Links 5/9/14

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Sorry for the thinness of my own material today. My older cat Blake (the one who is smart enough not to get himself trapped behind bookcases) is limping and needs to go the vet. He has some ingrown claws. I feel like a bad cat parent for not having brought him in a day earlier :-(

This Kitten Thinks She’s A Pit Bull, And It’s Too Cute For Words Huffington Post (furzy mouse)

The US is Losing the War Against Deer Disease CounterPunch. No more venison. Farmed deer a culprit.

Price jump threatens to make salmon a luxury buy Financial Times

Antibiotic-resistant genes are widespread in nature, study finds Washington Post

Last Minutes on Everest New York Times

Sentinel mission spies ice loss BBC

The Real Story About the Wrong Photos in #BringBackOurGirls New York Times

Chinese experts ‘in discussions’ over building high-speed Beijing-US railway Guardian (furzy mouse)

Pettis: How to think about yuan reform MacroBusiness

Police bust PR companies for illegal deletion of news and social media postings Danwei (furzy mouse)

Everything is broken: Long in crisis, Thailand is close to the brink Economist (Lambert)

The elite cannot turn back the tide of Thai politics Financial Times

Suthep and Chumpol will face terrorism charges on top of sedition charges Thai PBS English News (furzy mouse)

Tensions rise as protesters march in Bangkok Asian Correspondent

ECB professes alarm over falling inflation but still holds fire Ambrose Evans-Pritcard, Telegraph

Monetary Policy: Deflation Threatens Europe. Policy Makers Wait. New York Times

Berlusconi begins community service BBC

Lord Sainsbury calls for government to stop Pfizer buying AstraZeneca Guardian


Samantha Power’s brazen hypocrisy: Media swallows propaganda, but here’s the truth about Ukraine Salon (Brindle)

The Secret Back Story to Russia and Ukraine that Americans Never Learned In School George Washington

Ukraine: It’s Now For The Long Run Moon of Alabama

Separatists Defy Kiev and Putin on Referendum New York Times

Dubious referendum in eastern Ukraine DW

Ukraine crisis starts to hit European firms CNN

Moscow ups stakes in gas dispute Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

MPs: Snowden files are ’embarrassing indictment’ of British spying oversight Guardian

Ex-NSA chief Keith Alexander seeks post-Snowden second act Politico. You cannot make this up: “Alexander is launching a consulting firm for financial institutions looking to address cybersecurity threats.” And who is he teaming up with? Promontory, the firm that did such a shamelessly terrible job for ginormous pay in the OCC “Independent” Foreclosure Review.

Net neutrality pressure mounts inside, outside FCC Politico

Benghazi: the environmental angle Dan Fejes

Lawsuit: Police in Alabama Falsely Claimed Teen Swallowed Bag of Drugs Then Shoved ‘Sharp Object’ in Throat Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Risks of personal-brand journalism Columbia Journalism Review

Re-Made in the U.S.A. Bloomberg

“Sit In The Back of The Bus, I want this Seat” Angry Bear. Holy moley.

Jackson Rising: Black Millionaires Won’t Lift Us Up, But Cooperation & the Solidarity Economy Might Bruce Jackson, Black Agenda Report

Fed Official Seeks Radical Change in Bank Regulation BusinessWeek

US Mortgage Rates Fall To A 7-Month Low ​​ Business Insider

Democracy, Oligarchy, and the Fractile Nature of Inequality Pieria

Where Is the Inequality Problem? Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate. Readers should have a field day with this piece.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Hugh

    Well if Rogoff wrote it, you know it is going to be Niagara of neoliberal pro-looting BS, and he doesn’t disappoint.

    First, Rogoff completely ignores how much of the world’s wealth is owned by the kleptocratic rich. Instead he celebrates the decline in inequality between the middle class in developed countries and workers in the rest of the world. Of course, this decline is the result in the case of the US of American workers losing their jobs and getting paid a lot less in any new employment they might find while those jobs they originally lost get shipped to places like China and India where poorly paid workers get to work their asses off to be slightly less poorly paid. It is just goes to show the lengths Rogoff will go to peddle his propaganda directing attention away from his masters, the rich.

    Second, even as Rogoff is claiming that inequality is on the decline, he points out that globally the labor share of GDP is also in decline. He studiously fails to see the contradiction between the two.

    Then there are the weird criticisms of Piketty. He doesn’t have a model. In the quack science of modern economics, you have to have a model no matter how unnecessary and divorced from reality it may be. Only real econmenists have models. It’s like a secret handshake or key to get you in their club. Rogoff then cites the work of some of these econmenists who have gotten everything wrong about the economy for the last 35 years to refute proposals like Piketty’s wealth tax. Well, there’s nothing like citing the work of a bunch of discredited hacks to prove the superiority of your position, not is there?

    1. Tyler

      I’ll say something positive about the article: the elimination of payroll taxes for low-income workers is an excellent idea. Unemployment would be much lower in America if a full payroll tax holiday for the working poor (to not expire until the national unemployment rate fell to 2%) had been enacted in 2009.

      1. YankeeFrank

        Actually, we had an elimination of the payroll tax for several years after the collapse. It didn’t do much. And until we disabuse both economists and the public at large that taxes must finance government spending, removing taxes for the poor for the things they need like medicaid, social security and medicare, just gives ammo to the wingers who hate the poor and want to see those programs gutted.

        Rogoff is an unadulterated hack. He is incompetent and crooked, an all too common set of traits amongst our “elites” these days.

        1. peterpaul

          Actually, the monies from the payroll tax holiday was a godsend. I was making about $39k a year and supporting a wife and young daughter at the time (mid-2000-late 2000s). The extra $20 – $30 bucks in my paycheck each check date made a huge difference in what we could do as a family – we could have the internet at home and managed to go out to eat once a quarter with the money. I also believe we bought a park pass to a local park. When you are close to the line like most people, an extra $50 a month works wonders….

          1. run75441


            You are being bought off by an extra $20/30 in a paycheck rather than being paid a fair wage.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The best ways to confront the wingers who hate the poor are

          1. Money Creation via the people spending it into existence.
          2. minimizing government spending, especially on the military
          3. A wealth tax to prevent money-concentration.

          1. allcoppedout

            We could try conscripting the rich to mend broken and missing infrastructure and have the army oversea that (tying them up so we can’t wage war abroad). With the rich occupied on the shovel, a sequestration team could remove all their money.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It’s part of ‘GDP Through Teamwork.’

              So, that would all good that we rotate the work so we can share GDP, or GDP-sharing.

        3. Ben Johannson

          The payroll tax was reduced, but never suspended. Full suspension for both workers and employers would likely have averted the worst of the recesion, so of course we didn’t do it.

        4. JuneTown

          “”And until we disabuse both economists and the public at large that taxes must finance government spending,””
          Taxes, and other revenues, incl. transfers must finance(fund) government spending.
          Tell me something unrelated to the government’s miraculous transmutation of 1971, from money system user to monopoly money issuer.
          Disabuse away.

          1. Calgacus

            There was no transmutation in 1971. The government was a currency issuer, spent money into existence before, just as it did after. All that happened was that the governments stopped backing gold with valuable currency, stopped running a we buy and sell gold shoppe. Since gold isn’t all that important, why on earth should governments run such shoppes? Especially since they lead to such confused thinking about money?

            States spend by creating money, just as banks do. Before and since the middle ages, state money has been on the top of the pyramid of money, has been what backs bank money usually, has been the most desirable and stable money. State money has the biggest community of users, not bank money.

            It is bad analysis of and misunderstanding of all monetary systems – thinking that monetary systems can be all that different – that is the problem, not that some understand or believe in some miracle and others don’t.

      2. jrs

        But it would only be used as another excuse to dismantle Social Security and Medicare, because the programs “are no longer bringing it enough money and will run out of money sooner”. It hardly matters if it’s true and what else could be used to fund these programs (even something as boring as the rest of the budget). It’s all optics and they play a long game.

        1. run75441



          One of the reasons, Webb and Coberly argue against payroll withholding being a tax is that it is not in the same manner federal and state income taxes are. Withholding is a contribution to retirement by employer/worker and returns more in payment than what is paid into it through interest payments.

          The distraction here in looking at SS Withholding is the reality of skewing productivity gains from Labor to Capital since Reagan. resetting the distribution of productivity gains to what it was before the beginning of the decline is what is truly needed to assist Labor in gaining ground and not more tax breaks.

    2. allcoppedout

      It’s hardly worth commenting on arses like Rogoff. If academe allows them we should close it all down and start again. I see no point in arguing the toss with them. They are slow learners who need direct experience to understand anything. 9 months on a jack tuna boat out of Badang and 6 months in the canning factory before we hear a beep on inequality from jerks like this.

    3. Andrew Watts

      There’s also his reactionary idea that a consumption tax is “progressive”. Consumption taxes hurt the poor and middle class while shifting the tax burden away from the rich. I suppose he could be even more ridiculous by suggesting a flat income tax as a progressive measure too.

      1. JCC

        Actually what he suggested was, as far as my reading comprehension understood it, a “progressive consumption tax”, “A progressive consumption tax is relatively efficient and does not distort savings decisions as much as today’s income taxes do.” That is for damn sure.

        Personally I think he’s right in this regard. Let’s face it, we all pay sales tax which is a consumption tax. I would much rather see this crap (I pay over 8% here) abolished altogether and in place of it a progressive consumption tax, something along the lines of 1% or 2% for items under $100.00 and as high as 100% for items over $1,000,000.00… a graduating scale from small items like shoes to big ticket items like planes, yachts and houses.

        Of course these numbers are off the top of my head so I really don’t want to here specific criticism on the numbers. Maybe something like 0% on items less than $100.00 and graduated up to 50% on items over $500,000.00 would work as well and help the low income population more. Who knows… but either way, as a low-level “consumer”, I’m in real favor of consumption taxes over income taxes. Right now I pay over 8% on purchases, gasoline and liquor taxes, plus an additional 40% or more on my income, and that really sucks.

      2. susan the other

        Maybe Rogoff is seriously goofy. He recommended making a consumption tax “progressive through very high exemptions.” What the hell does that mean?

        1. JCC

          I noticed that too… it would appear to mean exempt the 0.1%-ers’ purchases of castles, yachts, $Million dollar cars, jets, and other “very high” exempted items. I’m not that impressed with Rogoff at all, I just think his idea of economics in this article is sorta like a clock, broken but right once or twice a day :)

          I noticed he also said “Piketty argues that capitalism is unfair. Wasn’t colonialism unfair, too?” which immediately caught my attention. I still have yet to figure out what the difference is between many modern 1st World ideas of Capitalism and good old fashioned Colonialism.

          In any case, so what? Are we being asked to make a choice? Did Piketty say we only had two choices? Not only is Rogoff’s language in the sentence just a tad prejudicial, it’s also strongly inferring the classic bad argument known as a “false dilemma”. There are other choices besides U.S. style Capitalism and any style of Colonialism… thank God. The problem is that most are not allowed to choose.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When you ship jobs out of America, you will find you need to ship more jobs out of America.

      It’s one more paradox.

      First you ship sandal jobs out. Sandal workers can buy less flip-flops.

      To remain profitable, you ship out flip-flop jobs. Now, flip-flop workers can buy less cotton underwear.

      To remain profitable, you then ship out cotton underwear jobs. Now cotton underwear workers can buy less baby milk.

      To remain profitable, you then ship out baby milk jobs. Now, baby milk workers can buy less…

      And it goes on and on.

      There is a name for that.

      It’s called Jevon’s Outsourcing Paradox.

          1. ambrit

            It depends on the food sources of the breast milk provider. When Phylllis was breast feeding our three kids, (“Hands off! These are for the baby!) we were poor enough and hippy enough to grow our own vegetable garden. That and the fact that Phyl will not use canned foodstuffs helped insure the kids of a pretty pure ‘food supply.’ So far, no mutants cropping up in the third generation.

            1. allcoppedout

              In the vile history of trade they have even offshored even this most personal baby milk.

      1. F. Beard

        SOMEONE is profiting from outsourcing. The question then is why aren’t nearly all of us profiting from outsourcing?

        Look no further than government-subsidized credit creation which is great at creating wealth but terrible at justly distributing it.

        Somewhere I heard of a money form called shares in equity. Can’t work though since we KNOW that money creation must be crooked to be practical, doesn’t it?

      2. susan the other

        Rogoff also alluded to automation taking jobs in developed countries and it will eventually do so in poorer countries. He’s so lobotomized. Betcha he’s stepped on that garden rake more than anybody in his neighborhood. Wandering around thinking how the rich shouldn’t have their wealth taxed because capitalism is so beneficial to all poor people. Just couldn’t follow him. Made me think about what Varoufakis said that the next phase of destructive capitalism – after it has killed off labor – will be widespread automation and then What are we gonna do when we realize capitalism doesn’t need us? Well – most everyone will realize we don’t need capitalism. But not Rogoff.

    5. paul

      She’s a model and she’s looking good
      I’d like to take her home that’s understood
      She plays hard to get, she smiles from time to time
      It only takes a camera to change her mind

      She’s going out tonight but drinking just champagne
      And she has been checking nearly all the men
      She’s playing her game and you can hear them say
      She is looking good, for beauty we will pay

      She’s posing for consumer products now and then
      For every camera she gives the best she can
      I saw her on the cover of a magazine
      Now she’s a big success, I want to meet her again

    1. direction

      That was my favorite today as well. Action in Jackson! Crafting the solidarity economy-good stuff:
      “They conducted door to door surveys of entire neighborhoods in Jackson, complete with skills assessments to discover how many plumbers, plasterers, farmers, carpenters, construction workers, truck mechanics, nurses and people with other health care experience live there, and how many are unemployed. “

  2. Banger

    RE: The Secret Back Story to Russia and Ukraine that Americans Never Learned In School

    I and a few others have been saying many of the things described in the above-referenced article for many years. We’ve been called “conspiracy theorists” as if conspiracies, false-flag attack and, yes, genocide were not something any American was capable of since both left and right in America believe, to varying degrees, the extraordinary mystical belief in American Exceptionalism.

    My reading of history tells me that powerful people and entities act using the traditional techniques classical historians have passed on to us and Machiavelli wrapped in a neat and concise manner in his book The Prince. Americans are not immune from this tendency. When the stakes have been high powerful Americans have used misdirection, assassinations, genocide, Big Lies and so on to aid their quenchless search for power and/or money. Yes, there have been great statesmen who bravely acted, generally, for the interests of others and not just their own personal interests which JFK recorded in his book Profiles in Courage but these statesmen have been the exception and the forces they have to fight are formidable as the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington illustrated. JFK paid for his courage with his life as did his brother and one of the great personages of the 20th century, Martin Luther King. My view is that Americans are unable to examine inconvenient truths of any kind and pretend (though most people know better) those assassination either never happened or were the acts of lone gunmen despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Until the left reclaims history and stops living in this fog or forgetting there is not even the remotest chance of any kind of significant reform in any area of American life other than in minor cultural issues which have no bearing at all on the basic arrangements of power.

    1. James Levy

      I have no idea what to think of Kennedy. His standing alone against his nutty advisors during the Cuban Missile Crisis was an heroic act and saved us all a devastating war. Domestically, he was a coward, and his missile gap talk was pure bullshit. His wink and nod at the overthrow and assassination of Diem with no viable plan for having someone better replace him was immoral and stupid. As for a conspiracy to kill him, I’ve heard various theories, which often contradict each other and none in itself persuasive (to me). The evidence that he was going to “pull us out of Vietnam” is thin. So the idea that he was a martyr the way King was strikes me as overdrawn at best, more likely overblown.

      That said, you are correct that nobody wants to lose credibility by looking too hard at American history and drawing the obvious conclusions. The emotional fervor and deep outrage that drives some to try almost always gets them into endless trouble over tone and minor mistakes (outraged people are people in a hurry, and they will make a mistake or two). I remain proud that none of the detractors of either of my books was able to find a single misstatement of fact in either–they attacked the tone, the interpretations, and the conclusions, but the facts stood (more than anything they were enraged by my refusing to genuflect before Churchill as The Greatest Englishman Ever, but that’s a whole long essay). So, yes, we have to tell the truth, and we have to look venality and criminality square in the face. But we must know that however accurate our descriptions, an army of establishmentarians will rubbish everything we say.

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        @James Levy,

        May I remind you that Churchill was detested in the industrialised parts of South Wales, although in fairness he did not actually command troops to shoot striking miners in Tonypandy prior to WWI – his use of gas bombs in the Middle East was legion.

        So, and just for the record, in South Wales we “rejoiced” at Churchill’s death, much as we “rejoiced” at Thatcher’s death – indeed, even Tony Benn had the courtesy to outlive that old bag. Imagine what we’ll do when Tony Blair kicks the bucket with his ill-gotten millions?

        We have long memories in our neck of the woods, and out contempt for Churchill, and the language utilised would have me banned from these boards if I ushered them.

      2. alex morfesis

        as to the kennedy coup…all the theories are correct
        (except for the reptilian alien ones from sir ickes)

        et tu brute…everyone had to participate so no one would talk…

        next time you are in new york, go down to the basement of the court house
        you will find a lawsuit filed by crescent firearms (1964-1965)

        they were the division of a small public company owned by various well connected republicans housed in a building with two street addresses on fifth avenue across from the girls scouts current headquarters on 37th Street

        They imported the purported gun used by the accused, who somehow shot through a tree that was in the way and had his bullets do magic…but what most of the “writers” have ignored is that is was also a magic gun. Crescent firearms sued the Italian company who were to have “fixed” the guns…except none of them really worked…NONE OF THEM…so he not only had a magic bullet that day…he also must have had the only gun that could fire properly…

        J Edgar had a minor stroke in november of 62 and was hospitalized. Certain people convinced him the kennedys had done it to him. His neighbor down the street, the vice president Lyndon Baynes, was on the way out the door on Nov 22, 1963 as his buddy Sol Estes and his side kick, bobby baker were being fried in courtrooms. On the 23rd, Kennedy had planned a meeting at Lyndons home to tell him, that yesterdays news and revelations about Bobby Baker and Sol Estes would require him not to have Johnson as his running mate in 64.

        Kennedy just pushed too many people too hard and too fast…people who were not big on being pushed around.

        The biggest mistake Kennedy made was allowing an orangeman to be his driver.

        The missing frames of the Zapruder tape shows that driver hitting his brakes as the various shooters had missed their mark. The Nix video shows the rear brake lights being applied. Zapruders film was really a bit of a snuff film.

        Marie Fehmer Chiarodo was LBJ’s personal secretary
        Jean LeGon DeMohrenshildt was Georges wife (LHO buddy)
        Olga Fehmer worked at a place called NARDIS…
        along with Jean LeGon and one certain, Abraham Zapruder…

        Marie was Olga’s daughter…

        the mathematical possibilities of that just being a coinkidink taxes my puny mensa mind…

    2. allcoppedout

      There are home truths even on the Kennedys and MLK. The deeper questions might concern how we fall for any of this leader idolatry Banger. I’m not sure I’ve met a good one.

      1. Banger

        Read Jim Douglas’ JFK and the Unspeakable in which you see two great statesmen interact during the Cuban Missile Crisis with assists from a third one. The first two are John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev aides by Poe John XXIII. Read, in particular the correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev and note the enemies they all made. JFK was shot and Khrushchev was ousted a year or so later.

          1. allcoppedout

            My dyslexia read it right first time. I got your drift too. What worries me is the system and expecting good leaders can change it.

            “I send it only because I know how much my husband cared about peace, and how the relation between you and him was central to this care in his mind. He used to quote your words in some of his speeches-”In the next war the survivors will envy the dead.”

    3. Brindle

      One major event “disallowed” from public discourse is the 1930’s (1933?) planned coup against FDR by industrialists/ corporate sector. Those forces have no need to act as long as our choices are Obama or Romney, Clinton or Bush.

    4. Cal

      Remember, the opposite of a “conspiracy theorist” is a
      “Coincidence theorist”.

      I didn’t make that up, but hats off to the author.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I thought the opposite of a conspiracy theorist was a miracle believer.

      2. ambrit

        I thought the opposite of a ‘conspiracy theorist’ was a Pornographer. (War porn, sports porn, celebrity porn, even, Keynes help us, economics porn help distract the masses.)

    5. gordon

      “My view is that Americans are unable to examine inconvenient truths of any kind…”

      On a more positive note, the NYT reported in 2006 that Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” regularly sells more than 100,000 copies a year. Somebody must be reading it.

  3. Brindle

    re: Risks of personal brand journalism—CJR

    Much of this article centers around 60 Minutes and Lara Logan. She is a pro-military ideologue with an agenda:

    —-CBS higher-ups knew she had a habit of rushing into dangerous situations and was cozy with military sources, but “revamped the ­foreign coverage to make Logan a star correspondent” post Rathergate anyway. “It’s not an accident that Lara Logan fucked up,” a colleague at CBS News told Hagan. “It was inevitable. Everybody saw this coming.”—

    Digby had a good take on this:

    —I think they were all trapped by the pretense that Lara Logan is an objective beat journalist. Had they properly categorized her as an aggressive military hawk who only one month after the event was already saying that the United States should “exact revenge” for the attack on Benghazi, they might have known that they needed to go to extra lengths to verify her “blockbuster” story on the subject.—

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It’s an apology for the DoJ dressed up as reporting. Eisenger spoke a couple of weekends ago at an OWS group and he might as well have been an Administration spokesperson: “oh, this finance is so complex, it;s too hard to prosecute these guys.”. We dealt with it on a Bill Black video a few days ago.

      1. Roger Bigod

        Thanks for correcting my interpretation. I read it as more critical of the DoJ and SEC. The comments were scathing.

  4. Cal

    High speed train between China and the U.S.?

    I’ll believe it when I can get bolts made in China that the nuts go onto without having to spend five minutes with a nail file dressing the threads.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Basically, it will be Moscow to Beijing to the US when it somehow miraculously gets built.

      Actually, it’s London to Moscow to Beijing to the US.

      Just be sure you are insured before the trip though.

    2. craazyboy

      Yes, I’d certainly worry about getting wet.

      I’m still trying to buy Chinese sandals that work. I bought a pair of “name brand” (Ozark, I think it was) roman style sandals at china-mart a couple years ago. I did see Zoolander three times, so I thought paying $15 for them should be enough if I stayed away from any French sounding name brands. They used glue to solve the fastener problem, but after only wearing them mostly to the pool and back both the bottoms wore out and the glue came unstuck. (I guess they may have got wet by the pool)

      So I was a little miffed about this purchase. So recently I looked for some kind of replacement at china-mart. I decided to go as low tech and cheap as possible and found some basic black flip-flops for $3, thinking what could go wrong with synthetic rubber flip flops?

      A couple days later I found out. They made the bottoms of my feet turn black.

      So I think a more realistic news article title would be:
      Chinese Flip-flops Make My Feet Turn Black.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Why would you want to buy sandals that would last 10 years at 3 times the price?

        That would be 3 times higher inflation rate, never mind how long it lasts.

        Besides, replacing sandals regularly, like every other month, is good for the economy…it creates more jobs.

        1. craazyboy

          Yes, especially if you put them on your credit card at 12% interest, the bank securitizes all the credit card debt, then you use your savings to buy a 4% consumer debt instrument.

          That’s like getting 4% off !!!!

            1. craazyboy

              You have to take credit risk to get 4% off.

              It’s not like people just give us money for no good reason!

          1. craazyman

            You’re making 8% off yourself if you use a mirror!

            You can leverage it up and lay around and do nothing.

            That’s why people are leaving the workforce.

            1. craazyboy

              I did try that. I made a separate bank account in the name of “yobyzaarc”. Been watching it for 5 years now, but the money DOESN”T show up!

              Beginning to wonder if I might be a vampire or something.

              Or worse yet, that maybe this is some sort of hideous scheme to make me try and re-enter the workforce?

              No one would want that.

            2. allcoppedout

              Well flip-flop me, I’d go to the foot of our stairs if me boots didn’t wear out on the way. How am I going to express surprise when we move to a bungalow? You need a smaller footprint Craazy – try a Pogo Sock (TM).

      2. Cyclist

        It isn’t surprising that $15 sandals are crap made in China. But about 10 years ago, it was possible to buy an excellent pair of Chacos made in Colorado, but at a list price of around $90. Then the Chaco company sent all production over to China, removing a hundred or so decent jobs in a poor-ass county. The new Chacos just as nice, but they still cost about the same….. and you would be hard pressed to know where they come from, unless you really look closely.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I wonder if it would be possible to make “craft clothes” in the same way it’s possible to make craft beer, local food, etc.

          Just a shot in the dark, because I don’t know the economics of it, but I wonder if clothes from elsewhere are so crapified it would be worth paying a higher price for something that wasn’t crap and was sourced locally. (This after the shirt I paid 50 cents for at the thrift shop is still going strong, because it was made 20 years ago, while the new shirt I bought at the Mall is starting to fray at the collar.)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks for sharing that about collar fraying shirts.

            I thought it was my fault for not using my washing machine properly…

              1. ambrit

                Tut tut Lambert.
                Our made in Italy cheapie washer and dryer that we bought in 2006 from a local “Craazy Prices” retailer are still going strong. (That after our 1980’s American made washer finally bit the dust. We were relatively poor and couldn’t afford any of the newer fancy American made models.) Sometimes, basic goods are just that, basic.

                  1. ambrit

                    I feel his pain. I remember going down to the Radio Shack with dad and testing the bulbs from the black and white television set on the testing machine they had in the back corner of the store. The testing was free, on the assumption they’d garner a sale from the results of the test. The testing machine was about the size of an old video game machine you’d find at the local arcade. So, I was quite comfortable with doing my own repairs to the old washing machine. Today is an entirely different situation. I will swear on a stack of Bhagavad Vitas that modern appliances are unnecessarily complex. That was why I liked those cheapie Italian machines. They are relatively simply made. Occams Razor would be a great tool to use on most of what passes for State of the Art across the board today.

          2. craazyboy

            Not real sure off the economics either (but the biz has got more capital intensive with better automated machinery replacing some of the labor), but I think a major part of the reason for offshoring is that a few people can get filthy rich at it.

            In addition to watching the Zoolander documentary three times, I did have a little bit of personal experience with the “designer clothing” industry. Back in the late ’80s- early ’90s when I was still in the US industrial manufacturing sector (making uncool industrial equipment), we had our LA warehouse and the Bugleboy warehouse and offices were right next door. Whenever the owners got together for a meeting there were 3 Rolls Royces parked in front ! And Bugleboy was just a mid priced kid’s label.

            1. Lambert Strether

              I guess I’m wondering about something like maker technology to do the cutting, then sewing machine, with better fabric and better thread. That would decentralize the production. Not to get rich, but to make a decent living. No Rolls, but no Amazon warehouse.

              1. craazyboy

                My gut tells me that we should be able to at least make the higher priced end of things. Like the $40-$80 price bracket for jeans must be doable without having to resort to slave labor.

                But then again, looking at the textile industry, which unlike clothing is very capital intensive and low labor content, the flow to Asia has been just as bad. A few years back I heard that Chinese textile mfgs were screaming to the people’s guvmint for import duties on “cheap” imports from Vietnam.

                It seems that paying anyone seems to be a problem?

    3. Synopticist

      Surely the Chinese would be better off loweingr the Pacific, then the distance would be shorter.

  5. Mel

    Hugh: “””Then there are the weird criticisms of Piketty. He doesn’t have a model. In the quack science of modern economics, you have to have a model no matter how unnecessary and divorced from reality it may be.”””

    Then he applies that “credo” (thanks to the Archdruid and H.L.Mencken) or thoughtstopper “distortion” to stop thinking about the 80% income tax rate. Distortion would sort of be the point. We would intend to implement a policy that would change something.

    For sensible people, a model doesn’t need to be much more than stating the effect we intend to get after we apply our cause. A debate against 80% tax would try to shift pretty quickly to a “model” that obfuscated and confused and “proved” that the whole idea could never work.

    Another argument that I fully expect to see here, is that we’re too weak to change anything. That the money taxed in would of course HAVE TO flow straight back out to the places where it was causing pain. Yeah, the objective evidence says that that’s exactly what’s been happening. Contrariwise, if we don’t change anything, we’re doomed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The other excuse is ‘Of course, we are not against taxing the rich, but simple, yes, simple accounting indicates that taxing drains money out of the system. Just so you know. Yes, we are not against taxing the rich…money drained out the of the system…drains…drained…clogged…plumber…roto-rooter….’

      1. Brindle

        …and of course “prime the pump” and the dead battery schtick; “jump start…”.

      2. F. Beard

        In addition to “drains”, there are “sources” which are often called “transfer payments” which implies they are connected to “drains.”

        So yeah, taxing the rich need not hurt if at least as much is given to the poor. So the MMT crowd is telling only 1/2 the story. Yes, taxing by the monetary sovereign destroys money but spending by the monetary sovereign creates it. And since the poor have a greater propensity to consume than the rich then transfer payments could be called a form of “creative transformation.”

  6. Lord Koos

    Salmon is has been a luxury buy for most Americans for a few years now — wild king salmon fetches up to $29 a pound, and that’s in Seattle where there used to be plenty of it. It’s essentially an endangered species at this point.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Might as well.

      This is show clearly the 0.01% are solely responsible for making salmon extinct.

      Now, we can confront the real enemy of whatever salmon-included diet is supposed to prevent/cure/counter.

      And the real enemy is modern life, including stress at work, pollution, inequality induced unhappiness, etc.

    2. Skeptic

      Why not Fraud up the salmon, everything else is. S&P, Fitch, Moody’s may start rating salmon and other foods. New meaning to the word “toxic”.

      On the manufactured salmon front, the neo-nut Canadian Government pays industrial salmon factories for all their losses when the stock is riddled with disease. This diseased stock, by the way, is not destroyed but used somehow, no one seems to know how. Maybe smoked or put into a cat near you.
      More on CDN fish madness:

    3. jrs

      Only it’s generally NOT considered an endangered species on most of the guildlines of which fish are sustainable and which aren’t, but it may be heading in that direction yes. Of course they will use any alleged or real “scarcity” as a good excuse for GMO fish which will be a disaster for what wild fish remain.

  7. Mel

    US Mortgage Rates Fall To A 7-Month Low

    “Hopefully, these low, falling rates will hlep get the market humming again.”

    The usual. Maybe, but the elephant in the room is the people who are kept off the market because they can’t pay the principal. The cost of the interest is just the sprinkles on the cake. Forty years how I’ve been watching the 11-o’clock news stand up young bankers in suits to say “We just have to get those wily consumers to open their wallets.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The other ‘effective’ way is, of course, cheap, import cardboard homes, instead of quality American made ones.

      That will boost housing affordability tremendously.

      Let’s call it ‘Hedonic Boost.’

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        This is just another facet of the regression of Western Society. Walk around some of the older southern cities and you’ll eventually find yourself in a somewhat seedy, run down neighbourhood of what we call ‘Shotgun Houses.’ They are the survivors of the once common cheap housing for the working classes of the last century. They were the equivalent of your Cardboard Housing Units, (which I used to joke around at the Boxx Store were “Guest Worker Accommodations,”). That and Tarpaper Shacks for tenant farmers. Now that I think about it, Mobile Homes, also known as trailers, are a modern incarnation of the idea. Overpriced home grown junk which the poor and marginal have little choice but to use. The real slide is the growing tidal wave of truly homeless people. Time was that tramps and the disenfranchised “slept rough.” Thank the Gods we’ve never had to do that. Several months in a tent in Lafayette, Louisiana, and I was full time employed is as close as we’ve come. That was close enough. A Transhumance lifestyle is too labour intensive for me.

    2. MacCruiskeen

      A few months ago when the Fed announced they were going to very, very slowly drain the punch bowl a spoonful at a time, there were many cries of “the sky is falling,” that interest rates would skyrocket and everything would end in doom. But that didn’t happen. I am, myself, a little surprised that they’ve remained as low as they are, but at least a little bit of that seems to be FUD buying because of the Ukraine.

  8. jfleni

    RE: Sentinel satellite spies ice cap speed-up

    Don’t you worry none there pilgrim, we, PoisonDwarfBros [a.k.a Koch] assure you that it’not our “free enterprise” oil, but the sun, moon, solar flares and everything else the scientific liars never told you about!

  9. jfleni

    RE: Berlusconi begins one-year community sentence

    Seeing him carrying bedpans is great, but the judge has to take away his viagra to protect all the underage chippies he attracts like you-know-what attracts flies.

  10. jfleni

    RE: Chinese experts ‘in discussions’ over building high-speed Beijing-US railway

    This was a favorite project of Alexander the last twentieth century czar, and will have about as much success.

    Otherwise, the remaining eighty percent of the USA will separate themselves and retreat behind the Rockies, to avoid becoming slaves of China/Asia. The USA could resist and overcome this fate, but not when captive by the buttkissing plutocrats of “DogPatch-DC”.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thank to technology for shrinking the globe for deadlier viruses, so now a host doesn’t have to die before he/she/it can circumnavigate the planet.

  11. Cal

    “Sit In The Back of The Bus, I want this Seat”

    Meanwhile, Young and older White passengers in San Francisco and I venture a guess, many other urban areas, do not dare sit anywhere near the back of the bus when the school gets out because they will be harassed, robbed or attacked by the Black teenagers that have taken over public transit on certain lines at certain times. Stop playing the race card. There’s more than one suite.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. Tu quoque, a logical fallacy

      2. This is New York, not San Francisco

      3. You clearly didn’t bother watching the video. The people on the bus stayed civil for a remarkably long time given what a jerk the guy was being and that he shoved a passenger (which predictably generated more shoving).

      4. Go read another blog.

    2. Working Class Nero

      Seriously though the people on the bus were super patient with him. Perhaps he was insane or something; most people that racist would not put themselves in a position to be the only YT on a bus and then to bust out with that shit. They would wait until they had the numbers on their side and then go all George Wallace on a lone brotha or sista.

      In fact when I saw it, the only thing I could think of was that this guy was trying to one-up the Danger Seekers skit from Kentucky Fried Movie. At least Rex Kramer had enough brains to wear a helmet.

    3. craazyman

      this is Race Porn. I’m ashamed even to look at it, it makes me feel like I need to go to church and pray,.

      fortunately, one needn’t trouble themselves to that degree of exertion. the back of the bus (BOTB) is the place to be. If a white person doesn’t want to sit in the BOTB he’s probably insane. Up front your mind gets frazzled with all the motion and commotion back and forth up and down in and out left right up down excuse me this excuse me that move this way shift squeeze bend.

      in the BOTB you chill and channel, cool quiet, mind streaming colors ideas forms thoughts equations visioins in peace and tranquility. I always sit in the back corner, always. every day and throw open the channel surfing screen and see what happens.

      if any black person comes up to me and says they want to sit in the BOTB and move my white ass up front, I’d think “Holy Cow, this dude is a loonatic in one dimension, but completely sane in another dimension.” That’s cross-dimensional disequllibrium if your a pyschiatrist. I’m not. So I don’t know what I’d do. I guess it would depend if I could kick his ass or not.

  12. boo

    Cal. dude, are there actually people that are scared of black teenagers? What kind of bet-wetting wuss is scared of black teenagers?

  13. Jess

    I just skimmed the article about the Ukraine-Russia backstory so maybe I missed it. Can someone point me to the section about the 7.5 million Ukrainians starved to death by Stalin prior to WWII? Since my best friend’s grandparents were in that group I’m sure it colors his attitudes toward Putin & Co. (Just as it colors the opinion of most Ukrainians I know.) Maybe this article also mentions the expulsion of the Tartars from Crimea as well. Guess I just missed it.

    In conclusion: yes, the US does and has done lots of bad things via the CIA and various front groups. But to somehow paint the entire Ukrainian situation on the actions of US-backed neo-Nazis is ludicrous. Conditions in the Ukraine were dismal. The oligarchs, who have no allegiance or national interest, have raped that country from hell to breakfast and downtrodden people will only put up with so much. (A movie that may eventually play here in this country if things keep going as they are.)

    1. Banger

      I guess I’m not sure what you are trying to say. The famine was due to Stalin deciding he needed foreign exchange and sold the grain to the West–which gladly bought it knowing precisely what was going on in the Ukraine. Note that Stalin murdered far more ordinary Russians than Ukrainians–in other words the famine was not a Russia vs. Ukraine situation n my view at least.

      At any rate, our concern is now and, as an American, my concern is with what the USG does. So far, Putin and the Russian government seems to have been, compared to the U.S., fairly benign in their international dealings since WWII.

      1. Jess

        “in other words the famine was not a Russia vs. Ukraine situation n my view at least”

        When you have one of the world’s most fertile agricultural areas, as Ukraine does, and the Russians under Stalin take that food by force from right under your nose and then you starve to death as a result, it doesn’t much matter what Stalin does with it, your descendants — quite naturally — still hate and distrust the Russkies. But at least you admit it was a famine.

        “Putin and the Russian government seems to have been, compared to the U.S., fairly benign in their international dealings since WWII.”

        This sentence confuses and baffles me. If you are referring to Putin being “fairly benign” you might be able to make that case. But as for Russian/USSR since WWII? I bet some Hungarians, Czechs, East Germans, and later Afghans would beg to differ with you.

        1. gordon

          So what? Stalin is dead. The USSR is no more. Are you saying that because the Russian (or USSR, if you like) Govt. did bad things in the past, everybody else should hate them today? That way of thinking would lead you to hate everybody, maybe even yourself.

      2. allcoppedout
        There were three famines in Ukraine from 1921 and all were to do with USSR policy, the last in 1947. The area from the Baltic to the Black Sea has a very violent history, including quite recent slavery. The Ukrainian Cossacks were originally slaves who had fled Poland. We can barely understand now that Kliapeda (then Memel) in Lithuania was the capital of the Western world 250 years ago. Caffe, the Crimean port was the centre of white slavery. The West did try to help in the famines, though Banger is right ‘we’ also accepted the exported grain. Most Russians and Ukrainians are ethnic East Slavs. Everywhere I’ve been in Eastern Europe there is hatred of Russians, but also shame about pogroms in history. Turks are hated, Poles are hated, Jews are hated, Germans … arghhh!

    2. Working Class Nero

      It is called the Holodomor and Ukrainians are trying to outlaw denial of it. Estimates are difficult but somewhere around 6 million Ukrainians were starved by the Soviets. A few years later there was the Trial of the 21 against The Bloc of Rightists and Trotskyites, including Nikolai Bukharin, and it was shown that against the best intentions of Stalin, a few “wreckers” were among other things, able to put ground glass into the butter and 50 cartloads of eggs were allowed to spoil which pretty much explained the 6 million Ukrainian deaths. Most of the 21 confessed and although Bukharin did admit to being “a degenerate fascist” he actually did hold out a bit and in a brief flourish, not only disproved several charges against him, but according to some “proceeded to demolish or rather showed he could very easily demolish the whole case.” But in the end he accepted his fate, was shot in the head, and ended up playing Jesus for the good of the USSR.

      I was recently reading a history of Russia where Peter the Great mentioned that his idea of planting Russian colonists in Ukraine was inspired by the English planting British colonists in Ireland. Although there are many differences, there are indeed a few parallels between the situation in Northern Ireland and the current conflict in Ukraine. The Holodomor vs. Potato Famine is just one similarity. East Ukraine vs. Ulster is another. Russian nationalists flying the Russian flag in Ukraine are similar to Loyalists in NI flying the Union Jack. And paramilitary Right Sector in Ukraine is a bit like the IRA (only the IRA is more of a Left Sector)

      Two major differences are that Russian history starts in Kiev (Kievan Rus) while British history certainly does not start in Dublin and that traditionally, Ukraine has been more advanced while Russia has been seen as backwards (as compared to Britain advanced vs, backwards Ireland).

      1. gordon

        I like the analogy Ukraine/Ireland. When the union building in Odessa (with numerous separatists inside) was burned, I thought of the Alamo. Frankly, I can’t see a peaceful solution to this that doesn’t involve partition.

    3. ewmayer

      To my knowledge the best book-form source is Robert Conquest’s classic – here is an link, but it is widely available so please support the bookseller of your choice:

      The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine

      The Harvest of Sorrow is the first full history of one of the most horrendous human tragedies of the 20th century. Between 1929 and 1932 the Soviet Communist Party struck a double blow at the Russian peasantry: dekulakization, the dispossession and deportation of millions of peasant families, and collectivization, the abolition of private ownership of land and the concentration of the remaining peasants in party-controlled “collective” farms. This was followed in 1932-33 by a “terror-famine,” inflicted by the State on the collectivized peasants of the Ukraine and certain other areas by setting impossibly high grain quotas, removing every other source of food, and preventing help from outside–even from other areas of the Soviet Union–from reaching the starving populace. The death toll resulting from the actions described in this book was an estimated 14.5 million–more than the total number of deaths for all countries in World War I.

      1. allcoppedout

        England was saved in 1217 by the Irish knight William Marshal. It’s not done to talk of such. Ukraine does look a lot like the Irish troubles, maybe even down to the disapora. Starvation has long been a weapon.

  14. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    “Sit In The Back of The Bus, I want this Seat”

    My mom was a young, single, white lady, pregnant with me, and living in public housing with my 3-year-old sister (my dad had already died). We were the only white people I had ever seen in our neighborhood until the riots forced us into the suburbs. In a very real sense, my formative years were spent as a minority. There were great folks and awful folks in our neighborhood. This is an example of the awful:

    My mom was sitting, obviously pregnant, on a DC Transit bus, when a young black man demanded her seat (my mom was the only white person on the bus). My mom wore a hatpin in her lapel. When the guy in question started to become threatening, my mom pulled the hat pin out (I have the hat pin somewhere, and it’s 3″ 4″ long), and stabbed him directly in the middle of his stomach. She then pulled the emergency stop cord. The bus driver gave the dude the heave-ho.

    My mom was one tough cookie (pretty, too).

    Somebody should have slapped Bubba down and thrown his raggedy ass off of that bus (if only under the premise that he’s obviously a terrorist trying to take over a public bus). At a minimum, make him think twice about being a threatening, bullying, dickhead in the future.

  15. JTFaraday

    re: “This Kitten Thinks She’s A Pit Bull, And It’s Too Cute For Words,” Huffington Post

    “My husband is not a cat person and I had to basically promise my life away…”

    I’m thinking he needs to go.

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