Links 5/23/14

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Dog Unable to Hide Its Obvious Guilt Gawker

I’d have eaten toddler myself if it was smaller, says ‘hero cat’ Daily Mash

Even Fruit Flies Need a Moment to Think It Over New York Times (Robert M)

More stressed at home than at work? Washington Post. Yours truly had put this forward as a hypothesis…

US billionaire takes on climate sceptics Financial Times

​US House denies Pentagon funds to tackle climate change as security threat RT (furzy mouse)

‘Tide is Turning’ as Oregon Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Ban of GE Crops Common Dreams (furzy mouse)

A Woman With Perfect Grades Is Worth The Same As A Man With A 2.0 Average ThinkProgress. Operates on all levels. MIT ascertained that a woman academic in the sciences needed to publish on average 2.5 times as many peer reviewed articles a man to get tenure.

Bitcoin shocker! Financial Times

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Another Trade Liberalization Scam Triple Crisis

Can Chinese banks dodge a property bust? MacroBusiness

At the start of hacking charges, a confrontation Washington Post

Generals once again call the shots in Thailand Nikkei

Thailand’s military coup condemned BBC

Europe at the polls – but who will actually vote? DW

Cocaine Sales to Boost Italian GDP in Boon for Budget Bloomberg


Ukraine: Army Soldiers Killed In Friendly Fire Incident? Moon of Alabama

China-Russia is a match made in heaven, and that’s scary Anatole Kaletsky, Reuters

How The Russia-China Gas Deal Hurts U.S. Liquid Natural Gas Industry OilPrice

Tycoon heads for victory in Ukraine Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Everything is Broken Quinn Norton. Today’s must read.

Cloud Wars: Now Even the CIA Slams IBM’s Technology Wolf Richter

Facebook shakes up privacy policies Financial Times

Late Night: Mission Accomplished, Indeed cocktailhag, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Senator Wyden: “Every American Has The RIGHT To Know When Their Government Believes It Is Allowed To KILL Them!” George Washington

Obama’s early VA response:Executive inaction Politico

Former Christie aide says lane closures were political payback Daily Kos (furzy mouse). Quelle surprise!

EXCLUSIVE: We name the political donors whose firms got $14bn of pension cash from New Jersey David Sirota, Pando

The Case for Reparations Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic. Important.

Financial Crisis, Over and Already Forgotten Floyd Norris, New York Times

Existing Home Sales “Rebound”: Headline Hype vs. Reality Michael Shedlock

Why Housing Isn’t As Cheap as It Looks Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal

Bernanke Money-Grubs From the .01% Fred Sheehan

Class Warfare

Just Released: What Kinds of Jobs Have Been Created during the Recovery? New York Fed. Pretty sober with only modest application of porcine maquillage.

Students Now Indentured to the Banksters Truthout (furzy mouse)

CFPB Report Confirms Payday Lenders And Debt Collectors Are The Worst Consumerist

Labor’s Digital Displacement Michael Spence, Project Syndicate (David L)

Siphoning Value through Captives: Private Equity and Securitization Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. John Merryman

    The fact is the basic issues with software being buggy are fundamental to how reality functions. It evolves bottom up, but we access it top down and so have a small, biased field of vision of a functionally infinite reality.
    Consider the essential premise of monotheism, God as an all-knowing absolute. We naturally conflate the ideal with the absolute, yet absolute is an equilibrium state. The flatline between positive and negative, so it would be the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fall. Sorry Plato.
    So we build out complexity until it becomes unstable and then it collapses back to a more stable state and then we start over again. Nature does this by having individual organisms be born and die, passing on incremental upgrades to the next generation. With lots of cultural overlap, of course.

    1. bruno marr

      …well, not really. Nature doesn’t seek out complexity. It may seem dynamically complex, but that is due to the many niches within the living environment. There are not directed “incremental upgrades”, but a natural selection of species that respond best to the environment at hand. (Or in the case of insects, at antennae.)

    2. curlydan

      Starting over is what I was thinking while reading the article. The only safe way for a person to communicate is to start with a new computer, a stripped down operating system (e.g. a boiled down UNIX), and build really simple boiled down and transparent software on top of that. Save the games and Facebook and other applications (and non-secure communication) for the old hunk of junk legacy machine, then communicate practically on a dummy machine built for private encrypted communication.

  2. diptherio

    “MIT ascertained that a woman academic in the sciences needed to publish on average 2.5 times as many peer reviewed articles a man to get tenure.”

    Seeing as how women are naturally more intelligent than men, doesn’t it make sense that they should be held to a higher standard? Lowering the bar for us dudes is the only way to keep things competitive…

    As David Cross once said, “I firmly believe that women are smarter than men…I also believe that dogs are smarter than women.” So true…so true…

    1. Tyler

      I don’t want to get into a battle of the sexes, but isn’t there a study out there which found that companies who don’t exclude women from leadership positions are more financially successful?

      1. diptherio

        Who’s having a battle? That makes perfect sense to me (see my comment below).

        I’m just saying that without this kind of affirmative action on behalf of the male of the species, we’d quickly be relegated to what my Nepali friends refer to as “OCDC”: onion cutting, dishes washing; i.e. the crap jobs.

        I try not to be sexist, but I wouldn’t want women to end up with all the good jobs. If we didn’t discriminate in favor of men, that would no doubt be the result. Although granted, we are perhaps overdoing it a little at present…

        1. MtnLife

          First, I’m all for equal pay for equal work quality, skills, and experience. That being said, what is with the overzealous focus on the ways in which women fall short of men in positive things? What about all the negatives such as men make up the overwhelming majority (generally 80%+) of the incarcerated, mentally ill, homeless, involuntarily unemployed, speech issues, the parent without rights, etc? Maybe the reason for the discrepancy is the tendency for men to take greater risks (hey, we have to impress those females) so therefore they tend to take the lion’s share of the greatest rewards as well as the worst failures/outcomes.

    2. optimader

      “Seeing as how women are naturally more intelligent than men, ”

      that explains high heels, mascara and curling irons

      1. craazyman

        those are the really smart ones — because they have guys following them around willing to do anything they say.

        I heard about some French economist who wrote a book on the topic and concluded that f > m. It was an empirical study but that doesn’t keep people from arguing about it. If you ever happen to read it, post a book report! because some of us never will. maybe a woman can read it and post a book report. Most of the people who read and write books like that are men. Maybe that’s where his formula came from. bowhahahahah. sorry.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Men might make more, but when they shuffle off their mortal coils, it’s women who, being meek, inherit the earthly goods.

          – From ‘Men Are Hares and Women Are Tortoises.’

        2. craazyboy

          Slightly off topic, but I can’t help mentioning it.

          Breast Implants.

          These are actually mind control devices. Those have the effect of causing the male brain to contract, much like the heart muscle, except these contractions can last 8-12 minutes at a time (sometimes longer) and the male is extremely vulnerable to suggestion during his weakened mental state. He is prone to doing irrational and dumb things like hand over his credit card, make marriage proposals, hand over his credit card, and so on.

          Something to be aware off.

          1. craazyman

            As if there’s money any more for that kind of thing. The 4 horsemen of the financial apocalypse have bankrupted anybody who paid them the slightest mind. the market’s doubled and the sky is now twice as high as it was before. When if falls it will surely crash like the Rapture. The horsemen — whose names will not pass my lips — may be right, eventually, if somebody can live that long, but an asteroid might hit the Earth first. In that case, they’ll have to be content to be right in theory. In the meantime, if somebody just threw their money at the market the way a woman throws a football, they’d be rich by now! See f > m, especially when m reads macroeconomics on the internet. This isn’t theory, it’s reality.

      2. Working Class Nero

        Actually there is plenty of evidence that men are stupider than women. For example, men suffer from occupational fatalities at a rate 12 times higher than women, who are presumably doing the same work. What a bunch of dumb-ass klutzes men must be. Also considering that the unemployment rate for men is only two percentage points higher than women despite the fact that men are presumably demanding 22% more pay for doing the same work; these dumb men who are presumably doing all the hiring are leaving cheaper but equal labor on the table, thus cutting profits and their year end bonuses. At that discount you would expect an even bigger gender unemployment gap. And worse of all, if women are really accepting salaries 22% lower than men for the same work, why are men allowing women to attack them for this? Instead, shouldn’t men grow a pair and go on the offensive against women for undercutting male salaries by accepting less pay for the same work? Because if women are consistently accepting the same work at a 22% discount, this means inevitably men will be forced to lower their wage demands as well or they will end up suffering an even higher gender unemployment gap when the dumb-ass male capitalists finally wake up and find out they can get the same work for 22% less salary by just hiring a woman.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some men claim they need 22% more so they can shower their women with 22% more gifts than women shower their men.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The trick is to make them seem free.

              ‘Take it. No strings attached!’

        2. optimader

          “For example, men suffer from occupational fatalities at a rate 12 times higher than women, who are presumably doing the same work.”

          Not a safe presumption,no pun intended.
          The ten deadliest jobs according to Forbes are heavily male dominated (w/ the possible partial exception of 8.) Drivers/sales workers –wtf is that??), which goes to explaining the bias in job related fatality, and is ironically maybe consistent w/ the original premise.

          The 10 Deadliest Jobs:
          1. Logging workers
          2. Fishers and related fishing workers
          3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers
          4. Roofers
          5. Structural iron and steel workers
          6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
          7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
          8. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers
          9. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
          10. Construction laborers

          1. Working Class Nero

            Sure it could just be male stupidity that makes these profession veritable sausage factories. Or it could be something much more insidious. Maybe what’s really going is a power-mad patriarchy marking its territory? Could it be that the douches running this country, through systematic sexism, have created a glass safety shield that inhibits our girls from sacrificing their limbs and bodies at the same rate as privileged men by blocking wymyn’s access to these rewarding professions? Just in case, we really do need to immediately engage in some serious hashtag activism to once again combat the old boy’s deathwork. Do you think we could get a pouting Michelle Obama to hold a handwritten “#Equal Occupational Body Bag Day” placard?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What about jobs that traumatize men enough, without fatally hurting them, so they pass down through sperm for generations???

            Is there a list of top 10 (or worse 10) such jobs?

    3. diptherio

      I should add that I also believe that cats are smarter than dogs. So, for the record, my personal prejudicial intelligence scale goes like this: Cats > Dogs > Women > Men.

      Probably explains why I get along better with animals than with people…

      1. ewmayer

        As the saying goes, “dogs have owners; cats have staff.”

        Some fascinating physiological facts from the Wikipedia article on cats:

        “As cats are familiar and easily kept animals, their physiology has been particularly well studied; it generally resembles that of other carnivorous mammals but displays several unusual features probably attributable to cats’ descent from desert-dwelling species. For instance, cats are able to tolerate quite high temperatures: Humans generally start to feel uncomfortable when their skin temperature passes about 38 °C (100 °F), but cats show no discomfort until their skin reaches around 52 °C (126 °F), and can tolerate temperatures of up to 56 °C (133 °F) if they have access to water.

        …Cats’ feces are comparatively dry and their urine is highly concentrated, both of which are adaptations that allow cats to retain as much fluid as possible. Their kidneys are so efficient that cats can survive on a diet consisting only of meat, with no additional water, and can even rehydrate by drinking seawater.”

        Another interesting factoid from the same page:

        A group of cats is referred to as a “clowder” or a “glaring”.

        I did not know that. :o

        A final interesting factoid: The 2nd part of the Linnean species name for wildcats (and domestic cats, though there the S. part is often dropped to yield just F. Catus), Felis Silvestris, does not derive from the Latin word for “forest” as is generally supposed, but rather is an homage to the famous cat from the Warner Brothers Sylvester and Tweety cartoons.

        (OK, I admit I made up that last bit. Interestingly though, there is such an homage involved – but it’s the other way around.)

  3. GI Joe

    The Pentagon doesn’t need a climate change line item. Life-cycle cost criteria in procurement will take care of their POL problems. And in terms of doctrine, DoD interprets E.O. 12656 preparedness to maintain an all-hazards footing. Their planned response to climate change is identical to their response to civil disturbances: repressive force applied to civilian populations. Think Katrina, penning the masses up in stadiums and chucking bottles into the crowd for R&R.

    1. Banger

      For many climate catastrophe will be the source of misery and death, for the few an opportunity to seize power and wealth. We have to understand that there is no longer any such thing as justice or social morality as an meta-concern. It is every man, woman and even child for him/herself in a no-holds barred future should current trends continue.

      1. Skeptic

        “…an opportunity to seize power and wealth.”

        Disaster is now Opportunity for the 1%. However, somewhere in the future, there may be Disaster which will also be Disaster for them. Nano and biotech might be the sources for that Disaster.
        Bill Joy, Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us, explores this idea.

        1. optimader

          Any game changer is an opportunity for those that recognize it, not just “the 1%”.
          Think orchards in depressed areas around the Great Lakes as California fruit agriculture collapses.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I wonder they are building many potable water storage tanks in Malibu…

  4. milesc

    Re Bitcoin shocker! Financial Times

    Journalism shocker. Izzy is really struggling with her chosen subject. In her previous article she even suggested the Bitcoin Foundation is responsible for monitoring and dishing out hashrate.

  5. ambrit

    Alas, I have hit the Paywall at the Daily Mash! What kind of depraved ponce would deny us mere mortals a morning giggle for filthy lucre? Here’s an idea; let the anti net neutrality crowd force any and all pay walled sources into the slow lane. Then they can create a Commercial Speed category. If you’re in it for the money, well sonny jim, so are we!

    1. diptherio

      You aren’t missing much, just another rehashing of the “cats don’t care about you” meme, expanded to article length. If you need a good giggle, click on the “Everything Is Broken” link and scroll down until you see Steve Carell eating a banana. That joke is hilarious!

      1. ambrit

        Having two felines ruling our lives, Phyl and I can write that in our sleep!
        The idea of total chaos running the internet makes Carell in charge of things look like a good idea. The day before I left Lowes, I was prompted to change my passwords. In the middle of the day. With customers waiting. I’m glad I can’t remember what I used. They’re probably still trying to figure it out. It’s like the advice often given to newbies about answers to verification questions in password portals: Incorrect.

  6. diptherio

    Everything is Broken is a great piece. The crux of the matter:

    The risks on a societal level from giving up our privacy are terrible. Yet the consequences of not doing so on an individual basis are immediately crippling.

    Why? Because in order to live in the modern world you have to use some standardized software…and it’s all broken, shipped as soon as it’s passable whether it’s secure or not. It’s never secure, but we have to use it anyway:

    Executable mail attachments (which includes things like Word, Excel, and PDFs) you get just about everyday could be from anyone — people can write anything they want in that From: field of emails, and any of those attachments could take over you computer as handily as an 0day.

    But we could do something about it. Groups of people have carried out much more difficult tasks.

    The problem with the normals and tech is the same as the problem with the normals and politics, or society in general. People believe they are powerless and alone, but the only thing that keeps people powerless and alone is that same belief. People, working together, are immensely and terrifyingly powerful.

    There is certainly a limit to what an organized movement of people who share a mutual dream can do, but we haven’t found it yet. [snip]

    It wouldn’t take a total defection or a general revolt to change everything, because corporations and governments would rather bend to demands than die. These entities do everything they can get away with — but we’ve forgotten that we’re the ones that are letting them get away with things.

    Computers don’t serve the needs of both privacy and coordination not because it’s somehow mathematically impossible. There are plenty of schemes that could federate or safely encrypt our data, plenty of ways we could regain privacy and make our computers work better by default. It isn’t happening now because we haven’t demanded that it should, not because no one is clever enough to make that happen.

    And not just demand, but work to make it a reality. Making people aware of the scope of the problem is the first step. Share widely.

    1. Zephyrum

      “…work to make it a reality.”

      And, importantly, be willing to pay for that work.

      1. jrs

        Yes but I sometimes think the willingness to DO WORK (and I don’t mean one’s jawb – I mean work that needs doing) is more basic than just the willingness to throw money about.

  7. Zephyrum

    “Everything is Broken” is a good rant, but fails to identify the actual reason for low quality. There are quite a few engineers/developers capable and motivated to produce high quality products and infrastructure. The problem is that it’s hard to get paid for the extra effort required. After a few labors of love and given the opportunity to make more money fo much less work, most of the talented folks do the rational thing and crank out minimal solutions.

    So yes, the culture is broken, but not because the world needs install privileges on all computers. Gag. The problem lies in economics, management, and financialization. Not in a lack of skills.

    1. diptherio

      I don’t think he is suggesting that people be granted install privileges on public or company computers. Rather, he is pointing out that many (most?) people do not have install privileges and so any fix has to work within that constraint. Downloading a piece of software isn’t going to work, so the standard software that everybody uses needs to be built securely (I think is what he’s saying).

          1. Nobody (the outcast)

            Yes, her name is a valid excuse. I did find it a bit humorous in light of your comment on the sexes. ;)

    2. Eureka Springs

      Just yesterday I took both my riding and push mowers into my one-armed repairman’s shop. The kind of good old boy who will fix something simple for free. Within minutes the best case scenario estimates (a carburetor replacement on one, a hard to reach bearing replacement on the other) totaled about 70 percent of complete new mower replacement cost. I took them both straight to the dump.

      I can’t imagine the real crapafication of everything costs of melting down less than ten year old heaps of metal on the scale we do nowadays.

      1. ambrit

        The underlying assumption is that the ‘consumer’ can and will replace the defective device. I remember building a ten speed bike out of parts from the town dump. I couldn’t afford a new bicycle. We’ll be returning to those days soon enough. This time, however, we’ll either have to bribe the dump guards or take them out. When trash becomes valuable enough to kill for, your society is kaput.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Yeah, our local metal salvage yard will not allow people to come in and peruse/buy scrap. I think China owns it all before it arrives.

          1. ambrit

            Our local scrap yard recently was bought out by Russians. I wonder if their money came through a Latvian or Cypriot bank?

          2. Crazy Horse

            Least you forget, the scrap metal from the 911 twin towers was on its way to China almost before it hit the ground. Something about getting rid of all the nano-thermite residues.

            1. ambrit

              Yes. There’s too many loose ends dangling from the 9/11 events.
              Also, why kill bin Lauden when you had him in your hands, and could have easily bought him home to stand trial. Too many skeletons in the harem?

              1. Glenn Condell

                The Greatest Story Never Told. Well, one of the top two anyway, the other four decades prior, both a massive leg down for freedom. One more should do it.

    3. Nobody (the outcast)

      The argument is, IMO, crapification is everywhere, because the “consumers” don’t demand better. They use the products while not questioning there safety/effectiveness, just like good consumers should. The point is that the users are just as much to blame as the creators. The system as designed puts profit/sales over quality and we just lie down and accept it. In our perverse system, quality ultimately means less sales and/or profits. This is the same theme touched on in one of the Zeitgeist films with regard to consumer goods and why the manufacturers of light bulbs conspired to reduce the lifespan of the bulbs in order to sell more bulbs. Nothing new, just the same old perversity applied now to software.

      “Computers don’t serve the needs of both privacy and coordination not because it’s somehow mathematically impossible. There are plenty of schemes that could federate or safely encrypt our data, plenty of ways we could regain privacy and make our computers work better by default. It isn’t happening now because we haven’t demanded that it should, not because no one is clever enough to make that happen.”

      1. OIFVet

        So what exactly do you propose we do? I replaced my front breaks and rotors 14 months ago, $700 total. Earlier this week one of the front wheel brakes failed, $330. 14 months and 7,250 miles is all they were good for, “lifetime” limited warranty apparently means 3 months/3,000 miles. Should I yell at my mechanic, or the corporation that crappified the pads and calipers? If the latter, who will listen and what will that change? Should I just not purchase replacement parts? I need the car so I need to fix the damned brakes!

      2. josap

        Our coffee pot died. We couldn’t fix it.
        Choice of new coffee pots (as the one we liked was no longer made) was very cheap junk or expensive and less junky. Went with the expensive one, we’ll see what happens.

        1. optimader

          French Plunge and a water kettle… one problem solved for the rest of your life, next.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    In the history of Russias, it has only been invaded once from the east (by the Mongols,…Attila was before its time) but twice from the west (the Grande Armee and Wehrmacht) and looking at the third possibly.

    So, it seems like a logical move.

        1. craazyboy

          Yes, well, the Poles never could do anything right. Seems like they could get run over from both sides while just standing still.

    1. vidimi

      that china-russia match article makes a strange yet widely accepted premise: china is rising while russia is declining. what is this based on? surely, china is peaking but russia is also way above its mid-90s nadir and rising still.

      the projection of force paragraph similarly misses the mark. american dominance is primarily on the decline because china and russia are on the rise and are, correspondingly, increasingly belligerent. the latter is also in large part due to the perception that corruption is rotting away at military might: the u.s. needs to increase military spending each year just to stand still. boondoggles like the f-35 that will consume around a third of the pentagon’s annual budget but will not be fit for purpose or the littoral coast ship send the message that the empire is cannibalizing itself. even the new ronald reagan class aircraft carriers are a joke: they may as well be building a death star.

  9. E.L. Beck

    Re: “How The Russia-China Gas Deal Hurts U.S. Liquid Natural Gas Industry”

    Far too many hedge words in this piece to become comfortable with it:

    “For example, China has long been seen as a massive consumer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) – gas that is turned to liquid form and transported by super-chilled container ships. The deal with Russia -could- curb quite a bit of that projected demand.”

    “This -could- dampen the demand – and ultimately the price for – LNG from the United States.”

    “The Russia-China deal -may- change that.”

    “the most expensive LNG projects -may- no longer be profitable.”

    But despite the similar sounding headline over at Bloomberg,

    “Russia-China Deal to Damp LNG Prices as Output Rises”

    towards the end of the story, the substantive counterpoints to the rosy outlook for lower prices emerges:

    “This deal results in a slight reduction in the rate of growth in LNG imports but nothing that is going to keep anyone awake at night in Doha,” he said by e-mail. “The deal could actually lead to a call for yet more LNG. With Russian supply now booked, it will give the planners comfort to keep building out the domestic gas market and then we are likely to see them calling for more supply -– more LNG, more piped gas from Central Asia.”


    “Japan and South Korea, the world’s two largest buyers of contract LNG, will face tighter supplies by 2025, according to Gavin Thompson, head of Asia gas and power research at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. The Russia-China pipeline deal won’t give the Japanese or Korean buyers leverage in near-term LNG negotiations because they already have enough contracted supply through the start of the next decade,”

    I find it more than a coincidence that this deal was sealed in the aftermath of the Ukraine situation. Putin isn’t giving anything up. Now that the U.S.-Russia alliance (despite all the official rhetoric to the contrary, assuming the Ukrainians fall silent and become willing chess pieces) pricing control over the eastern EU pipeline has been tightened, and China has Russia’s western pipeline booked, LNG prices may drop in the short term, but in the long term have nowhere to go but up.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    More stressed at home?

    One is likely to find more toxic chemicals and polluted indoor air at home as well.

    But with home cooking, at least one gets to see what poisons one puts in one’s food, whereas one will never know dining out.

  11. Jim Haygood

    USA Freedumb Act, comrades — it’s like the FISA Amendments Act, only better:

    UPDATE: The USA Freedumb Act passed the House on a vote of 303-121.

    Unhappy with last-minute changes made to a bill designed to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone and Internet records, Rep. Justin Amash voted against [his own] bill.

    “This morning’s bill maintains and codifies a large-scale, unconstitutional domestic spying program,” Amash wrote on his Facebook page.

    Amash said that the bill, which was originally drafted by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., was “so weakened” by behind-the-scenes negotiations that it allows the government to order large swaths of American phone records “without probable cause.”

    For example, the government could order AT&T to turn over all phone records for a particular area code or for “phone calls made east of the Mississippi,” according to Amash.

    1. craazyboy

      No doubt the congressmen received anonymous, personalized text messages on their cellphones explaining why and how the legislation should be modified.

      1. Crazy Horse

        When I first started watching “Scandal” I thought it was a fast paced fictional thriller. Then I realized it was actually a documentary— the 95% of the news the MSM doesn’t report. LOL

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Jobs created during the ‘recovery.’

    More robot jobs than human jobs? That’s my guess.

    Probably time for robot unions.

    Better working conditions for robots…regular ‘healthcare’ i.e. maintenance, retirement homes for obsolete robots, etc.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Financial crisis, over and forgotten.

    Difference between a bankster and you&me:

    Financial crisis for a bankster: what happened in 2007/2008
    For you & me: a financial crisis is when you have no job/enough income to survive, like now.

    Inflation for a banskter: wage inflation
    for you & me: the core-excluded food & energy inflation

    Unemployment rate for a bankster: based on those unemployed not sick enough, but health enough to go and fill out job applications.
    For you and me: still unemployed even if too tired, sick or depressed to seek work.

    It’s like there are two parallel universes – one for the 0.01% and another one for the rest of us.

    So, of course, they ask, financial crisis, what financial crisis?

  14. fresno dan

    probably don’t need even more examples of the mathematicians and risk assessors discovering the people at the top didn’t know what they were doing, or didn’t care

    “I worked on a few projects in algorithmic trading with Larry Summers at the hedge fund and was invited, along with the other quants at Shaw, to see him discuss the impending doom one evening with Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin. It honestly kind of surprised and shocked me to see how little they seemed to know, or at least admitted to knowing, about the true situation in the markets. These guys were supposed to be the experts, after all.”
    You know, it shocked me too…I had a flaw in my ideology where I thought there was some relationship between success and merit….

    “After two years I left the hedge fund to go work in market risk––I wanted to be part of the solution to the huge mess that I was looking at and that I felt myself part of. I spent my first year at Riskmetrics trying to improve the credit default swap model before switching to account management. In other words, as part of my job, I was answering the phone when clients had problems with their risk reports. That’s when I started talking to the too-big-to-fail banks on the phone and realized that I could spend the rest of my life perfecting a mathematical model, but if nobody cared, it wouldn’t matter. And these guys didn’t care.

    So here are two lessons learned from that: first, economic and mathematical models often fail, and second, there are pretty good reasons they fail–by failing, they’re often making someone, somewhere rich.”

    Equations – if they can justify bad loans and make you money, USE THEM!!! Equations – if they tell you do stop doing something that keeps you from making money DON’T USE THEM!!!

    1. craazyboy

      ya, well, yesterday comment ‘tater “rich” posted an article here about the latest financial innovation – they are securitizing “sub-prime” business loans. The loans had interest rates as high as 134%!!!!!

      I don’t need a quant, or equation, or PhD in econ to tell me the that the bidness dude or dudess that took out that loan ain’t planning on paying it back.

      But I can “invest” in the bundle of crap after the securitizers extract their juice too on the frontend and then obfuscate the “product” for our consumption. After all, it’s not a “systematic risk” problem as long as banks don’t get stuck with the stuff. Maybe the FDIC is issuing a “toxic waste sighting” memo to our 6000 some banks?

    2. Mel

      Like I said once, all the salesmen need is an impenetrable cover story. They don’t need accurate numbers or stuff like that.

    3. Ex-PFC Chuck

      Why didn’t you tell us that the O’Reilly link was by the famously hot Mathbabe?

    1. diptherio

      Wouldn’t paying off all the treasury debt result in no T-bills circulating in the economy? I can’t imagine removing the safest possible investment mechanism would be a desirable thing.

      1. craazyboy

        That was the “fear” Greenspan was playing upon. But easily “fixed”, in the right dosage, by any kind of spending other than the Iraq War.

        1. craazyboy

          Just to make myself totally clear, I’m saying Greenspan was sending a message – probably to both Wall Street and Congress – that the US could afford the Iraq War.

          If I stop making posts after this comment, someone tell craazyman to come find me in Guatmo II. Bring the bolt cutters.

  15. JGordon

    I have been advocating among many young, indebted people I know, including a younger brother, that they learn a foreign language and dip the F out after they graduate. China and Russia are both seeming like the sorts of places that American creditors wouldn’t have much luck in pursuing claims against expatriates.

    Anyway as far as I’m concerned any debt that can’t be (easily) cleared in bankruptcy is by definition an odious debt, and I feel great whenever I get to see these vile creditors getting stiffed.

    1. Skeptic

      I have wondered for a long time how many indebted Americans have gone underground, off the books. Or how many may have obtained new identities. In addition, there may be countries in the world where, if you have a skill in demand, you might be able to emigrate and also be free of the Debt Beasts. Funny how this subject is never even mentioned in polite economic circles yet is seems obvious as a solution for some people.

    2. OIFVet

      I am not sure about being a gwai lo in China, and Russian winters are horrible. I am thinking someplace in South America perhaps.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Italy will include prostitution and illegal drug sales in the gross domestic product calculation this year, a boost for its chronically stagnant economy and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s effort to meet deficit targets.”

    I would add student homework assignments to the GDP calculation as well.

    In certain countries, human manure is used to fertilize. In that case, human fecal production should be included as well.

    And when we are smart enough, one day, to harvest methane from human and cow flatulence, they should also be counted.

    1. craazyboy

      Ya, well, there is no connection between GDP and taxes and I’m sure this all will make Italy’s bond holders comfey in their investment.

  17. Banger

    There are many reason why the whole GDP measure is obsolete–first it doesn’t measure anything real; second, it does leave out the illegal economy which is about a fifth of all global GDP–estimated of course.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Banger, we make a mess of calculating all these:


        It’s a miracle more charlatans do not go into economics with so much fudge room.

  18. fresno dan

    Everything is Broken Quinn Norton. Today’s must read.

    Whether its called “Windows” inadvertently or purposefully, it describes itself accurately – it lets everybody see into your space. Its not broken – its designed to let advertisers and content owners see what your doing. The government sees this as a feature and not a bug. Despite a Supreme Court ruling that once used the word “privacy” the government pretty much has made the word meaningless….

  19. Jim Haygood

    Tripped by a technicality:

    John Conyers Jr., a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since Lyndon Johnson was president, can’t be put on a primary election ballot because the Democrat provided less than half the required valid signatures on his nominating petitions, the Michigan secretary of state said.

    Hundreds of signatures were acquired by workers who weren’t registered to vote, a violation of Michigan law, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said today. Johnson, a Republican, upheld an earlier decision by county election officials barring Conyers from the Aug. 5 Democratic primary.

    Conyers, 85, now turns to a federal judge in Detroit in a bid to overturn the rulings and allow him on the ballot. U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman said at a hearing May 21 he would issue his decision on the challenge after Johnson made her ruling.


    As Jim Rogers used to say to corrupt border officials whilst motorcycling round the world … ‘Isn’t there some fee we could pay to take care of this?’

  20. Jess

    I confess that the article on reparations was too long for me to read completely so I skimmed parts of it. Perhaps the author addressed this question, but if not: who pays these reparations? Me and my family? Interesting thought, since my paternal ancestors helped operate the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves. One of our former family homes is mentioned in the book Roots, and its status as a way station/hiding point is actually incorporated into the title deed of the property. My paternal grandfather had a farm in KY and hired black men to work alongside whites doing the same jobs at the same pay. His wife cooked lunch and he ate with the field hands of both races at the same table.

    My father did heavy construction work. One day on a job when he was in his 50’s he got into a fistfight with a white guy half his age who was bullying an older black laborer. My dad came home with a black eye, stitches, and mild concussion. The young white punk was kept overnight in the hospital.

    How about the families of slain white civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and Viola Liuzzo? Do they pay? How about the white (often Jewish families) who donated large sums of money to the NAACP, SCLC, CORE, etc?

    I know that MMT advocates will say that the government can just print the money and not tax anyone for it. However, at this point that is not how our government works, nor is it the way the overwhelming majority of American’s believe that it works. (Personally, I find the MMT idea that taxation is merely to redistribute income and confiscate “excess” wealth highly problematic. It asks the average person to endorse a concept wherein people are taxed simply because they have been too successful. While we all know that many huge fortunes are made with the aid of favorable tax treatments, insider dealings, and other forms of unfair advantage, the average person is going to have their sense of fairness offended by the idea that government takes away someone’s money simply because they have too much of it. You want to tax them to pay for schools and infrastructure and health care, fine. But essentially taking someone’s money just to — essentially– burn it seems inherently unfair, if not downright evil.)

    I’m also interested if the author at any point addressed reparations to Native Americans, who were certainly treated as badly or worse than the black community.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s a cruel world and there are victims everywhere.

      Imperial victims
      victims of technology
      victims of science
      victims of wealth inequality
      victims of GM foods
      victims of global warming
      victims of serfdom
      victims of colonialization
      victims of not being counted in the work force or selected for a pick up game (sorry, we didn’t know you wanted to played)

    2. Lambert Strether

      “I know that MMT advocates will say…” As Will Rogers says, “‘It’s not what we don’t know that hurts. It’s what we know that ain’t so.”

      1. Jess

        Lambert — Correct me if ‘m wrong, but isn’t it a tenet of MMT that a country which issues its own fiat currency does not need to collect taxes in order to finance spending and can instead simply print as much money as it wants or feels it needs? And if that is indeed what MMT preaches, then couldn’t the US

        1. Jess

          Oops, hit the wrong key by accident. Last sentence should read, “And if that is indeed what MMT preaches, then couldn’t the US pays reparations without taxing anyone at any income level (or type, such as individual versus corp)?

          1. Mel

            Lambert made the point a while ago that what makes a sovereign government sovereign is that it’s allowed to do anything it decides to do. So yes, a sovereign government can create money for any purpose it decides on, including paying reparations for past wrongs. Preferably the government will create money to enable something that has good social results — at the far end, that could mean spending money on trivial things to relieve a liquidity trap.
            However, MMT also requires taxation. Half the MMT bashers haven’t noticed this, but MMT specifies that the government taxes money out of existence to regulate the money supply, and prevent inflation from eroding the value of the money in circulation. Preferably the taxation is done so as not to cripple things that are producing good social results.
            What maybe confuses people about MMT is that taxation under MMT isn’t done in order to enable spending. The two functions are independent. Spending is done to inject money into society for productive ends, and taxing is done to remove unproductive money from society.

    3. Calgacus

      Jess: I know that MMT advocates will say that the government can just print the money and not tax anyone for it. However, at this point that is not how our government works
      No, that is how it works now. That is how it has always worked.

      nor is it the way the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that it works.
      Sadly this is correct. But during the middle of the last century, most people did understand how things worked more or less — the MMT way. Older people occasionally come to MMT blogs & say “that’s what my professor said in the 1940s or 1950s”. Warren Mosler relates how a US Congressman told him after explaining MMT to him – “Yeah, that’s how I learned it in the 1960s” . Unfortunately there is a prejudice that learning, education, science always moves forward. That’s a goal, not a guaranteed reality, in any field. Economic knowledge both in, and worse, out, of academia has been deteriorating since about 1950.

      Personally, I find the MMT idea that taxation is merely to redistribute income and confiscate “excess” wealth highly problematic. That is not an MMT idea. Wray’s recent post was largely against this “bad meme”, as he calls it.

      While we all know that many huge fortunes are made with the aid of favorable tax treatments, insider dealings, and other forms of unfair advantage, MMT emphasizes this, more than any other school.

      But essentially taking someone’s money just to — essentially– burn it seems inherently unfair, if not downright evil.) Well, then money, credit, debt is evil, because that is the only way it has ever worked. Do you really think that if person A does a favor for person B, person B says “I owe you one” to A and then B does a favor for A, enough for A &B to say they are quits, nobody owes anybody – the credit/debt relationship having disappeared – having been “essentially – burn[ed]” – that this is evil? How? Why? Usually this is called “being nice”, “plays well with others”, “cooperation” or “the division of labor”.

      1. Jess

        You are right. The government prints/spends more that it takes it, creating what is known as a deficit, or deficit spending, which is financed by borrowing. Why the hell the government should have to borrow its own money — other than to enrich Wall Street or give foreign buyers of our T-notes like China leverage over us — escapes me. (Abolish the Fed? I’m down with that.)

        However, history is replete with instances of where governments printed so much money that inflation destroyed buying power and led foreign interests to stop accepting that money as payment for external debts. It is my understanding that the classic example, the Weimer Republic, isn’t applicable to modern societies/currency systems because German marks were supposedly convertible to gold. However, that fails to explain why and how current countries with floating currencies such as Argentina and Venezuela, can run into both domestic and foreign inflation problems. (Witness that multiple major airlines have stopped flying to Venezuela because inflation in the local currency has negatively affected debts owed to those airlines for fuel and other costs.)

        Regardless of the theoretical excellence of MMT, it is my prediction that the American public is much more likely to accept a progressive tax on income (such as we had during the halcyon days of the 40’s-70’s) than a tax on wealth that could easily seem to be capriciously imposed.

  21. Jess

    Oh, please, let there be a God. Let the judge keep Conyers off the ballot. 85 year-old scum-sucking Dem needs to be gone. (Actually, so do all Dems, but that’s a story for a different day.)

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chocolate tycoon heads for victory in Ukraine.

    I would like to know more about this chocolate tycoon.

    Are his chocolates additively delicious?

    Does the CIA put vote-altering chemicals in his chocolates?

    1. Ulysses

      Do vote-altering chemicals pose a greater risk to human health than the second hand marijuana smoke that so concerns you? I would ask an omniscient cat, but I learned today on this blog that cats are only dogs on acid, so I don’t know who to trust anymore :(

  23. rich

    Hillary Clinton’s Speaking Circuit Payday: $5 Million (and Counting)

    Since leaving State, Clinton has made more than 90 speeches and notable appearances, reports Mother Jones..Her hosts have included private equity firms, investment banks, nonprofit galas, trade association conventions, and a slew of colleges and universities. At least two-dozen of those were paid speeches. With her usual fee of $200,000 a speech, Clinton has banked close to $5 million for her speeches and appearances in the last 15 months.

    MJ goes on:

    Hillary’s for-profit speaking gigs raise a serious question for a possible presidential candidate:
    Is she being courted by and/or providing access to the well-heeled companies and industry groups
    —including Goldman Sachs, the Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the National Association of Realtors, and the US Green Building Council, among many others—that have paid her to speak?
    “This is a great way for a company to get access to her, to hear what she’s thinking, to be remembered if and when she does run for office, and to help her grow that nice little nest egg that she and her husband have been intent on building,” says Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center.

    1. JTFaraday

      Well, at least if this keeps up she won’t even have to run for President.

      How much pin money does one woman need anyway?

    2. jrs

      Is she being courted? Is she being bought out? Or bribed?

      But aren’t even those assumptions kind of naive? She is ALREADY owned, the linkages between her, everyone she works with (to speak nothing of her husband) and all these large companies, no doubt ALREADY exist. Noone is really buying anything as nothing is for sale as everything has already been sold. To pretend it actually is an auction is a pretense, in truth it’s a just a RITUAL. And 1% goes round and round.

  24. JTFaraday

    re: “Dog Unable to Hide Its Obvious Guilt,” Gawker

    Either that, or those dogs are great actors! :)

  25. Chauncey Gardiner

    Sadly, privatization of the commons continues apace. One hundred and ten of Greece’s best publicly owned beaches are on sale by Greece’s privatization agency,  the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) in the name of supposed “development” and “utilization of public assets”. In fact, this selloff of Greece’s best beaches for cash is being done to pay the country’s creditors. The beaches are to be sold with “50 years of utilization by their new private owners.”

    1. jrs

      Very sad. The Greeks lived too. Their lives were not just dedicated to goaf jawbs or any jawbs. Probably why they had to be destroyed.

  26. cripes

    Privatization of public resources in the US is proceeding at an alarming and dangerous pace. They’re raping the commons, looting the treasury and mugging every last worker–an enclosure project enclosing the entire planet.

    It’s even more astounding that Europe, considering their Social Democratic legacy and general state of more evolved political consciousness, is falling prey also. Maybe it’s not that people in Europe, or even the US, actually want or believe the transparent rationales for this looting (gubmint doesn’t work, bizniz is efficient, markets, etc), maybe it’s just because the oligarchs have taken over almost everywhere, and are pushing through their agenda–everywhere–regardless of popular opinion, and using what’s left of the charade of a free press and democratic institutions as cover. And if that doesn’t work, there’s joblessness, homelessness or a gun.

    Medicaid, of all things, is on the privatization chopping block, with insurers slavering over the 900 billion market they plan to loot over the next decade. Like it isn’t skimpy enough now.
    It just gets more blatant all the time.

  27. Jess

    “taxing is done to remove unproductive money from society.”

    So, the government decides that if you have too much money, you — and it — is “unproductive”. If you have too much wealth, i.e. monetary value of any sort, such as land, stock, a factory, a company, the government arbitrarily takes it or a major portion of it. The government doesn’t tax income, such as with a progressive income tax, but instead just rides around confiscating from those who have “too much”. This sounds just like CA prior to Prop 13. Homeowners like my mother, who had been in their little homes for decades, suddenly had “too much wealth” because their neighbors had sold out to developers who built McMansions on adjacent lots. So that excess wealth, which had no relationship whatever to income. had to be taxed in order to pay for lavish retirement benefits and other government excesses. Riiiight. Sure. Hot damn, great idea you got there.

    1. Jess

      Oops. This was supposed to be a reply to Mel. My mastery of technology is evidently not any better than my mastery of MMT.

    2. Mel

      A sovereign government is allowed to do anything it decides to do. It looks to me like you don’t have a problem with MMT, you have a problem with the way your government is making decisions. Your federal government is sovereign. It has powers of taxation and eminent domain. It does use those powers, even when MMT isn’t policy. You have a political problem, not a monetary one.
      What MMT can help clarify is the late ridiculous spending cap kerfuffle, where Congress passed a bunch of programs, and then tried to make it illegal to spend money to implement those programs.

  28. optimader

    A 6.9 with it’s mouth open waiting for a new victim

    …ERYSIKHTHON (or Erysichthon) was a Thessalian king who chopped down the sacred grove of the goddess Demeter in order to build himself a feast-hall. As punishment for the crime the goddess inflicted him with insatiable hunger, driving him to exhaust his riches and finally, in poverty, devour his own flesh…

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