Links 4/9/14

Officials capture one-ton crocodile that ate 4 people New York Post (furzy mouse)

New origin seen for Earth’s tectonic plates Nature

Shouting at naughty children makes their behaviour WORSE (but scientists still don’t know exactly why) Daily Mail

Liechtenstein Banker Shot Dead in Reported Investment Feud Bloomberg

Cost of alleged bank wrongdoing exceeds bad-loan provisions FT

Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading Reuters

Pre-paid Cards Enter the Credit Market, Thwarting the Primary Impetus for Using the Cards Credit Slips

Mortgage Loan Originations Lowest on Record  Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis

All the Presidents’ Bankers: Nomi Prins on the Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion Democracy Now

Rob Cox: Crazy valuations not only sign of bubble Reuters

As Demand Improves, Time to Focus More on Supply IMFdirect

This couple built their own tiny home for $10,000 Yahoo Finance

Long-Term Unemployment and Older Workers Conversable Economist

I Looked Up The Fastest-Growing Jobs In America, And Boy Was It Depressing Business Insider

The safety net catches the middle class more than the poor WaPo


A New Idea on Bank Capital Liberty Street Economics

Five Reasons Not To Raise Venture Capital Model View Culture

Rich people rule! WaPo (MS)


Judging Obamacare state by state MarketWatch

Fear of penalty a reason for Obamacare’s late surge in California LA Times

Obamacare Is Widening the Gap Between “Red” and “Blue” America Bill Moyers

Ezekiel Emanuel Further Explains His Prediction That Employers Will Drop Health Insurance Times

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel’s top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge Chicago contract Pando Daily

Hillary Clinton says she’s ‘thinking’ about 2016 White House run Reuters

John Roberts Introduces a New Favorite Tactic This Term: Sleights-of-Hand Analogies Angry Bear. And see here.

How politics makes us stupid Ezra Klein, Vox. “A political movement that fools itself into crafting national policy based on bad evidence is a political movement that will, sooner or later, face a reckoning at the polls.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

L.P.D.: LIBERTARIAN POLICE DEPARTMENT The New Yorker. Cf. Philip K. Dick’s Ubik.

Mother who rammed car into White House was shot five times in the BACK: Family demand cops be charged as autopsy reveals how she was gunned down with child in back seat Daily Mail 

A giant art installation targets predator drone operators #NotABugSplat. We should do the same thing in this country as a pre-emptive strike.

When banksters recruit trolls! the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens

Critical crypto bug exposes Yahoo Mail, other passwords Russian roulette-style Ars Technica. Even after patches released.

The decline of the mobile web Chris Dixon

Ephemeral Apps Schneier on Security

Stanford Eclipses Harvard as Applicants Eye Innovation Focus Bloomberg. When did “innovation” become a thing? One suspects when there stopped being any. Bill Gates used to talk about innovation at Microsoft all the time, which was obviously ridiculous.


Kerry accuses Moscow of creating ‘pretext’ for Ukraine invasion FT

Ukraine crisis: Violent brawl at Kiev parliament BBC

How Does The NPR Distinguish “Protesters” From “Mobs”?  Moon of Alabama

Can Ukraine’s Richest Man Prevent a War? Bloomberg

A glimpse inside the Kremlin puppetmaster’s mind FT. “[A] uniquely [sic] post-Soviet profession has controlled the vast theatre of ‘managed democracy inside Russia.”

U.S. defense chief gets earful as China visit exposes tensions Reuters

UN envoy: Rohingya persecution ‘could amount to crimes against humanity’ Asian Correspondent

WSJ Editor Gerard Baker: ‘Journalism Is Not a Dying Business’ Der Spiegel

USDA estimates that 31% of the food supply is lost and uneaten U.S. Food Policy

Cars Become Biggest Driver of Greenhouse-Gas Increases Bloomberg

The Tower of David – Venezuela’s “vertical slum” Reuters. Gibson’s “The Bridge” in RL, except in a skyscraper.

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Jesse’s Cafe Americain. Handy checklist for the fridge!

Antidote du jour:

Antidote du jour: Baby elephant

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

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. Watt4Bob

    It’s my understanding that one of the features of HFT systems is their ability to act as a sort of sonar, that is they are able to probe the ‘darkness’ of the dark pools, in order to identify what they call ‘whales’, trading activity by large institutional traders.

    At least part of the HFT activity, who knows, maybe the majority of it is intended to ‘lure’ responses by dark pool traders, who thus identified, become the target of techniques that amount to the ‘bait-and-switch’ which Lewis describes in his book.

    The result is higher prices when buying, and lower prices when selling, the delta being the profit ‘earned’ by the HFT firm.

    One of the features of the whole HFT technique which I’ve heard very little about is their ability, once a ‘whale’ has has been identified by its response to a trade offer, to launches a sort of Denial-of-Service attack against other trading platforms, designed to deny the ‘whale’ access to alternative trading partners, thus corralling the ‘whale’ and assuring their capture of the opportunity to ‘skim’ the transaction.

    (When you consider that most of the average Americans exposure to the ‘market’ is through their 401K’s investments in the large funds that constitute the ‘whale’ population, you have to see that we’re all being screwed wholesale.)

    With this situation in mind, how can we parse whether it is the Dark Pool that is the problem, or the actions of HFT houses impacting the integrity of those pools?

  2. David

    Seeing those “Hillary Nut Crackers” from 2008 reappear on the shelves of my local supermarket shows that someone thinks she will run in 2016.

  3. Banger

    Re: Shouting at children

    Any organism reacts to hostility negatively. I knew a research psychologist (a student of Skinner) who made a bit of a name for himself (in behaviorist circles) who shocked rats and came to the conclusion that they became more aggressive–after he dropped acid he gave up being being a behaviorist and deeply regretted his torture of lab rats and more than made up for it. Anyone with eyes to see can see the effect of yelling at a child, anger, depression, fear all mixed. As someone who was dealt with harshly in childhood I reacted by plotting revenge on my abusive parent and I did the very opposite of “behaving.”

    Re: Ukraine

    Kerry accuses Russia of meddling? WTF? Fist fights in the “Parliament” in Kieve initiated clearly by the fascists, what a surprise! NPR as USG propaganda organ, another big surprise. What is Kerry’s endgame here? Will the neocon faction continue to dominate Washington and the mainstream media? Those are the much bigger questions and I see nothing is being written about it. Look at press coverage–whether it is NPR or Comedy Central or Fox the coverage is identical with slightly different emphasis. Yet that coverage is mainly USG propaganda.

        1. notexactlyhuman

          I have little doubt that they’re already there, because they’re basically everywhere, but would like to see some evidence.

    1. Furzy Mouse

      Re: disciplining kids….Violence begets Violence.

      A marvelous thing we have observed here in Thailand, in the rural villages, where being gentle and courteous is a way of life, is that when the 2 year old resorts to a temper tantrum to get his way, he is simply ignored…no reward, no attention, for behaving badly….no punishment either! The tantrums were brief…..

      Of course, older children need genuine interaction with and direction from their parents, real but not overly harsh consequences for bad behavior. I found sending my son off to the bedroom for an hour of time-out worked wonders, or taking away the Game Boy, etc..

      But I have witnessed, even in my family, a tendency to talk things out…with no resulting change in behavior. Talking about the problem, and how a kid “should” behave is not enough; there needs to be real and consistent consequences for bad behavior, but not violent or aggressive ones, rather punishments that are known and set ahead of time.

      For example, if the homework is not done, no visiting friends on the weekend, or if chores are neglected, no allowance, etc. Kids need and expect their parents to set real boundaries, and they will always test these limits as well. To steal from Frost’s “good fences make good neighbors”, let me state that good boundaries make secure and confident kids…

      1. tongorad

        Corporal punishment, although technically outlawed, is the norm in Thailand’s school system. I worked for over 10 years in Thailand’s largest and oldest private school system, where I saw Thai teachers beating Thai children on a daily basis.
        Thailand. Thailand has the largest number of guns in private hands in SE Asia, as well as having the highest gun murder rate.
        For cultural reasons, namely “face,” Thais are resistant to facing up to reality, resistant and resentful of criticism, and are keen to embrace and project the “land of smiles” bollocks. I have a hard time understanding how anyone who’s spent an extended amount of time there would buy into it.
        “where being gentle and courteous is a way of life” = romanticized nonsense

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Shouting at other countries is also counter-productive, if the research can somhow be extended beyond infants.

    3. different clue

      Is Kerry a neocon or a neoWilsonian? Is there a difference which ought to be recognized if it isn’t being? Are the R2Prs a third group? Or just a type of neoWilsonian? Their concerns seem somewhat different than neocons.

      1. Banger

        Technically, the neocon term should be neo-neocon. It’s a new iteration of the general trend in foreign policy that certainly has its origins in Wilson and others but was first really articulated by Henry Luce in his essay in February of 1941 giving chapter and verse that the U.S. should dominate the world for moral reasons and not just for conquest. This was picked up again during the Cold War and again in the 90s with the famous Project for a New American Century which said, essentially, that not only is the U.S. the one indisputable superpower that must use its power to bring the world under (essentially) U.S. control (for the good of the world) but that the U.S. to hold together as a society must have a purpose that unites the country or the society would break apart into tribalism and hedonism. The world needed us and our destiny to rule the world was what we needed.

        The problem in the 00’s was that the means used–shooting wars with boots on the ground wasted a lot of money and human life and, more importantly, did not galvanize the American people. It did, however, create just what PNAC wanted (a new Pearl Harbor) that, for a couple of years militarized the country and eliminated not just the U.S. Constitution but habeas corpus as well.

        This vision, while less popular among the average American had caught the imagination of the second- and third-rate intellectuals that dominate policy in Washington and, in particular, the mainstream media. They aren’t your typical Leo Strauss followers but are now made up of liberals and progressives who have, in my view, a need for a cause.

        The shock for me is that the mainstream media, particularly NPR, CNN, MSNBC would fall so heavily for the American Exceptionalism meme despite the obvious deception of the USG during both the Afghani War (the USG lied about every aspect of the war and how it was going every year) and the Iraqi War which was mass insanity that made Vietnam almost appear sane until they kicked out Rummy and got some realists in power to extricate the U.S. from Iraq. The need to believe in some transcendent mission of the U.S. I think is a requirement for many journalists who have to justify the deliberate falsehoods they have no choice but to report–and cyncism no longer sits well with younger journos as it did with the Vietnam era journos who knew it was bullshit but usually did not attempt to fool themselves or each other–instead they drank and took drugs–the only sane response to Vietnam.

        Neoconservativism, then, is a belief that the world, to survive must be dominated by the U.S.–it’s an ideology for true-believers.

        1. hunkerdown

          The need to believe in some transcendent mission of the U.S. I think is a requirement for many journalists who have to justify the deliberate falsehoods they have no choice but to report

          It’s a social need, actually. The term of art is “metanarrative” or “master narrative”. Neoconservatism, as it speaks directly to this concept, is just the death rattle of Modern power giving way to Postmodern (neoliberal?) power.

      2. JerseyJeffersonian

        I vote that the R2P crowd is NeoWilsonian. Jacobin, ahistorical, they pay no attention to cultures, religions; mankind to them is infinitely malleable, and they’ve got the perfect exemplar in mind – themselves, deracinated specimens that they may be. Mommy/Daddy knows best, no backtalk allowed. So in love with themselves that they do not notice the hand jammed up their butt that controls their every movement and thought. NeoCons are their puppetmasters, but if they are artful, they let the R2P crowd think that they actually have agency. The NeoLibs are the flip side of the coin, as their preferred economics is Jacobin and ahistorical, valuing nothing other than material wealth and economic power concentrated in the hands of the few (and sociopathic), the Devil take all other “human” values.

        Kerry is Skull and Bones. Polymorphous perversity, in a phrase.

  4. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Ezekiel Emanuel Further Explains His Prediction That Employers Will Drop Health Insurance

    I had not heard that Robert Gibbs “told an audience that the employer mandate would never be implemented.”

    Hmmm… I’ll bet he’s right.

    As for employers dropping “healthcare” insurance and giving employees a “raise” instead, well, I’m SURE that’s gonna happen. Employers don’t even want to pay employees enough to LIVE on.

    1. notexactlyhuman

      When I was hired by Peabody, I was given the option of taking a 1 time payment of $300 or their health insurance.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Ezekiel Emanuel is flogging a book. In this book, he predicts that BigHospital will win the battle between itself and BigInsurance. Ezekiel Emanuel is a member of BigHospital. What would you expect him to say?

  5. Ned Ludd

    When the OpenBSD team modified their operating system to catch bugs like Heartbleed, OpenSSL (a different project by a different team) responded by adding “exploit mitigation countermeasures to make sure it’s exploitable”. According to a comment on Hacker News, Poul-Henning Kamp of FreeBSD posits that OpenSSL “probably received many ‘security patches’ from NSA employees”.

    [Poul-Henning Kamp] explains how NSA shills are reading reddit / HN and poisoning communities / standards / protocols / etc. How everything is made, on purpose, needlessly complex to prevent honest developers from working on important things.

    The Heartbleed bug means, for the past two years, web servers using OpenSSL for encryption (about two-thirds of the total) revealed usernames and passwords to anyone who knew about the exploit. The exploit also allowed attackers to hijack another user’s session. Attackers could also potentially collect private keys and other sensitive information from web servers.

    1. hunkerdown

      Remember that pamphlet from the NSA booth at the RSA Conference that painted a picture of “open source software” as the centerpiece of the puzzle of insecurity? Discrediting the FOSS model would not be in the least bit out of line with the Administration’s economic and IPR policy, and a “Snowden drip” liquidation of select TAO sploits would be a poetic way to do it. That’s my half-baked conspiracy theory, anyway.

  6. roadrider

    Re: Long-Term Unemployment and Older Workers

    I am experiencing this problem personally. I turned 50 8 1/2 years ago and have been laid off 3 times (and almost another) since then. Up until now I have been able to find good jobs after a while but this time is really, really different. I’ve been out of work since last July and can barely even get preliminary interviews despite having a good (and still relevant) skill set, tons of experience and a strong track record of achievement. The double whammy of age discrimination and discrimination against the long-term unemployed is something that is very, very difficult (maybe impossible) to overcome.

    Its nice to see that some folks are recognizing the problem but like typical think tank or government pukes all they will do is say “Interesting phenomenon. Its a shame – too bad we can’t do anything about it” and move on. Meanwhile, those of us who bear the brunt of this market failure and social dysfunction will get swept under the rug and forgotten.

    1. ambrit

      Re. “swept under the rug and forgotten.”
      Once that pile “under the rug” gets large enough, it will engender Salamanders.

  7. rich

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014
    Mrs. Rubenstein Buys Anchorage Daily News

    Alice Rogoff, the wife of Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, approached McClatchy with an offer to buy the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska’s largest daily newspaper. They agreed on a $34 million deal which includes the newspaper’s building. Rogoff plans to sell the building after the deal closes.

    Investment tea leaves show Carlyle going after global energy assets. Carlyle has held pipeline companies and LNG providers. Alaska is pursuing both.

    Ukraine and Western Europe are already in play. Bloomberg said Carlyle’s energy shopping spree is driven (in part) by:

    Commodity traders are investing in infrastructure to expand their trading opportunities and secure supplies.

    Carlyle owns a commodity trader, which lost clients huge money in bad energy bets. They expect those fortunes to turn.

    Rubenstein speaks regularly on how Alaskans can prosper economically. How might a widely read Alaskan newspaper in the family help Carlyle’s cause? One, it could advocate for private equity underwriters (PEU’s) given his lament that private equity underwriters’ have been unable to explain their model in a way that ensures universal accolades.

  8. Jim Haygood

    $120 a month electric bills for a 128 sq ft space? (Yahoo Finance $10,000 house article.) Sure, it’s tax-hell Rhode Island. But for a bill that big, you’d think they was growing weed in there.

    With an unvented propane heater, though, chances are they won’t be living there for long. If carbon monoxide don’t get ’em in their sleep, a fire will.

    You’d think with all them student loans, they would have learnt some basic facts of life, such as the use of a vented heat source to stay warm.

    As Warren Buffett might have said, if you find yourself in a Darwinian competition and you don’t know who the extinction target is … it’s you!

    1. Larry Headlund

      As someone pointed in comments at the article site and I confirmed with a little searching, they would have done a lot better just buying a used travel trailer. I would guess $5K-$7K would of fixed them up.
      For that matter you can get a new assemble it yourself wooden cabin/storage shed 240 sf with second floor sleeping loft for $6.5K.

      They would not have gotten an article written about themselves then, though.

  9. notexactlyhuman

    Have any of you been following Erik Prince’s joint venture with China to exploit Africa?

    1. Benedict@Large

      As soon as Vermont finds out that it can’t control its pool, it will drop this stupid idea of implementing single-pay by state. (The US is not Canada.) If they don’t find out soon enough, they will find themselves going bankrupt.

      1. Boris

        Isn’t the pool all residents of Vermont? Actually I don’t know the demographics of Vermont very well, but its a rather wealthy state, isn’t it?

        I am genuinely interested in why it shouldn’t work also at smaller scale.

      2. BondsOfSteel

        I don’t see why state by state implementation can’t work. As you mentioned, it worked in Canada where each province is a pool. Heck, Saskatchewan and Alberta even implemented single payer before the rest.

        What I find interesting are the economic side effects of single payer. Moving health care costs from producers to consumers could make Vermont cheaper to do business.

        The same should occur with Obamacare. States that are successful in reducing the number of uninsured should have lower healthcare costs for companies that do business in that state. Will it be a big enough difference? We’ll see.

  10. Ned Ludd

    Bruce Schneier on Heartbleed:

    Catastrophic” is the right word. On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11. […]

    After you patch your systems, you have to get a new public/private key pair, update your SSL certificate, and then change every password that could potentially be affected.

    At this point, the odds are close to one that every target has had its private keys extracted by multiple intelligence agencies.

    Every user name and every password, on every website that uses OpenSSL, has likely been collected over the last two years. All of your searches have been exposed. The NSA is probably adding features to encryption software to make sure it can always be exploited.

  11. allcoppedout

    I await the story on the capture of large crocodiles on Wall Street and the City, making the lake safe for the return of ordinary investors fishing for productive returns.

  12. Marc Andelman

    On innovation, I could offer to contribute an article on what goes on, and, does not go on, in water technology. In this regard, lets have more reporting on the drought in the US, and worldwide for that matter. Insofar as the US specifically, it is shaping up to be an existential crisis. Technologies in this field tend to be older than the alphabet, not of lack of ideas and opportunities, but for lack of effort and investment.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Shouting at “naughty” children

    Having proven itself utterly inept at economic policy, the London School of ECONOMICS has, apparently, decided to tackle the issue of child behavior. Sounds reasonable. (Not.)

    Never mind that, in the video, the announcer defines “shouting” as “cursing” and “repeated insults.” Huh?? Who said anything about that? It certainly doesn’t take all the geniuses at the London School of Economics to screw in that light bulb.

    But then there’s this, which is exactly what I would expect from economists who can’t do economics: “The report, led by Dr Laure de Preux, also found that ‘participation in physical activity encouraged by the mother improves physical health but harms mental health'”


    Note to all you parents in the “higher socio-economic classes” whose preferred disciplinary method is “reasoning” with your children. Don’t do it in public. You look stupid and clueless. Everyone whose dinner is being interrupted knows that the four-year-old who’s throwing the tantrum doesn’t understand you, if he can even hear you. Get him out to the car or home and “reason” away.

    That way I won’t have to wonder how many years it will be before the kid and a few hundred of his similarly “reasoned-with” friends are going to break into my vacant summer house and wreck the joint “partying.” And I’ll be forced to “reason” with YOU.

  14. sadness

    ….omg that fridge magnet thingy, it’s so true so true, at last now i know that i’m perfect….i’ll treasure this

    ….the only thing is i fear the competition from our local pollies, running around the world opening their mouths….anyhow ta for the prognosis

    ….oh, and apologies for sending a downer to london, hope he doesn’t cramp your style too much

  15. Adam S.

    Re: Rob Cox: Crazy valuations not only sign of bubble

    It seems to me that the share structure of tech companies is a logical extension of Steve Jobs’ very successful policy that the shareholders come last. Company founders now want to make sure that they can’t be forced out like Jobs was in the 80s (90s?), and prevent market stock shenanigans that the investors have been practicing for a long time.

    Now if something blows up, shareholders might think twice of buying non- or low-voting shares. But I think that this is a very healthy reversion of the stock market shares to being a vote of confidence in the people that run a company, rather a controlling stake in the company for the purpose of extracting value.

    There are certainly pitfalls of this strategy, but I don’t understand Cox’s point of view that the model he talks about is bad.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    31% of food supply lost or uneaten.

    That’s like 31% unemployment for livestock, vegetables and fruits. The animals and plants need to be murdered in order to keep the industrial society humming smoothly.

    Here, we have the best of two worlds:

    Waste’s great!

    Less feeling!

    Waste’s great!

    Less feeling!

    You see, when you are so great at wasting food, you have less feeling for life, nature and the world.

    I think I will have that beer now.

  17. Paul Niemi

    Meanwhile, I had a look at pictures of the former President’s paintings on display. I wasn’t sure; I looked again. Yes, in his self-portrait he has made himself look like a harelip. My thought is that in 3000 years, someone will dig those things up and ask: “Was this truly representative of 21st Century America?” And the answer will be: yes, yes it was.

  18. bob

    “Never go to a hockey game with Putin and expect to play by the rules of touch football.” –Tom Friedman, award-winning journalist

    Had to share…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      C’mon. That’s the Tom Friedman Column Writing Machine trying to pass the Turing test, right? Using phrase substitution into an overly crude template? You can’t tell me a human wrote that.

      1. bob

        I’ve been trying all day to come up with a metaphor that might be close. I can’t. It’s impossible to come up with so few words that demonstrate so much stupid.

        I was also wondering about a computer program. Maybe Dick Cheney’s mechanical heart heart is communicating with Tom Friedman’s computer, spreading a deadly computer virus. /goto fail

  19. Nobody (the outcast)

    From the psychopathy checklist article:

    “I do not think the repetitive sociopathic behaviours and psychopathic tendencies of the Roman imperial leadership to be accidental. The mad emperors kept recurring because they were the creatures of what that culture had become, and they stood as emblems at its apex. ”

    I can’t say if it is true or not, but it certainly feels right. What has our culture become? Is looking at its leaders sufficient to tell? If so, things may be worse than I thought (and I certainly didn’t think things were going well culturally speaking).

    1. Ed

      This is bad history. There really weren’t that many mad Roman Emperors (half a dozen at the most), and none in the later Roman Empire when the thing was clearly in decline!

      In reality, the emperors tended to be middle aged generals or bureaucrats, but since this is kind of boring, the Caliguas and Neros get the attention. There is also the issue that the historians came from the Senatorial class, which all emporers, mad and sane, made sure to keep in check (generally by killing some of its members and seizing their property).

  20. fresno dan

    Mother who rammed car into White House was shot five times in the BACK: Family demand cops be charged as autopsy reveals how she was gunned down with child in back seat Daily Mail
    Nothing, other than the cops getting a citation, bonus, and extra time off will happen. In the LA case of Dorner, they shot two women (DORNER WAS A MAN) who had noting to do with the crime. At one time, shooting an unarmed woman would have been unchivalrous, but now shooting a woman in the back gets you extra points. I remember when Nixon was mocked for wanting to put White House guards in Vatican like costumes, but now the president must be protected by a phalanx of guards, lackeys, stoolies, and lies – any person that endangers that perimeter, no matter how remote the threat, must be eliminated. It would not due to in any way to keep the guards from their pitbull mentality.

  21. Oregoncharles

    An antidote to the antidote?

  22. Skeptic

    This couple built their own tiny home for $10,000 Yahoo Finance

    Modern day Thoreaus, not even a mention of him in the article. In his book, Walden, Thoreau has numerous comments about debt and real estate and in-over-your-head. Thoreau was not only a great Philosopher but also a great and simple Economist.

  23. kevinearick

    On a mortgage, when does the interest get paid and when does the principal get paid, and how many times does the bank generate a mortgage, print money, on the same house?

    Why can’t a worker print as labor is generated? Banks do not create wealth; why do they distribute it?

    Why must grandma turn to the real estate agent instead of renting directly to a young couple in the neighborhood, and what kind of automaton rents for the privilege of being so bankrupted, by law?

    What is the DNA threshold?

    The middle class is its worst enemy.

    Why can Warren Buffet print money with nothing more than his signature, discounting your purchasing power, and yet cannot beat his own market? Why can’t he retire and walk away? What does that vortex really look like?

    WB wins at money, by discounting life, spoiling the well for all that follow. El Erian caught on, didn’t he?

    Kool Aid anyone?

    The cost of the banking intermediary is ignorance, and the benefit of the banking intermediary is ignorance. The whole point of money is to avoid work, by getting someone else to do it, trading promises, future labor, with no representation but government under Family Law, for natural resources, with shiny objects to present labor, which nets intelligent labor out, leaving only acceleration of natural resource exploitation, driving demographic booms and busts, along with climate variability.

    A trap is a bomb, and a bomb is a trap.

    Would you be stupid enough to trade a redwood for a Tesla?

    The critters are caught in their own automation, trying to replace intelligent labor.

    If a corporation is a person, why can’t it robosign mortgage transactions?

    If computers are gobbling up the market, there is no such thing as security, and dc is a one-way ride…Whatever you do, maintain those one-way trade barriers with State licensing / MAD extortion.

    What is Yelp doing now?

    Yep, the middle class can replace labor with a c-clamp all right.


    1. curlydan

      As an interesting FYI: For Tax Year 2011, the IRS claims that $357.8B of home mortgage interest was claimed on the Schedule A (Itemized Deductions) from just over 35M filers, or an average of $10K per filer claiming it. The banks say thank you.

  24. Cal


    Highly Evolved Policing Desires

    I was sitting in my Chinese made policepersonal transit vehicle when the call came in.
    “Calling all policepersons, can someone please take time out to investigate the theft of some EBT vouchers? Please? This is for the benefit of society at large and humankind will thank you…”
    “Sure I will, after you tell me if the owners of the benefits have been properly compensated and that they are not being shortchanged and thus being robbed by society at large”
    “Crandall, is that you…?”Said the chiefperson.
    “Affirmative…it is me in my role as a defender of society at large and not as a patriarchal male imposing my will or demands on society.”
    “Plusgood, go to the address on your screen and interview all persons there as to possible motives and deficiencies in their lives that might lead them to want to try and appropriate the rights and benefits of others for selfish needs.”
    I entered the high density low carbon emitting housing unit and noted that by taking the stairs I could save up carbon credits for the good of the planet. At the forty-forth floor, I paused and sat down for a minute in front of the door before calling out “POLICEPERSON HERE” PLEASE CONSIDER OPENING THE DOOR, thank you”.
    A young humyn answered the door wearing a ballet tutu under overalls.
    “Yes?- How can I further your day officer”
    Well per, we understand that there may have been a theft of printed EBT vouchers originating here and I was hoping that you,…I mean they could assist the greater good of society.
    The per bolted past me down the stairs and began singing the old them from the Lion King, a tale of redemption involving non humans in a leadership role.
    “Desist from fleeing” I shouted as my ankle turned on the thirtieth floor landing.
    The per turned and pulled out a forbidden weapon, long ago banned by convention, and lunged at me with the end used to spread paint.
    “What are you doing?” I am here to represent the greater good of society and you are fleeing from the consensus authority vested in my personhood!”
    “Those are my vouchers now, I possess them and nothing can stop me!”
    “I accept your resolve and will desist from the use of implied force…have a wonderful day and namaste…”

    I radioed in, “Chief, I have followed protocol and have desisted from inflicting the threat of violence on a fellow per.”

  25. Chauncey Gardiner

    Interesting if brief linked article at regarding the use of game theory, propaganda and media by the “political technologists” in Russia’s government to influence public opinion. Wonder if they are modeled on similar functionaries in other nations and about their organizational structure and ties? Based on the FT article, seem to be a blend of Joseph Goebbels, Edward Bernays and Michael Corleone.

Comments are closed.