Links 12/1/13

Protective measures are a ‘death sentence’ for rare dolphin say campaigners BBC

Off Siberia’s Arctic coast, the seafloor belches methane ars technica

The incredible mile-long floating CITY – complete with schools, a hospital, parks and an airport for its 50,000 residents Daily Mail. Paging Richard Smith. Pray tell how you provision this ship….

Seattle Asshole Demands Employee Firing Over Bar’s Google Glass Policy Gawker

The Real Significance of Mahendraparvata The Diplomat (Lambert)

Saving Africans from African Savagery CounterPunch (Carol B)

Japan consumer price rises speed up BBC

Two dead in Thai protests Sydney Morning Herald (furzy mouse)

Troops deployed amid Bangkok clashes BBC

Weak Growth: Agency Strips Netherlands’ AAA Rating Der Speigel

25% of Spanish Would Consider Leaving Spain for Economic Reasons; But Where Would They Go? Michael Shedlock

Karzai nudges U.S. closer to ‘zero option’ Washington Post

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

New Snowden docs show U.S. spied during G20 in Toronto CBC News

Obamacare Launch

Site Still Frustrating at Deadline Bloomberg. Lambert: “Navigators quoted are apologists rather than advocates for clients.”

Inside the Race to Rescue the Health Site, and Obama New York Times

Obamacare Website Getting Fixes as Repair Deadline Passes Bloomberg. Hardly a surprise, but I am pretty sure Lambert called this.

The latest health issue for the elderly: ‘observation purgatory’ in hospitals Guardian

There They Go Again, Again… – Johnson and Johnson Loses Two Civil Cases, Makes $2.5 Billion Settlement Based on Claims it Withheld Safety Data on its Products Health Care Renewal

Come Saturday Morning: Perestroika and Austerity Phoenix Woman, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Forget “Double Down.” Here’s the real story of the 2012 election Salon

Is Puerto Rico the next Detroit? Washington Post

Former Fed Chief Greenspan Sees No Bubble in Dow 16,000 Bloomberg. Note Greenspan threw in the towel on the dot-com bubble right before its spectacular 3 months final blowout phase.

Waiting for bitcoin to get boring Felix Salmon

Do food prices respond to oil-price shocks? VoxEU

When HSBC Closes Your Bank Account Without Telling You Huffington Post

Firms race to transmit Wall Street data at nearly light speed Los Angeles Times

A Trusting Couple, Now Thrown for Two Loops Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Sorry, Folks, Rich People Actually Don’t ‘Create The Jobs’ Business Insider (furzy mouse)

Economics textbooks – how to get away with scientific fraud Lars P. Syll

Also, pinging members of the Colorado bar! I could use a small favor. If you are up for considering my request, please e-mail Thanks!

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. alex morfesis

    either gretchen missed something in this case with the couple being hit and stewart title not willing to settle, or this couple needs a new lawyer…millions of dollars in fees and five years later…there is either more to the story here…or their lawyer, who seems to work out of his home and has no real office, is taking this poor couple to the cleaners…one would hope with the millions of dollars he has taken from them in legal fees he would have a law office to work out of…they probably need a new lawyer who will deal with the title company in a much more aggressive manner…he put together a “memo” on this case that was posted on the internet and it is a bit of a mess. Five years of litigation and no interlocutory appeals on his arguments in his “memo” when the judge wiped his x$@&% with it…and no section 22 argument which would be a slam dunk based on how the lenders NEVER sent them out back in 2008 . they used RR Donnelley(still do), but it was sent out as junk mail and they have no records to show it was sent out…

    they either need to get their lawyer to find someone who can actually get him to move his case forward or just get a new one…since the lender lawyers have already done 4 pleadings, one original and three amended, getting the section 22 argument upfront and over with will preclude them from refiling, since in florida, no plaintiff is allowed a fifth pleading unless the defendants lawyer is stupid enough to allow it by stipulation…dismissing the case will create negotiating position for the defendants, and if nothing else, they get to keep the rents and tell the lenders to go whistle dixie…

    it may not be fair right now, but from the tone of the article, they are buy and hold owners, so they can wait out the statute of limitations and move to quiet title in another…(gulp) 14 years…

    1. CB

      Maybe we can guess why they trusted Stern? Can they have been played a second time to this extent? You’ve raised some points that make me wonder about the “trusting couple.”

    2. LucyLulu

      There are claims by Arlene Raijman’s family, who were the lenders in five of the loans, that Stern and the property owners were former business partners. From Law360 article on Stewart v. Great American to recover claim for $15M reinsurance:

      A Raijman client and business associate, Michael Stern, was the borrower or principal for several entities and properties involved in the closings, while former business partners Ivor Hano Rose and Rita Starr, and Raijman’s brother and father were principals in several of the insured lenders, the complaint says. Raijman herself also held three of the mortgages at issue.

      Payments from the closings went to Raijman or an entity affiliated with her family, through Stern, according to the complaint. Based on litigation that the closings have spawned, Stern, with help from Raijman, systematically induced Rose and Starr to use their property as security for loans, which benefited only Stern, Raijman and the Raijman family, STGC says.

      It remains unclear however why Rose and Starr would participate in a shady deal that only benefited Stern and Raijman. Rose and Starr’s attorney appears to have, or had in the recent past at least, two different Miami firms acting as co-counsel. One has a pricey Coral Gables address.

      The plaintiffs on five of the foreclosure cases, BofA/Countrywide, have produced “lost notes”, followed by unendorsed notes, then non-wet ink endorsed notes with backdated assignments. The owners also have an expert attesting their signatures on the documents are forgeries and xerox copies.

  2. DakotabornKansan

    Another great moment in the history of boondoggles?

    The Freedom Ship will be the largest vessel ever built, and the first ever floating city, housing 50,000 with space for an extra 30,000 visitors, constantly sailing around the world every two years…

    “For all that has been said of the love that certain natures (on shore) have professed to feel for it, for all the celebrations it had been the object of in prose and song, the sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness, and playing the part of dangerous abettor of worldwide ambitions. Faithful to no race after the manner of the kindly earth, receiving no impress from valor and toil and self-sacrifice, recognizing no finality of dominion, the sea has never adopted the cause of its masters like those lands where the victorious nations of mankind have taken root, rocking their cradles and setting up their gravestones. He—man or people—who, putting his trust in the friendship of the sea, neglects the strength and cunning of his right hand, is a fool! As if it were too great, too mighty for common virtues, the ocean has no compassion, no faith, no law, no memory. Its fickleness is to be held true to men’s purposes only by an undaunted resolution, and by a sleepless, armed, jealous vigilance, in which, perhaps, there has always been more hate than love. Odi et amo may well be the confession fascination of the sea. All the tempestuous passions of mankind’s young days, the love of loot and the love of glory, the love of adventure and the love of danger, with the great love of the unknown and vast dreams of dominion and power, have passed like images reflected from a mirror, leaving no record upon the mysterious face of the sea. Impenetrable and heartless, the sea has given nothing of itself to the suitors for its precarious favors. Unlike the earth, it cannot be subjugated at any cost of patience and toil. For all its fascination that has lured so many to a violent death, its immensity has never been loved as the mountains, the plains, the desert itself, have been loved…

    Already I looked with other eyes upon the sea. I knew it capable of betraying the generous ardor of youth as implacably as, indifferent to evil and good, it would have betrayed the basest greed or the noblest heroism. My conception of its magnanimous greatness was gone. And I looked upon the true sea – the sea that plays with men till their hearts are broken, and wears stout ships to death. Nothing can touch the brooding bitterness of its heart. Open to all and faithful to none, it exercises its fascination for the undoing of the best. To love it is not well. It knows no bond of plighted troth, no fidelity to misfortune, to long companionship, to long devotion. The promise it holds out perpetually is very great; but the only secret of its possession is strength, strength – the jealous, sleepless strength of a man guarding a coveted treasure within his gates.” – Joseph Conrad, “Initiation,” The Mirror of the Sea

    1. direction

      But it might be the source of our most entertaining comments today. “The largest ship ever built for people who want to avoid sunshine and vegetation.” I am still trying to figure out how they are going to pave the runway with uncrushable solar panels.
      Looking forward to checking back later.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And probably just a prototype.

          If this one works, expect many, many, many more.

          In fact, so many, you can walk from Paris to the Devil’s Island.

    2. S Haust

      Good one. And after all Conrad knew from first hand experience. I have some experience too, having spent 32 years going to sea. This puts me in mind of an apprentice I once supervised who was seasick most of the time and said he couldn’t believe “such a big ship” would get buffeted around the way it did (frequently). There are immense storms out there and the effects spread sometimes many hundreds of miles from the storm center. Swells a mile long (the length of this proposed “vessel” are common in many ocean areas. Their “itinerary” map appears that they hope to hug the coasts most of the time, probably seeking a lee of some kind but this doesn’t always work very well.

      Can you just imagine an environment where 50,000 “residents” and 30,000 guests spend most of their time talking on the big white telephone?

      1. bob

        It’s popular mechanics meets libtard nation. “steer around the storm”…sure, using gov weather tracking satellites.

        As someone who might know- How do you lay a keel for a 1 mile long ship? I don’t know of any dry-docks that size.

        That’s just the beginning volley.

        If it is ever built, what would the trail it leaves behind smell like? Raw sewage and freedom?

        1. bob

          Also, who get get the sun decks? Who gets the sun would usually be determined by the direction the ship was heading, but this is a freedom ship. So, presumably, the people on the non-sun side could band their vast fortunes together and lobby the captain for a reversal of course.

          Wait, how would a captain be expected to control anything? This is anti-freedom.

        2. scraping_by

          It’s actually an idea that’s been around since the 80’s, a ship as a sovereign nation. It’s meant to be like Monaco, a citizenship to avoid taxes. Living in a floating high-rise sounds like just waiting around the wrong wave.

          Matter of fact, it’s an idea that’s been around a lot longer than that. In Russel Miller’s Bare Faced Messiah, is the tale of L Ron Hubbard buying an old cattle ferry and sailing off with a bunch of his Scientology followers. Avoiding process servers along the way.

          Pretty good evasion, if you can get people to go along with it.

        3. M Quinlan

          All large vessels are prefabricated in blocks and stitched together these days. It’s technically feasible. However it would be subject to Class regulations, would have to be registered with a port state authority and be subject to their laws as well as the laws of the sea as dictated by the IMO, etc.

    3. KFritz

      The Freedom Ship–What Could Go Wrong?!!! I assume that its itinerary would be planned to avoid storm seasons, but what about unexpected storms, especially well out to sea? And what about a bad take off or landing for that illustrated jetliner?

  3. JGordon

    Uh, can economists even commit “scientific fraud”? That’s like suggesting that astrologers could commit scientific fraud. What an amusing notion.

    1. CB

      Actually, astrologers can commit scientific fraud, but it would be of the astronomic kind that would be quickly and decisively quashed. Astrologers don’t fiddle the facts of astronomy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It depends on the zodiac sign of the astrologer, I believe, and a whole bunch of other esoteric readings.

        I wouldn’t try to simplify it like that.

        1. CB

          As a 30 some yrs student of astrology, I stand by my “simplification.” Astrologers don’t fiddle the facts of astronomy, whatever systems they use or conclusions they draw.

          1. scraping_by

            A materialist of my acquaintance once asked me if there should be a Nobel Prize in Theology.

            I said already done, it’s called Economics.

            1. JGordon

              WASTED?! Are you kidding me? Women love things like astrology. Even though I know it’s bullcrap I still study it! That and palmistry.

              1. Emma

                Not all women – Some of us actually prefer both Astronomy and Chemistry to Astrology and Palmistry so thankfully we rarely run into your type…

  4. D. Mathews

    I guess as a Puerto Rican, it is incumbent on me to comment on the Post article: I should perhaps start by mentioning that our situation nevertheless looks enviable from the surrounding Caribbean and Latin American region. That doesn’t excuse us from the hole we’ve dug ourselves into (or that has been dug for us?). Last year, the New York Fed issued a report (PDF)on what we might to do improve our position. However, there is the eternal political entanglement which has tempered any drastic response the USA might consider toward us: If austerity were to make the situation unbearable, it would induce a “flood of browned skinned Latinos” (to use Tea Party lingo) emigrating legally to the US mainland. I’m not sure the US would enjoy that outcome.

    1. from Mexico

      The acquisition of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Phillipine islands represented the last vestiges of the US’s territorial expansion. The Spanish-American war resulted in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, negotiated on terms favorable to the U.S., which allowed temporary American control of Cuba, ceded indefinite colonial authority over Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippine islands from Spain. But the nationalization process was never consumated as it was in the US’s westward territorial expansion across the continent, or with Alaska and Hawaii.

      The reason that the nationalization process was not completed is quite simple. As Hannah Arendt explained:

      What imperialists wanted was expansion of political power without the foundation of a body politic….

      The imperialists knew better than nationalists that the body politic of a nation is not capable of empire building. They were perfectly aware that the march of the naiton and its conquest of peoples, if allowed to follow its own inherent law, ends with the peoples’ rise to nationhood and the defeat of the conqueror. French methods, therefore, which always tried to combine national aspirations with empire building, were much less successful than British methods, which, after the eighties of the last [19th] century, were openly imperialistic, although restrained by a mother country that retained its national democratic institutions.

      –HANNAH ARENDT, The Origins of Totalitarianism

      The goal of post-1880s imperialism, according to Arendt, was to achieve capitalism’s perrenial but quixotic dream — to sever the economic life of a geographical unit and its people from its social, political and moral life.

  5. Jim Haygood

    From the NYT’s web page lede for its ‘Inside the Race’ article about O-care:

    Out of a tense meeting grew a frantic effort aimed at rescuing not only the troubled insurance portal and President Obama’s credibility, but also the Democratic philosophy that an activist government can solve complex problems.

    Gahhh … the purblind partisanship just never stops from this MSM relic. After all, Romneycare (under a Republican governor) piloted Obamacare in Massachusetts.

    When it comes to government activism, though, nothing trumps war, the security state, and the war finance that sustains both.

    From Bush’s invasion of Iraq, to Obama’s Afghan surge, to Patriot Act enabled NSA spying, to a trillion dollars a year of Federal Reserve balance sheet expansion — all of these Big Gov disasters are bipartisan projects of the Depublicrat party which has enjoyed 150 years of uninterrupted misrule.

    Smash the media, smash the state!

    1. from Mexico

      “Smash the state” is a utopian promise that really means smash the state except that part of the state that does my bidding.

      This has been the outcome of all the “smash the state” doctrines, regardless of whether they were crafted by Karl Marx or Adam Smith.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s the Sheep Problem.

        The Maoists might have said “Down with the KMT!” But it was probably because some of them secretly wanted to become the new KMT and that’s what you have today.

        Perhaps it’s time to dream on another utopian dream – the mystery, sorry, the theory of very small (integer) numbers.

      2. coboarts

        On one Hells Angels colors it read, “LSD Let the State Disintegrate.” The Hells Angels would do well in such an environment. They are well organized, disciplined and have a solid warrior ethos. All states, even some utopian, ecosusto, warm and fuzzy state will be based on force. Force to protect its claims from outsiders and force to keep it population in line. It’s way too easy to champion revolt, but then what? The more things change, eh?

      3. Ned Ludd

        Governments where “all offices are filled by election and none by lot” are not democracies, as Aristotle pointed out in Politics.

        By others the Spartan constitution is said to be an oligarchy, because it has many oligarchical elements. That all offices are filled by election and none by lot, is one of these oligarchical characteristics…

        Replace oligarchy with democracy and replace capitalism with workplace democracy.

    2. LucyLulu

      “the Democratic philosophy that an activist government can solve complex problems”

      As predicted by myself and a couple other posters, this is an increasingly common meme heard as problems with the ACA persist, and will take over the national healthcare discussion….. that the government is unable to efficiently handle big problems like national healthcare. Failure of the ACA won’t lead to the adoption of a single-payer system, it will deter future government intervention in the healthcare system for a long time. The fastest way to single-payer is through the ACA, which as I’ve said before, allows and provides funding for states to experiment with different models. Vermont is the first, having officially approved a universal single-payer system, (there’s been serious discussion since passage of ACA), for launch in 2017. A former Medicare chief running for MA governor is campaigning to make MA the second state. If initial states see success (and I predict they will), other states will follow…. assuming the ACA doesn’t fail first, in good part sabotaged by a hostile opposing party and press.

      “The biggest downside of the ACA is the reliance on the private insurance industry. It does not have to be this way, however. There is yet another provision in the Affordable Care Act that can open the door for states to institute their own single-payer healthcare system. [snip]

      The ACA provided states with federal funds to institute a Medicaid expansion. The states chose to expand the program also were able to set up their own state exchanges, which were relatively free from the problems the federal site had. Vermont decided to take it a step further by setting up their very own single payer system.

      The slogan of the program: Everybody in, nobody out.

      The program will be fully operational by 2017, and will be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, federal money for the ACA given to Vermont, and a slight increase in taxes. In exchange, there will be no more premiums, deductibles, copay’s, hospital bills or anything else aimed at making insurance companies a profit. Further, all hospitals and healthcare providers will now be nonprofit.

      Identifying problems is easy. Three cheers for Vermont for leading the way on a solution!!!

      1. LucyLulu

        Note: Single payer will be subject to many of the same arguments as the ACA. As premiums (in form of federal and state taxes) will be income based vs. risk based (and mandatory), citizens will pay for coverages, e.g. maternity care, not needed and the young and healthy will subsidize those who are older and have health issues (btw, employer-based coverage is also underwritten as group, not individually). Medicare requires paying for coverage not needed for up until 50 years in the future, so Americans can accept paying for unneeded coverage in return for security.

        It remains to be seen if employers will use their savings to increase employee wages, but relieving them of the burden of providing health insurance surely will make Vermont a more attractive state to locate, thus increasing the state’s employment rate (which indirectly raises wages). Meanwhile I’m getting out the word that our governor, who refused the Medicaid expansion, has ensured that federal taxes paid by our state residents be used to expand the healthcare access of residents of other states. From my POV, the governor’s support base is eroding.

        Disclaimer: I rarely disagree with stands taken by NC (and often don’t know enough to disagree), but this is a pet issue for me. I also would like to see a single-payer system and IMO, NC’s stand against the ACA is counter-productive towards that goal. Of course, other opinions are also legitimate (albeit wrong [grin] ).

        Am I allowed to disagree? I’m attempting to be constructive. As a longtime NC fan (well, since discovering site anyways), I don’t want to be deemed a troll. I’m not.

      2. lambert strether

        I’m all for the Saskethewan model in VT (but I’m for attacking everywhere).

        * * *

        Unfortunately, VT can only get the waiver from HHS that it needs after 2017. It would be nice to see progressives trying to lower the bar for single payer by advocating for lowering the year to, say, 2014.

    1. Crazy Horse

      I’m founding an institution of Higher Education that will allow you to become a certified Economist without ever referencing any activities that take place in the real world. Just send your tuition payment of $12,000 to:

      The Eggonomics Institute
      Box 101
      HSBC Bank
      Georgetown, Gran Cayman Is.

      You will receive by return mail a full curriculum of course materials enabling you to begin your study of the mathematics of certainty. Upon demonstrating your ability to mathematically prove any outcome your future employers might desire and manufacture any initial assumptions required the Institute will send you a beautiful hand written Certificate of competence as an Economist.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am founding an new K12 education program.

        Year 1, students are taught to learn from the rat.

        Year 2, from the ox.

        Yr. 3, the tiger.

        Yr. 4, the rabbit.

        Yr. 5, the dragon.

        Yr. 6, the snake.

        Yr. 7, the horse.

        Yr. 8, the sheep.

        Yr. 9, the monkey.

        Yr. 10, the rooster.

        Yr. 11, the dog.

        Yr. 12, the pig.

        They can substitute the cat any year they desire.

        1. AbyNormal

          ha, the ‘except’ is my unconscious derivative
          “The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception”

  6. diptherio

    Re: A Trusting Couple Now Thrown for Two Loops

    Stewart Title is showing classic signs of control fraud. From the article:

    Stewart Title, a unit of Stewart Information Services, is based in Houston and is among the larger companies in the business. It is prospering, generating almost $2 billion in revenue last year, up 17 percent from 2011. Revenue in its title insurance unit rose 14.6 percent last year, while the money put aside to cover future losses declined $2 million, to $140 million.

    Rapid growth along with declining loss reserves…look for this company to explode in the near future, while the executives walk away with their ill-gotten gains. Raijman was fired in 2009, but the tell-tale signs of fraud continue, meaning this is obviously endemic. Can’t wait until a couple hundred more couples like this one are suing Stewart and the whole thing crumples.

    As Mr. Cliff would say, “the harder they come, the harder they fall.”

    Is it just me, or does Texas spawn a disproportionate number of fraudulent firms?

  7. Ned

    So the Google Glasshole wants to be able to take picktures in the mens room with his partner? See where this is goin?

    1. JTFaraday

      I just knew the answer to this charge was going to be some version of “but but– all the careerists are doing it!”

      As if being trapped between the twin leviathan of government and corporate power was not precisely the essence of all our problems.

    2. bob

      The electronic squid defense. Squirting impenetrable clouds of e-ink.

      Did he say in there that he is going to release all the “leaks” that he has? TL;DR

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Where would 25% of Spanish go?


    Go to China. Become Chinese citizens and help settle Tibet.

    1. neo-realist

      Settle Tibet? More likely cause a race riot. While visiting China during the summer, one of our hosts, an American teaching high school in Kunming, told me that the Chinese were very racist and put dark skinned people at the bottom of the totem pole. So I wouldn’t expect a mass immigration of dark skinned immigrants to China, whose authorities are so paranoid about outsiders period, to have a positive outcome.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bangkok clashes.

    I believe all Thais are practicing Buddhists…each peaceful, non-violent monk for a few years (I think) of his life.

    It’s also illegal to criticize the king there, I believe.

    Very interesting.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Rich people don’t ‘create the jobs.’

    Not sure about ‘the jobs,’ but I am certain, or suspicious,
    that the 99.99% have created the 0.01%…unwittingly.

    The creation is done via the consuming of their products and services. Yet, instead of worshipping their creators, they have made serfs of us.

    When you start growing your own bread (ok, wheat), they are toast.

    1. jrs

      problem is they own most of the land, especially the farmland. That wealth might not all be virtual. Only fools obsess on virtual wealth.

  11. jfleni

    RE: Karzai’s recalcitrance nudges U.S. ‘zero option’ for troops closer to reality.

    Please, Please, Hamid, save us from ourselves (neocon crazies in Dogpatch DC), and wave good bye. We can’t say it’s been nice, but good luck anyway!

  12. rich

    House Prices, Home Ownership And Real Income – Why Housing Is Still Weak And Investor Dependent

    So, until real median household income begins to rise AND 25 and under participation in the economy increases, the US are overly reliant on investors and Fed monetary easing to raise house prices.

    a graphically represented dismal picture…yet the talking heads spew their rose colored bs everyday.

  13. Hugh

    We live in a kleptocracy. It is not government that can not solve complex problems but rather the elites who populate it and the rich who own it. These classes loot. They have no interest in solving the problems of the looted.

    The best way to view Karzai is in terms of black humor. He is a typical tinpot dictator trying to make deals even with his back against the wall. The odds are that Karzai will be dead or on a plane out of Afghanistan to the loot he has stashed in his Dubai bank accounts within in a year and maybe even within weeks of a US departure.

    The rich do not create jobs. (See paragraph above.) Great wealth represents an unproductive concentration of society’s resources into the hands of a few. And it is important to note that the primary resource of any society is its people, that is us.

  14. Hugh

    Didn’t look at the article but Jules Verne published L’île à hélice or Propeller Island in 1895 about a large island like ship of the rich. Those who live onboard split into factions and the island runs aground and breaks up.

  15. fresno dan

    Forget “Double Down.” Here’s the real story of the 2012 election Salon

    “While most people at least intuitively understand that big-time political campaigns are financed largely by the very wealthy, Ferguson and his co-authors’ paper reveals the degree to which these national operations are funded by a vanishingly small number of people. “We really are dealing with a system that is of by and for the one percent — or the one-and-a-half percent,” Ferguson told Salon in a recent interview. And the numbers bear him out. Assuming that contributions over $500 come largely from the one percent, the paper finds that no less than 59 percent of Obama’s funding, and 79 percent of Romney’s, emanates from that small sliver of society. This contrasts rather jarringly with the popular image of the 2012 campaign as one pitting Obama’s middle-class constituency against Romney’s plutocratic backers. It was more of a plutocrat vs. plutocrat affair.

    Even on that score, however, the lines of demarcation are fuzzy at best. It’s undeniable that Romney was more popular among big business than Obama, but the differences between the two were smaller than you’d imagine. In fact, the authors “suspect” that “the president probably enjoyed substantially higher levels of support within big business than most other modern Democratic presidential candidates, even those running for reelection.” Obama got walloped when it comes to what you could call Koch brother industries — oil, gas, plastics, etc. — but he did OK with Wall Street and, especially, the telecom and tech industries.”

    Really, when you get down to it, the two sides are just in a contest over who gets to divvy up the spoils – whether the 0.4 % gets 60% of the growth, and the remainder of the 1% gets all the rest. NOBODY is proposing some radical notion like “lets reduce our pillaging of the population” or something outlandish like that …

    1. rich

      Noam Chomsky: America hates its poor

      Linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky on our country’s brutal class warfare — and why it’s ultimately so one-sided

      The enormous benefits given to the very wealthy, the privileges for the very wealthy here, are way beyond those of other comparable societies and are part of the ongoing class war. Take a look at CEO salaries. CEOs are no more productive or brilliant here than they are in Europe, but the pay, bonuses, and enormous power they get here are out of sight. They’re probably a drain on the economy, and they become even more powerful when they are able to gain control of policy decisions.

      That’s why we have a sequester over the deficit and not over jobs, which is what really matters to the population. But it doesn’t matter to the banks, so the heck with it. It also illustrates the consider- able shredding of the whole system of democracy. So, by now, they rank people by income level or wages roughly the same: The bottom 70 percent or so are virtually disenfranchised; they have almost no influence on policy, and as you move up the scale you get more influence. At the very top, you basically run the show.

          1. jrs

            Some of that (although there was for awhile race fights in the high school between mexicans and blacks :\).

            But mostly what bussing led to here was white flight into private schools. Whether the whites fled the public schools because they stank or because they hated/feared minorities became impossible to even sort out as so many bad trends hitting public schools became self-reinforcing. Once upon a time the public schools were fairly decent. Yes some whites probalby left after bussing because they were racist. As many of the whites who were generally more affluent left the public schools while poor minorities were bussed in quality declined. Also support for the public school system declined. Thus FUNDING for the public schools declined, thus school quality declined more, thus more white and middle/upper class flight, etc. etc..

            So it may take a Chomsky to have the nerve to call it but bussing failed, it’s end result was a two tier system, where the better off went to private or good public schools and the poor went to lousy public schools. Yea I read Chomsky’s whole article mostly not about bussing, but about class war. It’s a good article.

  16. lambert strether

    The administration says the ObamaCare website is fixed, so pass the Victory Gin. However, it’s bullshit, since there are no 834 numbers. CNN:

    The administration is still working with insurers on the “834” transaction forms generated by the system, said Bataille. “We’re working with issuers on a daily basis and will continue those conversations,” she said, adding that the site’s management team would have more information about this issue with the data generated by the system on upcoming weekdays.

    The White House surely can’t be to stupid as to imagine that the purpose of the website is for users to have a good experience, rather than enroll people, but until know how many error-free 834s there are, we don’t have any solid enrollment numbers. As I wrote:

    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

    So, kayfabe, except to the poor schlubs who bought ZAV (Zero Actuarial Value) health insurance, of course.

  17. ChrisPacific

    The Business Insider article by Blodget is very good and should be widely circulated. It debunks the meme in very simple terms. Well done to Hanauer for coming out and saying this (I don’t think he’ll be receiving any invitations to superyacht parties any time soon).

    Becoming the poster boy for drinking the Kool-Aid during the dotcom bubble seems to have been a formative experience for Blodget. He has developed a passable bullshit detector as a result and has produced some good work since.

    1. Klassy!

      But I don’t accept the premise that our ruling classes are interested in creating jobs. Mr. Hanauer is misguided if he thinks any sort of reasoning with his fellow billionaires is going to change their minds.

  18. scraping_by

    @Lambert, RE ACA

    “The White House surely can’t be to stupid as to imagine that the purpose of the website is for users to have a good experience, rather than enroll people”

    Oh, a hundred times yes! Remember this is the Administration of feelings, of emotions, of correctness, of being heard, of expressing yourself, of feelings, and feelings, and all of rest of that daytime talk show stuff.

    Just like my kids spent their time in classrooms talking about feelings rather than learning skills, the point of governance is emotional states rather than practical outcomes.

    1. jrs

      It tries to manipulate via feelings, it’s ultimately I’m afraid an Administration of serving the elite, like them all. But if we’re ever stupid enough to vote on promises of “hope” and “change” again heaven help us all. I didn’t think it would end so badly, but I’m proud of two terms of 3rd party voting.

      Of course the best learning processes feelings and the external world and the skills to deal with both (it definitely takes skills to deal with feelings), but Obama is just about the salesmanship.

  19. Synopticist

    One thing you never hear mentioned about Koni the insane war lord is that he was trying to negotiate a surrender in around 2005 that would have allowed him into exile somewhere (possibly Saudi).

    However, despite the pleas of the Ugandan government, the ICC refused to drop it’s indictments, and so the war continued. Clearly, the prestige of BIG European Liberal Lawyers is more important than ending a vicious, horrible war.

    If that had been western businesses torpedoing a peace process, boy would you ever have heard about it. When it’s the legal industry, no-one mentions it ever again.

  20. Jack Parsons

    I’ve lived in Silicon Valley all my life and know the stench of libertarians miles away. This sovereign cruise ship idea is soooooooo JG Ballard. It will turn into Mad Max At Sea.

    Norwalk virus has proven the scourge of the cruise ship industry. Is there a vaccine for it yet?

    How big is the security organization? Will they tap all communications? Will there be hackers on board?

    What about terrorists blowing up the ship?

  21. H. Alexander Ivey

    Yet another article correctly, acurately, but not-really-passionately telling of yet another medical health scam to bilk those with money. The sting is set in the last section, what to do? The author, part of the problem group, offers the usual maintain-the-status-quo solutions; complain as individuals, complain to the hospital, complain to the government. Never suggests banding together, never suggests names of regulators, local, state, or federal, who are responsible.

    When people ask why I don’t retire to the US, this is one reason why – the preying on the old with money.

  22. optimader

    RE: Freedom ship
    “Powered by solar panels and wave energy…”

    …and Rainbow Power harnessed from the onboard Gumdrop Factory..
    I can only imagine the forces due to the sail area of this 25 story floating Animal Farm in a 60 knot howler!

    LOL, who is coming up w/ this stuff?

  23. Procopius

    I’m using Windows 7 (64 bit) and Google Chrome v.31. I guess it’s OK. I tend not to approve of any changes, but I think that’s because I’m 76 and still saving up for a cataract operation. I have to zoom in 3 levels ot read anything, and I really, really wish you’d lose the orange. It doesn’t contrast enough with the whits to be readable. However I vaguely recall a year or two ago a passing remark that you really, really love your orange, so I don’t guess that’s going to happen. Anyway, the longer I think about it the more I like the new design, so yeah, go with it.

    1. Procopius

      Ow, sorry, posted this to the wrong thread. Was supposed to go to the opinions on the redesign page. Clicked on the wrong tab.

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