Links 3/12/14

Thanks for all the good reader input re possible venues for our meet-up in DC next Tuesday, March 18, at 6:00 PM. Based on the responses, I think we’ll have at least 15 people, and it could be as many as 30.

But input is not a decision! So here are the criteria:

1. Not noisy. People need to be able to converse

2. Needs to have mingling room. All sit down is no good. But some people will probably want to eat, or rest their feet, or get a nosh, so some tables would be fine

3. Needs to be not pricey. Some of our readers are public servants who are severely underpaid, and I don’t want to be inconsiderate of their budgets. Sadly I think that rules out Vidalia, which otherwise seemed like a good choice

4. Does not need to be all that close to my hotel (Capital Hilton). It’s more important that the venue be good and not far from the hotel

5. Does not need to be fancy, but would be nice if the food is at least palatable

The idea that got the most mentions aside from Vidalia is P.J. Clarke. Another suggestion that might be a fit is Veranda.

Can you guys please duke it out in comments? One of my conditions of the event was that someone(s) local would need to pick a venue!

How a Leopard Seal Fed Me Penguins National Geographic (Robert M). We (and they) ran this story last year, but it’s still cool.

Drop bears target tourists, study says Australian Geographic

50 Things That Turn 50 in 2014 Mental Floss (John C)

Aggravated cat is subdued by Portland police after terrorizing family Oregonian (bob).

IPCC: 2015 last chance for cheap mitigation MacroBusiness. So we are about to pass an event horizon and suffer the consequences.

Drug company CEO refuses to sell life-saving drug to 7-year-old Josh Hardy Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Study: Women Who Can Do Math Still Don’t Get Hired New York Times (Cathy O’Neil, who is in despair over this). Wow, 2 1/2 times is a magic number for bias against women in math and the sciences. A study I quoted years ago found women in science had to have 2 1/2 as many citations as men to get tenure.

Computer Genius Builds Language That Lets Anyone Calculate Anything Business Insider

Apple iTax stings global consumers MacroBusiness

Make Disaster the Mother of Invention in Japan Bloomberg

Lost: The baffling disappearance of Flight MH370 Washington Post

From Malaysia: Spiritual Methods Used to Track Missing Malaysian Flight MH370 International Business Times

An Ugly Night In Asia Business Insider. In case you missed that.

Copper futures fall by daily limit Financial Times. China fallout.

Assessing Risk in China’s Shadow Banking System Triple Crisis

China Still Has a Long To-Do List on Banks WSJ Economics Blog

Xu Shaoshi says all is well with China’s economy Walter Kurtz

Canada & Korea Show Trade Treaties Can Skip Copyright Rule Changes Slashdot (Chuck L). The fact that Slashdot is on this beat is separately noteworthy.

Jean Pisani-Ferry: The Challenges of Europe’s Monetary Union INET

Of Masks and Shadows: The curious case of actors arrested on stage in Athens’ theater of the absurd Yanis Varoufakis

Urkraine:

Will Gazprom’s Energy Threat End up Backfiring? Motely Fool. This analysis is superficial, and I’d have more confidence in the conclusion if there was more detail. Plus if this struggle winds up being a protracted sanctions war, being able to ride out the summer is no proof that the Russians don’t have a strong hand when the weather gets cold again. Any reader insight here?

Russia ‘refuses to talk to Ukraine’ BBC. Duh, it does not recognize the government. And they aren’t gonna budge. That was obvious days ago.

Russia dashes diplomatic hopes Financial Times

Bound by treaty: Russia, Ukraine and Crimea DW

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How The FBI Has Been Working Hard To Deport Friends Of Guy They Killed During Interview About Boston Bombing Techdirt (Chuck L)

How CIA snooped on Senate Intel Committee’s files ars technica (Carol B)

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Obama’s Approval Rating Hits New Low Wall Street Journal. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy. If you throw ordinary people under the bus, they will eventually figure it out.

Obamacare opponent wins Florida poll Financial Times

Health Care Enrollment Falls Short of Goal, With Deadline Approaching New York Times

Embarrassing stories shed light on U.S. officials’ technological ignorance Network World (Chuck L)

A Powerful Story, But Not a True One Counterpunch

Fannie and Freddie shares plunge on Senate bill Financial Times

Wholesale Sales Unexpectedly Decline (Most in Nearly Five Years), Inventories Unexpectedly Rise Michael Shedlock

Obama Will Seek Broad Expansion of Overtime Pay New York Times

The Free Market’s Weak Hand James Kwak. Depressing how prevailing narratives continue to utterly miss how CDOs distorted prices on a mass scale in the RMBS markets.

Closing the door on the GFC Steve Keen

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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And a bonus video (Chuck L), so e-mail visitors need to visit the site to view it.

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145 comments

      1. huxley

        Alas, to have sunk so low as to have finally reached Sarah Barracuda. Such depths only prove the country has at long last accepted and embraced its utter hopelessness. Palin is truly a portent of the end times.

        Caribou Barbie: “Hey y’all!”

            1. optimader

              I think you’re dialing in on an accurate characterization. In an undisciplined mood I could easily plumb the Lower Control Limit of the NC Propriety Filter by specifying the part of the Mounts anatomy, but I won’t –even though it would all be Skippy’s fault for starting it..

    1. dearieme

      “Guy They Killed During Interview About Boston Bombing”: in the spirit of Waco and Ruby Ridge, I suppose. The Feds can kill ad lib.

  1. astrid

    Unfortunately, Vidalia does not post their happy hour menu online and I can’t find a recent copy. I will say that it’s much more affordable than their bar menu would suggest. A recent Zagat review of their happy hour (http://www.zagat.com/b/washington-dc/indulge-in-a-high-end-happy-hour) says:

    Where: Vidalia

    When: 5-7 PM, Monday-Friday

    Eat: Put the south in your mouth at this Golden Triangle destination with BBQ shrimp ($4.50) and pimento cheese ($3), or go in another direction with New England clam fritters ($4.50) or a banh mi slider ($3.50). There’s also the stand-by cheese and crackers ($3.50) and charcuterie ($4).

    Drink: Sip a Sazerac ($6.75) or a “special libation” ($8.50). Drafts start at $3.50, cans at three bucks. Wines by the glass go from $7.50-$9.

    Good to Know: Flattering lighting and comfortable settees make for a great, gathering scene . The bar menu changes frequently, keeping things interesting for regulars.

    1. astrid

      I spoke to Vidalia about accommodating groups in their bar/lounge area. No problem for a group of 15. They do want someone to call ahead to check if the group is bigger, because they occasionally use the lounge area as a reception area for their private function rooms.

        1. Sid Mahanta

          a few suggestions, at varying levels of caz/less caz:

          – Tabard Inn [can be pricey, but super cozy]
          – Dodge City
          – Busboys & Poets
          – Showtime [SUPER casual, i.e. divey. no food, but they don’t care if you bring your own!]

          1. Anon y Mouse

            Bus Boys and Poets might be ideal. Social justice friendly owner. Art. Pleasant. Food is decent enough.

      1. KC

        Another long time lurker here. I vote for Vidalia too. You can find their bar menu (which I assume is similar if not the same as the happy hour menu) online.

    2. Ernesto Lyon

      Buca di Beppo on Connecticut is affordable, spacious, and can accommodate parties of that size in private spaces (and is half a block from the Hilton).

      It’s a national chain that feels like a Disneyland reinvention of an Italian restaurant from the 70’s, and the food isn’t amazing (it’s decent), but it’s a great space to get people together in with room for standing and sitting. I have been to several parties at the Buca. It works.

      I will not be there, just throwing it out as a working option.

      1. EmilianoZ

        It’s not the same Hilton. The one you’re talking about is north of Dupont Circle. Capital Hilton is on 16th Street close to the White House. But the 2 are not that far apart. Walking from one to the other would take around 25 mn I would say.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Astrid,

      I took Vidalia OFF THE LIST because it is too pricey.

      You mean well, but you are actually undermining what I wrote. You are creating more work for me.

      And 15 people may be too few.

      Repeat after me: NO VIDALIA. FIND ANOTHER PLACE.

    1. dearieme

      Giles Coren is a tedious fellow (“fellow” being a well known Yiddish expression meaning ‘twat’).

      His father was a fine comic writer however.

      1. Jess

        Just curious: Why is “twat”, slang for a woman’s lady parts, an acceptable put down of a man but “pussy”, alternate slang for the same lady part, not?

        1. dearieme

          I don’t know. I’ve never heard “pussy” from native British speakers of English (tho’ The Young, who speak a bastardised subAmerican English, may use it for all I know).

          I can tell you that we have a pronunciation divide on the “t word”. Effete southerners say it to rhyme with ‘hat’, whereas Scots rhyme it with ‘what’.

          Anyway, pronounce it as you will, it fits Giles pretty well. His sister, though, seems to be made of much better stuff. I’ll bet she was the apple of Daddy’s eye.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Actually I had a higher hope or expectation that I had to lower even more – Vulcan Mind Meld.

      1. lambert strether

        And wow. Unpack the verbiage and the guy’s a neo-feudalist? I mean, there’s a (putative) technical basis for neo-feudalism? Conceived of as a reputation system, a la eBay?

    1. vlade

      Does it let me (assume I’m anybody) to calculate whether a given turing machine will or won’t stop on a given input( which I think does qualify as anything)? Now THAT would be news.

  2. eeyores enigma

    Attempting to address AGW by making it too expensive solves nothing.

    The biggest driver of continued and escalating carbon emissions is cost cutting.

    I got an idea for addressing the population issue. Lets make it too expensive to live. Oh! right thats already happening.

    1. huxley

      Levity aside, it is now too late to prevent catastrophic ecological collapse. It has been for a few years now. Some theorists believe there may still be some hope, but usually admit their hope isn’t at all realistic. Significant political will to change isn’t expected to arise until the decline in the human population becomes precipitious, by which time it will have been far too late to do much about it for many years. Likely scenarios suggest that those with power in the world will simply engage in whatever countermeasures are possible and hope a few people are still left when we hit bottom. And if not, oh well. Life will go on without us, and will very likely be better for it.

        1. huxley

          No more than a few decades. You may as well enjoy the intervening years while you can, since you’ll suffer in your decrepitude anyway and global disaster won’t matter to you.

          1. optimader

            My environmental control will be steam powered, so short of a frozen earth’s mantel I’m good. Should that actually happen before my fullscale decrepitude, it will be So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This might explain the eagerness for lawlessness and the temporizing-as-long-as possible strategy – who will have the resources during the coming collapse to go after these bandits?

        As I asked yesterday – is it already too late?

        Will some sinister group use the pretense of Zero Carbon to hoard even more resources for themselves?

        ?!?!?!?!?

        1. huxley

          You can be certain that the PTB are fully aware of what is to come and are positioning themselves to their best advantage as they see it. Their plans do not include you or me. It’s not as if you have the power to affect anything outside your own situation, and even there are likely to be pretty limited, so don’t worry about it too much.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you be crunchy and taste good with ketchup. If you do, make sure your life insurance is paid up and you have an exit plan. And good luck to you.

    1. optimader

      I puzzle on the logic of Russia ruled **** for **** years. So what? What does that have to do with the price of cheese in Scotland if a former territory in now officially a Sovereign?
      Does British colonial rule in what is presently the United States of America from ~1607 ’til 1776 give them some do-over privileges in at least some part of the original 13 colonies?

      I think not.

      1. allcoppedout

        Quite so Optim – handing Crimea back to the Tartars so they could start slaving again is not an option, much as handing Scotland back to the ‘Wild Irish’ as they were known in their slave and cattle raiding days would be a bad move. I suppose we could all be DNA profiled and sent back to places of preponderant origin. That would raise the price of cheese in Scotland as far more of us live as exiles than in the homeland. Makes as much sense to me as what they’ve told us on quantitative easing.

  3. Katniss Everdeen

    David Stockman’s new website launched March 12. It has a very interesting cast of contributors including Charles Hugh Smith, Wolf Richter, Mike Shedlock, Justin Raimondo and James Howard Kunstler! Not to mention Stockman himself.

    That’s quite a group, and there are more.

    Here is Stockman’s “rant” on Ukraine, neocons, the war machine etc. It’s a good one.

    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/2014/03/11/the-ukraine-the-war-party-and-the-pentagons-swamp-of-waste/

    1. Murky

      The vineyardsaker blogger is brilliant. Can’t figure out who this guy is. Anybody have a clue?

        1. psychohistorian

          Come on now, get real.

          In 1973 they gave it to international war criminal Henry Kissinger and they have never rescinded that one…and I would posit that Henry has significantly more blood on his hands than Obama at this point….but he does still have a few years left to overtake Kissinger…..GAG!

  4. abynormal

    WARSAW–Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk Wednesday urged the European Union to consider joint natural gas purchases for the entire bloc in order to strengthen its purchasing power with Russia amid rising tensions in Ukraine.

    Mr. Tusk has been vocal recently about the high reliance of the European Union on gas supplies from its eastern neighbor making a decisive reaction to Russia’s actions in Crimea more difficult.

    “Should the European Union decide first to buy gas then distribute it between member states depending on needs then no one, not even Russia, can neglect such a large client,” Mr. Tusk told the Polish public radio, adding it would stop Russia from “playing different EU states when it comes to gas purchases.” (shifting Lamberts ole saying from What to HOW much could go wrong)

    EU energy security is one of the topics Mr. Tusk will cover with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to Poland later Wednesday.

    Over the past few years Poland has taken steps to lessen its reliance on imports from its eastern neighbor and has been building pipelines connecting it with European Union neighbors to the west and south, as well as a liquefied natural gas port on the Baltic coast allowing it to bring in imports from Qatar.

    On Tuesday the country also offered six-year tax breaks to the shale gas industry to speed up exploration work. (watch what you wish for = watch what you tax break for)
    http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2014/03/12/poland-urges-eu-to-buy-russian-gas-as-single-bloc/?mod=WSJBlog

    1. huxley

      Tax breaks are almost always self-defeating. If the venture is expected to be profitable investors will pursue it regardless of tax breaks, which typically serve only to maximize rent extraction. Taxes are levied on profits, not revenue.

    1. fresno dan

      Drop bears target tourists, study says Australian Geographic

      “Volker suggests several methods bushwalkers can adopt to defend against potential drop bear attacks. These include wearing forks in the hair, spreading Vegemite behind the ears or under the armpits, and even urinating on oneself, to deter the species.”

      Fortunately I read the article till the end, as I was about to suggest that the Australian accent was not responsible for the paucity of attacks on natives, but the natives knowledge to give a wide birth to these dangerous, but cute, denizens of the treetops….

  5. abynormal

    I’m a coffee lover, and this is getting personal. (same here…how else can i absorb Skippy’s Palin Links and a fool with camera vs young Elk)

    Brazil, the top producer of arabica coffee, has gotten hammered by drought. A few analysts have cut their estimates for the 2014/15 crop, with a leery eye on the 2015/16 crop. It’s not a catastrophe for the rest of the world, and there is a pretty good chance we won’t have to switch to drinking hot water.

    But it was good enough for traders to nudge coffee futures up a few cents from their multi-year low of just over a buck a pound in November. In January, once the charts gave the go-ahead – among them, James Ferro of Signalinea posted his call on January 29 – traders piled in and went haywire and catapulted coffee futures to today’s high of $2.089 (before it ran out of hot air), having doubled in four months.
    http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/3/12/coffee-the-craziest-chart-of-the-year-already.html

    1. Jim Haygood

      While commodities overall (including coffee) have risen sharply in 2014, one economically sensitive raw material — copper — plunged below the psychologically important $3.00 a pound round number yesterday in response to inventory liquidation in China.

      Yet another reason for the Federal Reserve’s Flying Yellendas to protect us from demon deflation. Thus (absurdly), probably the best hedge against crashing copper prices is to buy stocks.

      It’s the complete opposite of the Crash of 1907, when a raging copper bubble popped. We’ve got bigger, better, officially-sponsored bubbles now. A round of coffee for all!

  6. diptherio

    If the elk was able to make it up to the photographer before he could get back to his car, then no, I don’t think he was shooting from a safe distance. He’s lucky he didn’t get an antler through the abdomen.

    1. Jagger

      That was clearly a dangerous situation. I am surprised so many occupied vehicles allowed it to go on as long as they did without doing anything. Any of them could have drove up, beeping horn, elk leaves or backs off, the photographer enters vehicle and you get out of there. That elk could have seriously injured or even killed that photographer. Fortunately it didn’t happen.

      1. Lord Koos

        My thoughts exactly — had I been driving the black SUV I would have run the elk off with it after a few minutes. We have a lot of elk in these parts (central WA) and I’ve never seen or heard of behavior like that. Funny enough, the guy chose the wrong response — notice that the elk backed off when he stood up.

      2. nobody

        Unfortunately, things did not end well for the elk:

        Update: I’ve been in contact with the photographer in the above video and we would both like to issue a statement regarding the news of the National Park Service’s decision to put the elk down.

        My statement:

        I am deeply saddened by the fate of the elk. It has certainly pulled a black cloud over this whirlwind “viral video” experience.

        I spoke to the reporter who broke the story and she assured me the decision was based on a pattern of aggressive behavior that began prior to the incident documented in this video. The behavior was the result of visitors feeding the elk and conditioning them to seek food from humans. This video only serves as an example of the elk’s dangerous behavior, not an impetus to it.

        Again, it brings me great sadness to learn of this beautiful animal’s demise and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it.

        I’m looking into a destination for proceeds from this video to help the NPS educate visitors on the dangers and consequences of feeding wildlife.

        I also want to be clear that James, the photographer, was not complicit in a behavior that led to the elk’s demise, but rather was made an example of the result of such behaviors. The elk approached him from behind, likely looking for food as he was conditioned to do.

        Statement from James (the photographer):

        I love and respect animals and that’s why I photograph them and don’t hunt them. I am deeply hurt by the loss of such a beautiful creature that in its own way bonded with me. I looked forward to watching him grow to a mature bull as the years passed.

        I’m truly heartbroken to know he is gone.

      3. ohmyheck

        You may be surprised that onlookers didn’t do anything, but I’m not. Plenty of people have no common sense when it comes things.
        I was driving miles from nowhere, and the Basque sheepherders had there sheep grazing near the highway. Their big old Great Pyrenees dog was near the road barking, for whatever reason, boredom perhaps, and this couple got out and tried to coax the dog into their car because they thought it was abandoned.

        Big sheep dog—-sheep nearby—- Basque trailer on the hill above—nope…they got nuthin.

        Thankfully the dog knew its place, more so than the couple, and bugged out of there.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I wonder why the photographer didn’t try poking the elk’s eye when he head butted him.

        1. optimader

          1965 family vacation –road trip to Yellowstone NP. Waiting in a line of traffic watching a couple bears on the side of the road in the ‘ol Crysler Newport.
          We saw a man get out of his car w/ a half full bag of marshmallows and start feeding the bears. My mother told my dad, in essence “get the hell outa here, I don’t want the kids to see what happens when he runs out of marshmallows.”
          Chicago street smarts applied to the great outdoors. As a kid I always wish we stayed. Now, maybe not so much?

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Study: Women Who Can Do Math Still Don’t Get Hired

    These results should surprise no one.

    In this country today, women are still required to get permission from men before making their most fundamental, personal decision–whether or not to give birth. And, of course, to suffer all manner of humiliations at the hands of men in making and defending their choice. (Vaginal probes, anyone?)

    Regardless of your religious convictions, this one fact cannot be construed, in ANY way, as respect for a woman’s abilities, cognitive or otherwise.

    That ceding this most basic control over one’s life has consequences far beyond the biological is to be expected. Until an end is put to this pitiful submission, the hand-wringing and “despair” will continue.

    1. JEHR

      Well, I, for one, think the cat was being kind to just do that! Notice that the dog kept his distance after the attack.

        1. bob

          I’ll take the other side of that one.

          Did you see the cat advance on the dog, and the dog retreat at the end?

          Was the cat harassing the dog to begin with?

          I always get a kick out of the little guy winning, but am wondering if the big guy in that neighborhood was the cat.

    1. huxley

      World wars have been started for less, and we’re years overdue for another one. We can afford to lose a billion or two in another world war, especially since we’re bound to lose just about everybody when the planets ecological system collapses anyway.

      I’m not in a hurry, but nobody asked me.

  8. Savonarola

    Why not do the Tabbard Inn? On a Tuesday, it should be practically dead anywhere and noise should not be a terrible problem. If you talk to them, you can probably get the room with all the couches and the fireplace.

    Otherwise, think about something like “Off the Record” at the Hay Adams or heading up to Dupont and doing a whole room at the Brickskeller or something (or whatever the Brickskeller is called these days). They still have a good happy hour. It’s a rotten shame that the Town & Country at the Mayflower closed – that place was my ideal.

    1. Savonarola

      You are also close to the 14K at the Hamilton, which is where the bartender from the Mayflower wound up (and hopefully is still). Good, CHEAP happy hour. Another option.

      1. Blair

        14K has some appeal: it’s better than a hotel bar ought to be, it’s seldom crazy, and the happy hour was definitely good value as of a couple of weeks ago.

      2. Grant

        I work next door to 14k at the Hamilton (corner of 14th & K NW). Its a nice bar, affordable, and the food is good (maybe not great but its a bar). Also centraly located and Metro accessible. If there’s interest I could investigate space for 15-30.

          1. Grant

            I just spoke to the manager of 14K and they will reserve some tables for us on Tuesday 3/18 at 6 pm, requesting a finer headcount than 15-30 closer to the event. So, is this meet up a go at this location and is there a way for people to reconfirm their plan to attend?

  9. Murky

    Thanks for the link. Gives good context about Ukraine’s relevance to American interests. Summed up, that’d be: no relevance. But the US State department, military, and security apparatus will aggressively meddle in Ukraine anyway, because they can.

      1. Ulysses

        Thanks Diptherio!

        For those unfamiliar with the Iron Law:
        “Iron Law of Institutions. The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

        This is true for all human institutions, from elementary schools up to the United States of America. If history shows anything, it’s that this cannot be changed. What can be done, sometimes, is to force the people running institutions to align their own interests with those of the institution itself and its members.” http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/001705.html

        This is, of course, merely a reformulation of the iron law of oligarchy in bureaucracies put forward by Max Weber’s pal Robert Michels early in the 20th c.

  10. Jim Haygood

    What is the ‘Apple iTax’? The linked article, which claims that consumers are getting ‘stung’ by it, defines it this way:

    ‘Apple, famous for its innovative products, is equally creative in its tax structure. From 2009 to 2012, it successfully sheltered US$44 billion from being taxed anywhere in the world.’

    If Apple paid higher taxes, then consumers would have to pay more for its products. In the inverted world of the journo gov-lover, paying less for products means getting ‘stung’ because the producer wasn’t taxed enough.

    How about taxing MSM drivel by the word? WIN-WIN!

    1. huxley

      “If Apple paid higher taxes, then consumers would have to pay more for its products.”

      Corporatist propaganda, long since refuted. I call bullshit. When they do pay taxes, corporations pay taxes on profits, not revenues. They have already maximized their prices and do not change prices on how they are taxed.

      How’s that career as a corporatist shill going? Pretty good?

    2. Emma

      “Apple, famous for its innovative products”

      Ummm….didn’t all the innovative technology for Jobs iPhone come from the Government ie. internet, touchscreens, gps and SIRI, just like rocket science?

    3. Robert Frances

      It’s true that corporations and other fictional entities like trusts and partnerships never “pay” taxes; only humans pay taxes. Businesses, including corporations, can be very effective tax “collectors,” however, assuming it’s an equitable and well-constructed tax that’s being collected. The business “profits” tax is not equitable since it’s fairly easy for large businesses to use a myriad of partnerships, trusts, corporations and “special purpose vehicles” to shift profits all over the globe. Most of the profit is allocated to low and no-tax jurisdictions like the Caymans, Hong Kong, Singapore, Netherlands and other tax favored locations. The allocations are usually supported by 8-foot stacks of documents prepared by economists, lawyers and accountants to justify the “transfer pricing” used to allocate profits to low-tax jurisdictions.

      A much better tax on large businesses would be based on gross sales, or what’s called a “turnover tax” in some countries, with higher marginal tax rates on the largest businesses. It’s almost impossible for companies to evade a low, broad-based tax on company sales.

      As for the statement that “prices will go up if taxes go up,” that’s a complete fallacy and common myth. Businesses set prices at the highest possible level someone is willing to pay. Costs have little to do with prices other than companies will exit a business if the profit margins aren’t high enough to justify the investment.

      After a few decades working in corporate tax departments, my rules of thumb are:

      1) If taxes are increased on businesses, they will try to push the tax increase onto their customers. If they can’t, then the business owners/shareholders or employees will absorb the tax cost. Executive pay is rarely affected when business taxes increase.

      2) If business taxes are decreased, then the executives and shareholders will reap most of the windfall. Consumer prices are rarely affected when business taxes decrease.

      One reason why the stock market is reaching new highs is because both Dems and Repubs seem to agree on reducing corporate taxes, which means EPS will increase and stock prices adjust upward accordingly.

  11. JEHR

    Regarding Greece leaving the EU and Scotland leaving GB:

    In Canada, we have the problem arising again of Quebec threatening to leave Canada. The premier of that province says she will use the dollar as currency and there will be no borders. I wonder: if Quebec uses the dollar will it be better off to separate? Wouldn’t the Bank of Canada have control of interest rates and money supply for Quebec and wouldn’t that be similar to the monetary union for individual countries in Europe? I live in the Atlantic region and we have to pass through Quebec to get to the rest of Canada so we will need a very, very long bridge to get there!

  12. AD

    Oh, those busy NSAers..


    How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware
    (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/12/nsa-plans-infect-millions-computers-malware/)

    Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process. The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

    1. JTFaraday

      So, what’s Greenwald’s boss’s business angle on this? We know what Mark Ames’ bosses at Pando think– they’re all for it.

  13. Garrett Pace

    You should take photos of the attendees and (with their permission) post them here to see if we can guess their identities from their appearances….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That would be an added bonus if the place is where politicians hang out.

      Be nice to study, first hand, the mating and money-making rituals of the powerful.

      We have’ studied’ enough of the mating and money-making rituals of the so-called ‘primitive peoples’ of the world.

      1. Propertius

        That would be an added bonus if the place is where politicians hang out.

        Only if you had the foresight to bring a rope.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Fresh neocon lies from the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

    The U.S. military is prepared to back up NATO if the unrest in Ukraine escalates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said Friday.

    “We do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies. And I have assured them that if that treaty obligation is triggered, we would respond. . . .”

    http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/dempsey-us-military-will-fulfill-treaty-obligations-to-nato-

    ————

    NATO is a collective defense treaty, and Ukraine is not a member. No ‘treaty obligations’ can exist in Ukraine. But ever since Clinton involved NATO in ‘out of area’ operations in Kosovo, and Bush did the same in Afghanistan, NATO has become a rogue organization, no longer bound by its defensive treaty.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Yes, we will pay the Russian Army upkeep with purchase of the Russian helicopters for the Afghan Army while we are launching OPERATION TEAR DOWN THIS WALL REDUX.

      Hegemony, it’s not just a fancy word used by pseudo intellectuals or pseudo leftist, it’s policy.

      —————————————————————————————————————————-

      Why is US buying Russian helicopters for Afghan military?

      The Pentagon bypassed US helicopter makers, choosing to spend more than $1 billion on dozens of Russian Mi-17 helicopters. A study shows the Chinook built by Boeing is a better fit.
      http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2013/1207/Why-is-US-buying-Russian-helicopters-for-Afghan-military

      ———————————————————————————————————–

      Exclusive: Russian ‘Blackwater’ Takes Over Ukraine Airport
      The troops who have taken over two airports in Crimea are not Russian military, but they could be security contractors working for the Russian military, and they are there to stay.

      Private security contractors working for the Russian military are the unmarked troops who have now seized control over two airports in the Ukrainian province of Crimea, according to informed sources in the region. And those contractors could be setting the stage for ousted President Viktor Yanukovich to come to the breakaway region.

      The new Ukrainian government in Kiev has accused Moscow of “an armed invasion and occupation” in the Crimean cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol, where well-armed and well-organized troops with no markings or identification have taken control of the airports. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Secretary of State John Kerry over the phone Friday that no Russian military or marines have been deployed outside of the base of the Black Sea Fleet, which is anchored nearby, officials in both governments said.

      Lavrov was technically telling the truth, but the troops are being directed by the Russian government. Although not confirmed, informed sources in Moscow are telling their American interlocutors that the troops belong to Vnevedomstvenaya Okhrana, the private security contracting bureau inside the Russian interior ministry that hires mercenaries to protect Russian Navy installations and assets in Crimea. Other diplomatic sources said that the troops at the airport were paramilitary troops but not specifically belonging to Vnevedomstvenaya Okhrana.

      “They don’t have Russian military uniforms and the Russia government is denying they are part of the Russian military. Actually most of them may be Ukrainian citizens. But these are people that are legally allowed to perform services to the Russian fleet,” said Dimitri Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/28/exclusive-russian-blackwater-takes-over-ukraine-airport.html
      ————————————————————————————————————————-
      “HALF A LEAGUE, HALF LEAGUE, HALF A LEAGUE ONWARD
      ALL INTO THE VALLEY OF DEATH ROAD THE 600”

      From The Charge of Light Brigade by Tennyson, a little poem about a The Crimean War. Note to President, try reading it instead of filling out your March Madness brackets, oh right, this is The March Madness of the War Party. Stop appeasing them Mr President, get on the phone and take out your pen, you have domestic battles to fight.

      If you look at what is going on in that entire part of the world, not just the pimple on the Russian territory represented by the Crimean portion of Ukraine, you see that a citizenry up on the barricades in the Streets of Kiev does not bode well. The relationship between Russian and the Ukraine, as defined by the treaty that allows the Russian Black Sea Fleet to be stationed in Crimea, where it has been for hundreds of years, is being protected by a private military corporation, hence the flagless military presence protecting the military assets of Russia in a nation that just had its elected president flee for his life from a mob in front of its capital building. Sounds like the Policeman of Europe taking care of business for its G8 partners, showing a little initiative in the neo-liberal fashion. It’s positively libertarian with the stateless police force coming into play, dodging the accusations that Russia is invading, state on state crime, instead, private military protection that Rand Paul would be proud of. I think he is.

      The Police Man of the world has had a good partner in the Policeman of Europe since WWII. They have been and really were our best ally. They took care of their part of the world, did not ask for dime and kept the social order humming. Now, they are doing the same thing in a multi polar political hegemony, in a neo-liberal style without tanks, thanks to the lessons of Tianeman Square. And they get the job without wholesale slaughter, it looks not too bad compared to say, Syria. It looks more like an Israeli Defense Force counter move than a ham fisted Saddam Hussein.

      And just look at the thanks they get. So, Obama will have to look like that the US still owns the world and can tell everybody what to do, how to do it, and wait until we sell them tools to do it they way they were told to. And Gates, well, Crimea is GONE! Where did it go? Who took it? Did they leave a ransom note? It’s positively Agatha Christie time with that old what’s her name actress. You can hear The National Review now: “HOW OBAMA LOST THE CRIMEA, THE UKRAINE AND REBUILT THE IRON CURTAIN”. Meanwhile, Gates oversaw the Russian helicopter deal for $1Bil to the Russians. Did he lose Afghanistan for Boeing?

  15. Agent 99

    Ars Technica’s tut-tutting explanation of FBI conduct – silly feds just detain and abuse everybody who knew anybody: that’s disengenous. FBI is panicking about the unraveling Boston Marathon show trial, http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/03/11/9006/

    The funny part is, they seem to think that only Chechens can disprove their Tsarnaev cover story. Sad to say, when the spooks were parading their patsy Tamerlan around on their very, very short leash, their tradecraft was pathetically inept. They left so many dots to connect, they’re all touching each other. Tam’s handlers are in neck-deep. The Russians are on to them, of course, but they don’t have much dirt that isn’t evident at home. The spooks must keep Dzokar out of any independent court, for fear of what will out. Even now they don’t know the full extent of their OPSEC lapses. This could be the first CIA Gladio stunt that gets exposed in real time.

    1. psychohistorian

      I like your handle and comment. Can you talk into your shoe?…grin

      I agree that our spooks are seemingly imploding as we watch but am not holding my breath for the outcome.

    1. abynormal

      i got enough history w/Cat to be impressed…for now i know Why they made my life he!! too many yrs

      “How does one become a butterfly?” she asked. “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

      1. optimader

        Are you a Peorian Aby? The modern company town

        The risk of the Cat suit here would be a Mrs. Kravitz neighbor calling police and then getting shot by Barney Fife in his SWAT costume.

        1. abynormal

          peoria wouldn’t want me near them’) about the only thing decent to come out of Cat was cat yellow in a can and thats long gone…barney fife funnee

  16. optimader

    “The U.S. military is prepared to back up NATO if the unrest in Ukraine escalates…”

    A more candid statement would be whether NATO is willing to support U.S. military intentions?

    “We do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies”
    And Ukraine is not on of them.

    BTW.. just for a fun fact –w/o looking everyone should guess the population of the Crimea to the nearest Million..

    1. optimader

      Reading Jim’s full post

      “No ‘treaty obligations’ can exist in Ukraine.”

      The reason (at least the one I am aware of) is because the Ukraine hosts a foreign military base(s).

      1. Jim Haygood

        Article 5 of the NATO treaty:

        ‘The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence … will assist the Party or Parties so attacked.’

        http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17120.htm

        Ukraine not being a Party to the treaty, the US can’t possibly have an obligation to defend it, with or without the presence of foreign military bases.

        1. optimader

          Indeed that, my only point is that the Ukraine could not be fast-tracked into NATO due to existing agreements w/ Russia.
          One interesting (bad) scenario would be if some group (Russian or Ukrainian) shot down a NATO surveillance aircraft over the Crimean border..

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Or if someone PRETENDING to be Russian or Ukranian shot down a NATO surveillance aircraft of the Crimean border…..

            Wasn’t Bush thinking of trying something like that in the Middle East?

            1. Propertius

              I’m not sure about Bush, but Curtis LeMay suggested something similar to provide justification for a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union back in the ’50s.

  17. BondsOfSteel

    RE: How CIA snooped on Senate Intel Committee’s files

    Wow. Yet another attempt at silencing a whistleblower? If so, it pretty much validates Snowden and the actions he took. If you can’t whistleblow to the Senate intel oversight committee… or the White House counsel… who then?

  18. Jackrabbit

    Keen: Closing the Door on the GFC

    The ‘door’ may be closed but the hangover remains: long-term unemployed, distrust in government, higher sovereign debt levels, increased inequality, etc.

    As an (monetary) economist Keen doesn’t give a rat’s ass about these things. They simply represent the results of the implicit ‘negotiation’ among different interests.

    And how’s the ‘negotiation’ over climate change going? Today’s links reveal: IPCC: 2015 Last Chance for Cheap Mitigation.

  19. J.

    Important fact left out of many versions of Ragey Cat’s story: Baby pulled the cat’s tail, resulting in a mild scratch on the forehead.

    My parents would have said to baby: Don’t pull the cat’s tail.

  20. F. Beard

    re China Still Has a Long To-Do List on Banks :

    Here’s a short one: Euthanized them!

    Banks have been and always will be troublesome since they are a form of gambling (borrowing short to lend long is gambling). Attempts by government to make banking more stable make it more crooked and merely delay the day of reckoning at the cost of making that day more painful, if not a massive, down-right bloodbath as WWII was.

  21. Jessica

    A theory I read somewhere about the Malaysia Air airliner that makes sense is that cracks under the fuselage skin (which the warning was issued for) caused a gradual decompression that snuck up on everyone and rendered everyone unconscious and the plane just flew on.
    This would explain the lack of both any distress signal and any sign of the plane.
    There are problems with this theory, but it makes more sense than any other I have heard. I even wonder why I have seen so little mention of this possibility.

    1. skippy

      The fracture point is also in close proximity to the satellite dish, so it takes out the GPS location transmitter.

  22. No-one

    This wouldn’t have taken out the transponder, so it would it reappeared as soon as it came within range of any AC radar.

  23. Jim S

    The International Business Times MH370 link goes to a student loan story. My search skills fail me trying to find the correct story.

  24. rur42

    I’m still trying to figure out why the nurturing leopard seal is such a great story.

    Of course I’m looking at it from the penguins’ point of view.

  25. Ottawan

    In the snippet from Slashdot, Prof Michael Geist gets a brief moment in the sun. He produces a lot of good material. His focus is intellectual property and law. He frequently comments on ip issues in public fora…and frequently brings the righteous hammer down!
    A good nerd and (probably) a good Ottawan.

  26. allcoppedout

    I’ve lost the will to live on global warming. It’s just another thing we can’t organise like peace, decent living space, reasonable equality, working out what work needs doing, how to motivate, share out and reward that work, non-crony democracy, green energy, means to leave the planet – I wonder how long this list would be? Fear not, economics will save us, just as it always has since we were so much worse off as hunter gatherers. The NC get together may as well be at Beard’s place. Everyone bring a shipbuilding tool.

  27. Synopticist

    Those leopard seals are scary looking animals. Frightening.
    I think I read about a female underwater camaraperson who was killed by some, in similar circumstances to this guy.

  28. voltaic

    Interesting how there is so little response to GOP ending the unemployment benefits of 2,000,000 American families and adding 75,000 a week to that number. While Wall St. bonuses are up 155 thanks to fed policy and taxpayer bailouts, Throughout 2013, an average of 2.3 million children — or about 3.3% of all kids in the U.S. — lived with a parent who had been seeking work for at least half a year, according to new figures from the Urban Institute.

    Cutting the financial lidfeline to so many millions is standard GOP policy, but it shouldn’t be ignored. As the GOP House and useless Democrat senate prepare for another two week vacation, millions more are wondering if they will have a roof over their head next week.
    http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/unemployment-benefits-extension-vote-likely-delayed/
    And one dad’s decision to commit suicide because of no job and GOP ending unemployment benefits: http://www.examiner.com/article/no-unemployment-extension-equals-suicide

    Come on Naked Capitalism, gives this some space….

  29. voltaic

    Interesting how there is so little response to GOP ending the unemployment benefits of 2,000,000 American families and adding 75,000 a week to that number. While Wall St. bonuses are up 15% thanks to fed policy and taxpayer bailouts, Throughout 2013, an average of 2.3 million children — or about 3.3% of all kids in the U.S. — lived with a parent who had been seeking work for at least half a year, according to new figures from the Urban Institute.

    Cutting the financial lidfeline to so many millions is standard GOP policy, but it shouldn’t be ignored. As the GOP House and useless Democrat senate prepare for another two week vacation, millions more are wondering if they will have a roof over their head next week.
    http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/unemployment-benefits-extension-vote-likely-delayed/
    And one dad’s decision to commit suicide because of no job and GOP ending unemployment benefits: http://www.examiner.com/article/no-unemployment-extension-equals-suicide

    Come on Naked Capitalism, gives this some space….

    1. psychohistorian

      As sick as this is I read somewhere today that our congresscritters “can’t” vote on this until after the next recess.

      This is what genocide looks like in our “new world”

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