Links 12/6/13

E-mail and RSS readers will see very few links as of the 7:00 AM launch. Please check the site in an hour or so for a complete version.

Neanderthals Were Neat Freaks: Inside the Original Man Caves Time (Lambert). Haha, those Geico ads weren’t so wrong after all.

Bugs and Spiders Disguised as Poop, Leaves, and Each Other Wired (Robert M)

Anaconda swallows drunk man outside liquor store DramaFever. Aieee! Deontos found an anti-antidote that Richard Smith will be hard pressed to beat.

How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener (VIDEO) Huffington Post (Carol B)

Climate change ‘tipping points’ imminent PhysOrg

The Super-Rich Are Ruining Art for the Rest of Us Jed Perl, New Republic

Why the WTO Needs a “Hypocrisy Clause” Triple Crisis

Venezuela Cyber Crackdown Ensnares Web’s Bitly Mint

Hey Sydney, how do you spell B-U-B-B-L-E? MacroBusiness

The Rise and Fall of Australia’s $44 Billion Broadband Project IEEE Spectrum (Chuck L)

Air pollution cloaks Shanghai Guardian

Japan Has Fallen Back Into Fascism After 68 Years: Japanese Senator Shouts “This is The Way the Reign of Terror Begins” … Then Others Physically Restrain Him George Washington

Weapons of Last Resort: ECB Considers Extreme Crisis Measures Der Spiegel

Help-Wanted Ad Shows Depths Of Spain’s Unemployment Problem NPR

Homes disappear into the sea as gales and high tides wreak havoc Telegraph

‘Extremely dangerous’ radioactive material stolen in Mexico: IAEA Times of India (Deontos)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Snowden and Greenwald: The Men Who Leaked the Secrets Rolling Stone

eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar Calls for Leniency for ‘PayPal 14’ International Business Times. See also some heated conversations on Twitter (bob)

Someone’s Been Siphoning Data Through a Huge Security Hole in the Internet Wired (Chuck L)

Obamacare Launch

Older Hill aides shocked by Obamacare prices Politico

Next up: Obamacare worst-case scenario? Politico

How Americans Die Vice (Carol B). Does not consider suicide via shooting to be a firearm death.

State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information Center for Public Integrity (Deontos)

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old CounterPunch. This is De Blasio’s analogue to Obama appointing Geithner: you can no longer pretend not to know what he’s really about.

Volcker rule to create grey area for regulators Financial Times. Translation: regulators plan not to do much if Volcker impacts liquidity, which in fact should be seen as a feature. So Treasury is already telling the public to expect weak enforcement.

Bitcoin Boom Spreads to IPhones With Mobile-Payment Apps Bloomberg

In the Murky World of Bitcoin, Fraud Is Quicker Than the Law New York Times

The latest on the dollar’s international currency status Jeff Frankel, VoxEU

Save Our Mail Processing Plants MoveOn. I know, MoveOn, but hold your nose and sign.

Obama and the Pope Versus the Ayn Rand Corporate Front Groups Pam Martens. Furzy mouse: “If only Obummer had the Pope’s cujones….”

Food Stamps Obesity and Dependency Angry Bear

Fast-food workers strike over wages Guardian

More Welfare for Wall Street: One in Three Bank Tellers Need Public Assistance Bill Moyers

Antidote du jour:

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95 comments

  1. dearieme

    “Older Hill aides shocked by Obamacare prices”: ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

    Still, I imagine that O himself is miraculously exempt from Obamacare? Congressmen too, I take it?

    1. Benjamin

      Seems to me that the website not being fully operational was actually a good thing for the democrats. Once everything is working like it’s supposed the real anger will start. And the crazy republicans, who were and still are insane, make no mistake, who shutdown the government in opposition to this thing will come out looking like heroes.

      1. Antifa

        What will doom Obamacare over the coming few years is impossibly high premiums.

        High premiums made necessary because of all the taxpayers who do not sign up because they cannot afford even the minimal premiums for subsidized plans, nor the deductibles that come with them. When you’re choosing between a bag of beans and health insurance, you go with the beans.

        These minimal premiums and deductibles will go up just like all the rest do, as health insurers find they are short of how much money Obama promised them.

        Impossibly high premiums will be made necessary by the young and healthy who are unemployed or minimally employed, and who see paying the tax penalty for not signing up as their most affordable option. They don’t need or want health care. They need and want work.

        Besides, they don’t have to worry about a tax penalty.

        If they don’t make enough in a year to pay Federal income taxes, they receive no refund from the IRS. The ACA only allows citizens to be taxed for failure to insure by withholding a portion of their Federal tax refund.

        No refund, no penalty withheld. Neither the government nor the health insurers get the cash they designed the system to procure from these miscreants who do not sign up.

        To make up the difference, the government will either have to subsidize health insurers directly, on behalf of non-penalized non-taxpayers, or will have to assess those non-taxpayers a special penalty tax (which isn’t part of the law currently), and then set out to collect it, IRS style. That usually involves wage garnishment, liens on property, a damaged credit report, and employment difficulties arising from same.

        Neither of these two options — direct subsidy or direct tax assessment on unemployed persons — will be well received by the public.

        But if those tax penalty amounts aren’t subsidized, or somehow collected from dirt poor citizens, the health insurers are going to have a huge pool of sicker and older people, and they are going to raise their premiums and deductibles impossibly high if they are to show any profit at all after paying their health bills.

        Obamacare has to bilk the young and healthy (and how) for the ACA to work as the insurance lobbyists wrote it. But there’s a problem — the young and healthy need to find work before they can be properly bilked. The money just isn’t there, gentlemen.

        This is how single payer will happen — the current arrangements are not, and will not, work as described. When everybody recognizes that, for-profit health insurance will become a business that caters to the wealthy, as it does in other industrialized nations.

        The rest of us will get something like Medicare for all. Which we could have gotten several years ago by passing a two-page healthcare bill through the Congress.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          ACA represents the nexus of bad politics and bad policy.

          Personally, I can’t wait until Obots start to face complaints from low information voters who were routinely lied to by the Obots over what ACA was and how it worked.

          I can’t wait until the next round of Democratic town halls. If they thought the Teabagger plants were bad, they are going to be shocked when they find parents with sick kids who were desperate for insurance show up because they aren’t just cranks.

          1. dave bowen

            So,would you rather continue footing the bill for visits to the E>R by the uninsured? The exchanges are a free market enterprise. I thought conservatives liked that. What is the conservative alternative? Die faster?

        2. Mark P.

          Antifa wrote: ‘If they don’t make enough in a year to pay Federal income taxes, they receive no refund from the IRS. The ACA only allows citizens to be taxed for failure to insure by withholding a portion of their Federal tax refund.’

          Yes, it’s amazingly simple. The US population is getting nearer to being all looted out.

          So it goes. Essentially, this seems to be a slow failure-cascade. First, in 2008 the GFC tips over the banksters who demand a bailout. That in turn means here in 2013 there aren’t enough Americans with decent jobs that can pay the US medical-industrial complex the excessive profits it demands, so they also demand a preemptive bailout (the ACA).

          So it goes. Next up, sometime in the 2016-2022 time-frame, the university-industrial complex starts staggering as enough young people fail to find jobs to pay off all that monstrous student debt, or hunker down in the grey-market where they simply appear too low-income to go after, or leave the country.

    2. Dana

      I find it difficult to believe that anyone who’s complaining about premiums on the Exchanges, has ever tried to buy insurance on the individual market before.

      I’m a middle-aged female living in a state that has not expanded Medicaid, so, purportedly should have some of the highest premiums out there. And yet, my Gold-level Exchange policy will cost *one-fourth* what my old plan did. Reasonably similar coverage, but for the vastly restricted provider network.

      There are many problems with Exchange plans, and Lambert has detailed them well. But AFAICT, cost is not one of them.

      1. Linden

        So far, my anecdotal experience is similar to yours. My own premium will go up, but not to an outrageous level, and the coverage will be better. My low-income clients, however, are seeing significant relief: going from paying $1,200 a month to $500, going from paying $300 a month to $68, increased access to Medi-Cal, access to mental health coverage for the first time ever, access to any kind of insurance at all for the first time ever.

        1. diptherio

          For me, the premiums for the bronze and silver plans are affordable, but the deductible and co-pays mean I’ll be bankrupt before the premiums start paying off. And that’s not even considering out-of-network issues.

          Even if the ACA plans are better than what was previously available, that isn’t saying a whole lot. The goal was to provide health care to every American (I thought), but what we ended up with is (possibly) slightly-better health insurance for some but not all Americans. That is no reason to celebrate, or even to congratulate the Dems. They sold us down the river. We must demand better.

          1. Wat Tyler

            Of course. Obamacare does not provide healthcare or set prices it basically is a farmers market where people can go to compare products on display by producers. Amazon not Apple. Yes there are minimum standards and subsidies but that does not alter the basics.

            BTY: Now that the website is functional I am seeing ads from Insurance companies touting their policies. BCBS’s ad says the ACA is the law and people need to sign up (to their policy of course). Not attack ads but business as usual. Of course in the GOP it will always be October 2013 (HT to Krugman).

            Time to move on.

            Jim

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Obama-care will be the gift which keeps on giving to the GOP. Insurance was always a red herring, and its barely regulated. The issue is and always has been for-profit hospital monopolies which has been the primary driver of healthcare costs since the fine efforts of Ted Kennedy to end the ban on for-profit in 1973.

              The GOP won’t offer alternatives, but the Democrats will own a hideous system and will own every flaw with Obama-care including the hordes losing insurance.

              Considering the Obots promised ACA would create countless wonders, people are going to be pretty upset when the insurance agencies tell them this bill is part of ACA.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        “Similar coverage”?

        How high is your deductible? If you’ve got a really high deductible, you are trading lower premiums for actually LESS coverage. You’ve basically moved towards catastrophic coverage. That’s actually economically rational for people with decent incomes but you need to clarify what the tradeoff is.

        And narrow networks are a real limitation if you get anything complicated or unusual.

        1. davidgmills

          Well this is anecdotal but so far it is working for me. My wife and I are on her health care plan through the hospital where she works and so far there has been no real changer there that I can see. Don’t know about my oldest daughter’s family yet, but have not heard anything bad and she has insurance through her employer.

          For my youngest daughter, this has been a godsend. She is 29 and has worked since she was 21 full time most of the time and has only been insured about six months in all of that time. She is a student now and not making much so she will qualify for a huge subsidy and with a subsidy will have some decent coverage for about $50 a month.

          She will get mental health insurance which she badly needs having been diagnosed with major depression since she was 20.

          So yes its not single payer or a public option but it will be better for us.

          And I keep thinking that the expansion of Medicaid will be a huge political issue in those states that didn’t get it due to Republican governors. And some states are expanding it so much that a significant portion of the population is on it. When thhose states start booming because of it, others will quickly follow.

      1. petal

        Hi, did a search when I got home but was unable to find anything saying there was a reciprocal agreement allowing Australian companies to sue the South Korean government. Am hoping maybe more will be written on this new agreement over the next few days and this detail will be included/discussed.

  2. Dana

    “Does not consider suicide via shooting to be a firearm death” … nor should it. In the absence of physician-assisted suicide, people kill themselves by the easiest available means. In the USA, that’s most often handguns. In modern-day India, it’s by drinking pesticides. When poison gas was piped into every home, it was by sticking one’s head in the oven.

    Suicide is nothing more or less than a person exercising control over the time and manner of her inevitable death. No more should firearm suicides be lumped in with homicides and accidental deaths by firearm, than suicides by carbon monoxide poisoning should be lumped in with traffic deaths.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please take your pro-gun Big Lies elsewhere.

      Suicide rates by gunshot are high among the elderly, particularly men, and are not as you falsely insinuate, the result of action in the face of terminal illness but in response to depression. For instance:

      Little attention has been given to the role of firearms in suicide. In 1998, firearms were the leading method of committing suicide for both men and women, responsible for three times the number of suicides compared to the next leading method. Understanding the epidemiology of firearm suicide will increase awareness of firearm suicide as a major public health problem.

      Results. Rates of firearm suicide have changed little over the past two decades and have consistently exceeded rates of firearm homicide. The firearm suicide rate among men is approximately six times that of women. While firearm suicide rates are highest among the elderly, the majority (66%) of firearm suicides are among persons under 55 years of age. Firearm suicide rates among women of all ages have dropped modestly, while rates among elderly men have risen considerably. Whites have roughly twice the rate of firearm suicide as do blacks and other race/ethnicity groups. Individual-level empirical studies have consistently indicated that keeping firearms in the home is associated with an increased risk of suicide.

      Conclusions. For suicide prevention to be effective, the availability and use of firearms in suicides must be addressed.

      http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/vprp/publications/firearmsuicide.pdf

      Overall when the proportion of households owning firearms in industrialized countries decreased, the proportion of firearm suicides decreased, and in most countries, the level of suicides decreased as well….

      Excluding firearm suicides, the rate of child suicide in the U.S. would be similar to that of other countries.

      http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/ficap/resourcebook/pdf/monograph.pdf

      Completed suicides for ages 65 and over comprise nearly 16% of all suicides This age group is 12.6% of total U.S. population
      Method is overwhelmingly by use of firearms (not the case for Europe and elsewhere)

      71.9%: firearms
      11.1%: poisoning
      10.8%: suffocation (hanging)
      1.7%: falling
      1.1%: drowning
      0.5%: fire

      Note: 50% of all suicides in the United States in the year 2009 used a firearm

      Fewer warnings of intent

      Attempts are more planned, determined

      2/3 have high suicide intent scores

      Less likely to survive a suicide attempt due to use of more violent and immediate methods

      More likely to have suffered from a depressive diagnosis prior to their suicide compared to younger counterparts

      http://www.afsp.org/content/download/3015/…/Suicide_and_the_Elderly.pptx

      1. Dana

        Um. No pro-gun here. I too FERVENTLY wish there were a better and easier available means of suicide. What I am, is pro- taking responsibility for one’s own mortality, and anti- the illusion of immortality. Few of us will be lucky enough to die of sudden unexpected trauma, and none of us will be lucky enough not to die at all. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to take responsibility for our own ends.

        Not to single you out personally, because I hear this nearly everywhere: but where does this idea come from, that people should be forced to endure intolerable pain, as long as the pain is emotional and not physical? Even those most in favor of physician-assisted suicide would deny it to people who are in pain that is not located within the physical body. Trust me, depression is a real thing, and it is no more nor less treatable than physical pain. In a few cases, it can be eliminated. In many cases, it can be alleviated. But not in all.

      2. eeyores enigma

        Your own stats only serve to prove that suicide by gun is the most preferred method and looking at the other options I would go way out of my way to get a gun if I had DECIDED to off myself.

        1. Benjamin

          Many people who attempt suicide don’t follow through with it, for example they swallow a bunch of pills, decide after they want to live, and go get their stomachs pumped. With guns there usually isn’t an ‘after’. There are people who are so hellbent on dying they’ll find a way to off themselves no matter what, but for many when truly confronted with the reality of their own demise they realize things aren’t so bad and they should keep living. Guns remove the possibility of that penultimate realization.

          1. Dana

            And you think it is a good thing for people not to confront the reality of their own demise? I hope you never have to watch a loved one suffer because they and/or their doctors have convinced themselves that they won’t die if they can just endure a little more pain.

            1. Benjamin

              My father is currently an empty husk in a care facility because of early onset alzheimer’s and because neither he nor my mother ‘believes in suicide’. So don’t attempt to lecture me.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              You can go to hell. You have NO business lecturing me.

              My father shot himself when he had an ailment that was treatable but he needed to change doctors and his current doctors were not succeeding and were keeping him on protocols that were leading his condition to deteriorate.

              The record of the suicide studies is clear that many old people who kill themselves are DEPRESSED as opposed to suffering from terminal illnesses. My father’s case is vastly more typical of elderly suicides by gun than the scenario you posit.

              And there are groups like the Hemlock Society that will tell you how to kill yourself but they put people through a waiting period so as to flush out the short term depressives.

              1. Bridget

                After struggling to “understand” the depressed loved ones in my life)because I truly don’t think “help” is something others can give to the depressed with any degree of success) I have come to the conclusion that depression is at the root of most of the troubles in our society. Now that I am sensitized to the symptoms, I see it everywhere. Solve depression and solve the human condition.

                1. subgenius

                  actually one current thought is that the depressives are the ones seeing most clearly exactly WHAT our society is, and acting accordingly. It is the REST of society that is blind to the issues and thus the issues will never be solved…

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            The other issue with suicide especially pills is the amount has to be right or the body purges whatever you took, and other methods take a bit of preparation. The story of Lupe Velez is a perfect example of this.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I find it a very useful exercise, when I encounter somebody making claims about “reality,” to replace that word with “ideology,” or even “personal predeliction.” It generally makes the sentence much clearer. (The classic Obot claim that “I live in the real world” is a fine example of this.)

        2. Tim Mason

          The greatest number of suicides are carried out by people suffering from one or another form of mental illness – in particular, depression. In civilized societies one might consider it a good idea to offer these people therapy. It seems that Dana would prefer to offer them a gun. While denying that it is a gun.

          1. Close to the Issue

            The whole point here, while I generally idolize the work of Yves and Lambert, is that this is an issue of personal choice and responsibility. I understand that the general gun control mindset is stuck in a city where the nearest police help is maybe 3-5 min away on shots fired. I live on the “highway” and that number for me is nearly an hour. I don’t feel it is acceptable to remove the right of self-defense on the odd (or even good) chance that one might harm oneself with the weapon (harming others is a different story). The reason for Alaska’s numbers being so high is that guns are a very utilitarian part of life there. It is very hard to exist on a daily basis outside of the cities without a firearm due to animal and human dangers. That being said it is often the nearest and easiest way to commit suicide. However, having had depression issues myself in the past (including 2 serious suicide attempts: first multiple pills that I did NOT have pumped – my stomach is still screwed up 15-20 yrs later, second a hanging attempt that was stopped by someone who wasn’t supposed to be there – fate you could say) I can say that shooting myself wasn’t ever really an option, too messy for whoever found me and the chance that if you change your mind as you pull the trigger you could end up a vegetable instead of dead, a worse fate in my opinion. There are much easier, less painful ways like CO poisoning, noble gases, nitrous overdose, morphine, etc. I’ve had 5 friends commit suicide over the course of my life, 3 by gun (one this past year) and 2 by pills. This doesn’t include “unusual” auto accidents. They will find a way. People DO need the therapy – I am fully supportive of actual national health coverage because we need to take care of each other. It is very analagous to drugs: we should counsel addicts but drug use is a personal choice though one of responsibility. If you can’t control yourself while on certain drugs, don’t go near them. Just like alcoholics avoiding bars, if you don’t think you’ll be responsible with a gun don’t own one. BTW, I am NOT a pro-NRA-we-need-moar-gunz believer. I am for rational, responsible gun ownership.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              With all due respect, you are missing the point.

              People in the US are not required to be trained in gun use and overwhelmingly don’t use them safely (and the studies also show that gun safety training sticks if someone gets it before they acquire a gun but is useless with people who already have guns, they won’t change their bad habits). And it makes it way too easy for domestic violence to escalate into domestic murder.

              If you are really worried about personal safety, a hand to hand self defense course is vastly more useful than a gun. In fact, you’ll learn that in the course. The Tueller rule among police is that a gun (unless it’s already out and aimed) is useless if an assailant is within 21 feet. You can’t get it out and aim it before he gets to you.

              In fact, the lack of guns makes it safer for people to intervene if they come across Bad Shit. I got involved when a man was threatening with a woman in Australia, which has tough gun controls, armed only with a bludgeon, which was enough to keep me safe if he tried going after me (which he did). The guy in the end went to prison based on the incident. I never would have interceded in the US outside of NYC (which also has tough gun laws) because the guy might have carried a pistol.

              1. Close to the Issue

                I totally agree with you on the training issue. My father taught me to shoot, and most importantly respect the weapon, at an early age. I believe people should be made more comfortable with/knowledgable about them (again, not MOAR GUNZ, more training) and less being scared into never touching them. Again this is similar to drugs: how well did “Just Say No” work? The story about the girlfriend “playfully” shooting her boyfriend never should have happened. You NEVER point a gun at anyone you aren’t intending to shoot regardless of whether you believe it to be loaded or not. Leaving a weapon in front of people who don’t know what they are doing is nearly as irresponsible.

                As for domestic violence, yes, easy access to weapons, be it guns, knives, baseball bats, lamps, dishes, whatever may be at hand increases the likelihood for increased violence. However, domestic violence is rarely a one-time issue. Previous offenders usually have felony records and are therefore barred from owning guns. I am all for cracking down on the cowards that are domestic abusers.

                I know hand to hand but the 21 foot rule only covers the surprise encounter not as much the person in your house, garage, or barn. At that point one should be approaching weapon drawn and not risk getting into hand to hand range. Nor would I recommend going hand to hand with a wolverine. I know I brought up the shots fired but humans aren’t the only problems. Bear spray works fine with bears but often just irritates wolverines further – mean SOBs. They will even attack landing forestry helicopters.

                Your last paragraph contains a slight logic flaw: so the guy who is okay with breaking the law to threaten other people and you were SURE he wasn’t okay with breaking the no gun law? I’m glad you ended up safe, I enjoy your work. But that’s like thinking when someone decides to murder someone that they will think about the extra time they might do for having an illegal weapon and reconsider. Or like thinking any sort of prohibition on weapons would work any better than say, a prohibition on alcohol or a “war on drugs”.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  1. Australia has extremely tough gun controls. Not only is it virtually impossible to get guns, it is also extremely hard to get ammo.

                  2. Virtually all men who abuse women don’t see it as breaking the law. Category error.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          “Choice”? As if a gun is the best and only or even a good option? Guns lend themselves to impulse suicides, and the other methods require more deliberation, which is a brake on short term depression or emotional swings.

    2. LucyLulu

      Would you not include somebody who drives into oncoming traffic “suicide by auto accident”? Of course you would. One might never even know this death was intentional. Meanwhile the suicide of a 16 year old kid is not simply “choosing the time and place of inevitable death” but a symptom of a serious underlying problem.

      The article used fluff for data. How can one separate out suicide and gun deaths when guns are the leading cause of lethal suicide? How can one separate drug and alcohol lethal overdoses when so many will see the use of both? How did they classify the cause of death for a victim of drunk driving, under alcohol or traffic accident? How often is alcohol use involved in homicides? There are a high number of mortalities that fall into more than one category.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Lucy,

        Are you serious? Gun suicides, unlike suicide by car (usually for insurance purposes, so as to enable the survivors to collect) are obvious: shot to the temple or into the mouth. They are clearly different than accidents.

        Now the one issue you could raise is whether even those are all captured in police data, since some families don’t like recording deaths as suicides. But analytically, that category is really clear. And the public health researchers don’t seem to have a lot of difficulty parsing out gun suicides, see stats I cited above.

        And I don’t agree with your claim that suicide by drug is hard to distinguish from recreational drug accidents. People who choose to kill themselves with drugs chose particular drugs (barbituates, which are not party or addiction drugs) and take very large doses, sometimes in combination in with alcohol. Alcoholicism can be a fatal ailment (I know a Stage IV alcoholic) but alcohol intoxication isn’t a suicide method I’m familiar with, since if you drink too much, people will often throw up, so the OD effort fails.

  3. YankeeFrank

    So Obama now cares about the vanishing middle class while his policies of the past 5 years did less than nothing for them. Doing his typical lying, pandering garbage he thinks anyone will equate him with Pope Francis, who is actually walking the talk. What a baloney.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Since no one actually listened to him in the first place except his critics on the left*, this is just a desperate attempt by Democrats to save their brand with youth support plummeting.

      Politically, a young person lost is a vote lost forever, but are young people going to listen to him now after his embrace of Wall Street, insurance companies, endless war, and Republicans when they are deciding between paying a government penalty or an insurance company penalty? The only reason his poll numbers are worse is the Obots have spent so much time spreading misinformation about Obama-care that plenty of people expect to have healthcare when they get sick and not to pay.

      *His banality and mediocrity were apparent in his 2004 speech.

      1. CB

        That was my impression and I couldn’t for the life of me figure what people saw in him. I kept asking, What’s he done? Boring gasbag. Windy City.

  4. Butch In Waukegan

    The Neoliberal Giuliani DeBlasio, Bratton and the Ongoing Criminalization of Youth in New York City — CounterPunch

    The Democrats’ playbook: Pretend to speak to the concerns of their constituents, but once elected aggressively give them the finger. Then, self-described “progressives” avert their eyes as neo-liberal policies are put in place.

    Will the hypocrisy and double dealing of the Democrats ever catch up with them?

  5. ex-PFC Chuck

    I had thought that Anacondas’ habitat was limited to South, and perhaps Central, America. Am I wrong on that? Or does South Asia have a problem with escaped non-native species just like we do here in the US of A? e.g. Burmese pythons in Florida.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      That’s what I thought too, and the blurb underneath refers to a python. I don’t think anacondas are found anywhere except SA.

    2. Larry Barber

      There are some that say there may be a breeding population in the Everglades, to go along with the pythons. Anacondas are a lot harder to catch than pythons, so its not easy to tell.

      1. CB

        Anacondas are in south FL. Because they spend so much time in water, they’re not as visible and, this is interesting, for that habit and giving birth to live young, they’re not as vulnerable to fire ants.

  6. bobs

    The python (not anaconda) story is a hoax (says Brian Leiter who also posted it last week.

    But what is true is that a python eats only 5 times a year!

      1. Howard Beale IV

        I’d just rather settle for a Federal Statute that criminalizes ‘accidental discharges’.

        After all, while you may have a right to ‘bear arms’, there is no right to discharge it.

  7. rich

    203k Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added (Bartenders And Restaurant Staff Lead Again), Personal Income Declines -0.1%

    The November jobs report is out from the Department of Labor and nonfarm payrolls rose more than expected. 203,000 jobs were added versus the expectation of 185,000. However, most jobs added were low paying jobs and holiday season related.

    WHERE were the jobs created? The biggest winners were low paying jobs related to the Holiday season for the most part:

    Food services and drinking places 17.9
    General Merchandise Stores 13.8
    Temporary Help Services 16.4
    Home Health Care Services 11.8
    Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores 11.7

    The fly in the proverbial jobs ointment is that personal income declined -0.1% in October. While personal spending rose +0.3%. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Debt in every budget.

    And bear in mind that there are still 91.3 million not in the labor force.

    http://confoundedinterest.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/203k-nonfarm-payroll-jobs-added-bartenders-and-restaurant-staff-lead-again-personal-income-declines-0-1/

    and why is everyone excited on MSM?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Why is the MSM excited? They make their money on advertising, and positive news stories drive buying of consumer goods which means their ad time is more important.

      The other issue is Rolodex Sorting 101 isn’t a real skill. Comm/journalism majors are morons with little in the way of real experience or sufficient knowledge to draw reasonable conclusions, not necessarily correct. Jon Stewart is the most trusted man in news because he’s actually educated. He has a BA in history from a top flight school, and so when his guests make a claim, Stewart has enough experience to respond because he has been exposed to issues. Wolf Blitzer looked confused when he was confronted with the Reagan Administrations support of Apartheid because he is the representative of American journalism. He’s stupid and poorly educated despite being an adult during the period. Stenography 202 doesn’t teach one how to read beyond the headline.

    2. afisher

      Clean you glasses and look at the chart provided. You merely repeated the falsehood of the site about where jobs were actually added. I’m not arguing that they may not be low-end wages but the BS that they are in bars, etc is flat out wrong ( for NOV).

  8. financial matters

    Rob Parenteau has written an interesting piece.. How to Exit Austerity, Without Exiting the Euro http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2013/12/exit-austerity-without-exiting-euro.html

    “”Simply put, peripheral nations in the eurozone must regain control of their fiscal policy, and must actively pursue full employment growth policies.

    In addition, the use of these tax anticipation notes will tend to free up more euros for payment of externally held public debt. Euros may also be freed up to pay for imports of essential goods like food, fuel, and medicine as well, at least until fiscal policy can help develop domestic production in these areas.””

    ——-

    Also the 6th installment of a 6 part series on responding to critics of MMT is particularly good…

    Policy Aspects of MMT

    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2013/12/mmt-101-response-critics-part-6.html

    “”From the theoretical framework discussed in the 5 previous installments, MMT draws specific policy conclusions about fiscal, monetary and financial policy. In this final post we address the policy implications.

    In line with Keynes and Minsky, MMT recognizes that unemployment, arbitrary distribution of income, price instability and financial instability are central problems of market economies that require some government involvement for resolution. Taxes and bond offerings are still needed and budgetary procedures and political accountability are still necessary to make sure that government is involved in the economy according to the wish of its people and in a non-fraudulent and economical way.

    A sovereign government can always afford to buy anything for sale denominated in its currency so discussing the pros and cons of a government program should not be framed around financial constraints. Instead the focus should be considerations of equity, full employment, financial stability, and price stability.””

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How to open a can without a can opener?

    Get a can that is already almost 90% open.

    Then just put your fork under the top and pry it open.

    These kind of IQ questions used to fool me a lot when I was a kid. But no more; otherwise it would be shame on me…like believing someone to be a messiah or from Camelot just because the CBB (central brainwashing bureau) told you so…the first time (I am not even talking about the second time).

  10. rich

    Book-Cooking Bank Gets to Keep Cooked Books

    Here’s a not-so-comforting lesson for investors, courtesy of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Just because the SEC says a company’s earnings were fraudulent doesn’t mean the company will ever be required to correct them.
    The SEC this week accused Fifth Third Bancorp of committing accounting fraud during the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

    The funny part: Fifth Third, which is Ohio’s largest bank, has never acknowledged to this day that its numbers were in error. The SEC isn’t requiring it to do so now.

    Surely an accounting error that is fraudulent also should be deemed material by SEC. Yet the agency isn’t treating it that way. An SEC spokesman, John Nester, declined to comment.

    According to the SEC’s Dec. 4 administrative order, Fifth Third’s loss for the third quarter of 2008 would have been more than twice what it reported, had it complied with generally accepted accounting principles. The bank had been trying to sell some troubled commercial real-estate loans that had plunged in value. However, it continued to classify the loans as “held for investment” instead of “held for sale.” This let the bank avoid a $169 million writedown that quarter. Fifth Third reclassified the loans the following quarter. It sold most of the loans at issue in December 2008 and in 2009.

    The obvious conclusion was that the government had given lots of banks a free pass.

    In at least this one instance, the SEC identified GAAP violations so egregious that they amounted to fraud — and never required a correction. Perhaps the moral of this story is that if a company drags out an accounting investigation long enough, it won’t have to admit any mistakes, because by then the matter will be ancient history.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-05/book-cooking-bank-gets-to-keep-cooked-books.html

  11. Accrued Disinterest

    I hope no humans were harmed in the making of this Anecdote. There’s definitely 3rd degree cuddling, at the very least.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Happiness was right in front of that cameraperson…and yet, he/she tried to look for it out there among the stars with that telescope thing. ‘The grass is always greener on the other side!’

      I think I will go back to reading the ‘Around Your Own Backyard in 80 Days.’

  12. craazyman

    If You Really Think About It (But People Don’t)

    It’s a hard world and getting harder. Strange how the days are darkening more and more into a gray mind cloud of spiritual pain and confusion. I can see a violence everywhere, and bewilderment and pain, like vapors of soul terror rising from the Coliseum. There are still little sanctuaries, like the grocery store in the evening, where the cashier girls from the Bronx lean easily back against the register when there’s no line, and they smile at you with their dark eyes heavy with mascara, somehow with a connection to Life and a warmth of soul that makes things seem real for a few minutes. The dudes in the wine store are the same way, they lean and loaf, youthful with an easy going grin. I always buy the $5 bottle in the bin and joke whether its been bruised by rough handling. Is it ready to drink? Does it need to breathe? No. It’s ready. If you really think about it, there is a certain humaneness in crafting a drinkable $5 wine so that you can have your own communion with the Lord of your choosing. That and the grocery store, they’re like an anchor tethered to something swollen with a mania and rising higher than it can fall without breaking utterly. Oh well. It happens all the time, all over the place. I’m not sure what is worse, seeing it rise beyond any redemption or seeing it break. I think it’s the rise because that’s when the fraudulence and sadism are at the height of their powers. The break is the catharsis.

    1. Clive

      With deep regret I have to agree with you craazyman. Here and there are the glimmers of humanity and people who are able to live with some dignity. But more and more I find that a grey pall is descending over the everyday folk one encounters. You don’t even have to scratch beneath the surface too much now-a-days, it comes upon you unbidden, unprompted.

      (I moderate a patient support group blog-info-bulletin board http://www.keratoconus-group.org.uk/forum/ and recently I and the rest of the team who run it have become shocked and bewildered at the hate, anger and resentment which pours out of people who just want someone to blame and somewhere to vent; we do our best but we barely seem to make a dent. And the daily tide of innocent — and innocent they are — individuals who are shafted by government, HMOs, social security, employers, drug companies, you name it. This all will not end well if it carries on)

      Well. That’s cheered you all up hasn’t it.

      1. craazyman

        I also tried to short the market a few days ago & thought it was working yesterday, but today I can’t even look at it. I’ll probably cover. Losing money all the time gets me depressed and my mind wanders.

          1. craazyman

            whoa! that looks really really tasty! It makes my mouth water looking at it, and I just ate two hot dogs!

            It was a hard hard week when the absence of God in the world was heavy as a sin on your soul. It’s more than just the market. Much more. If I had enough money to become a restaurant magnate, I probably would just sit around doing nothing but surfing Youtube. I’d certainly eat a sandwich like that, but run the restaurant that makes it? Whoa that sounds like a lot of work.

            Two people at my employer were fired this week, execution style. There was no reason except the failure of those who fired them, and they, the ones fired, became corpses with bullets in the head.

            One, in particular, is a wonderful person, a good spirit who was treated reprehensibly from the day hired to the day fired. It was little more than sadism ending in murder.

            This is what the world demands. That you be a murderer — aiding and abetting an organization that does these things, trying to rationalize through notions of removal and gradation — or a martyr, bearing witness to them, forcefully and without compromise, and losing your ability to financially survive.

            Most people, nearly every person alive, almost, choses to be a murderer. This is why I want to get rich quick, so I can cease to be a murderer without being a martyr. God is not so kind, to allow that to happen easily.

            1. optimader

              I was kidding of course but may not really..
              My favorite beef and sausage is http://www.portillos.com/
              and this guy started w/ just the lttle shitbox pull behind trailer. Of course nothing is as simple as it was in the 1960’s but hmm… there are “food trucks” that are pretty dang popular in Chicago these days.
              Doing the math, if you have a good convenience food product it could be a good life, work early through the lunch crowd set up for the next day, then go sailing.

              One of my favorite food operations is a little hole in the wall on Lake Michigan in the Upper peninsula http://www.goodeggsdoorcounty.com/
              Small place, all he does is breakfast egg burritos and coffee, that’s it. A corporate drop out type.

              Very small place, two front doors people go in the left are confronted w/ 3 or 4 EXCELLENT coffees in urns, grab that scoot to the right while sipping to a griddle that he pours maybe 2 dozen or so scrambles eggs, you point to what you want –he cuts the eggs into a matrix load em up then then one of a 3 or 4 college age gals roll em up, crack more eggs, cash you out.

              A couple tables outside are constructed out of surfboards but the bulk of the biz is walk away.
              The place is a thing of beauty. A cash register that serves excellent food.
              The guys starts at 6 done by 1, the purveyors having dropped off the next days raws, he’s off w/ his Hobiecat or mountain bike or what ever he wants to do for the rest of the day.. A good life all in all.

              He’s got a tidy cashflow to live off of from a very simple concept and modest investment.

    2. cwaltz

      I guess I’m a pessimistic optimist because I think this world has always been hard and hasn’t gotten harder. If you think about it were a century ago and you were a poor child there is a good chance you were employed rather than in school, you had a higher likelihood of dying of disease, if you were a woman a little over a century ago you weren’t allowed to vote, if you were AA less than a century ago you were segregated and a little over a century ago you were property. Is today hard? Absolutely. However, for many of the people residing in this country it’s always been hard

      1. Clive

        Hey cwaltz, you might be right there.

        My gran told me stories about how things were in a steel mill town where she lived probably in about 1920 / 1930. Every so often, the furnaces exploded and men (they were all men) who had gone to work that morning were brought home in bits to their families for burial. At their own expense.

        We’ve just got Obama to contend with. And Jamie Dimon.

        It is just as you say, it’s always been variants of “bad”.

        Only for me, I kind-a thought by now we’d have made better progress on things than we have. C’est la vie.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bugs, Spiders and disguising.

    Perhaps the word ‘spy’ derives from ‘spider.’

    And we disguise (a microphone) to bug someone’s phone.

    Unfair to bugs and spiders, you say? Maybe. I am just an etymological messenger here.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Our antidotes are once in a while Photoshopped. Why should anti-antidotes be different?

  14. optimader

    Anaconda swallows drunk man outside liquor store

    A Snakeskin sleeping bag? That’s how I felt after Thanksgiving day dinner.

  15. jrs

    Re: help wanted ad:

    “Within 48 hours, more than 20,000 people had applied online for those 400 jobs. The volume crashed Ikea’s computer servers in Spain.

    “We had an avalanche of applicants!” Ikea spokesman Rodrigo Sanchez told NPR in a phone interview. “With that quantity, our servers just didn’t have the capacity. They collapsed. After 48 hours, we had to temporarily close the job application process. We’re working on a solution, to reopen the job page as soon as possible.”

    “That initial volume alone gives applicants a 1-in-50 chance of landing the job”

    There’s no way to evaluate 20k of job applicants either, so you either picking them entirely randomly, scan in the resumes, randomly pick numbers and if the applicant is remotely qualified they get the job. Or you try to get software to screen for keywords that might mean this person is slightly more qualified to work at Ikea (if it was the U.S. maybe you’d screen for the keyword PhD to work at Ikea). Because really there is no way to evaluate 20k of applicants.

  16. JGordon

    How Americans die–

    As you can see just about every other leading cause of death is far more noteworth than the relatively insignificant firearms death. You’d be a lot more effective with your time with regards to saving lives if you gave up your bizarre anti-farms crusades and switched to fighting obesity and smoking instead.

    And if someone really wants to off himself, there are lots of options to choose from. Firearms may be convenient, but then so are sleeping pills.

    1. anon y'mouse

      leaving aside your anti-anti-gun nut comment, for an index of how Americans die to leave off ANY cause, and then not really be able to give a justifiable reason to do so, should raise some eyebrows.

      or are we defining “death” as anything where your own actions do not contribute to your “cessation of life”. that would be a whole lotta “causes of death” that we might have to exclude.

      the exclusion seems somewhat arbitrary and even possibly politically inspired. everyone who is interested in the integrity of data from which to draw any (or no) conclusions should be wondering why this distinction was made, regardless of how they feel about guns or whatnot.

      1. JGordon

        That’s an incredibly bizarre strawman you’re trying to foist onto me. I am just curious about why so many people spend time agonizing over a few firearms-related deaths while there is so other much more lethal stuff out there that they could be spending thier limited time working against.

        For example, is it rational at all if you could spend the same amount of effort to save 10 fat people from dying of their fatness if instead you dubiously spend the same amount of effort to save 1 individual from a firearms death (and even that is doubtful since, as the recent past has shown, every crazy anti-gun crusade launched appears to dramatically inrease the availabilty of firearms to the public).

        Because of this and many other things I see, the only conclusion I can draw from this is that these individual are irrational. And the nonsensical and logically flawed rant I just read above confirms to me yet again. In fact, I was reading on an FDL post just a few weeks ago about how some lady wrote about her imagination of how she could brutally die from a gun not so long ago, and she was–I kid you not–using that as strong evidence of why guns should be banned. I had to laugh at the sheer absurdity of it.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Last I checked, the obese weren’t using their excess of adipose tissue to slaughter children (and, to be fair, teenagers and adults) in schools, movie theatres, and other public spaces.

          It’s the destruction of the safety of public space by gun advocates that is the distinguishing factor here. Gun advocates put their attachment to a consumer fetish object above the safety of the innocent in public spaces. Fine, I suppose, if they’d fess up and own the externalities. But they don’t.

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