Links 4/11/14

Dear patient readers,

Your humble blogger is up to her eyeballs in competing responsibilities, so forgive the lack of my own posts today.

ScienceTake: Those Clever Crows New York Times

9 blue whales die after getting trapped off Newfoundland’s coast CTV News (Chuck L). :-(

‘Collision Course’ in the Science of Consciousness NewsWise. Lambert: “But for the sourcing and funding, I’d say this was interestingly textured bullshit.”

Pastafarians rejoice as Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is granted permission to register as a religion in Poland Independent

The Death Toll Comparison Breakdown Wait But Why. Lambert: “World’s most chilling infographic.”

“American Blogger?” Yeah Right. Gawker. Looks like an overcorrection after Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion had a blogger as his chief baddie.

Legislation would ban state GMO labeling measures USA Today

GMO labeling bill heads for full Senate vote VTDigger (furzy mouse)

Bitcoin Is Getting Smashed Right Now Business Insider

Inside the UberPITCH ‘Cash Cab’ engadget

Sydney housing speculation goes bananas MacroBusiness

China slowdown concerns reinforced by falling prices Financial Times

China should not be too quick to ease capital controls, economist says South China Morning Post

Euro-Zone Economies Have ‘Failed to Converge’ Wall Street Journal

When the French clock off at 6pm, they really mean it Guardian

Turkey’s Hot-Money Problem Triple Crisis

The New American Reality CounterPunch


Putin warns Europe of gas shortages over Ukraine debts BBC

Ukraine Premier Bids to Calm East After U.S. Sanctions Warning Bloomberg

Eurasian integration could offer a counterpoint to the EU and the United States, but only in close co-operation with states like India and China LSE Comment (MacroDigest)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Has the NSA Been Using the Heartbleed Bug as an Internet Peephole? Wired

Researchers find thousands of potential targets for Heartbleed OpenSSL bug ars technica (Chuck L)

Banks urged to act over ‘Heartbleed’ bug Financial Times

Greenwald, Poitras to return to U.S. Politico (Deontos)

U.S. Claims Country Building Its Own Network to Protect Against NSA Spying Violates Trade Laws George Washington

Pentagon Papers’ Ellsberg calls for more gov’t whistleblowers RT (Deontos)

More fallout: Gender pay gap at Obama White House (12%) is more than twice the pay gap for the DC area (5.2%) American Enterprise Institute. Ouch, when the AEI manages to make a genuine point, as opposed to artfully packaged distortions, you know it’s bad.

Selective Service System can’t access its FOIA database MuckRock

Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border New York Times

Cuomo Caught Up in Rare Conflict With Prosecutor New York Times

Like the McCarthy era, except for everything Dan Fejes

LAPD officers tampered with in-car recording equipment, records show Los Angeles Times

Justice Department: Routine Use of Deadly Force by Albuquerque Police Result of ‘Culture of Aggression’ Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

General Motors recall crisis widens with second faulty part Financial Times

Boeing plans to increase workforce in Long Beach, Seal Beach Los Angeles Times. Lambert: “Union busting”.

Mr. Market Has a Sad


Stocks Drop With Emerging Markets as Tech Rout Spreads Bloomberg

The NASDAQ mini-bubble is popping MacroBusiness

Stock-Market Tango of Price, Earnings Has Two Left Feet Bloomberg

Macro Horizons: Phooey to Poor Data; Markets Place Hope in Central Banks WSJ MoneyBeat. Ah, what a difference a day makes…

Fed’s hard line to bring more pain to Wall Street NetNet v. Jamie Dimon says Fed stimulus exit will be easy Fortune

Speculation in the Commodities Market: Part 2 A Response to Price Asset Management New Economic Perpsectives

Only the ignorant live in fear of hyperinflation Martin Wolf, Financial Times (Joe Costello). Wow, for Wolf to rouse himself on this topic says something is afoot…

Family Structure and Inequality House of Debt

Neoliberalism, the Revolution in Reverse Baffler

Antidote du jour (Dereck and Beverly Joubert):

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 5.47.45 AM

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. coobek

    Why did the BlogRoll get shorter by 60%?
    I always start the day with You and then pop through you into other corners of EconoBlogs.

    1. Deloss

      I’m glad you asked the question. One of those links dropped was Paul Krugman. There is no statement in NC about a policy change.

      There is no [0] analysis of the “Ryan budget” in NC today, but there is a post about the failings of Obamacare, Obama, Sebelius, and about how Sebelius’ replacement, Burwell, will be even worse–at least that’s what I think it means. In that post there’s also a comment about how Republicans are nothing to worry about because they’re not roasting everybody in HHS.

      So I begin to wonder if NC and its adherents know who the enemy is. Me, I gave (a little!) money to Paul Broun’s campaign, because I really really want him to be the Republican candidate in whatever state he’s running in. His campaign is giving away AR15s, although I haven’t entered to win one. (It’s actually a DD M4V5 LW.)

      Of course I have also given much more to Wendy Davis and really do hope to be invited to her Willy Nelson barbecue.

      I’m distressed at NC’s recent trend of gnawing at its own innards. I have subscribed to NC at the extravagant rate of $5/month, and I thought about canceling, but that would be against things I think I believe in.

      Anyway, thank you for asking the question. Confusion to our enemies! and less confusion to our friends.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Maybe she’s decided that Krugman has morphed into a Democratic campaign functionary, as is obvious from his recent posts. He also has more than enough exposure.
        I think Yves and Lambert have made it clear they don’t support the Democratic Party, but not what they do support.
        To be clear: Lambert didn’t say “Republicans are nothing to worry about,” he said they’re useless as an opposition party. I think it’s a crucial point – the partisan “rivalry” is largely for show.
        But then, I’m a Green.

      2. Ned Ludd

        Paul Krugman came to prominence as an advocate of cheap labor, free trade, and “bad jobs at bad wages”. Krugman is a smarter version of Matthew Yglesias, which makes him a more effective neoliberal.

        Also, there are plenty of places to read your daily dos of Democratic talking points. On those sites, whether a policy is good or bad depends on whether it helps elect Democratic politicians.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        This is a finance and economics blog. We have never analyzed budget proposals in the entire history of this site, so I am perplexed at your expectation that we should have done so. That is not our beat. This is a blog run by all of 1.5 people with some other occasional contributors. We prefer to go deep into fewer topics, since I don’t see much point in offering superficial, not well informed commentary.

        1. Deloss

          Thank you for taking your time to respond, Yves. Nolo contendere. No contest.

          To you others, since I think we are all friends, or at least friendly, I confess that I am a Democratic hack (2x county committee member, more or less by accident) and I am very, very interested in seeing Democrats elected. I hope Yves isn’t reading this, because I don’t wish to be impertinent, but if Paul Ryan’s budget were to pass, or even gain so much favorable publicity that it began to influence the political climate, my minimal knowledge of economics leads me to believe that the results on American finance would be catastrophic.

          So I understand that NC can’t be an encyclopedia, but my original complaint was that Sebelius/Obamacare got a resounding thumping in this blog, and Ryan’s budget wasn’t mentioned.

          Now let us all go do something else.

        1. Deloss Brown

          I get the Daily Kos, thank you, Lambert. Thank you for the reference to Down with Tyranny, which page is new to me.
          I also get emails from

          1. GOPUSAEagle

          2. Guns and Patriots

          3. Ann Coulter

          4. Newport Natural Health

          –and because I gave Paul Broun $5, even the TEA PARTY sends me pleas. It amazes me what the Right thinks is important and newsworthy. And no matter how bad our President’s proposals (some of them, anyway, like the “grand bargain,” eeeeuh), we can count on them not passing the House because they’re not bad enough for the Right.

          But obviously I count on NC for news of the financial sector and read it daily, and so am sensitive to what you and Yves post.

          Respectfully yours,
          Deloss, blissful pom-pom waver

      1. Deloss

        I’m pretty sure that stuff in the right-hand column is part of her template. However I notice that Paul Krugman et alii are back in today’s (4/12) blog, so maybe it was just a glitch.

    2. Lambert Strether

      The blogroll got shorter because it needed to be culled of duplicates, people we never link to, and people who don’t need any help from us getting links. On Krugman, I had a fat or jet-lagged thumb on the delete button. My bad; we do link to him, after all.

      1. Paul Boisvert

        Hi, Lambert,
        As one who had suggested you eliminate blogroll duplicates (out of an admittedly pedantic sense of “economy”, nothing more) I was happy to see the 3 actual duplicates disappear. That left what I thought was the best blogroll on the web. But then a whole slew of others bit the dust, including one of the original duplicates(!), which baffled me, since I thought they were all reasonable sources of info and views that interacted intelligibly with NC’s (heterogeneous) takes and interests.

        Now you have restored a few, including Krugman, for which I thank you (I’m not endorsing his views, just saying they interact intelligibly with NC issues–one must keep up with one’s intelligible interlocutors.) I doubt my remaining suggestion will resonate well with you, but I honestly don’t see why Dean Baker and Mish Shedlock were dumped. Baker, though roughly (merely) a liberal Democrat, or perhaps a social-democrat, is logically sharper and more cogent than Krugman and extremely incisive on factually refuting propaganda even in media sources that support Democrats. I’m a socialist, but learn more from him on actually existing economic facts than any other single blogger (though not than from multi-source blogs, like NC.) Beat the Press should be a must-read for NC readers, and you have linked to his stuff in the “links” section quite often in the past.

        Shedlock is as “pure” a libertarian as you can get, hence worth reading, since libertarians are right exactly half of the time (about social and military issues, not economics). When they’re right they’re very right, and he can be quite incisive on such things. When they’re wrong, understanding and analyzing the ways in which they are wrong is crucial to making headway against their ideas–which are very appealing to lay minds and hence a huge ideological trap that must be relentlessly exposed and opposed. Reading Shedlock one learns a fair amount of facts, and sees a lot of logical fallacies about those facts that can often seem plausible, and will only be refuted by digging deep down into radical understandings of political economy and human nature. One should keep one’s friends close but one’s enemies closer… Plus you have linked to him fairly often, too!

        So I would plump for at least those two, but it is of course your blog…regardless, keep up the generally excellent and valuable work!

  2. Christopher Dale Rogers

    The Baffler piece, “Neoliberalism, the Revolution in Reverse” is a must read today – its just a shame authors and academics do not actually look at some of the political manifesto’s that emanate out of the UK, specifically the Labour Party 1983 Manifesto adopted by its then Leader, Michael Foot – far from it being as Roy Hattersley proclaims: “The Longest Suicide Note Written in History,” it defines in my mind, the last, best hope to turn the tide of neoliberalism which was offered the British people the result of that election, an increased vote for Thatcher and the duopoly of the Thatcher-Reagan axis has been an unmitigated disaster for much of Europe’s and the USA’s working class – I’m only glad to see that its now the middle class suffering, which in my humble opinion is “natural justice” – something I believe in passionately.

    1. Anon y Mouse

      The Baffler (the journal that blunts the cutting edge) is one of the few print magazines that I subscribe to. The magazine is beautiful and full of content, not ads. The articles and cartoons and art are just wonderfully thought provoking and enjoyable. I highly recommend subscribing.

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        I’m always impressed with Counterpunch and legion of radical African American online journals that exist – we’d be lost if it were not for the tireless and voluntary work many of these produce.

      2. Klassy

        Pick up any Baffler from the 90’s or aughts and the you’ll find that the articles are not dated at all.

    2. Ulysses

      This is a great piece, indeed. Here’s one small gem:

      “Now, Matt Yglesias is not a doctrinaire neoliberal thinker—certainly not in the sense that a disciplined propagandist like Milton Friedman was (even though he longs, absurdly, for a revival of “Friedman-style pragmatism” to bring the economic right to its senses).* But that’s precisely the point. Neoliberal orthodoxy has leached so deeply into the intellectual groundwater of the nation’s political class that it’s no longer a meaningful descriptor of ideological difference. That’s why Yglesias’s erstwhile American Prospect colleague Ezra Klein, over at his prestigious post atop the Washington Post’s economic blog shop, can marvel at the tough-minded budget “seriousness” of serial Randian liar Paul Ryan—or why the Obama White House can confidently slot offshore billionaire Penny Pritzker as its second-term commerce secretary while it continues to mouth empty platitudes about saving the nation’s middle class.”

    3. Benedict@Large

      “… I’m only glad to see that its now the middle class suffering, …”

      An interesting sentiment. I recall way back when Reagan first came out with his “welfare queen” meme. Reagan of course was a B-actor, and what distinguish a B-actor from an A is that the B-actor generally has some sort of “tell” that lets you know he’s only acting. Anyways, the first time I saw Reagan mention “welfare queen”, the tell was obvious in his eyes; it wasn’t the welfare queen he was going after at all, but rather ALL OF US. I knew from that moment that the welfare queen was simply the lowest hanging fruit, and that what Reagan and his buddies were really doing was coming after all of us, starting from that first step on the ladder, and gradually climbing it, one step at a time, until all of us had fallen under their boots.

      So the middle class is suffering now? Well that has always been the plan; it has merely taken a long while to come about.

  3. Christopher Dale Rogers

    Could someone please explain to me why this is so: “Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border New York Times.”

    As a Brit, well Welshman in fact, I’m staggered that poor people wish to enter the USA, given its current economic predicament, lack of democracy and appalling health care, I’d have actually supposed a reverse exodus, whereby US folk are queuing to get out of an imploding USA – which in my mind would make logical sense, i.e, would you not be better off settling in Canada or Mexico, particularly those of a left-of-centre persuasion.

    Inded, I’m amazed people desire to come to the UK in their droves and settle in the dump known as the South East, from my perspective, I can’t wait for Scotland to break the shackles of a corrupted “Union” and embrace a more liberal/social democratic trajectory – I also wish for my nation to be free of the Westminster yoke, particularly given we’ve been colonised by these nice people for approx. 700 years – maybe then I can stop being an exile and return home to my family and community, something the UK government in Westminster is opposed too, unless I deposit US$100,000 into a UK bank account – gotta love them British and the neoliberals don’t we!

    1. Anon y Mouse

      > would you not be better off settling in Canada or Mexico, particularly those of a left-of-centre persuasion.

      Mexico has a corrupt government, no jobs, and is one of the more violent places out there. Canada has a government far to the right of the US and it is COLD.

      1. JEHR

        By all means, come to Canada, but wait until Harper has left the scene as he is ruining everything about our country that is great beginning with underfunding health care and depriving our public broadcasting of funding; by muzzling our scientists and environmentalists; by changing our Elections Act to favour conservative values; by diminishing our civil services employees; by attacking “elites” that are really those people who know the facts like the auditor general. We have to get this guy out of our hair; then come to Canada.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers

          He’s bit of a bugger that Harper, and to think we imported Mr. Carney from your wonderful shores – please don’t send Harper over the Pond, we have enough neoliberal fruit bats as it is in London and its colonies.

      2. Wayne Reynolds

        Also, where in the world is our old friend “from Mexico”. I wish him well on whatever side of the great divide in which he resides.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          He started abusing people in comments. We had a word with him privately about that and his behavior did not change, so we put him in moderation to show we were serious, the rules apply to everyone. He took offense and hasn’t been back.

          This is the second time this has happened with him, BTW. He used to post as Down South and had a similar trajectory, of being a very valuable and insightful contributor, but getting more and more proprietary and more and more aggressive over time with people who disagreed with him. The previous time he went away and came back after 18 months. No idea if he will return again.

    2. notexactlyhuman

      The US is still better off than most of its trade partners, although the field is leveling. We ship manufacturing jobs to Mexico; Mexico sends us cheap labor. I work in the trucking industry part of the year, primarily in the Chicago area. There’s but a few warehouse or factory that I exchange with whose laborers aren’t majority Mexican immigrant, both legal and illegal. The only places where I encounter majority native English speaking laborers are in unionized establishments, such as Quaker Oats. Cheap labor is in high demand.

    3. armchair

      I think some poor people entering the US have a network or community here that will assist them in finding work and finding a survivable place to live. They also have the advantage of not having financialized their lives. They are debt free, which is a huge advantage in the US. Of course, if you don’t have a network and you don’t have skills and you start taking out payday loans, different story. The real sad stories I’ve encountered are the people who get hurt and can’t work, or have a mental disability, or are illiterate even in their own language and get enslaved to a conniving landlord.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You may be a house slave in the Imperial Core, but it is a far safer fate than being hunted in Upper Germania, Syria or Transalpine Gaul…I imagine this kind of logic might have prevailed a couple of millennia ago and may still be at work today.

  4. rich

    Atlanta Stadium for Billionaire’s Falcons Prompts Bond Fight

    Home Depot Inc. co-founder Arthur Blank, having bought the Atlanta Falcons, is getting help from the city to build a $1.2 billion football stadium to replace a venue that a skeptic noted is barely older than Miley Cyrus.

    The billionaire said his ambition to bring another Super Bowl to town rides on replacing the Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992, with funds including $200 million in taxpayer money. Neighborhood critics say a city-adopted plan unfairly burdens residents of two predominantly black neighborhoods. Vine City and English Avenue are areas steeped in the city’s civil rights history, and where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. brought his family to live in 1967.

    The project calls for demolishing the city’s first black Baptist church, and turning the street named after King into a dead-end for stadium VIP parking.
    Economically Obsolete

    Georgia law requires court approval before government general-obligation revenue bonds can be issued. The judge will weigh whether the bonds, backed by hotel taxes, are valid.

    “It’s not too hard to be skeptical about this, when you have a stadium only two months older than Miley Cyrus being declared economically obsolete,” said Victor Matheson, a professor and sports economist with the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Massachusetts, referring to the 21-year-old singer. “This is the youngest stadium to be abandoned that I can think of in recent memory.”

    Blank’s wealth is an estimated $1.8 billion, according to Forbes magazine’s list of the richest Americans. He bought the Falcons in February 2002 for $545 million and owns the Georgia Force, an Arena Football League team.

    The stadium bonds would be issued by the Atlanta Development Authority and repaid through the hotel tax. The City Council also agreed to dedicate hotel tax revenue beyond the bond payments to operating the new publicly owned stadium.

    That might generate an additional $900 million over 30 years, the neighborhood challengers said in court documents citing the bond filing. Although the stadium will be state-owned through the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, the Falcons will operate it and keep stadium revenue under a licensing agreement that requires the team to pay an annual rent of $2.5 million.

    U.S. cities are on the hook for at least $10 billion of sports stadium bonds, with at least one-fourth for the NFL, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Its seems your kleptocracy can’t get enough of Federal and State handouts, and then have the audacity to rail at those poor demanding jobs and a living wage, never mind a Socialist utopia.

      I think the French had it right all along, off with their heads and re-set the clock.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers

          Remind me to send a note to Goldie Lookin’ Chain in Newport, South Wales to do a cover of that record, we need all the cheering up we can get given the next Nato gathering is in my closest City, Newport this September – wonder what they will dream up for Russia at this expensive waste of our taxpayer money?

    1. notexactlyhuman

      She be a fun run of speculation about how Che Guevara inspired this woman to throw a shoe at Hagatha.

    2. Optimader

      Although i don’t think throwing things at people is a particularly civilized way to express disdain, i do appreciate that it brings attention to the irony that the incident happened at an “Institute of (S)crap Recycling Industries” meeting

      1. abynormal

        i’ll ebay and throw a metal spiked cleat at Arthur Blank…if and when i get near him Again.
        i worked for a exterminating company where i had to enter his house for an estimate.

        my father always ‘scolded’ me…”never speak up to people and never speak down to them” (i don’t remember him mentioning Throwing’)

        1. optimader

          Ok.. in the spirit of the pathetic also ran borscht belt vaudeville act that she is, I can go w/a shaving cream pie.
          I wouldn’t waste anything edible on her or want to she her physically injured. You can at least take some satisfaction knowing she’s cursed to waking-up being who she is.

          Unfortunately for the rest of us, she remains as a lingering political viper representing interests not serving the good of her fellow Citizens.

              1. optimader

                The stock file footage loop is missing the Breaching Whale for the insurance co. ads and the old duff in a wooden cris-craft for the incontinence pharma ads. :o(

                But here’s some footage for the eco-friendly Hybrid Car ad.. Italian style
                Replica P538 Eco Targa Florio
                Eng. Bizz still kicks ass at 87

      2. rowlf

        You may want to look into the rich Anglo-American tradition of flinging dead cats at politicians. It was one of my favorite parts of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A news group that really knew their history and traditions in the US could even report the number of dead cats a politician polled at.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Martin Wolf (‘Only the ignorant …’) exemplifies today’s smug complacency about inflation:

    ‘Hyperinflation … might occur if the central bank created too much money. But in recent years the growth of money held by the public has been too slow not too fast. In the absence of a money multiplier, there is no reason for this to change.’

    Wolf starts with a straw man: triple-digit hyperinflation is rare, but miserable old high-single-digit inflation is all too common. History shows that both the economy and inflation remain dull for decades after bubbles pop. But this is humanity’s first outing with QE, and like most massive interventions performed with no pilot testing (see ‘Obamacare’), it is likely to turn out badly.

    Wolf’s timing couldn’t be worse: the U.S. PPI popped 0.5% this morning, with crude goods prices having risen 5.8% over the past 12 months. This is showing up in exchange-traded commodity funds, some of which (e.g., USCI) set 12-month highs yesterday.

    Longer-term, central banks cannot withdraw the liquidity they’ve created without crushing the economy. When banks and shadow banks finally do expand lending more rapidly, central banksters will look on helplessly as the CPI launches skyward. And frayed-collar journos such as Wolf will crow, ‘I told you so!’

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      We might not get hyper inflation, but every action — even monetary policy actions — have equal, but opposite reactions. I believe that one of the cognitive difficulties we’re having regarding this phenomenon is that we cannot determine where or how our inputs will result in the “opposite” reaction. We have already warped the relationship between supply and demand, so that also makes at least one traditional benchmark/metric scale unusable (then again, what is a unit/fraction of the infinite?).

      Perhaps our monetary policy action will result in a social reaction. As we have witnessed in the past, if the disequilibrium becomes too great, it is returned to balance via social, as opposed to monetary, reactions.

    2. Chris D

      Doesn’t MMT say that the excess reserves are not liquidity but rather a portfolio rebalancing effect? So the Fed could just sell the treasuries they bought back into the system when the market starts reaching for safer assets, couldn’t they?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If they want to fight inflation, now is a good time to tax the wealth… finally.


    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know if you are ignorant to fear hyperinflation.

      I think you are more likely to be a crank if you fear hyperinflation.

      Me? I fear stagflation. I am not a crank.

      1. Wayne Reynolds

        In 1923 Germany it took wheelbarrows of money to by a loaf of bread. Stagflation is what has happened to the wages and buying power of the masses for the last 40 years in the neoliberal democracies of the West. The people in the middle towards the bottom of the economic hierarchy have quite a lot to be worried about. It is called survival. Us vs. them.

    4. Ben Johannson

      Reserves are not material to our economy. They’re just entries on a balance sheet.

    5. Paul Boisvert

      Hi, Jim,
      What’s your source for the crude goods 5.8% increase? I can’t find it in a quick googling around–a couple things have a 5.8% figure but one is for South Africa and another is a monthly increase back a while…

      I ask because the first article I read on the latest PPI said “Overall inflation remains relatively tame. Producer prices increased 1.4 percent during the past 12 months.” And it also attributed the high current monthly PPI rate to largely exogenous factors–certainly not to QE liquidity factors. This accords well with my view that the evidence shows no likelihood of any serious endogenous US inflation for the forseeable future. Exogenous inflation factors (oil shocks, war-caused commodity instability, weather, etc.) are of course possible, but that has nothing to do with QE or liquidity, and there is nothing we can do about them anyway, short of becoming a force for peace in the world, or gaining precise control of the weather…(both fine ideas IMO…)

      I see some other logical and evidential problems with your (and all) concerns about routine inflation suddenly taking off. You say “high single digit inflation is common”, but then admit that “inflation remains dull for decades after bubbles burst”. Well, then it can’t be common–something that only appears during short, infrequent bubbles, then vanishes for decades isn’t common. US history bears this out–let’s define “high single digit inflation” as greater than, say 7.5%–check out any graph of CPI since 1900 and you’ll see that inflation has been higher than that at most maybe 15%-20% of the time–and not for the last 35 years, as late capitalism fails to generate sufficient demand to fuel serious inflation, even DURING two major bubbles! And almost all instances when inflation was high single digits were short-lived and largely due to exogenous factors–war and oil shocks.

      Also, don’t forget that a population that pays high prices has the income to do it–by definition. Even if prices rise for a while, there must be (logically) sufficient income to pay those prices (or else, overall, products wouldn’t be bought, businesses would fail, and the resulting recession would quickly end inflation.) Again, exogenous factors could distort the preceding logical truth, but only for a short time–stagflation didn’t last long, as it logically can’t: if people don’t have the money to pay the prices, overall some business will either have to lower prices or fail, the latter leading to lower prices also, soon enough. And if people DO have enough money to pay the high prices, what’s the problem: my definition of things being ok is precisely when I DO have enough money to pay the prices that are being charged me.

      Inflation bugaboos are precisely that: bugaboos. The real problem isn’t inflation, which either can’t last, or can (because people have, happily, enough money to pay the prices, collectively.) The real problem is distribution of income: people may have enough money collectively to pay higher prices, but the poorer ones may not have enough to avoid suffering, unlike the rich ones (who would have excess.) But distribution problems are political, not economic–easily resolved by redistributing income, which again is a fine idea IMO. Then inflation can’t logically be a problem for long, or in the long run–exogenous shocks aside, about which we can do little other than renounce imperialism or contact Alpha-Centaurians about how to control the weather.

      Your thoughts welcome…

  6. We'll never know...

    In keeping with its tainted sources, the Wired article does a good job of concealing the clear links between heartbleed and illegal NSA surveillance. Benni on Schneier’s site has done a magisterial job curating the evidence: (1) NSA servers are running botnets to surveil people associating on Freenode; (2) it’s not that the whole world failed to notice heartbleed, instead, loudly ticking bombs stayed put despite warnings from the community. It’s blatant sabotage legally attributable to the US and UK governments.

  7. Jagger

    The investigation found that all of these instances of excessive force are a result of a “culture of aggression” inside the department.
    This culture is manifested in the routine nature of excessive force and lack of corrective actions taken by the leadership to address force incidents,” according to the Department. It is “evident in the department’s training,permissive policy on weapons, under-utilization of its crisis intervention team, overuse of SWAT, and the harsh approaches to ordinary encounters with residents. The failure of the department’s leadership to address unnecessary uses of force reinforces the aggressive culture.”
    Wow, the Justice Department investigation report on the Albuquerque Police Department was absolutely damning. They didn’t pull any punches until they recommended their changes for improvement. No recommendations for criminal prosecutions for abuse or excessive force. I suspect Albuquerque is not the only police force that would have problems passing a thorough Justice investigation.
    On the consciousness article, I thought it was a good laymen’s summary of where science is in the search for the origin or source of consciousness. In other words, a long, long way from theories to concrete results.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘…not the only police force…’

      This one is going well (though not perfect) that the Justice Department might think about reviewing all police forces in the country.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here, if beef is too expensive, we shift to chicken (or something like that).

        What do they do, in China, when soybean tofu becomes too dear?

        What is the substitute?

    1. abynormal

      uh Paul…we’ve played this game many-a-times before
      Soybeans Plunge After China Cancels Soybean-Oil Purchases (3/2008)
      “Whenever you have a large sell-off, there is always a risk of China canceling purchases or re-pricing them.”
      but it gets better…ever seen an American food label that doesn’t include Vit. C

      Vitamin C and Derivatives Markets in China (3/2014)
      China’s demand for vitamin C and derivatives has grown at a fast pace in the past decade. In the next five years, both production and demand will continue to grow. This new study examines China’s economic trends, investment environment, industry development, supply and demand, industry capacity, industry structure, marketing channels and major industry participants. Historical data (2003, 2008 and 2013) and long-term forecasts through 2018 and 2023 are presented. Major producers in China are profiled.(the rest is costly material…but i do remember 2008 backfired on China)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They can call the Chinese bluff and just sell the beans to Indonesia.

        The Indonesians love to use them to make tempeh.

    2. Wayne Reynolds

      Perhaps China has decided not to poison their population with GMC modified soybeans from the labs of Monsanto et al.?

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: General Motors recall crisis widens with second faulty part

    OK, to recap:

    GM is selling “cheap” lemons to the “less privileged.” Per the Gillian Tett quote in the Wolf Richter “Flashing Red” link, a large proportion of these are financed with “subprime” and “deep subprime” loans:

    ” A particularly high proportion of GM cars sales are financed by subprime loans. Meanwhile, a 10th of new loans are now going to so-called “deep subprime”, or consumers who would previously have had little chance of getting funding – particularly given that incomes for poorer households have stayed flat or declined, even as car prices jumped.

    Many of these “loans” are being made by Ally “Bank,” the GM financing arm formerly known as GMAC and Ditech Financial which imploded due to similar financial prowess with regard to mortgages.

    Ally Financial attempted an IPO this week. The results were disappointing.

    So what’s the take away? Was this IPO an attempt to get out from under and dump the financial catastrophe on shareholders before the inevitable implosion? How much are those lemons going to be worth in the used car market when the inevitable repos occur?

  9. Long story short

    Good on Baffler. The public fell for an old trick.

    It goes like this. You’re a predatory state: a contingent or accidental bunch of institutions. You take all your crimes and fuckups and moosh em together and call em God. Then you get people to beg God for stuff instead of razing the palaces.

    The enlightenment debunked that nonsense a couple centuries ago. But state predators dusted it off and pulled it again.

    Now if you’re a despot, you take your contingent and accidental institutions and reify their multitudinous crimes and fuckups as The Market. Get everybody to propitiate the Market instead of putting bankers’ heads on sticks.

    Now once again you’ve got a subject population of devout saps displacing their rage with obsessive orthodoxy and compulsive orthopraxy that would wow the Inquisition or the Taliban. They submit to indoctrination called education to seek the favor of the market, and go into debt peonage. They engage in entrepreneurial activity, and go broke.

    At least there’s a modern equivalent of écrasez l’infâme. It’s the Fuck Work movement. You want to piss people off nowadays, fuck work is better than fuck god. It’s more threatening to the great chain of being.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bitcoin is getting smashed right now link.

    The IRS ruled Bitcoin was not a currency.

    So, I guess you can’t pay your taxes with Bitcoin.

    Notice it’s not other way around.

    It didn’t happen that the IRS merely ruled you couldn’t pay taxes with Bitcoin, and then, the rest of us, consequently, refused to accept it as money/currency.

  11. Dog ate it

    There’s a common thread linking the the DoJ Alburquerque report to Feinstein’s Punch & Judy torture show, and bet you a million bucks you never heard a word about it.

    First thing we have to remember is, this state is so ossified and so dysfunctional that nothing happens without external pressure. Nothing. Domestic public outrage simply does not register.

    External pressure in this case takes the form of Human Rights Committee review of binding US obligations under the ICCPR. The Committee took the unusual step of giving our government homework with a deadline of one year. Of the 22 areas of concern, the Committee highlighted four areas as a formal priority. The four areas were:

    – Gun violence
    – Accountability for past human rights violations
    – Detainees at Guantánamo Bay
    – NSA surveillance.

    1. All right, what’s the absolute minimum the US government can do? Murderous police are easy, as long as you don’t touch their impunity. Hence Albuquerque. The Committee’s concern included the overall civil culture of gun violence, but you don’t dare piss off the NRA. OK, done. It’s half-ased, but at least you’ve got something to show them.

    2. Past human rights violations, this one’s tougher, because if Obama makes one false move here, Marine One throws a rotor and POTUS goes down in flames. Human rights violations include the crime against humanity of the CIA/JSOC torture gulag – the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights explicitly described that in the legal terms defining serious crimes of concern to the international community. That means universal jurisdiction, no statute of limitations, and state obligations to prosecute or extradite. Officials and heads of state included. What’s worse, the US is up in front of the Committee Against Torture in November. The CAT has strict binding rules for investigating, prosecuting, and compensating for these crimes. So how does Obama check the box and stay alive? Performative helplessness, that’s the ticket. Say please pretty please and CIA says no fuck you. Then you go back to the Committee and shuck and jive some more.

    3. NSA bullshit reforms. Done.

    4. Detainees, ah fuck em. Three for four, good enough for government work.

    1. Ulysses

      Your theory could well be correct. I would say your contention that domestic public outrage simply doesn’t register is only partly correct. Our corrupt political classes don’t care what anyone, anywhere in the world thinks about them as long as they can serve the kleptocrats who keep them in the luxurious style to which they’re accustomed. They wouldn’t care more about pleasing the Rights Committee than they would about pleasing a constituent who can’t write them a big donation check. The phony gestures towards decency they occasionally make show that domestic and international opinion registers, but rarely provokes action. When they find a source of outrage that they can pretend to do something about, without pissing off too many kleptocrats, they jump on it. Remember all the hearings about steroids in baseball?

      1. notexactlyhuman

        I disagree a wee. They do care what people think of them, else they wouldn’t lie, deny, spin, and keep secrets so goddamn much. They would instead be forthright and belligerent. They are vastly outnumbered, but so long as they can pass their horseshit off as pudding, and the oathkeepers militias are sidetracked in New Mexico (or is it Nevada?) waging war with the local sheriff over squatters rights, they’re safe. :-)

  12. Oregoncharles

    About “”

    The EU proposal contains a very large glitch: the UK.

    Britain is in the EU, and has been a very active partner with NSA in its spying, especially in Europe. Consequently, any EU network that includes Britain would be pointless as far as excluding the NSA.

    One result, somewhat ironic, is that the USTR would have a point – since no real security is accomplished, it’s effectively more of a trade exclusion. Not that I’m opposed to those.

  13. optimader

    Slow Life
    from Daniel Stoupin PLUS 1 month ago ALL AUDIENCES
    “Slow” marine animals show their secret life under high magnification. Corals and sponges are very mobile creatures, but their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen. These animals build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives.
    Learn more about what you see in my post:
    EDIT – answer to a common question: yes, colors are real, no digital enhancement, just white balance correction with curves. When photographers use white light on corals, they simply miss the vast majority of colors.

  14. Roland

    Paul Boisvert,

    People with low incomes can still support rising prices by going deeper and deeper into debt. This phenomenon has taken place right before our eyes, during our time. How can you possibly have missed it?

    Logically one might expect that people with falling incomes to be unable to go far into debt since no own would want to lend much to them. But that logic fails in two ways.

    First, there is constant active intervention by the central authorities to encourage lending, in the form of low central bank rates, mortgage and student loan guarantees etc. Second, in a historical sense, poor people have often been lent money in order to eventually turn them into slaves. The loans might go into default, but the collateral is valuable.

    Another thing: don’t forget that inflation is experienced differentially across class. Today, wealthy people don’t seem to recognize that there’s any inflation at all. But people at the median income are getting squeezed by our so called “moderate” inflation.

    Put it this way: one rich land speculator can crank up the housing prices for a hell of a lot of other people.

    Hyperinflation is a straw man. “Moderate” inflation with stagnant median incomes is quite bad enough.

    Reflationary economic policy is evil unless combined with a programme to actively redistribute wealth across society.

    There’s no technocratic fix to a class-divided capitalist society. We tried it during the epoch of the welfare state, but the capitalists betrayed us. Why should we go there again?

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