Links 1/12/14

A New Fed Study Destroys One Of The Central Tenets Of Monetary Policy Business Insider

Fischer as Financial Statesman May Help Fed Smooth QE Unwinding Bloomberg

The Labor Market Is Tightening Much More Rapidly Than You Think csen

10 Reasons Barry Ritholtz Is Wrong About Gold Reuters

The Financial Benefits Of Being Beautiful Business Insider

Exclusive: More well-known U.S. retailers victims of cyberattacks – sources Reuters

LePage signs bill to label genetically modified food Bangor Daily News. Strange bedfellows on food sovereignty.

Trans-Pacific Partnership: how the US Trade Rep is hoping to gut Congress with absurd lies Boing Boing

Price war in U.S. mobile market raises fear of profit hemorrhage Reuters

Yours for £160 a month (if you’re under 5ft 4 and don’t suffer from claustrophobia): Loft space put up for rent in central London…but there’s no room to stand up Daily Mail. Froth.


Maryland’s plan to upend health care spending WaPo. An “experiment” already conducted in, to take one example, Canada. No reason to use Marylanders as guinea pigs.

Maryland officials were warned for a year of problems with online health-insurance site WaPo

Expand Medicaid but ditch Obamacare, poll respondents say Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Banks Say No to Marijuana Money, Legal or Not Times

Marijuana Growing Has to Change Its Energy-Hogging Ways Bloomberg

Poverty and the Laboratories of Democracy Angry Bear

Democrats plead with Obama to abandon Social Security cut The Hill. Say, why not put Jamie Dimon in the stocks on Pay Per View? Fiscal problems, solved!

The depressing psychological theory that explains Washington Ezra Klein, Washingon Post

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

We are Huxleying ourselves into the full Orwell Things Cory Doctorow Saw 

Blogger’s Incarceration Raises First Amendment Questions Times

FBI Director: Snowden No ‘Hero’ For Revealing Government Operating As ‘Founders Intended’  Huffpo. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

Man Jailed for Gmail Invite to Ex-Girlfriend Good Morning America (!)

If firms like Target won’t protect privacy, make ’em pay LA Times. Or jail the executives.

Company president apologizes to residents as West Virginia chemical leak leaves 300,000 without tap water for third day running Daily News. Because Freedom Industries!

Water Ban Continues in West Virginia Online WSJ. Anodyne headline. Here’s the deck: “Doctor Says Several Hundred Thousand Could Have Been Exposed to Contaminated Water for Seven Hours Thursday.”

The Wait Continues for Safe Tap Water in West Virginia Times. Look, I’m sure the chemicals used in fracking are nothing at all like 4-methylcyclohexane methanol.

Duke Fracking Tests Reveal Dangers Driller’s Data Missed Bloomberg. “I don’t understand why they would let the company that was accused of doing the wrongdoing conduct the tests.” Well, that is why.

BP appeal against ‘fictitious’ Gulf spill compensation claims fails Telegraph

Fukushima across the Pacific Safecast

Thai road protest could lead to political dead end AP

Cambodia: An Interview with Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy The Diplomat

How I treat my domestic staff – and tips to improve one’s English FT. “We are all one big family.” Shovel, Mr. Tang? And can a reader fluent in idiomatic Britglish tell me if one “makes out” or “makes up” a question?

BILLIONAIRE HEDGE FUND MANAGER: ‘Chris Christie Is A Once-In-A-Generation Leader‘ Business Insider. Druckenmiller. 

Science: can emotions be inherited? FT. “Sperm: More than just chromosomes!”

Are Economic Values Transmitted from Parents to Children? New York Fed

Disaster Centennial: The Disturbing Relevance of World War I Der Spiegel

She fought on the Somme disguised as a Tommy, so why did Dorothy die unloved and unlauded in a lunatic asylum? Incredible story of the only British woman to fight in the trenches Daily Mail

Douglas Coupland: Unclassy FT

Antidote du jour:


On religious trolling: I’ve warned all parties, baiters and baitees, that I’ll rip those threads out, and I have spent substantial time doing just that this evening, for comments over the last few days.

Note that WordPress imposes a technical limitation on comment deletion such that healthy twigs have to go with the rotten branches, so some good faith comments were cut. Moral: Don’t feed the trolls, even innocently.

Finally, proselytizing (as opposed to witness, ideally silent witness) is at all times off topic at NC. Readers in any doubt whatever concerning NC’s policies on trolling and moderation generally should consult this post. –lambert

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Butch In Waukegan

    Everyone gets a taste, because “as a nation, that’s who we are”.

    Four Years Later, USAID Funds in Haiti Still Unaccounted For — IPS

    As the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti approaches on Jan. 12, development analysts are decrying an ongoing lack of transparency in U.S. foreign aid to the country, even as those assistance streams are drying up.

    From what is known of U.S. post-earthquake funding to Haiti, it appears that a notably small proportion of money from USAID, the county’s main foreign aid arm, is going directly to local Haitian businesses, institutions and organisations.

    “Sixty percent [of USAID funds] goes to firms operating inside the beltway, disappearing in a black box,” Jake Johnson of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), a Washington think tank, told IPS. “That makes it very hard to determine how and when the funds reach the ground.”

    Even though the United States offered three billion dollars in aid for Haiti after the earthquake, less than one percent of the 1.3 billion dollars in obligated USAID funds – money designated specifically for Haitian recovery efforts – has gone directly to local Haitian groups.

  2. dearieme

    “And can a reader fluent in idiomatic Britglish tell me if one “makes out” or “makes up” a question?” One “makes up”: it’s poor of the FT not to have an editor who can catch that sort of typo.

    1. Synoia

      The English (including the FT) speak and write English. The Scots, Welsh and Irish speak dialect, or their own tongue.

      People in the US speak various dialects of English, none of it “proper” or “the Queesn’s” English.

      One “makes up” a statement or fact. When something is “made up” it is false. Questions are asked, and probably cannot be “made up”.

      “Make out” is to finally discern something, based on indistinct input. For example, used to see things in fog.

  3. DakotabornKansan

    David Lazarus, LA Times, “If firms like Target won’t protect privacy, make ’em pay.”

    Businesses have the tools and know-how to keep our personal information safe from hackers. They just don’t do it because better safeguards would cost them money.,0,1556558.column#axzz2q9lplEQm

    Adam Levitin, Credit Slips, “We have technology that could really reduce identity theft, just that banks don’t want to incur the cost of using it.”

    “The use of two-factor authentication, namely chip-and-PIN cards, which are standard outside the US and have been effective in reducing fraud.

    Brian Krebs, krebsonsecurity, “Researchers: Chip and PIN Enables ‘Chip and Skim,’”

    “Researchers in the United Kingdom say they’ve discovered mounting evidence that thieves have been quietly exploiting design flaws in a security system widely used in Europe to prevent credit and debit card fraud at cash machines and point-of-sale devices.

    “At issue is an anti-fraud system called EMV (short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa), more commonly known as “chip-and-PIN.” Most European banks have EMV-enabled cards, which include a secret algorithm embedded in a chip that encodes the card data, making it more difficult for fraudsters to clone the cards for use at EMV-compliant terminals. Chip-and-PIN is not yet widely supported in the United States, but the major card brands are pushing banks and ATM makers to support the technology within the next two to three years.”

    “The point here is that when a bank turns down a customer because [a fraudulent transaction] looks like cloning and cloning isn’t possible because the card has a tamper resistant chip, we show that this kind of logic doesn’t stand up.”

    1. Dave of Maryland

      I run a mail-order outfit and recently had two back-to-back Discover card frauds. Both identical. Both had the name and address (one of them, the name, address and phone number) of the victim, along with the victim’s card (all Discovers start with 6011), expiration date and 3 digit code from the back. Both orders were shipped to some other address.

      If this was the usual restaurant (formerly gas station) fraud, the thieves would only have the card, expiration date, code and customer’s name, copied directly from the card while it was out of your possession. They would not have address, zip code and phone.

      So I get the notice of the chargebacks in the mail and dig up my records. In the first case I knew the phone number I had was no good, that it went to the thief himself or was bogus.

      With the second, I had the victim’s phone number. (Think about that!) So I rang her up. She was upset with the charge to her card ($120). She had phoned Discover two weeks earlier, who told her not to worry. She was reassured. I hit the ceiling. Your card might be in your possession, it might never have left your possession, but it has been stolen. The number needs to be cancelled immediately. Phone them!

      I then phoned Discover. Can you explain what’s going on, I asked? Are you the cardholder, was the reply? No, I said. Then goodbye, they said.

      In mail order, chargebacks are a fact of life, but in 20 years, I’ve had fewer than ten. These were the first in maybe seven years. Pay attention to your customers, keep your nose clean, you won’t have them.

      It seems that as long as Discover can reverse the charges, it doesn’t care if their cards are secure or not. I had lost $350, which hurts. I immediately ceased taking Discovers, which was easy to do. Only about 5 transactions in 100 are Discovers, they have so little business, you’d think they would want more.

      In twenty years I have never had a bad Amex card, even though their point of sale security has never been great. They must do a good job of policing things behind the scenes.

      It might be that Target got caught out, big time. By comparison to Visa/Mastercard, Discover does not care.

      1. Brian

        in 14 years, I learned that none of the credit card issuing companies cares at all about fraudulent use of their cards. You can take steps to prevent the transaction with a thief, but after the fact, forget it. You lose. You can try to help them by providing all the information about the thief, they don’t want it. They won’t even stay on the phone long enough to write it down. It is the merchant that pays for allowing the bogus transaction, merchant pays for a real transaction.
        If you take ecom orders without personal contact with the card holder, this is going to be your fate forever.
        You ship to an address not authorized by the card? You have no protection at all. It is set up that way. You pay the fee and lose the entire amount.
        aahhh, credit.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘…more difficult to fraudsters to clone…’

      But not ‘never possible.’

      I guess like everything else, it’s a matter of time before fraudsters catch up.

      What’s next – saliva encased credit cards?

  4. Andrea

    On: The depressing psychological theory that explains Washington.

    The article merely points out that ppl are subject to group think. They mold their judgements, opinions, beliefs, in function of: the majority in the room, their family backgrounds, their group belonging in terms of territory, tribes, religion, professional caste, etc. Human society couldn’t function without that process, as some consensus is essential for social groups to function, not to mention survive by implementing group actions.

    The author stops short of taking the extra step, which is to say that the Dem / Rep division is more tribal than political – political as concerned with policies that concern general (in this case State) functioning, efficiency, and well being of the population, such as bail-outs and health insurance.

    In this way, the issues themselves get lost or washed away and subsumed to authority – pols, leaders, pundits, etc. Nobody wants to admit this as it goes against the stereotype of free individuals who think for themselves and have serious opinions on this or that and live in a ‘democracy.’ (I’ve always been suspicious of various studies that show deep divides between Dems and Reps and relate them to fundamental quasi philosophical differences, such as the relationship to authority. Of course in the ‘likes’ and ‘habits’ and ‘consumer practices’ realm the differences are real – these are the markers that attest the group belonging.) And yes, it is good sign that increasing nos. of Americans declare themselves to be ‘independents.’

    France has gone the same way. The recent hullaballoo about gay marriage (with socialist, Hollande supporters for, and Sarkozy or UMP supporters against, both like over 75% – note the populist National Front was divided exactly along the whole country’s line, i.e. was neutral, and did not campaign) is an almost exact reversal of traditionalist, rooted values in these two groups. (I can explain but this post is too long.) People simply went along with ‘their president’ and the other lot simply opposed ‘that asshat.‘ Of course the effect was so strong as gay marriage is not really a vital issue.

    At the same time, ‘democracies’ mutter about the possible rise of fascism(s), the grip of authoritarian parties – high alarm at the Golden Dawn in Greece for example – but it is the political class itself that has deliberately fostered such adherence, often (as seen from Europe), using the US as a model.

    1. ohmyheck

      I just watched this video yesterday, which, in part, discusses “group think”, as it relates to political power and propaganda. Oh, and if you are considering voting for HRC, should she get the nomination, well, she doesn’t come off so well here… “Rule From the Shadows- The Psychology of Power Part 1”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          For some reason, the choice ‘no capable candidate this time’ is rarely offered on the ballot.

          1. bob

            None of the above should be an option.

            If NOTA wins majority, the other candidates have to fight it out. 10 3 minute rounds, bare knuckles. Last person standing gets the title “none of the above” along with the office.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              They offer that to 16 year olds. I remember that choice being available on my SAT, none of the above, which I judiciously used a few times to my advantage, not that I am bragging.

              But we can’t let adults have that choice. My goodness, that could be the end of the world.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe group think can not be separated from group size.

      As the group size increases, the impact of group think goes up exponentially.

      If your group is billion-plus strong, a lot can go your way.

      And just as we don’t see ‘no winner for this year best actor Oscar’ – because there has to be one (but who says) – there is always a person for the paramount leadership of a group, regardless of qualification. A day will come when one who is not qualified takes up that position. (just look up the history of the Roman Empire – one capable guy expanded the emperorship, which didn’t diminish, to fit the less qualified successor, when the next guy took over, ending up with more power than he could prudently wield.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Beware of anything big.

        “When I hear the word ‘big,’ I reach for the safety of my hobbit-size hole.”

  5. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Company president apologizes to residents as chemical leak leaves 300,000 without tap water for third day running

    My heart goes out to those people in WV. But sacrifices must be made.

    I can’t imagine living in a world without an adequate supply of “foaming agent.” And think of all the jobs that would be lost if the production of “foaming agent” were to cease.

    I have no doubt that any attempt to impose environmental, or any other regulation on the “foaming agent” industry would severely threaten US global competitiveness and weaken our position on the world’s economic stage.

    And so those brave Americans in WV have been asked to make a small sacrifice. For our greater economic good. At least they can still flush their toilets.

    Sarcasm off.

    1. Linden

      To be fair, WV residents have been called upon to make these sacrifices before, and they have bravely risen to the challenge. Blow the tops off our mountains, break our unions, randomly destroy our communities with freak floods of chemicals, Walmartize our commercial centers, bury us in coal mining accidents, ravage us with prescription drug use epidemics, anything, anything, just tell us we’re decent God-Fearing People(tm) and give us jobs!

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Interesting coincidence?

        The “REAL” Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games Trilogy, comes from District 12, which is located in the area of the United States formerly known as West Virginia.

  6. Andrea

    On: Science, can emotions be inherited? part 1:

    Emotions are part of general cognition and not something set apart, i.e. cold logics and fuzzy feelings are part of a whole, and interact in mysterious ways (given that we have drawn that distinction in the past.) The title would have been better if it mentioned ‘strong adverse reactions’ and not ‘emotions.’ Modern ‘epigenetics’ has come to the succor of Lamarckism, and that is a welcome development, maybe some past Lamarck types – in their graves most ‘o them – can be seen as having some justification.

    Note the whole tone of the FT article is determinist, and plays down, not directly but subtly, the role of environment. The environment is not just an ‘input’ or a ‘life condition’ but a whole set of complex circumstances individuals adapt to, accommodate to, ignore, integrate or transform in various ways, whereupon the environment reacts, changes, in endless loops, etc. The article puts focus on ‘new’ genetic or epigenetic transmissions. (Fathers smoking is just as dangerous as mothers smoking, etc.)

    1. William C

      I know of one tragic family my wife worked with who have an astonishingly high propensity to suicide. They are an intelligent family but with special learning difficulties. I came across them because my wife was a colleague of one of them, a brillliant woman who eventually followed her parents’ and brother’s example and killed herself. I do not claim to understand what is going on, though you fear for her children. Environment? Heredity? Intergenerational transfer of despair?

    2. scraping_by

      Then, too, using ‘environment’ can be just as determinate as any explanation based on neural chemistry. Pointing out the people who didn’t succumb to malign influences is political, but it’s also accurate. And not just an excuse for middle class families with black sheep, either.

      Dismissing personal choice as illusion, trivial, random, etc. is still special pleading. We’re our personal histories, like it or not.

  7. carl

    The link for “The Labor Market Is Tightening Much More Rapidly Than You Think” appears to be broken.

    Correct link is here.

    Full employment in two years? We should be so lucky.

  8. J Sterling

    Douglas Coupland’s Unclassy article: no wonder the Chinese factory workers couldn’t understand what the stupid American was yapping on about with his precious “middle class”. If “factory worker” is a class, it’s the worker class… the clue is in the name dumbass!

    The Brits have it right, “middle class” is the name for the minority who get to go to college and make more money than the majority, they’re the 10% or the 25% or the 33%. The majority, who have to work doing what the majority have to do, aren’t “middle class” outside our US delusions.

  9. AndyB

    Re: Fukushima across the Pacific.

    I am amazed and somewhat disheartened that Yves would post such an obvious propaganda piece that in effect says that the ongoing lethal amounts of radiation that are killing the Pacific Ocean and endangering all life on the planet is no big deal. There has been a meltdown of 3, perhaps 4 reactors with absolutely no technology currently available that will stop the ongoing radiation leaks. Already, there are reports of millions of aquatic creatures that have “mysteriously” died or disappeared all around the Pacific Rim. Considering that humans are at the top of the food chain, the contamination of Pacific fish and mammals does not bode well for those who depend upon Pacific wildlife for sustenance. In addition there are been Radcon 5 alerts all across the US, with levels of radiation far above those acceptable in fallen snow, rain and in California produce and berries. The life shortening effects of radiation are cumulative. The ingestion or inhalation of Cesium will eventually produce cancer even among the most healthy. Fukushima has the potential to be an “end of humanity” event,and yet nothing in the MSM?

      1. Fíréan

        Thank you for your explanatory comment. As of recent a mayority of the links being to main stream media outlet websites ( which i do not read for the most part. some behind paywalls), I was wondering where the blog was going. I had assumed a compromise for the paying advertisers.

    1. susan the other

      I was surprised by the calmness of the Safecast report on Fukushima too. All the citations to what sound like reliable measurements by reliable scientists who are diligently monitoring the situation are saying the radioactivity is “insignificant.” So why did Tepco monitor the radioactivity at the melt-downs for two years with geiger counters that only went to 100 bq? Why did Japan, and other governments, distort the severity of the leaks and the dump-it-in-the-ocean policy? And why did China, who has reliable scientific evidence, ban fish from the western Pacific? And why then are there so many illnesses among Pacific sealife. And why are California beaches 14 times background? And etc. If the Blue Fins are taking in 100 times the ocean water content, how are they surviving any better than our sailors who took in less than that when they went to help out? The problem with government mandated secrecy is that nobody believes you. I think this summary of the insignificance of radiation from Fukushima across the Pacific is almost pointless. But I would like to believe it.

      1. Punchnrun

        StO I’d hoped for better analysis from you. This is agitprop. “why did Tepco monitor the radioactivity at the melt-downs for two years with geiger counters that only went to 100 bq?” a valid question that has not been answered to my satisfaction, but in what way does this impeach this article about what we are seeing now in the Pacific?

        ” And why did China, who has reliable scientific evidence, ban fish from the western Pacific?” Why indeed, did they say? By the way, is China a disinterested observer?

        “And why then are there so many illnesses among Pacific sealife.” Are you talking about the melting starfish? Weekly World stuff. I have not seen any reliable scientific evidence for this. Can you provide?

        “why are California beaches 14 times background?” What is background? Is 14 times background significant? There is good reason to think not, as background appears to be so low as to allow at least one order of magnitude margin of safety.

        “If the Blue Fins are taking in 100 times the ocean water content, how are they surviving any better than our sailors who took in less than that when they went to help out?” ?? Kinda reinforces the article’s premise that the dilution of the radionuclides by the Pacific ocean is sufficient to mitigate the release we have seen so far. I have not seen anything more about the American sailors and the reports I saw were sensationalized and unsourced.

        To impeach this article I think we would need to look at and cast doubt on the data gathering from which it draws conclusions. If there is someone here who has the required expertise or access, I’ll defer. The article seems well sourced and does provide references. It also presents some calculations that can be checked. I’ve not done those checks, anyone?

        i’m very concerned and read constantly about this. Not so much for myself, at 62 I won’t have time to develop the problems we are concerned about. But I have a ~1 yr old grandson conceived right around the time that hot particles may have been floating around the Puget Sound area. Besides which, it is pretty obvious that a criminal gang is in charge in Japan, or at least they would be criminal if they had not already taken control of the legal code to make what they do legal though not moral.

        Jake, now in Seattle

        1. Punchnrun

          hmm, maybe “hoped for better from you” is overly strong and mis-directed. Ought to say “you have authored much stronger critiques than this.” I do read your blog, and I don’t read people who waste my time (i’m good enough at that not to need assistance).

          1. Punchnrun

            I wonder what the market size is for geiger counters that can measure in the 1 to 10 seivert range? Hand held ones. if you get a reading it’s too late.

    2. coboarts

      I like the part where the article assures us that this will all begin to taper off by 2017 – and how does that compute with an additional 300 tons of this radioactive waste water (at least) being released every day…

  10. Bridget

    Regarding outdoor marijuana farming, in the words of wise old Uncle Remus;

    “Now, den, you done hear what I say. Dar wuz Mr. Man, yander wuz de gyarden, an’ here wuz ol’ Brer Rabbit.” Uncle Remus made a map of this part of the story by marking in the sand with his walking-cane. “Well, dis bein’ de case, what you speck gwineter happen? Nothin’ in de roun’ worl’ but what been happenin’ sence greens an’ sparrer-grass wuz planted in de groun’. Dey look fine an’ dey tas’e fine, an’ long to’rds de shank er de mornin’, Brer Rabbit ‘ud creep thoo de crack er de fence an’ nibble at um. He’d take de greens, but leave his tracks, mo’ speshually right atter a rain. Takin’ an’ leavin’—it’s de way er de worl’.”

  11. nycTerrierist

    hi there,
    this link isn’t working:
    Trans-Pacific Partnership: how the US Trade Rep is hoping to gut Congress with absurd lies Boing Boing

    1. ohmyheck

      A story about TPP today:

      House Democrats Leave Pacific Trade Deal Twisting in the Wind”

      “House Democrats balked Thursday at a bill designed to clear congressional hurdles for President Barack Obama’s controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. By refusing to put forward a co-sponsor for the legislation, House Democrats have significantly hampered the prospects for the bill’s passage.”
      Good news…or just kabuki?

    1. susan the other

      I would like to have Hugh analyze this “tightening” because it sounds like total propaganda to me. The goal of the Fed and its puppet masters is to do inflation prevention, even if it is fictitious. An ounce of preemptive inflation serves better than a pound of deflation.

  12. Cal

    From David Lazurus’ excellent piece on “Make data leakers pay”.

    “Does a company really need to know your birth date? Does it really need your phone number?”

    Instead of complaining about this and fighting it, do the opposite, give them a false birthday and telephone number. Offer them your social security number too…with a few numbers “accidentally” changed. Screw up their databases by polluting them with false info that is none of their business.

    You of course will give the correct information in forums where it is legally required.

  13. Brooklin Bridge

    Does anyone familiar with French current affairs have a take on the comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, and the efforts of some in the government, such as François Hollande, to ban him from speaking? There is an article about this on Counter Punch by Diana Johnstone, The Bête Noire of the French Establishment.

    A lot of people in France think this guy is a downright fascist, but this article makes an interesting case that he is anything but and that his exposure of government hypocrisy is making TPTB very uncomfortable. Or is it the case he is both a fascist AND making TPTB very uncomfortable?

    1. nycTerrierist

      I was curious about this too.
      From the article, it seems he first collaborated w/a jewish performer
      so i’m wondering if as you suggest he’s just making TPTB uncomfortable…

    2. Yonatan

      The objection seems to be primarily tied in with his criticism of Israel. The Zionists are trying to conflate valid criticism of Israel with anti-semitism, which is commonly thought to mean ‘the desire to murder all Jews simply because they are Jewish’. The intent is to shut down debate about Israel and its policies.

      1. different clue

        That’s the very furthest anti-semitism can go. I should imagine that common thinkers understand anti-semitism to be a desire to dislike/exclude/discriminate against all Jews simply because they are Jewish. Just as common thinkers likely understand anti-Blackism
        to be a desire to dislike/exclude/discriminate against all Blacks simply because they are Black. If someone desired to rescind citizenship/voting rights/etc. from blacks simply because they are black, but didn’t actually desire to murder them all; would common thinkers consider that not anti-black because only a desire to murder them all is anti-blackism?

      2. Andrea

        Yes, this, yonatan. Dieudonné has made acrid and vicious fun of many including pygmies. He claims he is anti-Zionist, not anti-Jewish. Also of course that his shows are comedy, which is true enough. He has been condemned 5 (? .. several) times under the laws that condemn ‘racism and incitation to hatred’, always for ‘words’ against Jews or Israel. Nobody has bothered to defend the pygmies, who, I have read (? probably just one person!) find it a good spoof of colonialism, European hubris, assuming others are backward, non-human.. very on the mark. Dieudonné has nothing against pygmies, he is also a top member of associations that defend indigenous people.

        The French Gvmt’s problem is that he is very much liked by a certain section of the population who defend him as a sort of ‘rebel’ or ‘truth speaker’ and he has a huge fan base. Him being made a victim only fans the flames.

        Ok this thread is dead, but I had to chip in. Johnstone’s article was very good.

    3. gf

      I always ask myself a question in cases like these.

      Who really has the power and who does not?
      That usually sorts out where the propaganda is likely to be coming from.
      I expect the article is mostly correct by have no real expertise on the matter.
      What i do know is that Hollande is a socialist in name only as austerity continues under the *socialist* party.

    4. diptherio

      After touring with his jewish friend he invents a hand gesture that indicates “we’re fed up” and apparently refers to a fist being jammed up an a**. The PTB, left and right hate him, and he refuses to apologize for holding opinions about the actions of Israel (the state, not the people) that conflict with mainstream narrative. Sounds like my type of chap.

    5. Charles2

      There are several blog posts on this at vineyardsaker(dot)blogspot(dot)com:
      Post Titles:
      “A few news updates from the virtual trenches of the “Quenelle war” ”
      “Gilad Atzmon’s take on the Guenelle ”
      There are a couple of earlier posts with more details about the ongoing rukus.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Great link, thanks! Dieudonne comes out quite well from a surprisingly well balanced BBC report.

        What this suggests to me is that the relationship between the over-loards, the politicians and the media is even tighter in France than here, and the disparity, not just between the rich and poor, though I’m sure that is a broadening phenomenon, but rather between the “middle class”, particularly the “les fonctionnaires” (broadly meaning: civil servants a very large group over there) and the less fortunate in position and security, particularly the younger generation, is becoming tectonic.

        Alas, many of those who marched in ’68 and howled with laughter when Charles De Gaulle said he would never pull out (“Je ne me retirerai pas”, De Gaul meant that he wouldn’t pull out his tanks surrounding Paris and the student AND civl servant revolt – but the young generation of the time, in a curious sort of affectionate exasperation, insisted the words referred to more intimate intentions with his wife), are now utterly close minded at even the mere mention of Dieudonne’s name. Talk about full circle.

    6. Brooklin Bridge

      Upon further examination, I feel compelled to say it’s more complicated than I thought. Dieudonné is mixed up with some fairly unsavory characters such as Jean-Marie Le Pen, former president of Le Front Nationale which is the French neo-fascist group. Le Pen is a cross between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Le Front Nationale is a truly toxic political movement. Dieudonne made Jean-Marie the godfather of his daughter. He has also allegedly at least made some really over the top comments such as that the holocaust was a minor event. None of that changes the ridiculous attempts to muzzle political speech that the French establishment finds embarrassing, but it does suggest that Dieudonne may indeed have succumbed to the forces of hatred and/or profit AND still be telling it like it is on a number of issues. But it isn’t simple.

    1. Charles LeSeau

      Ha! Would have missed this, but I’m just in time to wish you one as well here in EST time zone land. Thanks Jeff, HBD to you too! :)

  14. jfleni

    RE: “If firms like Target won’t protect privacy, make ‘em pay”.

    They won’t pay, ever if they can avoid it! It is cheaper for them to just to take the losses (customers don’t count). When I tried to buy something on line, they claimed that they did not recognize the debit card number, which worked perfectly two days later at their store.

    This kind of incompetence, probably deliberate, is why they, and especially their customers, are victimized!

  15. F. Beard

    Antidote title: “Bankers during the bust” or “They lent with a smile but now look at them!”

  16. rich

    A little more on the blogger article above. If anyone cares.

    Sunday, January 12, 2014
    Alabama Blogger JAILED, Since October, for the Words He Has Written

    This is a MAJOR ASSAULT ON FREE SPEECH and it must be stopped in its tracks immediately with the release of Roger Shuler from his unlawful political imprisonment.

    Please PUBLICIZE this case far and wide. Lobby Alabama to release Roger Shuler from his political imprisonment.

    1. bob

      I’ve been following that for a little while now. Where is the DOJ/FBI? A republican cabal in Alabama threw a man in jail and the “socialist” fed gov does nothing.

      It sounds like the entire judiciary of AL should be dumped.

      1. neo-realist

        You should know by now that a cowardly centrist like Obama isn’t going to get involved in the corrupt affairs of some red state fiefdom as long as there is no political gain for him. Remember, he likes and respects republicans, more so than his own base.

  17. squasha

    How I treat My Domestic Staff…

    the gentry are forever flouncing out of the parlor, stamping petulantly, “you are all just jealous!”

    –a refrain heard often enough one wonders if any air at all seeps into their rarified and immaculate habitats. No, we are certainly not all suffering from vulgar, crippling envy, what many of us feel for you is embarrassed and ashamed, when not utterly disgusted, just as one ought naturally to feel for fat Elvis, may he rest in peace.

  18. Paul Niemi

    The Fed Study (above), which reveals that interest rates do not predict business investment, asks the question: “So what does determine business investment?” As the graph in the article shows, the high levels of business investment in the 1970s, between 10 and 20 percent plus or minus, plunged in the 1980s to between zero and 10 percent plus or minus, which with dips during recessions has continued to the present day. What happened was the Reagan tax cuts, which eliminated the highest marginal income tax rates. High marginal income tax rates had been a driver of business investment as a source of deductions to lower the amount of taxes paid. Few people actually paid at the 70 or 90+ percent tax brackets between the 1930s and the 1970s. They invested in businesses to avoid those rates and created jobs. Capital gains were reinvested rather than realized, for the same reason, and created jobs. I look back at the 1970s now, and those times weren’t half as bad as many at the time were persuaded. They weren’t bad times at all. The economy at the time provided ample opportunity for people to work and succeed, and the nation was an economic powerhouse.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      All other things remaining equal, tax cuts go straight to the bottom line to be recorded as “profits.” Not one single “job” needs to be created or one extra widget sold.

      Interesting to think about where the next wave of “profits” comes from should corporate taxes be eliminated all together. I’d guess out of the hides of all those tax lawyers and accountants whose dedicated service was no longer required. More “profits,” still no need to create jobs. Such a deal.

      And after that? I guess the only way to entice the “job creators” would be for the taxpayers to pay the corporations to exist. (Refer to G.E. for a primer on how well that works.)

  19. different clue

    I read the “Democrats plead with Obama to drop Social Security cuts” very carefully. A careful reading will show Senator Miller quoted as saying Democrats should not offer Social Security cuts until/unless Republicans offer “something in return”. This reveals that the Democrats all support Social Security cuts ( any exceptions?) and are really pleading past Obama to the Republicans themselves to please offer any “concession” , however trivial, to give the Democratic officeholders the cover they so desperately seek to cut Social Security the way they so desperately want to do.
    Not just Obama. All of them (I welcome any evidence of genuine exceptions).

    1. down2long

      Thanks for the link. It seems the piece misses the obvious, which is that the institutions ARE the criminals.

      Here in the U.S. too. Chase definitely owned my Fed BK judge, Sandra Klein, who wouldn’t allow me to get a discharge on my paid off BK so I could get a new BK and thus a stay to save a paid up building Chase was trying to “electively foreclose” on. Once Chase successfully grabbed the property, and without my asking her, Ms. Klein (no honorific here!) discharged my case. I was never going to ask that harridan for anything else, nor did I ever enter her courtroom again after the day she ruled against me, to the shock of all the lawyers in the court room. As far as I was concerned, I would be on her docket til I – or she – died. Then bam – discharged. Too late, alas, to stop the theft. Disgusting.

      So it’s the smae on both sides of the pond – except here, with the exception of NC, no one talks about it.

  20. Hugh

    If the job market is tightening, then why aren’t hours and wages going up? The article on this doesn’t look past the restrictive definition used for “unemployment”. The author engages in the standard practice of arguing the jobs crisis down to non-crisis level, somewhere between 1-3 million. The collapse in employment for 16-20 year olds. They’re in school and, we are blithely told, it will all work out OK for them in a few years. The declining participation rate? The author doesn’t have an explanation beyond he/she is dubious about it. There is no mention of the fact I noted in my last post that we are still 1.39 million jobs below the mediocre November 2007 jobs peak or that with population growth even using today’s lousy employment-population ratio we are down a further 8 million jobs. No discussion either of the shit nature of most of the jobs that have been created during the Obama Presidency. As far as I can see, the big new push in explaining away the jobs crisis after the failed efforts of jobs-skills mismatches and automation is demographics. Play around with age groups without tying this into the larger jobs picture and voilà problem solved because there is no problem. Trust the graphs not your lying eyes.

    1. NotSoSure

      I really like this choice comment from the article: “We have a teen/early 20-something labor market where the participation collapsed as people focused more on education and/or can’t find work. In the long run, this group will be fine.”

      As if the long run will take care of everything.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The long run takes care of everything, including preserving the pyramid power/wealth structure of civilization.

        It was thus 5,000 years ago and it is thus today…probably the oldest and longest surviving idea, the idea that the top has room for a few and down below, there’s plenty of room for everyone else. No need to complain about any lack of accommodation.

        The second oldest is probably the idea of a powerful divinity on the side of the few at the top…the patriarchs, the lawgivers, etc.

    2. MikeNY

      What offends me the most about pieces like this is that they cannot see their way beyond the dogmatic, discredited market-worship that has failed the vast majority in this country for the last 30+ years. They cannot, WILL not see that the old model is broken.

      Recovery, full-employment, is just around the corner. Just wait a little longer; five years isn’t such a very long time! Then the working class will get a raise due to the munificence of Mr Market. (Unless our functionally reactionary Fed scrambles to RAISE rates at the first sign of a wage increase — defending ‘price stability’ — which would not surprise me in the least.)

      Nowhere is there a mention that people who work full-time jobs deserve to be paid a living wage, first, because it is a matter of basic human decency, and second, because it makes people less interested in putting plutocrat heads on pikes.

      Such a dispiriting lack of vision.

  21. davinati

    No one has commented on the one significant line that they let through on the Christie scandal. They had a list of people to retaliate against. “His name comes right after Mayor Fulop.”

  22. Peter Pan

    “Yours for £160 a month (if you’re under 5ft 4 and don’t suffer from claustrophobia): Loft space put up for rent in central London…but there’s no room to stand up Daily Mail. Froth.”

    Recommended listening is “Get ’em by Friday” by Genesis with Peter Gabriel. Duh !!!!

  23. William

    Lambert, I like your wolves. One trouble I have with the antidotes though is the exclusive bias toward vertebrates. The entire “lower order” has been ignored. Those species are essential to all life on the planet. Unless people become aware of how soil gets built and how food (for most if not all terrestial life) gets pollinated, no amount of saving whales and wolves will save us from killing ourselves and everything else.

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