Links 3/21/14

Dear patient readers,

If you have contributed to Lambert’s fundraiser, thanks for your support! Some of you made very generous contributions and he very much appreciates them. If you have not done so, please go to his site now and make a donation. While Lambert get a big chunk of Naked Capitalism’s annual fundraiser, he also hosts and oversees the group blog Corrente, and many of its writers contribute to other sites in our ecosystem. So please chip in! Every little bit helps.

To the folks who attended the DC meetup: one participant got a card from Owen and misplaced it. He wants to follow up with Owen. Can Owen please e-mail me? Thanks!

Modern youth not starting a subculture unless they get paid for it Daily Mash

Wolves Approach Paris as Farmers Cry Foul Over Protected Species Bloomberg

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’? Guardian (Deontos). From last week, still germane. The actual study is here (Deontos, John C).

Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly Smithsonian (Deontos)

FDA review of new sunscreen ingredients has languished for years, frustrating advocates Washington Post. No excuse for this. Lots of studies on the ingredients in foreign suncreens. Your humble blogger has long bought European or Australian sunscreens (and if you have friends who are going abroad, see if they’ll snag some for you. They aren’t pricey).

What I Learned Hanging Out With Nigerian Email Scammers Mother Jones (Richard Smith)

This drone can steal what’s on your phone CNN (furzy mouse). Yet another reason to own a stupid phone!

How I Bought the Internet — and You Can Too Institutional Investor

Mt Gox finds 200,000 Bitcoins in old wallet Financial Times

Corruption Index Indicator: Cities That Ban Ride Sharing To Protect Taxi Incumbents Techdirt (Chuck L)

The Forgotten Coup – and How the Same Godfather Rules From Canberra to Kiev Truthout (Margarita)

Aircraft and ships resume search for Flight MH370 Guardian

No Confirmed Debris Found in Jet Search Wall Street Journal

Pettis on why the yuan is falling MacroBusiness

Tumbling Chinese yuan sets off ‘carry trade’ rout, triggers derivatives contracts Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Thailand election ruled invalid Guardian

End of state of emergency offers hope for Thai hotels, shops Nikkei

Strauss-Kahn is to launch $2bn hedge fund Financial Times

Sweden takes the fight to household debt MacroBusiness

The truth about Venezuela: a revolt of the well-off, not a ‘terror campaign’ Guardian

Bloomberg Hints at Curb on Articles About China New York Times. Note this is self-censorship.

Turkish Watchdog Blocks Twitter Wall Street Journal

Putin ramps up Internet censorship, citing Google and Snowden to ensure public support Yasha Levine, Pando


EU signs agreement with Ukraine BBC

Putin puts the West to the test DW

Russia Stocks Fall With Bonds on Expanded Sanctions, Outlook Cut Bloomberg. Unlevered Russian EFTs fell about 2.6-2.8%, but sanctions and jawboning have not yet driven Russian stocks, in dollar terms, below recent lows.

The “Sanction Spiral” Elegantly Spirals Out of Control Wolf Richter

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Yet Another Study Shows That Metadata Reveals A Hell Of A Lot Techdirt (Chuck L)

Microsoft faces fresh privacy storm Financial Times

How a Comedy Article Got Me Placed On the No-Fly List Cracked (1 SK). In case you had any doubt that America has gone off the deep end.

Microsoft Looked Through Reporter’s Hotmail And MSN Chat Accounts To Identify Windows 8 Leaker Techdirt (Chuck L). Techdirt is on a roll today.

Congress raises pressure on CIA in torture dispute Christian Science Monitor

City vs. Country: How Where We Live Deepens the Nation’s Political Divide Wall Street Journal

Breaking the Law From the Inside CounterPunch (Chuck L)

Did the U.S. Deploy Snipers Against Peaceful Occupy Protesters? George Washington

Our Brown Water Navy: New Documents Show That The U.S. Has Been Dumping Hundreds of Tons Of Waste Into Pristine Coral Area Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

NAFTA Opens U.S. Roads to Poorly Regulated Trucks from Mexico Congressman Mark Pocan

In Healthcare Suit Against Catholic Bishops, the Specter of an Early Defeat ProPublica (Chuck L)

Health Care Exchange in Oregon Not Meeting High Hopes New York Times

In Healthcare, What Makes Maine Different? Los Angeles Times (Lawrence R). Maine in general, and I suspect it is even more true in northern Maine, has very low income inequality. Low income inequality in and of itself is associated with better health outcomes. Highly unequal societies mean pretty much everyone has shallow social networks, which are very negative for health, including the health of the wealthy.

Customer accuses J.P. Morgan of robo-signing credit-card collections MarketWatch (Lawrence R)

Fed opens its doors wider to repo trading Financial Times

Too much coddling of the wealthy… so why loose monetary policy? Ed Lambert, Angry Bear

The Emperor’s New Clothes on Steroids Counterpunch (Carol B)

If appalling Hitler comparisons offend you, this billionaire is sorry … ish Daily Kos

The Global Economy’s Tale Risks Robert Shiller, Project Syndicate

March 20: Journalistic Day of Atonement Dan Fejes

On the impact of economic ideas Pieria. Read this rather than the underlying Noah Smith piece, which will just make you stupid. The notion that the ideas of individual economists have no impact is patently absurd. What about the Black-Scholes model, which revolutionized finance? Michael Jensen’s aggressive promotion of equity linked pay for execs, which is a major source of the crapification of everything? And the Reinhart/Rogoff paper that justified putting the austerity yoke on the peripheral countries of Europe, which is now producing deflation in the core?

FiveThirtyEight’s disappointing science section Columbia Journalism Review

The Emptiness of Data Journalism The New Republic

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. abynormal

    re, Tumbling Chinese Yuan & Triggering Derivative Contracts

    i thought it’d be interesting to see what the China Daily is reporting lately:
    pretty much reads like our prints…ex:
    Private investors needed for $6.75t urbanization costs
    [2014-03-21 16:03]
    China’s urbanization drive will require about 42 trillion yuan ($6.75 trillion) of investment in the next seven years, and the majority will come from the private sector.

    maybe their contracts are ‘baked in’…like the back-fill to this metropolis?

    1. Paul Niemi

      You are on the case. Good. When I wrote in here on the 7th of March, that something was going to give in China, that the situation was unreal, and that I was watching the price of copper as an indicator of the coming deluge, I didn’t know that just 36 hours later it would begin. Then it was “limit down,” “limit down,” “automatic buy orders kicking in at $3.00”, “down again.” Where my mind is going now is when someone runs a magic money machine, and people are getting rich almost overnight, then other people will inevitably try to get in on the action or copycat. In the case of China, it appears state-directed lending created a situation where people can borrow money to buy collateral, then borrow more money using the same collateral, and this involves copper, steel, and real estate. You have now, correctly I think, brought attention to the derivatives exposure of the world’s big banks. What is all that for? I don’t think it is out of line to ask questions such as: Have the big banks in essence copied the Chinese money machine by doing similar financing with other commodities, such as aluminum, gold and silver, or oil?

      1. psychohistorian

        You ask if big banks are copying China’s commodities money machine strategies? I think the obvious answer to that question is NO, the banks have been running those strategies for decades.

        It is more like China learned from the big banks who have gone on to use derivatives to stretch/milk that risk envelope further. And when the assured bubble pop occurs the Whocouldaknowds will spring out of the woodwork.

        1. abynormal

          let’s remember…China has been buying & building oil fields, dams, mines and ports ALL THE WORLD OVER. when they belch they will physically torch the earth…as we are monetarily.

  2. Mark P

    “Customer accuses J.P. Morgan of robo-signing credit-card collections”

    In 2014, this is news?

    Very simply, what would be news is if there was a way to pay off the banks and collection agencies so they would honestly and actually clear a target’s record, and then quit hounding that target. Unless they can’t avoid it, the banks and collection agencies don’t do that — and haven’t for at least two decades — because there’s no money in it and there is money in selling on a target’s debt (at cents on the dollar). That’s the way it works.

  3. rjs

    re: Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly
    look at the upside; when we acheive that level of carbon sequestration on a planet wide basis, it will go a long way to controlling levels of greenhouse gases…

    1. Eeyores enigma

      You mean all we have to do is de-populate the most of the planet like Chernobyl in order to address Climate Change?

    2. psychohistorian

      Look at the down side. Fukushima is going to continue dumping its effluent into the ocean for a century or more. Chernobyl is fairly contained in comparison but as the article says, all it is going to take is a match to ignite all that nuclear laden debris that, during the conflagration that follows, will then be spread even wider.

      Tell me more potential good sides to our imprudence, please. I don’t see many/any.

    3. different clue

      Dry flammable unburned carbon won’t stay sequestered. It will burn, and spread its contained radionuclides to wherever the smoke, ash, and combustion gases drift.

  4. Banger

    On youth culture–very silly article about British kids, I suppose. Here in the U.S. we have a youth culture (I’m around youth quite a lot) but it is varied depending on tribal affiliation, i.e., we have a multitude of subcultures no one “trend.” This reflects the general tendency in the U.S. towards cultural fragmentation.

    1. K Ackermann

      The youth of today certainly are not selling subculture. They are giving away all rights to privacy and their own intellectual property to the likes of Google, Apple, and Facebook.

      1. subgenius

        Interestingly I was recently at an 18th birthday party for a friend’s daughter…he has basically a speakeasy that was the venue, and the place was packed with late teens having fun. It took me about 10 minutes to realize that it was the first event I had attended in ages where there was little to no smart phonage occurring.

        I think maybe the youth are wiser than. We credit…at least here’s hoping….

  5. Brindle

    —“But rather than seek an equitable solution, the billionaires of America are lashing out. They want to attack, and they want to burn.
    Because they are about to lose.”—-

    …..”about to lose” ? ….I don’t think so.

    Liberals think the Billionaire Class are scared—it’s more like they are so secure in their position and contempt for the masses that they feel they can say anything they want without repercussions.

    1. SYnoia

      The Billionaire Class is always scared of loosing what they have. It is a condition of ownership and human nature to have a Fear of Loss.

      Fear of Loss is the greatest Human Motivator. It is always magnitudes of emotion larger than the opportunity to gain.

      1. abynormal

        don’t forget the paranoia of their thieving ‘friends’ …the life in sandbox full of sh!t

  6. optimader

    RE Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly Smithsonian (Deontos)
    The fallout is in the soil, no suprises here.
    have ridden all my life and over the years I have owned several different motorbikes. I ended my search for a perfect bike with a big kawasaki ninja, that boasts a mature 147 horse power, some serious bark, is fast as a bullet and comfortable for a long trips. here is more about my motorcycle

    I travel a lot and one of my favorite destinations leads North from Kiev, towards so called Chernobyl “dead zone”, which is 130kms from my home. Why my favorite? Because one can take long rides there on empty roads.

    The people there all left and nature is blooming. There are beautiful woods and lakes.

    In places where roads have not been travelled by trucks or army vehicles, they are in the same condition they were 20 years ago – except for an occasional blade of grass that discovered a crack to spring through. Time does not ruin roads, so they may stay this way until they can be opened to normal traffic again…….. a few centuries from now.
    60 years ago a Kiev’s area witnessed some of the most severe battles of WW2.
    Covered with earth from explosions the humans, arms and ammunitions were left on the battlefields. .

    With entering this site, you will join me and my friends for visiting a historic places of battles. We don’t take standard trips with their boring guides, we take shovels, detectors and plenty of water. Water because the only way to find something is to dig and when you dig, you drink. You drink a lot because once you found a relic you can’t stop digging, you know, it is real, it was there in time of a great event and you know that next item can be this special one worth all you efforts…

  7. TimR

    I’m still on yesterday’s links… Did comments discuss these 2 stories: Mish on Snowden as True American Hero; Illargi’s write-up of sea-change at Boe ?

    On #1, Snowden: yah, yah, great, but why is he still the only whistle-blower/ insider being feted by TED, and having his interviews and appearances announced in the mainstream press? The old argument was “because he took documents, so he could not be ignored”; but now that he has Officially made all these charges credible, shouldn’t we pay attention to other former NSA, FBI, etc. types who also have information about what they saw? Why is Snowden the only Legitimate insider source for critique of the surveillance state? I can’t reel off a list of names, but if you follow various alt media commentators, you will come across interviews with other whistleblowers who can’t get any time in the spotlight, who are relegated to obscure websites. Guess they aren’t True Blue American Heroes..
    2, BoE- I haven’t read the commentary yet, but it’s a very odd development and makes me think there might be some bigger context I’m not aware of… Are we all just accepting it at face value, that they really believed what they used to say, but now they’ve seen the light, and they believe something more MMT? Also, how comfortable is everyone with MMT? Is it really a Good Thing if officialdom embraces it? Lesser of two evils? More subtle form of evil? Unimpeachable Blessing upon us?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The thing about the BoE article is that it makes one wonder if one can just go down to the local bank and ask the manager if that is how he/she does to create loans.

    2. Synopticist

      | have no particular insight into the bank of England, but there are still parts of the UK establishment which retain their old intellectual rigour, rare as they may be. The BofE know they need to earn some kudos these days, and the bankers haven’t retained any of the popular respect they might once have had.

      If you’re looking for a bigger picture, look no further than the UK’s QE holdings. A full THIRTY PERCENT of Britain’s national debt is now held by the BofE. Which is obviously NEVER going to be re-paid, rather it will remain as some sort of asterisk on the UK public accounts. I suggest it’s part of a softening-up process for this evident truth to be slowly trickled out into the wider world.

      1. craazyman

        The presence of aliens among us, living unobserved yet in many common locations and cities, will be announced soon. This I have on good faith to report today.

        Fortunately, they did not come to earth penniless. Or dollar–less. Or even million-dollar-less. In fact, they are loaded. Talk about the 1%. We’re talking 0.000001%. We’re talking Plank’s Constant percent.

        They have agreed to buy the entire national debt of western nations. All of it. They plan to put it in their space ships and transport all of it to a mothership in stationary orbit 15,000 miles above the surface of the earth. Then they’ll hit the big button and vooooom. All the debt is 17 light years away in about 7 seconds. It’ll be incredible to see and even more incredible to believe.

        Imagine no govermint debt anywhere in the western world. It’ll be party time. No more moping around looking for cash. I, for one, have had well enough of the doom & gloom penury of recent years. It’s time to get rich and live.

        1. allcoppedout

          Steve Keen is one of these ‘Jubilee Angels’. I don’t know enough physics to understand either the faster than light transfer or what such an event would look like. Still makes more sense to me than the rest of finance and economics. I fancy burying all the debt in a big hole marked, ‘The Rich: may they rest in the same peace they gave us’. This would avert any problems with gravitational waves and have the same economic advantages.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Jubilee on apartment leases, car leases, money owed on child support will probably do wonders for the economy as well.

          2. craazyman

            i’m wondering if the mass of the earth might shrink when the debt is removed to the mother ship and then gravity might decrease.

            we could all lose weight! that’s another side benefit of instant fiscal responsibility. but some people — guys who work out hard in the gym — are trying to gain weight by pumping iron and eating special muscle diets.

            there’s winners and there’s losers, I guess. If everybody loses 10% of their weight at the same time, does that affect the NFL football draft coming up?

            I guess, once the debt is removed and gravity decreases, they can start eating right away and gain their weight back in weeks. The rest of us can start over fit and trim and stay slim if we want.

    3. JTFaraday

      “Snowden: yah, yah, great, but why is he still the only whistle-blower/ insider being feted by TED”

      a). Beaming an exile in live from an historically totalitarian country is just sexier. b). He’s saying if “the government” won’t respect our constitutional civil liberties and stop spying on us (and if there’s money to be made and this is the US, he’s probably right) we’ll have to pay protection to “the private sector” in order to have any kind of privacy, which makes him sexier still.

      For the sake of his “you’re on your own” retirement account, I hope he reads this link before he gives his next talk:

      “Modern youth not starting a subculture unless they get paid for it,” Daily Mash

      1. JTFaraday

        It will be interesting to see where the bosses of Mark Ames and Glenn Greenwald wind up. We already know Ames’ boss invests in tech companies with government contracts to spy on people. One assumes Omidyar will take up the Snowden position with start ups that take protection from the public in order to protect them from Ames’ boss.

        Together, they make one big mob, collectively holding your feet to the fire in the new Little Italy.

        1. JTFaraday

          Oh, but for the sake of our entertainment, they’re all going to pretend they’re at each other’s throats.

      1. EmilianoZ

        Yves talked for about 5 mn. Then she had a few more mn for a question. The rest of the 50 mn was boring. It’s almost like the purpose of economic wonks is to bore us to death while the 1% loot the treasury.

        Was that worth a trip to DC? I hope The Atlantic picked up the tab.

        They talk about income inequality as if it were some inscrutable mystery. Holy cannoli, how on earth did that happen? And then they spew out some soporific jargon that makes your eyes glaze over. How about something clear like: the 1% just about bought everybody who had a little power or influence (politicians, media, academics, regulators, judiciary, …)

        OK, it’s more complex than that. Banger would say we all had a hand in this and I would agree.

        1. craazyman

          economics is a mental disorder so it’s probably like walking into an insane asylum. not that I would know since i’d never get invited to anything like that. you probably wouldn’t either. that’s OK, we have no place being piqued since we’ve had every chance to perfect economic skills and gain repute for our erudition, but every time that chance is presented to me, my instinct is to blow it as badly as I can and act like a buffoon rolling on the floor laughing my ass off. That sort of flagrant immaturity doesn’t get you anywhere near where the Serious Peepul debate insanity but you have to have your priorities!

        2. abynormal

          i knew it….and it pisses the hell out of me. Every time i view Yves at a round table, PBS or video’s…i get so frustrated. she Always has more information to share but seldom gets the airtime. she’s graceful in that she doesn’t speak over folks but there are times i wish she had/would.

          oh well at least i’ve introduced her to circle or two and blown many away with ‘imagine a day in the life of Yves…non stop’

          Thank You Yves for ALL you do and look forward to viewing your contribution.

          1. allcoppedout

            Pretty obvious I’d see Yves as head and shoulders above the others. The lack of discussion on how we might get back to organic growth (however we might define that as not including planet burning), domestic production and industrial policy instead of financial tricks and favouritism was frightening. The opposition plan seems to be to keep playing the same old team and playbook tactics.

    1. psychohistorian

      Thanks for the links. Only could stomach the session Yves was in and even that made me want to throw something through my monitor at times.

      Definitely in the belly of the DC beast. Not talk of military expenditures but lots about the problems of “Entitlements” and federal debt…..gag!

      I did laugh at the hypocrisy of the right wingers saying that government budgeteers were bad but no response to the first floor question about private sector budgeteers focusing on short term shareholder control of company direction.

  8. Eeyores enigma

    “Modern youth not starting a subculture unless they get paid for it Daily Mash”

    What an ignorant headline. As if “back in the day” youth didn’t have any use for jobs and money.

    What happens when you don’t have money? Oh, maybe they can do it kinda like a hobby on the side after working 64 hour weeks at burger queen.

    When are we going to address the reality that all of what ails us stems from the fact that without money you die and money is getting exponentially more difficult to acquire and retain.

    My own 16 year old daughter and her peers believe, because they have been fed the lie from every angle, that they can get rich coming up with the next killer app that solves climate change, pollution, energy, or what ever.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Money is hard to acquire and retain (for you and me).

      Here is how it works:

      1. Print new money
      2. Tthe 0.01% have first use, in the best tradition of droit du seigneur.
      3. They use it to make you and me do things for them
      4. They rob and steal that money

      5. Here, we have 3 possibilities
      5a. We can enact a wealth tax.
      5b. Print more new money, let the 0.01% owned government spend it into existence (we need jobs, jobs and jobs, for crying out loud). Repeat 1 – 4.
      5c. We create new money for the people and by the people spending into existence.

      So, money is only hard to acquire and retain in the step 4.

      Money is not hard to acquire and retain (relatively speaking) in step 3 when the lord of the manor needs some work done.

      On the other hand, if we pursue step 5a (and to a lesser extent, step 5c*), we can break this vicious cycle.

      * step 5c only works if we go through something akin to the Cosmic Inflation, so fast and so extensive, that the (money) universe is more or less uniform, like our physical universe. I am not sure we humans are smart enough to pull it off and thus, I prefer step 5a.

      1. allcoppedout

        Nah! Let them earn their money by taking their degrees into jobs they are over-qualified for on renewable unpaid intern contracts. Or have I grown so old I now just hate yooff? They would be rebelling on the streets, but are too lazy and nesh to last even their standard attention span of 50 seconds. None of this could be the fault of we oldies. Enough of your entirely sensible planning Beef. The answer is to throw them out to survive in the Badlands as the Spartans did. France would be good. They have wolves again near Paris.

        Snark off: basically I can only look back in shame and wonder if it as all for nothing.

        1. Synopticist

          I know where you’re coming from…
          They’re the first generation to idolize multi-nationals like Apple, paying them money hand-over-fist, yet have zero qualms about screwing musical artists trying to scratch a living. They’ve rebelled against the little guy while admiring the big.

          1. psychohistorian

            Wait until the big guys tell them to hate the boomers for the problems they face instead of the big guys. I think the brainwashing is just about complete and the puppet strings firmly attached. Let the generational infighting of the 99% escalate instead of the class war with the 1% that we really need.

  9. Ellis

    “The notion that the ideas of individual economists have no impact is patently absurd.”

    Obviously, ideas have an impact. But what drives policy are the vested interests of the capitalist class. They pick and choose the ideas best suited to justify whatever their latest money making scams happen to be.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Economists are the best paid social scientists and the only ones to have a seat at the policy table. And there was a time when there were competing ideas in economics (the 1970s, when the Keynesians, who BTW distorted Keynes’ ideas to make them compatible with neoclassical economics, versus the monetarists), so policy thinking has not always been as monolithic as now.

      1. allcoppedout

        Do we have any record of ‘economics as actually discussed by policy makers’? The theories-in-use as opposed to espoused? I’ve found general economic illiteracy amongst UK politicians

  10. Andrew Watts

    RE: Congress raises pressure on CIA in torture dispute

    Why in the name of James Jesus Angleton is the CIA making this so difficult? They were going to get what basically amounted to a stern rebuke and a free legal pass. Do they honestly believe that a bunch of congressional staffers hacked into their computer networks?

    Or maybe they’re just obstructing a lawful investigation into their prior activities. If the legal authority of Congress is to be respected and maintained there should be criminal charges if this continues to be a problem.

    RE: Putin ramps up Internet censorship, citing Google and Snowden to ensure public support

    “Russia began mandating that ISPs install deep packet inspection equipment, which would allow them to selectively censor content — like specific blog posts or videos — rather than black out entire websites.”

    Funny. That’s exactly what US intelligence agencies wanted to do. It’s one way to make sure that uncomfortable commentary disappears down the memory hole. There are others which I’m sure Microsoft, Google, and other tech companies have no prior knowledge of. Surely they were not collaborating with the US government when developing these technologies.

    They hate us because of our freedom… oops! What I really mean to say is that Putin is evil.

  11. Andrew Watts

    RE: Health Care Exchange in Oregon Not Meeting High Hopes

    Working as intended. Everybody knows that ensuring the health exchange is a failure is a good way to get a single-payer system. Everything else from the incestuous relationship between Cover Oregon management and their contractors like Oracle is just icing on the cake.

    Business groups might rally behind a single-payer system in the state. They’re afraid that an employer-mandate may be the result of the health exchange’s failure.

    Who knows. It might be true. *wink*

  12. McMike

    re: No fly list.

    Underscoring that our security and eavesdropping services need to hire (and mentally condition) sociopaths – people who enjoy pulling the wings off of flies, people who are willing to destroy people they know who are innocent while also talking themselves into believing everyone is guilty and are therefore non-persons without rights or dignity. Sadists who enjoy trying to make innocent harmless people wet themselves, and lording their power over them. People who beat harmless people to the edge of death, shoot unarmed civilians, and stick nonviolent inmates into sensory deprivation chambers for years – then high-five each other for it. People who wouldn’t flinch from executing peaceful protestors with a sniper rifle, simply to sow chaos and weaken peaceful democratic movements. People who take selfie pictures of defenseless (and largely innocent prisoners) undergoing various forms of sustained long term torture. People who perform all these fascist and pathological tasks, and then tell themselves they are patriots serving democracy.

    The growth in our police, eavesdropping, and security state (and our perpetual war machine) means among other things we are seeking and creating an ever higher number of sociopaths, giving them power of life and death, and sending them out in the world to wreak havoc with a blank check and no consequences.

    Meanwhile, over on Wall Street, the hiring and development of sociopaths dominates as well…

    If you add all the security staff, field, admin, analyst, plus soldiers and police officers, and bankers… we are talking about millions of adult (mostly males) existing in a Lord of the Flies environment of sanctioned pathology and celebrated sadism.

  13. mark

    “Did the U.S. Deploy Snipers Against Peaceful Occupy Protesters? George Washington”

    That is a frightening story.

    according to that article, someone planned to murder leaders of occupy movement in Houston; the name or names of the people are known to law enforcement, but the people who were to be murdered, are not going to be told who it was that was considering killing them. Law enforcement is fighting in court to prevent the name or names of the people planning murder, from being released.

    This is horrifying.

    Isn’t planning a murder a crime?

    1. McMike

      Nothing new though.

      Police assassinations of people they don’t like happen from time to time.

      It’s a measure of how scared they are of being held accountable.

      1. allcoppedout

        In my (UK) experience police killings have nearly all been cock-ups, other than the odd idiot drawing a gun to kill his mother-in-law. Investigation of the incidents is usually dire and our juries never convict. Recent killings look like the historic ones – basically adrenaline-fuelled accidents overseen by clue-less commanders. Otherwise spot on McMike, even here in the land of the unarmed.

    2. optimader

      I’m not a lawyer or giving legal advice but I think the threshold is Conspiracy to Commit Murder which presumably requires two or more people.
      1.) an individual planning it , maybe not so much?
      2.) two or more people= felony
      3.) LEOs doing probably is nothing more than a “anti-terroist training exercise”.

    3. savedbyirony

      “All protest is now considered low-level terrorism.” equally terrifying, which i am sure is part of the point and intention and certainly unconstitutional control/punishment

    4. jrs

      Yes it’s horrifying (such are the times we live in – where Presidents have kill lists). The story of the Occupy assasination plan initially broke many months ago, and I followed it to the redacted source documents that were public. It’s real.

      And people get on occupy’s case because they were leaderless and so on. Yea but only part of that was implementing anarchist anti-hierarchy philosophy, it’s also exists in reaction to a world that wants to kill protest movement leaders.

      1. psychohistorian

        The problem I see is that in the next round of Occupy sort of social expression of dissatisfaction that “leaders/spokespeople” like Yves will be forced forward and those folk will be eliminated as titular leaders to scare the rest into submission.

    5. jrs

      It occurs to me it might not be the Fed gov or any of their Three Letter Agencies. No, they aren’t above a little assasination. But you are also looking at police agencies in a plenty right wing state as well, so it’s a bit hasty to assume assume it’s the Fed gov. though they might look the other way.

  14. Dan B

    The Deutsche Welle link, “Putin puts the West to the test ,” quotes “experts” who do not understand the geopolitical vulnerabilities of the EU and, in addition, they badly misunderstand Putin’s actions and strategy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Rich people own a very little.

      In fact, they say, when you own nothing, you own everything.

  15. Foppe

    Link for tomorrow? “Duke Energy Caught Intentionally Dumping 61 Million Gallons Of Coal Waste Into North Carolina Water“:

    The incident marks the eighth time in less than a month that the company has been accused of violating environmental regulations. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Duke — notorious for the February Dan River disaster which saw 82,000 tons of coal ash released into state waters — was taking bright blue wastewater from two of its coal ash impoundments and running it through hoses into a nearby canal and drain pipe.

    The news is just the latest in a string of environmental violations surrounding Duke in the last few months. But Duke is not the only North Carolina entity that has been engaging in questionable conduct. DENR itself has earned a good deal of mistrust from environmentalists in no small part due to its questionable handling Duke’s many serious environmental violations. The U.S. Justice Department has recently opened a criminal investigation into DENR due to its handing of the February Dan River spill, questioning the relationship between the agency and Duke — a company that also was a 28-year employer of Gov. Pat McCrory.

  16. Jackrabbit

    Sanctions spiral

    While the ending of Russia gas discounts for Ukraine is technically not a ‘sanction’, the timing of the action makes it relevant. I believe I read that this will increase gas prices by about 40% – and Ukraine can’t pay their gas bill as it is ($2 billion in arrears).

    Just as releasing oil from the strategic reserve sent a ‘message’ to Russia (which Wolf notes), the increase in the price Ukraine pays for gas sends a ‘message’ to the US/EU.

    ZH now has a story about a Russia-China energy deal that is due to be signed in May and speculates on the end of the petro-dollar.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      China now has a Russian precedent for annexing Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Nepal and Bhutan, even if those don’t make up for losing outer Mongolia and areas north of Manchuria.

      Many wonderful relationships have subsisted on much flimsier foundations.

      1. psychohistorian

        China is already making deals with Saudi Arabia and has an arrangement around the US dollar with Venezuela.

        The end of the US dollar as the Reserve Currency is coming closer. As is the demise of American empire… will not be a soft landing. Lets just hope it doesn’t lead to global nuclear winter.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          The end of the USD would, indeed, be cataclysmic. Many would have to be willing to cut their own throats. In the event it was replaced, what would replace it? Yuan? Petro ‘credits’? A global currency (how’s that multi-state currency scheme workin’ out for the EU)? Private currencies? Gold?

          Of the former, I’d bet on gold, and I’m no gold bug.

            1. psychohistorian

              I would say the composition of the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of the IMF would need to expand/change from just being US/UK/EU and Japan based to be accepted.

              Also in doing so, the debt that the current estimated $500 billion existing SDRs represent would have to be forgiven or renegotiated. And the biggest issue that I have about them is that the banking backdrop for them is not entirely sovereign but quasi private with a sheen of sovereignty.

              Along with neutering inheritance I think we need to move to entirely sovereign banking and make the function more of a public utility than a private profit center.

  17. fresno dan

    Too much coddling of the wealthy… so why loose monetary policy? Ed Lambert, Angry Bear

    The comments provide a better argument:
    “Edward Lambert March 20, 2014 7:05 pm PeakT, The more you give to the wealthy, the less that people have relatively. The inequality is growing, and effective demand is falling. Inflation will not be a problem as long as labor income is suppressed. This is why loose monetary policy is not working, liquidity is not being transmitted to the consumers. It is being transmitted to capital income instead. Tighter monetary policy would slow down the flow of liquidity to capital. The growing inequality is created an unsustainable and undesirable imbalance. The growing power of the rich is bringing down the poor. Loose monetary policy is feeding the growing power of the rich. The rich are not Job creators because there is weak effective demand which gives little incentive to invest. There is weak effective demand because policies are not in place to transmit liquidity to labor. Even fiscal policy would be ineffective in an environment of policies re-directing liquidity and income to capital. Even if you give a lump sum to labor, as the sum circulates, it flows to capital maintaining the same weak percentage that is creating weak effective demand in the first place. As long as labor share stays so low and there are policies to re-direct liquidity to the rich, any policy to increase liquidity to the rich weakens effective demand. And you will see that even inflation has no support to rise due to capital soaking up excess liquidity like a sponge. My view is that loose monetary policy will further create instability only because there are no policies in place to divert liquidity to labor. Capital hoards it. If you start to see policies being implemented to increase labor share, then you will see inflation perk up and economic growth pick up too – See more at:

    I don’t know if Angry Bear is right, but I am very tired of the idea that shoveling free money to the bankers and grifters that got us into this mess is the best we can do. The FED, which has a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil mindset when it comes to the criminality RAMPANT in the financial sector (LIBOR to Robosigning – it goes on and on and on) seems to me to exist only as a cover for the fact that 90% of the GDP since the “recovery” went to the 01%. As I have said before, this whole “Pareto” is a little TOO convenient to the 0.1% At some point, policies have to be judged by their outcomes, and the FED way is greater inequality.
    NOW, I don’t think the Bernanke intends to screw most Americans – he is a dupe, a useful idiot for his capitalistic masters and misdirects everyone to worry about interest rates, when they should worry about no jobs, and jobs with bad pay.
    But you gotta admit, like a skillful magician, the 0.1% keeps you from seeing the cards up their sleeves…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is a reason we need jobs.

      Jobless people can’t eat.

      And why do people have to eat?

      The answer lies in more questions.

      Questions like:

      1. Who do we feed donkeys, mules and asses?

      2. Who do we tank up (non-electric) cars?

      That’s right – with fuel intake at regular intervals, we are able to keep on slaving away for our masters.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Grrrr…that should ‘why’ not ‘who.’

        Is there any wonder that people think I am wacky?

        That’s OK though, cause I am a wacky radical or wadical.

        I am a wadical and I am OK.

        1. abynormal

          wadical is way cool.
          beats my CRAFT (can’t remember a fu*kin thing) Club cause most the time i can’t remember where it meets :-/

            1. abynormal

              Tom let me tag along couple x’s (big mistake’)

              “Silence is a mirror. So faithful, and yet so unexpected, is the relection it can throw back at men that they will go to almost any length to avoid seeing themselves in it, and if ever its duplicating surface is temporarily wiped clean of modern life’s ubiquitous hubbub, they will hasten to fog it over with such desperate personal noise devices as polite conversation, hummin, whistling, imaginary dialogue, schizophrenic babble, or, should it come to that, the clandestine cannonry of their own farting. Only in sleep is silence tolerated, and even there, most dreams have soundtracks. Since meditation is a deliberate descent into deep internal hush, a mute stare into the ultimate looking glass, it is regarded with suspicion by the nattering masses; with hostility by buisness interests (people sitting in silent serenity are seldom consuming goods); and with spite by a clergy whose windy authority it is seen to undermine and whose bombastic livelihood it is perceived to threaten.”
              “The pain of love does not break hearts, it merely seasons them. The disappointed heart revives itself and grows meaty and piquant. Sorrow expands it and makes it pithy. The spirit, on the other hand, can snap like a bone and may never fully knit”

              & my personal fav:

              “People of ze wurl, relax!”
              Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
              Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

              1. psychohistorian

                About that meditation thing. I went to a family wedding last November where I was introduced to the idea of meditation potlucks where folks meditate for an hour and then eat and socialize….definitely gets my vote.

                This couple now lives in the DC belly of the beast…..grin, it gives me hope.

    2. allcoppedout

      I tend to what you say here Dan. I’d go further, I guess. We really have little understanding of the relation between working on what needs doing and the economists are spinning invisible cloth pretending they do. This is all-too-easy to think. What we are struggling against is COWDUNG – conventional wisdom of dominant groups (CH Waddington) and the operation of public choices in secret by a few. I always ask what you or I would do if suddenly the decision-makers after some fortunate calamity. That makes things tough, as I guess almost anyone prepared not to make waves would survive in executive office for long enough to bank a couple of lifetime average earnings in a couple of years. Try something radical and you might be out before your first monthly cheque.

      I’d like something like MMT linked to big project work on green energy capacity and job guarantee through international service. The consequences even of this start take pages to outline.

  18. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Microsoft Looked Through Reporter’s Hotmail And MSN Chat Accounts To Identify Windows 8 Leaker

    Um.. not quite right. The FBI looked at the chat history. Messenger only stores chat history on the local computer, which means someone had to physically secure the blogger’s computer and search his hard drive. I doubt the blogger gave Microsoft access to his laptop.

    The emails OTOH, are stored on a server inside Microsoft. Also, keep in mind when deleting email (or other things stored on a server), it may not be deleted from the server. For performance reasons, most things are just “marked” as deleted. (They set a flag deleted == true. They are usually only actually deleted when rebuilding indexes. Or never.)

    I went and looked at the indictment, and the really incriminating stuff was from chat logs where the blogger and the ex-employee were planning on breaking the auth code to pirate Windows. It’s hard to call the blogger a reporter when they both explicitly talked about how they were breaking the law and hoped to get rich doing it.

    1. bob

      I believe it’s also possible for gov to get your email if it’s been on the ‘remote’ server for more than 180 days, without a warrant.

  19. Jackrabbit

    Comedy Article ==> No-Fly List (Cracked)

    “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.” – Obama

    Those darn t*rr0rists are at it again(!) – ‘hiding’ behind humor, outrageous hyperbole, sarcasm, witty remarks apropos of nothing, wry observations, obscure references, inside jokes, knowing looks, pet names, twin speak, doodles, bad poetry, teen angst, garbled speech, drunken tirades, snap judgements, gut feelings, so-called ‘meaningless’ gestures, pillow talk, and the passing of gas in the presence of authority figures.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Random acts of kindness? – suspicious behavior.

      Pay it forward? – Who are you funding?

      Mismatched socks? – potential signaling mechanism.

  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    OMG!!… The Confidence Fairy is real?!! None other than Nobel prize winner Robert Shiller has said it is so (See today’s link above). She lives in a small, quaint Japanese village near the slopes of Mt. Fuji, but evidently spends time on the Ginza.

    As for the fairy herself, recalled this post from 2011 at Lambert’s site, including readers’ comments and the fairy’s images they submitted (Btw, would love to see a Confidence Fairy contest as part of Lambert’s fundraiser):

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hang on, little tomato.

      As soon as we create money by the little people spending it into existence, it will be sunshine again.

      1. optimader

        indeed Beef, a good metaphor.
        China Forbes is great if for no reason than her perfect diction. Up there w/ Natalie Merchant

        On the other hand, hear what you want!..funny article
        ..’Scuse me while I kiss this guy,” the legendary misunderstanding of the chorus of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”..


      2. optimader

        I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.

        —Groucho Marx

    2. psychohistorian

      I am lucky enough to live in Portland and got to watch them grow into what you saw….very talented folk.

    1. allcoppedout

      Thanks for the Ball. Think I’ve met a few psychomeres; colleagues with heads full of water, unless I skimmed too quickly.

  21. Mia

    Thank you for calling out Noah Smith. I find him obnoxious and arrogant, and behind the curve compared to many Post-Keynesians/MMT’ers.

Comments are closed.