Links 11/22/14

Kitten Escapes New Mexico Home On Halloween, Shows Up 2,300 Miles Away In Maine Consumerist

Why is comedy more painful than tragedy? Crooked Timber

Mattel Pulls Sexist Barbie Book “I Can Be A Computer Engineer” Off Amazon TechCrunch (furzy mouse)

Google break-up plan emerges from EU Financial Times. Too late. Google has crapified search beyond all recognition. They’ve gotten rid of date range searches on its main search page (so you basically can’t find anything old unless you can specify very tightly what you are looking for) and even on the news search page, which supposedly offers it, it doesn’t work (I tried searching last night for articles before 1/1/2011 and got 2014 results instead).

China blinks as economic downturn deepens Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Germany’s Four Neins Project Syndicate

CETA: Trading Away Democracy

BoE probes money auction rigging fears Financial Times


West Mulls New Concessions in Iran Nuclear Talks Wall Street Journal

Is DoD illegally protecting Israel’s “clandestine nuclear weapons program?” Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Amnesty backs Detekt tool to scan for state spyware on computers Guardian (furzy mouse)

U.S. Firms Accused of Enabling Surveillance in Despotic Central Asian Regimes Intercept

The Drone Rule Book Has Made It Easier for Our Partners Drone Kill With Us Again Marcy Wheeler

The Question of Edward Snowden New York Review of Books

Swedish Court of Appeals Rule to Continue the Detention of Julian Assange Real News Network

Turkey Spared — But Obama’s Compassion For Humans Comes Up Short Huffington Post

GOP Columnist: The VERY Bad News FOR THE GOP in the GOP’s Midterm Victory Daily Kos. I offer this with a fistful of salt.

Washington state man convicted of molestation freed after accuser recants Reuters. EM: “So basically this poor slob was convicted on nothing more than the word of an 11-year-old.”

Bank of America Granted Penalty Relief in SEC Mortgage Case Bloomberg (Adrien). Provisional 30 month waiver on the part BofA cared about.

Executive Actions on Immigration USCIS (1 SK). I will not go into details, but I don’t see how this works in practice. Consistent with our quick reaction yesterday, which is that hardly anyone can prove they satisfy the five year requirement, or the rules get bent a lot.

Obama Details Immigration Executive Actions, GOP Considers Lawsuit DSWright, Firedoglake. Procedural tricks are over my pay grade but defunding implementation sounds as if it could indeed stymie the initiative.

Rent-Stabilized Leases Shielded in Bankruptcy New York Times.

$590M LBO Settlement Filed In Error, Judge Says Law360. May be just a clerical issue but seems peculiar.

Federal Reserve Set to Propose Stricter Rules for Banks in Commodities Markets New York Times. Only after Carl Levin and even John McCain chew them out.

New York Fed Chief Stands Firm Against Charges of Weak Oversight ProPublica

It’s Up To Congress How to Fill My Job, New York Fed Chief Tells Senator WSJ Economics. This would be an important and positive governance change. The NY Fed is virtually self-governed. Neither the Board of Governors nor the advisory board does much real oversight. More public accountability would be a step in the right direction.

Class Warfare

Five Ugly Decades of Middle-Class Wages in America Doug Short

​Why Are Minorities Overrepresented in Private Prisons? Vice

Antidote du jour (Lambert, from @onemorepost). A Himalayan marmot:

Himalayan marmot links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    A Himalayan marmot? from where i come from…po woman’s be’n badgered!

    Governor Scott Walker didn’t know who he was messing with when he picked a fight with the hard-working union folks of Wisconsin. He must have forgotten that Wisconsin is the Badger State. And badgers are scrappy little creatures. We may look cute, warm and fuzzy, but we have a fighting spirit.
    Gwen Moore

  2. McMike

    Look up simulacra in the dictionary and there’s a picture of Google.

    The web search that doesnt search.

    Its next iteration will completely ignore what you type and just feed you ads based on its dossier of you.

    1. jrs

      A tool for searching the web that can’t do what would be simple operations on a database. FWIW I don’t mean simple in terms of implementation on the web, don’t know about that, but if it was already implemented at some point then …

      I mean simple in terms of known basic functionality you’d want something to have.

    1. efschumacher

      Further to my post about competing Google and EU breakup plans, and defunct Microsoft breakup plans:
      The UK parliament seems to have already voted with its feet on this one: the money debate is completely unavailable on Android, only apparently available on Microsoft Silverlight.

      I’ll find out next how well it works in our non-Microsoft Linux household.


    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thanks for this link to the debate in Britain’s parliament, Carla. We have historically had similar public debates and even entire presidential campaigns in the U.S. centered on this issue. Given what has occurred in the U.S., the UK, Europe, Japan and elsewhere, it is time to revisit this debate very publicly IMO.

  3. New Deal democrat

    You need to be careful utilizing Doug Short’s graph of “hypothetical real weekly wages.” Here’s why.

    “Average hourly wages” is calculated by dividing the aggregate payrolls for all non-government payrolls by the total number of hours worked in the private economy. The result is what the average (not median) hour of work pays. You then adjust that for inflation by using, e.g., the CPI.

    That’s Doug’s first calculation.

    What he then does is divide that further by the average weekly hours worked, and he gets a much more pessimistically looking number.

    The problem with interpreting that last calculation is that it assumes that everybody is a full time worker. That is not the case. Average weekly hours includes all workers including part time workers. Part time workers increased from 13% of the workforce in 1968 to 16% of the workforce by the early 1990s. During the Great Recession, it shot up to 18%. Some part time work is involuntary, but most part timers are voluntary part timers, and they are all included in the “average weekly hours” number used by Doug.

    The big difference between “real average hourly wages” and Doug’s hypothetical “real weekly average wages” takes place in the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the rise of part time employment.

    In short, Doug’s “hypothetical real weekly average wages” number is real average weekly wages for a changing mix of part time employees (including voluntary part timers) plus full time employees. Which, I suspect, is not how you were interpreting that graph..

    Not to downplay what real hourly wages show – which is that real wages are still below their 1970s peak.

    BTW, the BLS does prepare a quarterly report of “usual weekly earnings” which is a median measure, but it is only available at their site. FRED doesn’t pick it up. That measure also shows workers’ earnings not making much headway against their 2009 peak.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      There is a good bit of evidence that the increase of part time jobs is not voluntary. Over time, and particularly since the downturn, a lot of employers have moved to flexible part time schemes to lower their costs when their workers would prefer full time employment. Fast food chains like McDonalds are big on this. The more labor-economy oriented monthly employment stats watchers have taken note of the high proportion of part-time job creation in this “recovery” and see it as another sign that job creation is weaker than it appears.

      1. New Deal democrat

        If you check the BLS stats for part time jobs, here:
        You will see that since the bottom in the labor market in February 2010, 65,000 more part time jobs have been added.

        If you check the BLS stats for full time jobs, here:,00000.txt,
        you will see that since the bottom in the labor market in February 2010, 10,000,000 new full time jobs have been added.

        If you check the BLS stats for workers who are part time for economic reasons, i.e., involuntary part timers, here:,.
        you will see that it peaked in March 2010 at 9,216,000 workers. As of last month it was 7,527,000 workers.

        As a share of the labor force, part time workers for economic reasons peaked at 6% of the entire workforce in 2009, and has declined to 4.5% since. This is similar to the experience in and after the severe 1982 recession, where part time workers for economic reasons peaked at just over 6% of the labor force, and declined to just below 4% in 1989. By way of comparison, in the boom times of the late 1960s and late 1990s, they were under 2.5% of the labor force.

        Hence, one needs to be mindful of these shifts in part time jobs in interpreting Doug’s graph.

        1. diptherio

          As you can see from this chart:

          we’re still quite a ways off our pre-crisis number of full-time jobs. But our part-time numbers shot up and stayed up during the crisis, as you can see here:

          So are you arguing that all the people who lost their full-time jobs during the crash are now working part-time voluntarily? Or maybe all those full-time jobs we’ve yet to replace were all lost by baby-boomers who were going to retire anyway? Or some combination thereof?

          I think it’s more likely that a lot of people lost their full time jobs and have only been able to pick up side gigs since. This chart shows that “part-time for economic reasons” rose dramatically with the crisis and has been slow to come down…kind of like the full-time jobs numbers have been slow to come up…strange, that:

          1. New Deal democrat

            Here is what I am arguing: Doug Short’s metric of “hypothetical real weekly wages” isn’t a clean comparison because the number of average hours worked is composed of both full time and part time workers, a comparison that has fluctuated greatly over time, not not in any one direction.

            In other words, you can’t simply compare the number now vs. say, 1973 and make a clean conclusion about wages, because the full time/part time ratio of workers has changed. You *can* make that clean comparison measured in hours, because that is what the data measures. Real hourly wages at all times from 1980 till now have been less than they were in the 1970s.

            I understood from Yves’ comment that she was arguing that involuntary part time work has been trending higher. But it isn’t a uniform trend, in the last 50 years the mix has trended up or down on multiple occasions.

          2. New Deal democrat

            My argument is that Doug Short’s metric of “hypothetical real weekly wages” cannot be used for clean comparisons over time, because one it’s components – “average weekly hours” – includes both full and part time workers, and the ratio between the two varies greatly over time. Whereas “real hourly wages” can give you clean comparisons over time, because that is what the data directly measures. Thus I can say with great confidence that real hourly wages have, at all times from 1980 till now, been less than they were in the 1970s.

            I understood Yves to be arguing that there was been a trend towards more and more part time work, but that has varied over time, in both directions, over multiple time frames. Hence my response.

            Btw, part time workers for noneconomic reasons have always been much higher than part time workers for economic reasons, going from 6 million to 14 million from the 1960s to 1990s, far more than the increase from 2 million to 6 million in that same time frame for part timers for economic reasons. As I said before, the big difference in Doug Short’s metric vs real hourly wages – the difference that makes the comparison look so much worse than that of real hourly wages – occurs in that 1970 to early 1990s time frame. And it is primarily caused by the big increase in people working part time, voluntarily, for noneconomic reasons.

            As a side note, given the increase in population, you should measure part timers as a share of the total labor force. When yo do so, the 1982 recession and subsequent recovery look very similar to 2008 to the present.

          3. New Deal democrat

            Let me try to put my criticism more simply with an example.

            An employer has one employee. The employee works 40 weeks a week for $10/hour. Average hourly pay is $10. Average weekly pay is $400.

            A retired buddy comes in. He’s tired of puttering around the house, and he and his wife are getting on one another’s nerves. So he asks the employer if he has a need for any part time work. As it happens, the employer does, so he hires the guy, also at $10 an hour, for 20 hours per week.

            This is win-win, right? The employer is happy, the semi-retired guy is happy, 20 more hours of work are added to the economy.

            In my example, hourly wages stay at $10. But since there are two employees working a total of 60 hours a week, Doug Short’s metric has average weekly pay falling by 25% to $300 a week.
            That is a correct calculation, but is it telling you useful, comparable information?

            Now scale that issue up by the 12 million new voluntary part time workers who entered the US economy between 1968 and 1994, and that, in general, is my criticism of Doug’s metric.

            1. bob

              “A retired buddy comes in. He’s tired of puttering around the house, and he and his wife are getting on one another’s nerves.”

              It’s been my thesis for a while that unemployment among the younger generation can be directly linked to marriage among the older cohort.

            2. fresno dan

              I think your analysis is sound and I think your critique is logical.
              However, I think what Doug Short’s analysis is missing that is fundamental is that when these aggregate numbers of wage earners are used, it misses the number of people who have left the work force. Now there may be some dispute over what percentage that is, but I don’t believe there is a real dispute that the total number of wage earners had declined by more than can be accounted for by voluntary retirement.
              I think it would be hard to argue that these people have higher income than if they were in fact working

              Please note that over the course of the last year, the working-age population rose by more than the number of people employed. In normal times, the unemployment rate would have gone up slightly. Instead, the unemployment rate fell from 7.2% to 5.9%.

              Over 100% of the decline in unemployment in the past year is due to people dropping out of the labor force, rather than strength in employment!

  4. Wayne Gersen

    You wrote that “…defunding implementation sounds as if it could indeed stymie the initiative” yet I read on a blog site yesterday that some of the major costs for this come from fees instead of government funds…

    1. fmartinus

      It would be “impossible” to defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration through a government spending bill, the House Appropriations Committee said Thursday.

      In a statement released by Committee Chairman Hal Rogers’s (R-Ky.) office hours before Obama’s scheduled national address, the committee said the primary agency responsible for implementing Obama’s actions is funded entirely by user fees.

      As a result, the committee said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) agency would be able to continue to collect fees and carry out its operations even if the government shut down.

      Source: The Hill

      1. ChrisPacific

        Exactly. Defunding would only be possible if it was actually funded in the first place. The entire USCIS edifice is 100% supported by applicant fees, which is one reason why they are so high (and one of the many reasons why most illegals can’t simply go through the legal process, as their detractors like to suggest).

        Now might be a good time for Congress to consider whether the immigration screening and processing function is of strategic importance and value to the USA, and (if so) what that value might amount to when measured as a dollar figure. (Is it greater than, say, zero?) Maybe if the legal immigration process wasn’t quite so costly and punitive, illegal immigration would be less of a problem? Just a thought.

  5. pretzelattack

    just hanging out on a saturday morning, waiting for the travesty of justice in ferguson to play out.

    1. ambrit

      I worrying that this might be the needed pretext for something like Regional Martial Law, or Stop and Search (Everyone.)

        1. sleepy

          Well, it’s already been that way for years in certain minority and poor neighborhoods.

          I think the overall consensus by the authorities–at least for now–is that the middle class internalizes authority and self-censors their thoughts and behavior sufficiently to avoid any talk of outright martial law in their neighborhoods. Shows of force as a reminder, as in the Boston marathon lockdown of an entire city, seem to work well enough. Again, at least for now.

          I also think by now most people are too frightened and disillusioned. Frightened of terrorism, ebola, immigration, the economy, stepping out of line, surveillance, etc., and disillusioned and shocked how bad things are, even compared to 10 or 20 years ago.

          1. jrs

            Even the talk of having to have immigrants be people who don’t have a criminal record grates on me. Ok one need not be a fan of open immigration at all (certainly not the liberal sort who declines talking about any downsides), and one certainly need not be a fan of say criminal drug gangs freely crossing the border, and other countries definitely do the same thing (hey you can’t even visit Canada!). But what are criminal charges? Smoking MJ or using other substances? Having warrants because your too poor to pay fines?. Or trying to restart the UFW? Get where I’m going? Yes it’s a human right to organize and so on but … can you trust this country on such rights?

            They’ll be quasi legal but scared. Just what we need …. or something.

      1. sleepy

        Thanks. I will take a look at the book.

        I presently have lived in Iowa for the past 15 yrs. Prior to my time here in the 1970s and 80s there were a number of unionized meatpacking plants scattered in small towns across this area, which paid well with benefits, and supported a family. That’s mostly long-gone

        “Hard-Pressed in the Heartland: The Hormel Strike and the Future of the Labor Movement”

        According to one estimate 75% of the Hormel employees in Austin MN are now undocumented.

  6. Anon

    Re: Washington state man convicted of molestation freed after accuser recants

    She did it for parental attention, of all things. To that end, this puts into perspective how the accusation of rape is just as damaging as the crime itself.

    While browsing through ArsTechnica, I found this article:

    Why the Surveillance State Lives On

    Notable quote at the beginning:

    Now it looks very much like Greenwald is becoming a voice in the blogging wilderness again, and Snowden is watching from Moscow, once again isolated, as his explosive revelations fizzle out politically. On Tuesday, led by Republicans voting en masse, the U.S. Senate defeated a motion to vote on the USA Freedom Act, which would have curbed the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. The new, harder-line Republican Congress coming in January doesn’t seem likely to pass the bill either, to the point where Greenwald lamented in blog post Wednesday that it was “self-evidently moronic” to rely on the U.S. government to fix the U.S. government. “Governments don’t walk around trying to figure out how to limit their own power, and that’s particularly true of empires,” he wrote. “The entire system in D.C. is designed at its core to prevent real reform. This Congress is not going to enact anything resembling fundamental limits on the NSA’s powers of mass surveillance.”

    Quelle surprise indeed.

    1. Banger

      The fact is the surveillance state is the State–that’s it. Though Lambert doesn’t like me saying it is it the “Deep State” and has been forming since WWII. There is no force around that can stop it because we still don’t admit it exists.

      1. sleepy

        If acknowledged, what if anything could stop it?

        Unfortunately, imho at best there would be a spate of new legislation smoothing over the rough edges which might calm people down for a few years, then a gradual reassertion of the same, and probably worse, status quo.

        In terms of any sort of popular action against the “deep state”, violently nipping that kind of thing in the bud is one of the purposes of having a “deep state”.

        1. Banger

          It doesn’t matter. Once it is recognized that we don’t live in the old Republic but rather an Imperial State the paradigm sharply changes and all the patriotic claptrap about American Exceptionalism and “our brave men an women in uniform fighting for our freedom” BS will fade. People want to desperately believe in America and to do so are in denial as much as many families are in denial about sexual abuse. The weird thing is that all the evidence you need for the existence of a Deep State is freely available and obvious.

          1. neo-realist

            It’s easier and much more publicized for Americans to read Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games) and Stephen King horror hackwork than to read Russ Baker, Peter Dale Scott, or Fletcher Prouty.

        2. Jim

          I saw a blog comment the other day(not here) that argued that many people, in their bones, do indeed know the score about the emergence of our Deep State/imperial regime and are now in the process of deciding whether or how well they can personally survive in such a new environment.

          The blogger was of the opinion that he would probably be ok for the time being and that consequently it would probably take 30-50 years before any type of real political resistance might arise.

          What do people here think about such calculations and potential outcomes?

          1. Banger

            I think it will be less than thirty to fifty years–my sense, that barring an internal reform by the oligarchs, serious problems will erupt in less than a decade.

      2. psychohistorian

        Just like we don’t talk about unfettered inheritance and the ongoing accumulation of private property as the foundation of Western “social organization” for that past few centuries.

      3. Lambert Strether

        It’s not that I don’t “like” it when you use the term; I actually bought one of Peter Dale Scott’s books and read it, and I think the concept is sloppy and not capable of adequately representing the state even as an object of academic study, hence disemplowering and an application of agnotology to the NC readership.

        That said, on some days you advocate a more nuanced interpretation where the state is seen as a bundle of competing factions (of varying “depths,” if that’s the right metaphor). So it’s only a question of whether today is one of your “deep state” days, or not. It is, apparently.

        NOTE I think the rhetorical move in “There is no force around that can stop it because we still don’t admit it exists” is swell. The same might be said of any other imaginary, fetish, or religious entity; Chthulhu, for example.

        1. thoughtful person

          Sheldon Wolin talks of inverted totalitarianism. Interview by Chris Hedges over at Real News was linked to here. Imo, and from my reading of NC site and comments over the past year or two, most would agree that the state has been captured by corporations. I guess the labels used might imply greater or lesser degrees of conscious sub rosa direction by those who control the largest of these entities.

          1. RWood

            It’s got a highly localized stability:
            These comments from the intro by Tim Shorrock
            America, he [Risen] says, “has become accustomed to a permanent state of war. Only a small slice of society – including many poor and rural teenagers – fight and die, while a permanent national security elite rotates among senior government posts, contracting companies, think tanks, and television commentary, opportunities that would disappear if America was suddenly at peace. To most of America, war has become not only tolerable but profitable, and so there is no longer any great incentive to end it.”
            He calls it “the new homeland security industrial complex” and notes that its members would “make no money if they determine the threat is overblown.”
            Endless war, for profit: that’s an astounding charge. Each chapter of PAY ANY PRICE brings out a little more of the story. It adds up to an incredible indictment of a society driven completely off the tracks by a sick combination of hubris and greed. [my emphasis]
            and from Writer’s Almanac:
            Don DeLillo’s novel Libra (1988) is about the Kennedy assassination. He wrote: “What has become unraveled since that afternoon in Dallas is […] the sense of a coherent reality most of us shared. We seem from that moment to have entered a world of randomness and ambiguity.”
            Oh, yeah…

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      RE: Washington man convicted….

      How rotten does a society have to be to produce 11-year-old girls who concoct a plan to “get attention” by claiming to have been sexually assaulted and can, presumably, come up with enough details to make it believable enough to get a guy sentenced to prison FOR LIFE? Not to mention holding onto the lie for 20 years.

      Whatever happened to throwing a fit in the grocery store because your mother won’t buy you the Lucky Charms?

      1. Anon

        It’s said in the article that he had two prior convictions, which led to the life sentencing under Washington’s 3-strike law. Still absolutely crazy no matter how you look at it.

    3. Light a Candle

      It is sad that the man was wrongfully imprisoned for rape. He was finally freed when his accuser came to the police 20 years later, as an adult, and recanted.

      The accusation of rape is not just as damaging as the crime of rape. In fact most rapists get away with it. And some sexual predators assault dozens or even hundreds of victims such as Jimmy Saville and are protected by fame, money and power. Rape is widespread at American colleges with serial rapists on campus acting with impunity as per extensive media coverage including Rolling Stone and Al Jazeera. (Can’t get links to work!!)

      Very few rape victims go to the police. In Canada only 33 of a 1,000 victims even go to the police. Even fewer victims see any police investigation whatsoever and a miniscule percentage of rapists get convicted. And the court process for victims is brutal.

      Finally, the percentage of false rape accusations is low. The same as other crimes.

    4. jrs

      “But perhaps the more profound trend is that Americans just don’t seem to care as much as we once thought a year ago—an outcome that Snowden himself feared, once talking of “NSA fatigue.”

      It’s not a resignation to loss of privacy because Facebook and online marketing (I’m not defending those things). But it’s rather an understanding that the WHOLE system one lives under is completely and utterly rotten. And understanding that the NSA is just part of the system which force feeds at Gitmo, which crushes Occupy, of the system in which cops kill young black males and homeless people. But they don’t print things like that for some reason …

      ooooh and people aren’t changing their behavior to preserve privacy, just because we don’t care I guess, and not because we’ve followed very technical discussions showing this is basically impossible at least with regards to the NSA. Blame the victim.

      1. James

        But it’s rather an understanding that the WHOLE system one lives under is completely and utterly rotten. And understanding that the NSA is just part of the system which force feeds at Gitmo, which crushes Occupy, of the system in which cops kill young black males and homeless people. But they don’t print things like that for some reason .


  7. Jim Haygood

    Here is a very interesting test case of the oppressive US policy of taxing its subjects citizens even when they are nonresident:

    London Mayor Boris Johnson will refuse to pay U.S. tax, defying American demands on him as a dual citizen.

    “The United States comes after me, would you believe it, for the, for capital-gains tax on the sale of your first residence, which is not taxable in Britain, but they’re trying to hit me with some bill, can you believe it?” Johnson said on National Public Radio in New York in an interview first aired last week.

    Asked if he would pay it, he said: “Well, I’m — no, is the answer.”


    Reasonable enough … but America’s fanatical trawl for revenues, now going global under FATCA, makes no exception for US-born persons who’ve lived overseas for decades. We’ve got wars to pay for.

    Ordinary folks in this situation are obliged to renounce their US citizenship, which they are doing in increasing numbers. Can political pull secure a special dispensation for Johnson? Or will the US demand Johnson’s extradition, under its abusive treaty which short-circuits British judicial review, to face tax charges in New York? Stay tuned. The Beast is hungry.

    1. sleepy

      Abusive indeed.

      I have read reports that some foreign banks are refusing to allow long-standing US expats, even duals perhaps, from opening accounts given the onerous reporting paperwork that the US requires now for nationals residing overseas. It is a big problem in Canada where I have also read that there are over 1 million dual US-Canadian citizens.

      Apparently, the US wants not only current income taxed, but years of past income.

      Two duals are suing the Canadian government:

      “Ms. Deegan was born in Washington in 1962 to one American and one Canadian, according to the lawsuit. She moved to Canada at age five, and has not lived in the U.S. since, nor has she worked there or held a U.S. passport, according to the lawsuit.

      Ms. Hillis was born in the U.S. in 1946 to two Canadians, and also moved to Canada at age five, having never lived in the U.S. since then, according to the lawsuit. She also has not worked in the U.S. or held a U.S. passport, according to the lawsuit.”

      Of course if you are a US corporation operating overseas, well, I would suspect that’s an entirely different matter with all sorts of legalized tax dodges available.

      1. Vatch

        “Of course if you are a US corporation operating overseas, well, I would suspect that’s an entirely different matter with all sorts of legalized tax dodges available.”

        It appears that in the eyes of the U.S. government, a corporation is a person, but a person is not a person (unless perhaps that person has the clout and the financial resources to incorporate).

        1. thoughtful person

          Reminds me of the original US constitution, where only landowners or property owners had a vote.

    2. sleepy

      I would wonder whether the purpose of this is not so much revenue production, but as seems normal nowadays, somehow tied into terrorism and the long arm of the US poking its nose into overseas banking accounts for purposes of drumming up some connection between the dual citizen and, say, a Palestinian charity.

    3. Ed

      Boris Johnson is pretty much as elite in Britain as you can get. The US successfully extraditing him and putting him in jail for not paying taxes to the US government would be sort of like the UK bringing Michael Bloomberg to the UK and imprisoning him in the Tower of London.

      If I were in charge of the US “deep state” I would go ahead and do it, just to make a point.

      Of course, arguably this already happened with Conrad Black but I think Johnson is a bigger fish.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? It has long been US law to tax US citizens on their worldwide income. There is a large exemption if you live full time overseas, but you do have to file and you most certainly do have to pay taxes if you earn more than the exemption amount. This is not a mystery. Anyone who does business overseas is well aware of it.

      1. sleepy

        What’s new are the onerous financial institution reporting requirements imposed by the US by FATCA on foreign banks that have expats and/or dual citizens as customers. Of course those requirements aren’t “imposed”. They require legislative or regulatory action by the nation involved. And one result has been the reluctance of banks to open accounts for duals.

        Many citizens of those nations rightfully consider those requirements as another example of the heavy hand of Uncle Sam and some impingement on their own sovereignty.

    5. windsock

      Boris is particularly pissed off because the American Embassy refuses to pay the congestion charge levied on cars in central London during weekday daytimes. The amount outstanding is £8.5 million and the Yanks haven’t paid since the charge was introduced in 2003. What do they think their cars do? Hover, powered by wishes, taking up no space?

    6. Howard Beale IV

      That’s why there’s been a big jump in US citizens filing the necessary paperwork renouncing their US citizenship. The most recent visible example was Tina Turner.

    1. psychohistorian

      I would add that those that don’t learn sharing in grade school are emotionally stunted for life.

      And if you don’t learn to share then you have to spend an inordinate amount of your life, protecting “as yours”, chunks of mankind’s heredity…..I still don’t think they have invented a way to take much with you when you go.

      1. Vatch

        “I would add that those that don’t learn sharing in grade school are emotionally stunted for life.”

        No problem. They can just become fabulously successful as Wall Street CEOs or politicians.

      2. Antifa

        But you can!

        What a fantastic idea for a new web company. I’ll call it The Gas Off.

        The whole thing, for most people, can be handled with GasOff Living Wills that get notarized and made all legal according to your locality, for a fee. Your net worth is locked up by your will. When you die, your estate executor must purchase as may bottles of compressed helium as your remaining life savings and assets can pay for. We can supply all the helium needed, for a fee.

        The helium is released directly into the atmosphere by our reliable staff, for a fee. As everyone knows, all free helium atoms rise to the very top of our atmosphere and then disperse into outer space, never to be found on Earth again. You just took it with you.

        I fart in your general direction!” — Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Wasn’t there a recent link here which found “unequivocally” that exposure to this violent crap did not increase violent behavior?

      It stuck with me, because the “study” used putting a lot of hot sauce on someone else’s food as a measure of a participant’s tendency toward violence. I remember wondering how valid hot sauce was as a violence indicator. What with so many guns around an all.

      1. Vatch

        Seems like a very ambiguous study. Some people love hot sauce, so sharing it could be considered a generous act.

      2. Jackrabbit

        Violence is one concern. I suspect that video game conditioning is only one factor, and not the determining one. To wit: people don’t kill because of video game violence but it seems very possible that it might lower the barrier to killing.

        But other concerns relate to the willingness to submit to authority.

  8. ron

    The GOP article was well written and clearly pointed out the reality of the last election cycle and the math needed to understand the up coming 2016 elections. What he did not mention was that that the media spotlight will once again shin on the GOP providing plenty of cover for Democrats and generating larger turnouts in the 2016 election.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Here is a different analysis. Since WW II, the presidency has alternated between D and R control nine times, bracketed by the terms of Harry Truman and Barack Obama. Only once did a party hold the presidency for three terms (when George H. W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan).

      Thus, simple maff says the D party’s probability of winning the presidency for a third term in 2016 is only around 11%.

      But factor in a hopelessly dull candidate such as HHH (no, not Hubert Horatio Humphrey, but the Haranguing Hildabeest of Horror), and any R-party idiot should be a shoo-in, even if he’s just an old floppy-eared yellow dog.

      Remember — no matter how bad things seem now, they can always get worse!

      1. Ed

        This is a correct observation, and should be a sticky for any discussion of the 2016 elections. There is no need to get into Hillary Clinton’s qualities as a candidate or otherwise.

        These are the historical precedents:

        1. Alternation of control of the White House every eight years between the Democrats and Republicans since World War II, with one exception. The exception is Carter getting evicted in 1980, followed by twelve years of Republican control. John Michael Greer says that this is due to a deal between the leadership of the two parties. For whatever reason, it is a consistent pattern.

        2. When a party gains control of the White House, the popular vote margin of its presidential candidate always drops between the 2nd and 3rd presidential election after keeping that control. For example, McCain’s margin was lower than GW Bush’s in 2004, Gore’s was lower than Clinton’s in 1996, GHW Bush’s was lower than Reagan’s in 1984, and so on. This precedent has applied even if the presidential party winds up keeping control of the White House. The one exception was the 1904 election, where T Roosevelt improved on McKinley’s 1900 margin. The Democratic candidate in 2016 effectively has a ceiling of not quite 4% of the popular vote where he or she can outpoll the Republican candidate.

        3. A single party did hold onto the White House for numerous cycles after the Civil War and after the Depression, plus the “Virginia Dynasty” (but electors weren’t picked by popular vote then), but absent a big event alteration of control has been the pattern.

        4. The Obama administration is just not that popular.

        The Republicans know that they can pick up the White House easily if they want it and will not be running a joke candidate.

        1. Oregoncharles

          “John Michael Greer says that this is due to a deal between the leadership of the two parties.”

          So I’m not the only one, though I focus on the shorter period since Clinton’s re-election.

      2. Carolinian

        Mark me up as a fellow sceptic of the HHH inevitability express. Even the MSM transcriptionists seem to be having a hard time working up much enthusiasm.

      3. Andrew Harold

        That “old floppy eared yellow dog” could very well be Hank The Cow Dog then rest assured, everything will be O.K.

  9. optimader

    This will be shelved next to my Creationist History textbook

    “..Curator of the project, scientific head of SVIO Mikhail Myahkov claimed that the authors of the book published in Russia aimed to related the following thesis to the readers: “Crimea has always been ours.”
    “These people are dependent, they will write what the government tells them to. This is dictated history which will be forcibly imposed on everyone,” says Dzhemilev. “Saying that this or that territory is ‘ours’ based on the fact that it was conquered once is about as primitive as if Crimean Tatars were to say that Moscow is our city because we occupied it back in the day.”

    In November Human Rights Watch reported on the massive violation of human rights in Crimea, especially instances of intimidation and persecution of Crimean Tatars, civil activists and journalists who stand against the policies of the Russian government. Russia’s actions in regard to Crimea is qualified in the HRW report as occupation…”

    1. Vatch

      Crimea was Turkish for several centuries; it was putatively Russian from 1783, but it was only unequivocably Russian from the end of the Crimean War (1856) until 1917; it was a separate non-Russian Soviet republic from 1921 until 1945; it was Russian from 1945 until 1954; and it was Ukrainian from 1954 until 2014. Source: Ukraine Crisis: What it Means for the West, page 100, by Andrew Wilson, Yale University Press, 2014.

      This seems like a good book, but I’ve only had a chance to glance at it. One problem is that it is too short, with the text ending at page 207, and the endnotes and index continuing to page 236. There’s a lot of preparatory text, especially about Yanukovych’s administration, and we don’t reach the November, 2013, start of the Maidan demonstrations until page 66. So some events are not covered or are covered without enough detail.

      1. optimader

        “..At Rus’s heyday, Moscow was a tiny village. At Muscovy’s heyday, Rus no longer existed. In time, imperial Russia developed the myth of its continuity with Kyivan Rus and insisted that Kyiv (Kiev) was “the mother of Russian cities.” The rulers of early Muscovy saw no continuity with Kyiv, so much so that no Muscovite prince or Russian czar has ever borne the name of a Rus grand prince. Contrast that with any other European dynasty and their innumerable Henry’s, Louis’s, and Otto’s.

        In a word, the Russian nation is as artificial as the Russian state. Should both therefore be dismembered—say, by the Chechens, Bashkirs, Yakuts, Tatars, Ukrainians, and Chinese? Should Germany lay claim to Kaliningrad (the former Königsberg)? Should the Crimean Tatars—or perhaps even the Turks—claim the Crimea and boot out the Russians? Should the Kazakhs drive out the Russians in the north of their country? If you believe Putin, then the answer has to be yes. If you’re a rational policymaker or decent human being who suspects that endless border adjustments are a recipe for incessant wars, you may decide that the answer is no. After all, the bottom line is that all nations and all states are artificial historical constructs.”

        Either way, the issue may be moot. Having opened a Pandora’s Box of territorial revisions, Putin may have dealt a death blow to the artificial Russian state and fragmented Russian nation. In the years ahead, expect the Russian Federation’s many nations, autonomous regions, and large neighbors to test Putin’s commitment to state dismemberment

        1. Andrew Watts

          I personally enjoy Motyl and his work on empires; formal, informal, etc. However, his Ukrainian background makes me suspect that he’s a less than reliable expert on Russia. He’d also be considered a fringe lunatic if he advocated similar actions in the United States; ceding the American southwest back to Mexico, dismembering the states and returning the majority of their lands to the native tribes, and other actions to remedy previous transgressions.

          1. optimader

            “He’d also be considered a fringe lunatic if he advocated similar actions in the United States, ceding the American southwest back to Mexico…”
            Is he advocating or stating rhetorical questions? I think you miss his point. By logical extension are you suggesting Putin is a fringe lunatic by claiming a historical right to Crimea? To be consistent should Putin lay claim to Alaska as historically Russian territory?

            1. Andrew Watts

              “Is he advocating or stating rhetorical questions?”

              It could very well be both. I can’t honestly tell one way or another, but that kinda was Brzezinski’s plan for Russia in the Grand Chessboard. So it’s not like I haven’t heard something similar in the past. Although I don’t have any doubt that this plan would resonate with other people of Eastern Europe.

              By the way, some diehard Russian nationalists do still claim that Alaska is still their nation’s territory. Putin isn’t among their number.

          1. optimader

            If aboriginal claim is the precedent, Crimea may not be Ukrainian, but if that’s the case, then it surely isn’t Russian. So , if first come first serve is the rule of the day, is it Greek territory?

            But if you buy into the claim that it was Russian (SU) territory in 1954 then it is consistent that it was legally transferred by The Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR to the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR

            An interesting point on the Tartars

            Crimea, also known as the Crimean Peninsula, located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, currently under the jurisdiction of Ukraine, has a history of over 2000 years. The territory has been conquered and controlled many times throughout this history. The Cimmerians, Greeks, Sythians, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Khazars, Byzantine Greeks, Kipchaks, Ottoman Turks, and the Mongols – all controlled Crimea in its early history. In the 13th century, it was partly controlled by the Venetians, and by the Genovese; they were followed by the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire in the 15th to 18th centuries, the Russian Empire in the 18th to 20th centuries, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and later the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union in the rest of the 20th century, and Germany during World War II.
            The name “Crimea” takes its origin in the name of the city of Qırım (today called Stary Krym) which served as a capital of the Crimean province of the Tatars. The ancient Greeks called Crimea Tauris (later Taurica), after its inhabitants, the Tauri.
            The Crimean Tatar People are a fusion of; 1) ancient and aboriginal tribes of Crimea (Tavrs, Scythians, Sarmatians) that had been populating the peninsula as long as B. C.; 2) some alien European ethnic groups (Goths, ancient Greeks, Genoeses) had been settling here during the I-XIV centuries; and 3) Turkic origin tribes of the Northern Trans-Black Sea Region (Bulgars, Hazars, Pechenegs, Kumans) who had mingled with a forming composition of the people in the first century AD and comprised some mixture of emigrants from Central Asia brought there by Huns and later through Ghengis-Khan’s (Mongols) invasion.

            1. John Jones

              “The Crimean Tatar People are a fusion of; 1) ancient and aboriginal tribes of Crimea (Tavrs, Scythians, Sarmatians)”

              No they are not because those people were long gone and assimilated into others.

              The Scytho-Cimmerians are the indegionous people who would have been assimilated into the Kievan Rus and Eastern Romans by the time the Tartars turned up which was many centuries later as the Eastern Romans had already been there 2000 years.

              The Tartans are a turkic people who came much later so they are not indegionous to the region and any connection they have to the aboriginal tribes would be either from Ukranians, Russians and Greeks.

              1. optimader

                “aboriginal tribes would be either from Ukranians, Russians and Greeks”

                Yeah, so no. A bit of a deer path in the woods, but I’m guessing you aren’t an anthropologists either. we’ll leave it at we don’t agree.
                Incidentally neither does Vlad Putin .

                SOCHI, May 16 (RIA Novosti) “…The ancient Greeks founded the first colonies in the region, which they called Tauris. The peninsula was later conquered by the Turk-Mongols and joined the Russian Empire in 1774. Putin said Greeks also have a right to be called an indigenous people of Crimea, adding that “they had been there earlier than we were. ”

                On this point I’ll agree with Putin, Russia is very late to the game relative to Crimea sovereign integration.

                At a higher level globally, if aboriginal precedent is the standard for “ownership”, the cartographers will be busy.

                the Wikipedia link reads to be consistent w/ what I’ve read.
                Sub-ethnic groups

                1. Vatch

                  What it boils down to is that we are all Africans, and everyplace outside of that continent is an African colony.

                2. John Jones


                  I have been trying to reply but my posts
                  don’t seem to appear.

                  Can you tell me more specifically what you don’t agree
                  about what you quoted.

    2. Banger

      HRW is not much more credible than the State Department. Russia certainly is not a liberal democracy but neither is the USA which is an inverted totalitarian state. HRW is one of many NGOs that have been infiltrated by the the West’s intel community as have all the major media.

      1. optimader

        Relative to the aside from HRW, shouldn’t your comment should address the substance of the claim rather than generalized ad hominem attack?

        1. Carolinian

          So you are citing HRW as a reliable authority and then pooh poohing references to their past rather dodgy history? Just Google a few Moon of Alabama posts on HRW and Georgia or HRW and the Middle East for background.

          At any rate I’m not sure what your point is…perhaps that Russian propaganda is worse than our ceaseless American propaganda? Of course the Russians are conducting a propaganda campaign but so what? If anybody is the primary meddler in this region it is undoubtedly us.

          1. Vatch

            “If anybody is the primary meddler in this region it is undoubtedly us.”

            Not true. The Russians have troops in the area (outside of Russia), but the United States does not. If you were to say that the primary meddler in Iraq or Afghanistan is the U.S., then I would agree. Although in the case of Iraq, with the appearance of ISIL, Saudi Arabia may also have some claims to be the primary meddler in the area.

            1. Carolinian

              So your contention is that Nuland and the State Department had nothing to do with the events in Ukraine–were just friendly observers? Why are those of us who are Americans even talking about this? How, exactly, is Ukraine any of our business?

              1. Vatch

                No, my contention is that the U.S. has meddled in Ukraine less than the Russians have. I’m well aware that the U.S. has been heavily involved there. The U.S. just isn’t the “primary meddler” (your words). Please feel free to call the U.S. the secondary meddler; I won’t argue with that.

                1. psychohistorian

                  And why shouldn’t Russia be the “primary meddler” with a country that it shares a border instead of the US which is on the other side of the world, except for empire.

                  1. Vatch

                    Perhaps Russia does have the right to be the “primary meddler” in Ukraine. After all, the U.S. is the primary meddler in Mexico. The Ukrainians and the Tatars in Crimea might have a different opinion about Russia’s “right” to be their primary meddler, though, just as some Mexicans might object to U.S. meddling in their country.

                    Carolinian said that the U.S. was the “primary meddler” in Ukraine, and that statement was false.

              2. optimader

                “Why are those of us who are Americans even talking about this? How, exactly, is Ukraine any of our business?”

                Presumably goes back to this:

                Around about 1994 most people haven’t a clue how dangerous the situation was regarding unsecured nuke material and weapons in the Ukraine and other frmr SU territories. Hair raising based on what I heard first hand from people at the time at the NRC and read.

            1. Carolinian

              I guess you are being too subtle for me….might want to spell it out. And btw it’s probably best to use the blockquote since NC has now made it so easy. That way it’s easier to distinguish your statements from the source you are quoting.

        2. Banger

          I certainly did not address the substance and I’m making no specific argument against the report. I simply stated that I don’t trust the source. It could well be completely true or partially true or not true. In my experience, other sources of information are more reliable.

          1. optimader

            “I simply stated that I don’t trust the source”
            If you actually read the article you’ll note that Euromaiden Press is “the source” and Rafael Saakov is the author, no affiliation w/ HRW , he’s a journalist..
            HRW is merely quoted, if it’s that quotation that offends your sensibilities disregard it –more ideally, identify it’s inaccuracy.
            Or perhaps I’m misunderstanding your comment and you feel the journalist Rafael Saakov is “untrustworthy”??

            And so if it is R. Saakov that you feel is untrustworthy, best you have a credible reason for making such a claim or it is you that lacks credibility.

            1. Carolinian

              I’ll take a swing: worked for the Beeb. Have you watched any of their transparently biased coverage of Russia?

              And if the gentleman is quoting HRW as authoritative and HRW has a history of dubious reports on Russia (i.e. during the Georgia conflict) then that reflects on the quoter’s own credibility. Perhaps you should explain why Saakov is credible.

              However if you think all this is nit picky then fair enough. I’d be happy to respond to your main point but just not sure what that is. If it is that Russians are untrustworthy propagandists then, once again, so what?

              1. optimader

                “I’ll take a swing: worked for the Beeb.”
                And that is relevant how, this renders some special qualification?
                Are you suggesting no journalist that works for the BBC is credible, is this the inference? If so, that is absurd.

                ” I’d be happy to respond to your main point but just not sure what that is.”
                Then why did you reply at all?
                My point is the Putin regime is pulling out a page from the 0100 level Soviet propaganda playbook –rewriting history textbooks. I imagine it will have some nicely airbrushed photos. You think this irrelevant, so noted.
                Incidentally, you inaccurately suggest I claim all Russians are “untrustworthy propagandists”. No that’s not correct, Rafael Saakov is Russian and no don’t think he is a propagandist.

                Further, no I don’t need to explain why Saakov is credible any more than you need to defend you own integrity if someone were to imply baselessly that you are untrustworthy.

      2. Vatch

        Here’s an Amnesty International report about Crimea. It’s a few months old (May 23, 2014), but it does describe some events right after the annexation by Russia.

        Of course, if one searches the Amnesty International site, one will find reports of crimes and human rights violation by Russians elsewhere, and by Ukrainians. And by many other countries, too, including the U.S.

    3. James

      So FINALLY we catch you two characters ONCE AGAIN in your own little anti-Putin/anti-Russia corner! With SO MUCH to bitch about right here in the good ol’ USA, exactly WHAT pray tell, and I mean this SERIOUSLY, is your personal grind against Russia and/or Putin? Let me/us have it! Open up and spill your bowels about exactly WHAT your CORE beef is! Disaffected oligarchs/cronies displaced by his crackdown on you and yours? WHAT?

      1. Vatch

        What irks me is that most people who comment here fully understand that Presidents Obama and Bush work (or worked) for the U.S. oligarchs, and cause great harm as a result. Putin is a kleptocratic Russian oligarch, and does a lot of damage, yet many of the people here seem to think that he is some kind of hero. He’s not a hero; he’s not even close. Just because he’s opposed to Obama does not make him one of the good guys.

        I have nothing against Russia or Russians, although I understand that some Russians, like some Americans, have hurt a great many people. The genocides of the Stalinist period are grim examples of this. And what happened to some of the indigenous people of Siberia and the Caucasus during the expansion of Russia during the Tsarist period is very similar to what happened to the American Indians. Read up on the ethnic cleansing against the Circassians.

        Naked Capitalism is a good site, and I’m grateful that some of the misdeeds of corrupt Wall Street financiers are being exposed. Oligarchs such as the Forbes 400 cause far more harm than good, and the same is true of oligarchs in other countries.

        I have posted a great many comments about problems in the U.S. So I ask you, with so many problems here in the U.S., why do you waste time and effort defending Russian plutocrats?

        1. James

          OK. Well at least we have some possible dialogue at least, although I don’t think you’re leveling with me completely Vatch. My response (sorry if this is harsh):

          Para 1: A mish mash of conflation. Obama, Bush, and oligarchs – US or Russian. I sympathize somewhat with the overall point (Oligarchs!), but I certainly don’t agree in point.
          Para 2: I don’t see a point here.
          Para 3: Likewise, and apologetic on top of it.
          Para 4: I don’t “waste time” defending Putin or Russians, as they really don’t need my help to be “defended” regarding anything even remotely related to recent events in Ukraine. This was and is an entirely US instigated event by parties still unnamed for purposes yet unstated, but fairly transparent: to advance US interests in the region, almost certainly related to energy.

          1. James

            Let me add:

            Obama is certainly no hero of mine either. That doesn’t make Putin a default hero either, although I must admit he shines more than a little bit in comparison on his own.
            Put it this way, if I had to go out of my way to actually vote, there’s no question about where my vote would actually lie.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Logical fallacy.

          “Not A” is not B.

          “Not A” = being anti-US intervention in Ukraine and all the propagandizing re Putin to depict him as the aggressor, when we started this mess.

          B = being pro-Putin.

          Some people who are “Not A” may indeed be B, but that is not a given, and you are making a really big, classic propagandist leap in tagging those who are against the US supporting a coup against a democratically elected government (even if the guy who was elected was corrupt, Ukraine is hopelessly corrupt in general), particularly when new elections were months away, as Putin fans.

          1. Vatch

            Yves, I like your site, but I think your coverage of the situation in Ukraine lacks balance.

            “we started this mess.”

            Americans did not start the demonstrations in Maidan, Ukrainians did.

            Regarding Putin’s eagerness to seize territory in Ukraine, here’s a quote from Ukraine Crisis, by Andrew Wilson, page 113:

            “In 2003, when Leonid Kuchma was president of Ukraine, the Russians had attempted to seize Tuzla Island in the Strait of Kerch between Russia and Crimea. Kuchma stood firm, there was no real response from Russian nationalists in Crimea, and Russia backed off.”

            Putin’s playing a long game, and the Ukrainians know it.

            You said:

            “even if the guy who was elected was corrupt, Ukraine is hopelessly corrupt in general”

            I agree; Ukraine is terribly corrupt. I have to admit that I don’t know enough about internal Ukrainian politics during the Yanukovych administration to comment definitively, but perhaps he took the corruption to a whole new level, and the people of Ukraine finally decided that enough was enough. In the parlance of This is Spinal Tap, it seemed as though he raised the corruption to eleven. His thugs certainly worsened things by killing a lot of people during the Maidan demonstrations.

          2. Vatch

            One other point, regarding the apparent fallacy. There have been pro-Putin comments on this site, for example, this part of one of the recent rants by “James”:

            “Disaffected oligarchs/cronies displaced by his crackdown on you and yours?”

            This implies that Putin has done good by cracking down on oligarchs. Of course, what he did was to crack down on oligarchs who failed to bend their knee to him. He most definitely did not crack down on oligarchy. If anything, he extended it.

            There have been other pro-Putin statements in comments on this site. They remind me of the Obama bots.

      2. optimader

        James you may point out any instances where I am “anti-Russian” and I will respond. Quite frankly, the Russian people need advocates like you like they need polio.
        As for Putin, you may also point out anything that I have posted that is not accurate.

    4. James

      And this will be shelved in my library of responses to F***ING RETARDS: and the US occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, fill in the blank, will be qualified as…?

      REALLY NOW! Exactly NO ONE living in or apologizing for the greatest (read: rapacious) imperial power the world has ever known should be casting stones at lesser empires, no matter how piss-poor or misguided their aim!

      1. optimader

        I will say you seem beyond bitter about, and have written off the US. Why stay here? Seriously. Life’s too short and there are plenty of alternative places to live on this planet. Even if you have a modest skill set you could hookup w/ an NGO and go have a fulfilling life elsewhere.

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Obama Details Immigration Executive Actions, GOP Considers Lawsuit DSWright, Firedoglake

    If I were and undocumented worker, I don’t think I’d be so quick to celebrate this particular flavor of immigration “reform.”

    Increased militarization of the border and pot-sweeteners for H1-B visa holders under cover of a TEMPORARY special dispensation from deportation so you can spend Christmas with the family. And all this ONLY when you provide a detailed history of your past five years of “criminal activity” and, presumably, up to date contact info for the data base.

    I mean, how many promises has Obama actually KEPT over the last six years? Hint: Guantanamo is still running full tilt, and last evening Obama announced that he’s increasing the number of troops, scope of the “mission,” and length of commitment in Afghanistan.

    I’m thinking that the words “trojan horse” don’t translate into Spanish very well.

  11. efs

    Re: EU Plan for the breakup of Google:

    Judging by how well that worked a dozen years ago for the EU plan to break up Microsoft, don’t you think a Google plan to break up the EU would be more useful?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please provide links to support your claim that the EU ever had a plan to break up Microsoft. I followed and wrote about its anti-trust cases and never saw a mention, nor does it come up when I tried searching just now. The EU did fine them heavily.

      It was the US that had an anti-trust case that could have produced a break-up plan in the remedies phase. Unfortunately, the judge who issued the initial harsh verdict against Microsoft, Thomas Penfield Jackson, managed to get himself removed from the case via talking to the press. He was replaced by a clueless judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Microsoft dodged a major bullet.

  12. fresno dan
    What did Minsky bring to economics? In part, he argued that conventional views of financial crisis were too narrowly focused on the specific issue of bank runs. In Minsky’s vision, excessive leverage—too much reliance on borrowed money—creates a risk of crisis whoever the borrower. Banks, which in effect borrow money short-term from their depositors but invest in assets that can’t easily be converted to cash, may be especially vulnerable. But business and household debt also expose the economy to the possibility of a self-reinforcing downward spiral.
    One answer was a fallacy of misplaced concreteness: the economics establishment, to use Wolf’s term, identified financial crisis with old-fashioned bank runs by depositors—and such bank runs are a thing of the past thanks to deposit insurance. Yet by 2008 depository institutions were no longer the dominant form of banking. Instead, finance increasingly relied on “shadow banking” (another Paul McCulley coinage): institutions like money market funds and investment banks that are reliant on overnight loans had come to make up more than half the US banking system. And these institutions were both unsecured and unregulated, making them highly vulnerable to panic.

    Another answer was vastly excessive faith in the wisdom of the financial industry. Major policymakers convinced themselves and the rest of the world that “financial innovation” was making the system more stable as well as more efficient. Far from opposing or seeking to limit the rapid growth of finance, they sought to promote it; the most important reason instability like that of the 1930s returned to markets, says Wolf, “was simply financial liberalization.”

    Finally, policymakers convinced themselves that they could easily contain any major economic fallout from financial disruption, as Milton Friedman claimed the Fed could have done in the 1930s. Indeed, over the course of 2007–2008 official assurances that troubles in the mortgage market had been “contained” were made so frequently that they became a joke. As it turned out, containing the effects of financial crisis is very hard indeed.

  13. Banger

    Krugman’s piece is dishonest. He first states that no one other than chronic doomsayers predicted the financial crisis. I beg to differ: an investment banker acquaintance of mine predicted precisely that in 2006 very specifically because of derivatives and mortgaged-backed securities. He also said this was common knowledge among those he knew in his world. To put it bluntly, economists are often more guided by power-relations and income opportunities than the truth. As I have often said economics as a field is not a valid study it is a subdivisions of political science and cannot be understood without a good understanding of power-relations.

  14. Banger

    I was waiting for someone to comment on the DoD’s lack of official interest in Israel’s nuclear stockpile but nothing so far–and this is, in my view, the most important issue brought up in the Links section today. US support is clearly illegal but then most things the National Security State does is illegal–in fact, in my view, the entire system is illegal. But the real culprits in all this is the MSM which simply refuses to cover the issue while, at the same time, making up facts about Iran’s program. What more obvious case can be mad for the fact that the MSM is a propaganda organ for the National Security State than this issue?

    1. James

      Why would DoD have any interest in the Israeli stockpile? I’m sure they know the details if they need to in real time anyway, and the only possible concern would be that they (the Israelis) were falling behind. “Legality?” Are you kidding me? Honestly Banger, you amaze me! You see all the same things I do, and yet, you’re so childishly naive. Are you losing it man?

      1. Banger

        Officially the DoD has “no interest” but as a practical matter of course they make plans based on that reality.

  15. Marianne Jones

    Google date range search, yup definitely not available on However after searching for something and seeing initial results, click “Search Tools” button located immediately under the search field, then click “Any time” and enter preferred date range. While the date range feature is there, I can’t speak to the quality of the results!

    You can also go to, this is fairly granular.

    1. optimader

      As well when appropriate to my objective, i’ll put in a date, month or year in my search string. As a policy I struggle to use alternatives to google, although they may well be the underlying search engine driving all searches for all I know.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, under advanced search, you do NOT get the option of entering a date range. That feature is gone.

      Under the main Google search you do not have a “Search Tools” option once you perform a search either in Safari or Firefox.

      The only place you can get anything like a date range search is in Google News, and it does not work.

      1. optimader

        search tools ->any time->custom range ->Custom date range
        Search by date
        You can filter your search for news articles on Google by a specific time range, such as articles from the last hour, day, week, month, or a custom date range. You can access this feature from the Advanced Search menu on the Google News homepage by clicking the down arrow in the regular search field at the top.

        Enter your search terms at the top of the page. Under Date added select your date preference from the drop-down menu. For a specific date range, select “specified dates” and enter what range you’d like to search in the two date fields. For ranges older than 30 days, use Google Web Search.

        After conducting a search, you can choose one of preselected ranges or create a custom range of your own by clicking Search tools under the Google Search bar, and using the dropdowns in the Any time filter. Additionally, you can click Sorted by date to show results in reverse chronological order

  16. dearieme

    Is DoD illegally protecting Israel’s “clandestine nuclear weapons program?”

    Golly, I didn’t know they had a “clandestine” one too.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Lowering your LDL increases your risk of dying of infectious diseases. Women with total cholesterol of 270 have the lowest all-factor death rate. Your decrease your risk of dying of heart disease by an even greater increase in your risk of dying of stuff like MRSA.

      It can also increase your risk of getting a stroke. I had a friend whose LDL was something like 70 and she didn’t like that at all, she was very aware that it meant her stroke risk was higher.

      Plus I am super suspicious of any complex model. Sounds sus. And no one monitors what decades of messing with your liver function, which is what being put on statins amounts to, does to you.

      Note the previous evidence was that statin were helpful ONLY with people who already had heart disease.

  17. Howard Beale IV

    Heavy drinkers are rarely alcoholics; CDC

    Most excessive drinkers (90%) did not meet the criteria for alcohol dependence. A comprehensive approach to reducing excessive drinking that emphasizes evidence-based policy strategies and clinical preventive services could have an impact on reducing excessive drinking in addition to focusing on the implementation of addiction treatment services.

    1. James

      Similarly, a comprehensive approach toward reducing excessive drinking among evidence-based justified depressives led to an unexpected upturn in unexplained suicides and/or related homicides.

      LOL! Scientist egg-heads can be SO DAMN FUNNY!

    1. ambrit

      Banksters are a plague in and of themselves. Marmots have the excuse that they do not know what they are doing. Banksters do not have that excuse. Therefore, plague carrying marmots are preferable to a plague of banksters.

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