Links 11/28/14

5 Things to Know About the Economy at Thanksgiving WSJ Economics

The Eerie Calm of New York City on Thanksgiving Day Vice. I love NYC when it is empty.

Obama gives thanks for America and its unity in Thanksgiving weekly address Daily Kos. Carol B: “I saw this headline and just had to laugh. I mean………………..CLUELESS.”

Hong Kong makes arrests as unrest over camp clearance continues Christian Science Monitor

Brisbane stunned by severe storm: ‘no time to evacuate, no warning’ Guardian

Despite Aid Push, Ebola Is Raging in Sierra Leone New York Times

Abe Tested by Weak Retail Sales as Japan Election Looms Bloomberg

Labour force(d) mobility: Migration in Europe Bruegel

German jobless rate hits record low BBC

Vicious Cycle 2.0: European bank interconnectedness and vulnerabilities Pieria

Russia’s crackdown on Crimea’s Muslims Aljazeera (furzy mouse)

Demanding more blood from a devastated country failed evolution

The countries punished by an Opec-fuelled oil price rout Telegraph

Nathan Thrall: Rage in Jerusalem London Review of Books


The Myth of the Caliphate Foreign Affairs (furzy mouse)


Ferguson Protests Spread in Size and Scope Intercept

You Can’t Trust a Grand Jury Cleveland Leader (Carla R)

Liberal Treasury Nominee’s Wall St. Prowess May Be a Vulnerability New York Times. “Liberal” = “Oh he’s really OK.” Elizabeth Warren’s point was that his experience, in international M&A, is irrelevant to the role, which is domestic banking. But he does have the experience that matters. He’s a big Obama bundler.

U.S. judge puts Arizona’s ‘revenge porn’ bill on hold Reuters (EM)

Is this why Abington Memorial Hospital tried to censor this blog – so they could shop around for a favorable ruling on Certificate of Merit attacks in future malpractice cases? Health Care Renewal

U.S.-Backed Mortgages Put to Test in an Innovative Lawsuit New York Times

Whither Markets?

Black Friday 2014 Telegraph. A live blog. Lordie.

Crude Plunges Following OPEC Decision to Not Cut Production Michael Shedlock

Junk Bond Carnage, One Company at a Time Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

Thomas Piketty is right: Income inequality is holding us back Salon

FedEx Freight workers in Louisville vote against union membership Reuters (EM)

Antidote du jour: Cult Cat, via Lambert:

dancing cats links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. upstater

    Italian deflation (can’t happen here, we have Wal Mart and use credit cards!)

    Special Report: Why Italy’s stay-home shoppers terrify the euro zone

    Italy has fewer credit cards per person than any other country in the euro zone except Slovakia, according to ECB data. That dampens consumption because people who use credit cards buy more freely, economists say. Even the houses parents buy their children are often paid in one lump-sum rather than with mortgages.

    Gezz, I wish these people would stop sitting in coffee shops and get with the program. Hail troika!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The best kind of slavery is the voluntary kind.

      ‘I want that credit card.’

      ‘I must have that credit card.’

      ‘I can’t live without that credit card!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

      And thusly, another one is enrolled in debt slavery…of his/her own ‘free will.’

      No murderous slave-traders nor physically violent overseers…maybe incessant debt collectors, but they don’t really whip you, never mind emotional stress can kill (and kill faster often).

      1. CB

        Listen, I’ve been poor all my adult life and if it weren’t for credit, I wouldn’t have anything. Nada, nothing. Low pay will do that.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not to target you and others like you. I apologize for that.

          We need higher wages.

          For those who have enough, more via debt does not bring more happiness, nor satisfaction in life.

  2. Yonatan

    “Russia’s crackdown on Crimea’s Muslims”

    Background info:

    In an interview during his successful pre-election tour as part of the recent Ukrainian election, Rada member Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of Pravi Sektor Nazi group, stated that Crimean Tatars would start raising trouble in Crimea.

    Almost immediately after the election there was a flood of unsubstantiated reports in Ukrainian media of Crimean Tatars being oppressed. The Tatar representative Mustafa Dzhemilev, based in Ukraine and associated with Poroshenko, has stated that around 450 Crimean Tatars are serving with the Ukrainian forces in south east Ukraine helping to murder the locals residents and destroying their infrastructure. If Crimean Tatars chose to serve with Nazis, that speaks volumes for them. Dzhemilev has had his face plastered on large expensive road side advertising boards as far away as Prague. Somebody is spending big bucks to promote him.

    The Saudi Arabian representative Prince Bandar has also stated that if Russia didn’t comply with attempts to bring down Assad in Syria, Russia would face an onslaught from Muslim extremists.

    1. Gareth

      Al Jazeera, the publisher of the report on the alleged Russian oppression of Crimean Tatars, is owned by the government of Qatar — The same government that has been funding the Jihadists attacking Syria. Qatar has a financial interest, along with Turkey, in a proposed gas pipeline running to the Mediterranean Sea, hopefully through a Syria controlled by an Islamist government they have put in place. On the other hand, the Assad government planned to host an Iranian pipeline to transport gas to the same intended European market. Thus we have a regional war, with the U.S., Israel and Turkey supporting one faction of Al Qaeda against another — Brave new world.

    2. susan the other

      Very interesting. I wondered what was behind Bandar’s threat. So now we’ve got another character in this immorality play, Mustafa the Crimean Tatar.

  3. TarheelDem

    The New York Times seems to think that “pushing” (that is asking) for aid is what should have cured ebola. The reality is that the wealthier nations, who at one time would have fulfilled their pledges for aid, have not stepped up this time. The United States sent a substantial commitment of emergency medical center tents and equipment to Liberia, but the UK has sent only 100 troops to Sierra Leone, and it is not clear who is the major backer of aid to Guinea. China has sent aid as well.

    It’s not that the aid is not being used well, it is that the aid has not been forthcoming quickly enough to establish more local emergency medical centers. The New York Times seems to be determined to training its affluent readers in learned helplesness when it comes to public health assistance. Providing more excuses for cynicism and apathy. Exactly the problem in unlocking the necessary resources for aid.

  4. b

    “Russia’s crackdown on Crimea’s Muslims”

    Some Crimea Tatars have received guerrilla training in Turkey BEFORE the Maidan putsch. (Turkey is, for historic reasons, their main sponsor.) They were part of the putsch plan and their task was to take over Crimea and to isolate the Russian fleet garrisons there. The morning of the second or third day when the polite green men took control in Crimea their was a sudden rush of news that the polite green men had suddenly taken control at the civilian airport. A passenger jet on its way from Turkey to Crimea turned around and flew back to Turkey. This could been seen on the flight traffic maps that day.

    Talk on Russian military forums was that Russian intelligence had received information about a Crimea putsch led by armed Tartars. Control of the airport was taken to prevent that. After a day the polite green men retreated from the airport. The putsch in Crimea was averted.

    Note also that after it again became part of Russia the Crimea parliament passed a law that recognized cultural people status for Tartars. They can use their language in official acts and will have schools teaching in their language. That is much better than anything Ukraine ever gave them.

    (Also only 10% of the people in Crimea are Tartars. Most came back from other parts of Russia after 1990. They have little current local roots there.)

    1. OIFVet

      The propaganda campaign on behalf of the Crimean Tatars started long before Crimeans ever voted to join Russia. This article talks about events from 2013, referring to Polish propaganda campaign against Russia in regards to “oppression” of Crimean Tatars: Polish Human Rights Activists: They Have Plans for Crimea. Let’s remember that Crimea was under Ukrainian control at the time, and Ukrainians steadfastly refused then and refuse still to recognize and grant rights to certain ethnic minorities. Contrast that with Putin’s decree that restored the rights of Tatars and rehabilitated them as victims of Stalin’s cries.

      The article also makes very clear that Western interests in Ukraine centered in large part on Crimea’s strategic significance, and as such were an overtly aggressive and hostile move aimed toward Russia. This is what is so frustrating about this whole episode: The Empire, its Euro poodles, and its Joe Shmoe apologists cry foul over an outcome that does not suit the interests of the Empire, conveniently ignoring the fact that it was the Empire (and as it is quite obvious, its Polack Euro poodles) who initiated the conflict in the first place. Sore losers and hypocrites are rather mild epithets to apply to this crowd. You know who you are.

    2. Andrew Watts


      That sounds all very plausible but to what extent I have no clue. The whole point of releasing the Nuland phone call to the public, besides humiliating the West and driving a wedge between the US and EU, was the not-so-subtle hint that Russian intelligence knew everything they were plotting. I imagine that US/EU officials weren’t expecting a sudden Russian counter-move in Crimea given their hysterical “Putin is Hitler!” response after Crimea announced it’s secession from Ukraine.

  5. Banger

    For the first time since 2007, a majority of Americans think things are going well in the nation, a new CNN/ORC International poll found.

    It’s a slim majority — just 52 percent of Americans said things are going well, while 48 percent said things are going badly — but it’s the most positive appraisal of the state of the nation that the poll has found since January of 2007.

    This from a CNN story. Comments? The stories here tend to indicate disaster is around the corner–so something is beginning to work–maybe people have dramatically lowered expectations and just want to get back to “normal” and be more optimistic? Maybe smoke and mirrors and the Confidence Fairy have magic powers.

      1. Banger

        Polling is often misleading but I believe most polls are reasonably accurate. But remember, they are polling people’s feelings not their actual perceptions. People get used to anything and we could explain the findings by what I indicated–people are just getting used to things since I think we can all agree things are reasonable stable (controlled?) since the mini-recovery of the past few years started.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You need to look carefully at how poll questions are constructed. I did survey research for a bit, and one of the things they drill into the people administering the surveys (polls) is how the questions must be read out exactly as written because slight changes in the wording (and also the sequencing of questions) can have a big impact on results. For instance, saying “What do you think of the job Obama is doing?” will produce much less favorable responses (like 10+ points) than “What do you think of the job Obama is doing as President?” The inclusion of “as President” remind the respondent of Obama’s status and the difficulty of his role.

            1. Banger

              Polls are fine–you just need to see they are of limited utility and, as Yves said, depends the context and the way you ask the question. People put too much emphasis on polls–human beings are way to complex to be reduced in that way.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I assume they’ve been conducting the same poll (as in with the same phrasing). That would make it valid over time.

                But having said that, one big issue now is constructing representative samples with lots of people having only cell phones, particularly young people. Polls generally focus on people with landlines. So the under 30 sample is sure to be small and grossed up to fit, and may be unrepresentative. So the error bands are likely much bigger than in the past.

    1. Jef

      “…a majority of Americans think things are going well in the nation,”

      A majority of Americans dismiss all of the converging constraints that threaten total collapse and simply believe that growth and money are all that matters in the world.

      1. James

        A majority of Americans never entertain an idea as weighty as converging constraints or anything similar in the first place. MUCH too busy Twittering and Liking each other on FB and all the rest of it.

    2. trish

      I do think that for many it’s a willing acquiescence to the delusion that things are OK. Because the alternative is too unsettling. And requires too much. Much easier to willingly go along with the idea that things OK here in land of the free, be optimistic. And those in power work to create and facilitate that delusion, including our dear leader.

      related, the link, Obama gives thanks for America and its unity in Thanksgiving weekly address

      Carol B: “I saw this headline and just had to laugh. I mean………………..CLUELESS.”

      He’s not clueless. I think this is a sly slick( typically-obama) way of discounting those others, the minority who are disrupting, endangering that delusion with protests. Protests that are likely uncomfortable for many american who’d rather be thinking about shopping, the game on tv, Christmas. And safe from those others.

      It’s like herding the willing into a more comforting and comfortable zone, relieved- if uneasily- to be able to focus on the sickening (and sick) seasonal circus-on-steroids shopping frenzy/binge (another herd thing).

      Reassure Americans how lucky they are. This stuff works. Gloss over the ugly of the protests, the income disparities, etc. Manipulate the herd.

      1. CB

        DKos, not obama. In matters of this sort, obama is never clueless. Duplicitous and opportunistic, yes, clueless, not often.

    3. James

      This from a herd of simpleton dolts who mindlessly and shamelessly take refuge in an after-holiday holiday unironically labeled Black Friday, which has none too gradually become the “official” holiday of the Thanksgiving Day weekend? Surely you jest!

    4. MikeNY

      Since the entire effort of our elites has been to treat the symptoms, we shouldn’t be surprised that six years later, and several trillion dollars into the latest bubble, people think things are finally improving. Well, yes, compared to 2008, they certainly feel better.

      The underlying disease, which is a syndrome of oligarchy, corporatocracy, militarism and serial bubble-blowing, continues unaddressed. How long before another flare up? Who knows. Could be a quite a while.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think we are feeling better because they are putting more sugar in our food.

        That’s my tin-foil-hat theory or you can look it up in a book to be written, called ‘How to Control and Manipulate Citizens Through Food.’

        1. Demeter

          I think that average people feel better because the Overlord Elite oppression has retreated from actively surging forward to merely maintaining the current pressure….plus the miniscule drop in gasoline prices.

          The PTB seem to have exhausted themselves in the midterm elections…they sure didn’t do it attending to the public’s interest and the business of government. And then, there’s a leery fear of revolt from the cop-killings of late…too much truth getting out there about the misbehavior of the boys in blue on anybody they meet. Too much Internet-networking in general, for the 1% purposes, but how to get a handle on it?

          While the PTB are in a holiday mood, kicking back to enjoy their successes for the year and to regroup to figure out what to do next on their globalist agenda….their successes are disappearing in the tide of events beyond their control overseas. It’s not a good time to be a 1%. Life is more insecure than ever, and the options are narrowing fast. Because the 99%, like any liquid under pressure, is going to explode. It’s just a question of when, and in which directions. And it will be a global explosion, because globalism has coupled the US inner citizens to the campesinos of Latin America, the destitute of Greece, and the virtual slaves of China.

    5. different clue

      Perhaps these CNN opinion-shaper/leaders hope that if enough people read that enough other people think things are improving, that those enough-people will doubt their own perceptions and adopt the perceptions of the enough-other-people as instructed and encouraged by that CNN article.

  6. Jim Haygood

    The London Review of Books [link above] blurts out the truth that US politicians always skate around:

    ‘Approximately 37 per cent of Jerusalem’s current residents are Palestinian. They have separate buses, schools, health facilities, commercial centres, and speak a different language.’

    This is by design. Israel is a segregated society, resembling the pre-1960 Jim Crow South. Ethnic discrimination in housing, hiring and schools is not merely tolerated, but enshrined in law.

    ‘Most Israelis have never visited and don’t even know the names of the Palestinian areas their government insists on calling its own.’

    Back in apartheid days, by showing a foreign passport, one could go on a daytime bus tour of Soweto. Few white Johannesburgers had ever been there.

    Israelis hate the South African analogy, but East Jerusalem is their Soweto; Israel’s West Bank and Gaza border controls are their pass laws; Benjamin Netanyahu is their Hendrik Verwoerd.

    1. Banger

      Israel is not an apartheid regime at least not completely or officially–yet. But it seeks to become one. Israeli cultural life is rapidly becoming a sort of incarnation of early 20th century European national chauvinism. Israelis have a tendency to view themselves as superior beings and Arabs as little better than animals who only understand violence–I have heard this over many decades expressed. I even heard two pro-Israeli Jews say that to me a few months ago–both, interestingly, were very erudite and intelligent.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Imagine how worse it will get in a few more decades or centuries, for a similar comparison to Europe.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Separate buses?

      Why not putting them in the back of the same buses.

      Be green and save gas!!! In fact, be like the Tokyo subway system, have bus workers packing them in from outside. You can run fewer buses.

    3. Carolinian

      I suspect that Israelis don’t mind the South Africa comparison so much. After all they were in many ways covert supporters of the apartheid regime. However your analogy to the cracker South could hit home–at least among America’s Israel boosters. Often these are the same folks (see Banger on NY below) who hold the nether regions of of the country and especially the Deep South in contempt. It’s worth pointing out the hypocrisy of their not feeling the same about the Bull Connors of the Middle East.

    4. different clue

      East Jerusalem is not their Soweto. East Jerusalem is a place they recently conquered. They didn’t put the Palestinians of East Jerusalem into East Jerusalem. They conquered them already-there when they conquered East Jerusalem.
      Soweto was a Labor Colony. Is East Jerusalem a Labor Colony? How many East Jerusalemites go into West Jerusalem or Israel-proper to do labor, leaving their families behind in East Jerusalem? I am willing to stand correctible if the answer is “many thousands”. East Jerusalem may be a long range ethnicleansing target. That is different than being a sowetoform permanent labor colony. The Euro SouthAfricans wanted to keep Soweto’s population steady or rising and trapped in place for exploitable labor. Does Israel want that for the Arab East Jerusalemites? Does it?
      “Rectification of terms” is a good thing. Confucius once said so.

  7. Chris in Paris

    The NYT has really been at low blows vis a vis Senator Warren over the past few weeks. Seems she’s caused some panic and this Weiss nomination is where “liberal” Wall Street wants to take a stand.

    1. Banger

      If the NYT hates anything they hate populism. The mentality there was expressed by Walter Lippmann many years ago–the elites know better and you have to be “one of us” to count. If you have ever lived or done extensive business in NYC (Manhattan in particular) you know that attitude.

      1. hunkerdown

        If only the street criminals would get the slightest bit of ambition and stop eating their own young… eat Lippmann’s instead.

  8. Paul Niemi

    Whither markets, not just oil but copper is finally crashing below $300. I have been watching it since April, and it was down 10 percent as of late summer, but it never fell along with silver and gold, both down at least 25 percent. I think of $300 for copper as the support price, below which all the copper hoarded by China as collateral for ponzi finance loans becomes insufficient. Breaking through the support price is a big deal, I think, and if copper ultimately falls back to $150, then financial mayhem.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe that’s why the Chinese are said to be switching to dynastic antiques.

      A blue and white lot, from the imperial kiln, not private kilns* (we are talking about wise Confucian mandarin bureaucrats and the golden age of Big Government – I, the Son of Heaven, your emperor, own everything under the Sun), will go for millions in Macau.

      Such a piece is easy to carry to the 0.01% havens in the West too.

      *Apparently you can pick up private kiln, Yuan dynasty blue and whites pretty cheap still.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I saw a Han proto-porcelain celadon for something like RMB200.

        It must be a fake at that price or they just don’t appreciate antiques, but just are in it for ‘investment,’ the same approach they use with buying homes.

        1. Paul Niemi

          When something doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense. Like suddenly hundreds of thousands of newly minted Chinese millionaires, buying McMansions in the U.S. and rare cars and looted relics that came overseas two centuries ago. I don’t think I am far off predicting that some fine day soon the same McMansions will be for sale again, at very reasonable prices.

          1. different clue

            I don’t get the stockpiling of antiques, but the buying of houses makes sense. The Chinese elite are doing their part to turn China into one great big open air Love Canal as they work to turn Tibet into one great big Strip Mine. When their social class inferiors realize just who made China uninhabitable for centuries to come, these elites hope to escape ahead of the starving mob of poisoned mutants and cancer patients. Escape to their McMansions in America.

            1. Paul Niemi

              The key insight is they didn’t get all this spendable cash by selling us $19.95 coffee pots and faux-rubbermaid wastebaskets that crack off pieces when they tip over, while buying all their oil on the world market. They created a magic money machine that turns a dollar in foreign reserves into 150 renminbi leant out as directed by the state. The loans are never paid back, it seems, rolling over and over again. The trillion dollars in direct Western investment since 2008 may never be seen again. Fixed asset investments in 19th Century style coal, steel, and concrete plants, and soviet-style highrises can’t pay their own way. It is a mirage. And when the air is unbreathable and the water undrinkable, it won’t continue, because it can’t continue. Within the Chinese ponzi, there is a collective insanity far beyond mere denial. This situation is very dangerous.

              1. different clue

                Yes, and that is why they are using their Ponzi money to buy McMansions in California . . . . as places of physical escape and refuge when the desperate Chinese rise up.

                Let us hope not one elite person/author of this outcome lives to escape from the China they have made. Let us hope they all get killed and eaten in place. It might be an inspiration to us non-elite people here.

      2. Chris in Paris

        I participate in auctions fairly frequently and I’ve been consistently impressed by the soaring prices for Chinese antiquities over the past few years in US and French auctions. Things that are not very interesting from my admittedly Western point of view (small jades, bronzes) going for six figures. Happy to see the Chinese bringing these things home but, yes money_to_burn.

  9. flora

    re: NYTimes “Liberal Treasury Nominee..”
    Weisman’s article reads like a weak rebuttal to Elizabeth Warren’s HuffPo op-ed written a week ago.
    A gimmick in Weisman’s article is the using the term the “the Warren wing” of the Democratic party. “Wing”. Why doesn’t he just come out and say “fringe”? Fringe, as in “to be discounted”. As in, pay no attention to the people who want to clean up Wall St.

    see Warren’s op-ed here:

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, there was also an overt one by Andrew Ross Sorkin that I didn’t bother dealing with. The Times is really pushing the Lazard candidate.

    2. craazyman

      If this guy is busy publishing the Pariis Review and inverting companies why does he want to work for the govermint? An inversion sounds like its financial water boarding. Holy smokes.

      It makes no sense. What a train wreck of madness this all is.

      This dude may be a good guy, or as good as possible for an iinverter (nobody’s perfect), but really already. They can’t find somebody who could play Jimmy Stewart’s role in It’s a Wonderful LIfe to work for the govermint? You coulnt imagine him doing an inversion and grabbing as many bucks as he could get his hands on while people get laid off and go work at Amazon warehouses where they faint in 120 degree heat.

      What nonsense to have to write editorials against. It makes me feel bad for Senator Warren. This shouldn’t require an editorial. Especially one with as much skillful semiotics as that one. Huge bonus points for weaving in (no pun inttended) Hair Club for Men commercials along with the word’s “slimy” and Burger King in the same paragraph. People should just say “No” to more banksters hanging around the White House. It shouldn’t require an editorial from a US senator. US senators should look at the country and put a button on their lapel that says “No More Banksters” or at least “Put Out the FIRE — America’s Burning.” That’s alot of words for a button, so maybe just the word FIRE inside a circle with a line across it.

      No lie, I’d vote for Senator Warren if she ran for something I could vote for. I’d even wear a no FIRE button. It would look a bit silly and abstract but so what. You can’t worry too much about what other people think because they often don’t know and they change their minds all the time. You can wear it right next to the flag pin if you work in DC.

      1. different clue

        I would really enjoy seeing a candidate or better yet a current officeholder NOT wearing a flag pin. Eventually a “worthy opponent” would pounce on the visible absence of a visible flag pin.
        Worthy Opponent: ” Where’s your flag pin?”
        Flag-pinless Candidate: ” Any scoundrel can wear a flag pin. . . . (pregnant pause/meaningfu stare). . . . . . I see YOU have YOURS on.”

        1. James

          I hear ya man! The whole flag pin thing is a sure sign of bullshittery every time. BETTER response:

          Any scoundrel can HIDE BEHIND a flag pin…

          1. different clue

            I would like to see it actually done. It would be ‘ tew kewl’ if Candidate Webb was the one to do it to his Worthy Opponents.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The eerie calm in New York on Thanksgiving Day.

    That is definitive proof that we can let the GDP stand still and survive.

    Today is the first day post-no (or very little)-GDP-apocalypse. And we are OK, I think. Is everyone OK?

    1. neo-realist

      They’re probably recovering from yesterday — Thanksgiving dinners swamped by family, social mixing and contrived feelings of excitement, joy and caring, not to mention bad weather, can take a toll on the heartiest of new yorkers.

  11. rich

    Germany poised to say yes to €1.1m a patient gene therapy drug

    Although there is already a gene therapy for cancer on the market in China, that has not been rolled out to other countries, making Glybera a first for the west.

    Proponents of the gene-fixing technology insist it stacks up as a cost-effective treatment, despite the high cost, as it could permanently cure many patients.

    1. rich

      Full Show: The Long, Dark Shadows of Plutocracy
      November 28, 2014

      Some people say inequality doesn’t matter. They are wrong. All we have to do to see its effects is to realize that all across America millions of people of ordinary means can’t afford decent housing.

      As wealthy investors and buyers drive up real estate values, the middle class is being squeezed further and the working poor are being shoved deeper into squalor — in places as disparate as Silicon Valley and New York City.

      This week Bill points to the changing skyline of Manhattan as the physical embodiment of how money and power impact the lives and neighborhoods of every day people. Soaring towers being built at the south end of Central Park, climbing higher than ever with apartments selling from $30 million to $90 million, are beginning to block the light on the park below. Many of the apartments are being sold at those sky high prices to the international super rich, many of whom will only live in Manhattan part-time – if at all — and often pay little or no city income or property taxes, thanks to the political clout of real estate developers.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Give me your worried, your stressed out, your wealth-burdened plutocrats yearning to breathe free (free of prosecution), the rich economic rentiers of your teeming shore.

        Welcome to the 0.01% sanctuary.

      2. different clue

        Can little paint-balloon drones be flown against penthouse windows? Just asking, not suggesting.

        1. James

          I think that’s an honest to goodness revenue producing idea that should be explored by someone, if only for the sake of efficiency! Said windows would then need cleaning, protection, and or replacement, would they not? God knows someone’s going to have to do it!

          1. different clue

            It would be illegal to suggest it, except in satirical jest. It would certainly be illegal to do it. Therefor I wasn’t suggesting, just asking. Just . . . musing, as it were . . .

    1. Jess

      He might read it…but he won’t. Somebody will have the “Kucinich talk” with him. (The “Kucinich talk” does not require Air Force One; it just requires the proper threats.)

      As Sen. Rockefeller said recently with respect to this matter: “They would come in and drag you off the floor,” long before you finished.

  12. susan the other

    Picketty and others. Salon. Lynn Parramore’s interview on inequality. Not very hard hitting. But I always want someone to break thru the taboo and just say Newsflash: Capitalism does not work for anybody. If we continue to pussyfoot around capitalism we’ll never change our economy. Capital in the 21 Century has reached its limits. Profit accumulates like interest rates and explodes exponentially when the system is working most “efficiently.” Since profit is capital and capital is only made by making profits, etc. it seems like somebody otta mention that it’s an absurd economic system and it will never change. For instance: capitalism has been wildly successful at making money and promoting growth, but it is a treadmill not built for ever increasing speeds. And the productivity and efficiency required for exponential profits to service exponential debt comes from destruction. And then consider where to put all that ill-gotten gain to make it produce ever more profit. Capitalism is one big absurdity. All the fuss about inequality seems to be driven by the anxiety of the elite because they are frantically trying to figure out how to make capitalism “work” for them.

    1. susan the other

      And also too – that little exchange about efficient markets resolving the inequalities created by capitalism. Ideally capitalism has an efficient market that redistributes wealth. (Where the hell did this idea come from??) I mean this whole nonsense has degenerated into “purchasing power for all.” Again, it’s feed the beast. How can any market adjust to such imbalances caused by flat-out theft in some form or another. There is no market mechanism that evens out any of the injustices and inequalities of modern capitalism. Only time and trickle-down heals the wounds. But leaves the scars. Look at OPEC. A blurb on CNBC today pointed out that OPEC was probably not trying to put US Frackers out of business but instead was trying to figure out just where the price of oil should be. (unmentioned was how since 2009 oil price has been kept artificially high and etc.) So they are looking for a market that can support their own capitalist exploits – the reverse of say a naturally occurring market. In fact they are on the right track. We should dispense with the BS about markets and have a honest planned economy for all.

      1. James

        Capitalism is always “efficient” alright. A capitalist’s gain is ALWAYS someone else’s loss. Period, full stop. Of course there’s always untold amounts of pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook (aka, bullshit) attached to obfuscate that fact, but the end result is ALWAYS the same. Someone’s rich, someone’s poor, someone may or may not be left to bitch about the result and/or collect the taxes.

  13. ginnie nyc

    Re: Obama Thanksgiving Day address – I was lying in bed yesterday morning when there was a clip of this on the radio. It struck me Obama’s intonation is now very like Nixon’s – cramped, defensive and rote. If I hadn’t paid attention, I would have thought it was Nixon.

  14. Antifa

    Scalia Calls for A Proper Grand Jury in Ferguson?

    Back in ’92, Justice Scalia wrote a SCOTUS decision that took the trouble to spell out what a grand jury is, and what it is not.

    It is for a jury of 12 citizens to explore whether sufficient evidence exists to bring charges against an individual. It is not a venue for the alleged offender to attend, nor for any defense of him to be presented or considered. A grand jury is strictly for the prosecutorial side to show what evidence they have against the person in question, and ask the jurors to judge whether it is enough to go ahead with a criminal trial on specific charges that are well explained.

    Obviously, what AG McCulloch did by bringing Darren Wilson in, letting him testify for four hours in his own defense, with McCulloch tearing down eyewitness statements throughout the other days was as far from what a grand jury is and does as you can get. McCulloch’s performance was beyond incompetent. It was knowing, deliberate, fraudulent misconduct. The kind of thing you get fired and disbarred for foisting on the justice system.

    Fortunately, a grand jury is not a trial, and there is no double jeopardy involved if public demand for an honest and competent grand jury forces Governor Nixon to appoint an honest prosecutor for the next grand jury.

    Thanks for giving an official nod to going back and doing the job right, Antonin.

    Word to your mutha.

    Scalia explains why the Ferguson grand jury was wrong. Completely wrong.

    1. James

      It’ll be interesting to see if he comes out and actually comments directly then. But we know the question to that already, don’t we?

  15. not_me

    “Loanable funds theory” again:

    Households were taking on debt at a rate that couldn’t continue indefinitely. But for each borrower, there is a lender. We got interested not just in the overall trends of debt and spending, but also who was doing the borrowing and lending; which part of the household sector was spending unsustainably? This question led us to think about inequality in a very general sense: the fact that some households borrow and others lend implies that households are different, that is, “unequal.”


    Another guy who doesn’t understand that “loans create deposits”, especially wrt to government subsidized banks.

  16. gordon

    Salon’s interview with Fazzari and Cynamon doesn’t bring out the power factor. What if the 1% (or the 0.01%) are happy to live in a “sluggish” economy provided that the power of their class increases? What if they prefer to be more powerful in a poorer society than less powerful in a richer one?

    I have often thought that the ideal world of the 1% (or 0.01%) is a world resembling that of Jane Austen. Absolute wealth was much lower in those days, but the power of the ruling class was much greater. The payoff to the rich in impoverishing the world is deference. They love it.

    1. James

      What if the 1% (or the 0.01%) are happy to live in a “sluggish” economy provided that the power of their class increases? What if they prefer to be more powerful in a poorer society than less powerful in a richer one?

      Any port in a storm, or, power is always a relative function. And I have often thought that you are right in your thinking. Carry ON my wayward son! Sorry, can’t promise you any peace before you are done, though. Most likely just the opposite.

  17. cripes

    “The payoff to the rich in impoverishing the world is deference. They love it.”
    Yes, precisely.
    The idea that enlightened self-interest, or other such rubbish, leads to the enrichment of all classes is ridiculous.
    Technological advances in agriculture, transport, industry etc. have created a material abundance that could have provided decent living standards for everyone on the planet had that abundance not been hijacked by the owner class. It was the engineers, inventors and researchers, and common folk that devised the technology.
    Bill Gates didn’t invent the internet or computers or DOS or Windows; he licensed and corralled it into his tollbooth and we’re still paying him for it.
    Kill the f*ckers.

  18. gonzomarx

    it depresses me no end that this ‘black friday’ bollocks is being foisted on the UK and rest of Europe and that the MSM much their corporate owners glee are unquestionably joining in.
    it just a 20% sale so they don’t have to have a 50% in the new year!

    here’s an idea, why not report on why people are so skint that they are so keen on the bargains(!) and/or the conditions that they were made in!.

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