Links 12/23/13

Birds Attack Quad-Copter Drone Birds Attack Quad-Copter Drone Vancouver Sun (Stephen L). OK, so who is going to train people to train local crow militias?

Odd Migration Patterns Trouble Zoologists NBC10 (Carol B)


Despair over ‘bug that ate Christmas’ Washington Post

Unwanted Memories Erased in Experiment Wall Street Journal. Aieee!

Boning up on grammar: Researchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words Independent (YY)

Almost Human: The Surreal, Cyborg Future of Telemarketing Atlantic (Chuck L). HAL is not here…yet….

The Tesla battery swap is the hoax of the year Watts Up With That (Ted L). Paging Richard Smith: a US carbon credits scam!

Bitcoin has a dark side: its carbon footprint Pando

Into the Bitcoin Mines New York Times

Banks Avoid Providing Bitcoin Services Wall Street Journal

Fukushima and the future of nuclear power VoxEU. Whats troubling about most approaches to the environment is they look at one factor in isolation. So most analyses of energy sources focus on carbon emissions and fail to consider particulate matter, much the less other environmental costs (as in water for fracking, the cost of plant construction and waste disposal for nuclear). Now admittedly coming up with how to analyze tradeoffs among various types of costs isn’t an easy exercise, but I see very little of that sort of thinking (and of course, the more you look at total impact, the more it forces the conclusion that the first line of defense needs to be conservation and more efficiency, not “green energy”).

Thai protesters block poll stadium BBC

Pussy Riot’s Alyokhina released from Russian jail Guardian

TTG’s Analysis of the Syrian Civil War Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Case Agasint Syria’s Assad Falls Apart George Washington

No Blowback For Saudi Arabia? Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

S Sudan rebels blamed for US attack Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA paid $10 million to put its backdoor in RSA encryption, according to Reuters report The Verge (Chuck L)

White House Tries to Prevent Judge From Ruling on Surveillance Efforts New York Times. Deontos also sent a link to Jewel v. NSA Electronic Frontier Foundation by way of background.

Data brokers outpace regulators as they mine new technologies Financial Times

When ‘60 Minutes’ Checks Its Journalistic Skepticism at the Door New York Times

Obamacare Watch

Insurance Deadline Rattles Industry Wall Street Journal

Obamacare outreach hits the clubs Politico bidders’ past jobs not scrutinized Washington Post

The opposite of what they do in America Hullabaloo (Doug S)

Clean Energy Presents “Perfect Storm” for Utilities OilPrice

Off Limits, but Blessed by the Fed Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Legal teams grapple with banks’ Volcker rule compliance Financial Times

Self-righteous drivel from the chairman of the Nobel prize committee Lars P. Syll

Why they mattered: 17 who died in 2013 Politco. Prime spot given to photo of Aaron Swartz.

Antidote du jour (Lambert):

Here is a photo of two baby platypuses wearing fedoras. You're welcome. - Imgur

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    1. Jim Haygood

      G. Edward Griffin lists the Gang of Seven conspirators who rode in a private rail car to Jekyll Island, Georgia in 1910, to hatch the plot to create the Federal Reserve:

      1. Senator Nelson Aldrich, Senate Republican whip
      2. Abraham P. Andrew, Assistant Treasury Secretary
      3. Frank A. Vanderlip, president, National City Bank of New York
      4. Henry P. Davison, senior partner, J. P. Morgan Co.
      5. Charles D. Norton, president, First National Bank of New York
      6. Benjamin Strong, head of Bankers Trust Co. [and future Federal Reserve chairman]
      7. Paul M. Warburg, partner, Kuhn Loeb & Co.

      Griffin continues:

      “Even after arrival at the remote island lodge, the secrecy continued. For nine days, the rule for first names only remained in effect. Full time caretakers and servants had been given vacation, and an entirely new, carefully-screened staff was brought in for the occasion.

      “The purpose of this meeting on Jekyll Island was not to hunt ducks. Simply stated, it was to come to an agreement on the structure and operation of a banking cartel.”

      [Click the ‘read online’ link in the left margin to read on.]

      Along with Pearl Harbor and 9/11, 23 Dec 1913 (when Woody Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act) was one of the ten darkest days in American history.

      Smash the Fed …

      1. from Mexico

        The Fed is an abomination. I think almost all radical thinkers on both the right and left have come to that realization. For instance, try reading John Kenneth Galbraith’s take on not just the Fed, but the entire history of central banking in Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went. It is free on the internet here:

        And the Fed has only gotten worse since Galbraith wrote the book back in 1975. Much worse. It is now 10x an abomination.

        The current situation cannot last. It is a trainwreck just waiting to happen. The quesiton is: “What then?”

        You missed the shootout at the OK Corral between the MMTers and NCTers on this this thread:

        To be honest I had never heard of the NCTers before, a couple of leading lights being Adair Turner

        and Joseph Huber

        Whichever side one comes down on in this debate, I think most will agree with something commenter Greenie43 said, maybe with the exception of the conflation of the terms “money” and “currency”:

        ” ‘Money’ is indeed the coming political-economic discourse. It will be debated around the central issue of whether the private powers or the public will be the future issuers of the national currency.”

        I would have been much happier with the quote had he ended it with “nation’s money” instead of “national currency,” but other than that I agree with the gist of his comment.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Money is always the discourse, the question and the issue.

          Only perhaps when people are doped up or thoroughly brainwashed is it not the discourse.

      2. fresno dan

        And if to make the point irrefutable:

        Off Limits, but Blessed by the Fed

        The story of how the Fed cleared the way for JPMorgan — a decision that brought many millions in profits to the bank — illuminates how the Fed has allowed the bank into a variety of markets for basic goods. Since 1956, a federal law has limited banks’ involvement in physical commodities. But confidential documents, many obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that since 2005 the Fed has granted three special exemptions to JPMorgan Chase alone.

        Question: Why was this done in secret? Is there any rationale – other than corruption, whether venal or the corruption of thinking, that could explain such an action on the Fed’s part? I’m serious.
        I think anyone who defends the Fed has to answer this question in light of all the revelations: Is it not apparent that the FED as currently formulated is unable/unwilling to objectively distinguish the interests of the American people from banking interests?

        1. LucyLulu

          Creating the Fed was an alternative to leaving the issuance of money in the hands of a nations’ politicians, seen as a recipe for abuse and corruption. Given today’s crop of politicians, it seems like a good decision. I shudder to think of our current Congress having had this power as we’ve navigated the GFC. However, as with any time an entity is granted a great deal of power, members of the Fed also found themselves lured by the fruits of corruption. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as they say.

          Given that we don’t live in an ideal world of honest, financially literate politicians, my natural skepticism leads to thinking TIN(good)A. The choice boils down to which group of people should control a nation’s money that results in the most control of the inevitable corruption by the nation’s peoples. Are there any major economies that don’t use a central bank that can be looked to as a model?

          1. Ben Johannson

            Repeated depressions and financial crises were a big reason for creating the Reserve system which, in fairness, has been much more stable. It’s past time to get the Fed out of the interest rate business, however, and make banking regulation a matter of law rather than discretion of political appointees.

            Keep Fedwire and reserve issuance, dump the rest.

            1. from Mexico

              I don’t share your rosy evaluation of the performance of the Fed. John Kenneth Galbraith did an assessment of the Fed’s performance up to 1975. It wasn’t a pretty picture, and it’s not gotten any prettier since:

              “Well before 1907, trouble in the big-city banks was an occasion for public action. In the panic year of 1873, the withdrawal of the hitherto wicked greenbacks was halted, and $26 million was reissued to provide reserves and ease tension in New York. In subsequent panics the Treasury deposited government funds to help the big banks withstand runs. In 1907, J. P. Morgan, who is celebrated by all historians for saving the Trust Company of America after declaring that the panic might as well be stopped right there, appealed to Secretary of the Treasury George B. Cortelyou for deposits to save the Trust Company. Resources subscribed for the rescue by other New York bankers, including Morgan’s, were insufficient. Cortelyou was not authorized to deposit public funds with a trust company. This was a detail; $35 million was promptly deposited in the national banks and just as promptly reloaned to the Trust Company of America. It was thus provided with the funds that persuaded its depositors that it was safe. These arrangements were ad hoc and unreliable. They also lacked compassion. In 1907, when Charles Barney, head of the desperately beset Knickerbocker Trust, went to J. P. Morgan to seek help, he couldn’t get in to see him. Barney thereupon shot himself. A central bank would at least have let Barney in. Partly to help beleaguered men like Barney, but more to serve the interests of more important men, the United States in ensuing years revived the idea of a central bank.


              The management of money is no longer a policy but an occupation. Though it rewards those so occupied, its record of achievement in this century has been pattently disastrous. It worsened both the boom and the depression after World War I. It facilitated the great bull market of the 1920s. It failed as an instrument for expanding the economy during the Great Depression. When it was relegated to a minor role during World War II and the good years thereafter, economic performance was, by common consent, much better. Its revival as a major instrument of economic management in the late ’60s and early ’70s served to combine massive inflation with serious recession…. To argue that it was a success may well be beyond even the considerable skills of its defenders. Only the enemies of capitalism will hope that, in the future, this small, perverse and unpredictable lever will be a major instrument in economic management.”


              1. Ben Johannson

                It doesn’t nullify the point that a central bank benefits powerful people. I never said anything about the ethics, I wrote the banking system was more stable. Six depressions and numerous financial crises in the eighty years prior to the Federal Reserve Act, two depressions in the one hundred years since.

                In fact it wouldn’t matter how corrupt the motives behind the Fed’s creation were, it’s impossible for a reserve system not to be more stable due to elimination of scarce liquidity.

  1. craazyman

    the winter solstice must be getting to the NC editor in chief! A linked story about elves in Iceland? haha ha ha. That’s incredible! Usually NC links are about woo-woo-foo-foo stuff people make up in their heads — like money, markets, regulations and capital ratios. Those are on par with the myth of the Big Spider who wove the universe. But elves are real. Holy Lava Smoke, what a surprise! I don’t know what to make of this!

    1. Ulysses

      It’s not just the commonplace background reality of woodland elves to think about ar this time of year– the Yule Lads are also in town: “And at Christmas, Icelanders await not just one Santa Claus, but 13 trolls known as the “Yule Lads” who come to town during the 13 days before Christmas. Each has his own task, putting rewards or punishments into the shoes of little children. They include Stufur, or Stubby, who is extremely short and eats crusts left in pans; Pottaskefill, or Pot-Scraper, who snatches leftovers; and Hurdaskellir or Door-Slammer, who likes to slam doors at night.”

      I can attest that Hurdaskellir was in Queens very early this morning!

      1. craazyman

        one thing’s for sure, the elves hang around laundry rooms and they must have a hell of a lot of socks that don’t match.

        1. fresno dan

          Theres a fix for that. Long ago I figured out to buy at least 2 pair (three or more is better) of the same sock color/design. It is the only useful thought I have ever had…

      2. JTFaraday

        My 2 and a half yo niece has discovered an elf that hangs out in her living room, always high out of reach, who relays all her doings to Santa.

        She thinks this whole arrangement is very not fair. :(

        1. diptherio

          A friend’s daughter, probably about 5 or 6 at the time, was very adamant about the fairies that she saw everywhere when I took her for a walk at a local “park” (actually just the edge of the wilderness). There were fairies everywhere, each with their own niche. There were trash fairies hanging out in the parking lot by the dumpsters, tree fairies and flower fairies in the woods, even “bad fairies”, who apparently just went around killing the other fairies. Xy (the kid) was very clear that the ‘bad’ fairies weren’t actually bad in an ethical sense, that was just their name. It was simply in their nature to kill other fairies, no sense in judging them.

          I learned a lot about fairies from her…and honestly, I can’t even convince myself that she was making it all up. She described the fairy doings so nonchalantly and seamlessly that either she really was seeing things I couldn’t, or she’s gonna be a kick-ass novelist when she grows up.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Apparently it was routine to see angels in the 17th century. William Blake saw them all the time, even though it was no longer acceptable to see them (something like 2-3 generations after our modern views of these matters were well cemented). As a result, his father, who IIRC was some sort of clergyman, beat him regularly.

            Blake promised his wife he would never leave her. But he died before she did. The Peter Ackroyd biography reports that she said he continued to visit her for a few hours every afternoon.

    2. diptherio

      “Vast pristine areas remain, even near the capital, Reykjavik.”

      Pristine=devoid of human habitation. Once we inhabit a place, we spoil (and despoil) it; even our language recognizes it…sad isn’t it? Seems like something we might want to remedy.

      Save the lava fields for the elves…and for everything else that isn’t us. Our human “improvements” rarely improve anything, if ya ask me.

      1. Synopticist

        It used to be forest before the vikings got there (although the first residents were apparently Irish monks), who cut the trees down and grazed sheep. Then it all turned to sand and rocks.

  2. DakotabornKansan

    Cute, adorable platypuses!

    But, don’t be fooled by the playful-looking duck’s bill — platypuses deliver a venom containing more than 80 different toxins.

    Platypus venom: The platypus is one of the few mammals to produce venom. Males have a pair of gerts on their hind limbs that deliver venom during mating season. While the after effects are described as excruciatingly painful, this venom is not lethal to most animals.

    “Many aspects of the breeding biology of platypuses remain unstudied.” – Natural History Museum sign

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Cute hats.

      The next time the president visits Lilliputia, he can fulfill his export promise by promoting these cute hats.

        1. jfwellspdx

          Clearly, NC readers do not have kids of a certain age. The fedoras are a shout out to Perry the Platypus, AKA Agent P, from Phineas and Ferb, a great cartoon show on the Cartoon Network:

          Perry The Platypus

  3. Ned Ludd

    The information about RSA in the Reuters article is the type of information that has been redacted – with the support of Greenwald – from the Snowden documents†. Greenwald, it seems, will never release any information naming compromised encryption products because “publishing one or two would do not do [sic] any real good and could affirmatively create the misleading impression that other (unnamed) compromised standards are solid.” Using this logic, Greenwald would never expose a corrupt financial institution because it “could affirmatively create the misleading impression” that the others are solid.

    Would Greenwald have released the TPP documents? Would you trust him to release documents exposing corporate secrets, especially after Omidyar said he might turn such a source over to the police?

    † Reuters received its information from “two sources familiar with the contract”. Matthew Green, a cryptographer and research professor at Johns Hopkins University, says that he has heard similar information “from multiple credible sources.”

  4. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: NYT and 60 Minutes Journalistic “Skepticism”

    Hilarity ensues as the pot and the kettle spar “journalistically” over which is blacker.

    Not too hard to see that one coming.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hmmm, ‘bug that ate Christmas.’

    I suspect all bugs are actually equipped with er, miniature bugging devices, sent by the NSA to, er, bug the house.

  6. fresno dan

    “I read yesterday morning in the Japan Times that the JP Morgan settlement is thought to be a blueprint of future settlements. Some recompense to the Treasury, some putative damages to act a deterrent for the future, but a decided lack of culpability in the veritable errrr ummm culprits.

    Why, pray tell, is it believed correct by a majority of lawmakers in America that “Gun’s Don’t Kill People – People Kill People”, yet, the same lawmakers fail to apply similar conviction (no pun intended) to the thought that “Banks Don’t Commit Financial Crime – People Commit Financial Crime”? It is quite obvious that in the truest sense, a bank cannot (yet) commit a crime, and until such time as HAL or Holly take over the reins and execution of bank trading and management, there are individuals, and responsible managers, and their Managers (upper-case “M”) who, should be culpable. Yet, in 2013 America, if one pays enough, it seems the perps and perp-enablers and perp-encouragers and perp-incentivizers can walk free.”

    The question as to “why” there exists a paradox of culpability is a rhetorical question. The answer is rather obvious: the legislature and its lawmakers have been captured, which leads to laws and standards of convenience, rather than consistent logic. In the game of political rock-paper-scissors, money trumps philosophical consistency each and every day.
    While I am admittedly both curmudgeonly and, at times cantankerous, and I am known to be periodically nostalgic, none of these are behind my belief that partnerships-of-old, as compared to publicly-listed joint-stock companies, throttled behaviour in ways that were palpably superior, precisely because there was a semblance of culpability – at the very least to one’s partners.

    My only quibble with the article is that she makes if sound as if being “both curmudgeonly and, at times cantankerous” is a bad thing…

  7. Jim Haygood

    ‘At that time, paper dollars were freely redeemable in gold; but banks were required to keep sufficient gold to cover only 40 percent of their deposits. When panicked bank customers rushed to cash in their dollars, gold reserves shrank. Loans then had to be recalled to maintain the 40 percent requirement, collapsing the money supply.’

    1. Jim Haygood

      — quote from Ellen Brown

      No, Ellen. That’s a preposterous fairy tale that you just pulled out of your derriere.

      Milton Friedman’s Monetary History of the United States documents the primary mechanisms by which the money stock contracted by one third from 1929 to 1933: first, the conversion of deposits to currency (i.e., the money multiplier working in reverse); and secondly, the outright vaporization of deposits via bank failures.

      On page 337, Friedman presents a chart showing that the monetary gold stock rose from just over $4 billion in 1929 to $5 billion in mid-1931, and by early 1933 was about the same as it was in 1929.

      A respectable case can be made that the gold standard exacerbated the deflation of 1929-1933. But not the way Ellen Brown makes it. The poor dear clearly hasn’t the slightest clue. Unfortunately this does not prevent her from claiming otherwise.

      1. from Mexico

        I’m not sure I’d trot out Milton Friedman and his masterwork of special-interest history, Monetary History of the United States, to rebut Brown’s errors. Friedman, after all, was quite handy at inventing his own historical fiction which conveniently dovetailed with his own sociopathic ideology. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        Brown seems to follow in the footsteps of William Jennings Bryan. As Lawrence Goodwyn explains in The Populist Moment, he was a well-intentioned enough fellow, but serverely lacking in intellectual abilities. He, like Brown, doesn’t have the foggiest notion about how the banking system works.

        The banksters’ greatest victory, Goodwyn avers, is when the Democrats infiltrated and coopted the People’s Party and nominated Bryan its presidential candidate at its convention in 1896. As Goodwn puts it, with this “The agrarian revolt was over.”

        1. Massinissa

          Are you SERIOUS? Youre bashing Bryan? I dont understand at all.

          Explain more? Hes always been one of my heroes.

          1. from Mexico

            [T]he silverite strategy unfolded in a way that must have brought great satisfaction to the American Bimetallic League…. Through ‘Coin’ Harvey, the cause of silver was penetrating Democratic ranks from below; through Herman Taubeneck and his small circle of friends, it was penetrating the ranks of the People’s Party from above. Silver mineowners directly financed both efforts….

            In monetary analysis, Gold Democrats were neither better nor worse than Silver Democrats, merely their equals in hyperbole and in their misunderstanding of how monetary systems worked. Both represented the triumph of form over substance….

            Indeed, one of the striking features of the 1896 campaign was the depth to which many millions of Americans came to believe that the very foundaitons of the capitlaist system were being threatened by the ‘boy orator of the Platte.’ That was hardly the case, of course — particularly when it came to the nation’s currency. A monetary system responsive to the perspectives of commercial bankers was not at issue in 1896; the relationship of the government to bankers on the matter of currency volume and interest rates was not at issue either. In view of the shared faith of both Bryan and McKinley in a redeemable currency, the entire monetary debate turned on a modest measure of hard-money inflation through silver coinage. The narrowness of the issues involved in the ‘Battle of the Standards’ should have put strong emotional responses beyond possibility — yet the autumn air fairly bristled with apocalytic moral terminology….

            Structural reform of American banking no longer existed as an issue in America. The ultimate cultural victory being not merely to win an argument but to remove the subject from the agenda of future contention, the consolidation of values that so successfully submerged the ‘financial question’ beyond the purview of succeeding generations was self-sustaining and largely invisible….

            A new style of democratic politics had beome institutionalized, and its cultural boundaries were so adequately fortified that the forms gradually described the Democrtic Party…. A critical cultural battle had been lost by those who cherished the democratic ethos…..

            The end result was a loss of autonomy by millions of Americans….

            In a gesture that was symbolic of the business-endorsed reforms of the Progressive era, William Jennings Bryan hailed the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 as a ‘triumph for the people.’ His response provided a measure of the intellectual achievements of reformers in the Progressive period. Of longer cultural significance, it also illustrated how completely the idea of ‘reform’ had become incorporated within the new political boundaries established in Bryan’s own lifetime. The reformers of the Progressive era fit snugly within these boundaries — in Bryan’s case, without his even knowing it. Meanwhile, the idea of substantial democratic influence over the structure of the nation’s financial system, a principle that had been the operative political objective of greenbackers, quietly passed out of American political dialogue. It has remained there ever since.”

            –LAWRENCE GOODWYN, The Populist Moment

          1. from Mexico

            Outstanding is John Kenneth Galbraith’s Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went. Galbraith was an old-guard Keynesian, a brilliant communicator and explains otherwise complicated things in a way that just about anyone should be able to understand. Plus it’s available on the internet:

            I’m personally interested in the nexus of capitalism and empire, and you’re not going to get any of that from those who operate in the tradition of Adam Smith or John Maynard Keynes (e.g., Galbraith, MMT, MCT). They won’t touch that subject with a 10-foot pole.

            A couple of conservative writers, Andrew J. Bacevich and Kevin Phillips, are good in this regard:

            The New American Militarism
            The Limits of Power
            Wealth and Democracy
            Bad Money

            But if you want the full treatment on the intersection of capitalism and empire, it will be necessary to turn to Realist or Marxist writers like Hannah Arendt or Giovanni Arrighi:

            The Origins of Totalitarianism
            Adam Smith in Bejing

          2. Ben Johannson

            Depends on what level you want to learn about. For central bank operations start with Warren Mosler’s Soft Currency Economics. Otherwise I’d recommend Wray’s Theories of Money and Banking, but you’ll need either $700 or a good library to get a copy.

            1. financial matters

              Wray’s MMT primer also has a good discussion in Chapter 3 ‘The Domestic Monetary System: Banking and Central Banking’

              Also from Chapter 7 ‘Policy for Full Employment and Price Stability’ I think the passion comes through for the social implications of MMT:

              “Stephanie (Kelton) argues that the policy prescription of MMT is that government should pursue full employment without causing inflation. And no one has come up with a better program to do that than the JG/ELR. Hence we cannot separate that policy proposal from the description. I (Randy Wray) happen to agree with her. Indeed, I believe that MMT is much more than a description and prescription. I think it provides a coherent approach to understanding our economy as a whole; it provides a “world view” that begins with an understanding of the “nature” of money.”

              Michael Hudson is very good regarding empire and foreign trade: SuperImperialism (1972), Global Fracture (1977). Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (2009) and the recent Bubble and Beyond

              Shock Doctrine is a must read.

              I also enjoyed Ellen Brown’s ‘Web of Debt’ (2010)

              I think she has the right idea “The power to create the nation’s money and credit needs to be vested in the people themselves”

          1. from Mexico

            Well if you’re into special-interest history and lying by omission, I think you’ve found your man with Milton Friedman:

            “Gilded Age society, marking as it does the beginnings of modern corporate America, offers a fertile field for research on the structure of power and privilege in America. Among the higher priorities, the economic, political, and social ramifications of American banking practices, in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, stand as a singularly neglected area of investigation, one affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, past and present…. A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 by economists Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz (1963) approaches the politics of money with extreme circumspection, leaving many central issues untouched…. Since Populism, serious and full-scale appraisals of the monetary system have not been attempted. A beginning, however, has been made with respect to the helplessness of Congress. The Money Committees by Lester Salamon (1974) probes the adverse impact of the banking system and banker lobbying.

            –LAWRENCE GOODWYN, The Populist Moment

        2. jrs

          Brown is a propagandist, and by propagandist I don’t just mean argues a case, that is fine and some people do it well, but argues a case WITHOUT carefully backing it all up. She’ll throw anything against the wall that she thinks supports her case.

          She’s sometimes right nontheless, yes she writes some nice articles that get out there with some decent info. But I’m reading Browns book and believe you I’m checking every reference, because I know I’m wading knee deep in a propaganda sewer (dress for the ocassion!). Some of the people she cites are not arguing what she thinks they are.

          So Milton Freidman or Ellen Brown, uh I’d be surprised if Milton Friedman was so poorly sourced frankly (yea poorly sourced is completey different than incorrect economic theories), I’ve read Freidman not recently.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Continuing with yesterday’s comment on the relativistic nature of money.

      The money universe has since been confirmed to be one of an inflationary one…an expanding one. There is not steady state, but with a big bang and of course, with a big crunch at the end.

  8. diptherio

    Re: Off Limits, but Blessed by the Fed

    It’s interesting: the regs that disallow commercial banks from dabbling in commodities markets apparently exist to protect the banks (these markets are too risky), but the reason everyone is concerned now has nothing to do with risk to the banks, it’s because the bankers are criminals who will manipulate these markets just like all the others they’ve got their fingers in. Curious…

  9. Brian

    The VoxEU story; The idea of a group of ecomomists promoting nuclear power is as terrifying as a government. Should the aluminimum be replaced with PVC plastic to save money? Should the filters be washable in the dishwasher to eliminate costs from the storage of nuclear waste? Should the steel be replaced with iron because they are just as hard almost?
    Should all the niceties of the planet going forward a few more generations be left to people that play with fictional paper and call it money? Should idiots that imagine their work a science be allowed to do anything other than cleaning up the porcelain?
    If the story weren’t an industry shill letter, I would laugh. But alas, the world is run by the self important that paid for their seat at the table with their futures.

    1. susan the other

      I didn’t like it either. And the casual acceptance of another 2.5 degrees Celsius is death defying. The utilities need to stop protecting their antiquated turf and start to buy into renewable energy. It’s not going to hurt them for now. The experiment with Enron, and it looks like JPM (Morgenson above) in electricity proved to be a disaster. The foolish commodities venture with GS et al is bizarre too. All to allow the banks to make a profit in this “downturn” so they can survive. Causing their usual “growth” of the entire economy, causing more churning to create energy, causing more CO2. I agree with Yves in her editorial comment that the most important thing we can do now is practice effective conservation on a very large scale. Nobody knows if this will evolve into suicide or salvation.

  10. Paper Mac

    Watts Up With That is a notorious climate change denial site that routinely lies, dissembles, and fabricates evidence. They’re almost certainly fossil fuel astroturf and really don’t deserve a place in these pages.

  11. fresno dan

    Boning up on grammar: Researchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words Independent (YY)
    In the first three years, she learned and remembered 1,022 proper nouns. The objects included more than 800 cloth animals, 116 balls, 26 Frisbees, and another 100 plastic toys

    Hmmmm…I am positive I could not remember the names of 800 cloth animals!!! I am positive 116 balls would befuddle me. I could maaaaaybe handle 26 Frisbees. By the time you got to the 100 plastic toys, my brain would be full. And I have no patience for grammar, so I would refuse to even try.

  12. subgenius

    from Chicago Tribune (also at NYT)
    “Anticipating high demand and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for January 1,” she said in a statement.

    ….but USA Today ran a longer version of the quote, including this:
    “We recognize that many have chosen to make their final decisions on today’s deadline and we are committed to making sure they can do so,” said Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille.

    They really REALLY want to believe the numbers are going to flood in today…

    1. LucyLulu

      Reports on enrollee numbers have already entered into “positive” territory by Obamacare supporters, with claims that a million people have now signed up through the different exchanges. Prior discouragement is transitioning to enthusiastic support for the ACA, at least temporarily. Popular support for programs, any of them, can take wild swings over monthly intervals. Roosevelt faced opposition from both sides of the aisle when he got SS legislation passed. Medicare was touted as “socialism”, a disaster that would surely bring our country down by folks like Reagan, Bush, Sr and Dole, and failed to engender popular support when initially introduced. Today they are extremely popular and (most) politicians of all stripes cringe at the notion of cutting the programs. People can be quite fickle.

      Re: the fate of ACA:
      More shall be revealed. Many will be proven wrong, though its too early to say who. If I were a betting person, I wouldn’t want to wager either side of whether the program, 10 years down the road, will have ultimately failed or succeeded. It has powerful forces working against its success however. Part D, OTOH, for example, engendered bipartisan support to resolve problems when it faced similar early issues, e.g. people finding they weren’t in the system when presenting prescriptions, after believing they had signed up. And this, despite being a gift to bigPharma, administered via private insurers, and leaving seniors with large gaps in coverage of medications of potentially several thousand dollars.

    2. LucyLulu

      Reader’s Digest Version of above:

      There are many others who REALLY want to believe the numbers won’t roll in. Objectivity is in short supply on both sides of the fence.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    “… the conclusion that the first line of defense needs to be conservation and more efficiency, not “green energy”

    Thank you!

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    1,000 word border collie.

    I just hope Chaser is mutli-lingual…maybe a few Swedish words. You never know who might turn up…

  15. Waking Up

    I hope you don’t mind if I post these links, but, tonight will be the last event ever at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

    Didn’t the people of San Francisco and area desire to keep Candlestick Park (it will be demolished) from at the very least a purely historical perspective in the way that Boston has maintained Fenway Park?

      1. Waking Up

        Not only the new stadium, I’m wondering if the property on which Candlestick Park is currently located will become high rise condos for those same “tech squillionaires”?

  16. Synopticist

    The developing story on Syria is another eye-opener.
    While I still think on balance the regime carries out the August attacks (paranoid, defensive regimes do strange, illogical things), it’s clear that we very nearly went to war based on false “facts” and dodgy interpretations. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that the rebels have also done some WMD attacks.

    What particularly bugs me is that the only account put out which claimed to explain the how and where and the by whom was a something published by Human Rights Watch, and parroted by the MSM. That has now been proven to be false in most of it’s particulars, and questionable in many others. But there’s been no recognition or recantation form HRW.

    They and Amnesty international have been utterly biased on Syria since it started. It was one thing siding with a load of demonstrators demanding freedom in spring of 2011, it’s a totally different ballgame when you’re talking about a violent civil war where one side is dominated by cut-throat jihadis, as it is now. The twitter feed of the Amnesty head honcho on Syria can be read here…
    He’s more like an open partisan of the rebels than a supposedly un-biased human rights activist. He’s really slippery, and anyone who disagrees with him is by definition an “Assad apologist”

    They had a big part in cheering on the war in Libya as well, helping spread bullsh*t stories about African mercenaries and Gaddafi giving his troops viagra so they could rape as many women as possible. Similar claims were made in Syria (doctors in government hospitals torturing the wounded and such like.) Complete rubbish.

  17. Carolinian

    Re the famous border collie Chaser, the dog is a resident of Spartanburg, SOUTH Carolina which is also the site of Wofford College and home of the retired psychology professor who, on his own, (not “researchers”) trained the genius pooch.

    But you don’t have to take my word for it (just because I live in said burg)….soon to be on Sixty Minutes.

    The English reporter seems to have read the story on the wires….vaguely remembered the facts.

  18. mirew

    Yves, I can no longer view your site using the Tor browser. The cloud flare reverse proxy service you use blocks direct entry by serving CAPTCHAs.

    Now I have no problem with Captchas, but the Captchas produced are nearly unreadable. Also note, even if you put in the correct one and paste the resulting link, most of the time it just serves you another captcha.

    The Tor node servers have obviously been placed on a ‘block list’ by cloud-flare. Which means they are censoring the users based on IP.

    Aside- I’ve heard other political sites have this problem with could-flare but of the wide and diverse range of sites I visit, yours is the only one that is reliably blocked.

    All this began about three weeks ago.

    See if you can pass this on to the people who manage your site.

    For those of you who don’t know what a reverse proxy is- You are being served NAKEDCAPITALISM by the cloud-flare server, not Yve’s hosting service.
    Not a bad security idea, but you lose control over who can view your site.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We are constantly under attack from Chinese spambots. If we undo those defenses, the site goes down. I’m sorry if you re collateral damage. We have to keep upping our defenses as the attacks keep changing. We go down almost daily and have to block IPs to get it back up

      In other words, it may not be Cloudflare, it may be us. We HAVE blocked a ton of IPs.

      And I have to tell you, quite a few articles indicate that using Tor invites the NSA to go after you. It’s like waving a big red flag at them. You are deemed to be foreign (hence even more intrusive measures to pursue you are justified).

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