Links 1/30/14

CNY postal worker’s cat video wins $10,000 on ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos Syracuse (bob). CNY = Central New York.

Warming ‘killing penguin chicks’ BBC :-(

Modern human genomes reveal our inner Neanderthal Nature. Contrast with: Neanderthals gave us disease genes BBC

Deadly ice storm turns Atlanta into parking lot, strands thousands Reuters

Physicists create synthetic magnetic monopole predicted more than 80 years ago PhysOrg

Acid Bath Offers New Way to Make Stem Cells Scientific American (Robert M)

The Emerging Bitcoin Civil War Business Insider

The Bundesbank’s proposals possess both rhyme and reason! Yanis Varoufakis. The Germans propose a wealth tax on periphery countries.

Foreign Investment in France Falls 77% Wall Street Journal (furzy mosue)

Andreas Dombret: The state as a banker? BIS Review. More Bundesbank

Ukraine passes protest amnesty law BBC

Emerging Markets Meltdown Meets Taper Tantrum

Asian Shares Slump After Fed Action Wall Street Journal

Calm Broken in Markets Amid Concerns of Emerging Contagion Bloomberg. What a curious bit of understatement.

EM sell-off gathers pace as investors pile on pressure Financial Times

World risks deflationary shock as BRICS puncture credit bubbles Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

OPEC Preaches Stability while Making Unstable Bets OilPrice

Is a New Economic Crisis at Hand?n Triple Crisis

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Clapper calls on Snowden to return NSA documents Guardian. What is the point of this remark? First, Snowden said he doesn’t have them any more. Second, Greenwald and Poitras have full copies, and other journos have some documents as well. So asking Snowden to return material is pointless.

Edward Snowden Is Nominated For The Nobel Peace Prize NPR (furzy mouse)


American State of the Union: A Festival of Lies Glen Ford

Obama’s well crafted but hypothetical agenda Ed Luce, Financial Times

What Is the Real Point of MyRA? Jon Walker, Firedoglake

Obama’s Address Fails to Look at Roots of Income Inequality Real News

Obamacare Launch

Different Insurance Coverage for Different Family Members Patient Safety Blog

Republicans have an Obamacare replacement. Economists will love it, real people won’t. Washington Post

Poll: Clinton has big Democratic lead in 2016 field Washington Post. Duh.

The Stealth Privatization of Pennsylvania’s Bridges Truthout

Chaos Breaks Out In Natural Gas, Price Tripled Since April 2012 Wolf Richter

Corporate Bond Allocations John Jansen

CFPB Alleges Mortgage Insurer Operated 15-Year-Long Kickback Scheme Consumerist

Post Office Offering Loans is ‘Worst Idea Since the Edsel’: Banks American Banker. If all they can do is make general attacks, it says they are concerned but don’t (yet) have the messaging down.

Bloggers versus the courts Columbia Journalism Review

Capitalism v. Democracy, New York Times (Bob S). I don’t see why the thesis is radical, in fact it seems obvious. But proving it is the hard part.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. BarkingTribe

    I live in Atlanta. The article doesn’t come close. Five million people hit the roads at once. It was instant gridlock. Five miles, six hours. Just like D.C., a lot of excuses, a lot of blame, lack of leadership and foresight, no accountability. Your taxes at work.

    1. Skippy

      Was doing out of state work in Atalanta back in the 90s when you last got hit, what a show. More snow less ice, but, the soft snow with semi tire ruts up to your knee, freeze after the real cold came in, after the snowing stopped. Good think we were from Colorado and had big 4x4s with heavy goose neck trailers to load the the rear axle. BTW any main pipes burst like last time in the CBD.

      skippy… the highway was like one big slot car track for a hundred miles or more, where semi trucks went to change lanes, from right to left or the other, was like switching tracks…. if it caught your front tires… you had no choice… high intensity driving for hours… fun stuff…

      PS. People with out cold weather driving experience and vehicles unsuited to it should stay of the road…. period… risk to themselves and others.

      1. sleepy

        What I don’t understand is that snow in Atlanta is not exactly unknown. Did a quick check and its yearly average is 3.5 inches–not much but normal. I suppose this time it was the ice/poor planning/increased traffic, etc.

      2. Francois T

        “People with out cold weather driving experience and vehicles unsuited to it should stay of the road”

        Truer words have not been written! As a Québecois from True North living now in Philadelphia, PA, I marvel at the widespread lack of elementary competence every time what passes for a snow storm hit the area.

        Thus, the thought that Georgians would do BETTER under these conditions is utterly laughable. It was time for everyone to fill out the fridge, hunker down at home and let Nature do its thing. The logical thing for Atlanta Mayor to do was to declare a state of emergency or whatever legal mechanism at his disposal to force employers and institutions to close in anticipation of the storm.

        1. Punchnrun

          Any time a governor (Jack Markel in DE), mayor or superintendent of schools does the wise thing and declares a snow emergency or closes offices and tells people to stay home, they are vilified as chickensh*t agents of (insert noun here) and fools. They can’t win.

          As to the fools on the road, you’ll find them in every human society. Many people won’t learn except by personal experience and then it takes multiple collisions with reality to knock some sense into them. And they’ll make the wrong connection, learn the wrong lesson, and forget quickly.

          Welcome to the human race. Ya gotta love ’em, cause what else can you do?

        1. diptherio

          What?!? I had a Toyota Corolla in highschool in Eastern MT and it was an awesome winter vehicle. Have you ever tried fish-tailing with all-wheel drive? It’s practically impossible…ditto for spinning a respectable cookie.

          I used to do a low-speed 180 with that thing, using the handbrake, to parallel park it in front of my house when the roads got icy (yes, I was the only one parked on our block…I’m not that good). I once drove it from Billings to Park City (45 miles) on I-90, in January, when the highway was closed due to black ice. I said “f— it” and did 15 mph back and forth across the highway and somehow managed to make it in one piece.

          Toyota Corollas are excellent winter vehicles…just so long as you’ve got a sense of adventure and you don’t over-correct too much.

          1. Punchnrun

            Ya, my wife drove from Newark DE to Vineland NJ (to work in the hospital there) in the middle of the snowstorm of ’78 (I think that’s what is was, time dims the memory). Nobody else on her shift made it in, though they all lived local. Her vehicle? ’71 Toyota Corolla with snowtires (on the rear only, remember those days? Rear wheel drive?) and 200 lbs of sand in the trunk.

            It’s technique. And ground clearance. My VW Golf can get stuck in 4 inches of snow because it lifts the front wheels off the ground. No chains or snowshoes can make it anything but a clear road car.

          2. optimader

            No problem w/ the car perse, just the nut behind the wheel. In the Chicago area at least, Corollas are driven by the absolutely shittiest drivers.
            You might know the kind , The idiot doing 10 under in the left lane w/ windows completely covered w/ ice.. or the moron taking a right turn who finally starts to pull out then inexplicably stops.
            Maybe its regional?

      3. Klassy

        Well, ice is bad no matter how much winter driving experience you have. No vehicle is really suited to driving on ice. I don’t understand why they did not call school off. That seems like a no brainer.
        The people stuck in the grocery stores look absolutely miserable.

        1. TimR

          Here is what they don’t tell you (I live in Bham) — All the weathermen were predicting “A LIGHT DUSTING OF SNOW.” So everybody goes to work/school. Then around 10-11am it starts hitting hard, so the schools decide to let parents pick their kids up, and businesses let everyone go home. Now everyone is on the roads, and the snow immediately turns to ICE on the road. And yes, people aren’t used to driving on ice. But — if the weathermen had been accurate, everyone would have stayed home.

          1. Punchnrun

            Hah. Weathermen and economists. Get paid to predict the future and still get paid even when they are wrong. The weathermen are probably way out in front when it comes to getting it right. But nobody’s perfect.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In numerical analysis, they talk about error propagation. So if your economic forecast is based on weather, good luck.

          2. Wayne Reynolds

            I live in Rhode Island and our local Providence weathermen predicted what happened down there before the storm. Maybe next time all you southern folks should check out your northern brothers media outlets for your weather news.

        2. Punchnrun

          In places where ice is routine people invest in studded tires. Nobody would waste the money in Georgia. Even if it does snow or ice up, it melts in a day or two. Good time to stay home.

          But then there are the people who live paycheck to paycheck, are working 15 hrs a week at Walmart – no benefits, time off etc — or work for tips at the diner, and can’t afford to miss any time. They don’t have money for snow tires or studded either. Screwed no matter what they do.

  2. vlade

    Snowden for NP? Sounds a bit more deserving than one incoming US president who no-one (definitely internationally) haven’t heard of even about 24 months before he was nominated and won…

    1. Propertius

      As Sarah Palin pointed out a couple of years ago, Barack Obama has launched more drone strikes than any Nobel Peace Prize winner in history.

      1. Klassy

        I’m sure Henry Kissinger would have liked to get his hands on them. And they gave him his Nobel after they knew what he had “accomplished”.

  3. vlade

    Re Pikkety’s book – there’s a very simple thought experiment which shows that w/o redistribution the rich get richer and poor get poorer (and that’s under condition where we assume both have the same chance of gains/losses. if we accept that rich got rich because of their mythical skill, and poor are poor because of lack of it, it makes it even worse).

    Simply start with a population each having $1000 starting capital. Then randomly take from some and give to some other, wash and repeat. If you have a large enough population, you end up with a few super rich with rest being at 0. The reason is that 0 is an absorbing boundary, when you’re there, that’s the end. If you’re poor, all it takes is one random hit to get there. If you’re rich, it’s much more likely you’ll survive a bit of downturn and get your chance to go up again.
    f you introduce a growth into this (as in after each redistribution you increase each account by a bit), it may help. But _only_ if the growth is being distributed more to the poor (creating more of a cushion for them) than the rich, i.e. the growth itself drives the inequality down. If the growth is mostly captured by the rich, all it does is make the situation worse.

    All of the above is hard-data simulation, no ideology, no nothing, simple maths and identities. Not that it ever stopped people stop people arguing with.

    1. David Lentini

      Off-hand, I suspect that your experiment will end up with a normal-shaped distribution. Sure, a few will have incredibly good (or bad) luck and end up at one end or other other; but the rest will both win and lose in roughly equal amounts and hover around some mean value.

      The real problem is that you can’t divorce economics from politics, as Karl Polya pointed out so well in his book The Great Transformation. The rich, having more purchasing power, will be able to take control of the political power and thereby skew the rules in their favor. We’ve seen that for decades now, with the rich funding the most inane economic research that supported their phony-baloney “free” markets and Friedman’s libertarianism. The destruction of campaign finance laws, care of politicians and supreme court justices hailing from the most élite schools of the 1%, has made it blatantly clear that wealth is the same as political speech.

      A good explanation of the problem of capital’s dominance is found in (a href = “”>two books written by Louis Kelso and Mortimer J. Adler back in the ’50s. They argued that the great gains in productivity in the 20th Century were largely due to mechanization and the rise of computers, not any greater efficiency by labor per se. The only way to maintain economic and political stability was to use taxes to shift wealth from the owners of the capital instruments to labor. This, they argued, was inherently inefficient and unfair. Instead, they advocated for an economic system in which all citizens of majority age accumulated ownership in capital rather than just wages; only then could everyone benefit from the greater productivity of the machine and computer ages.

      As I recall, their scheme for doing this was a bit fuzzy (Kelso was founding thinker in the use of employee stock compensation and purchase plans); so I won’t comment on or defend their remedy. But I do think their observations of the underlying problem are worth considering. And I note that Gar Alperovitz’s recent interviews on the Real New Network seem to echo their ideas.

      But more fundamentally, why should anyone even thing that capitalism and democracy are compatible. The goal of capitalism is the efficient (i.e., most profitable) use of capital. The goal of democracy is the equal distribution of political power among the enfranchised citizens. While these may coincide, they don’t have to; and any coincidence is likely to be short-lived. For capitalists, the goal is the accumulation of wealth, by whatever means is available; those who therefore accumulate more are by definition more successful and therefore more powerful. For democrats (small “d”), the goal is the maintenance of conditions conducive to democratic politics—truth, equality, and justice. Here the accumulation of too much wealth distorts all three conditions.

      In short, you can have capitalism or democracy, but you can’t have both.

      1. MikeNY

        I heard J. Mander speak last night on democracy and capitalism, and he made the point that, as growth has slowed in the developed world, and investment in new production has become less enticing, the plutocrats figured out that ‘investing’ in the government would provide the best return on their capital.

        Charles Koch could not have put it plainer.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That is probably the best investment idea ever – investing in something that will not go out of business, AAA rated, can generate…make that can print, money limitlessly, and change your accounting rules when necessary, among other benefits.

          Basically, you are doing the billionaire’s portfolio.

          1. MikeNY


            Plus, you own an enterprise that can lower your taxes and generate a “business friendly” environment for you, as the munificent and patriotic “job creator” you are.

            If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is!

            1. participant-observer-observed

              And, when you get caught in numerous, never-ending scams that harm others with enduring, tormenting suffering, you get rewarded by personal invitations to DoJ and White House!

      2. susan the other

        I’ll suggest a sea change to save capitalism for democracy. We can still call it capitalism but instead of Capital hiring Labor let’s change the laws and require Labor to hire Capital and set the wages according to Labor’s own returns first, Capital’s only afterward and by some formula that maintains Labor’s gains so that Labor can accumulate the money and after a while capital goes begging for a few handouts, (this will be the optimum new level – the point at which capital is a rational and very cheap commodity because it is never worth more than labor can make of it…) and capitalists will cut each others throats in a race to the bottom giving labor cheap money.

      3. Marko

        ” Entrepreneurs, Chance, and the Deterministic Concentration of Wealth ”

        “….We present an intentionally simplified individual-based model of wealth generation among entrepreneurs to assess the role of chance and determinism in the distribution of wealth. We demonstrate that chance alone, combined with the deterministic effects of compounding returns, can lead to unlimited concentration of wealth, such that the percentage of all wealth owned by a few entrepreneurs eventually approaches 100%. Specifically, concentration of wealth results when the rate of return on investment varies by entrepreneur and by time. This result is robust to inclusion of realities such as differing skill among entrepreneurs. The most likely overall growth rate of the economy decreases as businesses become less diverse, suggesting that high concentrations of wealth may adversely affect a country’s economic growth. We show that a tax on large inherited fortunes, applied to a small portion of the most fortunate in the population, can efficiently arrest the concentration of wealth at intermediate levels.”

  4. Hugh

    Re Clapper asking Snowden to return the documents, the only motive I can think of would be to see what he took and do damage control. However, as Yves points out, Snowden says he no longer has a copy of the documents. This leaves me wondering just how far behind the curve our supposed head of national intelligence is.

    Hillary Clinton was the odds on favorite back in 2007 and look what that got her. That she is once again the heir apparent goes to show how bankrupt and bereft of talent the Democrats are.

    1. rusti

      A more appropriate title might read, “Guy Snowden exposed as a criminal calls for Snowden to turn back time.”

    2. psychohistorian

      Your comment on Hitlery Clinton needs more discussion.

      It really does show the bought nature of the Dems that they are pushing Ms. Clinton fast and furious to insure that none within the ranks of the Dems that MIGHT be a bit more progressive/liberal/humanistic will be allowed to challenge the anointed one.

      Yes, I am calling her Hitlery on purpose. It is time we call a spade a spade.

    3. Waking Up

      As a decades long member of the Democratic party who is now an “Independent”, I have to say those who still call themselves Democrats have either:

      a. Been asleep for the past 5 years or intentionally not paying attention


      b. Agree with the policies of the Democrats and specifically Hillary Clinton.

      If b., then they believe in the neo-liberal economic agenda, endless military engagements, “kill lists” for those deemed “terrorists”, cuts to social programs such as Social Security and Medicare and endless spying not only on the “others” in the world (including the latest revelation which sabotaged a climate summit), but, every citizen in the United States, and of course the continuation of our “sick” health care system with Obamacare. They would also want a “leader” who laughs and says “we came, we saw, he died” (that is one of the sickest displays of “leadership” I have ever seen).

      So, it doesn’t surprise me that people who still call themselves Democrats, would choose Hillary.

      1. AbyNormal

        “If the gods had intended for people to vote, they would have given us candidates.”
        H. Zinn

  5. tongorad

    Things Are Going Great
    “…there is one very conspicuous social phenomenon that is not only not improving, but it is regressing at the speed of a freight train. That social phenomenon is the labor union.

    …as everything seems to be getting better for gays and women and minorities, the status of working people, both in the U.S. and the rest of the world, continues to deteriorate, and is doing so as a result of two factors: the inevitable pressure of market forces and the shameful apathy of those capable of improving it.”

    All these years into the various civil rights movements, can we ask or assess what is the relationship is between the ascendancy of civil rights and the ongoing destruction of working class social/political agency.
    We’re supposed to feel solidarity along ethnic/gender/sexual lines, but few will admit to being working class or even begin to conceptualize that something as basic as working class solidarity would look like.

    I’m sure we’ve all encountered something like the people who get all teary-eyed about parades, historic firsts and whatnot, but will be first in line to the bosses’ office to tattle and shit-stir on a fellow worker.

    1. JTFaraday

      “So as everything seems to be getting better for gays and women and minorities, the status of working people, both in the U.S. and the rest of the world, continues to deteriorate”

      I don’t know. This looks like the whinings of a former union guy who apparently bemoans the loss of the (white boy) premium at the UAW, a holdover from a whole other era in political organizing.

      Meanwhile there are plenty of lesser beings–working “women and minorities”– in need of organizing in the service economy, who have been here all along, and whose very existence seems to offend him.

      Personally, I have no interest in hearing from people like him.

      1. JTFaraday

        “few will… even begin to conceptualize that something as basic as working class solidarity would look like.”

        In other words, so much for that hypothetical “working class solidarity,” as far as people like that are concerned.

        1. psychohistorian

          How about solidarity for the unemployed?

          Maybe we need solidarity for all but the plutocrats.

      2. nycTerrierist

        Yes, *all* service workers need to organize. But don’t be fooled.
        Plutocrat tools like Clinton and Obama continue to use identity politics – race and gender issues – to distract people from the massive transfer of wealth from the peons
        to the 1%.
        Our overlords prefer endless squabbling re: race and gender to any serious
        discussion of the war on workers.
        Check out for further illumination.

        1. JTFaraday

          This has nothing to do with Obama or anyone else. This has to do with a former labor representative who apparently thinks that “women and minorities” and “the working class” are two discrete groups.

          Who do we think “the working class” disproportionately is?

          If labor unions in fact failed to organize the working class over the past generation or two or more, how does that have anything to do with Obama?

          I’ll be happy to blame Obama if we’re talking about something Obama actually does, not for the things prior generations failed to do.

          1. Wayne Reynolds

            This reminds me of the late 1960’s and the response of the union workers crowd to the Civil Rights and Student anti-war movements…kill the hippies, kill the commies, vote for Nixon was their mantra…the silent majority parodied as Archie Bunker. Imagine organized union members who are anti Socialist? Cognitive dissonance.

        2. JTFaraday

          Also, I don’t know why in the world you don’t see that blaming the wimmins and the n*ggers for what the plutocrats did to the good ole boy’s union premium when he wasn’t looking isn’t the ne plus ultra of the culture war, and the very fount from which all other good things flow.

          I don’t care who is saying it now.

          1. different clue

            I haven’t read the article which stirred this subthread. But it seems to me that a lot of UAW members in/around Greater Detroit from the 70s onward were black. Mayor Coleman Young used to be a UAW organizer, did he not?
            I suspect your white-baiting of unionized workers and ex-workers is simply an effort to put a cool groovy hipster spin on classist antiunionitic antiunionism.
            Just as I suspect a lot of Clinton’s personal desire for NAFTA/WTO/MFN for China was based on getting revenge against all the union member Democrats who voted for Nixon in 1972. Oh sure, he was also motivated by the money he would collect after office by “going to China” on free trade. But some of his motivation must have been to destroy unions by destroying their industries with free trade undercutting.

      3. Klassy

        I checked out at the whining about academics” preoccupied with melting glaciers and government snooping.”

    2. Shutter

      Being anti-union is new Hard Hat/Silent Majority/I’m not a racist public stance. In one instance I saw a guy parking his car next to mine and he had a bumper sticker that read “I’m Anti-Union and I’m Proud of It”, right next to a day-glo US Flag sticker.

      I started laughing out loud and the huge shave-head ape stepped out of his car and said “Whats so funny (pinhead)”?

      “You’re anti-union and pro-american and you’re driving a 1973 Mercedes Benz sedan?? You don’t even GET it. Germany was and is one of the most industrialized and pro-union countries in the world — and still is. AND you’re driving a foreign manufactured car with a US flag on the back. AND Mercedes is a corporate entity that is simply pumping out rehashed Nazi War Wagons. ”

      I made sure I left before he could puzzle out the inconsistencies of his bumper stickers.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Despite all the Sturm und Drang over the emerging markets selloff, the most popular emerging market equities fund hasn’t fallen below the lower bound of its trading range of the past four years. Five-year chart of EEM:

    No worries, comrades. ‘S&P 2K by springtime’ is still the watchword of the Federal Reserve’s Flying Yellendas.

    After all, bubbles is all they do!

    1. craazyman

      It may be a sphere, not a bubble.

      Another day, another triple-digit gain for the Dow. I tried shorting again last week and thought I was getting lucky, but now this.

      Haven’t the doomers & gloomers had enough at this point? I pretty much have. I saw that Hugh Hendry couldn’t take it anymore and freaked out. I don’t blame him.

      How much of my time has been wasted since 2008 reading macroeconomics? I don’t even want to count it all. And then if you add all the money I’ve lost being bearish, reading all the doomers & gloomers. Forget it. I can’t even think about it.

      I’m just about ready to resign myself to working for a living. It’s horrible, I’ll be the first to admit it. It’s so unfair. So hideous. Such an irredeemable oppression of my very humanity, my creativity, my Youtube time. Such a barren and relentlessly cold shadow hovering over my light of life, blocking the true sun. If only I could get rich quick it would all go away. Why can’t I get rich quick by getting lucky? It doesn’t seem like it should be this hard. It wouldn’t have been if I’d just gotten with the program and gone long back in 2009 and held on. Why do I make it so hard on myself? That’s the question I need to work on, not reading macroeconomics nonsense thinking I’m learning something when it’s just narrative noise.

        1. craazyman

          What we need now is some Financial Cialis to harden up the speculative determination!

          But sadly I’m worn out from all the doom & gloom. I get it up any more. No mas (anybody remember that?). No more punching bag for moi. They’ve worn me out utterly — the 4 Horsemen of the Financial Apocalypse whose names I will not bring to my lips.

          It hoits having to woik.

      1. subgenius

        craazy, dude, you bought their bullshit…!

        You have to work to get rich – its all about who you know – see, all that time on youtube should have been at the club, where biz gets done…that’s what keeps us down, the endless thinking and lazing about instead of networking.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Empires, military, financial or others, do well to heed distant rumblings.

      Barbarians made refugees by other barbarians, like the Huns, beyond the frontiers, can have severe consequences.

    1. EmilianoZ

      Yes, most interesting indeed. For those who dont want to register with FT, this link has good details:

      Protesters gathering outside the parliament in Copenhagen late yesterday had draped a yellow banner with a drawing of a vampire squid around a statue of King Frederick VII, which stands in front of the parliament’s main entrance.

      The Social Democrats started sliding in opinion polls soon after Thorning-Schmidt became the first woman to head a Danish government in 2011. Buffeted by a recession and widening deficits, she introduced polices that conflicted with the party’s traditional welfare values. The government, which also includes the Social Liberal Party, has raised the pension age, cut corporate taxes and lowered benefits for the unemployed and students.

      It looks like neoliberalism is starting to threaten Denmark. What’s interesting is that it is the so-called “Left” that is implementing the conservative reforms. Like Hollande in France, Obama in the US, or what Gerhard Schröder did in Germany. Classic Nixon goes to China. Is that the beginning of the end for the “Scandinavian model”? Nobody can escape neoliberalism.

  7. James Dodd

    Capital vs Democracy
    While itnis nice to see the grand old lady publish any article discussing that inequality is a feature of capitalism not a flaw, I must take issue with the comment in the first paragraph of Mr. Edsall’s piece where he states that Mr. Piketty’s analysis “defies left and right orthodoxy.” The left has been arguing this position since the 19th century.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Oh say can you see.
      Wealth inequality
      What so sadly we wailed
      at the twilight’s last gleaming…

    2. Walter Map

      The left has been arguing this position since at least the 18th century. It’s a prominent theme in Wealth of Nations (1776). He was particularly annoyed at how cartels systematically undermined entrepreneurs like himself. Contrary to the claims of our contemporary apologists for the rentier class, Smith was in no way a fan of rapacious financiers.

      Certain classical Greek and Roman writers also had something to say on the matter, and remember that Jesus is also said to have emphatically registered an opinion.

  8. zephyrum

    I like the antidote, but it does appear to be in the same series as the 2012-08-10 one. (Just in case you thought nobody was paying attention. :-)

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    For those NC readers and all other Americans who are unaware, this month marks the 100th anniversary of Henry Ford’s quintessentially capitalist “revolution” with regard to his worker’s pay and hours.

    “That’s right – in a much poorer America, one without TV, radio, phones or House of Cards on demand, Ford could afford it. In fact, Ford later said, he couldn’t afford not to: “The owner, the employees, and the buying public are all one and the same, and unless an industry can so manage itself as to keep wages high and prices low it destroys itself, for otherwise it limits the number of its customers. One’s own employees ought to be one’s own best customers.”

    It’s pretty amazing that a “modern,” ostensibly “capitalist” country can only function by denying the most obvious fundamentals of “capitalism.” The “complexity” of raising the minimum wage and all.

    1. diptherio

      I just came across this the other day, in Appendix Nun of Shea and Wilson’s Leviathan:

      HENRY FORD. By importing the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and beginning the mass production of automobiles, he managed to pollute both the mind and the air of the United States, but he meant well, or at least he meant something.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Luddites were right all along.

        Something bad would eventually happen.

        Maybe they didn’t get the exact technical reasons why, but their hunch, that intuition was undeniable.

        And here we, global warming, oil wars, etc.

        1. F. Beard

          The Luddites CANNOT be right unless God exists since otherwise humanity will eventually be wiped out by some catastrophe that technology might have prevented – such as an asteroid impact.

          But you can count on this: God might and eventually will do the killing Himself (or with proxies) if we don’t take social justice seriously.

          1. Walter Map

            Um, Beardo, humanity can be wiped out regardless of whether any deities exist. The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent, for example, believes that he exists but simply wouldn’t care.

            By the way. What ‘social justice’ would there be in supposing your god would wipe out the victims along with the perpetrators?

            Your lack of logick serves you poorly. Got any plausible rationalizations?

            1. F. Beard

              Well, if God does the killing (even by unrighteous proxy such as the Babylonians) there will be a few survivors while an asteroid impact could leave none without Divine intervention.

              But if the righteous were killed with the wicked even then there will be justice since the righteous will be resurrected to bliss while the wicked will suffer eternal death.

            2. F. Beard

              What ‘social justice’ would there be in supposing your god would wipe out the victims along with the perpetrators? W Map

              People can be both is one possibility. Differing outcomes after death is another.

              But why put God to an unpleasant task anyway since He desires our own good?

              Ezekiel 33:10-15

        2. James Levy

          No one in their right mind would go back to the days when half the children born died before the age of 6 and we had no antiseptics or antibiotics. It’s cute to talk about how the Luddites were right, but also nonsense.

  10. alex morfesis


    4 years
    4 months and
    14 days

    until the statute of limitations expires for prosecuting snowjob…

    why has no one gone into court and moved to file
    as an intervenor on the issue of passport revocation

    as a mere affidavit from a government official should
    not be the basis for a passport to be revoked…these
    issues should be well settled law from the end of the
    mccarthy/van susteren (greta’s dad) communist witch
    hunt era that the government can’t just YANK your
    passport…it is not a privilege to be revoked by some
    bored sovereign with nothing to do on a saturday…

    as to 641 if one reads the standard jury instruction
    on these types of cases, one will notice that snowjob
    probably has not crossed the financial threshold as
    technically, any and all government created documents
    are not copyright protected and can not be monetized if
    they can not be resold…

    as to 793(d)
    “which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation”

    about the only people who did not know the NSA was listening on this planet are probably a few tribes in papua new guinea and maybe a few of the red hat church ladies from ohio…but I suspect the red hat church ladies have red enough cheesy spy novels to have a general idea…

    so, there is no real injury to the United States, since the United States is legally defined by the US Constitution…at least technically if not in practice…and neither the chinese nor the russians (nor dj al k-duh) are under any delusion that the technical capacity of the US Military is in full throttle mode at all times.

    also, 798 came to being in 1950 and laws are to be interpreted by the intent of congress…so that if some bonehead lunatic changes language in the federal register and no one notices, a party can move to the discussions and reports in the legislature to insure compliance with the intent…baby scalia uses this all day long to help in his corporate carabinieri business…

    in this case there is House Report No. 81-1895, and in it, there is an issue which has come to pass in this day and age…the over use of the term “classified” and specifically at page 3 it states
    “classification must be in fact in the interests of national security.”

    most of this nonsense that is thrown around today as “in the national security interest” is code for wasting government funds and giving slight of hand contracts out to the chosen few…

    this whole snowjob thing calls for a qui tom case against government waste…the billions upon billions of dollars spent in “technology” to chase a cats tail is a convenient way to have kept all these technology companies from dying after the nasdaq collapse of march 2000, when bradley and mccain were forced out of the presidential races and the american voter got to chose between sex and violence / bush and gore / dumb and dumber…

    sorry…the brain got diverted…

    …in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States…
    (3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government;

    further in the statute, a reasonable jurist would notice the definition of classified and how it might bump up against what is or is not classifiable…

    (b) As used in subsection (a) of this section—
    The term “classified information” means information which, at the time of a violation of this section, is, “for reasons of national security,” specifically designated by a United States Government Agency for limited or restricted dissemination or distribution;

    and further down, a reasonable jurist would notice the language of penalties refers to parties who “sold” the information, further implying that the statutes and intent of congress to prevent parties from getting paid to do these things…

    before one goes off the deep end about mrs manning, remember, he was an ACTIVE DUTY member of the military…not a civilian, and although snowjob had signed off on national security oaths along the way, he was working for a private company which had access to government information as part of its contracted duties, hardly the intent of congress when creating the law in 1950…

    so, for those who laughed at the notion of snowflake coming back home to face the music, it was based on these weak realities of the actual complaint filed in Virginia…that does not mean that there can’t be other filings made to further attack snowflake, but on its face, the court case is weak and a concerned citizen could move to intervene on the passport issue and then put the complaint to test to move to have it dismissed, based on its effect on a third party and their right to have a passport and take actions and impart in activities which certain members of the government may find offensive or discomforting…

    as to outlawing swimming….

    on 9-11 I was going to be one of those less than three thousand folks who died that day…was to have been in the Book store to gather up a hard to find copy of a computer magazine from a british publisher…and then scooting around the corner to the only real computer book store in new york at the time…I am one of those fools who runs into burning buildings…but….i be here instead…

    in 2001 3000 people died of drowning accidents and each year since about three thousand have died…

    so…why don’t we outlaw swimming as it is obviously a plot by the al bundy terrorist organization to undermine america…?

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Foreign investment falls 77% in France.

    If we all turn French, where would foreign investment go? Mars?

  12. Waking Up

    I would just like to add a link to a breaking story which has huge ramifications. From the following article:
    “At the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, the world’s nations were supposed to reach an agreement that would protect future generations against catastrophic climate change. But not everyone was playing by the rules. A leaked document now reveals that the US employed the NSA, its signals intelligence agency, to intercept information about other countries’ views on the climate negotiations before and during the summit. According to observers, the spying may have contributed to the Americans getting their way in the negotiations.”

    1. Propertius

      I’m sure we were employing the NSA (and doubtless the CIA as well) to determine the negotiating positions of other countries. I’d be shocked if we weren’t – that’s one of the reasons why we have an intelligence establishment. I’d be even more shocked if the other nations present at Copenhagen weren’t doing exactly the same thing.

      International conferences are the natural habitat of espionage agencies.

      1. Waking Up

        Former President Richard Nixon ended up resigning for his role in tapping the phone lines of members of the Democratic party at the Watergate Hotel.

        Now you are saying it is acceptable for President Obama to use the intelligence agencies for spying and espionage even when it is detrimental to the people of THIS country??? The purpose of the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 was to “protect future generations against catastrophic climate change”. President Obama sabotaged that summit.

        We the people in the United States have really fallen to the bottom of the rabbit hole if this is acceptable under the guise of “well, everybody does it”.

        1. James Levy

          I’m with you. How the fuck would spying help you end global climate change? How does it improve the lives of people facing climate catastrophes? What is the point of spying on climate delegates? Intelligence agencies exist in principle to keep an eye out for attacks, invasions, breaches of your own security, and the introduction of new weapons that might upset the current balance of power. They have no other legitimate function.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Probably more so at the International Brotherhood of Spies Convention.

        That’s the Olympics of spies.

  13. kevinearick

    Equal Pay 4 Equal Stupid

    It’s the President, brought to you by Netflix, and a growing array of mobile apps, all designed to roll out the latest and greatest spy network, in an incredibly shrinking empire…the morons have embedded empire assumptions in the chip design, automating the outcome upon which they are completely and utterly dependent, extortion. Welcome to the global banana republic, where everyone has an equal right to be a moron, with equal pay for equal stupidity.

    It’s like cowboys and Indians. One day you are supposed to want to be a cowboy and the next an Indian. A woman cannot do what a man can do. A man cannot do what a woman can do. The only possible way you can have equal pay for equal work is if everyone is doing stupid. And if you measure value in terms of empire property, income and jobs, the only possible outcome is slavery, competing to see how many other slaves you can control.

    Property, money and jobs are all side-shows, derivatives of control. The majority is incapable of initiating action because it has subjected itself to bipolar control anxiety, fearing everything and wanting to learn nothing, left to fight its own shadow, History. Look anywhere you want. The critters are trying to group up as the solution, like life is a popularity contest, assuming that the majority rules the minority. The majority rules itself; that’s it.

    The morons want the biggest, the most, the whatever, precisely because they don’t have the DNA. The majority has no future, so it busies itself with busy work. Decisions have consequences; paper insurance is a self-destructive illusion. Chasing material possessions, derivatives, results in their scarcity, and demographic collapse, big surprise.

    If you accept the empire’s assumption, and so by disregard choice in the path of your DNA, you get what you get, empire stupidity. It’s an NPV function. Don’t measure value in terms of empire derivatives and expect anything other than an empire outcome, failure. The kids aren’t chasing the empire so the majority is applying increasing control, with the expected results, demographic collapse within the empire, which is always a demographic ponzi.

    You have to pay people with what they value to grow an economy net. Assuming a zero sum game with middleman knowledge advantage is the surest path to failure. Value is the demand, not artificial scarcity.

    Politicians are paid to sell out their own. Goldman Sachs is a political organization, as are all corporations, confirmed by the Supreme Court, promising equal pay and delivering income inequality, monkeys chasing each other in a circle, first one way and then the other, wondering why they keep getting further behind on a path of diminishing return, printing more and more money.

    Yes, if you work effectively, others will herd up to steal your product, but they will lose their ability to breed effectively in the process. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy your day, but don’t get caught in the wrong forest pissing on the wrong tree. Money is the path to the past, which is why money goes to money. If you are demanding equal pay, you are a moron.

    So, Obama went to Hawaii and played golf, selling out the majority of blacks with a shared sh-show. The error was grouping on race and demanding equality under that condition, becoming an easy target for stupid. Obama obviously does not define his public self. Like everyone else in the empire, he has power only to the extent he does what he is told, whether he chooses to ‘think’ so or not, and he is increasingly being told what to do by stupid f-ing computers caught in a positive feedback loop.

    Of course the empire majority is going to hunt you to ground. Give it an echo to chase, move forward, and you become invisible relative to stupid, leaving it busy with busy work, seeking equality with law, self-destruction. Don’t base your self worth on what you see in the mirror. What you see there is the past. Make your own path.

    Hillary and Obama were hired to play a woman and a black, for tv consumption.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Hillary and Obama were hired to play a woman and a black, for tv consumption.”

      Ha! Right you are. It’s just that neither one is very good at it.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Snowden…Peace Prize.

    Every year the 99.99% do not class-war on the 0.01%, but maintain peace, it’s Noble Peace for the 99.99%.

    We have to get away from individualism and recognize the wonderful achievements of the tired, the poor and the wretched masses.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      So, yes, you (and me and everyone else), my reader, are a winner of the Noble Peach prize for 2014.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Clapper calls on Snowden to return NSA documents

    “What is the point of this remark?”

    They’re becoming even more desperate and they don’t know what to do. The latest disclosure over the ability of British intelligence to monitor social media in real-time (impressive!) is one of those highly classified programs like MAGIC. Considering it’s sensitive nature there’s a very small list of people in either country who are authorized to know about it’s existence. I would be shocked to learn that more than 100-300 people in either country were on an authorized list.

    During his testimony, Clapper made no secret of how bad this is all getting.

    “What Snowden has stolen and exposed has gone way, way beyond his professed concerns with so-called domestic surveillance programs. As a result, we’ve lost critical foreign intelligence collection sources, including some shared with us by valued partners.”

    If the US intelligence community can’t keep the crown jewels secure why would the British (or anyone else) share any other jewels that could be so easily compromised?

    Full transcript of the hearing.

    The rest of his remarks are worth reading from an US intelligence community perspective. Essentially they’ve capitulated on the idea that their capabilities will be curtailed. NSA Director Alexander was also not present.

    1. Wayne Reynolds

      We must always remember that Snowden was working for Booz Allen, a private company, and not the government when he absconded with the goods. This alone should put to rest the notion that the private sector can do everything better than the government, but it also puts to light how stupid the government was in the first place to trust the private sector with their dirty laundry. Every China man and woman is laughing heartily.

  16. jrs

    Re: Glen Ford on the SOTU and lies of omission. So Obama vaguely mentions trade bills and won’t even say them by name? The trade bill that dare not speak it’s name or something. I mean I know it’s all being negotiated in secret but now naming it is taboo as well?

    “new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help [small businesses] create even more jobs.” yes those no name trade partnerships, the term TPP polls badly so as long as we don’t say it

    “We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers”
    is this some vague way of saying “Fast Track”? Yea, yea that’s a concrete thing that people have concrete options on …

    “protect our environment and open new markets to new goods stamped ‘Made in the USA.’”
    protect our environment via the TPP right … and for the laugh of the century when is the last time you saw any good stamped “Made in the USA”?

    But the whole mentioning things without saying them, it really seems new. Lying lies in the SOTU are not new, but it seems to me in the past they actually tried to sell policies, by lying about them sure, but it’s beyond that. They didn’t try to slip policies under peoples noses entirely without them having any idea what was just said (sure there were black budget policies but not these Cheshire cat policies, appearing and disappearing at the same time – ok maybe some combination of the Cheshire cat and Shrodenger’s cat.).

    Selling policies without daring to name them. Didn’t Obama also mention drones and targeted assasination in his speech and try to legitimatize them, but so vaguely that you would be hard pressed to tell he’d even said that. Say what? Come again?

    The Orwellian state gets more Orwellian by the day.

  17. Jim S

    From another of my regularly visited news sources: Asteroid Diversity Points to a “Snow Globe” Solar System (Harvard-Smithsonian).

    Our solar system seems like a neat and orderly place, with small, rocky worlds near the Sun and big, gaseous worlds farther out, all eight planets following orbital paths unchanged since they formed.

    However, the true history of the solar system is more riotous. Giant planets migrated in and out, tossing interplanetary flotsam and jetsam far and wide. New clues to this tumultuous past come from the asteroid belt.

    Velikovsky argued that planetary motions changed as late as 730 BC.

  18. F. Beard

    re Post Office Offering Loans is ‘Worst Idea Since the Edsel’: Banks:

    True. Borrowing, lending and usury should be entirely private matters. The Postal Savings Service should limit itself to a monopoly on the risk-free storage of and transactions with fiat since borrowing and lending by government are bound to violate Equal Protection under the Law, especially if the lending involves the creation of new purchasing power, ie. “credit.”

    Otoh, restitution with new fiat is a government matter and could replace a great deal of debt with equity. Also grants to citizens could be done without violating EPUTL since the ability to repay would be irrelevant.

    The US is usury-soaked, without a doubt. More radical solutions are called for based on ethics and just restitution.

    Or not. We shall have just money creation one day anyway since the Lord will not tolerate theft in His Kingdom, I can safely bet.

  19. optimader

    RE: Dumping on Robots
    Blazing Saddles “We Don’t Want the Irish!”

    I head directly to the self checkout lines when I am forced to shop at Home Despot. This is the only place I see them though, as I don’t shop at the bigbox grocery stores. Just Costco and my local small independent ethnic markets. I guess I’m lucky to have a big variety of the latter that I can patronize. Even more blessed that I really don’t have a reason very often to seekout a CVS or Walgreens. Costco has that covered if I ever need a script filled.

  20. RanDomino
    Obama in Waukesha (Wisconsin’s very own Mordor, as far as politics goes) to promote shifting the focus of technical schools to match the needs of Job Creators.
    Combine with:
    “Senate Republicans Set to Hijack MATC From Milwaukee’s Citizens – SB 275”
    A State bill to put Milwaukee Area Technical College under the control of suburban (i.e. conservative) counties and the business class. For the purpose of shifting the focus of this technical school to match the needs of Job Creators.
    When Republicans do it, it’s awful. When Democrats do it, either it’s wonderful or we aren’t allowed to talk about it.

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