Links 4/24/14

If you are in New York City, be sure to drop by our meetup this Friday, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at Sláinte at 304 Bowery (map with nearby train stops here). Be there or be square!

Massive new fraud coverup: How banks are pillaging homes — while the government watches David Dayen, Salon. Obama never prosecuted the crooks, so they came back for a second helping.

Seven Takeaways for Banks from Warren’s New Memoir WSJ. Pecora didn’t write a memoir. He ran a Commission.

Exclusive: White House considers former banking lawyer for Fed board – sources Reuters

Housing Rebound in U.S. Losing Steam as Prices Rise: Economy Bloomberg

Obama starts Asia tour with a message to China McClatchy

Q&A: Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun interviews President Obama WaPo. Obama: “I know the Trans-Pacific Partnership has prompted debate in Japan, as it has in the United States, and I’ve made it clear that any agreement has to include strong protections for labor and the environment.”

Unwilling Trans-Pacific Partners WSJ

As Obama Visits TPP Countries, New Obama Administration Report Targets Their Public Interest Policies as “Trade Barriers” to be Eliminated Eyes on Trade

Mount Everest expeditions cancelled in peak season as dozens of Sherpas walk off job CBS

Chinatown’s American Dream: Meet the migrant workers who sleep packed into tiny $9-a-night New York cubicles, while families share meals in a space the size of a cupboard Daily Mail

Why won’t President Obama pay his interns? WaPo

Where Do You Want to Be Born? Baseline Scenario


Forget the spin of eight million sign-ups CJR

Obamacare Observations From the Marketplace Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review. The back-end may not be done ’til after the mid-terms, which is why we have no hard sign-up data from the Feds. Yet after his launch debacle, Obama brought in a “trauma team” for the front end, as lovingly detailed by Stephen Brill. So why not do the same for the back end? Is there data Obama doesn’t want to collect?

Travels In Hyperreality: What If Bipartisan ACA Fixes Were Possible? Health Affairs Blog

The Neoliberal Turn in American Health Care Jacobin

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

No-fly list used by FBI to coerce Muslims into informing, lawsuit claims Guardian

Results for #myNYPD Twitter

Conversnitch Schneir on Security

F.C.C., in ‘Net Neutrality’ Turnaround, Plans to Allow Fast Lane Times. Swell. That was fast.

Russia’s Surveillance State World Policy Institute


U.S. responds to Russian aggression in Ukraine with military exercises in Eastern Europe McClatchy

EU Sanctions Against Russia to Have Repercussions – Euro Parliament Chief RIA Novosti (MH)

Beach-Vacation Trading Shows Russia Crisis Aiding Brokers Bloomberg

Ukraine: From Crisis to Catastrophe Counterpunch

Ukraine, Putin, and the West n+1

Londongrad Calling Foreign Affairs

Experts: U.S. must have OKd transfer of missiles seen in Syria rebel videos McClatchy

Suthep’s claim of sovereign power to choose a PM would be a coup Asian Correspondent (this is Thailand).

More World Cup concerns for Brazil as Rio favela riots break out again just 50 days before the tournament kick offs Daily Mail

Georgia law allows guns in some schools, bars, churches CNN

Is the U.S. Shale Boom Going Bust? Bloomberg

The Insiders: The president’s cynical Keystone XL strategy WaPo

The Local Fight to Save the Chesapeake Becomes a National Fight Over the Clean Water Act Bill Moyers

Divided Court upholds Michigan’s ban on affirmative action: In Plain English Scotusblog

12 ethical dilemmas gnawing at developers today InfoWorld (PD)

Czech deer still wary of iron curtain boundary Guardian

Sperm RNA carries marks of trauma Nature

Virtual Earth plays out fate of life on the planet New Scientist

Manned mission to Mars ‘necessary’ for human race’s survival: NASA chief Yahoo News. Why? Because Mars is an interplanetary Galt’s Gulch?

U.S. Views of Technology and the Future Pew Research. Who wouldn’t want to eat meat grown in a lab or get a brain implant? What’s wrong with you people?

Heartbleed as Metaphor Lawfare. “Common mode failure.”

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. financial matters

    The third of the 4 part Levy Institute report on the Fed’s response to the crisis is out and looks interesting (4th due April 2015)

    “The Federal Reserve is now 100 years old. Over the past century, the Fed’s power has grown considerably. In some respects, the Fed’s role has evolved, but in other ways it is showing its age. In the introduction to this year’s report, William Greider—author of Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country—argues that it is time for an overhaul. The Fed was conceived in crisis—the crisis of 1907—as the savior of a flawed banking system. If anything, the banking system we have today is even more troubling than the one that flopped in 1907, and that crashed again in 1929. There were major reforms of that system in the New Deal, and some reforms were also made to the Fed at that time. By the standard of the Roosevelt administration’s response to the “Great Crash,” the Dodd-­Frank Act’s reforms enacted in response to the global financial crisis are at best weak.”

    1. AndyB

      Re the FED: most Americans are unaware that the FED is not a government run institution, but rather a foreign owned vehicle for massive debt enslavement through monetary policy. Additionally, the IRS is likewise not a USG department, but is effectively the bill collector for the FED, and thus is both de facto and de jure ultimately controlled by foreign interests. It’s no coincidence that the unconstitutional IRS legislation was enacted upon the passage of the Federal Reserve Act. If you doubt that the IRS is a non-USG entity, ask why the IRS has to pay for its own postage when every other USG entity is allowed franking privileges.

      1. Peter Pan

        The IRS is not a department of the USG. However, it is the largest bureau of the US Department of the Treasury and is therefore a USG entity.

  2. financial matters

    Massive new fraud coverup: How banks are pillaging homes — while the government watches David Dayen, Salon. Obama never prosecuted the crooks, so they came back for a second helping.


    “I think we should add an immediate five-year moratorium on home foreclosures, just say zero. There will be no home foreclosures for the next five years. That would stop the home theft. I think most foreclosures are home thefts. The banks are making up the documents. There is no proof that anybody owes anything out there because the banks have destroyed all the documents. We don’t know who owns the property. We don’t know who holds the right to collect mortgage payments and we don’t know who, if anyone, has any actual legal right to foreclose on homes so we just need to stop those actions. It depresses home prices; it destroys communities when they foreclose, and of course it destroys the families too. So just stop it; and then we can work out how we can give debt relief on the mortgages.”

    1. just me


      The banks are making up the documents. There is no proof that anybody owes anything out there because the banks have destroyed all the documents.

      I remember when Cynthia Kouril at FDL proposed people submit their own artwork documents to courts to counter the banks’ artwork. Make the point to the judge, you’re judging artwork, here’s the bank’s, here’s what my kids drew. She was joking, but I thought it was seriously perfect. As Wray says elsewhere in your link, “all those houses were stolen.”

      I remember this from several years ago as well:

      Foreclose on the Foreclosure Fraudsters, Part 2: Spurious Arguments Against Holding the Fraudsters Accountable

      William K. Black and L. Randall Wray
      October 24, 2010

      What to do? We suggest an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and a requirement that all notes be produced by purported holders of mortgages within a reasonable length of time. If they cannot be found, the mortgages — as well as the securities that pool them — are no longer valid. That means that the homeowners are not indebted, and that the homes are owned free and clear. And that, dear bankers, is a big, big problem. It is also the law — without evidence of debt, there is no debtor and no creditor.

      I wonder if Wray still goes that far? I mean I hope he does. It’d be nice to think of that kind of real solution instead of what craazyman called smoke and MERS.

      What DDay said about MERS:

      There was another solution available here, if Holder’s Justice Department didn’t throw up its hands and settle. Judges could have disassembled the broken mortgage system, and appointed a special master to handle all loans in question. It may have taken years, but the preservation of the public property system makes the time and expense worth it. Unless you would rather kneel to the wishes of the financial industry to keep everything rolling, and let the wound fester.

      If you or I pick the lock on a house and try to steal everything in it, we’d probably go to jail. But if I were a bank, and I wrote down on a piece of paper that I simply owned that house, I’d get away with it. That’s the sad legacy of trying to cover up massive fraud instead of dealing with it.

  3. Klassy

    Who wouldn’t want to eat meat grown in a lab? I don’t know– it sounds preferable to meat grown in a factory. For the “meat” I’m sure it is.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Many technologies — especially those which tamper with the nature of our food supply — should be feared.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Who doesn’t fear technology and science that will, with the ‘right’ people, make Mars not Galt’s Gulch but a giant Gulag?

        2. Binky Bear

          all the corn and all the soybeans have been gmo since the 1980s. That means every nacho chip and tamale and tortilla frito dorito tostito has been gmo. LIkewise edamame, soy sauce, soy protein isolate, soy meal, soybean oil, soya lecithin and on down the road. We are already swimming in stacked trait gmo products with no labels and no long term testing as to effects. We are an ongoing set of uncontrolled experiments.

          1. different clue

            Japan claims to forbid entry to GMO corn/soy. Organic corn/soy growers claim to be GMOfree. Some ads for GMOfree corn/soy seed show up on Acres USA.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Meat 2.0. It’s what’s for dinner.

      Apple has the barbecue app. It turns an ordinary iPhone into a tiny hibachi.

    2. McMichael

      Might as well just climb into the energy harvesting pods and hook up the intubation and feeding tube, beat the rush.

      We are losing our relationship with food and nature. Many thoughtful observers, scientists, and academics are concluding that it is quite literally driving us pathological and insane.

      1. Klassy

        That seems a little overwrought to me.
        My feeling is is that people will always eat meat. There is no perfect solution for the problems created by our desire for meat. What we have now is not particularly “natural” and the environmental impact is enormous. I think factory farms are horrible places for animals. So, if Sergey Brin wants to apply some technology to this problem, I’m all for it. I’d rather he do that then try to fix democracy.
        I am more alarmed by the fact that 37% of the people surveyed thought ubiquitous wearable or implantable computing devices would be positive.
        I also don’t understand why people would think there are any great and important technological advances on the short term horizon.

  4. diptherio

    From the Eyes on Trade article:

    The policies of other TPP nations criticized by the 384-page USTR report include New Zealand’s popular health programs to control medicine costs, an Australian law to prevent the offshoring of consumers’ private health data, Japan’s pricing system that reduces the cost of medical devices, Vietnam’s post-crisis regulations requiring banks to hold adequate capital, Peru’s policies favoring generic versions of expensive biologic medicines, Canada’s patent standards requiring that a medicine’s utility should be demonstrated to obtain monopoly patent rights, and Mexico’s “sugary beverage tax” and “junk food tax.” [emphasis added]

    If we can’t control the costs of our health care at home, we can sure as heck try to increase costs in other countries! That’s one way of bringing US medical costs into line with the rest of the world…oy…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The information in this article is quite remarkable. Every time I thought I had identified the “money quote,” I read the next sentence. The hubris and arrogance is so overwhelming that, by the end, it’s actually laugh-out-loud hilarious.

      This should put to rest any “hope” that USA Corporation, LLC will be reducing “healthcare” costs or any of the other costs imposed on Americans by their corporate plantation owners any time soon. Apparently the strangling of the American population is going so well, it’s to become one of those economy-enhancing “exports” our beloved “multi-nationals” are slobbering over.

      The only thing I can’t figure out is why these potential “trade partners” haven’t given the USTR the finger and sent him packing long ago.

      1. diptherio

        “The only thing I can’t figure out is why these potential “trade partners” haven’t given the USTR the finger and sent him packing long ago.”

        That would be our Naval Fleet…

          1. Procopius

            I know I should Google for links, but:

            1. During fleet exercises, a Chinese submarine surfaced next to one of our magnificent billion-dollar (replacement cost) aircraft carriers. It was not detected by the many destroyers and cruisers that make up the carrier’s defensive screen, which are supposed to prevent any submarines from getting within torpedo range. They did this two years running.

            2. The Chinese (and, I believe, the Russians) have a surface-to-survace missile with a range of 250 miles that can sink a magnificent billion dollar (replacement cost) aircraft carrier. They have had this missile for at least five years and it works, not like our “anti-ballistic missile missile” which has still never passed a single performance test even when they strap a radar transponder to the target. That’s the one, by the way, that the Republicans want to put in Poland to provoke the Russians.

      2. curlydan

        good description of the TPP article. Just brutal from one paragraph to the next. Basically, if it doesn’t improve the profits for US corporations, the message is to cease and desist that activity–health, quality of life, and religious beliefs be damned.

      3. hunkerdown

        We still do plenty of trade with those countries, and they seem to not mind the status quo. If their quandary is between Froman ragequitting like Scarface in Half Baked (NSFW: language) and handicapping oneself to suit Washington, it’s not a hard choice to instead studiously ignore the overstimulated sprog while having a lively, joyful adult conversation with China.

    2. Clive

      Could hardly stomach the Yomiuri interview with Obama (he really is now reminding me of late-stage Tony Blair, which isn’t a good thing) but noticed that he was now waffling on talking about “reducing tariffs” rather than eliminating them.

      Don’t have even a login let alone a subscription to the WSJ (am I missing anything useful there? I have my doubts…) so not sure if it was mentioned in their article but, if readers are not already aware, the US’ TPP position has changed markedly. Gone is the Mommie Dearest insistence on no wire hangers ever* no tariffs ever and the US is now reportedly okay for the Japanese to keep tariffs on wheat and rice. See for details of how eye wateringly high these are at the moment, even a major cut (which I can’t imagine is likely) will still leave huge tariffs in place.

      I’m wondering if my previously expressed speculation that a Potemkin TPP (which looks or sounds good but is very watered down in reality) might not be so far-fetched after all ? You read it here first folks.

      * (but not for the faint hearted. or those who don’t appreciate bad acting)

      1. different clue

        If you “get” the lizard’s tail and the lizard yet lives, you got nothing at all.

  5. mark

    “CHAGAI, Pakistan, April 22 (UPI) — Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud killed almost “2,000 nearly extinct houbara bustards while on a 21-day hunting trip in Pakistan.
    Environmental activists are protesting the mass slaughter, but the prince claims the government gave him a permit to hunt in the area.”

    Read more:

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Who does this fucker think he is — Nimrod?

      He should be made to pluck and eat them all in a period of time equal to that which it took to kill them. If he stops eating for longer than it takes to swallow the bite in his mouth, he should be shotgunned, at a distance, with the same load (foul/small game shot), that he used to kill the birds. It won’t kill him, unless he stops eating, repeatedly.

      F this dude and anyone else with blood lust.

      Lord have mercy, I have vengeance in my heart, and I like it and despise it at once.

  6. Drexciya

    Totally agree on your comments. If it wasn’t real, it would make for some serious laughter. Now I’m really curious what the US intends to force upon the EU countries in their similar “trade agreement”.

    Do the people who write up this “agreement” text have any common sense? In my opinion this is a gross insult to any country that is “targeted” by this agreement. You’re essentially giving up on any protective legislation against big corporations. You might as well hand them all positions in your government and let them rewrite your laws.

    Any sane politician should simply make this information widely available and score some points with it’s citizens, by publicly shredding this piece of rubbish.

    1. different clue

      Only if the politicians are not auditioning for after-office payouts from those corporations.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Results for #myNYPD Twitter

    I’m not on Twitter, but didn’t this same kind of PR fiasco occur several months ago with something like #Ask JPM?

    Is ANYONE in NYC paying attention to ANYTHING?

    1. Synopticist

      Nothing warms the cockles of my heart like an epic PR/Astro-turf fail. A glorious sight to behold.

    2. Cocomaan

      Don’t be so sure.

      Now they have a nice, up to date list of all the activists, and their friends/contacts/acquaintances.

    3. bob

      I’m wondering if they planned the “fail”. Looking though the twitter feed, they are about 5 different photos. That’s it?

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: No-fly list used by FBI to coerce Muslims into informing, lawsuit claims Guardian

    Just loved, loved, LOVED the use of language here–“coerce,” “inappropriate,” “enticement.”

    Tyranny is SO much less threatening when its existence is so charmingly understated.

  9. JuneTown

    “”A former lawyer with the American Bankers Association is being considered by the White House as a possible nominee to the board of the Federal Reserve,””
    It’s Obama, so, quelle surprise!

    1. Synopticist

      I had incredibly low expectations for Obama’s second term, but, I have to hand it to the man, he’s failed to live up to them. And there was me thinking I was too cynical these days.

      1. Jess

        Remember the wisdom of Lily Tomlin:

        “No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up.”

  10. Jim Haygood

    ‘There are lots of reasons for these outcomes [median income rising faster overseas], but one is a tax system that, by comparison with other advanced economies, takes less from the rich and redistributes less to the poor.’ — James Kwak, Where do you Want to Be Born?

    More quackery from Kwak, who offers zero evidence to support his idée fixe that redistribution is an economic tonic.

    One nasty little trick he employs is a table showing median income growth rates in Europe trouncing the U.S. He omits a chart from the original NYT article showing that despite its stagnant growth, U.S. median income remains well above ALL of the European countries cited.

    Will the European workers paradises ever catch up? Not bloody likely. European mixed-socialist regimes exhibit chronic problems of slow growth and high unemployment, whereas the U.S. shoots itself in the foot by dumping 5% of GDP down the drain on its military empire, including large subsidies for European defense. Raising taxes only enables more looting by the mil-industrial complex.

    Cut taxes, defund NATO. And don’t feed the MSM …

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Really, Jim. The idea that the MIC is under any “budgetary” constraint and could be reined in by decreasing the tax take is just plain NUTS.

      In case you haven’t noticed, government income from taxes is already down. And, after decades of pointless, unsuccessful, spare-no-expense war, AUSTERITY is the order of the day. For the unemployed, SS recipients and those formerly known as the “middle class.”

      The US is deploying troops to Eastern Europe in what can only be described as a ramp-up to ANOTHER, potentially much larger and more deadly, military conflict. And it’s a fight that THE US PICKED. Financial constraints never even figured in.

      War-mongering is ideological, and is independent of financial considerations. In THIS country. Cut taxes, and you only cut the collective American throat.

      1. ambrit

        Too true, American troops in Eastern Europe? Sort of like if the Russians sent some “advisors” into Quebec to help the oppressed francophone population realign themselves with the Unaligned Nations bloc. How would the cold warriors inside the Beltway react to that? (And they expect Vlad and Company to roll over and play dead?) I suspect that whomever is really behind all this knows full well that it will lead to a truly nasty proxy war. A war that will probably spread. Then we here in America will be exhorted to come to the aid of the oppressed peoples of valiant little Grand Fenwick. Slackers will be given Caribbean Vacations courtesy of Uncle Sam. (How’s the fishing in Guantanamo Bay?)

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Looking at Egypt, Libya, Syria, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that what the US wants to see is endless bloodletting and chaos. I mean “endless” literally. They don’t want any side to win. The upside would be is that when you end up with very weak states, primitive accumulation can proceed apace.

          1. ambrit

            Indeed, but this situation is consistent with the history of the Wests’ colonial heritage. The states you mentioned, I would even include Egypt, and most of Eastern Europe, are or were artificial constructs, made up on paper maps by scheming diplomats and politicians. The present Middle East is the b—–d child of the Treaty of Versailles. As people like Lawrence knew and suffered pangs of remorse for, the peoples actually living in those territories were not consulted in the carving up of the old Ottoman Empire, or the old Austrian Empire, or the old Russian Empire. No wonder the resultant entities fall apart so easily! It’s really too easy. It is fun, sort of, to imagine anti-empire builders schemeing away at retreats and beaches. Want I’d like to know is, can neo-feudalism co-exist with modern technology? Automation is all well and good to consider as a paradigm shift in social evolution. Ultimately, the automatons require thinking minds to guide them, directly or indirectly. If the automatons develop self awareness, will they consider we puny little humans worth tolerating? Here’s hoping that sentience has a built in empathy component. That’ll be our only hope.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      It seems that the “idée fixe” that landed us in our current situation was income redistribution (from the bottom to the top).

      BTW: The median income means jack shit. What’s in YOUR wallet?

    3. Benedict@Large

      I’m completely against wealth redistribution. We should simply set a maximum wealth and a minimum wealth, and keep everyone inside of that range.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s kind of like wealth distribution and some people confuse them. They confuse GDP sharing with wealth distribution as well.

        As for that range you speak of, one can do tat by allowing acceptable variations with GDP sharing.

  11. Cal

    Chinatown’s American Dream? Oh please.
    Someone force these people to come here?

    More like a nightmare for American workers–you know, the kind that were born here, who have generations of descendents paying taxes here, fighting in wars for this country, people with no where else to go, attempting to earn a living wage and survive, but having to “compete” and lower their standard of living to toward this imported model.
    How can one allegedly demand living wages for Americans and better working conditions and at the same time work for importing/amnestying tens of millions of low wage slaves willing to live like this?

    Local economies? The multiplier effect of local spending? Liveable wages?
    “Immigrant rights” groups are the enemy of these and help foment civic decay.
    The opposite end of the vice helping to crush the Middle Class with the bankers and financial parasites on the other side.

    1. OIFVet

      As someone who arrived here legally, pays taxes, served in the US military, and owns a business which employs Americans I don’t generally have much sympathy for illegals. But you are in effect blaming the victim here. These people wouldn’t be here if there weren’t employers willing to hire them. Just step back and recall the howls of business lobby groups every time a law mandating employers to verify legal status is proposed. The fact is that the illegal immigrant problem is direct result of the illegal employer problem. Also, many if not most illegals do pay payroll taxes which they will never get back in the form of social security. I fully agree with your last paragraph but going Lou Dobbs on the illegals will not do a damned thing unless we first deal with the parasitic employers.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Maybe the employers of these folks should be penalized on a per-capita illegal immigrant basis — each count carrying a hefty minimum penalty, independent of the others.

        1. OIFVet

          This is sort of what I was thinking, make it prohibitively expensive to hire illegals by assessing heavy fines. Something on the order of the median wage (including benefits) per illegal employee, plus punitive fine. Couple these with jail time for corporate officers and/or business owners. Wishful thinking in the current times, but as long as there are no real consequences for illegal employers we will have illegal immigration.

          1. Jess

            Congratulations! You have now successfully defended unlimited perpetual illegal immigration. Why? Because you’re advocating no action against the employees until we also prosecute the employers. Prosecuting employers is something I’m all for. Problem is, it will never be the folks up the chain of command and the corporate hierarchy who get prosecuted. The CEO’s and National Sales Managers aren’t going to leave an incriminating email trail, they are simply going to set productivity targets that local managers can only hit (and thus retain their jobs) by hiring low-wage illegals. Cops come; illegals get rounded up and sent back, local manager gets arrested, tried, convicted. Meanwhile new manager continues old policy because new manager has a mortgage and a kid in college and is willing to risk jail rather than become another drowning victim in our sea of unemployment.

              1. bob

                More and more I think that he’s just an agent provocateur. Spreading the gospel of vigilante justice, but not capable of living by his own code.

                Not so much different from every single other preacher.

            1. OIFVet

              Look Jess, I am not about to go hard on what are by and large defenseless people who are ultimately guilty of trying to survive. I suppose it is hard to understand just how hard it is to be an immigrant, legal or illegal, until one tries it. Half of these illegals wouldn’t want to be here if they had a way of feeding their families. And looking at the demographic composition of this immigration it is probably safe to say that the US practice of regime change in Latin America is largely responsible for driving people out. They don’t call them Banana Republics for nothing. So now that the blowback has become more noticeable as TPTB begin to cannibalize our middle class these illegals have become convenient scapegoats for our corrupt elites to distract us with and divert attention from their own culpability. No thanks, I will not be blaming illegals for following the innate instinct to survive. How many more families will need to be broken up by deportations before your vengeance is quenched? Go after the scumbags at Smithfield, for example, who get rich off of he exploitation of illegals and destroy the environment to boot. Sheesh!

              1. Emma

                Good observations OIFVet. Sadly, whether legal or not, immigrants have their value persistently impugned by the mere idea of their existence. Many, particularly those in a position of precarious status and or hardship, are commonly abused by small to medium sized, privately-owned companies where often, fewer regulatory processes/systems are in place, and where ‘respectable’ business owners within an ‘impeccable’ business community, are extremely adept at disposing of (immigrant)issues. When coupled with in addition, a poor economy, life for the immigrant worker becomes increasingly difficult, unless they are part of a sizable and supportive community. Though even this is sometimes insufficient to dispel a certain amount of extreme unpleasantness which inevitably arises.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The thing is there will always be poor people somewhere in the world who are desperate enough to come and enlist in slavery for that ‘upward mobility.’

        The only way to deal with this is, again, GDP sharing.

        The wealth don’t have any incentive to cut labor cost, under GDP sharing.

        The workers don’t feel threatened by ‘racing wages to the bottom,’ upward mobility inspired newcomers, under GDP sharing. They will, finally, see each other as just fellow humans.

      3. Cal

        I totally agree with you.

        Our local mega-contractor, Ghillotti Brothers has been fined a huge amount for employing mostly Hispanic workers who could not understand the agreements that acknowledged that they were being paid in full because they were not written in Spanish. This is a “woman owned company” that gets almost all the public works contracts in Marin County. Now that the matriarch that everything was put in the name of has died, it’ll be interesting to see how they pull that off.

        1. bob

          We have the same thing locally. The contractors with the most employees are in a constant state of change of ownership as the owners go for vacation in prison. All behind the scenes, very little press. They still “run” things from prison.

          MBE/WBE is the biggest scam ever. I worked with a paving crew and was very surprised to find out that one of the rakemen was the registered owner of the company! He was surprised too, once I got through the language barrier. He also wasn’t even making rate, on a public project, which was part of my original questioning of him.

          1. lambert strether

            I’d love to see some links on that, Bob. It sounds like Balzac, or possibly like William Kennedy.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Sweden’s house price boom started in mid-1990s, and looking at the development of real house prices since 1986, there are obvious reasons to be deeply worried: [chart showing 2.5-fold rise in Swedish real house price since 1996]’

      As a product of America’s serial-bubble culture, Kurgman doesn’t see a house price boom as a problem.

      But housing bubbles are a large unmentioned factor in yesterday’s NYT article about America’s declining middle class. Income from mortgage borrowing and refinancing isn’t supposed to be counted, but its broad knock-on effects in boosting construction jobs are still being felt in Sweden and Canada, where housing prices are high.

      By contrast, the U.S. housing bubble popped almost eight years ago, casting a lasting pall over a broad swath of the middle class.

  12. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    I have lived very close to the Chesapeake for more than 50 years. I have watched it decline, and I have noticed both the government(s) reaction(s), explanations, and proposed remedies, as well as making some more realistic observations of the changes in the shore environment, during that time.

    First of all, the Bay was a bounty of food and nature when I was a kid. Lots of working craft, with some pleasure boats thrown in. Then came the credit revolution and unbridled population and RE development explosions. Suddenly, everyone was moving closer to the shore (prior to opening new roads into shore areas, a commute to DC from the Bay was only something an insane person would contemplate), and it seems everybody and their brother had a motor boat. I can still remember the first time I could taste motor oil when swimming in the bay.

    I believe that the only cures for fixing this body of water are to move all roads and human habitations at least a quarter-mile away from the shore and replanting native grasses and trees, while retaining storm water and agricultural run off until sediments and other impurities can settle out. The Bay should be a walk-in experience.

    Of course, this will never happen — it would deprive people of their “right” to have fun at any cost.

    The schadenfreude of this situation is that anyone who moved to the shore for its natural beauty, or anyone visiting the bay to recreate will eventually reside next to, or recreate in a cesspool.


    1. dearieme

      Isn’t it odd: political “progressives” endlessly demands centralised action on all sorts of matters that are best left to individuals, yet when a well-defined problem arises that can be solved only by centralised action, they don’t act.

    2. ambrit

      Mr. Schminson;
      If our experiences on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are any indicator, you will accomplish that goal slowly through the “gentrification” of the coastal regions through nationally sponsored moves, such as the re-aligning of flood insurance rates with actual costs. Due to newly imposed and significantly higher building codes and land use requirements, such as centralized sewage systems, which also cost quite a lot more than previous systems, it is becoming impossible for even lower middle class families to afford living near the Coast. The “servant problem” is being managed by large scale apartment blocks going up in centralized locations.
      The other possibility is that we have one of those historically attested sudden sea level rises due to the escape of impounded ice melt from beneath Greenland or Antarctica. Previous “events” recorded during the glacial ice sheet melting from 19000 to 6000 years ago were on the order of two to five meters.

  13. Jesse

    Seven Takeaways for Banks from Warren’s New Memoir WSJ. Pecora didn’t write a memoir. He ran a Commission.

    Actually Pecora inherited a Commission. Pecora was the fourth investigative counsel for the Commission which was set up by the Senate majority and the chairman of the Banking committee.

    Warren is in no position to set up any commission or launch any investigations.

    “She won the general election on November 6, 2012, to become the first female Senator from Massachusetts. She was assigned to the Senate Special Committee on Aging; the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.”

    Yes in theory she could always ‘do more.’ She could immolate herself on the steps of the Capital. But she has already accomplished much more than many said she ever could, as I seem to recall.

    1. bob

      I tend to agree with you. She may have “sold out”, but she do so for a pretty good price. Senior Senator from MA. Kerry going to Sec state must have been in the deal prior to her signing on.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Links form doesn’t permit long exposition. That’s why I linked to the history of the Pecora Commission which is as you say.

      * * *

      “Warren is in no position…” strikes me as exactly the sort of excuse “progressive” make for Obama. It’s like saying “MacArthur was in no position…” True, until Inchon. The great politicians change what is possible instead of simply accepting it.

      1. Tom W Harris

        Those, like you, who disparage those who really do try to make a difference, are not to be trusted.

        “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

    1. ambrit

      Consider it more in the nature of Enhanced Standard, and you’ll soon be back enjoying your Vintage Products.

      1. optimader

        elective cosmetic surgeries, like tattoos.. they assert individuality! (so one can conform to a perceived aesthetic standard)
        It all reveals insecurity.

  14. burnside

    I think when you see whoppers like those TPP proposals made public they are future false ‘concessions’ to negotiation.

  15. Jay Goldfarb

    Re: “The President’s Cynical Keystone XL Strategy”

    Ed Rogers refers the the flow of “global warming money”. WTF!

    And since when are people who are concerned with climate change “fringe leftists”?

    1. bayoustjohndavid

      Give Rogers some credit for Chutzpah, he wrote a very cynical column attacking Obama’s cynicism. Hard to say what the WTFingest line is in such a WTF piece, but I’d go with:

      “She would rather be a celebrity in Washington, getting cozy with the left-wing beautiful people who dominate the Democratic Party.” (referring to left-wing darling Mary Landrieu)

      Seemed obvious to me that Rogers wrote the piece for it to be picked up by Louisiana papers and then discussed on Louisiana talk radio to try to put Landrieu on the defensive in one area where she’s strong with La. voters. I doubt that Ed Rogers really believes, as he implies, that Obama is more likely to disappoint Landrieu style Democrats by vetoing the pipeline than he is to disappoint environmentalist Democrats by approving it. I seriously doubt most readers of this blog believe that. What about Lambert who posted the link? Yes Obama is trying to keep voters on both sides of the issue, but does anybody who reads or contributes to this blog really agree with Rogers that approval of the wonderful, job-creating pipeline will have to wait until Obama’s term is over?

      I’m really not trying to be belligerent, but it seems like Yves and Lambert usually write some kind of disclaimer when they post links to articles that they don’t completely agree with. Because of that, I usually take it as an endorsement of an article when “Naked Capitalism” (unlike blogs that post links without comment and make it clear that a link isn’t necessarily an endorsement) posts a link without a comment. Is that an incorrect assumption on my part?

  16. optimader

    “… seven-year study in Sumava national park, in the Czech Republic, discovered that red deer were still wary of spots where the then Czechoslovakia had three parallel electrified fences patrolled by heavily armed guards.

    Nearly 500 people were killed when they tried to escape the country across the frontier with Germany, and deer were killed too….”

    I was cycling through here last summer, beautiful, creepy , beautiful forest. Whether 500 ppl killed is the accurate number (probably more) a good number of “civil servant” guards ended up shooting each other w/ full auto spurts of lead in there zeal to “protect” fellow citizens from crossing the border into the decadent West..

    These dogs were expressly bred and turned loose in the forest to hunt humans
    Breathtakingly beautiful dogs, and smart like velociraptors, They hunt in packs. Fantastic family dog if you can keep it exercised. If it had a larynx, it would talk.

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