Links 5/17/14

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A reader request from a friend of a Andrew Dittmer, who edited ECONNED and is a sometime contributor to NC:

I’m a history major at Amherst College writing my senior thesis on the European Sovereign Debt Crisis and anti-austerity protests. Andrew told me you might be able to put me in contact with activists in Europe. I’d like to focus on Greece and Spain. Those who speak English would be of greater short-term use, as well.

I’ve given him some leads. If readers have any contacts (and sympathetic journalists could be a good avenue), please write me at yves@nakedcapitalism.com with “Activists in Europe” as the headline. Thanks!

Hero Meteorologist Rescues Kitten from Tornado Rubble in Ohio Gawker. This was a good deed, but I must churlishly note the degrading of the term “hero”. Heros take risk of harm to help others. This rescue was kind, not heroic.

Rapture index closes up 1 on wlld weather, near record high Lambert

‘Biggest dinosaur ever’ discovered BBC

Recycling the Leftovers New York Times. While this is a positive development, notice it’s driven by increasing recognition of food scarcity.

Tech poison killing Chinese Asia Times

Vietnam Tries Damage Control After Anti-Chinese Riots Business Week

Narendra Modi’s difficult road ahead DW

No changes to ‘umrah’ schedules despite MERS scare, says minister Jakarta Post (Lambert)

Investors continue to pull out of Greece over political risks ekathimerini

Guantánamo force-feeding halted Guardian

New Revelations About GITMO “Suicides”, Attorneys for Families of the Deceased Call for International Tribunal To Investigate Center for Constitutional Rights

Ukraine

Ukraine crisis: Country’s richest man steps into the breach to help calm Donbas region Independent

Vladimir Putin tells Crimea’s Tatars their future lies with Russia Guardian

Ukraine: Who Wages The Pipeline War? Moon of Alabama

Russian threats shake US rocket industry Financial Times

BlackRock: Russian Bond Market “Freezing Up” Wolf Richter

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Obama’s NSA spying reforms fail to satisfy cyber experts Reuters

The “Automated Query” at the Telecoms Will Include “Correlations” Marcy Wheeler

Google faces deluge of requests to wipe details from search index

NSA Spying Has a Disproportionate Effect on Immigrants Atlantic

Cisco Systems Gear Reportedly Bugged By NSA SiliconBeat

Veterans scandal risks engulfing Obama Financial Times

Is this Any Way to Discuss Health Care Policy? – Television Advertising about US Health Care Reform Cost $445 Million from 2010 -2014 Health Care Renewal

Shocker: Cable TV prices went up four times the rate of inflation. ars tecnica. Chuck L: “And Wheeler wants to hand these guys more rent!”

TRNN Debate: Should The Internet Be Regulated Like A Utility? Real News

Equal Rights to Profit from Impoverishing People and Causing a Great Extinction Event Ian Welsh

6 reasons treasury yields should be higher Walter Kurtz

Regulators Fine G.M. Over Safety, Calling It a Lawbreaker New York Times

Goldman fears fallout if rivals plead guilty Financial Times. Wow, Lawsky is pressing for BNP Paribas to have its dollar clearing suspended for a period of time. That would be a very big deal.

Momentum Stock Fiasco Pricks San Francisco Housing Bubble Wolf Richter

Spring Thaw? The State of Housing in Five Charts Nick Timiraos, WSJ Economics

Housing Is Recovering. Single-Family Homes Aren’t. New York Times

Class Warfare

The Minimum Wage Isn’t Just a Wage: It’s a Standard Jared Bernstein

Scott Brown says no one should work a minimum-wage job in the U.S. forever. Instead they should move to Canada. Or Germany. Or France. Or … Angry Bear

Wal-Mart Says It Won’t Oppose Increase in Minimum Wage Wall Street Journal

Piketty’s Old News US News

Faith-Based Markets Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Today’s Must Reads. I was tempted to put up only these two links to make sure you read them:

Should markets clear? Steve Waldman

The Italian Disaster London Review of Books:

Commonplace in a Union that presents itself as a moral tutor to the world, the pollution of power by money and fraud follows from the leaching of substance or involvement in democracy. Elites freed from either real division above, or significant accountability below, can afford to enrich themselves without distraction or retribution. Exposure ceases to matter very much, as impunity becomes the rule. Like bankers, leading politicians do not go to prison. Of the fauna above, only an elderly Greek has ever suffered that indignity. But corruption is not just a function of the decline of the political order. It is also, of course, a symptom of the economic regime that has taken hold of Europe since the 1980s. In a neoliberal universe, where markets are the gauge of value, money becomes, more straightforwardly than ever before, the measure of all things. If hospitals, schools and prisons can be privatised as enterprises for profit, why not political office too?

Antidote du jour. MK: “From an Earth Day event at the Chatsworth Nature Preserve in Chatsworth, CA.”

owl-CN2A1648

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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82 comments

  1. Carolinian

    The Independent story on the new patrols by Mariupol steel workers is much more even handed that the similar NYT story. The latter describes this development as a setback to Putin and makes grandiose claims about the beginning of the end of the resistence.

    Which is to say one is reporting, the other propaganda shaping information to fit a particular narrative. One can only hope that the recent change in editors at “Ivestia on the Hudson” will bring some improvement to their foreign reporting. Abramson was–among other things–a big booster of Judy Miller back in the day.

    1. Abe, NYC

      Both the government and militants have so discredited themselves that a third party had to step into the breach to restore any semblance of order. Thankfully it’s not Mr. Putin’s “little green men”; an oligarch’s help is the lesser evil I suppose.

      In any case, Russian troops were about to start invasion around April 25, and then the plans were abruptly abandoned. This happened after Putin met with the Swiss president, and one theory is that he was threatened with seizure of his personal assets, or perhaps those of his entourage. He had his pretext after Odessa events on May 2nd and didn’t use it, it’s very improbable now that the invasion will go ahead.

  2. Hugh

    Apparently Jared Bernstein has never heard of a living wage.

    And he is plain wrong when he says, “To this day, advocates and analysts supportive of higher minimum wages remain motivated by these goals,” that is the “elimination of labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standards of living necessary for health, efficiency and well-being of workers.” None of the changes to the minimum wage I have seen come remotely close to this. Nor does this rise to the level of a living wage standard which goes beyond the minimum to what is needed for a good, decent, and meaningful life.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Gotta say, I really didn’t get the point of this “article.”

      It sounded like somebody left their composition homework until the last minute, and then decided that it wasn’t going to affect their grade anyway.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I included it because Bernstein plays the role of being a leftie economist but has the ear of Obama, meaning he’s not very leftie. So he is to be seen as an indicator of semi-official thinking.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A Minimum Wage Job.

      Almost everyone desires a career, not a job.

      Minimally, it has to be more than a job…it has to be an adventure.

      1. Klassy

        I don’t know if everyone desires a career. Some people just want to earn enough money to meet their needs and not feel lousy or too tired at the end of the day. What’s wrong with leaving adventure to your non work life?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I agree with what you say, given where we are today.

          But I believe, after that, we want more.

        2. JTFaraday

          “What’s wrong with leaving adventure to your non work life?”

          Nothing, but most people don’t have much of a non-work life. That’s why so many of those who are unhappy at work beat on the unemployed–they secretly think there’s something enviable going on there.

          I think things could be much better if these people got out of the closet already.

        3. jrs

          Yes nothing, but have you found many jobs you could even work a strict 40 (no more) without a commute that eats up a bunch of hours as well, and that paid enough to live a decent if non-extravagant life?

          Even 40 hours of course is WAY TOO MANY (30 would be much more reasonable). But a real limit of 40 (no being available all hours of the day and night and weekends) would be an improvement at this point.

    1. craazyman

      If you’re planning to make an attempt to read that you’d better start training now. I mean, read War & Peace to get in shape. Then read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Then read the Dictionary, word by word. You’ll build up narrative endurance. If you do take it on, hit it hard. Hard! Put a few hundred paragraphs behind you before you even look to see how many there still are. After the first few hundred thousand paragraphs you might want to rest. Don’t. Keep going. If you rest, you’ll get lazy and distracted and your discipline will falter. I only made it half way through last night, then I passed out, from exhaustion and lack of adequate training. But I will finish it today. It is astonishing, how much money people can acquire doing absolutely nothing but telling other people what to do. At some point somebody has to do something or there’s no money at all, for anybody. But now it seems like people are doing less and less and there’s more and more money made, somehow, telling them what to do.

      1. Mary Bess

        Italian Diaster a writing disaster: get the guy a copy of Strunk and White and a good writing coach.

      2. Jagger

        I am afraid to open the link. If I do, can I go to the last paragraph and get a closing summary?

        1. craazyman

          There is no closing summary, however there is a final paragraph which functions more like the summit of a tall mountain, affixed to its bulk as a form of completion, rather than any distillation of the mountain’s essential formal structure.

          If you want a mental picture. Think Hieronymous Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights or Dante. Europe has fallen down and can’t get up. Although European politicians can get it up, evidently, through fulsomely fraudulent financial fornication and in other more festive circumstances. There evidently are benefits to being Italian, as opposed to say German, although Germany seems able to reproduce so it must just be a matter of cultural style. This happened in the arts too. Do you go with Durer or with Raphael? It’s hard to choose. You’d like a little balance, but frankly that’s not easy for many people to manage.

          This link works for me. I’m gearing up for an attempt at the summit today.

          http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n10/perry-anderson/the-italian-disaster

          1. craazyboy

            A minor quibble

            “European politicians can get it up”

            Certainly true, but they risk serving a year of unpaid community service, presumably interacting only with those of legal age.

          2. sd

            Wow.

            The oligarchic cast of its constitutional arrangements, once conceived as provisional scaffolding for a popular sovereignty of supranational scale to come, has over time steadily hardened.

            And that’s only the third sentence.

      3. annie

        perry anderson’s piece is awesome! quintessential anderson. though you’d have to live in it–or have lived through it–to get a grasp. not sure how anyone ‘outside’ could penetrate.

      4. susan the other

        Craazy, will you please give it a nice summary when you finish? My eyes are shutting down from allergies. But I did manage to read thru the short and sweet “Should Markets Clear” by Waldman. This quote is a keeper, “…If reliance on market (clearing) processes yields the macroeconomic outcome of severe inequality, the microeconomic foundations of market allocation are destroyed… and chalk this one up to ‘Contradictions of Capitalism’.” Another good piece of logic, like Stiglitz when he states that capitalism defeats itself when productivity eliminates labor. I especially liked Waldman using pollution as another example of market dysfunction and saying, essentially, both inequality and pollution are generated by the inefficiencies of capitalism. Which really opens up the door to the discussion about all economics being politics, etc.

        1. susan the other

          The economics of Durer v. Raphael? The Germans should just allow the EZ to print like Durer.

        2. craazyman

          Yes that’s the barn door isn’t it? And the horse is . . . well . . . a long way away.
          economics is a mental disorder.
          I have to do something useful for a few hours anyway, this is ridiculous, wasting time like this.

          Actually, Annie (above) is correct. Mr. Andersen’s style, while prolix and circumlocutiously circuitious, has a certain undeniable gravity that pulls you in. I wouldn’t be going for the summit if it wasn’t worth the climb.

        3. optimader

          susan
          at least w/ an iphone there is the: highlight –>copy/speak Option. selecting speak will read the material.
          Presumably it’s an app available on other phones, pads (and presumably something you can download in the MS environment).
          I only use it w/ my iphone –It’s handy.
          powereuser trick: Highlight some dry reading if you have insomnia. HAHA

            1. Optimader

              Im fairly certain you can find a free PC reader app easy onthe eyes, particularly for the blind

        4. allcoppedout

          My understanding is this article was actually penned by one of Perry’s frocks during a BBC Masterchef episode. Its intelligent fabric functions as a text engine in order to spare Anderson having to converse with harpies from the BBC Culture Show. Apparently, the Il Fatto Quotidiano (duck fat basted Mars bar) refused to brown, so Perry’s frock had to provide some other tasty filler, while a minion was set off to pay Putin’s gas bill so the cooking could be completed. Perry had been wearing the dress on a pub crawl with Nigel Farrage, soon to be in charge of Britain’s invasion of the EU with his veteran battalion of ex-Spitfire pilots, and consequently it had gleaned an expert view of the corrupt state of continental politics, sans natch, Farrage’s own expense claims of two billion quid for Putinogaz intended to keep his old boys warm during the coming siege of Strasbourg, An intern was left to take down the dress’ important monologue in its entirety. while everyone else went off for spritzers and quiche. The young lass sadly died of boredom and the hopelessness of belief the dress could ever reach a conclusion. Lacking Craazy’s reckless courage, I weighed the entire article on my academic essay marking scales, which hovered between ‘weighty crap’ and ‘bloated filibuster’., before suggesting 53% and the comment ‘you have noticed politics is corrupt, spent some time in Italy and can’t deep fry a Mars Bar – well done’.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Thanks for your witty contribution. I think Yves got the nut graph:

            In a neoliberal universe, where markets are the gauge of value, money becomes, more straightforwardly than ever before, the measure of all things. If hospitals, schools and prisons can be privatised as enterprises for profit, why not political office too?

            The style might be ponderous, but one reason for that is that Anderson includes a mass of detail that I (and therefore at least some readers) was not familiar with, so l learned something from the piece, and I hope others do, as well. YMMV, and obviously does. Then again, surely the institutional failure of the EU isn’t something that can be reduced to a few sentences, however pleasing that might be. I mean, I won’t dismiss Ulysses because it’s a prolix book about a hackneyed theme. Eh?

        5. diptherio

          My take away is this: mainstream Italian politicians are hopelessly corrupt, along with all the rest of Europe’s A-list politicians and technocrats. The only hope for anything other than neo-feudalism comes from the M5S (5 Star Movement).

          Last year one of [Italian Poli-Sci’s] best minds, Mauro Calise, published a book entitled Fuorigioco – ‘Out of the Game’. In it, he argued that the personalisation of politics was not an anti-democratic spectre recalling the temptations of a discredited past, as the Italian left had long feared, but the hegemonic form of rule in every Atlantic democracy save Italy. Weber had thought that patrimonial or charismatic leadership was historically in decline in the West. But in fact it was legal-rational authority, which he believed characteristic of modern forms of rule, that was out of date. Video-politics has recreated charismatic leadership. That is not a danger. For today macro-personalisation of power is public, accountable and criticisable. It answers to a world in which communication is no longer an instrument of politics, but its essence, of which there is no reason to be afraid. For video-politics are self-limiting, producing leaders who are at once very powerful and very fragile – vulnerable to opinion polls and the ballot box. What such politics raise up, they can as quickly pull down. The truth is that macro-personalisation is not an antithesis of democracy, but its condition, in a time when parties have lost their force.

          [snip]

          If it is to be effective, protest requires manoeuvre of the intelligence, along with intransigence of the will. Maybe Grillo, learning from experience, will prove more adept, and less commandist, in future, and the movement he has created more than a passing eddy of turbulence. Italians must hope so, for with the disappearance of any meaningful left, for which it is no substitute, the M5S might well emerge as the sole opposition of significance in the country, and with all its flaws and paradoxes, still represents the only sketch anywhere in Europe of a counter-force to what has overtaken representative democracy. Fortunately, amid a desert of media conformism – with cynical benevolence, a centre-left senator once privately described La Repubblica, the nation’s leading daily, as ‘our Pravda’ – Italy possesses one newspaper, Il Fatto Quotidiano, founded four years ago by a group of independent journalists, that fears no one and breaks every taboo: a single such case from one end of the continent to the other. Generally friendly to the M5S, Il Fatto is often sharply critical of it too: just what is needed. [emphasis added]

          It’s a case study in political corruption that briefly touches on a possible strategy for re-claiming state power from the kleptocrats. Worth the read, if you’re into that kinda thing.

          1. allcoppedout

            German high-objectivity continued in the line to Habermas. Weber survives in management text as if advocating charismatic leaders.

            I don’t want brevity, I want working projects.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Allcopped out there:

              … I weighed the entire article on my academic essay marking scales, which hovered between ‘weighty crap’ and ‘bloated filibuster’, before suggesting 53% and the comment ‘you have noticed politics is corrupt, spent some time in Italy and can’t deep fry a Mars Bar – well done’.

              Allcoppedout here:

              I don’t want brevity, I want working projects

              At this point, I’d be grateful for some brevity, I’m tellin’ ya.

              Isn’t wanting a “working project” from Anderson (assuming that’s what you meant) like wanting a civil rights march from, say, Eugene Genovese? [Adding… Same applies to Calise, if Anderson is not meant.]

          2. Lambert Strether

            Diptherio, there are some useful take-aways, at least for me, here:

            Video-politics has recreated charismatic leadership. That is not a danger. For today macro-personalisation of power is public, accountable and criticisable.

            I’m seeing this in Thailand, which is like the world capital of social media. (I might revise to “Digital-politics has recreated….”).

            Not sure it’s “not a danger.” But then, I’m a worrier.

            1. Tim Mason

              I think Anderson is here citing Calise as an exemplar of how corrupt the ‘best minds’ are. He does not himself believe that the ‘recreation of charismatic leadership’ is ‘not a danger’.

              Anderson may be difficult to read because he assumes a level of intimacy with European and particularly Italian politics that most of us do not have. His prose style is what one might expect of a historian whose early reading included Gibbon, and who is aware of the complex nature of the world that he describes.

      5. just me

        craazyman, why am I thinking of Roger Ebert?

        Imagine 90 tedious minutes of a man driving across America in a van. Imagine long shots through a windshield as it collects bug splats. Imagine not one but two scenes in which he stops for gas. Imagine a long shot on the Bonneville Salt Flats where he races his motorcycle until it disappears as a speck in the distance, followed by another shot in which a speck in the distance becomes his motorcycle. Imagine a film so unendurably boring that at one point, when he gets out of his van to change his shirt, there is applause.

        (yoou keep great company :-)

        http://www.rogerebert.com/festivals-and-awards/gallos-bunny-hops-to-the-top-of-all-time-worst-list

      6. just me

        “Play it so that flies drop dead in midair, and the audience starts leaving the hall from sheer boredom.” Shostakovich on Quartet No. 15.

        (Errol Morris tweet: https:// twitter.com/ errolmorris/status/463297498610954240)

  3. Brindle

    Yes, the Independent piece was far superior to the NYT’s one, which reeked of being a propaganda release from the State Dept. The oligarch Akhmetov’s views are not really that much different than Putin’s—for a federalised Ukraine.
    Seems like the neoliberals are the main impediment to movement towards a settlement.

    1. Banger

      The situation in Ukraine is a side issue for the strategists in Washington–this all about two things: 1) the new version of the Great Game; and 2) the power of the national security state within Washington! i.e., there has to be a strategy of tension to justify the absurd level of spending on all aspects of “security.”

      1. susan the other

        Whoever owns the Heartland (of Asia) owns the world? But who wants it now that we have made such a mess of it? Socially and ecologically? Russia doesn’t seem to. Anyway, interestingly, they still keep referring to us as their “partner.” It’s more like we are now agreeing to divide up the world into 2 markets – the East will be a communist confection; we in the Americas and Europe will be more fascist. To “justify the absurd level of spending” we should have a good reason for all this. Like not losing control of a lucrative but dysfunctional economic model, upon which the dollar is based. Blahblahblah. There damn well better be some money in that budget to fix pollution and GW.

  4. jjmacjohnson

    Interesting about the rerouting scandal of computer devices is very little is mentioned about the cooperation with package carries for help in this.

    1. bob

      Now that GG is part of the gilded class, he has to be careful about who he talks about.

      One of the slides he released showed a picture of workers taking apart a cisco router(there was a cisco box on the table. Cisco is a well known partner of the NSA. They didn’t have to re-route the package, it was hacked when it was built.

      But then, yes. The shippers are also to blame. I wonder if it’s just “private shippers” or if the USPS is doing this too. My bet would be that it’s harder to get the USPS to play along. Federal charges related to tampering with the mail are very real. UPS/fedex? Take it to “arbitration”, if you can even prove it happened.

      70% of the “intelligence” budget is contract work.

      So, who is GG really worried about? His favorite whipping boy, gov? Or the people who own gov, the contractors? Wasn’t Snowden working for a free market company?

    2. Lambert Strether

      Hmm. I wonder if the workers doing this are paid for silence? Or whether, as in the Amazon warehouses, things are organized chaotically so they can’t tell what’s been taken out of the line?

  5. dearieme

    “This rescue was kind, not heroic.” Well said. And “kind” is so important too. Advice to young men: find a kind-hearted woman.

    1. ambrit

      Dear dearime;
      Why just for “young” men? How about the women? Do they need to find efficient mammoth hunters and forget the flower aficionados?
      As for the “heroic” appellation, well, it was a form of heroism for a “manly man” to allow himself to be seen succoring small furry animals. Imagine the chaffing he’ll get around the campfire on the next megafauna hunt?

      1. dearieme

        “Why just for “young” men?” Because old men will have learnt the lesson themselves.

        “How about the women?” Never having been a woman I have no first-hand advice to offer.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, I did not mean to minimize kindness. Rescuing a kitten is clearly a generous thing to do. As a society, we have been really losing touch with the importance of kindness.

      1. dearieme

        “Yes, I did not mean to minimize kindness.” You didn’t: I was applauding you.

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Veterans scandal risks engulfing Obama

    So, when the sorry state of veterans’ healthcare at the VA, an issue which has been around for a LONG time, finally starts getting the attention it deserves, the FT decides to focus on how OBAMA will be affected????

    One thing’s for sure. However much damage he “suffers,” it won’t be nearly enough. And whatever the consequences, waiting in line for medical care, for him or his family, for the REST OF THEIR LIVES, will not be among them.

    While there’s so much wrong here, I just can’t help noting the irony of the fact that this scandal “started” in Arizona. One of Arizona’s two senators is, of course, that staunchest of supporters of America’s men and women in uniform, John McCain.

    Apparently a DOCTOR who worked at the VA in Phoenix felt neither a sufficient sense of “duty” nor sufficient confidence in his military-“VENERATING” senator to advise him of the situation and attempt to get it rectified until AFTER he had retired and forty or more hadn’t had the chance.

    I’d guess the next FT story will focus on how this factoid could affect McCain’s political future. As if anyone gives a good god damn.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Katniss;
      I take a more cynical view of this whole V.A. bashing program. I think it’s part of a drive to first, privatize the V.A., and second as a way to “legitimize” the ACA. (Since, supposedly, the VA can’t do medicine, it being the closest thing to single payer we have in America, why then, ipso facto, single payer isn’t worth even thinking about. QED, the ACA is the only way to go. TINA in action.) By focusing on how this latest “scandal” affects Obama, the Court Flatterers are very skillfully giving him an excuse to gut the VA in righteous dudgeon. “I’m giving our maimed heroes a better chance by allowing market forces to do their special magic in all of Americas healthcare fields! Never let it be said that this Administration hesitated when faced with hard choices! America is markets, and the markets are America!”
      Who wants to bet that Obama doesn’t end up on the board of one of the giant healthcare cartels? I’ve got a sawbuck that says he does.

      1. optimader

        of course you are correct, presumably the plan is to absorb the closest thing to a effective healthcare agency model into the closest thing to an ineffective healthcare agency model.
        Since the military has been legislated into an elective enlistment scheme and is migrating to private contractor arrangements whenever possible, isn’t the logical progression to spit the used up military detritus into a private sector healthcare juggernaught ASAP?

        The legacy human damaged goods are a growing persistent and expensive overhead consequence of failed foreign policy now that battlefield mortality rates have been dramatically lowered.
        Best the fodder disappear back into small-town Stumpville, AK where they were recruited in the firstplace w/ alluring psyhops enlistment programs rather than aggregating at VA treatment centers and annoying everyone as a perpetually underfunded budgetary Fed Budget item.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        In terms of privatization of the VA, I would imagine you are right. Wherever there is a large pot of taxpayer money, the privatizers swarm. During this past week, as the “scandal” was breaking, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Repub and veteran, appeared several times (that I saw) to offer his opinion/solution.

        In addition to opining that Shinseki would not “survive” the scandal, he suggested that veterans unable to get timely appointments be given “vouchers” to obtain care outside of the system. Only until the system was “fixed,” of course. And where have we heard the word “vouchers” before? It is so ubiquitous in the lexicon of privatization, that it cannot properly be referred to as a dog-whistle. More like a screaming siren.

        But I’ll go you one better in the cynicism department. With the demise of the draft, the nature of America’s uniformed force has changed drastically. It is no longer composed of “patriotic” members of all social classes. It is increasingly populated by what can only be termed “throw-away people.” Unfortunately for TPTB, they’re refusing to go quietly.

        It is impossible to believe that back when George H.W. Bush or Bob Dole or JFK served in the military, were EXPECTED to serve in the military, veterans would be disrespected, mistreated or ignored to the extent that they are today. Of course the conflicts in which they served were not as nakedly imperialist and economically motivated as those in which so many lives are remorselessly squandered today. We used to be ONE country. We used to all pull together. There used to be a REASON.

        But the military, and by extension the VA, have become caricatures. They exist only to keep the IDEA alive. It is not necessary that they FUNCTION, only that they exist. It’s a good thing that we have the FT to modulate and interpret the “facts.”

        Oh, and to let us know how the value of HCA stock was “impacted” by the “anticipated” revenue increases necessitated by another predictable failure of big government.

        And now, the seventh inning. “Would you all please rise for our rendition of “God Bless America.”

    2. evodevo

      YES. I don’t recall any outrage on the part of the MSM when the same (or worse) thing was occurring under the Bushies….. Oh, wait, “both sides do it” or something.

    1. ambrit

      Remember when schools had dieticians to plan out the kids lunches? I was a prat who liked school lunches. At a quarter, and no junk food, it was a real bargain. I can remember when only teachers were allowed to use the vending machines. One of which dispensed cigarettes. Alas, you could get smokes, but never beer.

  7. Jim Haygood

    ‘In the face of strengthening economy and relative to the uncertainty of the US government shutdown and debt ceiling impasse last year, current low yields are difficult to understand.’ — Sober Look

    Given the enormous influence of crowd psychology (swings from extreme optimism to excessive pessimism), it’s a basic misconception to believe that market prices should be ‘understandable’ in the first place. It don’t have to make sense!

    Did Sober Look miss the 1Q flash GDP report? Real growth was 0.1 percent. Some analysts think it will go negative in the next revision, to be released May 29th. That’s one good reason for bond yields to stay low.

    A second reason is that five-plus years after the smash of 2008, the Fed still has its funds rate pegged at zero. The PhD morons’ artificially low ‘Bubble bait’ yield at the short end tends to pull longer-term rates down too.

    As for crowd psychology, the 10-year T-note yield poked just above the big round number of 3 percent on the last day of 2013, with taper fears at their highest. It’s fairly common for markets to either bounce off round numbers, or just blow right through them.

    Speaking of which, the Yellenites are still gunning for ‘S&P 2K by springtime,’ though it’s kind of like pushing on a wet noodle. Snap-on tools, Janet.

  8. Klassy

    Caught this Cadillac commercial today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOU2Qb0us74
    In the last episode we were treated to some guy yammering about the lazy French and insisting that we here in the US love the fact that we have no guaranteed vacation. Down with the fifth republic. Now in the latest ad it is up with the Ancien Regime.
    Really GM? Is this the time to be debuting a commercial with peasants (OK, more like the petits bourgeoisie) admiring their overlords?

    1. jrs

      And literal slaves, though I could not tell if it was the slaves themselves that were cheering (obamabots?)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If Cable TV is too expensive, try free DVDs from your local library.

      Gotta keep inflation low.

      It’s your patriotic duty.

      1. ambrit

        Two years ago Phyl and I found three Film Noir at Big Lots for four or fivr dollars each. So, we bought a set for ourselves, and gave a set to our local library. (What’s not to like about “Kiss of Death?”) Well, it took the library folks a month to ‘approve’ the discs, and then the films were promptly stolen by some old film enthusiast. Folks here Down South are just a bunch of no goods I guess. You Tube is the best thing we’ve found in the old film scene. Natch.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Since the FCC study ended on Jan. 1, 2013, the CPI report for Dec. 2012 is the one needed for comparison:

      http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpid1212.pdf

      Who you gonna believe — the FCC (cable prices up 6.5%) or the BLS (cable prices up 3.6%)?

      One would not be shocked if the BLS has applied a downward hedonic adjustment to its cable price index, to account for more channels and more scanning lines (1080 these days, versus the crappy 480 raster lines of the old NTSC low-def standard that made you go blind).

      Every day, in every way, cable service is getting better and better! You pay more, but you get more. That’s how the BLS sees it, anyhow.

      1. craazyboy

        Wonder how the hedonic stat guys are handling the increased commercial content?

        Like to see the detailed calcs on improved availability of channels. A buddy pays a hundred sumthin’ for Dish and they stream the free Hulu content, commercials and all, straight to his TV. Convenience must be worth something?

          1. craazyboy

            Don’t think so – otherwise GMO and Pink Slime food prices would have gone thru the roof!

            Plus they would have to measure modern day vitamin and mineral content from veggies grown in mineral depleted soil. The R’s would never approve the budget increase.

            In case you’re wondering – organic is a quality increase.

            We could speculate how Chinese stuff is done, and do complex things with inputs and outputs, numerators and denominators, but we’ll leave that as an exercise for another day.

        1. Jagger

          I have satellite internet for $50 a month. Only other choice is dial up. So for $50/month, I get 5 gig of download from 8AM-2AM. I get another 5 gig from 2AM-8AM. I guarantee I don’t do a lot of downloading. Certainly not TV shows or movies. I do have netflix which gives me 8 dvds a month for $8. Huge catalog selection. So two nights a week I get quality programming of my choice. Plenty of other things to do on other nights. Perfect for me.

          1. craazyboy

            I live in a city so I get 12mb/s dsl from the phone co for $53. Got my 52in screen connected to my computer and then to the dsl router, the Magic Jack plugged in, and that’s it ! Had $8 Netflix online for a while, but watched everything I wanted to watch. Might get it again someday. Watching youtube as I type this. Multitasking, ya know.

            Books from the library work great, too, and I can walk there!

      2. bob

        There is no broadcast video that is 1080p. Compressed 720(not technically 720p), at less than half the bandwidth of 1080p, is the new “standard”.

        Bluray is the only way to get true 1080p. The rest is marketing, or as I like to call it, lies. The sneakernet lives, on your trip to the store to buy a new movie.

        For a little while DirecTv was claiming that they did 1080. The catch? You needed to hook up your “satellite” TV to a home ethernet port and wait a day for the content to download.

        This plays into the ongoing battle of late between cable and internet. The cable companies want to advertise the best, but don’t want to leave any room for it, or they want to take bandwidth away from internet to give to cable TV.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers

          Bob,

          Where I live we have a “microwave” dish connection for DSL broadband, the max download speed we get is approx. 3Mb down, now this is Hong Kong which has speeds of 100Mb, but only those living in densely populated areas get the pleasure of this.

          Suffice to say with Hong Kong TV being appalling I’m forced to rely on Bittorrent for my viewing requirements and 1080 BT downloads are big files – usually 8G upwards, they take ages to download, but are worth it quality wise.

          Moral of the tale, I get all my UK and USA TV free of charge with no adverts, utilise audio books for background noise when workings and don’t miss terrestrial TV one iota – satellite TV in Asia being owned by one Rupert Murdoch is trash, so its BT or the highway I’m afraid.

  9. vidimi

    re: biggest dinosaur ever

    my money is on this being an argentinosaurus specimen and not a new species. the article failed to mention any differences between the two that would suggest it’s a distinct species, so if it was a member of the argentinosaur family that lived in the same place at the same time, it’s probably just an argentinosaurus.

    for some background, see this TED talk by pre-eminent paleontologist jack horner:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/jack_horner_shape_shifting_dinosaurs

    1. Hugh

      If this dinosaur ate between 1%-2% of its body weight each day, that would be between 1500 and 3000 pounds of roughage. I can’t help thinking that it’s a good thing it lived 95 million years ago. You would not want to be standing anywhere near this guy when it took a shit.

  10. sd

    Re: Momentum Stock Fiasco Pricks San Francisco Housing Bubble

    Anecdote: A relative is getting forced out of their apartment in San Francisco. The landlord thinks they can get 3 to 4,000 a month for a small one bedroom in the Sunset. After 10 years of good relations, the landlord has turned hostile which is making for an overall ugly housing situation.

    The only option is to move and most likely out of the city.

  11. jrs

    I think what we need is more groaf, groaf jobs:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-16/where-worlds-unsold-cars-go-die

    Using up incredibly precious resources, the steel, the petroleum for tires, the plastic, burning up the planet, insuring our and everything else’s extinction, to maintain what again? The work ethic? When most people hate their jobs anyway (they only prefer it to starving). To maintain some kind of functioning in the existing economic system that requires groaf? Maybe if we printed more money more people could buy new cars (but what about the fact old cars are lasting longer and so few people NEED new cars?). There are things people may need money for, but this volume of brand new cars isn’t one of them. To maintain the dominance of the elite under the guise of maintaining the existing system? Why can’t we just work less or do useful work helping each other and the planet? Because the elite wouldn’t like it and our economics must still serve them?

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