Links 12/11/13

Snowy owls strike 5 planes at NYC area airports Syracuse (bob). Um, I think it’s more accurate to say the planes hit the birds…

Supervolcano ‘even more colossal’ BBC

Predictive risk models for prisoners with mental disorders Cathy O’Neil

Deaths Raise Questions at Apple Contractor New York Times

A Huge Chinese Bitcoin Arbitrage Has Disappeared Business Insider

Police Pull Out of Kiev Square After Move on Demonstrators New York Times

Outrage in Kiev at surprise attack on protesters Guardian

NYT Gets Almost Everything About UK Austerity Wrong Dean Baker

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The NSA is more likely to find budding romance on World of Warcraft than secret plot Guardian

NSA uses Internet cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking Washington Post

NSA Failures and Terror Successes Drive the Dragnet Marcy Wheeler

Obamacare Launch

Americans Suddenly Discovering How Insurance Works American Prospect

Despite Big Market In Florida, Obamacare Is A Hard Sell NPR

Poll: Can the economy rescue Obama from Obamacare? USA Today. No, USA Today does not do irony.

Child ‘training’ book triggers backlash BBC

Lawmakers agree on $85 billion budget package Washington Post

New bipartisan plan to ‘only’ cut food stamp benefits for 1.7 million Daily Kos (Carol B)

Rising riches: 1 in 5 in US reaches affluence Associated Press (Lambert)

Volcker Rule:

What Volcker Rule means for Wall Street trading John Carney, CNBC

Here’s the Story Behind the Big Wall Street Reform Rule That Was Just Approved Mother Jones

Volcker Says He Didn’t Help Write Rule Bearing His Name Bloomberg

Volcker Rule Finalized With Wall Street Responsible For Judging Compliance Shahien Nasiripour, Huffington Post

Now There Is a Volcker Rule Matt Levine, Bloomberg

Mel Watt confirmed Politico :-(


Krugman, Helicopters, and Consolidation New Economics Perspectives

Safe assets and the QE enigma Pieria

Bubble deniers — now and then Lars P. Syll

Be prepared for bubble trouble ahead Financial Times

When economic theory fails the maths exam Steve Keen

Lambert’s find of the day!

First you need to read this Patrick Durusau post: [Topic Vectors?].

Now Lambert has determined the following:

Obama + integrity – charisma


Obama – integrity + charisma

BOTH yield Obama himself, and George W Bush!

I don’t know if that is a stunning insight or not!

Antidote du jour (Josh):


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    1. Massinissa

      My god, there are entire families in Greece where the younger members are having to live off an older persons pension because the young cant get jobs.

      This will cut whatever consumer spending Greece has, which isnt damn much, and in addition to hurting the economy, may even cause Riots…

      The Troika simply dont understand what theyre messing with… But then again, it wont be the Troika being put into a Guillotine. Not that the Greek elites dont deserve it almost as much…

    1. Ned Ludd

      Nostalgia for the days when Google was just a really good search engine, the research project of a couple of Stanford grad students.

    1. Lois

      Those look like Tonkinese to me, at least the one on the left. I have one, they love snuggling like that! Also love to jump on shoulders to wrap around the neck, and love being carried like a baby.

      1. skippy

        The one on the right looks exceedingly looks like our Russian blue, a love master if ever there was one and do they parade like a floozie!

  1. from Mexico

    Uruguay yesterday became the first country to legalize the production and distribution of maijuana:

    “Uruguay becomes first nation to legalise marijuana trade”

    “Uruguay aprueba el primer mercado regulado de marihuana”
    Hopefully this is a watershed.

    The putative “War on Drugs,” in reality, has nothing to do with reducing harmful drug usage.

    Inside the United States the “War on Drugs” is a war on racial and ethnic minorities, but mostly on poor people. It is a quest for scapegoats by a ruling class that no longer serves any interests but its own.

    Outside the United States, the “War on Drugs” is merely a tool of the U.S. deep state, a way to finance its nefarious and illegal operations and a Trojan Horse to intervene and undermine the sovereignty of nations like Mexico, Uruguay, and many others.

    Uruguay appears to be a bellweather, but what Urugay did yesterday would not have been possible a few years ago. The U.S. would not have allowed it. This illustrates fading U.S. hegemony in a multipolar world.

    For instance, the Mexican congress passed similar legislation back in 2006, only to be vetoed by then Mexican presient Vicente Fox. Originally in favor of the legislaiton, Fox did a sudden about-face when he got the memo from the Bush administration:

    Make no bones about it, what Uruguay did yesterday was giving Obama and the U.S. ruling class the finger.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘The “War on Drugs” is a war on racial and ethnic minorities.’

      Close to a third of U.S. states now offer legal cannabis to medical patients or even consenting adults in general (gasp!). But 43 years after Nixon and Agnew conceived the federal drug gulag (in which cannabis absurdly remains classified as a Schedule 1 ‘worst of the worst’ addictive substance along with heroin), not a trace of movement toward amendment or repeal is discernible. Could there be any better evidence of the utter dysfunctionality of our 535 Kongress Klowns?

      By contrast, Uruguay is a pleasant, sleepy little social democracy of 3.4 million souls, less than the population of Connecticut. Unlike in the big city across the river (Buenos Aires), Uruguayan motorists actually stop for pedestrians at crosswalks! One suspects that with legal cannabis, the leisurely pace of life in La Republica Oriental may grind to a complete halt, with locals frozen like cigar store Indians on the sidewalks. But they’ll be happy …

      1. Ned Ludd

        Dysfunctional? For the police, for the cartels, and for the imperialists who run the government; the drug war seems to be functioning exactly as it was intended.

      2. afisher

        That is the not so subtle: it can’t possibly happen in the cosmopolitan US except that Washington State has a population of 6.8M or Colorado, population 5.1M, go figure!

      3. sleepy

        ” [marijuana] not a trace of movement toward amendment or repeal is discernible”

        Of course, Obama has the executive authority to declassify marijuana on his own without any congressional action at all.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            They have to stop the War on Drivers.

            Los Angeles recently settled a bunch of traffic ticket quota cases.

            It seems here, LA is like China and freedom of speech, in that LA is just not as sophisticated as other cities and got caught.

      4. LucyLulu

        Technically, what distinguishes Schedule I drugs from other schedules is being designated with “lack of therapeutic use”. LSD is also a schedule I drug. They don’t necessarily, and most don’t, have higher potentials for abuse, the other criteria used for categorizing drugs into their respective schedules. Vicodin was changed from schedule 3 to schedule 2 when it became the most abused medication. Interestingly, valium was the most abused drug 40 years ago but never lost its schedule 4 designation, despite potential for fatalities with abrupt withdrawal (unlike painkillers, which per former addict I worked with, only causes one to wish one was dead).

        1. bob

          Alcohol can also kill with abrupt withdrawal. Valium is most often used to combat this.
          “danger” has little to do with the classification, iMO. It’s all about cartels, legal and illegal. Guess which is worth more?

    2. Crazy Horse

      Inside the US the war on drugs is principally a financial support mechanism for the prison/law enforcement industry and the bank money laundering industry. It is one of the features of an economic system which no longer manufactures much of significance and creates few productive working class jobs.. A country that continually creates external wars to maintain its military industrial sector can hardly be expected to not use the same principles internally.

      1. optimader

        Obama x 1= ignorance
        Obama x 2= stupidity

        I hope he is rewarded in the private sector with the ignominy he deserves –along the lines of manner Alberto Gonzales

        ..In April 2008, The New York Times that Gonzales was having difficulty securing a new job, unusual for a former Attorney General.[216] Gonzales had a mediation and consulting practice in Austin, TX and taught at Texas Tech.[when?] In October 2011, Belmont University College of Law announced that Gonzalez would fill the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law.[217] Gonzalez also joined the Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis as Of Counsel.[218]…

        ..Additionally, he has written opinion pieces for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, covering issues ranging from immigration to sexual predators.[226] He stated an intention to write a book about his roles, with the intention of publishing the book “for my sons, so at least they know the story.” No publishing company had agreed to promote the book at the time of the interview.[221]…
        ….In 2009, Texas Tech University System hired Gonzales. He acted as the diversity recruiter for both Texas Tech University and Angelo State University.[228] …After the announcement, more than 40 professors at Texas Tech signed a petition opposing the hiring.[231] “

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            With all of us being Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens, I thought it was sufficient to just mention shame, to avoid any redundancy.

  2. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Americans Suddenly Discovering How Insurance Works

    Hopefully this will be a GOOD thing and Americans will realize that for-profit insurance is not the best way to do “healthcare.”

    Left unaddressed in the comparison of auto insurance (or home insurance, for that matter)–prices for those types of insurance remain relatively affordable because, once purchased, the policy holders actively try to AVOID using it. They are not under constant advertising assault to go out and crash their car or burn down the house.

    Exactly the OPPOSITE of “health” insurance. The concept DOES NOT WORK both ways.

    1. diptherio

      I would also add that Obama is to blame; not for the way that private health-insurance operates, but for the fact that we all still have to deal with it at all. The author of the piece states that single-payer would solve all these problems, but fails to mention that Obama’s capitulation to the insurance and pharma companies was probably the the biggest impediment to getting single-payer.

      Another Dem shill who can’t or won’t believe that the head of his party might actually bear some responsibility for policy failures.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I forgot to add that when many policy holders in the same area try to utilize their insurance at the same time–say, for example, home insurance after Superstorm Sandy at the Jersey Shore–the system barely functions at all.

        Insurance is a product designed for unlikely “one-offs,” not all things for all people all the time.

          1. Carla

            And they raise those premiums, for most subscribers, all the time.

            And they reward their shareholders handsomely.

            1. Carla

              Oops…I really misspoke…should have said: they reward their shareholders but not NEARLY as handsomely as they do their glorious EXECUTIVES…

      2. Lambert Strether

        “Another Dem shill”? Who exactly are you talking about, Diptherio? Sorry I didn’t perform the proper ritual utterance; I’ll try to do better on the shibboleths next time.

  3. ambrit

    Re. the Kiev Uprising;
    Kerry and Nuland denounce the crackdown by authorities on protestors in the main square of the capitol as anti democratic and unacceptable. What hypocrites! Didn’t I read about something similar happening right here in River City? What we need is a big old marching band for us all to ‘patriotically’ follow along! (I wonder if the New York City Department of Homeland Security has its’ own band?)

  4. curlydan

    From the Emptywheel link quoting Ryan Lizza’s piece: “It’s not that they thought terrorism was over and it was done with,” [Michael] Leiter said, “but until you experience your first concrete attack on the homeland, not to mention one that becomes a huge political firestorm—that changes your outlook really quickly.”
    It’s ironic that homeland terrorism takes politicians hostage. Any possible terror attack could greatly hurt politicians, so they pour billions of dollars and strip Americans of their 4th Amendment rights in an attempt to prevent attacks.
    Meanwhile, good paying jobs are scarce, and health care is a rip-off. But the terrorists have a metaphorical gun to politicians’ heads, and we must continue to spend billions to try to prevent so few deaths.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “It’s ironic that homeland terrorism takes politicians hostage.”

      It would appear that the “hostage” taking is most acute INSIDE the homeland. ABC news anchors reporting on Mandela’s memorial service yesterday were apoplectic about the lack of “security” at the stadium. From memory, the incredulity was variously expressed as “no metal detectors,” no “pat-downs,” no “bag checks.” People were just walking in and out of the stadium AT WILL!!!!! The Secret Service was discomfited. One can only imagine the trepidation that must have plagued the assembled world leaders.

      Or not.

      Apparently they were having too much fun playing with their little cameras and taking selfies to worry about those terrorists supposedly lurking literally EVERYWHERE.

  5. LucyLulu

    How a Free Trade Agreement Threatens Your Health

    Such proposals go beyond current U.S. and international law including the World Trade Organization’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. Additionally, the TPP has the potential to jeopardize millions of lives in the participating countries by driving up the costs of medicines significantly. Even in the United States, there has been a public outcry from physicians regarding the high cost of medicines. Earlier this year, over 100 oncologists came together to write a perspective piece in the journal Blood calling the prices of brand-name cancer drugs “astronomical, unsustainable, and perhaps even immoral.” The United States health care system has in fact greatly benefited from the entry of generic competition. On May 9, IMS Health released a report entitled Declining Medicine Use and Costs: For Better or Worse?, which found that many Americans had forsaken much needed doctor visits, medicines, and other treatments as they struggled to afford health care. In light of this, it is appalling that U.S. negotiators would continue to push provisions that would further exacerbate the cost burden of healthcare for patients not only abroad, but at home.

    The week following World AIDS Day, trade ministers will convene again in Singapore as a potential “end game” to the negotiations planning on making large trade-offs on various trade topics including copyright, Internet issues, and medicines in order to make a grand announcement that they “have a deal” by the end of the year. Despite opposition from both civil society and other TPP governments, the USTR is aggressively pushing the participating countries to accept these dangerous IP provisions during this meeting to finalize the agreement. The USTR recently claimed that the “United States is a leading voice for strong [intellectual property rights] protections and for access to medicines for the world’s poor, including in developing country [Trans-Pacific Partnership] partners”. These good intentions are admirable but are overshadowed by the actions of the USTR, as it continues to trade away health and true innovation to cater to Big Pharma profits. To keep the promise of an AIDS-Free Generation and the ability to provide access to affordable medicines, the trade ministers must put a stop to these harmful provisions at the upcoming Singapore meeting.

    One proposal, the scariest IMO, requires patents for all surgeries and medical procedures. How does IP work when a doctor discovers a life-saving treatment or surgery? Do patents protect the original doctor from others using the same treatments without paying royalties? Who controls royalties from becoming too expensive for any but the elite?

    Also the most recent article suggests there may be provisions for countries specified to be ‘developing’ to be exempt from many of the provisions, e.g. brand name patent extensions. World health organizations have warned against the practice of enacting provisions based on a country’s economic ranking as low-income members of more affluent nations will miss out on needed care. The blog seems to closely follow TPP negotiations.

    1. diptherio

      Agreed. If it goes, we’re all f—ed, so what’s the point in worrying about it? It could erupt tomorrow…or 10,000 years from now…oooooo, scary..

      Went to visit another local ancient volcano last week…had a nice long soak and thanked the goddess for the delightful combination of volcanism and water.

      1. optimader


        An interesting (to me anyway) thought experiment on the subject of human behavior is this notion of imminent death scenarios.

        More specifically, a person facing there own mortality while everyone else is “spared”, vs lets call it hypothetical “mass extinction alternative”, where it is 99.9999999% (nine nines) probability of Planetary Lights Out in say, pick a number, 30 days. The ultimate class equalizer, everyone in the same boat.

        So in the case of the former, I think there is an element of “this is SO G-D unfair, why me?!?!” perhaps w/ the requisite lashing out in frustration. But in the case of the latter how would people behave? Everyone runs in their personal hair on fire circle of frenzy ’til they drop from exhaustion.. then what? Go to the liquor store where its a 100% off sale? Go home? Abandon home and go to where/whom you really want to be/with? Complete and utter societal breakdown? Then what?

        Better yet, what happens in the 00.0000001% scenario? The Volcano freezes in a Star Trek Intervention Moment or the asteroid spontaneously diverts….. Even better fodder for the screenplay.

      2. dalepues

        We have nearly twenty volcanos. Seven are active, several very active. They’re all sorts, strato volcano, complex, caldera, massif, and combinations, and all in a space the size of Alabama. Everybody ignore the volcanoes until they begin glowing and shooting ash into the air. The ash is not like that from burning wood, but more like black sand. It makes breathing very difficult.

    2. Garrett Pace

      Hearing that a giant bomb is right under your house and will definitely go off at some random point in the next 100,000 years is an idea that needs getting used to.

      1. subgenius

        Don’t worry too much, odds-on favorite is that our lords and masters will wipe us out well in advance of any random caldera

    3. craazyman

      You guys better not get too arrogant or that sucker’ll decide to blow half the Western U.S. into outer space. It always works like that, doesn’t it? People should know by now.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I guess I better not mention Toba, Sumatra, even though the name had kept me up more than a few nights.

        1. craazyman

          supposedly there’s a volcano in the Canary Islands that’ll send a 200 foot high tidal wave into the Eastern seaboard when it finally blows. We’ll have about 8 hours notice to brace ourselves. New York is toast. Wet toast, anyway.

      2. optimader

        Nothingg news in this article.
        A fun aspect of the Yellowstone Volcano is that it was only in recent history that geologist earnestly started looking for the volcanic caldera in the park, having known for a long time that the thermal activity and formations are of volcanic origin. There search was frustrated until it was realized that isn’t a caldera in the park, the whole fkn park IS the caldera!

  6. LucyLulu

    TIME magazine names Pope Francis “Man of the Year”. No big surprise but naming anybody else would have been a disappointment. I love this man and how he is changing the focus of the Church off maintaining its wealth to charity, kindness, and social equality. Making fun of the Catholic Church used to be so easy. Now it’s like committing heresy. Where is Lenova Ballet Russe when you need her?

    Snowden was named runner-up.
    Bashir Assad and Ted Cruz were also named runners-up, discrediting the competition.

    1. savedbyirony

      I almost hate to say it, but i feel like Benedict and the Cardinals deserve a great deal of thanks. i mean, Popes just do not retire! But what i really hope is that all the other members of the catholic church (such as so many of the Sisters) who have been acting in the very ways Francis is talking about will now receive more support from the Institutional church, as opposed to being at times out-right sanctioned for their work. ( i think i would have rather seen Snowden popularly recognized as person of this year, though)

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Snowden would have been my choice too.

        It is a testament to how rotten the catholic church has been for centuries, that washing a few feet and an op-ed are considered such a sea change.

          1. savedbyirony

            Indeed, one of the reasons i think 2013 is too early for “person of the year” accolades. So far, it’s a new commission appointed to look into the situation (all clerics!) Some priests go to jail but few if any Bishops have been removed/demoted from their offices and ranks (maybe shuffled around a bit) for their roles in the cover-ups. Nothing at all like a truth and reconciliation project. And as much as catholics may look to this new Pope for reforms of the hierarchy, if they were asked if they thought the church was doing a better job in reporting sex abuse allegations against priests at present, or that Bishops were now willing to aid law enforcement in investigations, i doubt most would think so. (I think the rates have gone down and the catholic church is far from the only institution which has these sex abuse crimes and cover-ups -but that’s not the point) A fondness for Francis has not spilled over to a growing faith in the Bishops. And there is still far too much of an attitude from the clergy/hierarchy towards the laity that obedience is king.

            1. savedbyirony

              Sorry, i was wrong in the above. The new commission in the works is to have men, women, clergy and laity on it. However, those in charge of assembling that commission are at present all Cardinals.

  7. Garrett Pace

    Spanking children

    I’ve never laid a finger on my little kids and hope to never break the streak. Adult physical superiority can be expressed and exerted in ways that don’t hurt.

    Also never wanted to raise my voice unless the house was on fire, but I haven’t held my resolve so well there. And anyway, I have no advantage over my children in that department.

    1. optimader

      MY mother’s reflection in later life on spanking was that she finally gave up when I started giggling and her hand hurt. A WTF moment for her that ended w/ her laughing and giving up the futile practice.

      She was a child Psyops pro, but at least I outfoxed her on this one, not to say she didn’t have her victories.
      –used to have us kids race each other around the block before my father got home in the evening, we would be exhausted and compliant;
      –conditioned us to think the bruised apples were the tastiest ones, the ones w/ worms were a special treat, they came with a pet;
      — and we would fight over who go the bread crust end slices for the PB&J sandwich (still my favorite, a lifelong scar of psychological child abuse?)

      BTW, I do have some friends who children would have benefited from the occasional heart felt slap. I offered a few times — no takers.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      My daughter is 22 now. I never spanked her while she was growing up, and you know what?

      I should have.

    3. neo-realist

      Most of the people I knew that became punk fans had abusive (of the spanking and verbal kind) parents.

      I know of a couple of boys-late teens and early 20–who were raised for the most part by a non spanking single mother and they turned out to be the most well adjusted non rebellious young people that I’ve ever known.

      Doesn’t surprise me that christian conservatives and conservatives period favor spanking–you break kids and make them obedient automatons-righties love obedience. Obedience to the parents in childhood…..and obedience to the corporation in later life, presumably.

  8. susan the other

    Sort of basic to today is Greenspan’s rationalization of zirp. Taylor (?) accused him of not understanding the relationship between the effect of short (zirp) and long inerest rates. Big flap on Kudlow. Of course we know everything is a big flap on Kudow. But a dangerous future emerges. Where do we really want to go. To Larry’s Goldilocks fantasy? Not me. Did Greenspan just accuse Bernanke of lying about zirp. Greenspan said short interest has no effect at all on long. This means, imo, we need two separate currencies.

  9. Jess

    Laid up afterback surgery and even surfing the net is a painful and unpleasant task. Anybody know if the new budget deal includes Obama’s requested Chained CPI? Thanks.

    1. LucyLulu

      Nothing in the budget on entitlements, or unemployment extensions, or infrastructure or jobs. In turn, Republicans were spared tax increases. Now that Congress has ventured outside the bounds of gridlock, the Grand Bargain is next.

      1. Alexa

        Loosely speaking, this was part of the larger “Grand Bargain,” in that many of the policies were taken directly from Bowles-Simpson’s “The Moment Of Truth” proposal.

        Mostly they came from Section IV, “Other Mandatory Policies”, beginning on Page 44.

        Here’s the link, if it works:

        And yes, IMHO, the next faux fiscal crisis will likely include Social Security, Medigap insurance-related, and flat-out Medicare program cuts.

        Sort of figure that they may intend to wait until AFTER the midterms.

        But then, they can read polls–Dems must be concerned that they will lose seats both the House and the Senate.

        I believe that there would be less chance of more “deals” if Dems lose the Senate.

        Especially since Repubs have reason to be considerably more concerned about the blow back from “entitlement cuts.” (due to Repub Party demographics.)

        I don’t believe for a New York minute that Repubs will take the lead on cutting Social Security. They depend upon having a Dem President to use as a “foil.”

        Especially since the President has much of his own Base mesmerized to the point that they don’t effectively push back on any Democratic Party proposals.

        I’m convinced that if it weren’t for the Tea Partiers, entitlement cuts would have already been enacted.

        Remember how Repubs ran like scalded dogs when there was a little push back on entitlement reform under FP George W Bush?

        I do.

        And let’s not forget, Dem lawmakers pander to almost every demographic but seniors (I don’t count electoral gimmicks and posturing leading up to each election cycle.)

        With the many “minefields” ahead relating to the ACA, I expect that 2014 will be a very interesting election year. For that matter, 2016 will probably shape up to be a wild year, electorally.

        Especially, if the ACA pans out to be an unmitigated fiasco–with its skinny networks, many millions of uninsureds due to skyrocketing premiums, inadequate RX formularies, etc.

        I know that our own insurance plan has all but eliminated Tier 4 drugs. So now we just have to “hope and pray” that we don’t become gravely or terminally ill.


        1. different clue

          Is there any point in voting for people like Grayson or will they vote to cut Social Security too because . . . Obama? The Congressional Black Caucus members will certainly vote to cut Social Security and Medicare because . . . Obama.

          1. Alexa

            Good question, different clue.

            My comment was not intended to argue that anyone should vote for Dems.

            Actually, the current split gives the Administration and Dems too much cover, IMHO.

            I will not be “pulling the proverbial lever” for any more DLC/Third Way/No Labels corporatist Dems or Repubs (not that I voted for them, in the first place).

            I’ve had it with the so-called “Lesser Of Two Evils” (LOTE) theory.

            Look where is has gotten us!


  10. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the important article from New Economic Perspectives which Stephanie Kelton co-authored.

    I believe QE is not the functional equivalent of MMT for at least a couple of reasons. These relate to the presumed distribution of government-created money under MMT being directed to recipients according to explicit policies set by the People’s elected representatives vs. Fed-created money, which is distributed through the Primary Dealers, the fractional reserve banking system, and the shadow banking system as intermediaries.

    I believe both government Austerity policies and QE-ZIRP are being driven in large part by the dual unstated political objectives of enabling the Primary Dealers (two-thirds of whom are foreign owned), banks, and their shareholders to recover their enormous losses from the Great Financial Collapse of 2007-2008 and to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few who are politically favored. Whether these two goals have now been largely accomplished in the eyes of their proponents and beneficiaries is unclear.

    1. optimader

      Chauncey Gardiner ..such an apt screen name, such an excellent movie, so appropriate in these times of QE

      This is one of the finest satirical dialogues in any move.. ever..

      President “Bobby”: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?

      [Long pause]

      Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

      President “Bobby”: In the garden.

      Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

      President “Bobby”: Spring and summer.

      Chance the Gardener: Yes.

      President “Bobby”: Then fall and winter.

      Chance the Gardener: Yes.

      Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we’re upset by the seasons of our economy.

      Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

      Benjamin Rand: Hmm!

      Chance the Gardener: Hmm!

      President “Bobby”: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I’ve heard in a very, very long time.

      [Benjamin Rand applauds]

      President “Bobby”: I admire your good, solid sense. That’s precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.


      and of course

      Morton Hull: Do you realize that more people will be watching you tonight, than all those who have seen theater plays in the last forty years?

      Chance the Gardener: Why?

      [Thomas and Johanna are watching Chance’s interview on TV]

      Thomas Franklin: It’s that gardener.

      Johanna, girl with Franklin: Yes, Chauncey Gardiner.

      Thomas Franklin: No, he’s a real gardener.

      Johanna, girl with Franklin: He does talk like one. I think he’s brilliant.

    2. craazyman

      There’s no point in having a left and a right brain. It would be more efficient to have one brain that thinks everything all at once, but then, how would you debate yourself in your own mind?

      I bet you could map this with a T-account. A Tequila–account that is.

      That’s what they need. I bet Profesor Kelton could do a few Tequila shots and then explain MMT in about 4 minutes. Who needs all the T accounts. All they do is make you want to skip over them and go to Youtube. :)

      1. optimader

        Bush Jr. took great pride in his claim that he could quickly ascertain a decision to an issue and then had the fidelity (some might say stupidity and shallowness) to the “stay the course” .
        Debating oneself on decisions might not be such a ubiquitous organic concept you may think it to be?

        1. craazyan

          that’s a good point. I’ve noticed as I get older that I’m pretty strange in relation to most of humanity. I’ve met people I connect well with though, who seem to think and feel like I do. But others are so strange, so devoid of what I intuit to be the reflective faculty that I wonder whether mankind is less a species or a collection of manifestations of something so diverse in its composition and possibilities.that it is a multiplicity. and we are only doorways through which it comes. deep thoughts for the bong hit

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      No, big big fail.

      MMT is not QE. Wash your mouth out with soap.

      QE is a portfolio swap. The Fed buys bonds. Investors sell bonds and get cash.

      MMT says the government is not constrained by bond issuance in spending. It can just create new money.

      MMT followers advocate the use of fiscal policy (deficit spending) to deal with underuse of real economy resources. QE is about trying to bribe investors with cheap borrowing costs to borrow and invest in the real economy, an investment-driven trickle-down theory. But they only speculate in financial assets instead.

  11. Hugh

    As I wrote elsewhere, the “people’s pope” is just marketing. It makes as much sense to talk about a “people’s monarchy.” The papacy remains an autocracy. People is not used here as Lincoln used it in the Gettysburg Address, a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” It is used rather in the sense of a prince taking note of his subjects and that they are supposed to feel good about this.

  12. Synoia

    Now Lambert has determined the following:
    Obama + integrity – charisma
    Obama – integrity + charisma
    BOTH yield Obama himself, and George W Bush!

    Obama + integrity – charisma = Obama | Bush ( | is or, because and is ridiculous)
    Obama – integrity + charisma = Obama | Bush
    adding the two equations. and dividing by two, yields:
    Obama = Obama | Bush
    Thus: Obama = Obama (a trivial result)
    or Obama = Bush — and we knew that.

    Proof at last!

    Mugabe – Black + White I leave as an exercise for the readers.

  13. BobW

    Food Stamps from Firesign Theatre “We’re All Bozos on this Bus”
    “Well, Mr. President, it’s the bees and spiders again…they stole my food stamps and sold ’em to the rats!”

      1. Lambert Strether

        Many busy executives ask me, “What about the job displacement market program in the city of the future?” Well, count on us to be there, JIM, because, if we’re lucky tomorrow, we won’t have to deal with questions like yours ever again.

  14. Roger Bigod

    Russia Today covers today’s Congressional hearing on the NSA, but the NYT dropped it in the memory hole. Interesting times when RT is the newspaper of record.

  15. Alexa

    Iowa Dems Join With Repubs–Will Send Medicaid Enrollees Into Private Health Plans.

    Here’s the link:

  16. Seal

    “Indeed charisma becomes the undoing of leaders. It makes them inflexible, convinced of their own infallibility, unable to change. This is what happened to Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and it is a commonplace in the study of ancient history that only Alexander the Great’s early death saved him from becoming an ineffectual failure.” Peter Drucker

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