Links 6/5/14

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Camel Snot Blamed for Transmission of Deadly MERS Virus Bloomberg (EM)

Charles Ponzi’s house up for sale in US Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

D-Day events held ahead of international commemoration BBC

How Acidification, Overfishing and Plastics Threaten the World’s Oceans EcoWatch

China Angry About U.S. Tariff Hike On Solar Panels OilPrice. China seems to be angry a lot these days.

China denounces US tech ‘pawns’ Financial Times

More cracks appear in the Chinese ponzi MacroBusiness

China Composite PMI Shows First Expansion in Four Months But Employment Declines at Fastest Rate Since February 2009 Michael Shedlock

Tiananmen Vigil Draws H.K. Crowds 25 Years After Crackdown Bloomberg EM: “Isn’t that lovely? ‘Massacre’ has been bowdlerized to a much more mild-mannered ‘crackdown’ in the Bloomberg piece. In another 25 years it’ll be ‘the 50th anniversary of the Tiananmen ‘misunderstanding’.”

Beijing tightens grip 25 years after Tiananmen Square protests Nikkei

US Becomes Punching Bag For Pro-Coup Thais ThaiVisa (furzy mouse)

Just as we predicted, India’s new leader is about to make Pierre Omidyar a ton richer Mark Ames, Pando. More background here.

ECB cuts won’t fix economy, but they will anger Germany MarketWatch

The Rise of the European Right: Reaction to the Neoliberal Right Boiling Frogs

Major terrorism trial could be held in secret for first time in UK legal history Guardian


G7 warns Kremlin over Ukraine Financial Times

Obama and Putin spar over Ukraine violence Aljazeera

Conflicting accounts in heightened eastern Ukraine fighting CNN

‘Russian troops in Ukraine? Got any proof?’ Putin’s best quotes from French media talk RT. Yes, this is RT, but at least RT is clearly an official outlet, so you know what you are getting and you can discount accordingly. We are getting even heavier doses of propaganda from supposedly independent news media over here.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Merkel’s Mobile: Germany Launches Investigation into NSA Spying Der Spiegel

Google has received over 41,000 requests to ‘forget’ personal information ITWorld. I wonder how much complying with these requests will cost them. Google is not set up to do anything on a one-to-one consumer basis.

EFF Tells Court That The NSA Knowingly And Illegally Destroyed Evidence In Key Case Over Bulk Surveillance ars technica

Seattle police gift two drones to Los Angeles Police Department MuckRock

The Private Sector’s Privacy Puzzle Ester Dyson. From last month, still relevant.

Obamacare Launch

2 million Obamacare enrollees asked for more info Politico

Medicaid logs 6 million new enrollees since Obamacare rollout Reuters

After Taking on the Creationist Crazies, Neil DeGrasse Tyson Takes Aim at ‘Untouchable’ Capitalists Alternet (furzy mouse)

The second-largest religion in each state Washington Post

Overruled, Judge Still Left a Mark on S.E.C. New York Times and U.S. Appeals Court Says Judge Wrongly Rejected SEC-Citigroup Fraud Settlement Reuters. Because the ruling repeatedly state that Rakoff abused his discretion, the press appears to be reacting more to the verdict than the details of the ruling. I was on a thread discussing this at length today, and one of the members of the OWS group that filed an amicus brief supporting Rakoff (I played a small role in that effort) argued that the ruling in almost all respects hewed to the OWS arguments. I hope to write this up tomorrow if my day is not too overburdened (or alternatively, get permission to repost part of this discussion). People often like snap “good/bad” readings on new developments, and this is actually arguably a win for Rakoff given the appeals court’s body language when the motion for stay was filed.

Vermont wants a constitutional convention to overturn Citizen’s United Rootstrikes. Please consider signing this petition.

Class Warfare

Why the rich are ditching their home country CNN. BTW, people who have dug into data depict this as a constant drip but the media tends to hype it as accelerating. And since when is Australia a tax haven?

Plots and Subplots in Piketty’s Capital Rajiv Sethi. I wonder how many leftie Piketty enthusiasts noticed this:

From this perspective, saving is motivated by the desire to smooth consumption over the course of a lifetime: one borrows when young, pays off this debt and accumulates assets during peak earning years, and spends down the accumulated savings during retirement. Geometrically, savings behavior is depicted as a “Modigliani triangle” with rising asset accumulation when working, a peak at retirement, and depletion of assets thereafter.

There is no doubt that saving for retirement is a key feature of contemporary financial planning, and individuals with the means to do so accumulate significant asset positions over their working lives. But one of Piketty’s most startling claims is that there is little evidence for Modigliani triangles in the data. Instead, asset accumulation appears to rise monotonically over the life-cycle. That is, the capital income from accumulated assets is sufficient to finance retirement consumption without appreciable depletion of the asset base.

Implication: no need for any retirement safety nets or private pensions. People save enough to live off their income and not touch the principal!

Liberal Bastion of San Francisco Bay Area Continues NIMBY Crackdown on Homeless Truthout. See here for why this is actually more costly that providing them with permanent housing.

Luxury Housing for the Top One Percent Booms While the Rest of the Housing Market Stagnates CounterPunch. Wolf Richter posted on this split last week, but good to see more writers putting light on the issue.

Wal-Mart strikers plan to upstage shareholder meeting MarketWatch

Part 1. The ZIRP Economy Unmasked: Zero Growth In Private Labor Hours Since 1998 David Stockman (Chuck L). This is a great post.

The nagging fear that QE itself may be causing deflation Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Data Readings Converge to Show an Economy Regaining Momentum New York Times. See contrast with the post with the interview of Dean Baker and Robert Pollin today. “Recovery”, like deviancy, has clearly been defined downward.

The Con Artist Wing of the Democratic Party Matt Stoller, Vice. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (Carl P):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Recourse to Rebellion Day

    There’s another level of propaganda in Tienanmen commemorations. US press accounts always depicted the situation as a stereotyped protest march in the officially-sanctioned US government mold, like those bullshit middle-class easter parades that Democrats stage to get elected. That’s not what happened.

    Ask anybody who was there – Tienanmen was the tip of the iceberg. Elsewhere in Beijing there was significant, spontaneous instability. The redoubtable Chinese secret police lost control. People were rampaging house-to-house, not violently but intently, out to get connected malefactors. The CPC was shitting bricks. So was the CIA, when they thought it over. Can’t have Americans getting ideas like that.

    The Chinese people did what we in the US will have to do to stop government crime.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Chinese people did, but as a result, they have more to do now.

      Can they pull off another Tiananmen, much less a more successful Tiananmen, today?

      1. hunkerdown

        Allen Dulles suggested that members of his CIA did not fire warning shots, and used weapons with the intent of making a person unable to commit the undesirable action. Someone else suggested it’s a fatal mistake to project one’s own prejudices onto an adversary.

        What flexian cares about losing it “all” and having the populace waving pitchforks and torches when they can just make some calls from inside their armored town car and start over, so long as they didn’t criticize other insiders? Those who matter (to them) don’t mind, and those who mind end up not mattering much.

  2. Rajiv Sethi

    Yves, the paragraphs you quoted apply to those at the top of the wealth distribution… those below median wealth retire with hardly any net worth and are very dependent on social security. The point was about the way saving is modeled in economics, which neglects the desire to build fortunes as an end in itself.

  3. Ned Ludd

    “[T]he intelligence community will soon be toasting themselves that they used the cover of Edward Snowden’s disclosures to expand surveillance.”

    Marcy Wheeler looks at specific ways that the NSA reform bill will make the status quo worse, including “permit the use of phone chaining for purposes beyond counterterrorism, which isn’t currently permitted”. She concludes:

    For a year, privacy advocates have believed we’d get reform in response to Snowden’s leaks. For too long, advocates treated HR 3361 as positive reform.

    But unless we defeat USA Freedumber, the Intelligence Community will have used the event of Snowden’s leaks as an opportunity to expand the dragnet.

  4. tensionstrat

    Secret trial, OMFG!!!11!1 Secret trials are a NATO institution. Congress cut the guts out of the War Crimes act to permit the war crime of denying fair trials, so now DoD just makes the rules up as they go, while CIA censors evidence and defense counsel and removes insubordinate judges. All in breach of Geneva Convention common articles GC I Art. 50, GC II Art. 51, GC III Art. 130, and GC IV Art. 147. All crimes in universal jurisdiction.

    The NATO bloc could not survive without illegal secret trials. Why? Because Mister Big, the criminal mastermind, the guy behind every big Islamist attack since 1990, is a CIA agent and an FBI informant. CIA springs him when he gets locked up.

    His job is to scare you with attacks on undefended civilians so you’ll put up with ubiquitous surveilllance and violent state repression. His name is Ali Mohamed.

    This is your arch-enemy, your own government.

  5. nycTerrierist

    The Con Artist Wing of the Democratic Party Matt Stoller, Vice. Today’s must read.

    Powerful review by Stoller. Must read indeed.

    1. roadrider

      Let’s not forget who hired Turbo Timmy, gave him a free hand and stuck with him when it was obvious he was rigging the game for the banks and financial elites.

    2. Banger

      Indeed it’s a great review and very illuminating. Stoller, however, has it all wrong in classifying Geithner and his as grifters and con artists because Stoller, like almost all leftists to not address the subject of the Deep State and Deep Politics. When he describes how Geithner mysteriously became a photographer or how he was hired and then moved up in various jobs he implies some mysterious supporters or mentors. How does an unqualified young man move up mysteriously in Washington? He does that through his connection to the intel community which today includes not just federal agencies but a substantial “private” community of contractors and major companies that actually do the work of intel and, in my view, largely run the Deep State. If Stoller were to mention this possibility he wouldn’t have gigs since “conspiracy theorists” are excluded from the official left. I refer people to the work of John Perkins on this matter–the left has to pretend people like Perkins and many others simply don’t exist.

      I suggest that all major politicians, Obama, for example, are products of the Deep State. Its goal is not particular policies but power. Part of the problem people have in realizing the nature of the Deep State is that they do not care to look into history. Americans, as a whole, don’t like history at least not actual history. Herny Ford said “history is bunk!” and meant it. The second problem Americans face is that when they thing of conspiracies they think of rigid organization and one man at the top. That’s not how the Deep State works. It is an emergent structure–in fact, the whole structure was influenced by a deep understanding of Systems Theory/Cybernetics by CIA agents (then the focus of the Deep State). I leave it to readers to look into this more deeply and not be afraid of the implications of all this–if we don’t face the facts of what we are up against we are helpless and our efforts tend to be futile.

      1. Carolinian

        Perhaps the Deep State is not so much a matter of conspiracy as of our elites mostly attending the same small group of Ivy League universities and absorbing the same American exceptionalist point of view….our “playing fields of Eaton” as it were. For someone like Obama, not from a wealthy background, it undoubtedly took a great deal of effort to become a part of this world. Having thus climbed the greasy pole was it ever likely that he would then turn on his fellow elites?

        In any case neither Obama or Geithner or the Deep State itself will matter for too much longer. “That which cannot continue will not.” Reality intrudes.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          I think this is right. Banger describes elitist groupthink that’s evolved into a semi-autonomous hive mind steeped in entrenched class tribalism, like a sick fraternity of self-important jerks on steroids. And as you say it can’t go on. After more than four decades, this is likely its apogee.

          1. Ulysses

            Yes but we can’t afford to merely wait for these arrogant sociopaths to self-destruct. Every week they remain in charge of our world they do outrageous amounts of harm. We need to resist them with all our might. If not now, when? If not us, who? I would far rather end up as a free man in my grave, than have my children living as puppets or slaves (to steal a line from Jimmy Cliff).

        2. Another Gordon

          @ Carolinian – Just so. Contrast that with FDR who stated off as one of the elite and knew just what they were like.

          1. Ex-PFC Chuck

            A case can be made that FDR set out to save the elite of his generation from itself.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It’s a fact that Americans distrusted greatly the stock market before 1929, but not as greatly afterwards….until we are where we are now.

            2. John Merryman

              Exactly. The real basis of capitalism is to have the government borrow up the excess.
              Money is a contract in which the obligations are largely public, while the assets are largely private.
              If the basis of the currency is public debt, then the returns have to accrue to the public, or it eventually blows up. The economic circulation system has to circulate, not pool.
              Silly fools are their own worst enemy.

        3. TimR



          It’s not entirely a matter of a priori theorizing about social dynamics and how we intuit the world might work. Many people who knock “conspiracy theory” (it would seem) have not actually done the research, read any of the better sources in that field, or followed them through back to primary sources and documents. Many quite shocking primary documents are simply unknown — suppressed or neglected if you like, by the MSM as it goes about reinforcing the dominant ideological consensus.

          Official history is completely bogus. Even if one just starts to read a little mainstream history, you can almost start to go down the rabbit hole, considering that more is admitted in books than in Movies (where many people get their history) and TV.

          Then if you read actual countercultural historians and scribes, you will find primary sources cited that would completely rearrange the average American’s mental furniture — in a most disturbing and unpleasant way, were he confronted with them!

          Have I “done the research” myself? No, not really, not to my satisfaction. But I’ve read enough that I don’t scoff in the least at the notion of a “deep state.” Has the phrase gotten slightly stale already, as Stoller and Strether suggest below? Perhaps, but this is tricky @#(* to talk about, everybody’s at a different level of understanding, and you have to constantly “introduce” the subject to people, so that no “work” is ever actually done.. at least not among the hoi polloi! (no offense, NC peanut gallery.. I’m hoi polloi myself as I said.)

          Just that, people always pop up with their a priori speculations on conspiracy theory, as if it’s something we can only speculate about. When in fact there is plenty of documented material out there for anyone willing to read a book, or online articles with links to sources, etc.
          A great intro, mentioned here before by Banger in fact, is Russ Baker’s Family of Secrets.. Just in that that leads you down the rabbit hole in a general way, and I think could be very mind-expanding for anyone who maybe thinks “deep state” matters are purely just a matter of Carolinian’s innocent association and shared cultural views (which I think is very true of course, just not the whole story.)

          1. ohmyheck

            Thank you for mentioning Russ Baker’s book, Family of Secrets. If you hadn’t I would’ve.

            Anyone who doubts that there exists a Deep State, and thinks that “conspiracy theories” are for nutjobs, needs to read this book.

            Each and every statement that Mr. Baker makes is backed up by documented evidence. No theories, just facts. He just happened to be the one who dug for them.

            I don’t know what scares people about conspiracies. What should really scare people is the ones who run the Deep State. Being a psychopath is endemic and a mosquito has more intellectual capacity than those bunch of morons.

          2. Lambert Strether

            Stoller’s done the serious analysis here, and it is serious; I’m just tagging along (not to say that I disagree with Stoller; I don’t).

            I’m perfectly happy with “ruling class,” myself; I still don’t see what “deep state” brings to the table. But perhaps I’m old-fashioned.

          3. Jackrabbit

            ‘Deep State’ is really sorta besides the point. The real story is Geitner’s grifting.

            Stoller connected the dots so . . . now we’re talking about the Deep State?

      2. James Levy

        Wow, a stunning confirmation of the exact process C. Wright Mills outlined in 1956 of how the Power Elite operates and perpetuates itself. It’s a two step process: you have to want it, and those already there have to think that you will be useful to their ends. The whole thing, of course, being played out at elite schools and through family connections, although Clinton and Obama prove that anyone can rise to be a grifter for the elite so long as they want it bad enough, are clever enough to be useful, and can find a way to make the right connections (Yale for Bill, Harvard for Barak).

        Has anybody taken a serious look at the Rodhams? I know Hillary comes from money. It would be interesting to see how they are plugged in.

      3. Matt Stoller

        I spelled out that Geithner’s family had connections to the intel world with the statement about the Ford Foundation having an internal committee to handle CIA requests. I noted he served as a 19 year old photojournalist in a warzone for a week over Christmas break, and that he doesn’t explain how this came to be. No other reviewer bothered to pick up on that. Maybe the reason I didn’t say that Geithner was boosted by the CIA explicitly is because (a) I don’t have evidence of that and (b) that’s not actually how elite networks work.

        The piece was organized around explaining that Geithner sits in a WASP-y world of spies and financiers, and has his whole life. Saying ‘deep state’ over and over and over, and questioning my integrity, doesn’t make you smart, nor does it make you the first person to notice links between the CIA, Wall Street, and policymaking.

        You hint at more behind the curtain, but you don’t actually bother to explain anything, because explaining actually takes work and requires having an attitude beyond just fatalistic mumbo-jumbo. Throwing out words like cybernetics and systems theory and pretending it’s all a giant all-powerful borg-like system is intended to protect you from having to actually take responsibility for doing anything about injustice. If it’s all hidden and all powerful, then you are protected in your little cocoon of powerlessness. You act exactly like the elites you deride by granting them authority and wisdom they do not deserve. These are not all powerful institutions, they are just groups of people who act like people. Some of them lie. Some don’t. A lot of them are idiots and bureaucrats. It’s not always impossible to figure out what’s going on, but the stupid wizard of oz curtain you constantly try to construct is nothing but an illusion.

        If you want to actually do the work to explain things, then do it. But please stop the obnoxious and baseless attacks on my integrity. You’re better than that.

        1. Banger

          I fail to see how an ad hominem attack on me delivered in a highly insulting and misinformed way adds anything to this discussion. Trying to start a flame war or a fist fight adds little to this discussion. I suggest you read what you wrote and think again. I certainly was not questioning your integrity.

          You don’t know me so the assumptions you make about me I will let pass because they are based on ignorance. But here’s the thing that puzzles me–I have been on NC urging people to adopt a more nuanced but realistic view of the power structure. I’m consistently attacked here for not believing that the ruling elites are solidly united and one dimensional–I’ve been around some of those elites and know that they are human beings with hopes, desires, dreams, and many of them believe they are patriots committed to a larger good (they often have an endless ability to fool themselves)–mind you, that bunch tends to be older and is being replaced by opportunists as corruption has entered all spheres within the power-elite in and out of government.

          If you believe that there is a more humanitarian alternative that lies on the left to today’s oligarchy then why act in a hostile matter to people you ought to be winning over as comrades? Is the world you want to create going to be one periodic slugfest after another over tempests in teapots like I used to see at DKOS? If there is a possibility for the left it lies not in forcing others into some kind of politically correct conformity but in being open trusting and loving–it is love, consideration, cooperation and synergy that offers the only way to power for the left. To compete against the national security state using a cadre of argumentative ideologues isn’t going to work. We sink or swim on the level of our consciousness not our being “right.” We each have our unique gifts so let’s be mindful that others do as well–even me.

          1. EmilianoZ

            Come on, man, first you have to acknowledge that your initial attack on Stoller was totally unwarranted. Stoller wrote:

            Geithner talks about his childhood growing up abroad, with high-powered family members who had advised presidents, and a father who was a senior executive at the Ford Foundation in Southeast Asia in the 1960s and 70s. At that time, the Ford Foundation was a pivotal instrument of US foreign policy, an important vehicle for anti-Communist efforts and heavily integrated into the financial and foreign policy establishment (the head of the foundation even set up an internal committee to organize incoming requests from the CIA).

            If that aint enough of an allusion to the deep state, I dont know what is.

            And your assertion that the deep state is modeled after cybernetics theory or whatever seems pretty outlandish. Unless you can back it up with some documents or arguments, it’s just a gratuitous claim.

            1. Banger

              How could I possibly “prove” that the deep state is emergent? The notion is kind of absurd. Generally, nature organizes itself along those lines as should be obvious to anyone studying biological systems. Social science has also shown this to be the case in a variety of situation–most famous of which is the Stanford Prison Experiment where guards and prisoners “discovered” their roles quite naturally.

              As for Stollers assertions that is precisely why I brought it up–because he brought it up. I have faced decades of the refusal by the writers on the left to deal with alternative history and deep politics–I said things that are generally true about most journos on the left–they refuse to deal with the evidence of the deep state and it is obvious and I’d be glad to roll it out but I didn’t want to write a huge essay on a site that features comments.

              1. hunkerdown

                I have faced decades of the refusal by the writers on the left to deal with alternative history and deep politics

                Ordinarily I respect you as a reasonable thinker, if a bit less willing to write off the mainstream than I am. But you really might want to reconsider calling out Matt Stoller for not dealing in alternative historiography. Does his presentation of the documentary evidence of the NWO “conspiracy theories” of the Liberty Lobby, among others, not count as such? Sure, Stoller’s dancing the fence between insider and outsider, and that’s not a game I endorse as a general principle, but the news articles and papers from the past ought not automatically and retrospectively catch cooties just because of that.

                Everyone’s teeth seem to be on edge lately. My housemate, Twitter, commenters everywhere, and myself. It’s understandable, when our supposed betters are gang-banging Ukraine, in our name and with the smug approval of the petit-bourgeoisie running identity-politics interference as necessary. Lately my spirits are more honey badger than bonobo, which is unusual for me. But man, facts on the ground trump most other considerations, and an appealing narrative should be (but too often isn’t) among them. Now, howsabout a doobie…

                1. Matt Stoller

                  The difficulty in writing about non-mainstream political narratives is that most people just don’t believe you unless you have strong irrefutable evidence. Such evidence is often hard to find, because you don’t know where to look. Dominant narratives are baked into all of us, it’s hard to unlearn what you’ve already learned.

                  Then even when you have evidence most audiences basically ignore narratives they cannot reconcile with their dominant narrative, and TV is so powerful it can beat them back into mental submission. Still it’s possible to puncture through sometimes. I do what I can, as does Yves, and many others. And it helps that there’s skepticism in the comments, I think it’s useful to be pulled in this direction. Humans are social animals.

          2. Lambert Strether

            I grant it takes chutzpah to complain about insulting, ad hominem attacks after writing this:

            If Stoller were to mention this possibility he wouldn’t have gigs….

            But that’s all I’m granting.

            1. Banger

              Look, Lambert I’m not criticizing Stoller for this–everyone knows that if you color outside the lines you don’t get gigs–and I don’t recommend not getting gigs–people have to earn a living. I don’t see that as an insult but I do see that as over-generalizing and that I regret. You have to understand I’ve been around radical politics for nearly five-decades and have seen the left betray itself as much as the mainstream media has betrayed the public as a whole.

              1. Matt Stoller

                You accused me of lying and obfuscation to protect my career, as if there were evidence lying around that I just ignored. Even in your ‘I regret the over-generalization’ you can’t help but just quasi-repeat your accusation, and act like I attacked you. Stop it, dude. Just stop. It’s not good community-building behavior.

                For quite some time I read your comments with respect, because you said you spent a long time in politics and I respect experience. And I still want to hear what you have to say. But please, show some of that vaunted wisdom you imply you have instead of just talking about it.

        2. Optimader

          Great analysis Matt, ill confess i listened to your review rather than reading it, well worth the time. You punched all the buttons.i have friends that derisively refer to guys like Geitner and (Summers) as ivy leauge wave skippers who get the nod and are anointed with positions a above their CV and then move in and out of commercial and governmental appointments to do the work of their be ifactors. GWB Romney Rham Emmanuel are contempory examples. What was ush’s CV to run a baseball tem or R.Em’s land a lucrative investment banking position? Hea y drinking in the casse of the former and interprative dance in the case of the latter?

      4. EmilianoZ

        The Deep State can be defeated. In Turkey, Erdogan has practically neutered the army, the original deep state. How did he do that?

        1. Working Class Nero

          He did it by relying on the Gulenists and their fabricated tape recorded evidence against the generals. But in defeating one Deep State he ended up empowering another Parallel State. The Gulenists are now in the process of going head to head against Erdogan through taped evidence that seems to actually be real. In response Erdogan is conducting a literal witch hunt to try to root out the Gulen communalists by accusing them of excesses in the former jihad against the generals that he so very much benefited from.. People in America who want to “fight the power” really should study exactly how these things are being done in Turkey.

    3. EmilianoZ

      There’s an entire culture, of figures at Treasury, the Federal Reserve, in the entire Democratic Party elite structure, and in the world of journalism, a culture in which Geithner is seen as some sort of role model.

      Geithner, Summers, Rubin,…
      The rise of the Technocratic Crook: Charles Ponzi with a PhD.

    4. Ben Johannson

      I agree. It’s an accurate appraisal of a book which felt sleazy as I went throguh it, just as Geithner felt sleazy while running Treasury. I can’t think of a better way to describe the man than “biggest douche in the universe” the sort who evokes from a healthy mind pity and repulsion rather than envy. Deep down Geithner knows what he is and he can’t like it.

  6. Jim Haygood

    “The thing that surprised me when we bought [Ponzi’s] house was that he was a real person, with a first name,” said Ms. McLaughlin, 61, a graduate of Harvard Business School who once worked at the Bank of Boston.

    A Harvard biz grad who didn’t know that Ponzi was a real person? She musta been one of George W. Bush’s classmates. The brainy sort, ya know.

    By the way, ‘Greenspan’ and ‘Bernanke’ are real persons too, not just bugbears that parents use to scare misbehaving kids with nightmares of needing wheelbarrows of cash to buy lunch.

    1. abynormal

      and we’d expect anything different from someone that “once worked for Bank of Boston”…i mean Fleet Bank? oops i mean BoA…i’ll get it right ‘)

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Truly astonishing and scary. These are the elite of elites running our economy, who don’t understand the real history of the Ponzi scheme? No wonder we’re reliving one of gigantic global scale. It makes you wonder about Bernanke’s cred as vaunted scholar of the Great Depression.

      Better yet, we now have a Harvard law grad, editor of the H Law Review and consitutional scholar as POTUS — waging aggressive wars, killing US citizens and others without trial, falsely imprisoning people without trial, conducting illegal surveillance, engineering coups, and so on. How Orwellian.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If schools and colleges are supposed to ‘produce’ informed, solid citizens, can they be cited for malpractice in cases of defective graduates, or liability in cases of society-wrecking alumni?

        1. Doug Terpstra

          We should also be able to sue the igNobel Committee for fraud WRT its peace and economics prizes. After Kissinger and Obama, who’s next, Netanyahu?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            At the minimum, a product recall.

            ‘Please bring your award (degree) back for modification! – it’s free of charge.’

        2. ambrit

          You are thinking like colleges were some sort of public good? *snark*
          Aren’t they now profit centres?

      2. Skeptic

        It takes a Constitutional Lawyer to destroy the Constitution. It always amazes me that people give a blank check to education as being a good thing. No it is not, it depends on who is studying and to what use they will apply their learning.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Stingrays are a real nasty piece of surveillance kit-Harris has gone to great lengths to hide the fact they made them by slapping all sorts of NDA’s on the buyers.

        It’s now to the point that if you want to communicate over the air your best bet is to get a ham license and roll your own steganography. Now if you can roll your own one-time IMEI then maybe you can get away with that.

        1. hunkerdown

          Only if you can ensure the new IMEI is never associated with anything to do with you or your other devices, not even once. Assume all you say, do or visit can and will be data-mined for co-traveling and used against you in FISA Court, and practice full-spectrum opsec accordingly.

          Did you ever hear of those digital dead-drops the Pirate Bay guys envisioned? As I understand it, basically a WiFi AP with a built-in read-write file server and hard disk. Seems like an interesting idea. Slow and not high-range, but there is a certain samizdat charm in the thought of cobbling one together out of thrift-store finds, hooking it up to solar power and hiding it in a tree or something near a traffic signal on a busy street.

  7. Adam S.

    Re: Rakoff – Overruled, Judge Still Left a Mark on S.E.C.

    But the three-judge panel — Rosemary S. Pooler, Raymond J. Lohier Jr. and Susan L. Carney — concluded that it “is not within the district court’s purview to demand ‘cold, hard, solid facts.’ ” The appellate court instead outlined a checklist for judges to follow when weighing enforcement cases, saying they must “determine whether the proposed consent decree is fair and reasonable, with the additional requirement that the public interest would not be disserved.”

    How is it not “against the public interest” that a judge determines that a settlement is not commiserate in size with the scale of the wrongdoing, especially when it does not reveal the facts of the wrongdoing?

    I know this is a secondhand paraphrasing, but even still-this seems like tortured logic to me.

    1. dow2long

      Thank God for Rakoff. Of course, it goes without saying that our “injustice” system has gone completely off the rails. My BK judge couldn’t be bothered holding the banks to reorg plan her predecessor had set in place and all creditors had voted on.

      Then we have this judge in Florida who told a public defender he wanted to throw a rock at him because the defender wouldn’t waive speedy trial right for his client. And then the judge challenged said Counsel to a fist-fight. Which ensued off camera while the stunned court room listens to the blows and curses off camera. Not really all that surprising. Eric “Place” Holder must be proud. At least it wasn’t a bank lawyer! Those foreclosure cases in Florida must proceed apace. Black Rock needs inventory!

        1. alex morfesis

          you are way way off jumping on the second dca in florida

          it is the most homeowner friendly appeals court in the country

          and they can only deal with the pleadings as presented…

          if the lawyer had bothered to pay attention, they would have focused
          that in Florida, a corporation CAN NOT be a or have Power of Attorney
          rights…unless it is registered as a trust company in florida…

          which one west is not…

          the ruling has nothing to do with the UCC and the arguments are not
          about the UCC…if the lawyer had bothered to read up on the issue, they
          would also find that blank facsimile stamped are not on their face accepted
          in florida but must be proven, an argument that was never directed to the
          court by the homeowners lawyer it seems in this case.

          Appeals courts can only work with what is presented to the them IN THE RECORD

          if the lawyer does not present it during the trial then it is not in question…

          the real world aint judge judy…

      1. Jagger

        I know the wife of a judge that went off the “deep end”. Turned out he was early stage dementia. It wasn’t Alzhemiers but something very similiar. His dementia is well advanced now and he won’t be around much longer.

  8. David Lentini

    what the GDP accounts measure directly is spending by households, business and government—a metric which is then “deflated” by patently low-balled guesstimates about the inflation rate.

    Another Greenspan innovation, as I recall, was to re-define GDP to exclude certan key products and services that tended to boost the inflation rate, thereby enshrining “The Greate Moderation™” in perpetuity.

  9. Eureka Springs

    “The Con Artist Wing of the Democratic Party”

    I’m looking (well, not so much anymore) for one small feather within the Dem party which isn’t in on the art and perpetuation of con. But then I never considered a bunch of people painting by numbers to be art.

  10. tyaresun

    Really sad to see that Pando Daily was right about eBay investments in India paying off.

  11. financial matters

    The question of crowding out with the Fed’s reverse repo program Walter Kurtz. (link from yesterday)

    This sounds like a much saner use of money market funds. Instead of parking them with tri-party-repo in the churning hands of JP Morgan etc they are parked at the Fed. Gives more regular people access to the Fed and the Fed can set the interest rate. People can know their funds are safe and maybe even earn some interest.

  12. Carla

    Re: “Rootstrikers” in Vermont: A Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United is completely insufficient: it would simply return us to the perfect state of democracy we enjoyed on January 20, 2010, when of course U.S. elections were pure and free of big money — NOT.

    A Constitutional Amendment is a BIG deal. Simply overturning Citizens United would leave in place more than a century of bad Supreme Court decisions that started in 1886 with Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad, widely recognized as containing in a side note the first claim of corporations to constitutional “personhood” protections. Then corporate structures gradually claimed additional constitutional rights over the decades until in 1976, the infamous Buckley v. Valeo decision declared that money is constitutionally protected speech.

    By just overturning Citizens United, you leave in place all of the legal structure that led to CU in the first place, which is to say, you leave corporate control of our “democracy” untouched. The 28th Amendment must clearly state that Corporations Are Not People and Money Is Not Speech. Rep. Nolan introduced into the 213th Congress House Joint Resolution 29, the “We the People Amendment,” to this effect on Feb. 14, 2013.

    Yves, I hope you and all of your readers will check out and support HJR 29, because it will actually DO something. The Rootstrikers’ proposal and the Udall Amendment are utterly inadequate to the task because they do not address (and abolish) corporate constitutional rights. The U.S. Constitution is for human beings, not corporate entities.

  13. Jackrabbit


    “I don’t believe for one second that the AngloZion!sts want a real war with Russia because even if there are some truly rabid politicians who would want that, they cannot wage a war without the support of the top US military commanders who, for all their other faults and sins, are not crazy and who will not allow a full-scale war against Russia or China to happen.”

    Today the Saker has a post that includes the above statement. I think he may be saying what you have been alluding to – especially when you say that the Realists in the US govt consist of Senior Military and Foreign Officers. It seems to me that this highlights where we differ:

    1. I am more concerned with who has the kind of power that gives them initiative;

    2. I think you are finding some comfort in that there are people who have veto power over crazy action (though I’d certainly be more interested in this if we were to reach such a crazy point).

    3. I don’t believe (as you have suggested) that a neocon is a fasc!st crazy that wants to make conventional war and occupy countries. Instead, I see neocons as advancing an agenda in whatever way they can: soft power, hard power, solar power, etc. I also think that their agenda is advanced as much by neocon sympathizers as by neocons themselves.

    In my view, the neocons positioned themselves to exercise power and they have. I think they are ideological and suffer from some amount of group-think. We are all worse off because of their policy ‘hi-jacking’. I am not alone in feeling that this does NOT make us safer and is not really in US interests (the Iraq diaster being the most blatant example).

    1. Jackrabbit

      Let me also add, Banger, that even if the above describes what you mean when you talk about the Deep State realists, your first comment on a post STILL generally misleadingly implies that realists engage in a genuine policy debate in which they can substantially influence policy.

      Veto power (which can be manipulated) or consultative input (usually necessary for organizational reasons) are minor inconveniences to ideologically inclined, politically powerful decision-makers.

    2. Banger

      I think we are on to something critical that is worth looking into. What are neocons? I have followed the neoconservative POV for a long time going back to their origins. So I have a definition.

      Neocons believe that the U.S. is the only country that can conceivably run the world in a benign way–this is also the belief of neoliberals.

      Necons believe that U.S. culture is inherently corrupt and narcissistic and only a war-footing (we are at War!) can unite the country and produce some semblance of popular morality in the country. Thus war benefits the world and the American people. Neoliberals do not believe this–they believe U.S. culture with its diversity and hedonism is the best bet for the world thus they believe in “soft power” and “pussy riot” sorts of operations rather than directly going to war.

      Realists, in contrast, are skeptical of the human quest for power–they want to create a reasonably stable system that no single clique completely dominates and they prefer to avoid vigorous displays of power–they just want international cooperation between dominant elites and keep things as stable as possible so that business can prosper.

      1. Jackrabbit

        I think your definitions were right 20 years ago. The people that you know are probably the ‘old guard’ with the same understanding. I don’t think anyone in the ‘old guard’ quite understand how NSA spying, the war on whistle-blower, etc. is consolidating power.

        I think the neolibs and necons now make common cause. And its much less about any high-minded notion of “running the world in a benign way” and more about serving a variety of powerful interests.

        I think the ‘opportunists’ that you have mentioned are just the natural evolution of neolib – which has morfed from a social philosophy to cutthroat business practice.

  14. Jackrabbit

    How is it that the neocons are back? ‘No drama’ Obama essentially pardoned them all along with those who rendered and tortured for them. Neocons, like Wall Street execs, don’t ‘pay’ for their mistakes. They have a ‘free option’ to do harm.

    Now Obama has requested $5 billion MORE for neocon meddling. For neocons, there’s always someplace else that needs ‘fixing’. And maintaining their power in govt – even after disasters like Iraq and (probably) Ukraine – is all important.


    PS Many have been calling Kerry a ‘realist’. Sorry, I don’t see it. If anything he is an ambiguous opportunist. Maybe Kerry and Obama weren’t neocon sympathizers 10 years ago, but they certainly seem to be now.

  15. kgilmour

    Oceans fished out and altered — so many of these web conversations post the tragedy without much discussion of what must be done. I am not vociferous online because of anonymity. I say pretty much the same things in my daily world… I am unashamed in my belief that a population cull is not only coming… but will be sanctioned, by the extreme left [who hates mankind – specifically US] and the extreme right [who hates and will eagerly exterminate those who don’t look or act like us – Hamilton’s Rule ]

    That’s as far as I get – before mods and readers begin sweating their ‘reputation’ should heretics like me be allowed a voice. Huffington Post is probably the least tolerant of this event horizon and it’s implications.

    But this conversation better happen soon. The Earth is a finite place, with finite resources… most of which have been exploited by the WEST — not the 3rd world. That changes nothing. I wouldn’t blink an eye if the entire population of Java – or Nigeria – or Bangla Desh – perished. Poof! Gone – leaving the plants and other animals of course.

    The problem with this conversation is nobody is facing the necessity of a huge cull… and of course no one wants it to be others like themselves. I take that back… the American Left may love plants and animals — and hate people… but only US people…. not THOSE people in places where, without copious amounts of aid and penicillin – the environments would still be pristine.

    I don’t care if Elephants destroy the Kykuyu gardens…. or Masai Goat herds. I want the elephants to succeed and the Africans to go bye bye…. not painfully… but just quickly.

    AND YES – I understand how that sounds. At our most recent family celebration in trendy Cherry Creek Colorado…. the vote was cast and within our family… it was Elephants 15 — and Africans ZIP>

    I am not alone… and we’d better start having this conversation more often – and in more places — or there wont be anything left to save.

    Please don’t preach about who uses plastic bags… IT DOESN’T CHANGE HAMILTON’S RULE,.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Ultimately, per Hamilton’s Rule, the world is just der Uebermensch and his clones who look EXACTLY like him.

    1. Banger

      There are two issues here. First is the actual problem that climate change poses–essentially the possibility of catastrophe is very real. Unless one studies living systems both on the cellular and ecological level it is hard to grasp what we are facing because most of us are trained to think in a linear fashion. If the Earth warms a few degrees then we just use more AC and move to higher ground–problem solved. But natural systems don’t work on a linear level and thus in order to show the urgency of the problem we have to provide a science education before anyone understands the danger we face and also the fact that complex systems are unpredictable by definition.

      But even more than a scientific education we need to provide a moral education. Most people understand that the vast majority of scientists believe climate-change is man-made and a danger. But Americans and now Europeans live in a culture of denial, i.e., if a fact is personally inconvenient we ignore it because we don’t want to change our les or irritate other people in our social sphere–we go along to get along and talking about political or moral matters does not fit in with the culture of narcissism and triviality.

      What to do? Work to change the culture, resist whenever you can, do your best and expect no result. Right now the situation appears to be hopeless but we should never focus on that but continue to struggle in whatever way we can and not get stressed out because that helps no one but the medical industry.

  16. Aldritch Ames Jr.

    IMO M. Stoller made it clear enough where Geithner’s lucky sperm comes from, considering that the US deep state is essentially dynastic. The Bush family is the classic example, but Daddy Geithner’s third-hand nepotism is very characteristic too. The same pattern percolates down to the placement of NOCs in proprietaries and in the big firms that play ball. One of the earliest signs of a covert operation is these unexplained dopes who waft into projects like pixies. You think, Who’s this nitwit? Then when you all go out and get shitfaced it always turns out his Uncle Elmer flew into Chungking in a rocket backpack to exfiltrate Madame Chiang’s illegitimate forceps baby and you go, oh.

  17. Banger

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    There seems to be lot of intensity about Ukraine in Russia and Ukraine but the U.S. mainstream appears to be ignoring the issue and focusing on trivialities. Compare this coverage to the coverage a year ago of Syria where the mainstream was screaming for blood and Obama nearly bombed Syria back to the Stone Age despite the fact, as it now appears, the gas attack was probably a false-flag attack. Because I believe the MSM is as controlled by the authorities as the USSR press was I see this as a sign that the leadership in Washington is deeply split on this issue. The CNN story linked to on this page shows a fairly even-handed approach to the fighting in East Ukraine which, for CNN, is unusual because they were the biggest boosters of war last year.

    When I commented, a few years ago, on the various scares concerning an immanent attack on Iran I said that not only wasn’t it likely but that the attack would not happen. How did I know this? Because I know that major war with a substantial military power would be bad for bidness–I saw those signals. Syria was a different matter–Syria is no threat to anyone and can’t fight back. The Irnians and Russians, apparently did not draw a line so the USG felt they could bomb without serious consequences and Wall Street was ok with it–they believe that showing “resolve” would keep the colonies in line which is always good for them. But Iran and Russia are a very different matter and I believe after the Kyev coup that the finance oligarchs got cold feet when they realized that the people in the driver’s seat were a dangerous mix of oligarchs and fascist thugs and everybody knows that Eastern European thugs are not pleasant to deal with. I’m sure they were reminded by their operatives that Putin had, to a considerable degree, cracked down or otherwise neutralized the Russian oligarchs and their gangster allies. An endorsement of a war against Putin and the weakening of the Russian state is not in the interest of the corporate elites who seek stability above all else, on their terms of course.

    There is a natural antipathy between neocon ideologues and corporate leaders that appears to have erupted over this issue. So far Putin has shown great restraint. He seems to be in charge in his capital while Obama is not in charge of his capital nor is he able to marshall his European vassals. What remains to be seen is if the neocons and the intel operatives (mainly “private”) will continue to urge Kyev to crack down in order to bait Putin into military action. Should be interesting.

    1. Jackrabbit

      I think you’re right about the value of reading the media tea leaves but its a tricky business. You have to know the media source and how it might lead or lag certain issues, and then look for confirming evidence. This CNN piece is interesting because, as you said, there has been little coverage and because Obama is still in anti-Putin mode (he won’t talk to Putin tomorrow at the WWII ceremonies). Still, Poroshenko said that he would deal with the East Europeans quickly and now that it is turning into a long slog, western media might see reporting on the conflict as fair game.

      The Irnians and Russians, apparently did not draw a line so the USG felt they could bomb without serious consequences
      AFAICT, Russia DID draw a line on Syria. (And I imagine they had also previously objected to bombing Libya and worked hard to deter an attack on Iran – so they had proved to be an obstacle to the neocons.)

      There is a natural antipathy between neocon ideologues and corporate leaders that appears to have erupted over this issue [Russian Stability].
      Having plundered and disrespected Russia, the neolibs and neocons, now paint Russia as a big threat. China is now suggesting that Iran could join the budding alliance of Russia and China. This is guaranteed to make any neocon apoplectic.

      I’m not sure how much sway corporate leaders or allies if the US view elimination of Putinism as a high priority. The NYT article that described how Obama had ‘HAD IT’ with Putin, and the WH efforts to stop investment Russia soon after lead me to believe that Russian regime chance is very much desired by the US.

      1. Banger

        Russian regime change might be desired by some elements of the national security state but the corporate elite have no interest in any of that particularly in Europe. A stable and predictable Russia makes sense for everyone except the ideologues and fanatics in Washington. Obama and Kerry go through this or that motion but I don’t believe they are committed to the destruction of Putin. The cynical part of me just whispered in my ears that this is all an attempt to ramp up tensions so the MIC gets more money in the next budget.

        1. Jackrabbit

          This hodgepodge is barely intelligible.

          I’ll pick at one bone: “A stable and predictable Russia makes sense for everyone except the ideologues and fanatics” . . . yet poking the Bear by taking Ukraine was allowed to happen?

    2. VietnamVet

      The Ukraine Civil War is turning into an uncharted disaster the like of which I’ve never seen and I remember back to the Korean War. Every media story includes “Russian Aggression” when in fact, as pointed out; Vladimir Putin has been remarkably restrained. Neo-Nazi Right Sector is on a rampage right on his border killing Russian speaking civilians. The President, Vice President and Chief of the CIA who have met with Kiev’s leaders have not called for restraint nor a start of negotiations to settle the crisis.

      The US Air Force has sole sourced military space launches. Russia manufactures the rocket engines for the Atlas 5. They have prohibited their use in military rockets which will result in launch delays and cancellations. This is corruption at the at the expense of national defense. This is totally ignored except for a snarky article in the Washington Post while politicians speak out loud and repeatedly that the sole POW of the Afghanistan War should have stayed there.

      No wonder Americans do want not serve in the Empire’s Endless Wars and mercenaries have had to be hired to fight them.

      As a draftee it is very strange to have one’s old army unit now stationed as a tripwire in Poland and have only General Martin Dempsey standing between us and a shooting war between Russia and NATO which is guaranteed to escalate to a nuclear holocaust.

  18. Jake Mudrosti

    The Alternet article fails.

    It might shock many people to know that Tyson is regarded as a relentlessly self-promoting ass among many scientists. For example, the very approach of “taking on the creationist crazies” — although it succeeds well at flattering his fans — is actively criticized by many scientists as counterproductive.

    Notice that the Alternet article apparently congratulates him for “insulting the religious”? That reveals a spectacular ignorance of many current players in climate activism, such as the “Quaker Lobby”, the Friends Committee on National Legislation:
    Their own efforts seek to promote climate change awareness within a framework of religious belief.
    That’s just one example.
    I could also mention the self-described Hindu, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, who has actively contributed to our modern understanding of climate dynamics, and who also co-organized a 2014 Vatican meeting on “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature.”

    And so on.

    If Tyson has got himself into a capitalism-themed set of talking points now, it should be likewise seen in the context of his relentless self-promotion (his finger to the wind). It would be a big mistake to assume that he’s interested in the underlying issues. Instead, try pressing him to account for this delusion:

  19. anonymous123

    The article about homelessness in the Bay Area hit home. When I moved to Berkeley from Manhattan last year one of the things that shocked me most was the level of homelessness in CA. I was also really surprised to learn about the active debate over the homeless in Albany, CA–many people in the community really fought for the right of the homeless to occupy that space.

    That said, the homeless are on every street corner here. But it’s really different from homelessness in NY–these people are actually part of our community (and from observation, I believe many of them actually prefer to live this way because they’re ‘free’). On my walk home from the BART I see the same individuals every day. They say hello, I say hello back, it’s just normal. It’s a really stark contrast from the East coast where the homeless are invisible in a way.

    But things are changing. We’ve had increasing crime in Berkeley lately, and especially Oakland (something like 25% increase YoY). I’m sure it’s due in no small part to the funding cuts for the Oakland PD, but you can’t ignore the evidently increasing wealth gap. I wonder how long it’s sustainable for the community to embrace the homeless with this rising tension. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath bungalow in Berkeley & vicinity costs north of $800,000. It’s only the intellectual elite that can afford to live here, and I see the gap widening.

    With these ‘homeless’ residents of Albany, CA being evicted, I see further degradation of the community here. If you can’t even let the homeless have a home, their loyalty to the community dissolves and the balance is disrupted. I think we’ll continue to face higher crime as the poor can’t even find a place to live.

    1. armchair

      Never in my life have I given advice to hitchhikers, then recently in a span of six weeks, in two separate episodes, I found myself advising youngsters on my bus route how to get as far east as possible on public transit to start hitchhiking from the suburbs east of Seattle to Spokane. Both episodes involved young people. It gave me a tripped out, things are different now feeling.

  20. Jim Haygood

    The tech-oriented Nasdaq 100 index reached 3,775 today, a level that it first attained on 3 Jan 2000 (nine weeks before its record high on 10 Mar 2000). Long-term chart:

    Are we having fun yet? Just wait till Yelco spikes the electric acid Kool-Aid with NIRP.

    1. craazyboy

      No fun this go around. Just nostalgia. Sold the tech portion of my savings in March 2000. Not a among them and gains looked great, especially after those Asian Crisis paper losses I had, but didn’t sell. Sat on the side lines almost a year, then plowed everything back into the broader market just before Bush announced we are going into Iraq and watched the DOW go to 8000.

      But the market is better now, I see.

  21. JohnB

    Just reading that article on the rise of the European Right, and it says:
    The Right speaks to the needs of the dispossessed and the need to ‘end austerity’ but it eschews the only effective mechanism for countering inequalities – class organization and class struggle. Its vision of the ‘collaboration between productive capital and labor’ is contradicted by the aggressive capitalist offensive to cut wages, social services, pensions and working conditions.”

    However, aren’t the fascist right in Nazi Germany, the only government in modern history, to make enormously effective use of money creation for government funding, with MEFO bills funding their re-armament coming up to WWII? (which, if modern fascist parties adopted such funding policies, would give them the ability to achieve all of the recovery policies MMT’ers/Post-Keynesians call for – except under an extreme authoritarian government?)

    I think it’s not unlikely, for the far-right to eventually hijack the whole idea of monetary reform and government use of money creation, and then completely marginalize left-leaning Post-Keynesians/MMT’ers, by co-opting their main policies.

    They will almost certainly have far greater funding resources, for politically dwarfing progressive/left-leaning groups promoting those policies – unless ‘the left’ get their act together, and find a huge funding resource, pretty soon. What can actually be done about that, by ‘the left’, if it happens? Kind of a scary thought really…

  22. troutcor

    Re Chuck Ponzi:
    ” A dandy and a charmer, Mr. Ponzi enjoyed a glowing media spotlight during the period when his scheme was active.”
    Boy. Good thing THAT could never happen again.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One of today’s links – Chinese Ponzi cracking…

      The American Deming taught the Japanese about quality but it was the student who mastered it.

      With Ponzi, we will see one day in the future which one, the teacher or the student, will the true champion be.

      In the meantime, my money is on the Ponzi House being bought by Chinese money and relocated to Inner Mongolia…another great American heritage gone.

    2. alex morfesis

      ponzi, the man who paid back 95 cents on the dollar

      sad but true…now how many of you have ever bothered
      to do anything other than accept the neutertainment bernaze sauce
      in this “scheme”

      not a one of you has ever imagined this could not be “the truth”…

      do the math from page 21 to 23

      95 cents on the dollar…

      how is that possible if he never purported to do the
      currency arbitrage that was the basis for taking advantage
      of all the financial hysteria in europe after the spanish
      influenza had killed so many people and ww1 recovery
      was taking its toll on european nobilities capacity to keep
      control over their serfs ???

      if he didn’t buy any of these arbitrage plays then how did he
      pay folks 50% AND get them back almost all their principal too…?

      well, he had a friend named Alviati who was always around
      him…and a quick check on Alviati might lead to the new york
      morello family…the mobsters who three generations later in
      new york have married into the establishment…well, except
      for that one morello who signed off as the new york city
      branch manager of that little italian bank that handed off those
      billions of dollars to saddam out of its atlanta mini office in the
      mid 80’s…

      Ponzi was laundering money for the mob…and he was a conduit for
      pay offs to the boston police department at that time…as apparently
      three out of every four police officers were “invested” with the
      securities exchange company (pg 24)

      N.Y. Times, Nov. 23, 1922, at 31, col. 2

      but the fun part is proving how even the “brightest” will accept whatever
      the bernaze sauce presents if it fits into the “scheme” we want to believe…

      everyone knows charles ponzi stole money and his investors lost their

      except they didn’t…

      the truth shall get you fleas…

  23. Jack Parsons

    The Charles Ponzi house would make an awesome museum. The thing is beautiful, and it could be filled with memorabilia, newpaper headlines, obituaries and gravestones of the suicides caused by ruination.

    The bookstore would stock “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”. Hell, they could do night school from that book.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some crowds are mad.

      some are simply risk-puppets whose risk-appetites are manipulated by the central bank.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I note that he calls some person Keynesian clown and writes a fool’s ‘blithering about Minsky Moment and free money forever.’

    2. ewmayer

      For some reason I keep picturing a 60s-stereotype leather-jacket-wearing greaser walking around the place, admiring his dippity-doo-do in the mirrors and saying “Ayyyyy – the Ponz is back!” Another victim of too much Happy Days in my youth, alas.

  24. OIFVet

    Obama yet again tries to impress the world with his command of the teleprompter but only manages to rise to his usual level of a cliquey, pissy high schooler. He was joined by a somewhat dimwitted British kid desperate to convince the world that his country is not a second fiddle US protectorate by recalling its past glory, and the other five lemmings of the G-7 clique. After a suitable amount of hectoring and finger wagging at Vladimir and the obligatory references to the inherently exceptional goodness of Anglo-Saxons (“Whenever our two nations stand together, it can leave a world that is more secure and more prosperous and more just”), the high schoolers left open the possibility of allowing Vladimir back into the clique if he would follow the clique-leader’s orders and behave. To the surprise of no one who actually has a functioning brain, Putin told them to take their clique and shove it. I don’t blame him, I wouldn’t want to toady up to uncouth, graceless losers either. The US started something and it got beat at its own game, so in essence it blames Russia for playing the game better. At least Doyle Lonnegan had the good sense to ask, “What was I supposed to do – call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?” No such grace from this set of losers. The rebels have now established secure supply lines to Russia and that is game, set, and match. There is no reason to believe that the hapless Ukrainian Army will be better than the US at counterinsurgency, and that is a rather low measuring stick. Spilling more blood at this point is simply an exercise in denial, but so what, Russian and Ukrainian blood is rather cheap price for the US neocons to pay in their pursuit of empire.

      1. OIFVet

        It’s really hard to win the hearts and minds of the locals when you act as a conqueror rather than the self-proclaimed liberator you claim to be. It creates too much cognitive dissonance for the locals and they quickly lose whatever little trust they may have had in the first place. Drone bombing of wedding parties doesn’t help either. Disrespecting other peoples’ customs and culture is an American hallmark. We Americans are so convinced of our moral and cultural superiority that we refuse to acknowledge others, and indeed we may go out of our way to insult them. In my experience in Iraq, for example, we went out of our way to antagonize the Iraqis, and knowingly so. My CO was determined to accept tea with his left hand during ostensibly “hearts and minds” missions. He knew full well that in Muslim culture the left hand is considered unclean and to accept food and drink with it is a serious insult, but he argued that we were there to give the Iraqis our American way of life, whether they wanted it or not, therefore he wasn’t going to follow them hajji customs. He gave no consideration to the possibility that Iraqis might consider their own culture perfectly sufficient for their needs. Ugly American indeed. The rest of us weren’t saints either; to betray even a hint of sympathy for the Iraqis was an invitation to be labeled “Hajji lover” and no one wanted that, even those who were privately horrified by what they were seeing and doing. I see some of the same going on in Kiev’s aggression in Eastern Ukraine, no doubt at least partly the result of their American advisors’ harebrained advice and inability to learn from past debacles.

  25. OIFVet

    The University of Chicago will name the building housing the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics after Chilean donor and university trustee Alvaro Saieh. The Chicago Boys are getting the love from those who benefited from Friedman’s sociopathy and Pinochet apologia. In true neoliberal fashion Friedman would be mighty proud of, the building project included the privatization of the public street on which this monument to Friedman is located. Nicely played!

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