Links 2/8/14

Courageous Teen Risks His Life To Save Drowning Baby Deer Huffington Post

A Linguist Explains the Grammar of Doge. Wow. Toast (Lambert)

When Facebook’s Terms Of Service Decide What Kind Of ‘Speech’ Is Okay, Activists Get Silenced Techdirt (Chuck L)

Bitcoin Price Plunges as Mt. Gox Exchange Halts Activity Bloomberg

My protest at MtGox Offices – 5 to 7th February 2014, Tokyo, Japan Reddit

Lake Superior nearing rare ice-over TwinCities (Chuck L)

Japan snowfall disrupts air, rail and road transport BBC

How World War I Peace Guaranteed More Violence Der Spiegel

German court parks tank on ECB lawn, kills OMT bond rescue Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Merkel attacks US diplomat’s comments Financial Times

Fresh wave of super-rich looking to buy up London properties, says estate agent Guardian

Emerging Markets Meltdown Meets Taper Tantrum

The Emerging Markets Saw Their 15th Straight Week Of Investor Outflows And It Was A Monster Business Insider

The markets’ bumpy ride need not become a crash Gavyn Davies, Financial Times. He was more positive a couple of weeks back.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Post-Snowden, why were U.S. diplomats talking on insecure line? McClatchy

N.S.A. Is Said to Gather Data on a Third of U.S. Calls New York Times. The NSA has “struggled” to get cellphone data? It was earlier reported that the NSA didn’t include Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile in its orders due to concerns about them having foreign (in the case of Verizon, partial foreign) ownership.

NSA Collects 20% or Less of U.S. Call Data Wall Street Journal. Love the reporting disparity.

In 1972, the CIA Director Relabelled “Dissidents” As “Terrorists” So He Could Continue Spying On Them … And Nothing Has Changed George Washington

“An Olympic Snowden”: U.S. Athlete on Being Turned Into a “Spokesperson for Verizon” at 2006 Games Democracy Now (Chuck L)

Obamacare Launch

Health Care Reform and Household Financial Stability Pamela Foohey, Credit Slips

Backlash over AOL’s 401(k) cuts — and rationale Washington Post. Yesterday, they blamed Obamacare.

Aetna may pull out of Obamacare: CEO CNBC. Or double its rates…

Drone Murder Protesters Sentenced, Jailed David Swanson

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against FEC Seeks to Shed Light on Karl Rove’s “Dark Money” Donors Truthout (furzy mouse)

U.S. attorneys build a case for themselves as moneymakers for federal government Kansas City Star

Christie struggles to deal with turmoil Politico

California dreaming: One realtor’s role in the global financial crisis Financial Times

Q+A: Author Dean Starkman on The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark GoLocalProv[idence]

Manufacturers’ Lack of Confidence Global Economic Intersection

Visa, MasterCard To End Swipe-And-Sign By 2015 Consumerist

More national income diverted to capital in 2013 than 2012… Angry Bear

Wisse’s World: Where Feminists are Neo-Marxists and Inequality Critics are anti-Semites Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

U.S. consumer credit posts biggest jump in 10 months Reuters

Payroll Data Shows a Lag in Wages, Not Just Hiring New York Times

I’m a Member of the American ‘Used-to-Haves’ Huffington Post (Carol B)

Homeless: The New Normal Tina Braxton, Firedoglake. Carol B: “Try comment #14.”

The Fall of the USSR Ian Welsh (Carol B)

In The Vaults Where The Dry Powder Is Stored Daily Kos. Lambert deems this to be the best Kos post ever written.

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2014-02-08 at 4.23.47 AM

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  1. Eclair

    I’m sitting in the small breakfast room of a motel in a small town in Maine (where, as noted here the other day, the Court had affirmed the right of the beach-front property owners – against a century of use and custom – to control the sand down to the low-water mark. Back to the edge of the road, Peasants!)

    My back is to the flat screen wall-mounted TV that is permanently set to CNN (thank goddess it’s not Fox, I guess), and the same phrases keep coming through: Justin Beiber … Woody Allan …. molestation …. over and over and over… Thinking of hurling a stale bagel at the screen.

    Just read the beginning of the KOS article recommended by Lambert (if Lambert says it’s a “must read”, I read it) and have book-marked it for a slow savoring later tonight.

    I have a long drive back to NYC before the next snow hits. Must go … but thank you all at ‘naked capitalism’ … Yves, Lambert and all the intrepid commenters. You have saved my sanity.

    Will send money when I’m back home.

    1. Cal

      There is a universal remote “turner offer” that has only one function: “OFF”.
      It works on any TV. Why not carry one in your pocket and surreptitiously kill the thing?

  2. joecostello

    How you link to democratic hack drivel by kos is beyond me, kos has rolled over countless times to the dems. Hes a good “liberal” lambasting until election day and then voting for them. Thats the key to the wholegame say what you want until election day then line up or the money will be cut off, kos learned that early, he’s the same as the hacks he criticizes.

    1. Massinissa

      You think any of us DONT KNOW THAT? We are NCers: We all KNOW that.

      You clearly hadnt read the post.

      its from 2007, and its making fun of Democrats.

      Its very poignant. Worth a read.

      But next time, maybe you should have some faith in lambert and yves for choosing good articles, and read the damn things before you lambast them because of where theyre from.

      Ive seen good articles from for gods sake (Albeit only one. And I dont think its ever going to happen again. Ever.). A good article can come from anywhere: Some sites just only have one or two in its entire lifetime. This article is one of those exceptions.

      Again, have faith in Yves and Lambert: They have distaste for that site as much as you do, bro.

      1. aronblue

        I think it may be somewhat counterproductive to ask readers of a website designed to attract independent thinkers to have a little faith. Can’t herd them cats you know. We don’t go in a line. As for me, I’m sure the Kos article is just fine but the sight of that orange gives me the eye hives. Shame on me for my close-mindedness.

        1. Massinissa

          I said to have faith and read the damn thing, not have faith that the article is gods gospel.

          A little faith and a lot of faith are totally different: Theres too much faith and too little.

          Anyway, faith or no faith: Criticizing an article, before reading the damn thing, is still silly, regardless of the source of the article.

    2. diptherio

      “He’s a good liberal”

      Uh…the site in question contains writing from various authors. When you say “he,” are you referring to blueness, who wrote the article, or Daily Kos, the blog? It’s like you said, “I don’t read the Post because I don’t like the way he writes”…see the problem?

      The article, btw, mocks the Dems in much the same way that we here at NC are wont to do. Of course, if you’re someone who can’t think in more nuanced terms than “this site good, that site bad,” you’re going to have a rough go of it around here. Stick around though, maybe some of the ambient genius will rub off on ya…Massinissa’s, for instance.

      1. ohmyheck

        Diary written in 2007—- fast-forward 6.5 years. The diarist joined the ranks of “if you criticize Obama then you are a racist” Obots, and frequents sites like ThePeoplesSpew, er “View”, (sure as hell not my view, but then I guess I am not a person…) and the Motley Meeses (not the really blog name, but I am not doing them any favors this morning) both viper pits of Obama 20%-Dead-Enders.

        Just an interesting twist to the story.

        1. diptherio

          Interesting and disappointing.

          Failing to call out presidential criminality simply because the perpetrator happens to be black seems like its own form of racism to me….

  3. Swedish Lex

    On the German Constitutional Court’s decision to ask the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.

    I do not know the details but will read the thing when it gets to the European Court. National courts do not do this kind of referals unless there are outstanding questions of substance regarding the interpretation of European (not German) Law. The European Court will issue its binding recommendation on the question asked, after which the German Court will issue its ruling.

    This can take 2-3 years………

    I am not going to lose sleep over this. But it will be interesting to see what the question concerns.

  4. psychohistorian

    The KOS posting was sadly humorous.

    I suspect there is a door down there for a huge room of powder built into the effigy of Tammny Hall that Jeff Merkley keeps trying to take from…or at least did until Ron Wyden edumacated him on the protocols of proper decorum in the Senate…and these are the “good” guys that both just voted for the farm bill that impoverishes more of their constituents…..wouldn’t want to filibuster it, because……..

    How about the room dedicated to Social Security Insurance powder with an extra corner that grew as they let the Insurance part of the program become obfuscated.

    How about the E Pluribus Unum powder room built in to the effigy of the God of Mammon. It must double every time the CongressCritters reaffirm the Amerikan Motto change made in the 50’s

    Is there a AIPAC powder room? Who’s image is that stack in?

    I am sure other NC commenters can do much better than this sick/thick headed oaf….and can’t wait to read the ongoing perfidy of our CongressCritters enumerated by others.

    Thanks Lambert. It does show that occasionally the house of KOS does (or did) speak truth to power.

    1. Massinissa

      Emphasis on ‘did’, and anyway, even back in 2007 it was still a fluke.

      How does that saying go? Theres a first (and last) time for everything?

    2. Andrew Watts


      Senator Merkley has never been a good guy. As far as I’m concerned he’s always been a tool.

      He took a lot of the Democratic Leadership Council’s (DLC) money early on in the primaries when it was clear whoever was going to win the Democratic primaries was going to take Smith’s Senate seat. That’s why the liberals/progressives mounted a furious primary challenge to him. This has forced Merkley to walk a fine political line ever since. Wyden is in a position to tell everybody to ‘f—k off’ with local Republican establishment support firmly behind him due to the recent Senate chairmanship appointment.

      The farm bill does help some of Oregon’s major constituent groups. It’s just a shame that the SNAP benefit cuts made it in.

  5. Bill the Psychologist

    I watched the “saving the baby deer” video last night, and first thought “awwww…how wonderful, a young animal lover”, but then thought, “hmmmm, maybe he and his family are hungry”. This being Bangladesh and flooding, that could be the reality.

  6. diptherio

    Re: U.S consumer credit posts biggest jump in 10 months ~Reuters

    U.S. consumer credit in December grew by the most in nearly a year due to a sharp increase in credit card usage, a potentially positive sign for the economy.

    Whaaaaaaaat?!? Positive?!? Are they nucking futs?!? Perhaps the good folks at Reuters don’t recall, but ballooning household debt was one of the precursors to our last financial crisis, not to mention a major drag on our current recovery, so called (see Richard Koo, balance-sheet recession, etc.).

    And let’s be clear: increased use of credit cards is not an increase in consumer credit, but in consumer debt. That debt has to get paid off eventually…and where is that dough gonna come from?

    Here’s what’s going on, in case it isn’t crystal clear already. 1) No job recovery. People are working fewer hours and taking home less money. 2) Benefit reductions, particularly SNAP and unemployment insurance. 3) Christmas. Combine those three things and what do you get? How about the biggest jump in consumer credit in 10 months?

    The headline should read: Americans begin scrambling to pay down credit-card bills as holiday spending pushes many into debt. I just don’t get the mentality that thinks having people spending more than they’re able to make is a good sign for a society.

    1. Massinissa

      Its a good sign if youre Satan and love it when Gentiles do Usury.

      Those rooms in hell are sitting empty, you know. The devil doesn’t get rent from empty rooms without sinners souls.

      1. sd

        Rent is way up in the City of Angels – about $500 more than a year ago on new leases – I can only imagine how much it’s gone up down below.

    2. fresno dan

      The fact that it is credit card debt, the MOST usurious, and the credit used by those most in a desperate financial situation – well, the media just not thinking about what they are reporting.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Backlash Over AOL’s 401(k) Cuts

    I can’t quite put my finger on why I find this story so creepy. (That picture of the creepy CEO sure doesn’t help.)

    The two employees, out of 4000, with the seriously ill babies, know who they are and so do their friends and co-workers. So now what are these two supposed to think? Have the AOL top dogs been sitting around the boardroom obsessing every time a new charge is added to one of their bills, getting agitated about the cost and discussing what to do about THESE TWO SPECIFIC EMPLOYEES?

    I’d want to know how much of my family’s very personal and supposedly private information these people have and why they have it. Is AOL self-insured? Million-dollar medical bills are not uncommon these days. It’s supposedly what makes “healthcare” insurance a necessary product. The company/employee pays the premium and the insurance company pays the bill. Why is it necessary for the CEO to have any information on two specific cases?

    And then this “CEO” publicly “outs” these two employees with sick children as being responsible for screwing up retirement for 4000 people, citing information that the CEO probably shouldn’t even have and the Washington Post absolutely shouldn’t. I guess they’re lucky not to have been fired, but that may coming. I’m sure those two employees are considering that possibility.

    Not to mention the other 3998 AOL employees who would supposedly have fatter 401(k)s if those two employees didn’t work there.

  8. Swedish Lex

    Der Spiegel on WWI
    Strange not to mention European integration post WWII as the main contributor for the European tribes discontinuing their eternal squabbles (not counting the cold war and ex-Yugoslavia).

  9. squasha

    much hug. Kangaroos, wow.

    sad mobius epilogue: warm & lovely antidote led to a tragic googling.
    First, “Tie Me Kangaroo Down”, then this, where it would’ve been a blessing to have stopped:

    Sadly just found out Jake the Peg is allegedly a sort of minor Jimmy Saville.

    much sad.

    henceforth I’ll always stop bravely at the antidote

    1. susan the other

      Wow kangaroos. Much sweet. Doge hat much folly. Meta verbs very gorilla. Dear Shakespeare: candle useless. Many candles later. IRS of Doges. No sweetness. All gone. Economy very Dracula. Good bye.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Here’s an easy arbitrage from the strong-peso paradise:

    Argentines are able to turn a quick 30 percent profit in pesos by trading the dollars in the illegal currency market.

    The peso trades at 7.8409 per dollar in the official market and at about 12.13 per dollar on the streets of Buenos Aires. The implied rate for purchasing dollars is about 9.41 pesos after accounting for a 20 percent tax to keep the money in cash.

    Five black-market traders interviewed on Florida Street in downtown Buenos Aires say they haven’t seen any signs customers are doing that [exchanging dollars back to pesos].

    “Everything’s pretty much the same since the measure,” said Alejandro Gomez, 34, an international commerce student who’s been a trader in the black market for six months. “Argentines are probably waiting for a higher rate or taking the dollars for savings. If you’re earning enough to qualify to buy, why would you want pesos? They’re not worth anything.


    Who would have imagined that expanding the money supply at an average 26.8% annual rate during the six years that Cristina Kirchner has been president would cause the peso to devalue against the dollar?

    1. judabomber

      You and I here in the U.S. (assuming you’re in the U.S.) are inherently long dollars given that we get paid in and take care of our bills in dollars. Likewise, for the average citizenry of Argentina (note my choice of the word average, as opposed to the aristocracy), they are long pesos.

      But what if I was an Argentine citizen and I wanted to be short pesos? Given the official exchange rate is bogus, my only other option is to convert as many of my peso dominated assets as I can into dollars at the black market rate, if possible, and do my best to avoid future transaction and tax costs until the bleeding stops.

      The farmers have figured it out too:

      Gotta love casino capitalism.

      BTW, the post on Argentina from a few days back would say (according to a sectoral balance approach) given a positive federal balance and current account as a percent of GDP for most of the mid-2000s, who by definition was expanding debt? The private sector. And as the great Wynne Godley has taught us, private sector debt expansions are not sustainable (just see the U.S.). And it doesn’t help if the country doing that tries to peg its exchange rate to the dollar.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When they finally tackle the immigration bill, they should make it immigration/emigration bill, the latter to help those jobless here to move to a new country (or a new planet) where there is finally hope.

      You know, stuff like, Guide to Select Your Next Country, List of Planets/Nations With Humane Treatment of Non-Rich, etc.

  11. Walter Map

    Re: The Emerging Markets Saw Their 15th Straight Week Of Investor Outflows And It Was A Monster

    This will end badly, except for the rich.

    Re: The markets’ bumpy ride need not become a crash

    This will end badly, except for the rich.

    Re: Christie struggles to deal with turmoil

    Time to replace this old turd with a fresh turd. Don’t get your hopes up.

    Re: Manufacturers’ Lack of Confidence

    This will end badly, except for the rich. So long as the fed doesn’t lay off the guy keeping the printing presses going, they’ll be just swell.

    Re: More national income diverted to capital in 2013 than 2012

    In twelve months they can run the story again. Just update the years.

    Re: Homeless: The New Normal

    Billionaires cheer. Their strategy is working.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you work hard, you will be reborn as a robot in your reincarnation.

      Now, be a nice, obedient non-rich guy.

      ‘Son, I hope you grow up to be a rich robot! Momma will be so proud of you – not to mention my own retirement will be secured!.’

  12. rich

    So Many Bribes, a Greek Official Can’t Recall Them All

    At the time, Mr. Kantas, a wiry former military officer, did not actually have the authority to decide much of anything on his own. But corruption was so rampant inside the Greek equivalent of the Pentagon that even a man of his relatively modest rank, he testified recently, was able to amass nearly $19 million in just five years on the job.

    Greeks are hardened to stories of corruption. But even they have been transfixed by Mr. Kantas’s confessions since he was arrested recently on a litany of charges including money laundering and behavior that was detrimental to the Greek state. Never before has an official opened such a wide window on the eye-popping system of payoffs at work inside a Greek government ministry. At various points, Mr. Kantas, who returned to testify again last week, told prosecutors he had taken so many bribes he could not possibly remember the details.
    I guess Greece is the only country where this behavior goes on?

    1. Walter Map

      Greece does not actually have a government. It’s run by an organized crime syndicate.

      Just kidding. They’re not that organized.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I guess Greece is the only country where this behavior goes on?

      Well it certainly does NOT go on in the United States, a nation of “laws.”

      Here, money is “speech,” thus a “bribe” (how third-world and uncivilized) is a perfectly “legal” and permissible rhetorical “suggestion.”

      So sayeth the mighty Supreme Court.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am surprised he is not embraced in London or elsewhere with his investment money to ‘generate jobs for the natives.’

      He’s the kind of immigrant we welcome.

      Greed in Greece, but not only there
      Like Scarlett Pimpernel
      You see it everywhere

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Let he steal all the US dollars he wants.

        He has no choice but to invest those billions in the US Treasuries.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: US attorneys as moneymakers for the feds

    Though Escutia never was charged with a crime, federal authorities seized the money.

    And after almost two years of litigation, a federal judge finally sided with an assistant U.S. attorney, who had argued that the money should be forfeited to the government because it likely was part of a drug deal.

    It’s been said many times before but I guess it bears repeating–one way or another, if the government wants your money, they’re going to get it.

    And since the vast majority of paper money in circulation has drug residue on it, NEVER EVER bring cash into a government building, no matter what they say. If they say, “Cash only,” they aim to take it from you.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Working with the late Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, the policy group FEAR (Forfeiture Endangers American Rights) helped pass the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).

      Like most ‘reform’ in Washington, it was cosmetic … what Neil Young calls ‘a kinder, gentler machine-gun hand.’ Instead of protecting us from robbery, gov’t IS the robber.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “Reform” is another one of those words that never means what you think it’s going to mean.

        There seem to be a lot of those popping up lately.

  14. psychohistorian

    And this just in via ZH because this stuff can’t be reported real time it seems….the funeral in a Catholic church is today. I wonder when he died?

    The take away quote: “A coroner’s spokeswoman Thursday said Talley was found in his garage by a family member who called authorities. They said Talley died from seven or eight self-inflicted wounds from a nail gun fired into his torso and head.”

    My condolences to the family.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It occurs to me that Sam Zell and that Perkins guy may think there’s more to this than a string of “grisly” and “regrettable” bankster SUICIDES.

      Suicide by nail gun sounds pretty bad (not to mention unbelievable.)

      Could these oligarchs be seeing visions of guillotines and lamp posts dancing in their heads?

      1. psychohistorian

        I think the folks we are seeing now committing “suicide” are the small potatoes or those with a thread of conscience left in them……or victims of NSA/CIA threats….or really murdered because they might spill the beans about other bigger fish, but covered up.

        It speaks volumes to me about what is going on that this and the death of Mike Dueker in Tacoma were not reported for days, and in this case a weekend….when the funeral is already being held.

        Can you say manipulated media?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Speaking of “not reported” for days, or in this case MONTHS, here’s an interesting little factoid.

          The possible “terrorist” attack on a California (Silicon Valley) power station just reported on this past week occurred in the wee hours of the morning (about 4 a.m. EST) of April 16, 2013.

          An what was happening about 12 hours earlier (about 3 p.m. EST) on April 15, 2013? The Boston Marathon bombing.

          Is it getting hot in here?

          1. psychohistorian


            Amazing manipulation of reporting about the world turning.

            I am not sure we have enough dots to connect but certainly enough to say that the US is unraveling before our eyes.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              Can you imagine what might have happened if a report of an attack on the right coast (and the chaos that followed) would have been followed 12 hours later by a report of an attack on the left coast?

              “Red Dawn” comes to mind.

      2. diptherio

        Unbelievable, that’s what I thought too. There are precedents, although I have to say, were I a hitman, killing someone with their own nail-gun would definitely have its advantages. I can easily imagine a scenario wherein a senior banker gets knocked off by one of his form associates before he can roll over on anyone. Of course, death by bullet is too obvious, so use a nail gun to make it look like a suicide. Nobody thinks too much about it because we all know what f—s these guys are and so we don’t feel too bad for them and plus we get a charge from imagining that their conscience drove them to it. Sweet justice! But pray tell, what banker owns a nail-gun? The only people I know who own one of those are professional carpenters…maybe I’m just old fashioned or am unaware of modern home-owner trends. Maybe nail-guns are like lawn-mowers now and everyone with a house owns one…idk. It seems like cui bono might be a relevant question to ask in this circumstance, though.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Not to put too fine a point on it, but death by nail gun does not automatically suggest suicide to me.

            1. psychohistorian

              His death, if by murder, would certainly send a clear message to any other junior woodchuck puppets that they may want to keep their yaps shut tight and not out the plutocrats or other more senior level puppets.

          1. ohmyheck

            In the last “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” novel/movie, Lisbeth finds a nailgun quite a useful weapon.

    1. diptherio

      OWS didn’t have any actual leaders. Claims to being an OWS leader prove that one didn’t understand the first thing about OWS. As the Wobblies replied when Sheriff McRae asked them who their leaders were: “We’re all leaders here.”

  15. financial matters

    from 2010 but still good…

    “”The large majority of Americans that elected this administration did not do so to enrich the bankers, insurance executives, drug companies, and union leaders at the expense of the rest of us, in a perversion of true core Democratic values. But it’s clearly happening as even a blind man can see.

    My first proposal for the economy encompasses both the Tea Party and traditional Democratic values of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and reliance on competitive markets. Working through the logic of this proposal will show both how this straightforward government policy can work, and how convoluted is the elite’s understanding of finance.

    I believe that the surest engine for full economic recovery is a full payroll tax holiday. Payroll taxes take away over 15% of everyone’s paycheck, from the very first dollar earned. This is big money- about $1 trillion per year. Half comes from the employee and half from the employer. A payroll tax holiday does not give anyone anything. What it does is stop taking away $1 trillion a year from working people struggling to make their payments and stay in their homes, and businesses struggling to survive. A full payroll tax holiday means a husband and wife earning $50,000 a year each will see their combined take home pay go up by over $650 a month, so they can make their mortgage payments and their car payments and maybe even do a little shopping.

    And what all businesses need most to expand output and employment is people with spending money who can buy their products. Without people to buy goods and services, nothing happens. The payroll tax holiday also means there is also a big reduction in expenses for business. With competitive markets this means lower prices, which also helps consumers, helps keep inflation down, helps businesses compete domestically and in world markets to help optimize our real terms of trade, and helps keep the currency stable as the dollar is ultimately worth what it can buy. So with the payroll tax holiday we get a dramatic increase in economic activity, rising employment in good jobs, and better prices. And we’ll see millions of new jobs, because, again, what business needs most is people with money to buy their products. Then they hire and expand.

    What I don’t see is how any self respecting Democrat can allow this tax to stand for a single moment. It is the most regressive, punishing tax we’ve ever had. It starts from the first dollar earned with a cap at $106,800 per year. It’s an utter disgrace to the Democratic party. It should be immediately eliminated. Yet, instead, the Washington Democratic elite are actually discussing increasing it.

    If people make their payments, the loans are AAA. If people don’t make their payments the loans are junk and toxic waste

    What happened for the next year and a half? The banks muddled through, profits and bonuses returned, but unemployment skyrocketed and is still going up, loan delinquencies and defaults and foreclosures skyrocketed and are still going up, and millions of Americans still can’t make their payments and are losing their homes. And a lot of the money the banks are making on federal support is being drained by continuing loan losses. We are getting nowhere as tens of millions of lives are being destroyed by policy makers who simply don’t understand how the monetary system works.

    This has been a trickle down policy where nothing has trickled down, because there is no connection between funding the banks, and the incomes of people trying to make their payments. The answer, of course, is instead of giving trillions to the banks, to simply stop taking away trillions from people still working for a living. The government doesn’t even have to give us anything, just stop taking away the trillion dollars a year of payroll taxes with a full payroll tax holiday.

    With this grasp of the fundamentals of taxing, spending, and the size of government, a Tea Party Democrat is well armed to take on the Democratic establishment that’s overtaxing us, driving up unemployment to today’s record levels, destroying our economy and standard of living, and arbitrarily growing government as well.

    With unemployment rising, real wage growth falling, and GDP now growing at about 4%, who’s getting that increased GDP? Not the millions who voted Democratic who are losing their jobs and their homes, and watching their wages fall. That real wealth being created is instead rising to the top, due to the Obama administration’s impossible trickle down policies. This administration was not elected to enrich the bankers, insurance executives, drug companies, and union leaders at the expense of the rest of us, in a perversion of true core Democratic values. But it’s clearly happening, and all because they don’t understand the monetary system, the don’t understand how and why government spends and taxes, and the don’t understand why we don’t owe China anything more than a bank statement.

    The door is wide open for an enlightened, populist Democrat to lead the way to a new era of unsurpassed national prosperity.””

    1. coboarts

      Since US Dollars are created out of thin air, and since the US Government is perfectly capable of (already) creating as many US Dollars as it wants, why should anyone pay any US Dollars in taxes back to it – they don’t need the $, unless it is to continue the fantasy that there is value behind the currency.

      1. Ben Johannson

        If we accept that government creates dollars, then it logically follows that under certain conditions dollars are uncreated.

        Why do we accept the government’s currency? Answer that and you’ll understand why government taxes.

      2. financial matters

        Also, from the same article..

        “”So why then does the government tax at all? To control our spending power, which economists call aggregate demand. If the government didn’t tax us at all and let us spend all the money we earn, and government spent all the money it wanted to spend, the result would be a lot of inflation, caused by more spending then there are real goods and services for sale. Too much spending power chasing too few goods and services is a sure way to drive up prices. So the purpose of taxes is to regulate the economy. If the economy is too hot, taxes can be raised to cool it down. If the economy is too cold, as it obviously is today, taxes should be cut to warm it up back to operating temperature.

        Taxes are like the thermostat. When it gets too hot or too cold you adjust it. It’s not about collecting revenues, there is no such thing, government never has nor doesn’t have any dollars, it just changes numbers up and down in our bank accounts. It’s all about looking at the economy and deciding whether it’s too hot or too cold, and then making an adjustment.””

      3. Calgacus

        why should anyone pay any US Dollars in taxes back to it

        To get something back from the government, of course. That is what taxation is, a purchase from the government by an individual, for something that the individual directly benefits by. Just like getting a hamburger from McDonald’s for a McDonald’s free-hamburger coupon. E.g., you pay your property taxes, you get to stay in your property. If there’s a gold standard, you exchange your valuable fiat money for worthless gold.

        Government spending is the reverse (or the same thing, from the government’s perspective). The government emits its credit, its money which it can freely create, just as anyone else can. And it gets “real” stuff, e.g. labor, gold, used Death-Stars from Honest Darth’s lot, whatever.

        Why would anybody accept the government’s money if there wasn’t something you could use it for? As Minsky said, and should be repeated ad infinitum: ‘Everyone can create money. The hard thing is to get other people to accept it.’

        It’s not that the government has magic currency issuing powers. Everyone does. It’s that there is a huge community of currency users that makes the government different.

        P.S. If anyone thinks that it is a ” fantasy that there is value behind the currency” – please send some of this valueless currency to me!

    2. psychohistorian

      What you are quoting from is calling all payroll deductions TAXES. That is quite a bit of an obfuscation, isn’t it?

      I believed for the 45 years I paid into Social Security that it was (isn’t it still?) a conservative INSURANCE program that includes an employer contribution as well.

      And here you are selling someone’s theory that getting rid of it along with the rest of what is taken out of people’s paychecks and employer’s profits is a good thing. I think the idea is BS!

      I would encourage you and others that agree with you to go to Angry It is a wonderful web sit that disabuses ideas like the one you quote about Social Security Insurance.

      1. financial matters

        The payroll tax is regressive and the government doesn’t need the funds to write out the social security checks. It does need a healthy well employed economy to give those checks some purchasing power..

        Time to end redistribution upwards: minimum wage increases would boost economy and lift all boats

        Dan Crawford | February 3, 2014
        by Linda Beale

        “Time to end redistribution upwards: minimum wage increases would boost economy and lift all boats.

        No matter how much the business lobby complains about the “business costs” of increasing the minimum wage, legislators should look past that self-serving ideology and look at reality. Workers have contributed to increased productivity but received a stagnant to declining share of the income that comes from the increased productivity. IN the meantime, top-echelon managers and shareholders reap larger and larger benefits from the increased productivity provided by the workers. At the same time, much of the tax expenditure provisions in the Internal Revenue Code–from the charitable contribution deduction (and things like contributing appreciated assets from IRAs) to the mortgage interest deduction to the life insurance exclusion to the preferential rate on capital gains and the almost non-taxation of corporate dividends are hugely beneficial to the same top echelon in the income distribution, meaning that those provisions are aiding “redistribution”–just not the kind that is condemned by those on the right as a kind of socialism, since this redistribution is upwards and favors the rich.”

        1. psychohistorian

          The only reason the payroll “tax” (It is called Social Security Insurance) is considered regressive is because there is a cap on income…why not take it off and do a means test?

          I would have more interest in your comment if you detailed the components of a safety net replacing the Social Security Insurance program that has worked well for over 75 years. The last I read at Angry Bear, adding 80 cents a week to the deduction would address the current foreseeable future of the Social Security Insurance program.

          Why do you continue to misrepresent this successful insurance program as a tax?

  16. PQS

    Re: AOL/Retirement/HC Costs
    Further to Katniss’ comments above, which raise very good points….why in the world is a head of a 4000 person company singling out two people?!?

    Every time I hear one rich SOB CEO type complain about Obamacare, or blame Ocare for “increasing costs” or “forcing cuts” elsewhere, I want to demand from them:
    Where were you during HC Reform?

    Corporate America, (save the most directly connected to HC, Hospitals or Insurance,) was largely absent during the entire debate, except for some loudmouths who decried any change at all. I always wondered why companies, especially those with huge HR depts. wouldn’t WANT to offload the whole insurance mess onto a Single Payer plan.

    Now we know – it’s because it’s just another way for them to control their people like the effing aristocrats they imagine themselves to be. Of course, this was my suspicion all along, but now they’ve outed themselves as the selfish, narrow-minded assholes we always knew they were by past behavior. I mean, if even one captain of industry had come out and said, “look, we’ll save a ton of money by going to SP”, I think the entire debate would have been changed. BUt they didn’t even have the foresight or stones to do that, and now they’re stuck, like the rest of us, with a pile of crap that is Ocare.

  17. bob

    “Goodbye credit card signatures and hello PIN numbers. In a move that could better protect consumers from massive security breaches,”

    BS. This offers no more protection to consumers, and probably less protection based on current law.

    Have a payment dispute with a CC? Show me the signature….

    “But your card and pin were used…we have no liability…”

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Grammar of Doge.

    I think we are rather primitive with respect to our linguistics.

    For example, we believe a ‘meow’ is the same as another ‘meow, when communicating among us humans or with certain non-humans.

    A cat, however, will tell you, the human, that all ‘meow’s’ are not the same.

    A glimpse of our vocabulary’s own incompetence can be had when we realize what we call ‘snow’ is experienced hundreds of different ways by other humans.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    WWI Peace…more violence.

    Question – can good exist without evil? Can knowledge exist without ignorance?

    I believe evil can exist without good (so we don’t get into blaming the victim).

    Asymmetrically, sometimes, rarely perhaps, or at least ideally, good can exist without evil, although often, good can’t exist without evil (charity needs oppressed 99%; a Nobel Peace winner needs violence/suffering from the threat of violence somewhere).

  20. JGordon

    In regards to the “Used to Haves” article:

    The author should appreciate to the opportunity to have a jump-start on the life style that almost all Americans will be enjoying soon, while we still have a functioning social safety net in place. Now that she is experiencing what it’s like to live on the edge (or not really–I have a friend from an actual poor country, the Ukraine, who was amazed that people in America who had a television set and a car could whine about “barely surviving”–when back he was from “barely surviving” might mean being able to find an old pair of shoes or get a meal once every two or three days) she will have the motivation to gain experience and knowledge that comes in handy to people who do have an industrial economy entirely supplying all of their needs

    Because I’m telling you all right now that not having to rely on the industrial economy is going to be the only way people are going to survive in the future. And practicing the skill and techniques required for that, when times are still relatively easy, is a great way to spare yourself a lot of pain and horror (for those of us who don’t intend to take an early exit) in the future.

    Now of course there will still be islands of enclaves of high tech and high society in the decades to come (sort of like New Vegas in Fallout 3–and we’ll probably have a similarly radioactive future to that, if we fail to shut down nuclear power fast btw), once the great energy/resource-waster of the world, America, is out of the picture, but chances are that they’ll be few and far between in and not in America.

    1. kareninca

      Yes, Jgordon, you are so right. The author of the “used to haves” article doesn’t seem to have a sense of just how bad things are going to get. It utterly boggles my mind that she writes of herself and her friends: ” If we can’t get decent paying jobs today, there’s little hope of getting a corporate job with benefits in the future. ” I want to scream LADY YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET A DECENT PAYING JOB TODAY, AND YOU ARE NOT NOT NOT GOING TO GET A CORPORATE JOB WITH BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE!!!!!!!” That is ALL GONE!!!!!!

      I guess that this is partly a generational thing. I graduated from high school in 1981: my first job in high school was at McDonald’s, but I quit (and took a job at a diner washing dishes and peeling potatoes) because the McDonald’s was (properly) giving the hours to people with families, and so I could only get a couple of hours of work a week. The job market was horrible when I graduated from high school, horrible when I graduated from college, horrible when I graduated from professional school. There was no point ever at which I was earning even a tiny fraction of a hundred bucks an hour like that lady; no point at which I was getting pedicures or eating out except at burrito joints or McDonald’s or cheap chinese take-out places. I still don’t.

      Also, my dad (a social psych prof) told me early on that corporations don’t care about their employees at all; that they will toss them to the side like a soiled glove at the slightest whim; that people who devote themselves to, and trust in, corporations are fools. There seems to have been a whole generation (basically boomers; I am kind of Gen X) who trusted corporations to do the right thing; imagine that!!!

      So I gave up. My husband supports us; for years at a low salary by this lady’s standards, now at a good salary. We are both extremely thrifty, like Depression era folks. But as Lars Eigner (Travels with Lizbeth) said, for him life was like a glass staircase, no matter how far he went up he could still see all the way down. And I see that the down is down, down, down; this lady has no idea. Maybe I’ll go down, too; I wouldn’t be surprised at all; when currencies die (for instance) no-one is unscathed, and anyway I already have plenty of poor relatives and quasi-relatives whom I send money to.

      I read quite a few of the article’s comments. I only found one that talked about communes and moving in with fellow aging friends and supporting one another communally in tangible ways, and in returning to extended family settings: the person who wrote that was African American. This sort of poverty is closer to familiar to many African Americans, I would guess, as are the things one does to survive it. When the industrial economy goes south, we are going to be living with one another in communal houses, and growing food in the back yards if we are lucky. It will be great if “the government” helps us, but I wouldn’t be relying on that.

  21. craazyman

    Fukkkn God Things Get Bad Before They Finallly Disappear

    anybody still sleepy from that post the other day about democracy and equality. whoa that knocked me out. holy cow. felt like Rip van Winkle himself. but it was a listless coma of a sleep, the kind you wake up from wondering if you were sleeping or if you’d be abducted and drugged by aliens and then transported back into your bed. there was a Star Trek New Generation about that. Riker kept having bad dreams and he was worn out all day. Then somehow they figured out he was abducted by a strange alien civilization each night. I don’t know how they stopped it but they did – within an hour too! Including commercials. That’s efficiency. That should be a model for private enterprise everywhere, a model of exemplary management. What does it take to run things like that? That’s what democracy is all about, I guess. Everybody votes on how to stop the abductions and then they go to work. But if some folks make money on the abductions, that’s a problem. I don’t know if STar Trek was a democracy or not but they had a commander in charge and so it must not have been. It gets complicated, which is why studies are necessary, but it’s a good thing we can take them or leave them. if we have the cash that is. that’s why you need to get rich quick so you can leave in a hurry if somebody trying to follow you around with a study and things get too weird. I guess they’re doing that now in China. and whoever’s left there, they’ll do the same, and eventually they’ll be nobody there anymore. that’s weird too. to think about China with nobody there at all.

  22. Jill

    There is a disturbing amount of censorship at this time. Traditional newz will speak for itself. It’s not hard to link the FB censorship with the takeover of the OWS twitter account.

    I find it all of a piece with the surveillance state and how USGinc. propagandizes the people. In order for propaganda to work, it is necessary to restrict information in big fields (MSM) and small (supposed “alternative” sites). We understand that the corporations/ govt. monitor sites. When complete censorship just isn’t enough, there are other ways to restrict what may be known. There are fake people posting in comments on “alternative” sites. At the site, Common Dreams, many people who made comments which were “unacceptable” in their criticism of Democrats have been barred from the site and had their entire set of comments erased. Comment sections are tied into FB by Fluffington, thus enabling great control over the ability to post and over content.

    The cynical appeal to membership in oppressed groups has been a very effective tactic to shut down knowledge and questions. Membership in an oppressed group entitles every person in that group to social justice. It does not entitle them to unjust authority, obedience or the ability to shut down debate. These actions narrow what we may know, what may be said.

    I keep seeing the restriction of thought in so many places. It is scary. Thought restriction will inhibit protest. We need work arounds so that we may speak and think freely.

    1. JTFaraday

      Well, there must be a lot of censorship out there because there is no other possible explanation for this trivialization:

      re: Wisse’s World: Where Feminists are Neo-Marxists and Inequality Critics are anti-Semites, Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

      The serious point to make about “Wisse’s World” is that the US government perpetrates all of the following from Bill Black’s list in its global “war on (Islamic) terror”:

      “In Stalin’s show trials, the victims (a) were innocent, (b) were tortured, (c) were threatened that if they did not confess their loved ones could be killed, (d) were frequently selected for murder because they were (Jewish), (e) were convicted on the basis of fabricated evidence and forced “confessions” designed to humiliate and discredit them, (f) were “judged” by party hacks who read scripts provided by Stalin’s government, and (g) were murdered.”

      In light of that, the idea that Harvard’s feminists aren’t generally Stalinists, and that “feminists are women too,” etc is kind of a non-starter for me. To hear Bill Black tell it, Wisse may as well be Ursula the Sea Witch from the Disney kid flick, The Little Mermaid:

      Really? Is that all the truth infantilized Americans can handle?

      Having recently seen my goddaughter’s middle school musical production, it’s clear to me that “Wisse’s World” according to Bill Black is definitely “under the sea” somewhere, as they say. (Don’t laugh, it’s also on Broadway. And I’ve even discovered that some grown women take their villainesses very seriously, indeed!):

  23. Glenn Condell

    ‘When complete censorship just isn’t enough, there are other ways to restrict what may be known’

    I envisage some of the hundreds of thousands of intel office drones on blog duty; yes, blocking and pretending and astroturfing for sure, but perhaps also parsing participants into various buckets for particular programs. Maybe only two buckets – with us or against us, harmless or dangerous. The first are left alone, the second are subject to special treatment – stepped up surveil of posts and comments, emails and web activity with an eye for embarrassing detail; connection slowdowns or crashes; subtly altered web search results; critical mass tripwires to detect any worrying uptick in links with members of the same bucket. In fact why even bother with the first bucket?

    If they can do it, they will. They probably are.

    ‘Membership in an oppressed group entitles every person in that group to social justice. It does not entitle them to unjust authority, obedience or the ability to shut down debate.’

    Intriguing in light of the Panti video above. ‘Oppressed group’ definition is in the eye of the beholder.

    ‘We need work arounds so that we may speak and think freely’

    Agreed, but ‘work arounds’ will be in the eye of the beholder too, and some eyes are more equal, certainly more powerful than others.

    1. Jill


      There are oppressed groups in societies, this one included. I don’t see how to deny this. It’s complicated at the intersection of oppressions and being green often (but not always) does away with most problems caused by being a member of an oppressed group.

      Still, for me, even the most odious member of an oppressed group is due social justice. It is important to affirm the need of justice for all. We have to want that for every person or we don’t really want it for anyone–we just want ours and to hell with others.

      I’m not sure what you mean by work arounds being in the eye of the beholder. I do understand that more powerful people will have greater numbers of work arounds available to them. Is that what you mean?

      1. Glenn Condell

        No – if by ‘workarounds so that we may think and speak freely’ you mean political activism of one sort or another, or even just secretive channels for free communication, what I’m saying is that those holding the reins (and the whips) of a police state will not behold them as ‘workarounds’ They will be seen as a threat. As the George Washington link above indicates, ‘dissent’ will morph into ‘terrorism’ as soon as it peeks above the parapet and will be quashed accordingly. Hence the close watch kept on the contents of bucket no. 2.

        More and better workarounds will then be required but I don’t think there is an endless supply of those. At a certain point any hope that remains must be directed by work that doesn’t go around but through, into the centre. That’s why Occupy wiped the shit-eating grins off the power elite, for a short time at least. How that panned out is not encouraging.

        The only way to successfully realise the goal of freedom of thought and speech it seems to me is to engender a broad recognition that that biggest ‘oppressed group’ of them all is – the vast majority of us.

        1. Jill

          Glenn, I think your idea of going into the center makes a lot of sense. OWS did do that and there was/is a lot of state/corporate violence directed at that movement, as you point out.

  24. Hugh

    “Post-Snowden, why were U.S. diplomats talking on insecure line?”

    Why do our rich and elites do pretty much anything? Because they can. Because if they mess up this week, they are confident next week’s lie or distraction will send it down the memory hole. Indeed this could be an item meant to get us to forget some screwup from last week.

    A little off topic, I am reminded how Glenn Greenwald established his early reputation by resurrecting quotes of politician X, usually a Republican, supporting something they were now up in arms about because it was being done by a Democrat. To be fair to Greenwald, he has been part of the movement pointing out the Obot phenomenon of Democrats now supporting wholeheartedly policies they wanted to impeach Bush over.

    In the public sphere, this is an example of the Cheney effect, and yes, he probably borrowed it from Goebbels. The idea is that more people will hear and believe a lie than will hear and believe its rebuttal. In the private realm, as with this phone call, those in the world’s biggest and most intrusive surveillance state can get all outraged about how their privacy/secrecy has been violated. Call it the Snowden effect.

    But, as I said, since this episode helps us forget last week’s scandals and will be forgotten in the rush of next week’s scandals, it’s all good.

  25. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for not including a link to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. If you were otherwise occupied Friday evening, you may have missed the Opening Ceremony featuring selected “world leaders” viewing the participating athletes from a Stalinesque balcony inside the stadium. One of the animated Olympic rings failed to expand during the Intro music, so viewers were treated to four rings and an asterisk. Sweet!… Reportedly these corporate sponsored games had a price tag of $50 billion.

    Due to timely entrepreneurship, there’s now a T-shirt to commemorate this most excellent corporate moment:

    None of this is to diminish the participating athletes, most of whom have worked very long and very hard to compete in these games at the highest level of their respective sport.

    1. psychohistorian

      Moon Of Alabama dot org has a series of informative postings that point out the propaganda war being waged around the Olympics.

      I just hope the world powers love their children, including the US. As its empire crumbles it scares the shit out of me that someone might think that nuclear winter is a solution to propping up the class system, private property and inheritance.

    2. OIFVet

      Corporate or not, I find it funny and ironic just how much effort is expended by the US corporate media to knock Sochi down. It is also infuriating to me that this in effect kills whatever little Olympic spirit is left in the Olympics. NBC opening ceremony commentators had a rather strong preoccupation with the idea of a fallen empire, never failing to mention a former Soviet republic or satellite during the parade of nations. At one point they said something to the effect that most of the athletes of a former Soviet republic were born after the fall of the empire, i.e. freedom was on the march to borrow a Bushism. Left unsaid, of course, is that these athletes still lived in a world ruled by the American empire. Frankly the commentary, when not condescending, veered into ugly ignorant Americans rah-rah go USA territory. Not defending Putin and Russia, but the efforts to knock down Sochi over the past week seem nothing more than the efforts of a declining empire to convince itself that it is still the best. Much to defensive for a healthy hegemon.

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