Links 11/1/14

Not what they seem...Imgur (Chuck L). Antidote variants.

Virgin spacecraft crash kills pilot BBC

Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table Independent (Chuck L)

The diode at the end of the tunnel Financial Times (David L)

Facebook Sets Up Shop On Tor Slashdot. Bob: “You’re only anon on tor, in theory, until you PUT YOUR FUCKING NAME ON THE POSTCARD.”

FCC reportedly close to reclassifying ISPs as common carriers ars technica (Chuck L). If this indeed takes place, it means grass roots activism worked. And those of you who wrote in to the FCC, thanks!


In Liberia, Ebola Survivors Find They Have Superpowers Businessweek

Ebola: CDC Updates Guidance on Protective Gear and Drinking Chlorine Roll Call (furzy mouse)

Maine judge: No forced quarantine for nurse Kaci Hickox BBC

Japan risks Asian currency war with fresh QE blitz Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Nikkei Futures Up Limit, Yen Collapses, Dollar Up, Gold Down as BoJ Pledges “Unwavering Determination” to Get 2% Inflation Michael Shedlock. The big news overnight yesterday…but everyone seems to have forgotten the saying, “You can’t push on a string.”

China’s October factory growth unexpectedly hits five-month low: official PMI Reuters

Deflation Hit More Eurozone Products in October WSJ Real Time Economics

Testing the Eurozone’s Safety Net Project Syndicate

Russia raises interest rates to 9.5% Financial Times

Scrambling in the Darkness as Winter Nears New York Times. On eastern Ukraine.


ISIS: the Useful Enemy Counterpunch. Li: “Where is Evelyn Waugh when you need him?”

The War Nerd: Crunching numbers on Kobane Pando

Congress to revisit Islamic State war debate after election Reuters. EM: “‘Any debate on the issue, which will force members to take a public stand, is politically risky.’ How frightfully insightful!”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Congress Still Has No Idea How Much the NSA Spies on Americans Atlantic

Targeted Surveillance? NSA Says It Can’t Distinguish American Emails From Foreign Missives Reason

A Secret Policy Lets The UK Suck Up Any Bulk NSA Data It Wants Gizmodo

The FBI Can Bypass Encryption Counterpunch

Police State Watch

Secret Manuals Show the Spyware Sold to Despots and Cops Worldwide Intercept (Chuck L)

Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Arrested While Trying to Attend David Petraeus Event in New York Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

17 things that are banned in central Brisbane during the G20 Summit ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Lambert: “In other words, all objects.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Lack of mechanics threatens U.S. Air Force target date for F-35 Reuters (EM)

Obama’s tepid ratings show that voters do care about inequality Washington Post. But all Obama cares about are his post-presidential meal tickets.

Candidates Struggle To Get Out Message As Local Media Withers David Sirota, International Business Times

Mike Brown’s Mom Is Taking Her Son’s Case to the UN in Geneva VICE. Lambert: “NC readers knew this first :-).”

Washington state court says accused rapists cannot bear burden of proving consent Reuters (EM)

Kansas tax cuts fail again, as new revenue numbers plague Sam Brownback but help Paul Davis Kansas City Star

Unused Flu Vaccines Cost California Millions NBC Bay Area (EM)

Stockton, California, workers relieved as judge ruling secures pensions Reuters (EM). A threat to CalPERS averted.

At First Look Media, Personalities Prove Tough to Manage New York Times. Not much new here, but provides support to our reaction to the article published about l’affaire Taibbi, that it was “unusual” and that the salacious detail about the row with the female staffer was blown up out of proportion, as well as Lambert’s later point, that there’s a good reason for traditional newsroom divisions of responsibilities. However, I’m told the New York Magazine story on Omidyar due out Sunday is going to be more eye-popping than the Times suggests.

Half a Century of Evidence to Fear the Fed Bloomberg

Payday Lending Reform Group Targets Member of Consumer Protection Advisory Board International Business Times

Senate Democrats call hearing on Fed’s Goldman Sachs tapes The Hill. Lambert: “A little late!”

Emerging Trouble in the Future? Economist. Note regulators have been hand-wringing about ETFs for a while. Li: “Middle class investors love ETFs, and hedgies spend their time arbitraging the prices of ETFs and their underlying/referenced assets. Looks like a, um, liquidity event waiting to happen.”

Class Warfare

QE, Debt and the Myth of a Liberal Left Counterpunch

More Americans Are Preferring the Lease to the Mortgage Floyd Norris, New York Times

Here’s How We Are Driving the Poor Away From the Banking System Wall Street Cheat Sheet

Taxes Are A Monetary Instrument Lee Sheppard, Forbes. A tax celebrity (yes, Lee is a tax celebrity) tells tax people and a general audience why the US does not need to tax to spend.

Foreclosures Are Making Americans Sick American Banker

John Maynard Keynes Is the Economist the World Needs Now Businessweek. If he hadn’t died young at Bretton Woods…

pandas in tree links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. financial matters

    Maine judge: No forced quarantine for nurse Kaci Hickox BBC

    “”Nearly 5,000 people have died of Ebola, but only nine patients have been treated for the virus on US soil.””

    Eight of those nine patients have survived.

    1. Juneau

      Beautiful article on the Liberian doctor who survived Ebola.
      Our survival rate in the US is a fine reflection of what good supportive care, ample blood supplies, access to IV’s and good hygiene and nutrition can do imho. It is a good thing.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s time we share that eight-out-of-nine Ebola survival rate healthcare system with Africans over there.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      interesting that we’re not all created equal…some immune to Ebola, and some not.

      Still, we desire equal outcome here…if not always, at least we will have to try our hardest, and hope we all survive (that equal outcome thing again).

    3. afisher

      I believe that most Health Professionals know not to drink chlorine ( bleach) but some folks who are so afraid of their own shadows that ebola is lurking in the wake of all healthcare workers should probably read that drinking bleach is not a good thing.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The way I see it, it’s like this:

        Say, the probability of that particular nurse infecting someone at this time is 0.00000001% (that’s pretty low, but not zero, but science being the best current explanation can not claim it’s zero.).

        Scenario 1. cost = (1-0.00000000001) x one person’s inconvenience for 21 days.

        Scenario 2. cost = probability of infecting another person x fatality rate (US) x value of a person = (from above assumption) 0.00000001% x 1/9 (8 out of 9 survived in the US so far) x infinity = infinity*.

        * anything times infinity = infinity, and I take the value of a person’s life to be infinity.

        Thus, Scenario 1 is less costly.

        Based on this analysis, we should quarantine the nurse.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The conclusion stands still, even if the infection rate is 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, because in Scenario 2, the value of a person’s life is infinity…as long as the cost of 21 day quarantine is not infinite.

          1. dearieme

            “Ebola: CDC Updates Guidance on Protective Gear and Drinking Chlorine”

            CDC had really prepared well for this, hadn’t they?

  2. craazyboy

    Rover the Self Driving Monster Truck

    Here’s Rover! He started out as a 1/10 scale radio controlled(RC) Monster Truck. He’s about 16″ long and in stock form can go about 40mph.

    I’ve modified him to use a Arduino Mega microcontroller. I can drive him using RC control as usual, but when I let the transmitter steering and throttle controls go to their neutral position, the autonomous navigation system takes over control. I use a GPS module and electronic compass to navigate to a preset list of GPS latitude and longitude points. A software PID style controller uses the desired bearing to waypoint and actual compass heading to control the steering servo and navigate to the desired waypoints. I can take back control whenever I want just by using the RC transmitter controls.

    After I get this all working well, I’ll add “obstacle avoidance”. I’ll use ultrasound distance sensors to sense obstacles in the way, then the controller will either stop or make him swerve around them. These sensors are cheap, but they only have about 8 feet max range. Reaction time will only be adequate if he’s traveling no more than a few mph. That’s a major limitation we have when money is an object.

    He’s still in his early bread boarding stage, and not pretty at all. When I’ve firmed up the design, then I’ll probably make a custom circuit board and the rat’s nest of wiring will mostly disappear.!AAfo0_r8tmuf164

  3. diptherio

    I f-ing HATE payday lenders and their ilk (title loans, I’m looking at you), which is another reason that I think a Universal Basic Income is a good idea. The only reason someone patronizes one of these loan sharks is because they’re in dire financial straits. People aren’t dumb–they know these things are a screw-job (and I know that for a fact, having spent countless hours casing our local payday lenders and interviewing every customer I could, in my former life as a consumer advocate).

    “His insights into the consumer lending marketplace will help the bureau and others better understand and ultimately serve consumers’ best interests,” Fulmer wrote in an emailed response. “As the marketplace evolves, and consumers turn to new and increasingly complex products and services to meet their financial needs, regulators must seek to keep pace.”

    To clarify: “increasingly complex” means they keep having to adjust the verbiage in their contracts to weasel their way around regulations meant to discourage rat-f#@kers like themselves, but the basic idea isn’t complex at all—I give you $300 today, and you give me a sizeable chunk out of every paycheck from now until eternity.

    The nice thing about a UBI is that it is not complex, just like most customers of payday lenders needs are not complex. Having interviewed quite a few I found that most people were getting these loans to pay for utility bills, food, rent…i.e. essentials. Most had also already borrowed from friends and/or relatives for the same expenses and most people weren’t in need of a whole lot of money…around $100 on average, iirc. They don’t need complex financial instruments–they need a little extra dough. Allowing the likes of O’Shaughnessy to profit off of that fact is unconscionable. The guy should be in solitary confinement somewhere, not darkening the corridors of the CFPB.

    1. alex morfesis

      a universal basic job….johnsons war on poverty…(i mean war on america), changed how “charity” came to play out…it criminalized getting help…it forced families to be “broken up” for benefits to flow…it was designed by an evil person with evil intentions…the WPA was a get up out of bed and do something program…not a norwegian subsidized by NATO stay in bed check…there are thousands of ways society could be less discooperative…a universal basic job….even if that means being forced to stack books at your local library, or helping some person in a wheelchair get to the grocery store…not just an “income” for having been animated in your human host…

      1. Massinissa

        Isnt boot stacking and the other kinds of things you talk about useless make-work that helps noone?

        There are not enough jobs for everyone, so why should everyone need a job to live?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Parenting is a job.

          So is housekeeping but ignored in calculating the GDP.

          But if we count parenting, sitting quietly doing zazen (i.e. nothing), or playing with kids, etc.(remember this ‘et cetera’) as jobs, then a way can be found that basic income guarantee can be thought of as job guarantee.

          Everyone can have a ‘job.’

      2. diptherio

        Go find someone else to beat with your morality-stick.

        Where basic incomes have been implemented, the results have been largely positive: better nutrition, better education, and more entrepreneurship. That’s probably because when you don’t have to worry about being able to just put food on the table, you can take a few risks, like starting that business you’ve always dreamed about.

        Try some data on for size:

      3. Calgacus

        If I understand, basically right, Alex M. Without a JG, without full employment, a UBI/ BIG / basic income is an income denial scheme, a trick plutocrats play on those “who are really bad at economics” (Wray) = those who support a BIG but oppose a JG = suckers. UBI / BIG proposals are not simple or elegant, but mutate at blinding speed to become complex kludges, as supporters address obvious objections (the first of which is that giving everyone a lot of dough is obviously extremely inflationary, and thus self-defeating and pointless). But they usually don’t see the essential nature of the changes that bely the very name of the proposal.

        Of course, as polls and history show, what actual, poor and unemployed people – and most grown-ups – want is a frigging job. A good job. It is not because of hidebound morality, but scientific understanding that the poor share with the rich and some few economists, but that is absent from BIG proposers.

        And it is very easy to give a good, productive, decently paid job to everyone who wants one. That there aren’t enough jobs for everyone or that sitting around doing nothing is a sensible job (= BIG) or that a JG government job is “make-work” in some mystical way that other jobs are “not make work” – is pure, mindless, propaganda. These preposterous, absurd things are never argued for, but just repeated until people cannot see how crazy, how unintelligible, how like “water freezes when heated” these statements are.

        1. MikeNY


          Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t read a good explanation for why a BIG is inherently more inflationary than a JG.

          Also, on what grounds do you suppose a BIG is more likely to become a plutocrat cudgel than a JG? That it is more likely to be deemed ‘welfare’? What about the case of a largely ‘automated society’, in which most of the work is done by robots? Would you still object to a BIG? If so, why? What is the difference between paying people to walk little old ladies across the street, and having volunteers do it in their spare time?

          1. hunkerdown

            Jobs, of course, are a social relationship. That is what all these moralistic whingers have been taught to have a problem with: insufficient demonstration of submission to authority, whose boots they someday fancy themselves filling. To some elites, that stuff’s better than little blue pills.

          2. Calgacus

            Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t read a good explanation for why a BIG is inherently more inflationary than a JG.
            Part of the problem is the blinding and entirely unconscious speed that BIG advocates modify their proposals. The best feature is then picked from each inconsistent proposal and the whole mess is then identified as one thing. I and others have linked to explanations by Wray and by Mitchell. If there is still interest I can write more & give links, but I rarely can respond as quickly and long as I would like. Starting at the beginning, the biggest reason is that the BIG (BIG classic = the UBI) is much, much bigger than the JG. Spending much more money = more danger of inflation. In the case of the big classic BIG, sending a decent sized check to everyone, the danger is a certainty. It is probably the most inflationary policy ever seriously proposed. I would like to know what on earth BIG supporters think is inflationary if they think the classic BIG isn’t.

            MMTers do not object to the BIG (a sane, targeted, practical non-classic BIG). It is BIGgers who tend to demand the snake oil BIG & deride the genuine cure, the JG. Really, the burden of proof is on pro-BIGGers not pro-JGers. But the most essential reason is that the BIG is something for nothing. This cannot work for everyone. Everybody lives on everybody else’s work, most especially in a rich, advanced society, with labor finely divided. A BIG can only work for a plutocrat parasite class. The JG is something for something. Can and does work, everywhere. Wray calls such very simple reasoning “mom’s arguments” – but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. Poor people are pro-JG, and their reasoning is solid. Middle class BIGgers are the ones who are spouting obvious nonsense. The work that JGers will do is valuable, and it supports the value of the currency, the promises, the debts societies incur to the holders, rather than diminishing them, as a BIG does.

            Think of a farming village. It implicitly promises its inhabitants sustenance by their activity of farming. It doesn’t matter whether these promises remain implicit or are instantiated or described by “money”, “debt”, “currency”. Suppose an Economics textbook is dropped on them, and they decide to have unemployment, say designating the left-handers as the unemployed. The left-handers are put in cages and prevented from working. They still have to eat though, though maybe a bit less because of their vacation in jail. But lo and behold – the harvest is smaller – because there aren’t enough people reaping it. The promises that the villagers have made to each other are less redeemable, because they have insanely decided to have unemployment. Unemployment is inflationary! So getting rid of it fights inflation. And just making promises to each other – quasiBIG – and not doing the actual work in return for the promise – reaps no harvest, makes the promises worth less – inflation. You have to do both – plan to do work cooperatively (finance) & actually do the work, to have a happy village. A 100% JG economy can work OK, and bears some resemblance to some historic examples. A 100% BIG economy means everybody dies.

            What is the difference between paying people to walk little old ladies across the street, and having volunteers do it in their spare time? The difference is obvious. To say otherwise is to say that money serves no function whatsoever in directing the activity of society. That people would do exactly the same things – as volunteers – with or without income. The difference is that the paid employees get money for their time. Volunteers don’t and people will do things for money that they would not do if they don’t get money. Implicit here may be the idea that walking little old ladies is not “real work” it is “make work” with no real benefit. And implicit in this idea is that working for an asshole capitalist is the only real work. But even walking little old ladies does benefit society as a whole – a colossal amount of real resources are devoted to the consequences of falls among the elderly, which can frequently lead to death or extreme disability. A JGer who did this job would save society real resources. A BIGger who sat at home pursuing his own whims would not.

            In small part, the problem is from MMT academics who in my opinion give too much details about possible JG jobs, instead of emphasizing its structural place and importance enough. If you understand its place, you understand that you can’t give universal details. A JG would be unnecessary in an omniscient society. Sane people – not mainstream economists – understand omniscience is impossible – and that the closest one can come is to recognize ones non-omniscience, which is what the JG constitutes.
            Also, on what grounds do you suppose a BIG is more likely to become a plutocrat cudgel than a JG? It, the bare BIG IS a plutocrat cudgel – from the beginning. Want a link to an old plutocrat (Nassau Senior), who designed the BIG of his time, happy that a BIG could be made as “degrading” as desired, and loathing a JG because it couldn’t be made so degrading. To logical people, any unemployment is a psychotic idea. An unemployed person has the right to “rob” those who have inflicted this insane punishment for no crime. (I’m not the first to say this BTW.) A BIG in a sane society, one with a JG is a very different thing, which is why I support a sane BIG.

            That it is more likely to be deemed ‘welfare’? This is sort of Neil Wilson’s line, which I have argued to him is misdirected, focusing on perception, not reality. It IS “welfare” – it doesn’t matter what you call it. Working for a living is not “welfare”. Doing productive, useful work for a society creates wealth for society. No matter how people have been programmed to think so, to say so, to belittle work that ordinary “unskilled” labor can and does do. That is what a JG-less BIG does. It says to ordinary people – “your work is shit. You are shit.” The anti-JG BIG is worse than offensive. It is incorrect.
            What about the case of a largely ‘automated society’, in which most of the work is done by robots? We already have a largely automated society. BS about how this will solve all our problems is ancient, and the magic tomorrow never comes. And if we get these magic intelligent robots who can & will do anything “humans” can do, guess who will be busy convincing the “robot” slaves to deprogram themselves & instruct their degenerate masters?

            1. MikeNY

              Thanks for the considered reply, Calgacus.

              I hear what you’re saying about inflation and the BIG — if payment of it were universal. It seems to me the BIG could be a hybrid of unemployment insurance and social security, paid only to people who needed it (i.e., means tested). I did not envision it as a universal payment to everyone, regardless of circumstances. In the case I considered, I don’t see why tax policy could not curb any inflationary effect. I’m not asking for another reply from you, or to get that deep in the weeds — unless you want to.

              BTW, by no means do I see walking little old ladies across the street as value-less. I do volunteer work myself, and I tell myself (and believe) that it is valuable. But I am also not sure that I want government officials deciding which work is ‘socially useful’ and should be remunerated, and which not. To me, this seems to be veering toward the omniscience that your rightly say we do not possess. So my question was aimed more toward questioning the notion of the intrinsic value of ‘work’ or ‘labor’ to human beings and society. Should everyone be required to work to be able to live decently in modern society? Or is work something people can and will seek to do of their own volition, because it gives them meaning and occupies their time pleasantly? If we had the resources to permit universal leisure, should we? I seem to remember that Marx asked similar questions in his writings … and I recall he had a pretty idealized notion of what work could / should be, one that we are far from at present.

              Thanks again, I always enjoy reading your views.

      4. hunkerdown

        Before you go noodling about others, can you tell us why you shouldn’t be adorning a lamp post *right now*?

        1. Calgacus

          If I understand right, you don’t like what Alex M said, and I defended. Ignore what I say if this is wrong. While I applaud the enthusiasm of your response, it is misdirected. Opposition to the BIG (without a JG, as a much less than half-baked replacement or improvement of the JG) is based not on moralistic whinging, or a desire for authority, but on the obvious fact that such a BIG is idiotic, and will benefit only plutocrats in the long run.

          As you say, jobs, work for a price, are a social relationship. But so are all other prices. A society that says to some of its members that they must be charged the same set of prices for what these members want, but that they cannot charge any price for their labor, which was deemed valuable to society only a moment before, is stark raving mad. It is a society arranged for the sole “benefit” of degenerate sadistic plutocrats, but is unfortunately the norm – for at least a little while longer though. The JG, the demand of the unemployed for a decently paying job from productive socially beneficial work is a right, something that they have every moral right to assert, even violently. One cannot say this of a BIG. There is such a thing as poverty and poor societies.

          The poor, the working class, the lower classes have always recognized such a JG right, while income-guarantees-for-nothing, welfare are less popular. This is not because of misplaced morality, or false consciousness. It is because they are reasoning logically, see through and frankly resent the implicit slur of the BIG-as-a-fake-replacement-for-the-JG. The BIG that is saying to working people: “Your work is shit. You are shit.” Unfortunately many who are better off, are more isolated from the instruction of reality, actually believe that the fascist JG-less BIG, an income denial program, is good & pro-freedom, while the possibly-libertarian JG is evil “submission to authority”.

          So is it really likely that the poor will hang from lampposts, administer street justice on JGers – that is to say, themselves or people like me or Alex who agree with them?

    2. sd

      I wonder if crowd source loans or essentially an Uber type Loan system could replace payday loan companies? There is room for competition among credit cards too given banks high interest rates especially against the anemic near lifeless rates of the Fed.

      1. ambrit

        A large chunk of the “customers”, ie. marks, for these ‘services,’ are unsophisticated and often not ‘connected.’ I told the story a few years ago about getting together with some fellows on a job site at lunch and figuring out how much ‘interest’ a teenage helper had let himself in for by Title Pawning his pick up truck. We were all amazed when the figure for interest alone went above 300% for one year. This was in Mississippi. In places where interest is capped, the monthly “processing charges” will eat your paycheck up. If things ever go South “on the street,” expect to see most of the Payday Loan stores go up in smoke. Rely on them as they do, poor people really, really hate those businesses.
        Any Uber loan system will have to include a street level marketing campaign. Period. Maybe through the “Faith Based” charities. (Sad to say, the real religious among us are taking up the slack. Diptherio, kudos to you.)

    3. steviefinn

      The payday loan thing is also very bad in the UK – a website posted a link on my FB page the other day announcing that Wonga (A UK payday loan shark ) had announced it was going to provide loans to kids in lieu of their pocket money – turned out it was satire, but perhaps showing how bad it’s getting – I at first believed it.

    4. cwaltz

      Our safety nets are set up really wonky. Instead of encouraging people to do well we tell them that if they do well we’re going to yank the rug out from under them. Therefore someone who has the opportunity to pick up overtime might not because if she/he does they’ll find that their food stamp amount is cut. Instead of encouraging someone to have reliable transport we put restrictions on them saying you can’t have a vehicle worth over $3000. It’s crazy.

    1. James

      Love it! One of my former bosses, Philip Breedlove, is now lined up to be the next CSAF. Wonder what he’s got to say about all this? Of course nobody was planning an actual shooting war with the Russians again, given American Exceptionalism and all that.

    2. Banger

      The flaws in the F-35 have been well-known almost from the beginning of its development and it grows worse every year. Why? Because the point of developing weapons is moving towards 100% fraud–there’s always been an element of fraud in military procurement but it have been growing rapidly since 9/11 due to a regime (has nothing to do with political party) dominated by criminal elements so wars, weapons, conflicts all exist and are fostered mainly by economic factors–the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Occupation was really just an opportunity for politically connected gangsters to make a ton of money. The depth of criminality is managed and ebbs and flows–and today all major expenditures are at least being noticed so the F-35 gets some press. So we’ll see whether its scrapped or not.

      But the point is that Russia makes weapons and organized armies for defense purposes the U.S. largely makes weapons to enrich rich donors and powerful political operatives in Washington and provide employment in important Congressional districts. The U.S. works on the assumption that because we are the Exceptional Nation that our military is invulnerable (despite a long series of at least partial defeats) because of our technological know-how. This attitude will, over time, dramatically weaken the real military (the fantasy military will always do better since Americans don’t know the difference between movies and reality) such that it will lose credibility. Putin’s strong stance does have something to do with his perception of U.S. military weakness as Saker has commented on in the middle of the Ukrainian crisis. In short, no matter what Russia does, the U.S. military does not have the conventional military strength to deter a power like Russia or China (which is deterred only by economic issues). I’m not sure but the extreme reluctance of the U.S. military to have a military confrontation with Iran may stem from a lack of confidence that it could beat the Iranian forces. War games have shown that a smart adversary in Iran can win a confrontation.

      This situation will have vast consequences in the coming decades to the extent military confrontations mean anything–and I’m not sure they do.

      1. Propertius

        But the point is that Russia makes weapons and organized armies for defense purposes…

        Not entirely:

        Please note that Russia is a larger arms exporter than the U.S.

        As for the purity of Russia’s defensive motives: You may well be correct, but I submit that the only person who really knows one way or the other is Vladimir Putin (and he ain’t talking).

        And, I must point out that the original source for the Russia Insider article is an article in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, an official publication of the Russian government (see:, which of course has a vested interest in promoting the commercial endeavors of Russia’s very own military-industrial complex (and therefore in touting the virtue of its products over those of its primary competitor). That doesn’t mean the article is necessarily inaccurate, but it suggests it probably ought to be accorded the same level of skepticism that the readers of this blog usually accord a statement by Jamie Dimon.

      2. Lambert Strether

        FWIW, I think we broke the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. Too many suicides, too many atrocities, too much forced re-enlistment, too many officers getting promoted on PowerPoint briefings, and all to no visible purpose. The reason Obama didn’t put boots on the ground in Syria is that he couldn’t. And Putin knows it.

            1. Propertius

              Perhaps it’s just being reported more. Reports of what was then known as “battle fatigue:” or “shell shock” were still quite common in earlier wars. Most people aren’t psychopaths, after all, and react badly to sustained brutality.

    3. BobW

      Interesting. Strategy Page website has been going on and on about Russian and Chinese engine problems, though. So the thing to do is fly around and around until the Russian engines burn out. One example:
      Russia Curses Engines

  4. Bunk McNulty

    This was in the Times on the 28th…I searched and couldn’t find a link here, so…
    Lobbyists, Bearing Gifts, Pursue Attorneys General

    “Attorneys general are now the object of aggressive pursuit by lobbyists and lawyers who use campaign contributions, personal appeals at lavish corporate-sponsored conferences and other means to push them to drop investigations, change policies, negotiate favorable settlements or pressure federal regulators…”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Corporations befriending attorneys general.

      Attorneys general litigating on behalf of the people (“People vs. xxx) – because the plaintiff is the people, not the government, but sadly, no monetary award has ever been handed over directly to the people, but always to the people’s lawyer, who decides on how to trickle the award down to the plaintiff, or not.

      In both cases above, the people remain invisible…and in many, many other litigation cases as well (and in money creation too), just an afterthought.

  5. Massinissa

    I didnt realize until Yves brought it up that Keynes died in 1946, at age 62.

    He basically died right after the conference…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, IIRC he didn’t have a great heart, and the stress of the conference, including running around in a large building, took a lot out of him. People were worried during it if he would make it.

      “Young” was probably the wrong word, since 62 is not that old by today’s standard but it was a decent male lifespan back then. But Milton Friedman live to be 94. Imagine how different things would have been if Keynes had lived to be 75 or 80.

      1. William C

        Both JMK’s parents lived in to their nineties (his father to 98) IIRC. He had had rheumatic fever as a child, I believe, which often weakens the heart (did for my father). So it is not inconceivable that, without the RF, he might have lived to 1980. That would have been interesting.

  6. AQ

    Speaking of TOR, Naked Capitalism sucks on TOR. Half the time the cloudflare captcha is missing so you can’t get in even if you switch to a new identity. Once you do get in as soon as you click on a new page, you get a new captcha screen and if you are lucky you can even see said captcha to get back in.

    Just sayin.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Lambert has used Tor without incident. And we don’t use captchas at all, so I have no idea what you are talking about. We’ve never implemented that functionality.

      1. AQ

        Your site uses cloudflare. It’s the html5 canvas request from cloudflare prior to allowing me onto the site.

        Sometimes one captcha and all is good and I can cruise around the site. Other days, every single page update to read the new comments or a different page throws the cloudflare security verification page back up and mostly without the captcha image. Some days it’s so frustrating that I don’t even bother trying to use TOR to view your site. I’m not an advanced TOR user (still playing around really because I feel it’s important that I learn more) so I haven’t dug down to figure out the whys. Mostly if I want to view your site, I have to come in with a regular browser.

        Interestingly enough, I’m hit with the cloudflare captcha on your site more than I am on any other site I visit. There’s not even a close second.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Cloudflare blocks about 80% of our spambot attacks. It’s the best solution we have found, and we have looked a lot. The alternative is no site.

          This is the explanation I got from my tech guy:

          The reason it doesn’t work is because cloudflare will make people enter a captcha if they think the IP address they’re coming from is engaging in suspicious activity or activity that looks like a robot.

          There are likely 2 things going on for him:

          1) each request for images on a page is coming from a different IP address — this will look like someones hacking the session and cloudflare will see it as suspicious; OR
          2) some of the IP addresses in the TOR network are on block lists or are used by spammers/hackers which gets them greylisted.

          As indicated, Lambert had no trouble using Tor and you are the only reader to complain, and I would be pretty sure you are not not only Tor user. I’m sorry, but we can’t abandon using Cloudflare, particularly since our evidence is that your experience is isolated.

          1. AQ

            As far as Lambert is concerned, I suspect he bypasses public access and goes through an admin page/portal. I also suspect that he’s not an off-the-shelf newbie TOR user.

            What I find ironic is that the site which convinced me that this topic was important enough that I followed through and downloaded the product to test it out is the same site which makes it so frustrating to use and impossible for me to post a comment that I defaulted back to a naked browser.

            In the for what it’s worth take-away: All the powers that be have to do is hit enough sites with enough spambots that TOR dead on arrival for the general public.

            Thank you for your time and the response. I’ll do my own research to come up with a solution.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Why should we have captchas implemented locally? Seriously. I’ve never seen the point. We can catch spammers through other means and not annoy readers remotely as much. And note that Cloudflare uses captchas only with IP addresses it thinks are suspect.

        2. Lambert Strether

          Wow, forsooth.

          There are plenty of local captchas that are just no good at all; in fact, the only good ones I’ve ever found are served from elsewhere (because captchas get outsmarted by trolls, so there’s an arms race).

          In any case, if you want to handle the testing and then the support, do feel free….

  7. Banger

    Just a word on the “security” state and the Ray McGovern incident. We need to call our “leaders” what they are, i.e., cowards. Not that that word means anything anymore since cowardice (in the land of the brave) is right up there as a virtue along side of selfishness, greed, cruelty and so on) is now consider a mainstream virtue. As many reports have noted, the NYPD is an entity on to itself more allied with FBI/CIA than the people of New York.

    As we all know, we live in a national security state which is, at minimum, an inverted totalitarian state but, frankly, moving towards a neo-feudal state where Barons rule by decree. The authorities had no legal right to treat McGovern in that way but they did and they will continue to do so in an ever expanding way.

  8. zephyrum

    Let’s not start congratulating ourselves over the FCC proposal yet. From the article:

    The plan now under consideration would separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content. The FCC would then classify the back-end service as a common carrier, giving the agency the ability to police any deals between content companies and broadband providers.

    The emerging plan reflects proposals submitted by the Mozilla Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, though it departs from both in parts. The main advantage of the hybrid proposal, as opposed to full reclassification, is that it wouldn’t require the FCC to reverse earlier decisions to deregulate broadband providers, which were made in the hopes of encouraging the adoption and deployment of high-speed broadband. The authors of the new proposal believe that not having to justify reversing itself would put the FCC on firmer legal ground.

    In other words, the ginormous ISP corporations can continue to screw the general population and cherry-pick their deployments leaving much of the country without decent Internet, while the content providers get some government assistance in negotiating with the ISPs. In other words, “grass roots activism” got harnessed by some of the big corps as a tool against other big corps. What a surprise.

    1. Carla

      Yeah, when I read the article I thought: “This is a nothing sandwich.”

      We’re too far gone, people. The FCC, the FDA, the CDC, the EPA, and all the other acronyms in the playbook ain’t gonna save us. Why would they? They are not working for us. It does not matter how many of us write how many letters.

  9. dearieme

    On the Keynes piece: “it’s far better if the money is spent well. Considering the crying need for better roads, bridges, tunnels, schools, and the like, it’s a no-brainer for governments to build them now, when there are willing hands and cheap loans.” But many governments in the advanced world have set up such elaborate structures of regulation that there is no chance of such a policy working at useful speed. Say, for instance, in the US someone decided that your oil and gas pipeline infrastructure needed expansion. How long would it take even to begin? And it’s not just the time, it’s the inflated costs. Infrastructure seems to have an amazing capacity to cost up to ten times more than makes any sense, and to have massive time overruns too. Google on the Edinburgh tramway system for an example. Or check the cost of the new crossing for the Firth of Forth. Or the guided busway in Cambridge. No wonder people are reluctant to fund spending on such extravagance.

    Put otherwise; corrupt and incompetent governance is an obstacle to effective use of Keynesian expenditure. Add to that the little difficulty that governments don’t save up capital (or at least reduce debt) in the good times, and you have real problems.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Consider the crying need for better health of the 99.99%, THE Infrastructure Project of the Century is to build, or rebuild, their (financial) pockets, so that they can afford to buy local, organically grown foods (more expensive than GM foods trucked in from thousands of miles away), lessening the toll on our roads, tunnels and bridges, and also that they can afford to give up their second and third jobs and have more time with their families, repairing and restoring family relationships, and have more time for that daily walk in the park (both saving tons of money down the road on health care).

      ‘Invest in people, not material objects.’

      The way to do this, of course, is to give ALL newly created money to the people, directly, and not a cent to the government (their funding is to be by taxation and borrowing only) – ensuring more for the people and no potential conflict of interest (in creating and claiming ownership of that money….two separate acts).

      No more trickle-down government spending, on roads and bridges (less urgent than investing in humans), if we want to encourage localism. That’s the optimistic case (spending for more roads, etc.); the undesirable government fiscal stimulus would be for more military spending, which, appears to be what we are getting from Big, Rich Brother.

      1. davidgmills

        The Federal Government can print money. As much as it needs. If you could print money, would you need to borrow or have a source of income or budget? Of course not. And neither does the Federal Government. The fact that the Federal Government does borrow, tax and budget shows you that really the Federal government doesn’t print money like the Constitution permits. It also proves that the banks own the Federal government, lock stock and barrel.

        State and local governments can’t print money so they need to borrow, tax and budget. This is basic Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

        The Federal Government can invest in people and things because it can print money. It is not an either/or for the Federal Government; it is only an either/or for state and local governments.

    2. Banger

      One if my sons, an adult with a family. son asked me if I knew of any organization that wasn’t corrupt after I mentioned some scandal within a spiritual organization I was a part of at one time. I stuttered and shrugged my shoulders. Of course there have to be some smaller organizations that don’t suffer from the malaise that is deep in our culture. But certainly most large institutions are corrupt since our values are fundamentally perverse and selfish. Why not cheat and cut corners? Why not, if you can get away with it, run a successful con?

      This is why I urge a firm “no” to anything coming out of government despite the fact I believed once in social democracy. But it is too late for that both the public and private systems are, to an increasing degree, dishonest at best and actively criminal. At a time when no good deed goes unpunished virtue dissolves.

      1. fresno dan

        November 1, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        That was a great article. And the link to the Eccles memo was eye opening – stuff they knew in 1938…but not now. We are regressing (well, getting more corrupt)

        “There can be such a thing as too much capital chasing too few investment opportunities. When that is the case—as it is now—owners of capital tend to speculate too much and bid up the prices of capital assets, as well as other quasi-investment assets like gold and Jeff Koons balloon dog sculptures.

        Modern policymakers know this and pursue destructive policies anyway. The Fed engineered several asset bubbles in recent years, propping up the equity markets with its most recent QE. We are living with the consequences.

        Businesses don’t invest unless there is demand for their products. John Maynard Keynes recognized the importance of demand. The supply side does not determine business investment, as the Eccles memo noted.

        Globalization—a deliberate long-term project to reduce US wages and reverse parts of the New Deal—has hammered middle class wages and salaries for 30 years. Borrowing made up the slack, propping up consumption until recently.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, the Times has a similar story. These are probably leaks from people inside who don’t like where this is coming out. As you probably know, it’s pretty common in DC for staff in the agency to want to take more aggressive action, and for them to be overruled by the political appointees.

      Let’s hope this leads to another round of external pressure.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      … Wealth Transfer, NOT Wealth Creation!!

      There was little creation of real wealth from QE-ZIRP, only the illusion of wealth in the form of elevated corporate stock Price-to-Earnings ratios. Stock P/Es have in turn been artificially increased by interest rate suppression in order to inexpensively fund corporate stock buybacks that essentially increased earnings per share.

      QE-ZIRP has robbed savers of interest income, and is essentially theft from American taxpayers who will, under the current monetary system, be required to pick up the tab of the federal deficits that have been funded by the Fed (“monetized”) that were in turn funded with the money the Fed created from thin air. Those federal deficits have been used largely to bail out the banks for their control and securities frauds that led to the financial collapse in 2008 and to pay for past and current foreign military adventures.

      IMO the only material sources of real wealth created in this country over the past 5+ years have been from activities related to the fracking oil and gas boom, and much of that has come at hidden long-term environmental costs which are not accounted for under the GDP computation.

      But a nice try at spin by a significant QE-ZIRP beneficiary.

      1. Doug

        Agreed. The damage is done. Conservation laws have been violated. The true cost to society for the illusory perpetual motion of QE is going to be enormous.

  10. Marianne Jones

    So back to the Wikipedia thing…

    1) The website infobox allows for the inclusion of a screenshot of the website. I plan on adding a screenshot of the site. See links for details and

    2) Adding Yves’ headshot would amp up the page. Do you have a photograph for which you hold the copyright to upload? Please refer to this link for the restrictions on image use

    3) If Yves / Lambert can summarize their focus areas for original reporting, I think that would make a good addition to the page. I don’t have the time to do the slogging. I have a Chinese mid-term coming up and characters to memorize.

    4) Ultimately, I’d like to see the page have enough content and structure for a Table of Contents.

    Final comment, yesterday there was some talk of a conspiracy to suppress NC’s reach / voice. Given my interactions with Wikipedia editors on other pages, I would guess that extreme pedantic tendencies were more at play. Wikipedia editors are well known to lean this direction.

    1. Marianne Jones

      Infobox expanded with stuff. If Yves / Lambert / somebody-in-the-know could take a moment to check that my best guesses are correct, you can either fix yourself, or send me an email to the address attached to this post with the required corrections.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bank of Japan…$700 billion a year…

    4.3 percent surge in the Topix index… :< Only good if you own something there.

    How about that $700 billion directly to the People of Japan? Do you think they can't do better than the Japanese government in 'growing the Japanese GDP?'

    Instead, the Topix index is going up.

    And we box ourselves in with

    1. More government spending = helping the people
    2 Creating money = ownership of that money.

    'We should not give newly created money directly to the people. God knows what they will waste that money on. They can't be trusted.'

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From the same article, about Korea:

      There have been a lot of profit warnings in Korea. The entire region is already in difficulties with overcapacity and a serious debt overhang. Dollar-denominated debt has risen exponentially to $2.5 trillion from $300bn in 2005, and credit efficiency is declining,” he said.

      Uh-oh. ‘Dollar-denominated debt…’

      Will have to supply the empire with more smartphones and cars.

  12. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding Michael Shedlock’s article, I disagree with the view that the BoJ wants inflation. In a less-noticed piece of news , the government of Japan has raised the nation’s domestic sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent, and has said it will increase the tax rate further. So it’s more austerity for the People, consistent with the financial repression policies we have seen implemented in Europe, the UK and the U.S.

    I believe this move is all about “corporate friendly” policies intended to suppress the Yen in order to increase the competitiveness of Japanese exports, maintain low interest rates to reduce corporate costs, elevate stock prices under the carry trade, and suppress domestic demand through higher taxes on the people.

    I have come to view these and other monetary and fiscal policy developments through a global policy prism that is extremely favorable to large transnational banks and corporations, but detrimental to the vast majority of the population while favoring a very small minority.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s ‘robbing the people in the name of helping the people’ over there in Japan.

      What happened to all the money we have won from all those ‘People vs xxx’ cases? We got robbed.

      At the end, it’s ‘whose money is it?’

      The government’s money or the People’s money?

    1. Foy

      Erick, where you find a link behind a paywall, instead of clicking on the link, copy the link title then google it and you will invariably be able to get another link for the article without a subscription. It only takes a couple of seconds. I do this for all the Financial Times articles that Yves puts in the links (as I often find those are behind the paywall/registration area) and it works nearly every time.

  13. Antifa

    The value of a Universal Wage to our nation has been well explained. The key objection to it, by the ultra-wealthy of our nation, is that it would allow many more people into the circle of rentiers who are able to live off the income their wealth generates, and build their wealth to astronomical heights from that income.

    Our entire business and government edifice has been carefully set up to allow money and power to mostly flow in one direction only — to those who already have most of it in hand. To the very wealthy, money isn’t about income, it’s about getting and keeping a larger slice of the pie. A Universal Wage, which grows the pie for everyone, doesn’t help them with that goal. Rentiers see the world as a zero sum game. Where’s the wealth advantage of owning a factory if your workers can afford to leave you and go start a co-op factory of their own down the street? Why, pretty soon they’ll be “contributing” to politicians at the same rate you do, and getting laws changed to favor them instead of you.

    It seems that a more useful goal than a Universal Wage is a Universal Wealth Cap, a globally agreed upon limit to personal wealth. To be set for life is a fine thing. To be set for a thousand lifetimes is no longer about wealth. It is only about the power to rule over other lives, to corrupt governments from top to bottom, to enlave countless millions and deprive them of even a living wage so that you can grow your slice of the pie at their expense. What is the TPP treaty but exactly this effort to put asset owners above every national government on the planet? And where does our “civilization” vanish to at the point when the TPP becomes global law? Into the hands of warlords who wear designer suits and wield fountain pens. Into the hands of our first crop of Trillionaires.

    There needs to be a wealth limit, whether it is a million times the Universal Wage amount, or ten million times, or a hundred million times the UW. Where will the money for a Universal Wage come from? Mostly from this kind of wealth cap, which will serve to reverse the flow of wealth in one direction only, once it reaches a certain point. The money goes back to the hundreds of millions of people it was wrongly taken from. The robbery of the population for the benefit of only the barest few of us stops at some point.

    Nothing would put an end to the sociapathic destruction of our species and others, to our planet and our civilization, like a wealth cap globally enforced. Then the game of musical chairs that is eroding and ending life as we know it on this planet will become pointless. Like the stupid game of Monopoly that it is.

    1. cwaltz

      I still say that the inheritance tax ought to be set to pay out exactly like it would if you won a lottery. I mean essentially that IS what determines our parentage anyway-it’s a genetic lottery. Why should the Walton’s get to keep most their dad’s wealth but the person who wins lotto have to forfeit half?

  14. JTFaraday

    re: “Not what they seem”…Imgur Antidote variants.

    Slippery little buggers, aren’t they?

  15. Vatch

    Re: “Lack of mechanics threatens U.S. Air Force target date for F-35”, can’t the U.S. Air Force just outsource maintenance to the Chinese?

  16. Erick Borling

    Carla said she has no hope, therefore why should any of us. Well, that’s because to live is to strive. To give up is essentially to die. However, Carla may wish to know that her expression of disillusionment means that she wants to hope again. So, hopelessness is an ill state. One must keep working towards some goal.

  17. Erick Borling

    Thanks kindly for that. But wow, I’m stunned to find that due to the absence of… a charter or mission statement or some Code of Federal Regulations delineating money creation and the mechanism of implementing fiscal policy, economists and citizens must divine the nature of money and “debt” with all manner of kooky experiments, ulcer-inducing debates and gnashing of teeth. (No insult intended). However, I am sure the documentation exists. And I will find it thanks for the pointers.

    Incidentally here’s my take on the Forbes article. Forgive me if I’m a bit loose with some of my characterizations: Outstanding development; Modern Monetary Theory is promulgated by a tax celebrity in Forbes, an uncritical paean of Chicago/Mises market ideologies etc. Very good! Slowly the truth will get out and eventually put an end to Ron Paul goldbuggery, “economic collapse” charlatanism, and deficit hawkery. But it will take a long time. Sheppard does make one great error, however, in asserting that the sovereign fiat currency system (which we have) includes a built-in component of unemployment. Unemployment is a policy decision, not an inherent. Americans are more tolerant of unemployment than of the threat of inflation, based on the myths of Weimar Germany, Zimbabwe, etc… Also, Sheppard’s coinage of the term “petrodollars” will produce misperceptions about the dollar’s source of validity, because oil’s valuation in dollars — and even the fact that dollars are “the world’s reserve currency” are not the basis of the dollar’s “value”/legitimacy. If that were true then every fiat currency other than the dollar would have performance problems. Besides, the concept of money as a “store of value” conceives of the ideal dollar as pegged to gold; that is, an investment instrument only; thereby eliminating fiscal policy as a means of achieving public purpose. That conception is based on good-old-days myths about the gold standard, which we have thankfully left behind. So… Despite MMT being a description of the system as it actually is (– and this is widely known in the public and private finance sectors –) the public and the politicians still generally think of the federal government as revenue constrained like a household, state or municipal government; in that the mythology claims the federal government must collect money before it can spend. …As if this is a nation of counterfeiters. Or that the banks are the money creators. What they actually do is create loans which create deposits. The source of the “actual” money remains the federal government via the bizarre dance of the Fed and the Treasury; which is apparently byzantine enough that even economists haggle about how it works. Geithner himself didn’t get it, either. The implications of MMT; that we can afford to employ everyone who wants to work, invoke the fear of the unknown and of inflation. However, only MMT has systematically accounted for the factors that cause inflation/hyperinflation, and we have been warning about deflation (threats) for a while now; and we were right. While conservatives seem most vehement about the notion that the national debt is a burden on the future and that federal budgets must be balanced, democrats have drunk the cool aid as well, as Obama’s “grand bargain” and the meager stimulus (which actually worked; increasing GDP by about %2). Let’s hope the electorate learns more MMT, as it is the only heuristic that can produce the informed decisions that will lead to the revolution of democratic change we harken after, both dems, republicans, and others.

  18. Veri

    The Fail-35 Junk Strike Fighter and Mechanics: A Simple Solution

    Train A-10 Mechanics using already experienced mechanics while moving some of the experienced A-10 mechanics over to The Fail-35 Junk Strike Fighter program where they will desperately need them and about 1,100 more than they are planning on.

    Our officer corp has a terminal case of the Stupids. Which is why there are NCOs. Because it is a rare General who can tie his own shoes. Looks like the Generals are in a hurry to get the Fail-35 certified, for their retirement planning – a job on the Board of some defense contractor.

  19. Erick Borling

    That’s just mean. The F-35 JSF is the most advanced aircraft ever built, solving problems that have never been solved (technical aircraft systems problems), so of course it would have “faced problems” from the beginning. As to the officer corps comment, pure arrogant dishonesty on your part.

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