Links 6/19/14

New male baldness patterns unveiled Daily Mash

“Extroverts Could Cause Problems on a Mission to Mars” Lambert

Re-routing flights could reduce climate impact, research suggests PhysOrg

Thorium: Energy Savior or Red Herring? OilPrice. A useful overview

The “Cholesterol Con”– Eggs Angry Bear

Fake Antibiotics Feed Growing Worldwide Superbugs Threat Bloomberg

Despite the explosion in online analytics, marketers still don’t know what they’re doing Pando

A game of mega-city states Izabella Kaminska, FT Alphaville. A proposal for how to deal with the London housing bubble.

Argentina fears new crisis as vultures circle after US supreme court ruling Guardian

Can Argentina Not Pay Yet Not Default? Perhaps. And Maybe There’s Still a Route to NY State Court… Adam Levitin, Credit Slips


Ukraine outlines plans for ceasefire Financial Times

Iraq forces fight over oil refinery BBC


U.S. Signals Iraq’s Maliki Should Go Wall Street JournalUneasy Alliance Gives Insurgents an Edge in Iraq New York Times

Pentagon cautious on Iraq air strikes Financial Times

Developments in Iraq Ian Welsh

Iraqi Leader Warns War May Spread as U.S. Weighs Action Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Julian Assange Hopes New Information Filed in Swedish Court Next Week Will Remove Arrest Warrant Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Help FOIA how police across the country are tracking cell phones MuckRock

U.S. Funds “Terror Studies” to Dissect and Neutralize Social Movements Black Agenda Report (Chuck L)

The Collapsing Obama Doctrine Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, Wall Street Journal. EM: “The Big Swinging Dick is apparently trying to one-up Tony Blair in the ‘unbridled hypocrisy and self-delusion of unindicted war criminals’ department.”

How to Tell If Your Member of Congress Is a Crony Capitalist Alternet

House Panel Is Subpoenaed as Trading Probe Heats Up Wall Street Journal. From comments: “Bharara reminds me of the cop who gives a ticket to an illegally parked car and ignores the dead body lying across the front seat.”

Rape victims say Bob Jones University told them to repent Aljazeera (Chuck L). Only in America.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Blackwashing, the Reparations Brand, and a Last Refuge For Scoundrels Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report

Detroit Rolls Out New Model: A Hybrid Pension Plan New York Times

Federal Reserve

A Horror-Show Called “Fed-Gate” May Be Coming To Your Bond Fund Soon David Stockman

Expect Fed optimism to fail again MacroBusiness

The Fed of magical thinking: why is Janet Yellen ignoring the rest of us? Guardian

Federal Reserve cuts growth forecasts Guardian

Six banks sued over trustee roles Financial Times. Don’t get excited. This is a replay of the strategy that Kathy Patrick used with Bank of America and Bank of New York Mellon, by which Bank of New York Mellon got broadened indemnification in return for letting the bank off the hook for cheap.

Class Warfare

A Blind Spot Full of Billionaires Taki’s Magazine. On Piketty. Natalie recommended this despite “prejudice against author”.

Billionaires Behind the Attack on Public Education in California Tenure Suit American Prospect

Senators question closing of Social Security field offices Tallahassee Democrat: Paul Tioxon:

This has happened to my local office in Montgomery County, a short walk from a regional rail station. We are now told to go to an Office in the city. Needless to say, the elderly of the inner suburbs do not want to go to dangerous neighborhood, with little street parking. Social Security, like the Post Office and other government services is being made to provide the poorest possible service by design. Not only are offices being shut, but staff is being cut, hours reduced etc etc. Everything possible to provide the worst possible experience furthering the perspective of government’s inability to do anything at all without a long inconvenient wait.

Rent, Rent Control and Economic Rents Pieria. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour. Swedish Lex:

Our daughter likes NC, in particular the antidote (of course). She got a cat a year ago, Icetea, although the cat seems to think that we belong to him. On the attached photo Icetea is posing (asleep) in what we call the gigolo position, something that he does a lot.

What is the procedure to qualify for the honor to be NC centerfold?


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. kgilmour

        I am cat sitting my daughters 2 Burmese Long Hairs. I haven’t had a cat since high school, so Brother & Sister are reprogramming me in the basics.

        The other morning I was sitting at my computer – and was gently reminded to change their water. Gently being a relative term. Sister came up behind me and reached up with both paws and sunk her claws, ever so gently into the small of my back!!

        Okay okay… I get the message. It wasn’t an attack, per se, – but a necessary chastening for my negligence.

        What an imperious pair they are. And to think she rescued them from a meth house. Ingrates, both of em.

    1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

      Apparently I have been placed on a “No Antidote” list which, much like the “No Fly List,” is secretive, undisclosed, and impossible to get off of. :-(

  1. Swedish Lex

    On Piketty and Swedish and Indian bus drivers……

    Have not read Piketty’s book but the impression I keep getting is that he believes things will be fixed if one more tax is added (and perhaps other taxes removed?). If so, it would indeed be a very French view. There is no end to how much the French will micro manage everything by tweaking taxes.

    Yes, I guess that there would be much more immigration into Sweden if borders were totally opened. Mind you that the majority of Swedes believe in the benefits of immigration, a minority is xenophobic and another minority does indeed wish to abolish all border controls alltogether.

    By comparison, Sweden is fairly open, which has a lot to do with the number of refugees that enter:

    1. craazyman

      I think Dan K. is the only person in America who’s actually read Professor Piketty’s book. Lots of people have bought it though, evidently. That must be weird — to write a book everybody buys but nobody reads. It sounds like a Chinese fortune cookie, “You will become a famous author, but remain unknown.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From my own personal experience, books, in general, are essential to interior decoration.

          1. McMike

            PS. There is a subset of interior decoration industry that stocks bookshelves for the well-to-do with rows and rows of unread books chosen by the designer.

            Presumably they scour remainder and yard sales to buy bulk classics and bestsellers then resell them to the clients.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              I’ve always found Goodwill to be an indispensable, if under-appreciated, resource in establishing the fact of being well-read.

        1. neo-realist

          Shirer’s Hardback copy of Rise and Fall of the Third Reich looks great on my shelf, but I promise to make time for it sooner or later.

            1. neo-realist

              Yes, from from my recall of perusing, quite trenchant–Ernst Roehm–“a notorious homosexual”, and some observations on Julius Streicher. Thanks for the encouragement.

          1. McMike

            True story: when I was a wee bit younger, I was enjoying a romp with a woman who stopped cold in mid-romp and half-shouted “what the hell is that!”, pointing at a book in my headboard book case which sported a big fat swastika on its spine.

            “I’m Jewish you know,” she said, with a fairly intense degree of indignation.

            Luckily, offering the book’s title was sufficient to restore the peace, if not the passion.

      2. McMike

        Yes, there are some interesting insights into consumer behavior there.

        The addenda to the fortune might be: “you will be attacked for your book by people who have not read it.”

  2. Swedish Lex

    On rent control.
    I will buy the concept however only if coupled with addressing the issue of creating incentives for construction. I do not know about NY, but in Sweden the national rent control is a contributing factor to the real estate bubble (the present one and past ones too). Not enough supply because rents are insufficient although excessive costs for construction materials is a contributing factor also (oligopoly).
    The system with rent control – with egalitarian objectives – has made it ridiculously cheap to rent a big apartment down town Stockholm. Problem is that it will take you 30 years of waiting to get one. Existing rental apartments are passed on to family members and have a hefty price on the black market. People pay a lot for an apartment they will not own, only have the right to rent…….

    1. armchair

      Unfortunately, in some cities with lots of construction and lax regulation, developers seem to build nothing but luxury apartments and luxury condos. I suspect that all of these projects are heavily financed, which means the building is committed to some outlandishly high revenue per square foot formula, and there can be no deviation from the unaffordable rents charged. It is like a form of private market regulation.

  3. kristiina

    Have you’all noticed this?

    And this was linked in Durden comments:

    Again, something so absurd that one can’t help wondering what this ISIS might be… US being sooo shy about bombing them – although any wedding party in that region seems to be a legitimate target. So ISIS popped out of the ground, fully armed, with advanced organisation and a leader…Nowhere is there any indication that anyone identifying themselves as members has ever been interviewed. Mostly active in social media. This looked like a potted plant to me, and I keep asking myself: Does ISIS exist? If it does, who are they?

    And now WSJ reports that Maliki is out of favor. Although Zalmay Khalilzad is still the favored commentator. Some game is on, it would be quite interesting to know what it is.

  4. James Levy

    Magical thinking at the Fed

    I’m constantly amazed at how the separation of decision-makers from the lived reality of most people destroys even the cleverest women and men’s ability to think rationally and formulate effective policy. When it comes to unemployment, healthcare, climate change, environmental destruction, intervention overseas, the people at the top more and more remind me of Hitler in the Bunker. And no, I’m not say that Bush or Obama or Yellen are Hitler. What I’m saying is that their grasp of reality is as tenuous as Hitler’s in the last year of the war, as is their sense that they can impose their will on reality. Right now you see this in the Maliki situation: the elected leader of another country is not, in Washington’s opinion, up to the job, so out come the cries of “off with his head”, as if it is the God-given right of those in Washington to determine who runs Iraq, along with the hubris of imagining that if we just get “our guy” in there, everything will be hunky-dory (can anyone say “Diem”). The level of unreality in our Imperial capital is terrifying, made more terrifying by the fact that the MSM has bought into (or been bought) this delusional mindset.

    1. afisher

      How about an analogy: Shia = Dem and Sunni=GOP (or vice versa) then ISSI could be the Oilgarchs (based on their finances) or the TPer’s funded by libertarian types (based on their grass-rootsie-ness). Or they could be the dominionist / religious right. Myriad of examples for how a sect grows “secretly” until they aren’t anymore.

  5. yenwoda

    From the piece on Thorium, “they also produce other radioactive by-products that will need safe disposal, including U-232, which has a half-life of 160,000 years.”

    Per wiki, U-232 has a half life of 69 years. Does he mean a different isotope? Also, quantities matter here.

    1. Another Gordon

      The conclusion of the piece on thorium has the air of a drive-by shooting, e.g. with no supporting evidence whatsoever: “Experts say compared to uranium, the thorium fuel cycle is more costly and would require extensive taxpayer subsidies.” And what on earth should one make of this assertion (emphasis added): “While thorium reactors produce less waste, they also produce other radioactive by-products that will need safe disposal, including U-232, which has a half-life of 160,000 years.” The sentence contradicts itself.

      All the experts I’ve read think thorium energy will ultimately be substantially cheaper. It will also be fail-safe (unlike uranium) and produce little and relatively easy to manage short-lived waste (again, unlike uranium). The problem is of course that the vested interest of established producers and the immense hurdle of gaining regulatory approval for new reactor types work against it.

    2. Synapsid

      The half-life of U232 is indeed just under 69 years. There are several comments on the article and this is pointed out in a few of them. The number of comments is unusually high for an article on, and some are very informative.

    3. Mark P.

      We’re on sensitive technical ground here.

      The LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) – the Gen-IV thorium molten salt reactor – is widely advertised as proliferation-resistant. Furthermore, the anti-nuclear criticisms of the thorium reactor – or LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor – quoted in the article that Yves and NC link to are entirely ignorant and stupid, and the Chinese and others will proceed with thorium reactor R&D without paying attention to them anyway.

      Nevertheless, an LFTR could hypothetically be converted to a high-grade weapons material breeder technology of perhaps unparalleled efficiency, with minor reconfigurations in the plant layout.

      Here’s what you need to understand.

      The short version of the argument for the proliferation resistance of the LFTR is that the thorium fuel cycle requires a small seed of fissile uranium-233 to start a chain reaction in a thorium bed/blanket, which then breeds slightly more U-233 than it uses. U-233 is worthless as weapons material: whenever it’s generated, uranium-232 also occurs and rapidly decays into other elements that include thallium-208, which emits hard-gamma-rays that destroy nuclear weapons’ electronics and triggering explosives.

      A longer version of that argument is provided in this AMERICAN SCIENTIST magazine article from 2010, “Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors: An Old Idea In Nuclear Power Gets Reexamined” —

      Now some historical background. On April 15th, 1955, MET (Military Effects Test) was one of 14 U.S. test detonations of various then-experimental fission devices that were, overall, called Operation Teapot and from which most later U.S. fission bomb designs – especially tactical nukes – were developed. MET itself, however, was an unique experiment where the bomb designers swapped in a bomb core of uranium-233, which is a rarely-used fissile isotope that’s the product of thorium-232 neutron absorption in breeder reactors: it produced a yield comparable to the “Fat Man” plutonium weapon exploded over Nagasaki.

      It’s right here that the criticisms of the LFTR voiced in the article linked to by Yves and NC about U-232 having a half-life of 160,000 years are complete garbage. U-232 has a relatively short half-life of 73.6 years, burning itself out by producing decay products that include strong emitters (thallium-208, principally) of high-energy gamma radiation. The gamma emissions are highly destructive to ordnance components circuitry and especially personnel, which is why it’s no good in bombs.

      Nevertheless, let’s consider the proliferation resistance of the thorium reactor in the light of Operation Teapot and the fact that the MET back in 1955 proved that U-233 could be used in a fission bomb. Work on this question has been done in the arms control community. Notably in a paper called “U-232 and the Proliferation-Resistance of U-233 in Spent Fuel” by Jungmin Kang and Frank N. von Hippel.

      Kang and von Hippel generally agree with the proliferation-resistance argument. But they separate out LMFBRs – a cousin of the LFTR – for a little more attention in their conclusion, noting (seemingly in passing): “In the case of the molten-salt U-233 breeder reactor, it was proposed to have continual chemical processing of a stream of liquid fuel. Such an arrangement also offers a way to completely bypass the U-232 contamination problem because 27-day half-life Pa- 233 could be separated out before it decays into U-233.”

      Let me amplify that.

      It might be hard to convert an existing LFTR-type thorium fluoride reactor. But if one is building one – and there are proposals to adapt this design and fuel cycle so as to build SMRs (small modular reactors) – then one could also build in a breeder cycle section quite easily. The resulting reactor could be maybe the fastest, easiest path to producing large quantities of high-grade fissile U-233 and Pu. Maybe not as fast as LIS (laser isotope separation), but certainly faster than current technologies like centrifuges.

      Arguably, there’s only one step required – for which one already has the technology since it’s already part of the reactor. That is, one of the thorium reactor’s inherent advantages is that it makes possible continual chemical processing of a stream of liquid fuel in both the core and the blanket (which means none of the difficult maintenance, refueling and related inefficiencies of current reactors).

      There are some technicalities deriving from nuclear reactions in the thorium cycle. Overall, thorium (Th-232) breeds to fissile uranium 233 (U-233) when hit with a neutron. In more detail, it works like this: the Th-233 decays to pronactinium, which is a U-233 precursor. That then decays to U-232 – and finally to thallium-208, which is what actually emits the hard gamma that fries both bomb electronics and biological activity (life), and is what supplies the thorium cycle’s much-vaunted proliferation resistance.

      Like I say, however, the thorium molten salt reactor has that inbuilt reprocessing arrangement, which at least hypothetically could be used to bypass U-232 contamination (the inherent proliferation-resistance feature) by separating out the pronactinium, before it decays into U-232 .

      To be sure, Pa-233 is a strong neutron absorber and thus can go to Pa-234, which decays to U-234, which in turn is not fissile (it takes yet another neutron to make U-235, which is the natural fissile isotope favored for bomb-building). The likelihood of Pa-233 grabbing a neutron before it beta-decays to U-233 is proportional to the neutron flux. So if you’re an aspiring proliferator who wants fissile U-233, you also want to keep the neutron irradiation down.

      But that’s a side consideration. The whole point of a Thorium to U-233 cycle is that if you process fast enough – without much subsequent neutron irradiation – you chemically separate the Pa-233 out before you get the breeding that gets you U-234 contamination. The liquid thorium fluoride reactor is designed to be able to do that intrinsically.

      If you pull the Pa-233 out immediately, before it breeds, you will get nearly pure U-233. If the Pa-233 sits around in the reactor very long at all then it will pick up neutrons and become U-234. Chemical separation processing done in a continuous loop lets you pull the Pa-233 out very quickly. A custom-design could let you run a continuous separation loop.

      So the conclusion is that maybe the resurgence of LFTR as a proposed commercialized “off the shelf” reactor technology should scare us. Because the question then becomes: just how hard is it to build a fission bomb with U-233? MET back in 1955 tells us that it’s quite doable.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        That’s some deep science, there, Mark. I wish I could understand it more easily, but you seem to have a firm grasp of the positive and negative physical aspects of thorium reactors, as well as the surrounding spin. Thanks for the run-down.

      2. Synapsid

        Thanks Mark.

        There is a short article in Nature, 6 December 2012, by four British nuclear engineers, which describes methods for isolating Pa233 in thorium reactors so it can decay to pure U233, which can then be used in a fission bomb. They say they’re writing in order to refute the widely repeated statement that thorium reactors cannot be used for nuclear proliferation.

  6. Banger

    The Iraq news is interesting but the media coverage in the U.S. is even more interesting and maybe even more important and the media reflects a general state of confusion over Iraq and even Ukraine (which it has chosen to largely ignore at this point). The American mainstream is dominated by the oligarchs and this is very obvious to most people. The “news” reflects the interests of these oligarchs plus entertainment and tempests in teapots (misdirection campaigns) to amuse the public. Here, with this new wrinkle in Iraq the Narrative becomes confused. Some are looking at who is to blame–but they don’t quite catch the question “blame for what?” because the mainstream media has consistently gotten the story wrong from the very beginning to the very end. The media did not report what was actually going on in Iraq during the occupation except in rather vague and misleading ways so people had a hard time making sense of where all this money went (the media tended to minimize the cost of the war and largely ignore the Iraqi casualties cause by U.S. actions) and why the greatest army in the world was fought to a standstill by a ragtag group of fighters. The media never really looked at these questions just as it didn’t carefully analyze what happened in Vietnam including the stunning atrocities committed by U.S. forces there.

    Some stories focus on the usual plea by neocons for “toughness” or more violence. Some in the media focus on the “no good options” meme and all major stories or analyses of the issue are mainly incoherent as if the official press were just throwing up their hands because the mainstream Narrative is now so divorced form reality that nothing makes sense anymore.

    Of course there are rational actions that could be taken but that would mean acknowledging that the Syria and Iraq wars have to be seen for what they are–proxy wars between Gulf State actors and Iran with interesting mixes of other state actors particularly the Turkish government which is, as usual, up to no good. Eventually someone in the mainstream is going to have to point the finger at the Saudi kingdom as the cause and main backing of Sunni radicalism including Al-qaida. This is the big problem–if you understand this then 9/11 looks a little different than what the mainstream would like it to look like. It would also have to focus on how the U.S., like Britain before WWII, is the key supporter of the house of Saud and then we might have to look on how that happened and what the mechanism of that control consists of, in other words, the CIA and its stable of contractors.

    Ultimately the Iraq and Syria situations can be resolved by a series of multi-lateral peace talks as were suggested by the Iraq Study Group some years back to settle new borders, new security guarantees and so on but the Bush administration refused to look at those recommendations because it, as well as this administration is not interested in averting conflict and war–the fact is that the national security state needs constant war and constant conflict and thus creates it wherever it can. Sometimes these conflicts appear to exist because we have strategic interests in the regions involved–but those interests would easily be achieved through diplomacy.

    The U.S. has consistently (but usually covertly) assisted and funded radical Islamic groups first to combat socialism and Nasserism then later to substitute the “terrorist” threat for the threat of communism (after the fall of the USSR). Turmoil in the ME only helps the U.S. national security state. “Failure” is always a good option because the mainstream never, ever, ever holds the U.S. military accountable or even the planners who deliberately created the debacle in Iraq–they are given front pages in the media to preach how Obama has falied to be “tough.” I’ll give Obama credit here–he has, somehow, moved the focus of U.S. policy a little bit towards where the American people want it despite heavy pressure from neocons in the administration particularly the State Dept. which has been dominated by the slimiest political players we have in the Democratic Party, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton. So far he has been able to make some minimal peace with Iran instead of following the “bomb, bomb Iran” scenario, the “bomb, bomb Syria scenario” (the intel operatives probably created a false flag event in the alleged “gassing” in Syria) and avoided over-reacting to the neocon coup in Ukraine and now seems to be playing a very interesting game in Iraq where the headwinds of policy are blowing particularly hard.

    1. fresno dan

      “why the greatest army in the world was fought to a standstill by a ragtag group of fighters.”
      deja vu all over again
      why the greatest army in the world was fought to a standstill by a ragtag group of guys in black pajamas….

      1. dearieme

        ‘the “cholesterol con” (part 1), the widespread belief that high levels of “bad (LDL) cholesterol” can cause heart attacks’: it’s not some sort of weird folk-belief, it was the official propaganda of the AMA and the US govt for decades. The evidence was always shaky, even faked: the guilty party was Ancel Keys.

        ‘the myth has generated enormous profits for many commercial interests’: very possibly, but it didn’t originate from them.

        “According to Harvard University’s Harvard Heart Letter, however, it is not the cholesterol in eggs or other food that’s a major culprit. It’s saturated and trans fats (which our bodies may convert to artery-clogging cholesterol).” And is the evidence good this time? Most unlikely.

        Heart attack rates went up for no known reason from about the twenties into the sixties; since then they’ve declined for no known reason. The effect was so dramatic and swift that one can rule out slow changes in diet and smoking as causes. Maybe it was all due to a pathogen: nobody knows. So often in human affairs, the start of all wisdom is to accept that “nobody knows”. Instead of which we’ll presumably get some more all-American health hysteria.

          1. MikeNY


            I’m late to the party, but I always thought that the Iraq war was about OIL and ISRAEL.

        1. susan the other

          Just brainstorming. Any country the superpower attacks (whether or not by surrogates) should have automatic passports to live in the superpower country. They paid the price.

        1. AndrewW

          I believe that Whitney is wrong. The idea that Washington will find a more pliable leader to install in Baghdad is ridiculous. The alternatives to Maliki were even more closely aligned with Iran. Dubya was right about Maliki being “our man in Iraq”. A recent panel of the Council on Foreign Relations featured Meghan O’Sullivan describing this disastrous situation and it’s implications for American hegemony in Eurasia.

          “In the last 48 hours, there have been killings of Sunnis by Shia militia, Sunni clerics in the north. This is very inflammatory, obviously, and also of concern is the mobilization of tens of thousands of Shia men who responded to Ayatollah Sistani’s fatwa or call for all able-bodied men to pick up their weapons and, you know, to support the security services.

          But, of course, the security services don’t have the ability to integrate these numbers of people into the formal security structures. And so what we’re really seeing is the mobilization of groups that really U.S. and Iraqi policy works for years to get them to put down their weapons, join the political process, and that has effectively been undone in the last few days.”

          The wider implications are not limited to Iraq’s internal situation. They’ve effectively sabotaged policy involving Iran too.

          “if Iraq’s energy goes off-line, it’s going to be harder to keep people not buying Iranian oil. It’s going to be harder to put on more sanctions with Iran if those talks fail, all of those kinds of repercussions.”

          It’s going to be impossible to keep countries from buying Iranian oil if Iraq suffers from supply disruptions. Oil markets are already tight and volatility is up. If this situation persists for a significant amount of time sanctions against Iran will suffer an epic fail.

          “In fact, we are so far from the ideal now that it may be desirable to keep Iraq together — and I think people are understating how easy it would be for Kurdistan to go on its own. There still would be major, major regional issues stemming from Syria, from Iran, and from Turkey. So — but it may be desirable to keep Iraq together, but it may be — you know, it may not be possible.”

          In other words we’re mired in a quagmire that could swiftly transform into a regional war. This is not evidence of a grand plan to break the regional dominance of Iran.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘point the finger at the Saudi kingdom as the cause and main backing of Sunni radicalism … the U.S., like Britain before WWII, is the key supporter of the house of Saud.’

      Petrified U.S. policy continues supporting actors such as Saudi Arabia and Israel which have their own agendas that are not at all in America’s best interest. Saudi Arabia is a tyrannical tinderbox whose political model featuring hundreds of rich princes pacifying the resentful, repressed masses with welfare handouts is utterly unsustainable. Naturally, the U.S. has several military bases there.

      Syria and Iraq are just the warm-up acts for the big Saudi fireworks show. One hopes that John McCain will be visiting Riyadh when it blows. Fight your way out, Rambo!

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Saudi Arabia is surely for the US a safe and deniable intermediary for backing Sunni irregulars–what the media calls ‘terrorists’. Doing so in Iraq on the Iranian border, with an Iranian friendly government and Sunni majority, puts a lot of pressure on Iran. What other levers does the US have move Iran? Ratcheting up or down the support for the irregulars is a control mechanism, and one that isn’t subject to public knowledge or scrutiny and as such, one that is very usefully insulated from political or PR interference. Sanctions or overt action are obviously constrained in ways that leaving pallets of USD around to be “stolen” or covertly funneling money through Saudi Arabia aren’t.

    3. Another Gordon

      I can’t help wondering how long the US will continue to see its interests as being tightly aligned to the Saudi’s. It is said that their supergiant Ghawar field – by far the largest in the world – is beginning to suck dry. Without it SA will be a largish but not dominant producer with soaring domestic oil demand, all sorts of budgetary problems and sharply reduced ability to buy off challenges to the established order. In, say, five years or so much of the world’s remaining conventional oil will be in Shia southern Iraq, Iran and ex Soviet central Asia accessible only through the good offices of Russia or Iran.

      What price geopolitics then?

      1. James Levy

        I think Washington has only one real obsession here, the petrodollar regime. Saudi Arabia is the lynch pin in the system of dollar payments for oil. Sure, they like the fact that Saudi Arabia is a de facto ally of Israel and a seething enemy of Iran. But it’s keeping the dollar scam going no matter how many we create that anchors Washington to Riyadh.

      2. McMike

        Answer: Until about five minutes before we kick the princes out and replace them with a CIA trained secular technocrat sociopath.

      3. Banger

        Geopolitics has become a muddle. National interest and even imperialism has now moved into simple conflicts between armed gangs–American FP no longer makes sense to me and is generally incoherent at this point in history.

        1. McMike

          Then perhaps your metrics need to be revised.

          Forget about national interest or strategic or ideological coherence, I have found that if I follow the money, I can usually come up with a rational (if not pathological) explanation.

          1. fresno dan

            I agree
            The state department and all “foreign policy” is just a chimera. The only real metric is the biggest campaign donor ….

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          “…American FP no longer makes sense to me and is generally incoherent at this point in history.”

          Try reading today’s Black Agenda Report link: “U.S. Funds “Terror Studies” to Dissect and Neutralize Social Movements” for some clarification.

          “When American rulers say they are defending U.S. national security interests against all potential enemies, what they really mean is they are defending the prevailing capitalist order against any social movement that might oppose it, anywhere on Earth. They want to put the whole planet on lockdown, and have enlisted U.S. universities in their global fascist project.”

          Bruce Dixon is a cogent thinker and a no BS writer, which is why the WSJ publishes the fool Cheney’s logorrhea instead of the BAR piece.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            “Cheney’s logorrhea”, aka oral diarrhea — perfect!

            Indeed imperial FP makes no sense to normal people at all. Why? Because once again, none of the cover stories for IWIII (Iraq War III) — regurgitated by the same pack of pathlogical liars, war criminals, and incompetent architects of IWI and IWII — are even remotely credible. In fact, “fool me once” is a laughably inadequate phrase for all of oir Middle East war pretexts. They are self-evident lies. Anyone that buys the new, improved version of Obama/Neocon snake oil is simply beyond help and incapable of rational thought.

            The monstrous, cannibalistic US-CIA/Saudi-sponsored and provisioned mercenary butchers who launched the chemical weapons attacks in Syria’s civil war are assuredly not a spontaneous immaculate conception in Iraq. The ISIS, an al-Qaeda derivative, are our very own evil spawn (did we learn nothing from 911?), and this is almost certainly another of Obama’s illegal wars.

            Whatever the real reason, whether regime change 2.0 because Maliki is insufficiently compliant (rejected permanent US occupation), another sideways attack on Syria and/or Iran, yet another of Israel’s perverse dictates, or simply a strategy to keep conflict churning for fun and profit, we should by default automatically reject the teleprompter version. Never take Obama’s apparent bumbling incompetence at face value. The man, his masters, and minions always have a hidden agenda with ulterior motives, ALWAYS.

        3. TimR

          I have to question my worldview every day, as I come across ever more labyrinthine speculations about the intrigues that may or may not be going on behind the scenes. How anybody outside the halls of power, could come to any firm conclusions, without decades of studying REAL history (or with a savvy ability to read between the lines of propaganda), well, I’m skeptical that most people who think they know anything, really do. 99% of people claiming to know the score are probably missing something (of course you still have to try.)

          I find has some good interviews and seemingly genuine/knowledgeable network of affiliated bloggers/ podcasters.

          Webster Tarpley, that you mentioned yesterday, I had not seen in a while, but he seems to have a broad and deep grasp of world history, that elevates him above many who *only* see thru the propaganda, but aren’t necessarily well rounded.

          I came across something called Jay’s Analysis recently, that gives some “esoteric” analysis of movies, in addition to the Foreign Policy, that is a useful angle.

          I guess the alt media does converge in some views, then around that they have different political leanings, libertarian, left anarchism, leftism, conservatism, etc.

        4. Working Class Nero

          I don’t agree. In fact US FP is real simple. As you yourself have pointed out several times – it’s all about the full spectrum dominance.

          What may be slightly complicated is all the Kabuki theatre and obfuscation involved in reaching that goal.

          If we take a map of the world; the goal of US FP is to ensure that every country on the map has a color blue to symbolize its acceptance of US hegemony. Currently there are a few red countries – Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Cuba. There are also a few purple countries, China and Russia, which to some extent accept US dominance but also retain a little independence.
          The Saudis, as evil as they are, are useful to the US in that they help set up the conditions to flip the last few countries in the Middle East into the blue column. This latest move in Iraq is clearly set up to force Iran, and Syria, into the blue camp.

          The genius of the Iraq invasion of 2003 was that it basically made Iran the colonial master of Iraq for free. The US managed to get Iran into this colonial McMansion on a sort of Option Arm basis; the terms were real cheap up front with the US military making all the initial payments. But the recent ISIS surge represents a huge balloon payment for Iran. They had all the trappings of a colonial power but now they have to start paying in spades their own version of the White Man’s Burden.

          Dick Cheney mouthing off is just a way to give Obama the political cover he needs to do nothing. It’s what’s called the opposite game when I do it with my children. Cheney says one thing which repels any sane person into thinking the opposite is better. And in this case the opposite means the US does nothing and lets Iran sort this thing out alone.

          I’m not sure if it is true but one ISIS tweet showed a bunch of captured APC’s being loaded up for shipment to Syria. The ISIS surge in Iraq may soon transform itself into a tsunami in Syria. Iran is like an underwater homeowner, if they want to stay outside of the US globe of influence then they need to start shedding assets like Syria and Hezbollah, and they need to mail in the keys on their adventure in Iraq.

          Or, instead, they could kiss the US ring; switch to a blue color, get rid of sanctions, and keep at least their influence in Iraq. What’s a mullah to do?

          It’s all about the full spectrum dominance.

          1. Banger

            Certainly the idea is full-spectrum dominance and so on and that explains most of the create-chaos-everywhere approach but I see the reactions of this administration and the media as more confused now than it’s ever been starting with the failure of intervening in the Syria conflict during the alleged gas attack crisis. Since then, for me, the FP establishment seems to have broken up into factions–and I think there may be half a dozen factions now with no unifying force–it’s mainly an impression from decades of reading between the lines.

            Look, the political situation is confusing, the RP is in chaos just when they should come together for the upcoming elections and the DP seems kind of dead though I sense a lot of thrashing in the water as they focus on cultural issues and making fun of the RP rather than focusing on something substantial.

            1. Jackrabbit

              Really Banger, this is too much. Over the last 3 months your position has changed from:

              1) There is a conflict/debate between neocons and realists over policy
              When pressed to provide evidence that any such debate could change policy or to name who those realists are, you could not.

              2) The ‘Deep State’ will not allow neocons to do anything reckless
              This flies in the face of social factors like: a) careerism and b) group-think, and govt manipulation and control like: c) nsa spying, and d) war on whistle-blowers, etc. We don’t know IF, or to what extent, the deep-state may be compromised. And, while military officers and other ‘Deep State’ actors may give input, elected or appointed policymakers (neolibcons) choose the direction.

              3) And now this: “. . . the FP establishment seems to have broken up into factions–and I think there may be half a dozen factions now with no unifying force . . .
              The reason? An undeniable, inexplicable, unassailable HUNCH.

              So, let me AGAIN say this: As far as I can determine, neolibs and neocons are in most key policy making positions. There may be some that disagreement with them but that does not substantially change policy. While neolibcons and WELCOME debate, it is only because it:

              a) masks their control, and
              b) helps them to craft policy that isn’t too outrageously offensive,
              c) allows them to identify individuals that agree with them – who they should help advance to higher positions.

              Universities, think tanks, NGOs are full of neolibcons now. The resulting hubris and group-think is a big reason that our economy and FP is stumbling now.

              Have a look at this Crosstalk segment where two respected American academics talk about how strong the Washington Consensus (essentially neolibcon) is.

              H O P

          2. Mark P.

            ‘The genius of the Iraq invasion of 2003 was that it basically made Iran the colonial master of Iraq for free.’

            [1] Eh. Watch yourself. You’re not supposed to suggest that the 2003 Iraq invasion had any genius — or even any possible compelling, strategically intelligible motives — around NC.

            [2] There was probably no ‘genius’ involved in 2003. As with Nixon and Kissinger taking us off the gold standard back in the day, drawing Iran into Iraq was probably something tangential to the US’s other compelling strategic reasons for invading Iraq, and that it then found could be a feature, not a bug.

            And I stress _could_ . It’s not a done deal.

          3. fresno dan

            I admire your cynicism . And logic….
            You may be correct.

            But I believe the US government is composed of idiots, morons, and criminals.
            Sure, they are rich (i.e., they’re sponsors), but so are a lot of narcotic traffickers…

    4. Jackrabbit

      Your analysis of US media is somewhat interesting, but not enough to make up for these flaws:

      First, why do you slight Israel? You don’t think they make any meaningful contribution to what happens in the ME? I think they would be high insulted (off the record, of course). Sy Hersh (reporting in 2007!) listed Israel-US-Saudi Arabia as acting together to employ sectarianism as policy tool. Even if Hersh’s reporting did not ring true (it does), your sweeping statement that: “Turmoil in the ME only helps the U.S. national security state.”? Is befuddling as you point the finger at Saudia Arabia for causing this mess. Why would they do so if it they didn’t see some benefit?

      ” I’ll give Obama credit here–he has, somehow, moved the focus of U.S. policy a little bit towards where the American people want it despite heavy pressure from neocons . . . So far he has been able to make some minimal peace with Iran . . .”
      Obama is a neocon himself or a neocon sympathizer/enabler. I can’t believe that you buy into the 11-dimensional chess / his hearts in the right place crap. Neocons and Republicans are foil for policy that the Nobel prize-winning Constitutional lawyer flim-flam man wants to implement for his benefactors. His Administration turned a no-fly zone in Libya into a bombing campaign that was not authorized by UNSC or Congress. He came within days of bombing Syria on trumped up intel – only relenting because of determined resistance from Russia. He has thoroughly supported the Ukraine gambit. He has not signed any deal with Iran, and it is unclear if he ever will. The Administration’s professed shock and thumping of the chest over ISIS doesn’t make sense to many. It is likely to be kabuki.

      H O P

  7. MtnLife

    Re: The Egg Con
    Healthy nutrient composition of the egg depends on quality of feed and environmental conditions – just like the health of people. Eggs from free-ranging chickens have a higher HDL:LDL ratio, higher Omega-3 levels, and higher protein levels in addition to tasting far better. One way you can tell what the chicken that laid your egg has been eating is to look at the uncooked egg. The more yellow color in the white and yolk, the more of a corn/grain based diet and less exercise the chicken had. The greater level of orange in the yolk and clear whites indicate a natural diet and plenty of exercise. Ours get yellowish in late fall – early spring as natural forage drops off and they confine themselves to a much smaller portion of the yard. During summer the whites are clear and the yolks are a deep orange.
    Remember if you are buying locally make sure the eggs are NOT washed. The chicken covers the egg with an anti-microbial coating (they don’t want their babies infected) that keeps it safe. This makes refrigeration relatively unnecessary (except for long term storage, we keep ours unrefrigerated for weeks easily, just no hot areas) and large scale egg washing is one of the greatest sources of contamination if not done correctly.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks for the information.

      Having not seen one before, what are some of the things to look for to make sure one is getting unwashed eggs?

    2. trish

      And the chickens generally live a lot better chicken lives. get to free range, chase insects, eat grass, take dust baths…rather than mere commodities crammed into cages and/or dark crowded filthy factories to live lives that are nasty, brutish, and short. Even on a very tight income, I refuse to buy corporate eggs due to the cruelty. It’s not all about us.

      re unwashed, where to get (MyLessThanPrimeBeef)…I get them from a college farm by which I’m fortunate enough to live or backyard chicken people…and I just request them unwashed.
      If I could I’d still keep chickens. Loved them. And they’re quite amusing to watch. Very intelligent in their chicken ways…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks, Trish.

        Speaking of chicken ways, how does a tough, bullginh chicken taunt his chicken-victim?

        ‘You chicken!’

        1. MtnLife

          We have people who have “adopted” a chicken mainly for purposes of having a higher concentration of a certain color egg, usually green or dark brown. They buy the bird, it lives at our place, and they get their price/dozen reduced appropriately in accordance with feeding needs and avg. production of that breed.

    3. James Levy

      Yep, we’ve got three wonderful chickens (two black Jersey Giants and a gorgeous Buff Orpington) and the eggs they lay are great. I use a combo of quality feed, veg and fruit scraps, and free ranging. They love to peck the seeds off the high grass that grows on part of our property. We even saw one eat a little toad!

    4. fresno dan

      If you went to a farmers market, why are some simple tips you would recommend for choosing good eggs?

      1. McMike

        Mainly, just have a conversation with the producer, look in his/her eyes and ask about their practices and values. Visit their farm.

        The truth is in the eggs: rich deeply orange yolks, clear whites; amazing taste.

        PS. Now learn how to cook them. Hint: everything you learned at the corner diner is wrong.

        1. MtnLife

          Agreed. Just ask about the washing. Any producer doing what is right (and even some that aren’t) are usually more than happy to talk about their practices and receive visitors to the farm/backyard. This goes for all sectors of agriculture.

          Further egg tips: Local eggs will generally have much firmer shells. The force it takes to crack one edge of mine will blow right through both walls of a store bought cage-free/free range egg. Tapping the shells with your fingernail you will get a distinctly different sound. Also, don’t be put off by seeing ripples (shell hardening while the egg is near the sphincter), hard deposits (excess calcium), brown/red speckles, and a wide variety of colors (white, cream, light brown through deep chocolate, and even green/blue).
          Shaking the egg will tell you how old it is. Fresh will feel full (only yolk movement) with no discernible bias towards orientation. As the egg ages it forms an air pocket (why you put the pointy side down) which you can feel as you rotate it and it will ‘slosh’ a little bit.
          Fresh eggs are horrible for baking (things don’t set right) and hard boiling (the egg sticks to the shell). Wait at least a week or until a decent air pocket can be felt.
          If they have a rooster you may end up with a little extra “protein” in your egg (may have a trace of blood also). Usually only a speck but can occasionally get to half-pea sized in hot weather. It doesn’t bother me but it can freak some people out.
          Any birds that have true outdoor access will have very dirty eggs during any wet period. Some people won’t openly sell these due to lack of “curb appeal” so you may be able to get these at a discount.

          @Trish We price our eggs on a sliding scale (semi-discretely) so we can help people make positive food choices. Ask around, some others might do the same.

  8. JCC

    According to Cheney, If all these Arab Peninsula Leaders are so concerned with ISIS, then why don’t they do something about it. Blaming, by proxy, all American citizens that want nothing to do with more War in SouthWest Asia is disingenuous at best.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      This so-called “op-ed” is vintage Cheney. The only cliche he left out was his own memorable “smoking gun/mushroom cloud” reference.

      There must be something in the water in Montana which is causing Cheney to delude himself into thinking that anyone still actually CARES what he has to say. Or maybe it’s in the water in Washington, DC since Hillary seems to be experiencing those same delusions.

      The best reaction I’ve heard yet was when a reporter asked Jay Carney to comment on this sentence: “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” Carney replied, “Which president was he talking about?”

      1. McMike

        Somehow I started reading without seeing the byline. So, as I am reading I am wondering: who is this nut job? And: wow, this is whacked, even for the WSJ.

        It’s like they contracted out editorials to the out of work guy next to me on a barstool at 10 am.

    2. fresno dan

      It is an amazing aspect of human thinking (or more accurately, the lack of thinking, particularly of republicans) that people who advocate no government social programs, because people have to do for themselves, the government can’t do anything right, etc, etc., when it comes to foreign policy believe totally in the warfare (welfare – ironic how one vowel makes all the difference) state.
      Where are all those arguments about Iraq learning to stand on its own two feet???

      1. McMike

        Neocons go through extensive conditioning: they are able to believe as many as six impossible things simultaneously.

        1. fresno dan

          When you’ve lost Fox news, you’ve lost the bizarre, whacko, insane, nutjobs (I joke, I joke – some of my best friends are right wingers – really)
          And I saw where Glenn Beck (yes, Glenn Beck) admits liberals were right!!!!

          I think the most difficult thing for most people is admitting they are wrong. Especially if you invest either a lot of intellectual or emotional energy in a matter.
          I am pretty skeptical about things, but maybe there is some teeny, tiny glimmer of hope that Americans will return to pragmatism, and be aware in their cynicism about liberal politicians, that “conservative” politicians are usually “conservative” in name only, and have no desire to truly be principled.

          1. McMike

            Indeed. Cheney has a monumental weight on his shoulders as a singular person responsible for so much carnage and wrongness. The cognitive dissonance must be massive; for a person obviously already operating under tremendous mental challenges of ego and neuroses, the pressure has to be intense.

            Not since Reagan has one man had so much singular unilateral power and made such hash of everything he touched. I would argue that he is in fact worse than Reagan in the immediate sense (although in the broader sense, it all traces back to Regan).

            The worst thing that could happen is Cheney dies now, then the GOP will remake him into a hero.

            1. Banger

              I think he did rather well. Enriched his friends and himself, caused major pain for millions insuring continued violence in the region making the argument for keeping the national security state in power which is the goal of his faction above all other goals.

              1. McMike

                Well, perhaps as he nears actual mortality (he WILL die sometime, won’t he?), he is sensing that he is in danger of being fitted up as the Judas Goat.

                As for the National Security State, it too senses that it too is dancing on the edge of repudiation.

                1. fresno dan

                  I think of the movie “downfall” about Hitler in the bunker, (the German people don’t deserve me) and I can’t help but think of the arguments to “stay the course” in Iraq….

          2. MikeNY

            Simply put, Dick Cheney is an evil man.

            I made that comment in response to Charles Blow’s column in the NYT, and — quelle surprise! — it seems they refused to print it.

          3. evodevo

            Wow! I can’t believe darling Megyn actually did that! That is super. Going where Dancin’ Dave Gregory won’t. Good on her.

          4. skippy

            Yeah someone is playing with the reality nob allot lately i.e. Larry Summers invoking and agreement with Keynes wrt England’s economy in the WPO.

            1. hunkerdown

              Spending my early childhood in a somewhat religious home, I used to be reminded frequently that even Satan can quote Scripture to his purpose.

              But someone is playing with the reality knob a lot lately. I wish I had a really good, short introduction to John Boyd’s work on the decision loop that mentions the squad flashmobbing the enemy trench to commit less-than-lethal damage and general pandemonium, on the theory that the damage to the enemy’s confidence in their situational awareness and adversary model would encourage them to make more mistakes than would taking out a trench full of grunts.

          5. JTFaraday

            “And I saw where Glenn Beck (yes, Glenn Beck) admits liberals were right!!!!”

            Really? :p

          6. hunkerdown

            I think the most difficult thing for most people is admitting they are wrong. Especially if you invest either a lot of intellectual or emotional energy in a matter.

            Competition culture, too. Steve Randy Waldman once wrote that the American culture is set up to “sharply divide winners from losers”, essentially because Progress. Sigh, can’t we all just get along?

  9. trish

    on rent control: I have zero economics background (sans a basic econ course years ago) and have labored (at my age) to learn at sites like this as much as I can, but I wonder why does rent control have to mean either the Mia Farrow problem (along with the dubious “inheritance” aspect) or landlord profiteering with extortionist rents?

    Address those problems, ie control rents and prevent landlord profiteering, have sliding fee scales w/ public assistance according to income/need… get rid of the “inheritance” aspect. and that goes along with a progressive tax structure so you take care of the billionaires, children of billionaires.
    And, better, there’s the concept of good public housing (I don’t think that needs to be an oxymoron), getting rid of the landlord middleman class. Investing (as a society) in quality public housing (building up and small) rather than luxury flats…
    Like so much that benefits the public that is condemned today, the concept of rent control is this sort of either/or- and it works for those at the top.

    (Just quicky throwing these somewhat incoherent thoughts out).

  10. Carolinian

    Al Jazeera/Bob Jones: While I don’t live in Greenville I am quite familiar with Bob Jones University. Time was their co-eds could always be spotted by the ankle length dresses they were required to wear in public regardless of current fashions. The place does have some repressive ideas about sex and was always rumored to be where the religious sent their promiscuous problem kids. The school has been around forever and I have no idea how much influence it still has with fundamentalsts. But they are a big player in Greenville– the regions economic anchor.

    Greenville is also the point of origin for the wonderful Jim Demint. They have a lot to answer for.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The unshakable commitment to the holy sacrament of misogyny is what these “judeo-christian” nut jobs hang their hats on.

      It makes up for the “sin” of having an important piece of their anatomy that’s too LIMP to do the job.

      And it really, REALLY was all Eve’s fault.

      1. Carolinian

        Well, as the article points out, now the Catholics have company. Also it seems like fundamentalist Islam has some woman issues and in Hindu India there’s that whole widow burning thing. Turns out there’s a lot of misogyny to go around.

        And I don’t want to give the wrong impression. Bob Jones is a rich institution that has influence with local government, but from a cultural standpoint it’s yesterday’s news. These days you are more likely to see gays in downtown Greenville than girls in ankle dresses. Thanks to the homogenizing effect of television and now the internet the modern South is not that different from any other region of the country. It’s even getting hard to find a good confederate flag. And Obama–give him credit for this at least–has made the region a lot more colorblind. I see this every day.

        Of course our politicians are nuts. For that I have no explanation.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Point taken.

          It does seem that “religion” is inextricably linked to misogyny.

          Please tell me Buddha knew better.

          1. hunkerdown

            Well, a society has to oppress *someone* in order to feel special. Maybe that whole “feeling special” thing itself isn’t a great aesthetic to drive society.

  11. Jim Haygood

    ”Unemployment is a serious problem, yes. But inflation is also a measure of how households are suffering. The Fed watches a different – and more misleading – measure of inflation, which doesn’t include food and gas.” — Heidi Moore, The Guardian

    There’s a good reason that the Misery Index, invented in the 1970s, is the sum of the unemployment and inflation rates. Unemployment and inflation are the two big nasties that directly cause misery. Broad consensus supports this view.

    The Fed prefers to use a core PCE index, excluding food and energy, because it hates volatility. Central planners want policy to glide in stately arcs like a great ocean liner, without embarrassing little fits and starts that imply indecision, or (far worse for their large egos) ERROR.

    In fact, common mathematical techniques are available to smooth the volatility caused by including food and energy. A median average is much less sensitive to extreme outliers than a mean average.

    For years, the Cleveland Fed has been calculating an alternative median CPI, which exhibits admirably low volatility. And the problem with adopting it? Inconveniently, the median CPI rose 2.2% over the past 12 months — above the Fed’s 2.0% target, which implies that the remaining stimulus from the tapering QE program is excessive and inappropriate.

    But we haven’t hit S&P 2K yet. So the orgy of credit creation must go on.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      If “hedonic” adjustments didn’t exist, the Fed would have to invent them. Oh, wait. They did. As ZH suggests regularly, “Let them eat iPads.” Or flat screen TVs, I guess.

      1. Jim Haygood

        As Doug Short states in a post yesterday about inflation measures, ‘Core PCE is considerably less volatile than CPI.’

        Nothing necessarily wrong with that, as long as the CPI and PCE reconverge from time to time.

        But they don’t. As Doug shows in the penultimate chart, since 1960 the CPI has risen by nearly 700%, while the PCE has risen by under 500%.

        This isn’t a case of lab-coated economists suppressing volatility. It’s rather an example of Federal Reserve butchers putting their fat bloody thumbs on the scales to pick our pockets.

        1. hunkerdown

          Like energy, risk cannot be created or destroyed but it can be moved around or transmuted.

      2. trinity river

        If the taper is continuing, and companies are not only not expanding but have been buying back their stock at least a couple of years, . . . how is Yellen goosing the stock market now? The federal and state governments have been shrinking, what gives?

        1. susan the other

          technically they are expanding their “book,” in fact they could be repatriating US dollars as fast as they can (afac) without causing inflation…

          1. trinity river

            Susan, could you explain this further? How would they repatriate dollars? What does expanding their “book” mean?

    2. fresno dan

      The FED now has 40 years of data of middle income male workers decline in real wages (I guess that is why the FED is not interested…WAGES). No volatility there…nice smoothly descending line…

      The belief in the FED is really one of the most irrational and destructive mindsets of modern life.
      If low interest rates are the be all and end all of the economy, why exactly is it that these exceptionally low rates are only available to banks (and the lowest of the low rates to the primary dealers???)

      That is, we reward the most criminal, and the most stupid (people apparently who do not know how to determine is someone will pay a loan back) after they have almost destroyed the economy….by GIVING them access to capital that nobody else has…..and we wonder why our economy doesn’t do well…..
      We have a state religion, economics, that refuses to see evil in the banking industry. NOPE, nothing but supply and demand…..

      I used to believe those people in the dark ages were dense to so follow religion, but now I believe we have not made any progress, and we’re still following an irrational religion – FED worship.

  12. Luke Nolan

    Iraq crisis exclusive: US rules out military action until Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stands down

    Iraq crisis: President Obama can ‘bypass Congress’

    Saudis give apparent warning to Iran: don’t meddle in Iraq

    Saudi Arabia: ‘This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves’

    Blowback! U.S. trained ISIS at secret Jordan base
    This has been getting circulated so it might as well get posted here.

    “Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.”

    “WND further reported that, according to a Shiite source in contact with a high official in the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Obama administration has been aware for two months that the al-Qaida-inspired group that has taken over two Iraqi cities and now is threatening Baghdad also was training fighters in Turkey.

    The source told WND that at least one of the training camps of the group Iraq of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria, the ISIS, is in the vicinity of Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, where American personnel and equipment are located.”

    Iraq crisis: US ‘urging Maliki to resign’ – live updates

    “In that NBC interview Kerry also insisted the US was not seeking to prop up the Maliki government.
    ‘This is not about Maliki,’ AFP quoted Kerry saying.”

    “Israel says it is more alarmed by Iran gaining influence in Iraq than it is by the advance of Sunni extremists.

    Speaking on BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme, Israel international relations minister Yuval Steinitz, said his government was disturbed by both developments and the general level of turmoil in the region.

    He said: ‘Two things should be avoided. One you don’t want to see Iraq controlled or occupied by Isis. Two you don’t want to see Iraq controlled or hegomonised by Iran, because clearly there is an attempt by Iran to create an Iranian Shia axis stretching from Iran through Iraq [to] Syria [and] … Lebanon.’

    But he added: ‘Isis is a real threat to the Iraqi people and the region. Iran and Hezbollah are even a greater threat to our region and the western world.'”

    This is looking more and more like a coup with the ultimate intent being the Balkanization of Iraq. Think that sounds like a crackpot conspiracy theory? Well, maybe, but it’s Oded Yinon’s–a former senior advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs–crackpot conspiracy from 1982:

    “Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East
    The Infamous “Oded Yinon Plan”. Introduction by Michel Chossudovsky

    “According to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya in a 2011 Global Research article, The Yinon Plan was a continuation of Britain’s colonial design in the Middle East:

    ‘[The Yinon plan] is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

    Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims. The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran, which the Yinon Plan discusses.

    The Atlantic, in 2008, and the U.S. military’s Armed Forces Journal, in 2006, both published widely circulated maps that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan. Aside from a divided Iraq, which the Biden Plan also calls for, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The partitioning of Iran, Turkey, Somalia, and Pakistan also all fall into line with these views. The Yinon Plan also calls for dissolution in North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.’

    Excerpt from Yinon’s “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,” the whole of which is posted with the article:


    The Western front, which on the surface appears more problematic, is in fact less complicated than the Eastern front, in which most of the events that make the headlines have been taking place recently. Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precendent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unqiue areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today. 14


    Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization. 15

      1. Luke Nolan

        I know it’s an understatement to call it sketchy, but you never know.

        The point is, it’s wholly unbelievable that this gaggle of fanatics–who also happen to be expert bank robbers, industrial managers, accountants, antiquarians, and cinematographers–came to prominence wholly on their own. This is the same Bond villain nonsense that was used to sell the war in Afghanistan.

          1. Luke Nolan

            How about this:

            “‘There is Saudi money flowing into Isis but it is not from the Saudi state,’ said Lina Khatib of the Carnegie Foundation.”

            Are we getting warmer? For such a totalitarian regime, the Saudi iron fist is remarkably relaxed when it comes to allowing local donors to pass money into the hands of supposed enemies of the state.

            1. fresno dan

              I made the very same point to some friends in an email
              Women can’t drive, but money flying off to insurgents is not monitored….

        1. fresno dan

          “The film is called “The Clanging of the Swords IV”. The Roman numeral is there because, much like with Hollywood blockbusters, the film is part of a series. ”

          I really hate sequels….
          Seriously, thanks for the links.

          Iraq crisis: President Obama can ‘bypass Congress’
          Because, really, the only point of congressmen is to attend cocktail fundraisers – not to vote on ANYTHING that people might pay attention to and get pis*ed off about ….

        2. fresno dan

          “This is the same Bond villain nonsense that was used to sell the war in Afghanistan.”

          Obviously, they left out the hot tubs, thong clad cocktail serving girls, as well as the nude dancing girls, and the giant screen TVs. AND no aston martin – preposterous!!!

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Balkanization of Iraq, the break-up of Lebanon and Syria, and the (re)subjugation of Persia to fulfill the goal of Eretz Israel certainly makes more sense than any extant cover tales. The usual rule, “follow the money”, changes in the ME to “what’s Israel’s agenda?”, because that is almost always the US agenda. The Israeli tail invariably wags the US dog.

      1. Synapsid

        I told them not to break up the Ottoman Empire. I told them and told them, but would they listen? No…

  13. Jim Haygood

    Argentina ‘goes latin’ on its yanqui tormentors. From La Nación in Buenos Aires:

    The government is escalating its dispute with New York Judge Thomas Griesa, who ordered Argentina to pay holdout bondholders who did not accept the previous restructuring.

    Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich, officiating at his regular press conference, accused the judge of being “biased” and “promoting imbalance” in favor of the holdouts. In addition, the official said that “there is no mission or delegation prepared” to travel to the United States to negotiate with creditors next week, and declined to give details of the next steps the Casa Rosada will take.

    “If justice is balance, Judge Griesa is promoting a deep imbalance” said Capitanich, who was dispatched on several occasions to confront the New York judge. “His decision strikes down the debt restructuring,” the official complained. “Argentina’s willingness to pay is not to be questioned by Griesa or anyone,” he added.


    Escalation. Yeah, that’s worked so well so far!

    Note it in your calendar: Argentina defaults, 30th July.

  14. diptherio

    Hey Lambert, check this out:

    Deer Isle and Stonington, ME, June 17, 2014–Employees of three rural Maine businesses–Burnt Cove Market, V&S Variety and Pharmacy, and The Galley–are now the owners. All of them.

    By forming the Island Employee Cooperative, Inc. (IEC), the largest worker cooperative in Maine and one of the larger worker co-ops in the United States, the employees were able to purchase the businesses from retiring owners Vern and Sandra Seile. Combined, the three businesses are one of the island’s largest employers and provide the community with a full array of groceries, hardware, prescription drugs, pharmacy items, craft supplies, and other goods and services.

    Maine is happenin’!

  15. Vatch

    A certain phrase from the article ‘The “Cholesterol Con”– Eggs’ really jumped out at me:

    Quelle surprise . . .

    Perhaps the folks at Angry Bear read Naked Capitalism!

  16. dearieme

    ‘the “cholesterol con” (part 1), the widespread belief that high levels of “bad (LDL) cholesterol” can cause heart attacks’: it’s not some sort of weird folk-belief, it was the official propaganda of the AMA and the US govt for decades. The evidence was always shaky, even faked: the guilty party was Ancel Keys.

    ‘the myth has generated enormous profits for many commercial interests’: very possibly, but it didn’t originate from them.

    “According to Harvard University’s Harvard Heart Letter, however, it is not the cholesterol in eggs or other food that’s a major culprit. It’s saturated and trans fats (which our bodies may convert to artery-clogging cholesterol).” And is the evidence good this time? Most unlikely.

    Heart attack rates went up for no known reason from about the twenties into the sixties; since then they’ve declined for no known reason. The effect was so dramatic and swift that one can rule out slow changes in diet and smoking as causes. Maybe it was all due to a pathogen: nobody knows. So often in human affairs, the start of all wisdom is to accept that “nobody knows”. Instead of which we’ll presumably get some more all-American health hysteria.

    1. fresno dan

      As someone who has been very interested in this topic for a long while (my cholesterol level predicted a heart attack when I was 40…..idiots!!!….I had one when I was 39…).

      I think it shows that its not what you don’t know that gets you, its what you know that just ain’t so (I would quote Mark Twain per the whole plagiarism discussion yesterday, but now apparently nobody knows who really first said that:

      Anyway….the problem isn’t that the data was wrong – we just extrapolated too much – too much correlation IS causation. What is ironic is that in our lust for health, we gave up saturated fat for transfat (something now universally acknowledged as much worse than saturated fat).

      It certainly has made me more humble (I have so much to be humble about…..) about what I “know.”

  17. DakotabornKansan

    Neoliberalism gone wild…

    Dave Zirin’s dispatches from Brasil’s World Cup and its victims have been excellent.

    Having spent some time in Brasil, I always remember the following quote by Eduardo Galeano: “Where opulence is most opulent . . . misery is most miserable.”

    An end result of neoliberalism:

    “Need Food Not Football: Brazil’s Anti-Fifa World Cup Graffiti”

    Neoliberalism wins through the strength of its useful idiots:

    “A population too busy worrying about their financial future, and seeking escapism in narcissistic and escapist pursuits, is a wonderful thing for those that wish to rule over them. Better for them to be following the latest clothing tendencies of famous personalities, or wondering who will win the latest singing competition, or sharing the minutiae of their lives with others, than spending time questioning why they keep falling behind financially, what right their country has to intervene in the politics of others, or why nothing ever seems to be done about climate change. Better for the youth to be rebelling through superficial choices rather than questioning the underlying rules by which their future will be governed. At a time when more than ever a questioning of the direction that society is taking, and the assumptions that are driving it, is required society is mis-served by a media overwhelmingly selling yet more stuff and celebrating those that can consume the most. When citizens do stray from the cultural script, as with the Occupy Wall Street movement, they are treated more as entertainment by the media, and then squashed by the state when they do not disappear naturally or cannot be co-opted. Then lost down the media memory hole in the same way that the Tiananmen Square protests were, as normal programming was resumed. Better for the masses to keep celebrating their own slow-motion murder, and the elites their own suicide.” – Roger Boyd, “Kamikaze Culture,”

  18. optimader

    Thorium: Energy Savior or Red Herring? OilPrice. A useful overview
    NO it is absolutely not, it is BS!

    1.) Comparative Economics –I call BS.
    How about some transparency on comparative economics? What legacy costs and avoided costs are captured in the comparison?

    2.) Another issue is time. –I call BS
    What alternative energy source, scenario has a faster scale up? At eh highest level, is the development cycle the reason not to pursue the technology? If so, just another reason this country is soooo fkd up

    3.) The green argument –I call BS
    –Comparative half-life (of the much less) voluminous waste? Even if the waste half life was comparable to the present U fuel cycle, (it isn’t) their is less waste to contend with.
    –The cycle is intrinsically safe relative to inability to maintain a sustained chain reaction.

    I could go on , I wont . This is a vacuous BS article . Frustrating to read this kinda superficial crap that will get cross-posted and imbedded in the innumerate media.

    The present nuke industry doesn’t like a Thorium fuel cycle initative because it would kill the status quo business model.


    1. Mark P.

      Optimader wrote: ‘The present nuke industry doesn’t like a Thorium fuel cycle initative because it would kill the status quo business model.’

      Absolutely true.

      Also: ‘The green argument –I call BS’

      You are correct.

      However: ‘The cycle is intrinsically safe relative to inability to maintain a sustained chain reaction.’

      Not necessarily so re. the intrinsic safety of the thorium cycle. See a paper called “U-232 and the Proliferation-Resistance of U-233 in Spent Fuel” by Jungmin Kang and Frank N. von Hippel.

      Kang and von Hippel generally agree with the proliferation-resistance argument. But they note: “In the case of the molten-salt U-233 breeder reactor, it was proposed to have continual chemical processing of a stream of liquid fuel. Such an arrangement also offers a way to completely bypass the U-232 contamination problem because 27-day half-life Pa- 233 could be separated out before it decays into U-233.”

      I go into eye-glazing technical detail in another post above. But essentially with the right resources you could perhaps build a modified thorium reactor that’s the dandiest breeder reactor for military-grade fissile material that the world ever saw.

      1. optimader

        I should have had “safe” in ” “.
        As a process it is intrinsically “safe”. Nothing is truly safe, including Life ultimately. Humans can conspire to corrupt any system, natural or manmade (see: global warming). Now sidebaring the philosophical point.

        My fragile claim of intrinsically “safe” is in the context of it not being a self sustaining nuclear reaction AND the coolant will freeze to a solid when brought to ambient conditions.

        The Thorium cycle nuclear byproduct “daughters” generated will fry anyone without extraordinary shielding protocol ( ie thick/heavy). Not exactly a desirable property in any weapon system that has to be transported.
        Compared to the Nuclear energy cycle we currently embrace, you can hold weapons grade Plutonium in your bare hand.. if you feel lucky,.thats one of its merits as a weapons material. THAT is dangerous stuff in the context of weaponization, but we all know that.

        My perspective is that if the world continues to pursue Nuclear Energy, the Throrium Cycle is seemingly is a far more rational candidate for power generation than the presently embraced Uranium Cycle.
        Can fully kicked…

  19. Luke Nolan

    My previous comment was evidently rejected–either because it was too long, too messy, or you didn’t like the links I posted–so I’ll keep this brief:

    With the Obama administration demanding Maliki’s resignation as a precondition for military aid, Saudi Arabia warning Iran to stay out of the conflict, and Israel professing to be more alarmed by Iran gaining regional hegemony than the ISIS running rampant through Iraq, it is clear this has nothing to do with confronting violent militants. This is about regime change and stifling Iranian regional power with the ultimate end being the partition of Iraq into ethnic zones, a goal which has existed in certain policy circles since the 80’s, as per this Counterpunch article from 2006.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The Counterpunch article is an eye-opener. Another piece of this sinister and maybe not-all-that-confusing puzzle.

      Certainly puts Joe Biden’s proposal to break Iraq up into pieces from, what is it, 10 years ago, into perspective. I’m sure he had his eye on the presidency back then, and was looking to pass out a few markers that could be called in when the time came.

      1. Luke Nolan

        Those same policy objectives were also later reiterated by Richard Perle in a 1996 report entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”. Like the Yinon strategy, it too called for the removal of Saddam and a proxy offensive against Syria.

        Given that the Obama administration never cleared the State Department of neoconservatives like Victoria Nuland, whose husband is the same Robert Kagan that drafted the infamous PNAC document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century”, and given that every country that has fallen into sectarian strife in the last 3 years–Libya, Syria, Iraq–has been on their hit list, their’s no reason to believe this isn’t still official US policy.

      2. Luke Nolan

        As for Biden, it’s funny that he was also one of the major hawks pushing for intervention against Yugoslavia way back when; but, that’s a whole other topic.

    1. fresno dan

      “The mere fact that the activists had engaged in civil disobedience, whether nonviolent or not, was enough to convince the judge that it was acceptable for the government to spy on the activists however they wanted, for as long as they wanted, regardless of any Defense Department regulations or constitutional law.”

      Man seems not to understand what “civil disobedience” implies…
      and he is a judge….and of course, not matter how stupid or wrong, can’t be fired.

  20. Garrett Pace

    How to tell if your member of congress is a crony capitalist

    FTA: “One in particular, Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), received nearly $60,000 from these industries  –  more than five times the average amount his Democratic counterparts received”

    Democrats can’t even do corruption as well as the R’s?

    1. fresno dan

      “Despite the failures in financial regulation evident during the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis and calls for improvement of relevant regulatory structures2, proponents of TISA aim to further deregulate global financial services markets. The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals – mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt – into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers”

      I am reminded of a Red Foxx joke regarding farts, “God put smell in them so the deaf could enjoy them.”
      Why should the US and the west be the only geographic areas to enjoy financial crisis, increased unemployment, stagnant wages, and rising inequality. Farts for everyone!!!

  21. fresno dan

    Rent, Rent Control and Economic Rents Pieria. Today’s must read.

    “Neoclassical economics assumes we are profit-maximizing animals. I think, more accurately, we are rent maximizing animals. No one is thrilled to get paid what they deserve, but we struggle mightily to capture any advantage that gets us more than that. Perhaps that explains why rent doesn’t disappear when laws and power dynamics change, it merely flows elsewhere. Landlords knew what newcomers were willing to pay. Whenever they managed to liberate an apartment from rent control regulation, it immediately shot up to the market rate.”

    Except for a few, we are all scallywags, trying to get a lot with no effort. I am so useless, that the only real value I have would be if I were cut up and the parts sold for transplants and fertilizer (and discount fertilizer at that, not as good as the elephant poo the zoo sells….)

    “If limiting the power of rent control did not lower rents, maybe neoclassical economists are wrong in proclaiming it a nefarious institution. More generally, maybe they are also wrong in assuming prices are generally correct and ignoring the massive influence of rent seeking. In the real world, prices rarely end up a hair over marginal cost. Economic rent plays a much bigger role in the real world than most economics texts suggest.”

    The printers didn’t have the best (or worst???) PR flacks, saying how valuable newspaper owners / entrepreneurs are to society.

  22. Luke Nolan

    Above, Mrs. Everdeen suggests that this is all about Israel. I don’t disagree that Israel has a stake in this crisis and a role in it’s manufacture–especially given the fact that the Israelis are currently taking advantage of the chaos to furtively raid the West Bank on the pretext of locating three missing teens–and I don’t disagree that many within the neoconservative movement have questionable national loyalties, but–before you dismiss what I previously posted as “Zionist conspiracy theorizing”–consider that the wider US establishment also has incentive to adopt these objectives, regardless of their fidelity towards Israel.

    Consider that the World Bank has predicted China will overtake the US economy, perhaps even by the end of this year. Of course–as reporting on this very site has shown–China’s economy is hardly stable, but nevertheless one can imagine how such projections might cause those in the US State Department’s bowels to churn. Threatened by the prospect of losing preeminence, the broad US establishment has an incentive to adopt the former neoconservative and Zionist plan for Middle East Balkanization in the prospect of locking both China and Russia out of the region, curtailing their ascension. The “pivot to asia”–or the “pivot to everywhere” as Pepe Escobar has often joked–has been a stated policy goal for at least three years now and to some extent it is already bearing fruit. Chaos in Syria has jeopardized Russia’s naval power in the Black Sea–as has the chaos in Ukraine–and China has begun evacuating workers from Iraq located within current conflict zones.

    I’ll conclude by suggesting people also start paying attention to events in greater Africa. Between [Dame] Angelina Jolie standing astride William Hague to be knighted for making the utterly empty promise to end war-time rape–specifically in the Congo and presumably to be achieved without preventing the cause of said rapes, the militia violence, as that would necessitate taking action against Rwanda and Uganda who the US have been protecting–and this article from the Telegraph stating that “A white man speaking ‘fluent British English’ led suspected al-Shabaab commandos who ransacked towns in northern Kenya leaving 60 people dead”, there just might be some wildfires in the continents future. As an aside, Kenya has recently discovered vast aquifers within it’s borders. China is also quite dependent upon food exports from Africa as well as natural resources and energy from Kenya specifically; burning down Africa would be a good way to starve out the Chinese, both economically and literally.

    Let me also preempt other criticism by stating I certainly don’t regard China or Russia as angels, though I do unabashedly support russian federalists in Eastern Ukraine.

  23. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    Regarding cholesterol/heart attacks/etc:

    There is some controversy regarding the balance of Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acids in the typical US diet — Omega-6 being overrepresented and blocking the uptake of Omega-3). There’s also the suggestion that arterial plaque is deposited in response to the inflammation caused by this imbalance and/or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

    Lots of conflicting information on the subject — but food for thought (Oy.).

    1. fresno dan

      but food for thought (Oy.).

      But that’s my problem – the food!!! ….or is it the thoughts???? …about food….

  24. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    Iraq/Syria/ISIS and WTF ever happened to the Ukraine, reminds me of this ditty:

    Roses are red,

    violets are blue,

    I have ADD, and . . .

    . . . Hey! Look! A bird!

  25. JTFaraday

    re: “Ta-Nehisi Coates, Blackwashing, the Reparations Brand, and a Last Refuge For Scoundrels” Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report

    “Nobody here at Black Agenda Report disagrees with the fundamental justice of the case for reparations… apart from a single piece of legislation and a few lawsuits over the last 30 years, reparistas seem to take no responsibility for proposing, discussing or advancing even the sketchiest of political roadmaps to bring us to reparations.”

    Yeah, I know just what he means. Before I washed my hands of them entirely (probably a better move to get off the plantation anyway) this is just what I thought of those economists of the Lord Keynesian variety who lard the nation’s public policy schools. I think (no, I know) I once called little Jamie Galbraith “Dr. Feelgood.”

    I’m also thrilled to see Bill Black joining the Bobs (Reich and Kuttner) as media critic to the econoblog masses.

  26. JTFaraday

    re: Antidote du jour

    “although the cat seems to think that we belong to him.”

    There’s this cat in my neighborhood that I see when I’m out walking and the weather is nice. It’s a stripey grey one, almost the color of the street, and it likes to lie in the road, even right in the middle of the road, and soak up the sun when the temp is right. I always wonder what it does when a car comes.

    It’s fairly friendly so I usually visit with it for a little while. Today, I found out something about how it regards cars. I was along one side of the street with it, and I hear a car coming. Immediately, I just know this cat is going to jaywalk in front of the car.

    But no, it doesn’t just walk in front of the car. It saunters into the middle of the street and literally stops traffic. Holy mother. After a few seconds staring down the driver, it finally saunters all the way to the other side of the road.

    Too much.

  27. Roland

    Re: extraverts to Mars.

    There are many good accounts of teams working in long periods of isolation during the “heroic period” of polar exploration.

    There is a passage in Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s The Worst Journey in the World, in which he remarks that the balance of personalities among the expedition team made the Cape Evans hut a bearable place of confinement during the Antarctic winter. If he were in a mood to chat, he would sit next to the garrulous geologist Griffith-Taylor, but if he wanted to be left alone, he would go sit next to the taciturn soldier Oates or the softspoken Bowers.

    Amundsen’s team over at the Bay of Whales solved their personality clashes by burrowing an extensive tunnel network out into the Ross Ice Shelf, excavating thousands of cubic metres, so that they could each get a personal workspace away from their hut, despite the bright lamps and warm stove to be found there.

    While as an introvert I definitely think a Mars spaceship should be the domain of my own kind, wasn’t Shackleton an extravert?

  28. Roland

    @Swedish Lex,

    There are real estate bubbles going on simultaneously in many areas.

    The main thing that they all have in common is worldwide loose central bank policies.

    Rent control is probably not a factor.

    Construction incentives are not a solution. During a real estate bubble, a lot of housing can get built and remain uninhabited. Such bizarre conditions can persist for years. I’m not even talking about special cases like China. In my own city of Vancouver, Canada, there are thousands of vacant new apartments, which have remained vacant for years after completion.

    When it comes to malvestment and market distortion, the only thing that beats a war is a central bank.

    1. skippy


      What does bundling of risk [credit] have to do with CB polices loose or other wise. Additionally RE-CRE is only one asset class wrt the entire credit market e.g. IBs were converted – incorporated.

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