Links 5/24/14

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World’s Prettiest Tarantula Takes Best in Show 2014 Natural Geographic. A Richard Smith find.

Do biologists really need dead animals? Article inflames debate. Christian Science Monitor

5 food additives more disgusting than ‘pink slime’ MarketWatch

Apple in Gigantic marketing cock up TechEye (EM)

Did the internet prevent all invention from moving to one place? VoxEU

China cannot follow America’s route to world leadership Financial Times

U.S. Gains in a Spat With China Over Tariffs New York Times

Thai coup leader tightens grip Asia Times

Is troubled Thailand tumbling into civil war? Aljazeera

European Parliament Elections: Our choice between Euro-loyalists, Euro-sceptics & Euro-critics Yanis Varoufakis

Suddenly The EU’s Break-Up Has Moved From A Possibility To A Near-Certainty Forbes (Bob H)

Iran Offers Data on Detonators, Atomic Agency Says New York Times


Bad U.S. Policy Pushes Russia, China and Iran Closer Together George Washington

Crimea: an EU-US-Exxon Screwup CounterPunch


Putin Says Russia Will Work With New Ukrainian President Bloomberg

Russia’s central bank chief deems crisis over as capital flight is halted Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

How Putin’s comrades washed their money in Switzerland and the UK Tax Justice Network (Richard Smith)

Twitter “micro-censors” Ukrainian neo-nazi accounts at Russia’s request Yasha Levine, Pando

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Peter Watts on the Harms of Surveillance Bruce Schneier

FBI withdraws national security letter following Microsoft challenge ars technica (Chuck L)

Government Treating Peaceful Left Activists Like Terrorists–Again American Prospect

US ‘must force-feed Gitmo inmate’ Guardian

Single Payer Advocates: How Do We Defeat Health Care for Profit? Truthout

Elon Musk says he lost a multi-billion-dollar contract when SpaceX didn’t hire a public official Quartz (Chuck L)


Oregon’s GMO Sellout Rebekah Wilce, Firedoglake (jo6pak)

Hillary Clinton’s Speaking Circuit Payday: $5 Million (and Counting) Economic Policy Journal (rich)

Geithner Pants on Fire

Macho Bullshit and Bailouts Matt Stoller

Geithner’s Stress Test Failure Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

New Home Sales “Better, Not Strong”, and Regionally Very Uneven: US +6.7%, Midwest +47.4%, Northeast -26.7% Michael Shedlock

Class Warfare

Poor Americans Direct 40% of Their Spending to Housing Expenses Wall Street Journal

New technology: who wins, who loses? Pieria. On a different sort of class line.

Dispute Arises Over Number of Mortgage Denials to Blacks New York Times

Dear Graduates: Don’t Follow Your Dreams (A Commencement Speech For the Mediocre) Alternet. Personally, I have long thought that the corporate exhortations for passion of the non-romatic kind in the workplace is merely a way to tell potential hires that they need to be so dedicated that they will convince themselves that submitting to abuse is a proof that they have what it takes to succeed.

The myth of the omnipotent central bank Frances Coppola

The threat facing online comments Financial Times. Hah, FT Alphaville struggles with comment moderation too, and they have way more staff than we do!

Antidote du jour (Lance N):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. abynormal

      looks just like an appalachian sheriff i tangled with …many moons ago
      there is No Cure for incest

  1. Robert

    Re VoxEU: “We measure invention using data on patents.”
    Results: “The diffusion of the internet worked against the trend toward increasing geographic concentration of inventive activity.”

    Flaws in the analysis: (1) It does not account for the changing definition of “invention” or (2) recognize the new financial incentives for filing patents by relatively unskilled inventors.

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) was created by the Regan administration in 1981 to greatly strengthen the enforceability of patents in the U.S., and to the rest of the world through trade treaties; a process which took about 10 years to get real traction. For instance, the CAFC eventually resurrected “business method” patents, and then accepted the idea that almost anything one can think of that could plausibly be done using a computer is within the ordinary skill of a software developer to implement, so the patent applicant need not describe a real or even realistic example. Now, almost any intelligent person can file patent applications. (One-click shopping? Who could have thought of that!) What this study really illustrates is neo-liberal policies in ascendance.

  2. skippy

    I share the antidotes expression…. having perused links offerings and other wonderings.

    skippy… Deeply concerned about future facial gesticulations…. starting to sting a bit these days…

  3. William

    Much of the commentary, particularly from the US Gov., on the Thailand situation, seems to be viewing the situation as if Thailand is just another country and it is your typical coup. Thai politics are complicated and unique. Before anyone attempts to make pronouncements, one ought to spend a day or two on this web site: But if you are in Thailand, better to access the site on a public computer, and if you have to give your name, make one up.

    As for the army, check out the photo in this WSJ article–pure Thai gold–soldiers “patrolling” on a pink scooter.

    Need for worry? The vast majority of Thais approve of the military move. Also, a selected list of WSJ article titles:
    Thailand Investors Shrug Off Coup
    Trending in Thailand #HandsomeSoldiers
    Is Now the Time for a Holiday to Thailand?
    Life Goes On In Thailand After Coup
    U.S. Official (State): Thailand Coup Shouldn’t Stop Wedding Plans

  4. Arkansasangie

    Coppola article
    Instead of doing this, that or another to make housing more affordable … how about focusing on creating quality job so that folks can afford to buy homes.
    Giving people something for nothing does not replace making something from nothing. Working is a good thing

    1. Frances Coppola

      The problem with London housing is not unemployment. There is very little unemployment in London now – the UK’s unemployment blackspots are in places like the North-East, where housing is much cheaper not least because there aren’t so many jobs.

      Low wages ARE a problem for Londoners trying to afford somewhere to live. Real incomes have been falling for years, though they are beginning to rise now. But property prices have far outstripped wages for years now. How exactly would you encourage employers to pay more, and what effect would this have on the UK’s competitiveness? UK exports are already dismal.

      The real problem is the upwards pressure on prime property prices caused by low rates and the search for yield. London prices are pushed up not only by inflows of foreign capital – much of it financed by foreign banks – but also by diversion of UK savings into property because of rubbish returns. It is this second category that drives the call for interest rate rises to “calm” the housing market. But as I explain in the post, a rise of a few basis points would have little effect when returns on property are over 10% per annum, and a much larger rise would flatten the UK economy.

    2. hunkerdown

      More of that “jobs = satisfaction of basic needs” magical thinking, hmm? At the root, you (and I) are not as a group willing or able to pay for other people to have quality jobs, therefore none of us have them. Why do you think the lordship would take pains to provide them to us against their own best interests?

  5. Sebastian

    RE the misleading article in Forbes about the inevitability of an EU-breakup:

    I do wonder why Americans left and right, progressive and conservative keep rooting for the breakup of the Union and the euro, including purposely overplaying the underwhelming rise of the UKIP and other anti-Union parties in recent elections.

    I ask why? Why do Americans apparently see the EU and the euro as such a threat that they have to mobilize the full propagandistic powers of their internet to drive wigs into European partnerships?

    Is this because of the historical fact that the US has risen as a world power mainly by exploiting European nationalism and militarism? Because the US needs European disunity for arbitrage and leverage?

    I’m no fan of the EU or the euro, but considering the broad hostility towards the project among anglophones, especially the US, those Brussels bureaucrats must be doing something right.

    In that case, “fuck the US”. And yes Yves, that includes you.

    1. Ned Ludd

      I oppose investing power in any large organizations, including the institutions of the U.S. government and the E.U. In the U.S., there is little hope of escaping the shackles of the national government, due to its coercive, violent power and the authoritarian culture cultivated by the elites. In Europe, there seems to be at least a bit of a possibility people might rebel against the E.U. oligarchy.

      1. Sebastian

        The EU ‘oligarchy’ at least promotes continent-wide social and labour rights, consumer protection and – as far as Uncle Sam allows it – privacy laws. Now I know libertarians like you hate those things, but to Europeans they are sine qua non for any socio-economic order, and their staunchest protector in many countries is the EU itself.

        In many ways, it’s this nefarious libertarianism that is being promoted by US oligarchs (for obvious reasons). I deplore the recent export of this bankrupt American ideology to Europe. But since it’s paranoid and asocial attitudes are basically antithetical to all Europe stands for, I rest assured it will never gain much foothold here, probably 10% max. Yes, that’s about the size of the EU parliament’s eurosceptic vote, and about the extent of it.

        1. Ned Ludd

          I am sure the unemployed people of Greece, Spain, and Portugal go to bed every night thanking the E.U. for all their “social and labour rights”. The E.U. apparently found out a way to end capitalist exploitation of labor by giving everybody rights!

          The goal should be to end capitalism and to dismantle capitalist institutions like the E.U. Asking a capitalist institution for “social and labour rights” is a bit like asking a mugger for some pocket change.

          1. Sebastian

            You do know the EU is not the eurozone?

            Even so, the new-found American concern for those countries, their unemployment rates and peoples, obscures the facts that those countries have always had a large black and grey sector, that unemployment pre-euro was usually at similar levels, and that all those countries were US-backed military dictatorships well into the 80s.

            But I guess this is probably too much fact to handle for anyone exposed to the broad anti-euro and anti-EU propaganda that has escalated since an American financial institution cooked Greece’s books and betted large on the euro’s demise, according to by now well-established patterns.

            1. somethingblue

              “… and that all those countries were US-backed military dictatorships well into the 80s.”

              The military regimes in Greece and Portugal collapsed in 1974; Franco died in 1975. For someone so eager to correct other people’s knowledge of European institutions you seem very poorly informed.

              1. Sebastian

                Of course I know this, but afterwards none of these countries became a functional democracy overnight.

                Maybe you should try countering arguments with arguments instead of splitting hairs. Then again, pedants usually have none.

                1. somethingblue

                  Let’s review what you wrote, Sebastian:

                  “all those countries were US-backed military dictatorships well into the 80s.”

                  I pointed out that none of those countries was a military dictatorship after the mid 1970s. And your response is waffle waffle insult waffle insult.

                  “Too much fact to handle,” perhaps?

                  1. Sebastian

                    Again, they didn’t become democracies overnight and your ‘point’ about five years more or less barely obfuscates your complete lack of counter-arguments.

                    1. somethingblue

                      Shorter Sebastian: “Why will you not engage with my argument based on imaginary facts instead of pointing out that I know little about European history? It is too shameful!”

                    2. Sebastian

                      Yes, because if a ‘fact’ is literally off by a few years, yet for all practical purposes still supports the argument, let’s nevertheless ignore the argument and insist it’s faulty because of it.

                      You see, this is typical for pedants. Hiding their lack of thought behind unreasonable punctuality.

            2. sd

              I hope someone with more knowledge comments on your statement. Based on the articles consistently posted and/or linked at NC, my impression to date is that the EU construct predominately benefits Germany at the expense of the general welfare of the other nations in the EU which in turn negates sovereignty and subverts democracy.

              1. Sebastian

                Your unfair comment (implying I lack knowledge on the subject without demonstrating any yourself) in fact illustrates my points perfectly, for your distorted, hostile and even downright silly view of the EU is exactly what English media almost collectively have been promoting, both left and right.

            3. Ned Ludd

              People in Europe should rebel against capitalist institutions, including the supranational institutions of the E.U. Workers should be demanding ownership of industry and other means of production. Institutions that pacify people with promised rights (because the powerful never break promises) are peddling opiates to make workers more amendable to the exploits of capitalism.

            4. Ned Ludd

              “[A]n American financial institution cooked Greece’s books”.

              You frame everything as U.S. versus the countries Europe. Capitalists work across boundaries. The elites in Greece were not victims of “an American financial institution”. They were willing co-conspirators who materially benefited.

            5. John Jones


              Leaving aside what America or Britain thinks of the E.U or Euro. for a moment. Why should a person in Greece or any E.U and Euro country of the periphery want their countries to stay inside these institution? Why should they be pro and not anti? What benefit do they have for their respective citizens?

              1. Sebastian

                They have had many benefits for the citizens, and make no mistake, Euroscepticism is much more widespread in the north than it is in the south, even after years of ‘crisis’.

                But even more pertinent, why should you as an American all of a sudden care so much about these small and far-flung countries that you would probably have a hard time pointing out on a map?

                How would you feel when, say, Texas wanted to secede and European media, politicians and academics from across the spectrum were standing on the sidelines cheering and egging them on?

                1. Sebastian

                  (addendum: of course this is an inexact equivalence since no European country except US-dominated England seriously contemplates leaving the Union. Maybe I should have asked, how would you feel if Europeans were persistently attempting to drive wedges between US states?)

                  1. Frances Coppola

                    I’m completely astonished by this thread.

                    The Forbes post is about the UK, where the success of the UK Independence Party in this week’s elections suggests that a future government may decide to withdraw from the EU. Opinion polls give the principal reasons for the success of anti-EU parties as being worries about immigration from EU countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, and annoyance with creeping Brussels bureaucracy.

                    The opinions of the US regarding the EU have absolutely nothing to do with the opinions of the average British voter. Indeed, to the average British voter the US is every bit as annoying as the EU – but fortunately has considerably less influence in the UK, whatever you may think, Sebastian.

                    Oh, and please stop calling the UK “England”. We don’t call the USA “Texas”, do we?

                    1. Sebastian

                      My point is that, at 17% of the vote, the UKIP’s success has been rather underwhelming. We don’t yet know the European results, but the fact is that this ‘landslide’ victory, with over half of UKIP voters being former Tories, doesn’t say anything about the possible results of a referendum.

                      It follows that an EU-breakup isn’t anywhere near inevitable (or ‘near-certain’) as that article implies. Since this is obvious, I have to wonder why premature articles like these are written in the first place.

                      On your aside: I was speaking of the UK minus Scotland, so I used England as shorthand. The pedantic asides in this thread are especially annoying since the commenters that make them are always light on arguments. As yours was, too.

                    2. Sebastian

                      Please allow me to clarify that, since the article is a giant non sequitur – which is a rhetorical device – I am entitled to question the direction of that rhetoric.

                      That direction is consistently and persistently anti-EU and anti-Euro, practically unisono across the spectrum of anglophone media.

                      I can’t think of any subject on which American media are so collectively aligned. Maybe that’s the point.

                    3. Frances Coppola


                      Regarding the outcome of the EU election: we do not yet know the outcome, actually. Indications are that UKIP have done well. But this is probably mostly a protest vote. UKIP are unlikely to be a major force in the 2015 election. So on that point I agree with you. The article overstates the actual likelihood of the UK leaving the EU.

                      Sadly, though, you do not apply the same logic over your exclusion of Scotland from the UK. Just as it is by no means certain that the UK would leave the EU, so it is by no means certain that Scotland will leave the UK. The referendum has not yet been held and its likely outcome is hotly contested. You have jumped the gun, and possibly also the shark.

                      Also, there are four countries in the UK, not two. Northern Ireland and Wales are not “England”. Your failure to recognise this is ignorant and disrespectful to them.

                  1. Sebastian

                    Lower borrowing costs (on long term average), a stable currency, no periodic, traumatic devaluation (you know, the US economists’ inane standard answer to currency crises), lower inflation etc. All relative to the previous situation of course.

                    Then there are the direct transfers with the European structural funds, as well as agricultural and other subsidies. Ever been to these countries? There’s hardly a highway or airport that hasn’t been build with EU money. For better or worse maybe, but there it is.

                    Lastly, believe it or not, inclusion in the EU offers these still quite young democracies a measure of political stability, support for plurality, enforcement of human and labour rights etc.

                    There are many more benefits to enumerate here but let me ask you – do you think these countries are naive or stupid to want to remain inside? What about new members in Central and Eastern Europe: are they all deluded for wanting to be inside?

                    If your point of view makes everyone seem stupid, there’s usually an even larger stupidity on you part.

                    1. John Jones

                      Oh yes those lower borrowing costs that allowed Greece to do what exactly?

                      Yes something that those countries could of done along with
                      trade protectionism before giving up control of their economies.

                      I wonder why a guy who claims to be for so called “social democracy, social and labour rights and consumer protection” favours neo-liberal economics.
                      Like a hard currency for countries that cannot have them in their present state. And the complete smashing of their labour rights and democracies they spilt blood for?

                      “The direct transfers with the European structural funds, as well as agricultural and other subsidies.”

                      Those don’t mean much when your country loses more money in trade deficits than it receives from those.
                      So it is hardly built by E.U money when those countries bleed far more money into core of the E.U and Eurozone and receive less back. They would be able spend far more on their countries if they could block core country products coming into their countries. Which also caused deindustrialization in them.

                      I suggest you check your history because a country has a period of dictatorship does not make a “young democracy” when some of those countries had it before any dictatorship came along for a long time.

                      “do you think these countries are naive or stupid to want to remain inside?
                      What about new members in Central and Eastern Europe: are they all deluded for wanting to be inside?”

                      Every country had and has different reasons for joining. Do you really think that masses of people are not ignorant in every country? Or are not influenced by corporate run media? Or scared by what it drills into them? You think masses don’t believe what politicians tell them and promise them and then lie when they get elected?

                      I guess you only think it only happens in America. Well guess what you are supporting in southern europe the same policies right wing conservatives support in America. And just look at how northern european politicians have fanned the flames of racism against southerners. Making it all about lazy dumb corrupt tax cheating Greeks. Masses of people in the north believe that stuff and I have no doubt you are one.

                    2. Sebastian

                      Devaluations as sound economic policy, conflating abuse of lower borrowing costs with cooking the books, calling Greece a historic democracy because one city-state had a rudimentary one 3000 years ago, believing less developed countries aren’t ready for a hard currency, promoting protectionism instead of direct transfers, calling northern Europeans’ reluctance on bail-outs ‘racism’ – well I have to say I thought your errors and misconceptions were too many to address, but I think I’ve come a long way.

                      And again, even in the face of this ‘EU-induced’ crisis, exactly none of these countries have made serious moves to leave the Union, even if such a thing is legally entirely possible.

                    3. John Jones

                      Nope cooking the books has nothing to do with it. And the other countries admited to knowing about it.
                      Greece was still allowed to borrow at rate it never would of with its own currency. And look at the debt before and after the bailout.

                      I also forgot only Greece cooks the books. All other countries are crystal clean.

                      Show me a succesful country with none or low natural resources that has a hard currency and is doing well.

                      Yes direct transfers and no protectionism so you can loot them and then blame them for having to borrow to cover the bleeding.

                      See this is the typical Northern response
                      thinking I’am talking about Greece as a historic democracy
                      because of ancient Athens. Try again I am talking much much more recently.

                      Where did I say reluctance on bailout equals racism?
                      Continually speaking down to a people calling them lazy, stupid, thieves, corrupt that it is in their dna etc etc etc is part of what constitutes rascism.

                      When the E.U and media does everything in its power to promote the pro euro politicians I am not surprised.
                      But you can only push humans so far before they snap.
                      Legality does not come into it. When enough citizens of one country want to leave they will.

    2. GuyFawkesLives

      Maybe you can provide a voice to the reason why literally no one in the MSM within the US has talked about the upcoming September 18 vote of the Scots to withdraw from the UK? Should that vote be an resounding “yes” vote like many say it will be, the EU will crack and crumble.

      So, take your f.u. and turn it up a notch.

      1. Sebastian

        A resounding ‘yes’ to Scottish independence will do nothing to make the EU crack and crumble. On the contrary.

        The SNP has already indicated it would immediately apply for EU-membership, and given the social-democratic leanings of the population (esp. when compared to England) this will have overwhelming public support. If anything, it will strengthen the Union by underlining that secession doesn’t mean exclusion.

        Of course, were Scottish independence in any way a threat to EU integrity, US media reports would have been as extensive and biased as they are on Euroscepticism, the euro ‘woes’ and any other subject supporting Americans’ malicious pipe-dream of an EU-breakup.

        1. hunkerdown

          “How dare you not be grateful for the gruel we force-feed you!”

          Noblesse oblige is dead and/or dying, Sebastian, so can you kindly stop flogging it as a justification to centralize yet more power in places where citizens cannot correct, control or revoke it.

    3. Ned Ludd

      In the U.S., Europe used to represent the romantic ideal of working social democracy, for people on the left. People would hold various countries of Europe up as examples of how government could provide welfare for its citizens and run national industries.

      Many of the left used to be optimistic that the E.U. would promote social democracy throughout the world. However, the E.U. has revealed itself to be a poisoned chalice that is killing social democracy in Europe.

      1. Sebastian

        It’s not easy promoting social-democracy in the rest of the world when we have an overbearing hegemon forcing its antisocial ideology on the rest of the world.

        But having lived and travelled extensively on both continents, I can say that Europe’s social model is far superior in terms of quality of life, jobs, education, welfare, infrastructure and planning. And yes, this even applies to many parts of the South.

        Of course you would never know this from US media reports, but then again the handlers of the US population are rightly counting on the fact that most Americans will never come to Europe anyway, so turning it into a boogie man against social democracy is fairly easy, and apparently very efficacious.

    4. Kurt Sperry

      “I do wonder why Americans left and right, progressive and conservative keep rooting for the breakup of the Union and the euro”

      There is no sentiment on the American street either pro or anti EU I assure you. The issue of the EU as an institution is almost literally of no concern to 99% of Americans and I doubt I exaggerate. I just got back from a month in Europe and most people there I talked to are even ambivalent or bordering on indifferent on the issue. The English seem oddly obsessed however.

      1. Sebastian

        You are right, I should have written US media and to a lesser extent academia.
        As to the English (not British) obsession – I think Murdoch media agitation is responsible.

        Many English impart the EU almost supernatural powers of legislation, taxation, adjudication etc., as well as subversion of democracy, corruption of bureaucracy and erosion of popular sovereignty.
        All this with a budget of barely 1% of GDP.

        1. Synopticist

          There’s always been a (specifically little England) UK view which has opposed the EU.
          What exists now isn’t like that anymore. Speaking from my own leftist perspective, I supported the EU because I always thought it was what you claim it still is-a bastion of social democracy amongst the neo-liberal and thatcherite economic orthodoxy.
          Well, it turns out that isn’t the case, and the old left were right all along (part 237). It’s just a bankers plot. If no reform is possible, I’d rather take my chances with Westminster. At least I might have a tiny degree of power to influence the result there. I don’t in Brussels.

    5. Yves Smith Post author


      Your remark is an assisted suicide request which I am only too happy to oblige.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        There is still a case for the EU as an institution, both as a geopolitical and economic counterweight to US global hegemony and as a safeguard against conflicts among European states turning hot. I think it would be naive to assume that happening is in the past given the history–some of which is very much still in living memory–and this is not something that should be underestimated as a threat, as I think many do.

        The problem of course is that the EU has to some significant degree embraced and adopted the toxic American neoliberal economic model and this problem appears to be worsening. There still is a considerable difference in attitudes towards social welfare and militarism between Europe and the US, but the EU has been lustily chugging the neoliberal kool-aid with its austerity and privatization agendas. At some point if trends continue it will become entirely and unambiguously counterproductive and I sympathize with those who feel that point has come and passed already, but I think it is still well premature to abandon the project. But to continue it obviously must quickly be turned around and re-embrace its unashamedly socialist past. If that cannot be accomplished then goodbye and good riddance to the whole thing and better luck next time.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Advertising is a vehicle of conditioning that is hidden-in-plain-sight. MSM has become toxic.

      An example of the conditioning that amazes me:

      Politicians that raise the most money have a big advantage (rather than a disadvantage due to their obvious ties to monied interests).

      Because experts!
      Because markets!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The best place to hide something is to put it in plain view.

        Thus, it’s right there, as you say: so-and-so is the leading candidate, get this, because he/she has raised the most money.

        It’s obvious – the 0.01% vote first over nice dinners in private mansions called fundraiser events, and the 99.99% rubber stamp the choice in a showy public spectacle.

        It’s a two-stage voting system and it has worked very well…for the 0.01%.

        Why two stages?

        I guess because two is greater than one, or 2 > 1.

  6. buenaventura

    Re: Poor Americans Direct 40% of Their Spending to Housing Expenses

    As a grad student living in NYC, at least 60% of my income goes to rent.

    1. Charles LeSeau

      Even places that are perennially in recession have seen massive rent spikes. I live in Buffalo, and there isn’t much money here ever since the entire waterfront industry went belly up and left a graveyard of abandoned industrial installations.

      Everyone I know who has to rent is having problems finding a place that isn’t expensive these days. Even garbage apartments are about $250 more than what they used to go for fewer than 10 years ago, and in Buffalo that’s a lot.

      My landlord has raised my rent every single year, and next year will be no different. I have not seen a corresponding increase in my pay, and next year will be no different. I’m going to have to work harder to keep the landlord in the cushy existence to which she is accustomed. In fact, in the last decade I’ve seen nothing but rent-raising landlords. Crazy.

  7. ambrit

    Re the FT piece on Internet commenting: “: online anonymity is so embedded in our culture That it might be too late to change the rules.” This the last line of the article bespeaks a naivete that is really charming. I for one, and I would venture to say most of the people who read and comment on sites like this work with an understanding that no one is truly ‘private’ any more. From Corporate data mining to NSA data strip mining, the expectation of true anonymity is a Chimera.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘In September last year the Huffington Post announced that all commenters would be required to link their Huffington Post profiles to Facebook accounts verified with a phone number and have their real names displayed when commenting.’

      Hope Huffpo received a nice kickback from Facebork for their generous referral. This database will invaluable for our next R-party dictator to round up some leftists.

      Interesting that the U.S. constitution was promoted by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, all writing under the nom de plume Publius. If they’d had to identify themselves, maybe we’d still have an actual confederation instead of this paranoid United State.

    2. fresno dan

      The threat facing online comments Financial Times. Hah, FT Alphaville struggles with comment moderation too, and they have way more staff than we do!

      I don’t know how many comments get deleted at this site, but I think it would be a real shame to lose the comments. The vast majority of comments (at NC) discuss the issue, and offer links, and analysis that is not (too) wacky or bizarre. I think it is important to get counter arguments, if only to be aware of what they are, and if objections to a matter have a serious basis…

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I’ve just become annoyed at sites that don’t allow commenting for the most part and will avoid them. There are some exceptions, but very few. The whole upside of the internet is its interactivity, take that away and I’ll just read a book from the library. I’m past being a passive consumer of online product.

        Unlike 95% of internet users I have no big problem with some sites disallowing unattributed comments, the thoughtfulness and civility of comments from contributors using their real identities is often significantly higher than those of anonymous contributors. Real identities bring internet communications closer to real face to face interactions and increase the bandwidth in ways that are impossible to quantify. It’d be nice if doing so didn’t involve for profit third parties like FB though. I used to find the (putative) anonymity of internet communication liberating, now I find the opposite that using my real name makes such communication more real to me and more meaningful. Plus it reminds me daily that in this day and age my anonymity was really an illusion. Sometimes I think those in power’s worst nightmare is that we lose our fear and speak out unashamedly. “Anonymity” strengthens the spooks as it increases the asymmetry of information they possess.

        1. zapster

          My main concern with using real names is the fact that employers have taken to googling prospective hires, and the potential for political disagreement interfering with getting hired is quite high.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Until people stand up and speak fearlessly under their own names I don’t things can get better. Who’d want a job working for someone who would not hire you for being a lefty (or whatever)? That’s just walking straight into a toxic work environment with eyes wide open. If you feel your position is so precarious that self censorship of sincerely held political views is necessary then maybe you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution, as you’ve already surrendered. Stop supporting assholes by working for them, your self respect is worth more than that dirty paycheck.

  8. GuyFawkesLives

    Peaceful “Left” Activists:
    Quote from article: “The latest, from the New York Times, describes how law enforcement officials around the country went on high alert when the Occupy protests began in 2011, passing information between agencies with an urgency suggesting that at least some people thought that people gathering to oppose Wall Street were about to try to overthrow the U.S. government.”

    My comment: Considering the homeowners have found proof that there is collusion between the government and those on Wall Street, overthrowing Wall Street forces would be akin to overthrowing the government.

    A side note: Yesterday I witnessed a peaceful vet activist demonstrating in front of the Portland Federal Courthouse and he was completely left alone by law enforcement. His protest: performing his violin in the nude. Why in the nude? And why in front of the Federal Courthouse? He claimed the federal government owed him, and all other vets, money that has not been paid, therefore he had no money to buy clothes. Law enforcement was not providing any push-back. They actually protected his First Amendment rights, which made my mouth drop! Hey, there’s a first time for everything. I hope he gets his back pay.

    1. fresno dan

      “…oppose Wall Street were about to try to overthrow the U.S. government.”

      Considering our Treasury secretaries have been Rubin, Paulson, and Geithner, I think it perfectly logical that the USgovermentWallstreetbanksters believe that ANY action that in any way diminishes Wall Street corruption is an ATTACK on the US government.
      Nowadays, I do not see, and I don’t think the elitist Washington Wall street nexus sees any separation in their interests. They believe constraining Wall street is constraining Washington, and neither entity believes they should be limited in any way.

  9. TimR

    Re Disgusting Food Additives

    The reporter breezes right over the *real* story — just how does industry source “secretions from a beaver’s butt”? Do they have rows of beavers strapped down with workers diligently massaging their butt secretion glands? Or is all automated these days? Special beaver butt secretion machines can work 24/7, improving efficiency and enhancing consistency of said butt secretions.

    Or the human hair used to make l-cysteine used to preserve baked goods — Do they just order up a bunch of human hair wigs and then take ’em on back to the factory? Or do they put ads on craigslist? Or maybe it’s just whoever’s manning the human hair vats that day, they just sort of lean over the edge and run an electric shaver across their scalp. These, actually, are the questions we need answers to, my dear respected journalists.

    1. craazyboy

      They probably just use a milking machine with the beaver butt nozzle extension screwed on.

      But the human hair thing sounds weird. Kinda like vegan-cannibalism. If they are gonna do that, I suggest asking for a discount at the barber shop ’cause you know they are making money of your ass. If you don’t watch out for yourself, people just take advantage of you.

  10. rjs

    on New Home Sales “Better, Not Strong”, and Regionally Very Uneven: US +6.7%, Midwest +47.4%, Northeast -26.7%
    essentially no disagreement with Mish, but it should be pointed out that this report has the largest margin of error and is subject to the largest revisions of any census construction series…read the footnote and you’ll see that Census did not have sufficient data to determine whether new home sales rose or fell for the month or even over the preceding year when they estimated that “sales of new single-family houses were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 in April, which was 6.4 percent (±15.9%)* above the revised March rate, but 4.2 percent (±14.2%)* below the sales rate of April of last year”.

    and the margin of error on the Midwest sales figure he cites is ±61.4%, ie, virtually meaningless

    this data is collected by a handful of Census field agents who visit just a sampling of permit offices and canvass neighborhoods in non-permit areas, recording what they can on their laptops…not very efficient or dependable..

  11. fresno dan

    Kinsley’s review of Greenwald’s book

    A right wing’s (or conservative – too many times labels constrict discussion) review of Kinsley’s review. Irony. Strange bedfellows…..

    And where do your principals lead you? Who has actually been worse for civil liberties – Bush or Obama?
    Who has been more responsible for the expansion of Leviathan – Bush or Obama???

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Right and the Left, this commander in chief and that commander in chief…I am reminded of the Maya Hero Twins…not all of it, but the part about being the mythical ancestors to the Mayan ruling lineage.

    2. bobh

      “Hello. My name is Michael Kinsley. I’m not a liberal, but I played one on TV.”

  12. TimR

    I would like to draw your attention, this fine Saturday, to a new series of articles on the Lincoln assassination by Dave McGowan. Dave, as usual if you are familiar with the other article series on his site, has been digging into some of the suppressed history surrounding that event. As per usual as well, he comes up with a lot more provocative questions than definitive answers, but I find it nevertheless adds to one’s world schema, as it were. It’s heavily illustrated with period photographs anyway, which really bring the cast of characters to life (or death rather: lots of untimely ends for those particular actors on history’s stage.)

    (Just scroll down for the TOC)

    1. fresno dan

      Kudos to Stewart, but it truly is sad that the only real critical (I mean “critical” in the sense of some thinking occurring) interview of Geithner happened on a parody of American news.
      As noted a few days ago on NC, when a congressmen accepted Geithner’s contention that he never worked on Wall street and never worked in banking – we lost the war on Wall street because our leaders are morons….

  13. rich

    The Deal’s Done. But Not the Fees.

    A Maze of Private Equity Fees

    Fee-sharing arrangements struck by private equity managers and their investors are intended to reduce investors’ costs in these funds. But securities regulators contend that some firms are levying fees improperly or failing to disclose them.
    Until the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, private equity firms were relatively free of regulation. The law required that firms with at least $150 million in assets under management register as investment advisers; it also instructed the S.E.C. to take a close look at them. So, over the last year and a half, S.E.C. officials have visited approximately 150 firms and say they have found serious deficiencies in both practice and disclosure at many of them.

    “In some instances, investors’ pockets are being picked,” Andrew J. Bowden, director of the S.E.C.’s office of compliance inspections and examinations, said in a recent interview.

    “These investors may be sophisticated and they may be capable of protecting themselves, but much of what we’re uncovering is undetectable by even the most sophisticated investor.”

    The S.E.C.’s findings come as more endowments and public pension funds, looking to diversify and get better returns to pay their obligations, have put their money in private equity investments.

    Really puts the pound in compounding, eh?

  14. Chris B

    The credibility of the Forbes article is a bit undermined by the fact that they got the name of Labour leader Ed Milliband wrong (they claimed that the leader was his brother David Milliband), and, less importantly but a bit annoyingly, they also switched from spelling Labour correctly the first time to spelling it as Labor for the rest of the article. If you insist on misspelling a proper noun, then at least do so consistently.

    (Note: I know that Americans spell the noun ‘labour’ as ‘labor’, but you’d expect the spelling of proper names to be preserved. When I got to Spain, I expect people to still write my name as ‘Christopher’, not ‘Cristobal’. Similarly, I’m sure that Forbes wouldn’t decide to convert the name of Juan Carlos I of Spain to ‘John Charles I’).

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      I’m not a Forbes reader and as such will not favour it with a visit, however, the mistake you refer too with the authors in relation to getting the leader of Nu-Labour wrong is no doubt a Freudian slip of the tongue, namely: the Yanks wold love that arch-neoliberal paragon, one David Miliband to lead the UK’s Labour Party and continuing with the destruction of the working class and its institutions in the UK.

      I’ll go further, whilst I cannot bring myself to ever vote Labour again until it as a Party renounces the Blair years and abandons its love affair with neoliberalism, at least young Ed Miliband did the UK a favour by making sure the CIA-sponsored plant, David Miliband, was denied climbing to the top of the greasy pole in UK politics – indeed, Ed should be Knighted for this civic duty.

      As for all the froth on here about the EU, EU elections and UKIP, as an actual left-winger and someone who’s MA was in Federal and European Studies in the mid-90s’, I can attest to the fact that the “social democratic” EU that Jaques Delors promised in the late 1980s’
      is no where to be seen, and given this fact it is the duty of the left to question the rotten edifice and the UK’s membership of this rotten edifice.

      In an ideal world, the Labour Party would renounce the EU as it is constituted today, it would link-up with other leftwing groupings in Europe, particularly those on the periphery and demand radical change to the EU institutions or its abolition full stop, and if this means the UK, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece leaving it, so be it.

      Now I trust the above clearly identifies me as a Europhile, which is true – we socialists being an internationalist bunch, but support for closer European nation-state cooperation and the EU as it is comprised today are two very different beasts.

      1. Chris B

        @Christopher Dale Rogers
        You’re right that it could be a bit of a Freudian slip. But even so, you’d think they’d do a bit of proof reading before publishing.

        It’s hard to know who to vote for in the UK anymore. I’ve always been centre – left, which used to rule out the Conservatives, but even before Labour turned into New Labour, I never liked its centralist tendencies. Excessive centralisation and standardisation can be part of the cause of economic injustice, not its solution. Justice requires some context, and context can only be local, so central government should be setting the goals and basic rules of the game rather than plotting every inch of the route to the destination. Do you vote for the people whose goal you dislike, or whose methods you dislike?

        I used to be in favour of the EU, when I was younger, before I started reading up on economics. But I’ve realised from reading that free movement of capital and people, if we really want it, should come after unification of basic social and economic policy, not before. When two countries have the same major taxes, a shared treasury, the same minimum wage, … then they can allow free flows of capital without problems. But when you allow free movement of capital before that stage, what you’re doing is weakening the position of the people at the bottom in a way that only benefits those at the top. Even if you also have free movement of people, the people follow the money, not vice versa. That tells you pretty simply which flow is more powerful. And the lack of economic solidarity causes the flows of people following the money to be large enough to potentially cause disruptions to either the source of the destination.

        Freedom of (balanced) trade is fine, but the EU (and the rest of the world) shouldn’t have a fully unified financial system, or fully free movement of people, until there is true solidarity between the regions within the system.

  15. Elliot

    Beavers are kept in tiny cages and the sacs are expressed manually. If you feel bad about veal.. and you should.. you should feel bad about what happens to beavers. They are social animals, strongly bonded to their families, and their water environment; to be stuck in a cage away from their families, and mauled by humans for their scent glands, is torture.

    And, by the way, most countries recognize this and trade in beaver parts is (or was) prohibited. While it’s actually not really used much at all for food, it is used in perfumery by nutjobs who have more money than conscience.

    1. kj001313

      It’s such a sad state of affairs when financial crimes are taken more seriously in Iran than here.

  16. Roland

    @Kurt Sperry,

    There is a long tradition of using pen names when engaging in political controversy. The value of anonymity in public debate was something established long before the Internet.

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