Links 2/2/14

Teaching young wolves new tricks: Wolves are considerably better imitators than dogs Science Daily

Feng Shui Masters at Odds Over Prospects for Year of the Horse WSJL

Stocks suffer worst January since 2010 FT

Twitter ‘looking to move into ecommerce’ FT

Marx Was Right: Five Surprising Ways Karl Marx Predicted 2014 Rolling Stone. Hard to think of the selfie as anything other than “imaginary appetite.”

Democracy vs. Inequality Why Nations Fail (“Director’s Law”? Or “could it be that US democracy is captured?”)

Real GDP per Capita Angry Bear

Want to end poverty? Brazil’s answer: Give people money WaPo

How Bono and BoA made sweet music Gillian Tett. “[BONO: When we looked at BoA and got to know [CEO Brian Moynihan], we saw that values were important to them.”

Detroit Bankruptcy Exit Plan Threatens Munis as Pensions Favored Bloomberg

Emerging Market Meltdown Meets Taper Tantrum

ROUBINI: ‘Optimism About Emerging Markets Is Probably Correct’ Business Insider

Who’s to blame for the emerging-market crisis? Felix Salmon, Reuters

Emerging Markets’ Victimhood Narrative Bloomberg

Locus of extremity Economist

The Myth of the “Self Made Man” Pragmatic Capitalism

Life as a Nonviolent Psychopath The Atlantic


Life after Jan. 1: Kentucky clinic offers early glimpse at realities of health-care law WaPo

Joining GOP Trend, U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Urges Fix, Not Repeal, Of Obamacare Kaiser Health News

As Senate campaigns begin, some Democrats flee Obama Reuters

So, Michelle and Barack Obama: What IS the state of your union? Rumours their 21-year marriage has been racked by screaming rows, allegations of infidelity and a string of jealous fights Daily Mail. Wouldn’t be the first time a story was planted in the UK so that it would spread in the US.

Walton, Benioff Join Billionaires Backing Clinton in 2016 Bloomberg. I’m surprised the new populists are letting the riff raff in.

Port Authority controversy runs deeper than Christie bridge scandal LA Times

The Post-Hope Politics of ‘House of Cards’ Times Magazine

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Arizona legislator pushes bill to combat NSA surveillance LA Times

Canadian band Skinny Puppy invoices U.S. Government after learning their music was used to torture Guantanamo detainees Death and Taxes

Obama administration won’t divulge cost of Guantanamo camp, asks court to dismiss FOIA lawsuit McClatchy

Obama Lies to Jake Tapper About His Ability to Reschedule Marijuana FDL. Well, it’s important to keep jailing black men. Everybody knows this, so kwitcherbellyachin.

Much Of North Dakota’s Natural Gas Is Going Up In Flames NPR

MAINE COMPASS: Industrial wind power a catastrophe on every level Morning Sentinel

Bolivia ordered to compensate UK power company FT

As it Happens: Elections in Thailand Online WSJ

Endogenous preferences Stumbling and Mumbling

Transforming Our Dark Affinities Truthout

A Guide to Optimized Napping Priceonomics

The Official Super Bowl Preview Grantland

If It Happened There: In Brutal Contest of Strength and Strategy, a Culture Is Revealed Slate

Peyton Manning (and Tom Moore)’s Indianapolis Colts Offense: How a Handful of Plays Led to a Decade of Success SmartFootball. Dated, but fascinating.

People Are Making Tons of Money Betting on (Fake) Pro Wrestling Vice. Kayfabe! Nate? Is that you?

Antidote du jour:


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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. dearieme

    “seek treatment for long-neglected illnesses and prevent other health problems down the line, ultimately saving the health-care system billions in emergency-room visits and other costs”: if the history of the NHS is any guide, this will prove to be wishful thinking.

    It would be better by far to justify extension of Medicaid on its own merits, costs vs benefits, rather than in terms of savings in the far future that are most unlikely to materialise.

    1. kareninca

      I was very, very happy to read of the people in the article who are getting long-needed treatment. But of course this won’t save money; it will cost more money. Well, I am glad that my tax dollars are going to that; that is a good use of them.

      A few things about the article: almost all of its good effects could have been achieved just by expanding Medicaid. No need for Obamacare. Another thing that would have worked, at least at this scale and in that location, would be give the community clinics (which were already treating these people for basic needs) funding to send them to specialists!!!! You wouldn’t even have to expand Medicaid, if they had that funding.

      I found it very surprising that the people described had such an easy time getting specialist appointments despite having Medicaid coverage. Then I reread the article, and saw that it was only about 500 newly insured people in the whole county. That is not many; I don’t think it is going to be representative of the specialist/new-Medicaid-recipient ratio in other areas. In other areas I am sure that there will not be anywhere near enough specialists who are willing to take Medicaid patients.

      It was not cheering to read of the new sign at Hardee’s, advertising surgery for gastric reflux. That kind of thing can be the beginning of the end, for affordability.

      I am still waiting for good numbers, re how many fewer people have (non-Medicaid) coverage than did before Obamacare was rolled out. Then we will get the “now uncovered” articles. I am betting that the uncovered people will largely be treated by the press as fools for having let their (now much more costly) coverage lapse; it will be presented as their individual personal failing for not having ponied up; never mind that they could have as little afforded the premiums/deductibles as these Kentucky people could have afforded specialists on their own.

  2. AbyNormal

    Bayer Pharmaceutical CEO: Cancer drug only ‘for western patients who can afford it’
    — In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said
    that his company’s new cancer drug, Nexavar, isn’t “for Indians,” but “for western patients who can afford it.” The drug, which is particularly effective on late-stage kidney and liver cancer, costs approximately $69,000 per year in India, so in March 2012 an Indian court granted a license to an Indian company to produce to the drug at a 97 percent discount. Bayer sued Natco Pharma Ltd., but in March of last year, the High Court in Mumbai denied its appeal. Bayer CEO called the compulsory license issued by the Indian court “essentially theft,” then said “[w]e did not develop this medicine for Indians…[w]e developed it for western patients who can afford it.”

    “How arrogant you are
    To think your wretched Self so singular!
    The disappointments of this world will die
    In less time than the blinking of an eye,
    And as the earth must pass, pass by the earth
    Don’t even glance at it, know what it’s worth;
    What empty foolishness it is to care
    For what must one day be dispersed to air!”
    فریدالدین عطا

    1. susan the other

      Bayer is evil. Just coming off Ilargi’s stuff about the chaos of financial world markets. A true chaos if there ever was one. And a testament to the confusion over the value of money. It appears that the gold bugs are alive and well. The sooner JPM hollows out the gold market the better. And I really do not like JPM. But trashing gold really is god’s work as far as I’m concerned. Then we can get on with the business of getting real. Focus our industry on today’s needs. Maybe stop manufacturing cars; give everyone a house at a huge subsidy, stop pushing refined sugar, etc – all of which could amount to social-QE for this century and then when the tsunami of over population settles in, the world can gradually taper because it will have already tapered the industrial extraction. What else can we do?

      1. AbyNormal

        a bit of hope for your soul…just a bit tho

        Utah solves Homelessness by giving away Homes
        Utah has come up with a reasonable way to solve homelessness. They give away homes. While other states continue to criminalize homelessness, Utah has taken a novel approach and has seen its homeless numbers go down while economic savings to the state have risen.

        Utah is going against the tide. In eight years, Utah has reduced homelessness by 78 percent and is on an arc to eliminating homelessness within the state by 2015. Utah has accomplished this by doing the obvious, giving homeless people homes.

          1. AbyNormal

            Klassy, i do believe you are where i picked it up from and i thank you!
            (i get so much 411 from my readers my wires cross)

            it imprinted me…o the possibilities

  3. TimR

    Re America’s pain-pill epidemic (in yesterday’s links), this looks like an interesting documentary:

    “From my own observations, it seems that addictive prescription drugs
    have become the substances of habit for many young people.
    Cigarettes and alcohol have been demonized, but there is a lax attitude in our society concerning prescription drug use. This doc tracks the growth of this problem, the Pharm industries stake in nurturing pill-popping habits,
    and the FDA’s culpability in the unbridled power of the “legal” drug cartels. One of the best things about this documentary is it features compelling interviews with a lot of members of the alternative media scene, as well as personal testimonies and references from law enforcement officials.
    The film exposes and condemns those who have profited from this situation, but reminds the consumer he/she has a duty to educate him/herself about the dangers of drugs and unscrupulous medical profiteers. In other words, in light of the health industry’s corruption, consumer agency is key and reform begins with personal responsibility. The doc makers exposed the blatant corruption of the whole FDA, pharmaceutical companies and insurance company trinity of terror. Corporatism is alive and well in America, and the pharm industry and its cosy relationship with the federal government is a specific microcosm of this power structure. In many foreign countries drugs are available OTC, so records indicating drug consumption may or may not exist. While this documentary focuses on the issue of prescription drug abuse in the USA, it is relevant across the world because of the unrestrained power vested in Big Pharma, and the interest its main companies have in hooking people on pricy (and often very dangerous) pills. ” By scarletted “ This is a very complete documentary about the relationship between the pharmaceutical giants and their minions, which is in essence everyone else in th world.

    The complicity of politicians, doctors, media, government agencies and consumers

    is examined, along with the requisite history. There no are bells and whistles, just grim facts. It is one of the most frightening movies I’ve ever seen.”A Horror Film Starring You.

    1. AbyNormal

      re, “reminds the consumer he/she has a duty to educate him/herself about the dangers of drugs”..”.All hail, Delusion! Were it not for thee
      The world turned topsy-turvy we should see;
      For Vice, respectable with cleanly fancies,
      Would fly abandoned Virtue’s gross advances.”

      A Twenty-First Century American Sacrifice Zone
      Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in West Virginia, and the state leads the country in fatal drug overdoses. OxyContin — nicknamed “hillbilly heroin” — is king. At a drug market like the Pines it costs a dollar a milligram. And a couple of 60- or 80-milligram pills sold at the Pines is a significant boost to a family’s income. Not far behind OxyContin is Suboxone, the brand name for a drug whose primary ingredient is buprenorphine, a semisynthetic opioid. Dealers, many of whom are based in Detroit, travel from clinic to clinic in Florida to stock up on the opiates and then sell them out of the backs of gleaming SUVs in West Virginia, usually around the first of the month, when the government checks arrive. Those who have legal prescriptions also sell the drugs for a profit. Pushers are often retirees. They can make a few hundred extra dollars a month on the sale of their medications. The temptation to peddle pills is hard to resist.
      … high bails being set for selling drugs, with some reaching $50,000 to $80,000. They joke about elderly grandmothers being hauled off to prison for drug dealing.

      “I’ve seen a lot of busts in the county over the last few years, and a lot of the people that have been arrested are elderly people that are sellin’ their medication just to live,” Vance says. “When I was workin’ at the hospital I seen ODs all the time. Young people were comin’ in. It’s bad. The depression and the pain. I guess some people that hang and live in this area, they just have to turn to somethin’.”

      1. TimR

        Not sure I follow you… As far as the reviewer’s comment, well, duty or no.. it would be wise to be wary of the medico pharmaceutical complex..

          1. Klassy

            Yes, there was a push to get physicians to liberalize their pain medication prescribing practices (and nurses to be more proactive in administering it) and I understand that profit was the motivation for this campaign. But, there was truth to the idea that pain was being undertreated and that is one reason the campaign was effective.

  4. D. Mathews

    Regarding the Brazilian “Bolsa Familia”, it was implemented during Lula’s first administration (2006?) as an effort to consolidate several cash transfer programs implemented by his predecessor Fernando Henrique Cardoso. As I suggested belatedly yesterday on the comment thread following Ignacio Portes’ How the Left Underestimates Chile’s Right-Wing Keynesians, Lula arguably benefited from Cardoso’s deep neoliberal program (actually begun by prior president Fernando Collor de Mello) of massive privatization of state enterprises . It was the freeing up of this cash together with the commodities boom that allowed for the successful implementation of the “Bolsa Familia”. Hence, this could constitute a successful example of a neoliberal policy ultimately being used to reduce inequality.

  5. Ep3

    Yves, I want to take a moment to point out something I have noticed while watching a tv show this morning. I am watching a show called mad men. In case u don’t know, it’s about 1960s advertising. What has caught my eye is a scene of the women of the community discussing (in one of their homes) a local political issue. The county was going to build a water tower and it was going to destroy a local wildlife preserve by siphoning off the water. These women disagreed and were discussing ways they could save the reservoir.
    What caught my political eye was that I wondered where these mothers are today. Where are they? They are at work today. And please do not misinterpret this as a anti-feminist, women should stay at home, paragraph. What concerns me is that the american economy has forced two-income families and taken away from these groups that have the time to organize and fight for our communities. Here are these upper middle class educated women campaigning on the ground floor, fighting corporate power to protect their communities. But now, those women work 40+ hours a week, they raise kids, all that time they had to fight for a better world is gone. And if I was a conspiracy theorist, I would see these “stay at home” mothers as a threat to corporate conquest. So if I was focused on wealth extraction and conquest, I would see them as an obstacle. And of course these women have husbands, who generally hold the same political values.

    1. dimmsdale

      I think you’re on to something. My mother, who fit the Mad Men demographic as a mother with teenage children, was able to take advantage of her stay-at-home status by being heavily involved in the League of Women Voters (a somewhat progressive force at the time), the PTA, and particularly in a couple of local land-use planning groups (which tried to be influential as our area transitioned from farmland into tract housing). That’s the golden ideal of ‘civic involvement,’ I would think, and I don’t know where (outside of rabid right-wing groups bent on e.g. taking over the local school board) it still goes on.

    2. Jess

      You’re absolutely on track here. I remember the same dynamic at work when I was growing up. And I remember how sometimes the mothers would do the grunt work and the research and then provide their husbands the ammo to use when it came time — in that era when women were regularly not given their due — for the men to show up and add “serious” male voices to discussion of the issue.

      1. Carla

        I am very active in local, state and national issues and have been since 1976, when I was (ahem!) a young, working wife and mother. Here’s what I have seen: the great majority of individuals working to improve this world, at local, national and global levels, were then, and are now female. Are we marginalized and condescended to? You betcha. But we still do the work. My question is: where are the guys?

        1. Andrew Watts

          If they’re interested in politics they become lobbyists, power-brokers, consultants, or mischievous ne’er-do-wells.

    3. jrs

      The way to solve it without any hints of anti-feminism or making women economically dependent is via shorter work weeks for all, but I know at present that’s not likely. Yes these days it’s: who has time to be involved, who has time to even be aware. And that is extremely true. But yea some people try anyway.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        A jobs guarantee would mean women could leave a bad situation and find work.

        A Post Office bank would mean they were never dependent on anyone else’s bank account.

        Two big things, IMNSHO…

  6. craazyman

    This is so Nutty It Would Actually Work!

    After 5 piece of toast with strawberry jam thinking about Japan’s social balance sheet, money and national debt while literally staring at a brick wall in my apartment it hit me like a mind meteor blazing through the dark fog of currency confusion like a burning sun. It was like something out of a Rimbaud poem, an illumination so sudden and intense it could only have originated in that mystical space beyond the mind, that unseen, unintelligible otherworld that possesses its own remote and incomprehensible and inhuman intelligence, And then it was astounding to behold the vast landscapes that presented themselves. Who knew they were there? Now I know.

    This is what I figured out. All that cash on corporate balance sheets just sitting there doing nothing while people work 3 part time jobs. Here’s how to make it work. Give it to people. That’s right, just give it to people. But like coupons, they have to spend it on the corporation’s products. Why is this different from building a new factory or a building somewhere or even advertising. It’s like all of them but mostly it’s like a kind of capital expenditure, it’s a method of seeding not productive capacity but of seeding the demand for that productive capacity. It could be considered an “asset’ and depreciated over say 10 years. It might be a bit tricky to value it but a little creative math and you’re good to go.

    This is a thought experiment in wat money is. it is if you think about it. That’s for sure. haha

    1. Shutter

      craazy… think of the instant ebay trading in coupons, sales out of the back of the van, trades for late night ‘services’ … why the mind fairly boggles! Vegas!!!

    2. eeyores enigma

      C-man – Your solution assumes that whats best for the economy and indeed the World is to somehow ramp up consumption. Wrong!

      In fact this is exactly what happened when the world bumped up against resource constraints eliminating the extractable surplus that capitalism and debt based monetary system requires to exist.
      So the Masters of the Universe just goosed the artificial economy believing that they could create artificial demand and surplus and didn’t need the real economy. Wrong!

      What is needed is a way to ramp DOWN that doesn’t entail large dieoff.

      1. susan the other

        It would be a very good way to eliminate the unnecessary production. Because times are going to be tough going forward – and Gail Tverberg has put it all together for us and our present energy based growth model. Craazy’s Coupons would be the equivalent of a big referendum. If nobody finds the products of these corporations useful, the corporations will be gone in short order. Good idea Craazy.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Craazy has a good idea and you’re right, there will always be over-production.

        It was over-production in the past. We have over-production today. In the future, we will see over production again.

        By sharing with the 0.01%, things can work out, even with idled surplus machines.

        1. Jess

          “Hedley” Lamarr was Harvey Korman’s character in BLAZING SADDLES, and I believe that quote is from the film.

          1. craazyman

            were they related or were they husband and wife? It’s an unusual name.


            all you commies crack me up. what a ridiculous idea, giving away cash. it’s like giving away your products and losing your gross margin in the process. LOL. Unless of course your cash catalyzed an economic renaissance, a veritable boom, where you made far more in new profits than you gave away. The way it works is, you give away your cash and I’ll clean up as a free rider. –John E. Cash, CEO, Chairman, Director, Emperor, Lawyer, Conman and Psychopath, Esquire, Here to clean out the cobwebs in your brain.

            OK it’s time to do something before the day ends. That’s always hard. haha

  7. bob

    “But this year’s ad will have an unusual twist. Instead of extolling the joys of banking, the BoA ad will declare that for 24 hours everyone can download a new song from U2, “Invisible”, for free. The bank will then donate $1 for every download to a global fund to fight Aids, organised in association with Red, the philanthropic group co-founded by Bono. This comes on top of a $10m “simple” donation from BoA.”

    This seems like a good opportunity for an “enterprising” botnet to download the song. 800 million times.

    That still leaves BoA with over 3 billion in pre tax profit, for the quarter. Is Bono tax deductible?

      1. psychohistorian

        Bono has either been brainwashed or threatened… his bootstraps aren’t really special.

        I think I will cringe the next time I hear his music…..Hey Bono, I hope the U2 love their children…….just like the Russians…sigh!

      2. Emma

        Bono’s done a Claude Francois in the shower.

        Not surprising given the matrimonial fuck-up the Grammys were this year, the budget cuts to music education, and the imprisonment of Pussy Riot girls, who unlike Bono, have real balls of steel.

        Perhaps the future beholds a better world where the principals of a few mediocre morons in the music industry drown in an airless pool of mephitic remixing. So a real world of music can focus on the recognition and respect of the genuine art form instead.

      3. Emma

        Bono’s done a Claude Francois in the shower.

        Not surprising given the matrimonial f-up the Grammys were this year, the budget cuts to music education, and the imprisonment of Pussy Riot girls, who unlike Bono, have real balls of steel.

        Perhaps the future beholds a better world where the principals of a few mediocre morons in the music industry drown in an airless pool of mephitic remixing. So a real world of music can focus on the recognition and respect of the genuine art form instead.

        In meantime, here’s the most beautiful sound in the world from nature:

    1. Wendy

      RE: BoA whitewashing it’s brand with Bono’s social justice image – they’re $1/download donation maxes out at $2 million – literally only half the cost of a 30-second tv ad during the Super Bowl. A bargain, really.
      These “cause marketing” campaigns seem particularly slimy advertising, as they get people to take action (“like” and “retweet” and download) at least partially in order to fund donations, buy in reality most of the action occurs past the donation limit, and yield no donations at all. So, it’s a misleading way to get eyeballs, and amounts to very cheap and often free advertising for the brand, for all activity beyond the donation limit.

      The Heinz ketchup support-the-troops campaign is what caught my cynical eye on this type of “cause marketing” recently. Heinz provides a QR code on the bottle which, when you scan it, asks you to sign a postcard to a service person, Heinz donates $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project. For 2013, if you also then share your Heinz activity on social media, Heinz claims they’ll donate another $0.57, up to a total of $250,000 (for 2013). Both of these donation suggestions are highly misleading, if not outright false, because since the first year of the campaign, they’ve had over a half million QR scans per campaign. Total for 2011 and 2012 combined is 1.7 million QR scans. This obviously far exceeds the donation limit, so the “shares” and “retweets” end up being just free advertising and horn-blowing for Heinz’ benefit. And, at the end of the day, less than 1 in 3 of the Heinz-brand-promoting QR scans actually resulted in a donation ($560,000 donation divided by 1.7mm scans). Had there been no donation cap, the activity would have cost Heinz just shy of $2MM, but they donated only $560,000. That cost seems far cheaper than any “real” advertising options out there.

  8. AbyNormal

    Thanks Lambert for the ‘Life as a nonviolent Psychopath’ link!…i look forward to reading his book.
    the link within the article ‘The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence’ is also enlightening.
    ex: “New evidence shows that when people hone their emotional skills, they become better at manipulating others. When you’re good at controlling your own emotions, you can disguise your true feelings. When you know what others are feeling, you can tug at their heartstrings and motivate them to act against their own best interests.”

    “As Professor Kilduff and colleagues put it, it is high time that emotional intelligence is “pried away from its association with desirable moral qualities.” (finally)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think our political system selects for psychopaths, much in the same way the CIA’s lie detectors select for people who can lie without conscience.

      What to do with this discovery I don’t know, but it’s clearly a big time governance issue, and highlights the wisdom of Madison’s “ambition must be made to counteract ambition” even more.

  9. McMike

    FYI. the new banner ad is still making the site unusable on my iphone and ipad.

    Something about the rectangular banner that squats across the bottom of the screen. There’s no way to close the ad. And it seems to interfere with scrolling down the page, and also with swiping laterally between pages. Both actions freeze intermittently.

    There’s also another pop up that takes up its own entire page inserts itself between swipes. That might also be a culprit. It provides a “swipe here” button on the bottom, but operation seems to freeze sporadically.

    I presume ti’s not just me, but the whole universe of IOS users are impacted?

    1. psychohistorian

      Do you think that advertisers have ANY respect for the sites they exploit for eyeballs? I have had a similar experience with Angry Bear on my Mac mini.

      The advert folk have way more money to throw at techies than most sites they abuse and in some case might have help from the NSA….they want your eyeballs or not, depending.

      WP is NOT a secure blogging tool and I give Yves and Lambert lots of credit for keeping the NC site running as well as they do.

      1. McMike

        “I give Yves and Lambert lots of credit for keeping the NC site running as well as they do.”

        Oh indeed. The ad firms are slime buckets made up of hackers that would be used car salesmen in another life. But it seems to be the only way to pay for this stuff.

        Every once in a while though, the ads go from intrusive and cross over into interfering with the operation of the site itself.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        It’s clear to me,
        as 3 timers 3,
        that advertizing has to be,
        spread like manure
        quite evenly.

        but from these grow,
        now don’t you see,
        two different forms
        of reality.

        one feeds the stomach,
        the heart the mind,
        the other one will
        drive you blind,
        rot your teeth,
        inflame your mind.

        the moral of this poetry,
        is just to see how easily,
        we count to nine
        then back to three,
        oh yes, and then sell out
        our liberty.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thank you and well done.

          The enormity of the manipulation is that we have been brainwashed into craving for more brainwashing.

          Once a critical mass of propaganda is reached, you have a perpetual motion of desire for more…self-sustaining virtuous cycle…

  10. Benedict@Large

    Re: MAINE COMPASS: Industrial wind power a catastrophe on every level (Morning Sentinel)

    Article author (and fiction writer) Mike Bond is a man with an axe to grind. Some quick checking shows he’s been a resident of Montana, is a devoted resident of Hawaii, and apparently from this article, is a life-long devoted resident of Maine, the last two of which he desperately wants to save from wind power, which he thinks is ugly. Frankly, he seems more like someone who will go anywhere to pick a fight with corporations, even if they are building wind power. Take this article with several grains of salt. This guy is far more hype than he is substance.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You say “someone who will go anywhere to pick a fight with corporations” like that’s a bad thing!

      There’s plenty of Mainers who have problems with wrecking our viewsheds to send power — and profits! — out of state, and then leaving the localities to clean up the sites when the windmills fall apart after they’ve been amortized.

      We could be looking at small-scale wind to support Downeast communities on the coast with free electricity! But no! Corporate megaprojects!

  11. diptherio

    I came across this little gem last night, whilst surfing the tubes:
    Alan Watts: Money, Guilt and the Machine

    He discusses MMT (though not by that name), as well as the displacement of human labor by machines. Sound familiar? He’s got a great little anecdote about how a fiat money system operates and a quite cogent critique of the way we currently operate our economic information system (i.e. money). Good stuff.

    1. tongorad

      Thanks, Watts’ talk was extremely interesting and on point. The old hangups, guilt, the so-called work ethic, etc just keep on ticking.

  12. diptherio

    Re: The Myth of the “Self Made Man”

    Roche says:

    We are inherently social creatures residing and evolving within an incredibly interconnected world where our future success relies on the past, present and future successes of many. [emphasis added]

    But what if it is the case that one person’s future success relies on the failures of many? What if our economic system is so designed that for one person to become super-wealthy, many more must become super-poor? It’s not just that Perkin’s didn’t create all of his wealth himself, it’s that his wealth (as most all wealth, so far as I can tell) was amassed by forcing others into penury. The boss ain’t gonna get rich if he’s not willing to squeeze his employees. The stock-owner’s dividend and the laborer’s wages are directly (and inversely) related.

    If we want to end poverty, we must also end wealth. They are two sides of one coin, like master and slave, the one requires the other.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think I know what you mean, and I would say we ‘must end wealth inequality.’

      Also, if clean air and water is wealth, if natural abundance is wealth, wealth should be shared, not ended.

  13. TimR

    The Myth of the Self-made Man
    This is a straw-man argument. That phrase doesn’t imply that one is Robinson Crusoe, or created everything in the world. It’s mainly used to contrast against somebody who started with wealth, who inherited wealth, or who grew up among the wealthy and moved in those circles. The “self-made man” as Perkins used it (and I do agree it came across pompous sounding) was a claim that he rose from among the 99% (the filthy proles, the great unwashed, etc.) as opposed to just having wealth handed to him by circumstances. (Yes he surely did have advantages in global terms, but let’s not split hairs.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe in teamwork.

        No way a quarterback wins a Super Bowl by himself alone.


  14. mookie

    Great article on modern China, where the pendulum has swung too far towards the worship of wealth:
    In China, ‘Once the Villages Are Gone, the Culture Is Gone’ Ian Johnson – NY Times

    Destroying villages and their culture also reveals deeper biases. A common insult in China is to call someone a farmer, a word equated with backwardness and ignorance, while the most valued cultural traditions are elite practices like landscape painting, calligraphy and court music.

    1. coboarts

      I grew up in Southern California, never had a tribe to claim, so I have no experience other than the modern, industrial, atomized, etc. But I think that it’s ironic that ancient cultures like China and India will have pretty much wiped out their own sustainable, historic cultures about the time that fossil fuels, other industrial resources and nature’s ability to absorb toxins runs out and industrial civilization begins its long decline. After that process subsides, the only ones left to laugh will be the “farmers.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are more farmers than calligraphers, number one.

      Number two (maybe this should be number one), Mao was the one to say no to Marx and declared he could make China a pre-Deng’s-Capitalism Socialist bastion, with mainly farmers, and not necessarily with urban industrial workers.

      What this shows is that the rich in China need to buy more downtown LA properties.

  15. rich

    Law Doesn’t End Revolving Door on Capitol Hill

    “The rules are very arbitrary. Honestly, they don’t make sense to me.”
    Dee Buchanan, a Republican who earned more than $170,000 during his last year as a senior aide to Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, benefited from a different exemption.

    After departing Capitol Hill in fall 2012, Mr. Buchanan started a job with Ogilvy Government Relations. The firm’s website boasts that Mr. Buchanan — who quickly registered to lobby for the American Bankers Association and the CME Group, one of the world’s largest futures exchanges — was “the ‘go-to guy’ for the new House Financial Services Committee chairman,” Mr. Hensarling.

    Despite the close ties, Mr. Buchanan was free to immediately lobby most members of Mr. Hensarling’s committee.
    Democratic aides have made similar moves.
    John Hughes, the lobbyist now representing JPMorgan Chase and Bloomberg L.P., last held a job on Capitol Hill as a senior adviser to Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House. As an aide to Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Hughes’s job in part was to be the contact person with the House Financial Services Committee, where he worked as the top lawyer during the 2008 financial crisis.
    The result is a blurring of lines that allows former aides like Larry Lavender to legally spin through the revolving door.
    The rules allowed Mr. Lavender to join a behind-the-scenes effort to help JPMorgan avoid having to testify at a House hearing in 2012. The hearing focused on the collapse of MF Global, a major New York brokerage firm that was one of JPMorgan’s clients.

  16. Emma

    Re the links to the political articles on Senate Campaigns, State of Union, Backing Clinton and Christie…

    US politics is clearly existential despair and dread today, but without the comic touches isn’t it?

    The Democrats are small-ball fluff, the Republicans small-ball snuff, and both fire into brick walls on everything – period.

    That’s the state of the union.

    Perhaps we simply need more ‘think tanks’….lol

    Or perhaps the bleeding obvious ie. switching to the finale of Duck Dynasty on TV instead.

  17. Hugh

    Shorter Roubini: Blah, blah, conventional wisdom, blah, blah.

    A few short months ago, Wall Street had already “factored in” the taper and the emerging economies were going to be the world’s growth engine. Now? not so much. The US and world economies are like a patient with a terminal disease. The patient has good days and bad days. But gradually the fundamentals are getting worse, and really it is not a question of if but when everything goes south.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      PEOPLE BET ON KAYFABE!!! That link just boggled my mind; I can’t fathom it. It seem to me there is some deep principle there… But I don’t have a clue what it is. I’m not a betting man, except with major life decisions, of course.

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