded and burned who were being transferred to the Brooke Army Medical Center and Burn Center. There is a lot to be learned from Vietnam veterans, especially from those who turned against their own war… also from today’s Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

    1. aletheia33

      who needs planning when they had God, the most important player in the puritans’ arrival at the farthest shore. due to God, they went on to found a society on a hill that will be a beacon to all the other bedarkened societies on the planet, forever. perhaps only half of us, or fewer, will survive this society’s failure to plan, but that doesn’t matter, for those who are saved from the coming armageddon will carry on the true faith according to the will of GOD. ;-)

      1. F. Beard

        Must I correct ALL ignorance of the Bible?

        The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord. Proverbs 21:31 [bold added]

        I assume the Pilgrims knew this verse and so would be fools to disregard its broader application.

        People may hate the Bible but anyone who has seriously read it will not underestimate it nor the people who trust it.

  5. aletheia33


    i am grateful daily for all your contributions.

                1. Emma

                  Thank You for the senseful

                  Is all I can say,

                  Naked Capitalism is wonderful

                  In every which way!

                  Best Wishes to All (and extra for Yves!!)

  6. JCE

    How long do you think it would take for the people who built the Stuxnet worm to build all the tech infrastructure required for Obamacare? Or any of the NSA programmers who built the progrmas required for the massive surveillance program?
    with such unbelievable technological talent, those people could have obamacare running in a week

    1. ambrit

      Dear JCE;
      Agreed. If Libertopia were a real place, those savants would create the system needed and trot it out to an adoring public. It speaks volumes to the idea of cognitive capture that such hasn’t happened even in our debased “free market” system.
      The “Manhattan Project” is my ‘Gold Standard’ when thinking about what could be possible, given the political will.

      1. aletheia33

        ah the manhattan project with all its great planning for the future–the indisposable nuclear waste, the enchanting decades of nearly free electricity for all, those Government Issue guys, pacific islanders, and japanese fisherman who got radiation for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, hiroshima nagasaki strontium 90 in children’s milk, three mile island chernobyl fukushima. not to overlook all that nuclear medicine does for us today. just some of the direct outcomes.

        let’s put our best scientific minds together in one compound out in the desert and unleash another great solution.

        1. anon y'mouse

          a few years ago I was watching a documentary on the musical that they made about Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project.

          for this crazy brain at least, it raised some disturbing questions about how and why we let the plans leak out to the Soviets.

          also, it painted that dude as a sick slicker with an evil god complex. talk about megamaniacal!

          that whole thing was shady from beginning to end. and what we did with it subsequently seems to have born that out.

          1. anon y'mouse

            sorry, missing a “lo” in there somewhere.

            it’s not a descriptor I tend to use much, apparently (and thank goodness!).

  7. jjmacjohnson

    Using the word “feminists” is like using the word “leftist” they are far from what they mean and way more to the middle of anything that they really should.

    1. OIFVet

      Democratic does not adequately capture the contempt some of us feel for these enablers of the neoliberal sociopathy. The democrat party as it now exists has nothing in common with FDR’s Democratic Party.

    2. Eclair

      Yeah, Lambert, the Democratic mayors and their minions are in the forefront of criminalizing those without shelter. Denver has had an “urban camping” ban in effect for over a year. And Boulder – that liberal paradise – prohibits the unsheltered from sleeping on its streets. Even ones with terminal kidney disease – who are looking forward to death as a release.

      And, much as I admire Luke’s exhortation on caring for the homeless, I think it fosters a fatalistic attitude: that there is not much we can do to combat injustice in this life … but, that sucker will burn in hell!

      We created the political and economic systems that create the “underclass.” We can dismantle them and create new ones. In the meantime, we can push back against the categorization of the poor as some sub-human species who we can use as target practice.

      Groups in Denver and Boulder have organized against these city ordinances:

      Boycott the Urban Camping Ban takes it to Tami Door’s door.

      And, Denver Homeless Out Loud organized in response to the Denver ban on sleeping on the street.

      Thank you, Lambert, as always, for writing. That’s Resistance!

      1. Lambert Strether

        Well, writing is a piece of resistance, because people can’t support resistance they don’t know about. It is only a piece, but I am doing what I believe I’m good at (as opposed to other form of resistance that I am not good at; I tend to be ineffective in public meeting because I lose my temper).

        1. Jess

          “I tend to be ineffective in public meeting because I lose my temper).”

          I know the feeling. Fortunately I’m usually pretty articulate and effective speaking in public but there are times when I can’t resist calling things (and people) what they are. (Usually with a few choice adjectives thrown in, purely for “emphasis”, you understand.)

          One of our real major problems is that various forms of anger and outrage and “losing one’s temper” have been made unacceptable behavior when in fact, what we need is more anger and more outrage. I can’t help but believe that what the oligarchs fear most is that suddenly a huge number of us are all going to simultaneously lose our tempers.

      2. diptherio

        Here’s our local version.

        We’ve had a camping ban in city limits for a long time now. Most non-homeless people, myself included, were unaware of it until Occupy…the authorities let us slide and didn’t issue citations, but they kept on enforcing it against the homeless sleeping outside the Occupy encampment.

        In America today it’s expensive to be poor and illegal to be destitute.

        1. F. Beard

          In America today it’s expensive to be poor and illegal to be destitute. diptherio

          And contrary to Scripture too. The poor, for example, are to be charged NO interest, not the highest interest as is common today.

          Progressives would be wise to take the Old Testament and thump the Religious Right with it unless the alleged right to commit sodomy in public* is more important to them than social justice.

          *Since no one in the Old Testament could be punished except on the testimony of TWO OR MORE witnesses.

  8. CB

    And here’e another turkey fact: when the sun hits a turkey’s feathers at just the right angle, there’s a blaze of brilliant gold-bronze color the likes of which you’ll never see elsewhere. It’s startling and really unworldly, a flash of golden bronze. I’ve only seen it twice, once at a considerable distance, but unmistakable.

    1. anon y'mouse

      “they came for religious freedom” is a tale told to children that is similar to Washington chopping down the cherry tree. perhaps it’s not a total lie, but it sure doesn’t seem to be ‘the {whole} truth’ either.

      also, at least I understood it that most of the ‘pilgrims’ came for money. it was always a corp. funded thing to send goods back, and so most of these pilgrims owed someone for financing their way out here that had to be paid back in natural resources.

      their actual motivations were probably more like the westward migration–to have a little piece of land to call their own that didn’t involve trespassing on the inviolable ownership of the aristocracy or rich landowners in England. but this is surmise on my part. it’s why my ancestors were here (not in the pilgrim times) at any rate.

      too bad it was already occupied (too bad for the occupiers).

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Correct. They had religious freedom in Holland but as immigrants who didn’t speak the language, they could only get bottom of the totem pole work. Plus they were concerned their children would become assimilated.

        Another fun fact seldom discussed: about half the contingent was “sinners” or non-Pilgrims, people rounded up by the promoters. Some were indentured servants (including IIRC four orphans, they were often quasi vagrants who’d be effectively kidnapped) and others who either bought the sales pitch or for some reason found it opportune to get very far from England.

    2. nobody

      As Americans, we are taught in elementary school about the first Thanksgiving in 1621, a harvest celebration that took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

      Something did happen in 1621 (described here by Edward Winslow:, but it can’t truthfully be described as “the first Thanksgiving.” There’s not really any such thing.

      But the friendship between the Pilgrims and the Indians was a one-way friendship. The Indians treated the Pilgrims as friends and the Pilgrims stole their land.

      “In the 1890s the public became as interested in the feast as in other Pilgrim activities. Americans of that era commonly confused the Puritans, the rather intolerant founders of the large Massachusetts Bay Colony, with the Pilgrims, religious separatists who left Holland to establish their own colony in Plymouth in 1620. Those who knew the difference recognized that the Pilgrims were relatively egalitarian, nonideological, and had initially friendly relations with lndians.”

      Elizabeth Pleck, Journal of Social History, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Summer, 1999), pp. 773-789

      Perhaps we should reconsider the Thanksgiving holiday and recognize it as the Native Americans do, a day of mourning.

      About two hours ago a facebook post by a Navajo friend came across my feed: “Happy thanksgiving to you and your lovely family!” They’re celebrating with a turkey dinner.

      It is a holiday that paved the way for a European invasion of Indian land. It was the first step in forcing the First People of America to give up a lifestyle…


  9. from Mexico

    @ “The FT could not be more wrong about Brazil and the Internet”

    In a couple of recent interviews, Raúl Zibechi sheds light on the geopolitical situation in South America, which provides additional insight into why the FT is spinning this story the way it is.

    “Brazil Power: Between Regional Integration and a New Imperialism”

    “Protests in Brazil and Zapatista School”

    Brazil is more in the orbit of the BRICS than the United States, and thus poses a challenge to US domination in the region.

    One of the goals of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is to create a wall between Brazil and Peru and Chile and eventually Columbia, thus limiting further integration with Brazil. The US is having trouble with Columbia now because it has so much trade with Venezuela, one of Brazil’s allies. Columbia’s new president, for instance, has normalized relations with Venezuela and has ceased its military aggressions against Venezuela.

    Venezuela and Argentina, on the other hand, have very unstable governments and new governments could come to power which could swing them back into the US’s orbit.

    The situation is very fluid.

    Zibechi does not see Brazil’s government as being left-wing, but developmentalist. As it seeks to deforest and develop the Amazon (he says there are 50 dams and hydro-eclectric projects currently under construction), it has unleashed brutal repression against the indigenous and other long-time inhabitants of the region to remove them from their ancestral lands (Not unlike the situation Arundhati Roy describes in India). Other big-time loosers of the government’s developmentalist drive are the poor, black and young inhabitants of the favelas, which the government also brutally represses with paramilitary forces. These tactics have not changed since the days of Brazil’s neoliberal dictatorship.

    Another huge obstacle the government faces is Brazil’s transportaiton system, which is 100% in private hands and is raping everyday Brazilians (I was thinking its perfect twin is the US’s healthcare system.) The buses in São Paulo, for instance, cost $1.40 each way so the daily to and from commute costs the average worker 30% of his pay. Bus maintenance is horrid, people are packed into them like sardines for a two to three hour commute to work and then a two to three hour commute back home. The government has failed to take on the politically powerful transportation monopolists, which is ripping the country apart and destroying the government’s legitimacy.

    Another huge challenge facing Brazil is healthcare. Brazil sees healthcare as a right, but has failed to properly finance it. Healthcare is provided by a patchwork of state-operated and privately-operated facilities but there are entirely too few of them. Zibechi describes the situation as a two-tier system, one for the rich and one for the poor, so there is a growing senese of exclusion.

    This growing sense of exclusion also carries over to soccer. New stadiums are being built, all at public expense. But the cost of the tickets shuts out most Brazilians. In a country where soccer is as important as it is in Brazil, this again is creating a growing sense of exclusion and enormous resentment on the part of those being excluded.

    Those under the US umbrella are not faring well either. Mexico is essentially a puppet of the US and lacks autonomy, and Canada to a lesser extent, Zibechi asserts. Having failed in the Middle East and Central Asia so miserably, the US is now trying to consolidate its control and domination over Mexico and Canada, and especially their energy resources. This does not bode well for the rank and file of both countries. I don’t know that much about Canada, but I think what Zibechi says about Mexico is definitely true.

    1. John Jones


      When you say control over a countries resources how is it done?

      For example is it done like this.

      Say a U.S company buys up oil in the ground drills it and sells it reaps profits and does not pay a large percentage to the Mexican goverment?

      And is this the reason for U.S involvement in the rest of the Americas?

      Would it be so bad for it to buy oil or whatever resource
      it needs from a South American country that doesn’t hapen to be neo-liberal?

      1. craazyboy

        Read something in the news lately that the new Mexican government plans to “privatize” Pemex. I’m sure the devil is in the details.

        “Would it be so bad for it to buy oil or whatever resource
        it needs from a South American country that doesn’t hapen to be neo-liberal?”

        This is where things get really weird. Chavez was always one of our biggest suppliers. Much more so than Mexico or Brazil or even Saudi Arabia.

        I think what “we” worry about nowadays is that China gets their hands on the source and then directs all the output to China. The proper neo-lib way is to have a multi-national oil company pay as little as possible for the source, then sell it to the highest bidder in the world market.

        1. from Mexico

          Extreme examples of this are Chile and Zambia.

          Marcos Roitman Rosenmann reports that in Chile

          Nothing seems to have changed. In the 21st century, the much touted Chilean neoliberal miracle is little more than an exporter of grapes, apples, pears, peaches, salmon, paper pulp, and the eternal copper, together with new minerals for nanotechnology.

          Roitman asserts that Chile has not broken free of the chains of the resource curse. It receives very little for the primary materials it produces, evidenced by a study published in 1993 by Gonzalo Martner, Chile’s ex-Minister of Planning under Salvador Allende:

          In the commerce of many basic products, all the way from the phase of production to the phases of distribution, transport and commercialization, stands out the presence of multinational corporations which define all these processes as “inter-firm” transactions between a matrix of subsidiaries. Multinational corporations control between 70 and 75 per cent of the commerce in bananas, rice, rubber and crude oil; between 75 and 80 per cent of that in tin; between 85 and 90 percent of cocoa, tobacco, wheat, cotton, jute, wood and copper; and between 90 and 95 percent of iron and bauxite. Inter-firm transactions are done with “transfer” prices that do not reflect the prices of the market, and by this means the transnational corporations under report profits, export capital and evade paying taxes.

          Of the final sales price to the consumer in the industrial country, the producing country receives 11 percent in the case of bananas, 14 in the case of coffee, 15 in the case of cocoa, 30 per cent in the case of citrus fruits and 10 per cent in the case of iron ore.

          –GONZALO MARTNER, América Latina: El precio de vivir de las materia primas

          Zambia finds itself in similar circumstances as Chile. As is explained in the documentary film Stealing Africa (

          ), because of all the “inter-firm” trading that goes on between a “matrix of subsidiaries” of transnational corporations, the government of Zambia receives a pittance for the copper Zambia produces. One study conducted by the Norwegian embassy found that the Zambian government received a mere $50 million for $3 billion worth of copper produced. As if this were not bad enough, Zambia is then obligated to subsidize electrical power to the copper mines, which costs the government $150 million. All this leaves the country greatly impoverished.

          1. craazyboy

            You could come up with a very long list of 3rd world resource extraction horror stories.

            Another would be our coffee bean cartel paying Columbia so little that farmers turned to growing pot just to put food on the table. Then War On Drugs, of course.

        2. susan the other

          I read that same stuff about Pemex. If we are staking an American claim – American oil for the Americas – it makes sense of all the confusing stuff going on in the Middle East. Dividing up the world of oil. And we have turned China to Iran and the rest of the Middle East and Russia – therefore away (?) from the Americas. And I wondered if our claim to soon be the biggest oil producer was based on the Gulf oil of our neighbors as much as Canada’s tar sands.

          1. craazyboy

            I’m convinced that every 10 minutes you spend reading about oil in the media creates the need to do at least another half day of research to get the real story.

            But I’m certain our oil companies will be involved in the PEMEX feast. But PEMEX production has dropped a lot because of depletion of existing offshore sites. They did make an announcement in the mid 2000s of a very large deep water find. But then said they didn’t have the internal capability for deep water drilling. So somehow they need to bring in the expertise.

            The bad news for the little Mexican folk is they already raised tax rates because oil revenues are projected to go down more once the privatization happens. They increased the 28% marginal bracket to 33% – and it kicks in at only 500K pesos (about $38K USD). They also had a small subsidy on gasoline/diesel which is going away.

      2. from Mexico

        John Jones says:

        Say a U.S company buys up oil in the ground drills it and sells it reaps profits and does not pay a large percentage to the Mexican goverment?

        That’s part of it. And Mexico’s state-owned oil industry actually does a much better job of this than Canada’s privately-owned industry does, which in part may explain the no-holes-barred drive currently underway to privatize Mexico’s oil industry:

        In the article, Carlos Fazio blasts Mexico’s current president Enrique Peña Nieto as being part of Mexico’s “santannista” (after Santa Ana) or “neopolkist” (after James K. Polk) faction.

        In 1938 President Lazaro Cardenas, with a rather masterful head fake to the Nazis, was able to nationalize Mexico’s oil industry. He formed the state-owned national oil company known as PEMEX.

        PEMEX is the favorite whipping boy of the bastions of right-wing and left-wing media giants like the Wall Street Journal, the NY Times, Washington Post and the Guardian. The charges of “corruption” and “decay” are almost non-stop.

        And yet, if we take a look at its actual performance, its efficiency — the percentage of the revenues from oil production which actually accrue to the nation — what it reveals is a much more favorable impression of PEMEX. In 2010, PEMEX paid the Mexican government 70.4% of the firm’s total gross sales, a sum of 649,494,900 pesos (approx. $54 billion usd) which represented 51.1% of the Mexican government’s total gross revenues that year ( ).

        Now, let’s compare that 70.4% to our neighbor to the north, Canada, consistently lauded as one of the least corrupt places on the planet, with its privately-owned petroleum industry:

        Staple analysis also focuses on the fiscal linkage. How much rent is generated by the staple, and where does the rent go? These are important questions that address both the contribution of the staple to development – which is a function of the proportion of rent reinvested back into the staple region relative to the proportion leaked – as well as the equity questions of who gains and who loses from staple development. Maximizing the contribution of the staple requires collecting rent and distributing it equitably to the owners of the staple; in the case of oil and gas, this is the public in the producing regions.

        Again, available evidence suggests that a large proportion of rent is foregone by the public owner and retained by private sector oil and gas companies as a surplus return above normal returns to private capital. Plourde (2010) estimates that the private sector retains between 38% and 65% of the rent even under the new more aggressive Alberta royalty regime. A more recent study by the oil sector using a different methodology concludes that the private sector retains 65% of the revenue from an oil price increase (Egglington et al. 2012), while a cost-benefit analysis of a major project estimates rent retained by the private sector is in the range of 35% (Joseph et al. 2013). Given that 47% of the profits to the oil and gas sector accrue to foreign owned companies (StatsCan 2012), most of the rent retained by the private sector is ultimately leaked to foreign owners.

        So PEMEX, the government-owned and operated company universally condemened as being corrupt, returns 70.4% of revenues to the public treasury. But Canada’s highly vaunted private oil industry returns only 35% to 65% to the public treasury. Furthermore, of the 35% to 65% rent retained by the private sector, 47% of that leaves the country due to foreign ownership.

        Another issue is what Mel Watkins called backward linkages. This is the manufacture of all the equipment used to extract the oil and gas. As Zibechi explains, Brazil is actually very good at this, and manufactures most of its own drilling equipment so doesn’t have to import this from foreign providers.

        Another issue is what Watkins called forward linkages. This is the refining and marketing of the finished petroleum products: fertilizers, plastics, diesel, gasoline, and hundreds of other products made from crude oil and natural gas. Both Mexico and Canada are extremely weak in this regard, as the raw materials are exported to the US where they are processed and finished, and value-added products re-imported to Mexico and Canada:

        Although the answers to these questions require detailed analysis to estimate actual relative to potential effects, available evidence suggests that the linkages in the oil and gas sector are not well developed and consequently the potential contribution of oil and gas development to Canada is not being maximized.

        The industry’s own forecasts show that almost all of the new oil production will be exported in an unprocessed state to be refined in foreign markets (CAPP 2012). Raw bitumen will not even be upgraded into crude in Alberta, despite the fact that upgrading reduces shipping costs by avoiding the need for diluent, which is necessary to ship bitumen in pipelines. Crude is also more marketable than bitumen because of the larger number of refineries that can process crude (Enbridge 2010). Many of the backward linkages are also not developed in Canada. Ironically, the Alberta government’s own website provides a “US Economic Impact Oil Calculator” that documents the industry’s reliance on US suppliers, and concludes that one-third of all the jobs generated by Canadian oil sands expansion will be created in the US. As the website states:

        Refineries across the U.S. are hiring workers to build new units that can process oil sands output. Most of the giant trucks used to produce the oil sands are manufactured in Illinois. Much of the software to run the complex production systems comes from California’s Silicon Valley. The oil sands industry is demanding leading-edge water treatment systems, environmental technology, hydrocarbon processing equipment, and countless other goods and services, much of it imported from across the U.S. (Alberta 2013).

  10. OIFVet

    Re: Editorial: The cougar killed in Illinois was looking for love.

    I couldn’t agree more with the editorial. Cougars can be dangerous but as with most wildlife they prefer to avoid contact with humans. This cougar was not looking for trouble. We have been conditioned to fear everything, conveniently ignoring the fact that we are in fact the most dangerous life form on this planet. So the cougar was killed in the name of “public safety”, much as we have killed hundreds of thousands humans in the last decade in the name of “war on terror”. As an Iraq war veteran I find this phrase to be a contradiction in terms. Anyway, I can’t help but to think that this incident illustrates how “preemption” driven by fear has become the norm which guides our behavior as individuals and as a society: we preemptively killed a cougar, preemptively attacked Iraq, we allow the Zimmermans of this country to preemptively kill the Trayvon Martins. There is something very very wrong and disturbing in this picture.

  11. TomDority

    How Much Money Could a Well Insulated House Save You? OilPrice

    I think the article misses the bigger picture of savings.

    I think one should also include the amount of economic activity with it’s multiplier that insulating homes generates. You would have people employed to manufacture insulation, install insulation etc. Further, the savings should be based on the real cost of oil which is, the price per gallon of refined product + the price of military support, the price of subsidy to oil producers, + the environmental costs of oil burning etc.- My back of the envelope pricing for a gallon of refined oil is not $3.50 or somthing like that but orders of magnitude greater say $90.00 per GALLON.
    If we as a country would not keep playing the zero sum game of ever rising land prices which affect every price of cosumption, living and working by taxing that increment back into public use….. I would guestimate that a national effort to increase energy efficiency in homes alone….. IE insulate all homes to a near passive level. That expenditure alone would pay for itself many times over in increased wealth and national output, would make the energy inputs into our economy low enough that wind energy, distributed sustainable energy production and higher living standards here and abroad perfectly within reach. It would also bend our environmental destruction curve downward significantly and, instead of having millions of empty homes with millions of people without homes (that alone, with our brilliant supply and demand curve should tell you something is wrong) we would reverse that trend as well. With a good public financing and revenue system the income inequality would reverse.

    1. AbyNormal

      and ta help with the dinner lethargy

      Great Holiday to ya Opti…and the rest of you fearless comrades!

      Igor Polk:

      Tango is danced closely. Sometimes even very close. It certainly looks very intimate. But not necessarily should be. Dancers, especially men, should not abuse the intimacy. A woman is a queen, and should be respected as such. For a man, it is most important to respect and protect, and even follow his partner… Gentlemen, it is not good to drag your partner, even if she is a beginner. YOU MUST FOLLOW YOUR PARTNER, EVEN IF SHE DANCES WRONG!!! Yes, leaders must follow. That is the greatest paradox of a good dancer – men are leaders, but they follow women. That is a woman who defines the style of dancing, distance, intimacy, speed, and rhythm. You do not agree? Then you will never be a good dancer with whom every woman would love to dance. This and only this defines who is the best dancer in Argentine Tango. (oulala)

  12. down2long

    My #AskJpm tweet:

    This Thanksgiving, for which are you most grateful: A corrupt Fed A.G., a corporatist President, a complacent public, or no jail time?

    I pesonally am extremely grateful for Yves Smith, Lambert, and the NC site and crowd that gives me information and the knowledge that I am not alone in this fight against the oligarchy. While my batle with the banks is personal, the war is critical for all of us. So nice to see real “warriors” on the battlefield. (Sorry about the military “warriors” who because of economic conditions or deluded mind sets have joined the military industrial annihilation machine.)

    Happy Thanksgiving all!

    1. anon y'mouse

      ahh, now I see this is above as well. jinx! i’d owe ya a coke, but you’d have to have some tarnished metal around to clean for you to cash in on it.

  13. nemo

    re stores opening today….got a robo call for carpet cleaning. Is nothing sacred?

    Here’s the policy I recommend, push the button to set up an appointment and then make one at a phony address you have chosen ahead of time. Also, give a phone number of an enemy or a bank you don’t like. The telemarketers cannot see the number you are calling from or your real address.

    Have fun.

  14. OIFVet

    From a Daily Kos diary:

    “I am tired of seeing diaries routinely recommended where the United States is described as “fascist Corporate State” run by a secretive “Corporatist Cabal”. These are offensive to me as an American and a Democrat. The idea that America is “fascist” must seem outrageous to those who came to our shores to escape tyranny and build new lives for their families. It is a slap to the men and women who serve in uniform, since it implies they are risking their lives to defend an unjust government. It is an insult to those of us who work to elect Democrats, since it implies we are dupes of a conspiracy of plutocrats who, like the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, secretly manipulate every facet of society.

    I lived in West Germany during the 1980’s and had the opportunity of spending time on the the other side of the Wall – in the Arbeiter-und-Bauern-Staat (Workers and Peasants State) of the “German Democratic Republic.” The regime of Erich Honecker also called West Germany and the United States “fascist corporate states” to divert attention from its own unjust, totalitarian system. Not many bought into the propaganda, since it was obvious that Western capitalism was superior to the dysfunctional and oppressive state-controlled economy.

    Like most Americans, I am thankful that I live in a country where I can start, grow, work for, and invest in a business enterprise – even a “corporation”. Like most Americans, I reject the notion that America is a “fascist corporate state.””

    Wow. What a heaping serving of stupid.

  15. Foy

    Re: China is chasing it’s shadow banking tail…

    Chinese money is already showing up in Australia with recent rises in house prices, Melbourne’s median house price is $595K and the number of first home buyers dropping off fast. From another article:

    ” Chinese interest in Australian residential property is booming, with chief executive of McGrath Estate Agents John McGrath describing it as the biggest surge from an offshore market in his 30 years in real estate.

    “In some suburbs 90 per cent of new product will sell to Chinese buyers,” he said.

    “In some cases there are developers who are essentially building directly to sell to China and they are advertising on websites over in China and using Chinese connections to sell off the plan,” he said.

    Mr McGrath believes the business is good for the market.”

    Why is it that whenever I hear some real estate executive say ‘this is good for the market’ I automatically think oh oh this is going to end badly? For first home buyers it is already…

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