Links 3/17/14

Ladybirds can fly 74 miles in one go: Research shows insects can also travel as fast as racehorse and fly at height of 3,600ft Daily Mail

The Finance Macro Canon Noahpinion

There is no meritocracy: It’s just the 1 percent, and the game is rigged Salon

Piketty’s Triumph American Prospect. Ah, Jacob Hacker, who dreamed up the “public option” that “progressives” used to bait-and-switch single payer into ObamaCare, is a co-author. That’s a confidence builder.

Oxfam report reveals scale of Britain’s growing financial inequality Guardian. The front page headline is better: “Five families richer than UK’s poorest 20% – Oxfam”

Former Citi CEO Sandy Weill Is Selling His Stunning Greenwich Estate For $14 Million Business Insider. From bell push to faucet….

Big banks put forex bonuses on hold FT

$500 Million Worth Of Bitcoin Has Been Stolen Since 2010 Business Insider. As Yves says: “Prosecution futures.”

Locking Up the Banksters: It’s Not Hard CEPR

The Fed Absolutely Shouldn’t Give Up on the Long-Term Unemployed Atlantic. Why not? Permanently high disemployment is the preferred policy of the 0.01%, successfully achieved under Obama.

Old Bull Shows Its Age WSJ

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Angry Bear

In a tech bubble with a twist, the big danger is bonds Gillian Tett, FT

China Announced A Historic Policy Shift Over The Weekend — The Big Question Is What Happens Next Business Insider

Asian Stocks Drop After Worst Weekly Loss Since 2012  Bloomberg

#MH370: Are impenetrable radar defenses in SE and Central Asia vulnerable? FDL


Crimeans vote over 90 percent to quit Ukraine for Russia  Reuters

Crimea accession: Russia’s parliament to pass necessary laws CBC. Word of the day: “Accession.”

Crimea crisis is moment of truth for Europe’s global ambitions FT

Ukraine crisis: EU ponders Russia sanctions over Crimea vote BBC

Ukraine: U.S. Takes Off-Ramp, Agrees To Russian Demands Moon of Alabama

Russia’s $160 Billion Stick Hinders Crimean Sanctions Bloomberg

Crisis in Ukraine: German Firms Lose Sway Over Relations With Moscow WSJ

Firtash Stays in Custody as $174 Million Bail Is Set Bloomberg. Ukrainian squillionaire.

New Thai “red shirt” leader may escalate fight to save PM Reuters

Silent no more Bangkok Post


Money’s influence in health care isn’t on patients’ side Everett Herald

Obamacare enrollment push glosses over next year’s fines, some say Newark Star-Ledger

White House to begin Obamacare March Madness Monday CNN

Dems in Distress Modo, Times

The politics of hopelessness E.J. Dionne, WaPo

The Town That Turned Poverty Into a Prison Sentence The Nation (SW)

Brooklyn men sue NYPD cops for trying to take their White Castle sliders and getting arrested when they refused Daily News. Lucky the sliders weren’t donuts!

Investors Debate The Ethics Of Anonymity Apps Techcrunch

The Web’s First Rules of Etiquette Still Define the Internet Today Vice. The “Etiquette” page from TBL’s site at CERN.

Read this to find out how Upworthy’s awful headlines changed the web Guardian

The Facebook experiment has failed. Let’s go back. Medium

Something Dead Wrong Here: Investigating the Mysterious and Central Character, “Danny.” Who What Why. Boston Marathon bombing.

France bans Monsanto GM maize ahead of sowing season Reuters

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’? Guardian. I hope the elite figures out danger rooms and gated communities aren’t going to help them.

In 1975, the CIA Director Told Congress That Enemies of America Could Destroy the CIA with Freedom of Information Act Requests Observations on Credit and Surveillance. Stoller’s doing important work on the back stories elite perps work to conceal.

Antidote du jour (Barbara Moorman). There may be spring this year:


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. dearieme

    “Former Citi CEO Sandy Weill Is Selling His Stunning Greenwich Estate For $14 Million”: I trust that everyone pronounces his surname in the correct German style?

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Weill is selling his cold, sterile, colorless mausoleum; open sepulchre to be held next weekend.

  2. Lloyd Blankfein

    “There may be spring this year”
    Wanna bet? Remember, there were only 3 days I was wrong last year.

  3. Steve

    Looking through the pictures of the Greenwich Estate, what jumped out at me was “that’s a library?”. These people don’t read.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’m always suspicious when these “tours” don’t show the kitchen(s????) or bathrooms.

      I always figure that means they are too “personal” and need remodeling.

  4. Andrew Watts

    RE: Ukraine: U.S. Takes Off-Ramp, Agrees To Russian Demands

    So the resolution is basically the original plan formulated by the European Union. This plan involved early elections that probably would have ousted Yanukovich from office without the need for a coup. But hey, f— the EU. Russia gained Crimea in the process and they’re free to squeeze Ukraine into their sphere of influence. Another glorious victory for the American empire.

    Mr. President, we can win a war with Russia. Just write off Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, St. Louis, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and other metropolitan cities. Totally worth it.

    RE: In 1975, the CIA Director Told Congress That Enemies of America Could Destroy the CIA with Freedom of Information Act Requests

    It’s a valid concern. It does have the potential to damage the agency that reveals their secrets. Especially if those materials deal with sources and methods of their intelligence capabilities.

    Occasionally I’m surprised by the depth of the declassified material that is voluntarily disclosed.

    1. SufferinSuccotash

      “Mr. President, I didn’t say we wouldn’t get our hair mussed!” — Gen. Buck Turgidson USAF.

    2. neo-realist

      Phoenix, metropolitan?? There may be a few too many right wing asshats for that designation; San Diego and Las Vegas, kinda boarderline?

  5. diptherio

    Put on your tinfoil hats:

    Head of Wilkes-Barre City Employees FCU Dead From Gunshot Wound

    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Jim Payne, head of Wilkes-Barre City Employees FCU, was found dead at his home Monday from a gunshot wound.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation stated that the CU was a target of an ongoing corruption investigation, according to a published report. State police believe foul play was not involved in Payne’s death.

    Late last week the FBI served a subpoena on Wilkes-Barre City Employees FCU. Sean Quinn, director of the FBI’s Scranton, Penn., office, acknowledged the corruption investigation, stating arrests would be coming. He did not say, though, if Payne, 50, was a target.

    “I can tell you [Payne’s death] is a very sad and regrettable incident, and I believe it is the byproduct of corruption,” Quinn told The Scranton Times-Tribune. “I don’t attribute it to the investigation, but I attribute it to corruption.”

    State police Lt. Richard Krawetz said troopers responded to a call to Payne’s Bear Creek Twp. residence around 4 p.m., Monday. Troopers did not find any apparent suspicious circumstances in the death, according to Krawetz.

    They don’t say it was a suicide, only imply it. No mention of a note, though. Cryptic statements about the death being linked to corruption but not the investigation of said corruption, and State Troopers who apparently find nothing suspicious about a man with a bullet in his head (to be fair, death is the normal result of having a bullet rammed into your brain–nothing suspicious there).

    Are bankers dropping like flies lately, or is it just me?

    1. different clue

      Jeff Wells’s blog, called Rigorous Intuition 2.0 has had some posts on banker and other “suicides” down the years, among its other posts.

      Does anyone else remember the classic headline from National Lampoon . . . .
      ” Allende shoots self in head 37 times, pausing only twice to reload”.

      1. Cambria

        Appropriate since one banker “killed” himself by nail-gunning his torso and head eight times..

  6. optimader

    I wonder if the US could vote for anything w/ a 90% plurality?
    “Should air continue to be available free of charge” maybe? I wonder what the turnout would be?

    1. Antifa

      Half the population proudly won’t vote because, “I don’t vote.” The half who do will divide along party lines because Americans define themselves by who they’re against nowadays, not who or what they’re for. They’re for the other side losing. That’s the whole point of the game, right? Right?

      The South will announce that “sultry air” anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line belongs to them, and demand it be returned immediately. The SCOTUS will support this ruling.

      Colorado will similarly claim that all clean air naturally belongs to them and must be returned to Denver. Arizona will pass restrictions on how often Hispanics breathe. Washington DC will quickly patent hot air (before Texas does), and begin collecting daily fees from bloggers, balloonists, and economists. The Dakotas will mutually demand that the Polar Vortex henceforth be restricted to Canadian air space. California will cut a deal with the South to buy their sultry air and truck it to the San Joaquin valley to keep all the lettuce from wilting. Utah will pass a state Amendment forbidding gays to exhale within their borders.

      The telecom giants will claim that since they own the airwaves they own the air as well, and will raise everyone’s cable and DSL fees because infrastructure. It costs them a lot of money to distribute air evenly around the nation.

      And Wall Street will immediately begin selling oxygen futures and breathing-backed-securities sliced and diced in tranches according to the lung capacity of citizens who ask for just a little breathing room, please.

  7. Brindle

    Re: ” Something Dead Wrong Here….” (Boston Marathon Bombing)

    Russ Baker has done needed work on this story—the establishment media has mainly done stenography for the authorities.

    —“Without the murder of the MIT policeman, followed by the carjacking confession reported by Danny, we would have no solved crime, no evidence linking anyone to the horrific Boston Marathon bombing except some grainy video of two guys wearing backpacks in a sea of other backpack-wearers near the source of the explosion. The assumption many of us make that the Tsarnaevs planted those bombs is just that: an assumption that, in the absence of the reported confession, has no evidence behind it.”—

    1. Jim S

      It’s crazy right up to the point when it isn’t. I was pleasantly surprised to see this link today.

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Locking Up the Banksters: It’s Not Hard

    No more am I going for this wimpy “bottom up” approach, if I ever did.

    I say start at the TOP and work your way DOWN. The REAL bodies are buried at the top. Frog march Jamie Dimon with the cameras rolling, freeze his assets and seize his passport. Search all of his houses and offices. Interrogate and surveil family and “known associates” endlessly. Scare the s**t out of anyone who ever talked to the guy. Make him a pariah.

    Then move down ONE level. Now you’ve got some leverage. And you’re talking to people who really can tell you what you need to know. If you’re not intimidated by Jamie Dimon, you’re surely not intimidated by the second tier.

    Repeat until you’ve got what you need.

    I’d imagine you’d only have to do this ONCE.

    1. psychohistorian

      Don’t go down with your levels of complicity, go UP from Jamie Dimon.

      The only thing we need to do once is neuter inheritance.

  9. dearieme

    “Five families richer than UK’s poorest 20% – Oxfam”: one implication is presumably that more than 80% of British households have assets, rather than being in debt, net.

    Because otherwise it could (probably) have said “Each author of this report is richer than ….

  10. Tom Allen

    Danger rooms and gated communities are prisons the rich build to hold themselves. That’s why they view every social interaction as a prisoner’s dilemma in which non-cooperation is the rule.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction…”

      There is another problem with technology.

      Technology can render resources themselves not usable or not worthy of extraction (damaged nuclear reactors, for example), or cause the destruction of other resources prior to extraction or consumption (glowing but dead fish) or worse (planet destruction).

    2. different clue

      Its only a prison if someone other than themselves can keep them from ever coming out.

  11. katiebird

    Malaysia plane search grows to 26 nations – It seems to me that if this is true/possible, then the plane could have been flown anywhere by now. Couldn’t it? Couldn’t people who could grab this plane also have an emergency landing spot complete with enough fuel to keep that plane going even farther? …. Just look at that circle — why stop there?

    1. bo

      It’s one of the heaviest planes on earth. It needs a huge, long, heavy duty runway.

      It also needs techs and support staff that know what they’re doing. Turning off a few transponders is a far cry from being able to shoulder the technical or financial burden of getting it in the air again.

      Assuming “they” ran the tanks dry getting where they were going, that’s a 47,000 gallon fill up. $150k, minimum, assuming they can find that much jet fuel at a presumed hidden, huge, runway.

      None of it adds up. If the jet is still around, it needs a state sized actor to be able to keep it hidden.

      1. katiebird

        Could it have gone down (for whatever reason) that first night and all the other signals & indicators are some kind of UFO of the signal world — phantom signals?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        It also needs to land on a paved runway (hat tip I forget who) as opposed to a gravel road if they ever want it to take off again. So, a state actor has to be involved, or an para-state the size of a state.

        1. katiebird

          But didn’t they think that the runways in Wichita and the Ozarks were too small for takeoff as well? But the planes took off safely from those small airports. Granted, not a 777 but still, a really big plane.

          For this plane to still be intact seems to require a really sophisticated plan — almost fictional, like Mission Impossible. And, I agree – a state or para-state involvement. But, what would they want? And if it’s the plane, what are they doing with the passengers?

          IS it possible that it fell apart or exploded soon after the “All right, goodnight” message and everything else is wishful thinking?

          1. bob

            It’s not so much the length of the runway as it is the makeup of the runway. It’s heavy enough that it would sink through a sub-standard runway.

            Tons and tons of weight on very small tires.

        2. katiebird

          I asked this at Corrente but, it fits here too:

          Could a runway be disguised and camouflaged? So that it wouldn’t be spotted as it was built, could be cleared in the night for the landing and re-camoflaged after the landing?

          And how many conspirators would this all take?

          1. bob

            Anything is possible, but it’s not very probable. Building an airport, in the open, requires a ton of money, equipment and manpower. Doing it secretly would just increase the cost and/or time required.

            military intel people watch things like heavy equipment and cement/concrete deliveries pretty closely. Even if they could ‘cover’ a two mile long runway(no idea with what), the capital or material flow would probably give it away.

        3. optimader

          “It also needs to land on a paved runway”
          No, this is conjecture not fact.

          The hypothetical prerequisites would include:
          1.) A sufficiently long surface to takeoff again, not necessarily the same surface that it landed on, presuming landing damage to the pavement (ie take it 2 miles down the “road” for take off.)

          2.) Strong enough surface to support the landing/take off weight
          3.) Take-off surface adequately cleared to avoid FOD (foreign object debris)

          One colorful precedent for commercial aircraft landing on an unimproved surface. In a lot of way a 727 would be more challenging than a 777 due to landing speed/configuration. (An interesting fun fact is unimproved surface landing is a capability that built into many Russian commercial aircraft.):

          “…On May 24, 1988, a Boeing 737-300 operating as TACA Flight 110 to New Orleans, Louisiana suffered a double engine flame-out due to water ingestion, a result of an in-flight encounter with an area of very heavy rain and hail. The design of the engines and FAA water ingestion certification standards did not take into account the higher water volume of strong or severe thunderstorms while operating at lower power. The plane landed without further damage on a grass levee at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility. All 45 passengers were uninjured…”

          None the less, bo is correct on the resources rqd at a landing/takeoff location to even think something like this could possibly be pulled off. (Landing is one thing, prepping/repairing it to get it of the ground is another kettle of fish).

          1. bob

            727 are noted and used because of the low PSI they exert on the runway. The mil uses a few to ferry VIP’s in and out of smaller airports where a 747 couldn’t land.

            It’s not necessarily a small plane, but it has lots of wheels compared to it’s overall weight.

            The design constraint in making planes bigger these days is the PSI (pounds per square inch/kilos per millimeter) that the runways can handle. They can make the planes bigger, they just wouldn’t be able to land them anywhere.

            1. bob

              Also, for the sake of clarity- Paved to me means asphalt. Most commercial runways are very high strength (PSI) concrete with a base of several feet of gravel under it.

              A levee is a good choice for landing because (minus New Orleans) they are built well. Multiple layers of engineered, compacted, “consolidated” material.


            2. optimader

              Not to get too arcane but Aircraft are classified with a ACN number (aircraft classification number) and runways are classified with a PCN (pavement classification number).
              The ACN number is a measure of relative damage a type of aircraft will cause to a runway surface.

              if the ACN number is less than a runways PCN number it has unrestricted use of a runway. If it is higher, the gross weight of the aircraft must be derated to operate on the runway (taxiway, apron etc..)

              The number of tires arranged on a aircraft landing gear bogey is a design consideration of the Gross Weight of the aircraft to minimize the ACN.
              For example:
              1.) An-225 Mriya has a (rigid pavement) ACN of 45, gross take off wgt ~700 tonnes

              2.) 777-300 has a (rigid pavement) ACN of 70, gross take off wgt ~348 tonnes

              3.)727-200 has a (rigid pavement) ACN of 50, gross take off wgt ~84 tonnes

              You can see an image of a AN-225 landing gear –the Anotov approach to lowering the ACN number of the highest Gross Take-off Weight cargo jet currently in operation.

                1. bob

                  I was actually under an LC-130 doing touch and go’s all afternoon a few years ago. Scared the crap out of me the first time. They went over my house at about 500 ft. I didn’t realize the skis stayed on them. Got some great pictures of them.

                  At the time I found a great video of one in Antarctica (probably the same one) trying to get off the ground. They needed the rockets just to get up on “top” of the snow to be able to take off. It took them a few runs. I can’t find the video again.

              1. bob

                I saw that thing once, massive.

                The Anotov landing gear configuration requires a much larger, oblong cross sectional area for the fuselage. That makes it a lot less fuel efficient while flying. For long haul commercial aircraft that’s a non-starter.

                Yes, it’s all engineering trade-offs. My point was that it’s not a Cessna that you can land in your backyard. I bet landing it on a (clear) interstate spec highway in the US would be trouble.

      3. optimader

        You are correct.
        And the FDL link is still serial BS conjecture stated as facts.
        The Boeing 777-300, at MTOW (Maximum Takeoff Weight), needs a runway that is 11,200 ft long; at MLW (Maximum Landing Weight), needs a runway that is 8,100 ft long.

      4. different clue

        The big drug mafias each handle billions of dollars each year. They could afford someone’s 150k jetfuel bill. Plus they could make all needed technicians available. And they are not the only state-sheltered non-state actors of that size in existence.

        1. bob

          To what end? A stolen 777 for drug smuggling?

          That’s the proverbial red corvette with a “bad cop, no donut” sticker on the bumper doing 90mph. Not very low key.

          1. different clue

            I’m just saying money would be no object to a multi-billion state-sheltered “non-state actor”.
            Another very insane conjecture comes in the form of a question: what if somebody elsewhere wanted somebody(s) on that plane very untraceably very dead? Why not dive the plane at a nearly 90 degree angle into the wide open ocean . . . either by kamikaze pilot or by remote control if such things are possible.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Another theory, and a pretty interesting one, that MH370 having turned off the transmitting half of its TCS, followed a Singapore Airlines flight 68 using that plane to mask its presence from ground radar enabling it to penetrate various airspaces undetected until it was north of India.

      Similar radar concealment scenario apparently imagined in 2011 Technothriller “Reamde”.

      1. optimader

        Switched off –as intentionally. The assumption evolves from conjecture to being stated as a factual assumption.
        Could it have failed?

        Formation flying w/ wide-body heavies in the middle of the night, Pretty wild.
        Hopefully the “hijacker(s)” had a confederate onboard the Singapore Airline jet to shut-off the Collision Avoidance System so as to not make the flight crew too nervous.

        Conjecture is good, and the fuel of thinking outside the box so to speak, but my point is so much of noise in the signal is stated as FACT by the bobble-heads in the media when it is strictly conjecture.

        The US has been whipsawed on so much conjecture (file under WMD, Iraq War, War on Terrorism, HLS) taken as fact that you’d think we might know better by now..

          1. Optimader

            What is the relevance of a commercial pilot that has a flight simulator at home? If that is a critera for suspicion you’ll be grounding quite a few commercial pilots. He had RC controlled model planes too. Is that another basis for suspicion?

            1. lambert strether

              Well, if you wanted to practice a flight plan through all those waypoints, I would think.

  12. dearieme

    Boston Marathon bombing: it’s the bumping off of the brothers’ friend that makes me doubt the official story. Waco, Ruby Ridge, … nobody ever a seems to be held to account.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yeah, the friend is in a room with two FBI agents, allegedly about to confess. One of the agents leaves, and the friend ends up shot by the other agent. I don’t think so….

  13. Washington DC Meetup -- Is it On?

    So, there was talk of a meetup on March 18 in Washington. I have made arrangements with the manager at 14K, a bar/restaurant at 14th & K NW to host such an event. But I still don’t know if Yves is confirmed for this and how many to expect (the bar has reasonably asked for a headcount if they are to reserve tables for us). I will have to cancel the arrangements unless things are confirmed by noon tomorrow (3/18). Thanks!

    1. Yves Smith

      PLEASE READ OUR POST OVER THE WEEKEND. We announced the location. We said the meetup is going to be at Elephant & Castle, 900 19th Street, NW.

      I’m really sorry to have put you to the trouble of making a reservation and now having to cancel it. 14K sounded like a good option too, but E&C has a large back room, which seems like a better configuration when we have no idea how many people will be showing up (it could be anywhere from 15 to 35).

      1. Grant

        My apologies I looked but completely missed the post. No problem about the new plans, I am just glad to know the situation.

  14. coboarts

    Nasa-funded study: industrial civilization headed for ‘irreversible collapse’
    Is this the best NASA can do? – old news. “The Limits to Growth” or even the 30 year anniversary edition or did they get that next one out for 2012? – or Jared Diamond’s “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” If you’re reading NC and you aren’t aware of the predicament(s) we face, please get over to The Arch Druid report right away (

  15. lambert strether

    Interesting MH370 theory

    After looking at all the details, it is my opinion that MH370 snuck out of the Bay of Bengal using SIA68 as the perfect cover. It entered radar coverage already in the radar shadow of the other 777, stayed there throughout coverage, and then exited SIA68’s shadow and then most likely landed in one of several land locations north of India and Afghanistan.

    1. Emma

      Given the plane flew low to avoid radar, and that authorities are now searching an area stretching from the border of Kazakhstan & Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, it’s undoubtedly presently sitting in Kazakhstan. Under Kazakh protection, and with a group of Chechens preparing to crash it into the Kremlin…

    2. David G. Mills

      Not sure about this but I think planes have their own radar as well so the Singapore plane should have been able to pick up the Malaysian plane, unless planes have to rely on transponders.

      1. Keenan

        The radars on-board civilian air transports are designed to detect precipitation and turbulence rather than other aircraft. I’m pretty sure that the on-board systems to display air traffic depend on operating transponders.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ladybirds…74 miles.

    My guess is that they could have gone more than 74 miles in one go, except they had to carry the extra weight of the monitoring device.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Just as Newt Gingrich promised us in 1994 — more government and less freedom:

    Reuters reports that a Democratic pollster sent a memo around Capitol Hill after last week’s race, explaining that “‘keeping parts’ of the Affordable Care Act that work and ‘fixing those that don’t’ drew higher numbers than ‘the Republican message of repeal.'”

    Which is why House Republicans, after 50 votes attempting to curtail the law, have shifted toward a package of fixes.


    The fix is in. Friends don’t let friends vote Depublicrat.

    1. different clue

      Rest assured one of those fixes will be keep the individual mandate. Also other fixes will include keeping the provisions that discriminate and disincentivize against employER plans. Perhaps the excise tax will be extended to EVery individual’s employER plan. Also, the Ds would like to help the Rs Ryanize and Voucherize Ocare into the exchanges as soon as they have some kind of cover. Let them prove me wrong about that.

  18. fresno dan

    There is no meritocracy: It’s just the 1 percent, and the game is rigged Salon
    “We cannot have a just society that applies the principle of accountability to the powerless and the principle of the forgiveness to the powerful,” writes Chris Hayes in his sweeping meditation on meritocracy, “Twilight of the Elites.” And yet: “This is the America in which we currently reside.”

    We live in a pretend meritocracy – the thievery, lying, fraud, corruption and any other synonym imaginable for financial chicanery. People who ran finance simply did not know how to evaluate people who got loans. They also did not know how to evaluate and run the departments that were suppose to be able to evaluate the people whose job was to evaluate loans, bonds, etcetera. OR….it was understood

    1. allcoppedout

      Michael Young wrote a debunk of meritocracy in the late 50s Dan. Years later Tony Blair (the ass pipe) cited it as though meritocracy was real and a good thing.

  19. Jess

    As I’ve mentioned before I have close friends in the Ukrainian community in and around NYC. They, in turn, have good contacts in many regions of Ukraine, including some in Crimea. This is the text of an email that I received from one of them, Mark (who happens to be my best friend and I’m an honorary uncle to his two kids). Mark went over as an observer for the historic orange revolution elections a few years back. (As you’ll see from the following, esp. his “bring the rain” comment that like a lot of Ukrainians, he doesn’t scare easily.)

    Note: This email was in response to one I sent him containing the text of Hugh’s comment on Ukraine from a couple of days ago. (I believe it was Friday.)
    “Know thy enemy. If he is in the gutter, you’ll need to get your hands dirty.”

    The writer [referring to Hugh] doesn’t realize that Putin DOESN’T care what he does to Russia’s economy or if he leaves Ukraine a moonscape. He is a KGB madman that is already begun cleansing in Crimea and the result is people with anti-Russian views ending up dead. This article should give you the warm and fuzzies:

    Hmm, where I have I seen this before? Oh yeah, right, when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia: We know how that ended up, right?

    We talked about “possible” sanctions and what’s come of that? Here you go:

    We’re so undeniably stupid it’s embarrassing and Putin is just laughing at us at every turn.

    Look, there’s only one thing left to do: bring the rain and bring it hard. Putin wants to do this KGB style with a propaganda war, disinformation and use provocateurs to make it appear that the “people” want this. Neutralize his military presence in Crimea in one fell swoop, bring in a massive military force to assist the new government in Kiev to protect the US citizens that live in work there (just using Russia’s reasons for building a military presence).

    You think that this is going to end in Crimea? I know of college professors in Kiev getting their old AK-47’s that they brought from military service out of storage to start practicing again. Food is being stockpiled by people. The people of Ukraine have lived with this shit for so long, they know exactly what they’re in for.

    If the cowards of the world wonder why we can do this, here’s why: the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 by which Ukraine became the first country in history to give up all of its formidable nuclear arsenal under the condition that the United States, Great Britain and (of all people) the
    Russians assure that Ukraine’s borders were inviolate and its sovereignty assured. If the US reneges on this promise, what weight will any US assurance carry in any disarmament talks in the future? I can hear those centrifuges speeding up even now in Iran and elsewhere.

    So what is it that is REALLY stopping the world from doing this? It’s pretty simple: money. Interesting article:

    Read the last paragraph: “His amendment to cancel the guarantees was defeated.” Why WOULDN’T it be defeated? Should we give them more money and let them host the 2018 World Cup, too?

    It is time for people all over the world to realize that the New World Order that the elite has begun to impose is tantamount to slavery and when a few of those few are actual psychopaths then it becomes harder to control. Europe has already begun their consolidation with the European Union which has more and more control over member countries and what they are able to do. As the US gives more and more power to the special interests of the financial market puppeteers the last bastion will soon fall. Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand are the vanguard now. If Europe and the US do not stop Putin then the powers that control them are in on this and we, the citizens of the world who are not the power brokers, will all very soon become slaves to systems that preach the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but will not protect that right if it get’s in the way of profits.

    Regrettably, I’ve done my fair share of reading of futurist and science fiction writers and their logical extrapolations don’t provide a picture that most want to face. Let’s keep everyone busy with Facebook, Twitter, fantasy sports and extend them enough debt to keep them indentured servants so that they can’t (or won’t be able to) question the system.

    1. lambert strether

      And then part two: “Government is the problem.” Jovian laughter from oligarchs everywhere, along with whimpering and random twitches from Democrats. I don’t mind what they did to themselves with Obama, but I mind a lot what they did to the rest of us.

      1. different clue

        She sounds like a sincere believer in government is the problem. Perhaps one of Obama’s missions was to destroy a new generation’s respect for government altogether along with any understanding of government’s potential uses. Perhaps Obama and his henchfilth will be handsomely rewarded for that too.
        This young person will no doubt support privatising SS and Medicare. What the hell . . . government is inherently corrupt, right? Obama and his Democrats showed us that.

  20. Jess

    Re: Antidote —

    Even with glasses my eyes aren’t what they used to be. Is that a big housecat? Some breed of grayish bobcat?

    Anybody? Bueller?

    1. Stephen V.

      Jess: I can assure you that it is indeed a housecat, a photo I believe of our friend Barbara’s dearly departed Howyl in her garden in the Ozarks.

      1. Jess

        Thanks. Too bad the cat is no longer with Barbara because it looks like a great cat. Thankfully Barbara has this and other pictures to remember her by.

  21. Jess

    Re: MoDo’s article on the fear gripping Dem Senate and Congressional candidates:

    What the f*#k did those bozos think when they were screwing not only the public but most of the party’s own faithful by pushing through Obamacare without a Public Option. Granted, the PO was a diversion away from single payer, but it would have made the health insurance landscape a lot better. And equally important, it would have shown the Dems standing by their promises instead of ass raping everyone who (foolishly, it turns out) believed in them even a little bit.

    1. different clue

      Different ones were thinking different things, no doubt. What threats did Obama use on Kucinich during the plane ride? “Nice daughters you got there. Too bad if something was to happen to them.” ? “The Chicago way.

    2. lambert strether

      The Dems never promised anything other than what we more or less got. In 2008, Clinton at least had the goal of universal coverage, the mandate as the method to achieve it, and IRS enforcement of the mandate. Obama didn’t even give universal coverage lip service and ran “Harry and Louise”-style ads in Ohio against Clinton, for which Krugman dinged him. Obama then turned around and gave us the mandate and IRS enforcement, and the Democratic nomenklatura started lying about universal coverage.

      The public option magic zombie sparkle pony was, as you point out, a diversion, and the career “progressives” running interference for Obama with it were not acting in good faith, since otherwise they would not have silenced and suppressed single payer advocacy and coverage. So there’s no point claiming the public option would have made anything better. It was vaporware at the very best.

  22. Brindle

    The dangerous snowboarding “terrorist”…..
    Stupid/mentally ill is a more like it.

    —“Teausant was making preparations to fight in Syria and told his confidant he planned to “train fighters in Syria to shoot properly,” according to the complaint. His plan allegedly involved first going to Canada via Greyhound to maintain a low profile.

    Prosecutors allege that he confided to his source that he planned to travel during a school break, telling his mom he would be snowboarding at Mount Whistler in Canada, which would ease any concerns over his need for a passport.

    If convicted, Teausant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.”—

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Man! That was something. It’d be great, if it had teeth. Love to see Bush, Cheney, and Obama at in the dock at The Hague.

  23. abynormal

    Updated Table of Distressed Sales and Cash buyers for Selected Cities in February

    The All Cash Share (last two columns) is declining in most areas year-over-year. As investors pull back, the share of all cash buyers will probably continue to decline.

    ***Atlanta is one of a few metro areas that has two MLS Services. Learn about the differences between GAMLS and FMLS.

  24. rich

    Fed Nominee Stanley Fischer’s Cayman Islands Problem

    By Pam Martens: March 17, 2014

    The Citigroup Employee Fund of Funds I LP is so secretive that on December 31, 2001, the SEC filed a request on behalf of Citigroup in the Federal Register requesting to exempt it and other key employee limited partnership funds at Citigroup from certain provisions of securities laws. The SEC said it was going to approve the exemptions unless someone convinced it to hold a hearing. We could find no information on the SEC’s web site to suggest that the exemptions were not approved or that a hearing was held.

    Among the many exemptions requested, Citigroup wanted “to act as custodian for a Partnership without a written contract.” Citigroup asked further for an “exemption from the rule 17f–1(b)(4) requirement that an independent accountant periodically verify the assets held by the custodian.” It also wanted an exemption to be able to keep the partnership’s investments “in the locked files of the General Partner” and to exempt members of the partnership from having to file reports of ownership interests with the SEC.

    According to Bloomberg News, Fischer now has a net worth between $14.6 million to $56.3 million, according to his financial disclosure report with the Office of Government Ethics. That’s more than a $40 million spread and a preposterous method of presenting financial disclosures to the public.

    While Senator Elizabeth Warren did not get into the nitty-gritty details outlined above, she did frame the core conflicts between Citigroup and the perpetual stream of money men it continues to install in high government positions. That not one other member of the Senate Banking Committee had the guts to go near this subject is further proof of the intractable corruption that plagues Washington.

        1. abynormal

          altho the piece melted my tinfoil hat…i find your comment informative & enlightening /sarc

  25. abynormal

    Somebody is a selling a fistful of US Treasuries. It could be Russia, or China, Turkey, South Africa, or Indonesia, or all frantically selling bonds at the same time for different reasons.

    We don’t yet know. All we know is that the US Federal Reserve’s custody holdings on behalf of foreign central banks plunged by $106bn in the week ending March 12, the biggest one-week drop on record.

    Russia’s central bank is undoubtedly liquidating reserves at a breakneck pace to prevent a collapse of the ruble, as foreign companies scramble to get all their spare cash out of Russian accounts before the G7 guillotine comes down on the Putin clan next week. It is certainly trying to remove its assets beyond the jurisdiction of the US authorities – though that will not be easy. The SEC takes no prisoners. (news to me) In the end, the world is more frightened of US regulators than it is of Putin’s tanks or his polonium. Soft power can trump hard power.

    One investor told me that clients in Russia are literally loading up cars with computers, machinery, and anything that will fit, and rushing them out of the country for fear that assets will nationalized. Whatever happens, nobody will forget this in a hurry.”
    “The global situation is extremely serious,” Lars Christensen from Danske Bank. “Russia is committing economic suicide, there is a massive corruption scandal in Turkey, and capital outflows from China threaten to have huge ramifications.”

    “If the US dollar were to strengthen drastically at this point, we would go straight into a global recession.”

    1. abynormal

      btw…i correctted 3 misspelled words in this piece. po lill overworked ambrose…or maybe he playing with his own onion;)

  26. abynormal
    The stat of the day is this gem:
    “The outstanding balance borrowed by the Treasury on behalf of the Department of Education’s student loan programs comprises 7% of the $12 trillion in debt owed by the Treasury to the public as of the end of last fiscal year, and by itself accounts for 20% of the growth in Treasury debt during that fiscal year.”

    *He who opens a school door, closes a prison.* Victor Hugo

    “A major U.S. private prison operator known for inmate abuse, violations, and disregard for the truth reported a 56-percent spike in profit in the first quarter of 2013, due in part to its new strategy for drastically reducing its taxes, the Associated Press reports. During a conference call touting its success, representatives at GEO Group boasted that the company continues to have “solid occupancy rates in mid to high 90s” and that they are optimistic “regarding the outlook for the industry,” in part due to a “growing offender population.”…”The federal prison population has swelled 790 percent since 1980”

  27. WorldisMorphing

    Chances are this has already been posted…but I just watched this yesterday and enjoyed it quite a bit; though I must confess, I have, for an inexplicable reason, felt a succinct burst of the fear hormone cocktail flowing in my blood while watching this…

    How China Fooled The World – BBC Documentary with Robert Peston

  28. run75441

    I posted this over at Angry Bear concerning the penalty to be paid after March 31 if you are uninsured:

    A lot of people think that all they have to pay is $95 in 2014 to get around the PPACA. The $95 penalty is true if you make < $19,650 in Household income and this comes after your deduction of $10,150. The individual shared responsibility payment is capped at the cost of the national average premium for the bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2014. The penalty in 2014 is calculated one of 2 ways. You’ll pay whichever of these amounts is higher:

    • 1% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, $10,150 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan.

    • $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.

    The way the penalty is calculated, a single adult with household income below $19,650 would pay the $95 flat rate. A single adult with household income above $19,650 would pay an amount based on the 1 percent rate. (If income is below $10,150, no penalty is owed.)

    The Individual Shared Responsibility Payment – An IRS Overview

  29. allcoppedout

    I only do conspiracy theory on economists. People who spot UFOs never bring me any bodies of the rubber-masked aliens running the planet and I have a natural suspicion of people who ask me to stick something up their ass pipes to prove they have been on inter-galactic missions.

    Impressive as the speculation on the missing Malaysian aircraft is with psi numbers (I mean most people don’t know how to pump up their car tyres), and much as I am tempted to reel off my own dated knowledge of concrete aggregates (big stones for more flexibility), I suspect we are missing military information on temporary landing strips. We hacked one together in the Falklands before building a permanent one. I seem to remember it wasn’t cheap. I guess break even suggests we should expect a rash of aircraft disappearances in the next few weeks.

    Wuckfit with death wish is still the bookies’ favourite. You can cut the costs on that one to a minimum. Our rolling news featured geeks who had bought time on the official flight simulators. They showed us how to switch off the flight beacons. This ludicrous lack of security kicked my mind back to Oar in Catch 22. He was practising crash landings on the sea in the Med in order to escape by raft to Sweden.

    We should focus our conspiracy on the 1% as as Katniss says somewhere and nick the wealth back on the basis it cannot have been fairly earned. Stick a plank out of the highest point of JPM and walk Dimon off it. The rest can either sign our articles of association and tell us where the loot is or follow him. I might want to keep going until the bank clerk who added PPI to my loan without my permission, but grant someone has to be left to run our utility bank. Without the filthy-thieving 1% a lot of the assets we seize won’t be worth much more than squat without their need to steal tax and hoard money in mansions. However, we are generally short of housing and could employ a lot of people on mansion conversion.

    We could do with more speculation on this brave new world. What does MMT have to say about wealth collapse after we take down the 1%? And how can we possibly regard people in decent house and jobs building them as wealth collapse? How, after our pitchforks and torches night, would we stop a new 1%? Getting rid of the mansions would be a good start. Hard to be a 1%er without a flock of mansions. Now, who has the plans for real evolution? Damnit Lambert! You left them in your jacket when we bailed out of that aircraft over Khazakstan with the Malaysian branch of the dangerous sports club?

    1. abynormal

      “He also found rootworms resistant to a second variety of Bt corn. Moreover, being resistant to one variety heightened the chances of resistance to another. That means corn engineered to produce multiple Bt toxins — so-called stacked varieties — won’t do much to slow the evolution of rootworm resistance, as was originally hoped.”

      there goes the neighborhood…hope this makes links tomorrow/today
      (btw, that is one hellofa lookin worm…rob zombie would be jealous)

      1. different clue

        Actually, evolution of immune rootworms was the whole long-range point. Once the rootworms are all immune to GM Bt toxins in every cell of the GM corn plant, they will also be de-facto immune to spot focused applications of Bt spore powder as used in organic agriculture, thereby depriving organic agriculture of that organic rootworm-control tool. (Though that might be more relevant to control of earworms, which will also evolve Bt immunity). This is done to cripple the organic alternative.
        It is also done to sell more petrochemical pesticides to kill the New Rootworm which the GM Bt corn won’t kill anymore. The same companies which make the GM seeds also make the chemicals.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Science used in the service of ROI is likely to produce some nightmare “innovation.” This crap gets pushed through via legislative capture, PR, and marketing. Regardless the damage, those getting rich off of these Frankenstein crops will stay rich.

      Even with all of our prisons, we can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Corporate criminal going about their “business,” unhindered and above the law.

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