Links 11/4/14

Cat sets new world record for longest fur Mother Nature Network (furzy mouse). Quite a pretty cat too.

The Great migration of Amur Falcon Morung Express (Lambert)

Watch 1,000 Polar Bears Waiting to Migrate Across the Still Unfrozen North—Live Yahoo

How China’s “Rare Earth” Weapon Went From Boom To Bust io9 (furzy mouse)

China to build global quantum communication network in 2030 Xinhua. Sounds like vaporware, but it may be more important in signaling China’s intent to build a next-gen Internet.

Uber charges Denver man $539 for 18-mile Halloween ride

The Riskiest Cities In The World To Live In Sustainable Cities. Due to the inclusion of earthquake risk, pretty much all of Japan and Los Angeles are on the list. But Japan is a world leader in earthquake-resistant building technology, while anti-floodging technology (in which the Dutch hold the lead, for obvious reasons) is no where near as widely adopted, at least as of now.

Japan Creates World’s Biggest Bond Bubble Bloomberg. The disconcerting bit is that the economic justification is that the wealth effect will lead to more spending. That was the precisely the same logic that the BoJ used to justify the massive real estate bubble whose aftermath produced two lost decades. So why should we expect any better results this time?

Weaker Orders At Canton Fair Signal China Export Boost May Not Be Sustainable Reuters

China’s small lenders seek cover Financial Times

Euro zone to avoid recession, stagnation risks remain: EU Commission

Russia’s Economic Woes Are Hitting More of Its Neighbors, the IMF Says WSJ Real Time Economics


Ukraine crisis talks over rebel poll BBC

Ukraine rebel elections illegitimate, says new EU foreign policy chief Guardian

Ukraine Dips Into Dwindling Reserves To Pay Gazprom Forbes


Iraq Plans ISIS Counteroffensive With US Help Time

Egypt, Gulf Arab allies eye anti-militant alliance Associated Press. Evan Hill (via Lambert) on Twitter: “Keystone Cops of the Middle East planning ‘anti-extremist’ intervention force. What could go wrong?”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Tech groups aid terror, says UK spy chief Financial Times. Holy moley, a split among the members of the “5 eyes”

Verizon, AT&T tracking their users with ‘supercookies’ Washington Post

Why China is using lasers to take down drones Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse). “Home grown defense.” Does that mean it’s cheap and simple enough for tech hobbyists to replicate?

An Unclassified Statement about Where NSA’s Internet Dragnet Went Marcy Wheeler

To salvage his presidency, Obama faces pressure to reboot – but will he? Reuters. EM: “Note the continuing encroachment of computer-geek-speak: We no longer ‘digest new facts’, we ‘process new data’. And Obama looks to ‘reboot’ presidency. I’m guessing any such “reboot” would be firmly into ‘safe mode’.

Who’s Buying the Midterm Elections? A Bunch of Old White Guys Bill Moyers. Narrowly correct, but the reason “old white guys” can get away with it is that the Dems have relied pretty much solely on identity politics and have failed to deliver on the economic front, particularly on jobs.

Democrats pay for damage control Financial Times. Article points out that Dems had the fundraising advantage….

Americans’ Obesity, Drug Use Cancels Gains From Less Smoking, Safer Cars WSJ Real Time Economics

Why The Current “Oil Glut” Could Lead To A Price Spike OilPrice

Some thoughts on QE Steve Waldman (Scott)

What Quantitative Easing Did Not Do: Three Revealing Charts EconoMonitor. Important

Celebrity Central Bankers Ken Rogoff, Project Syndicate (David L)

Class Warfare

“Hand To Mouth” and the rationality of the poor Cathy O’Neil. Love her point about marshmallows.

U.S. student debt burden falling more on top earners, easing bubble fears Reuters

A More Ancient Household Goods Rule Bob Lawless, Credit Slips

Antidote du jour (Kevin H):

Western Green Hairstreak I

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. proximity1

    More for your Class Warfare files–
    (Note: I’ve been expecting to see just this for many months now. This is the first case I’ve come across in what is simply the present disgusting logic carried to its obvious conclusions)

    from 3 November 2014 at The Guardian :

    Headline: “DWP orders man to work without pay for company that let him go
    [ DWP : Department for Work and Pensions]

    “John McArthur is sanctioned by jobcentre after refusing ‘forced labour’ at firm where he was previously paid minimum wage”

    1. steviefinn

      I’m presently on ESA due to my five cardiac arrest mini marathon. About six weeks ago I was offered five options of which the first was the above – according to the adviser I had to opt for one in order to keep him off by back. I told him where he could stick what they call ” Work connect ” & have opted for another one – Condition Management Programme which I start tomorrow. It is basically a doubling up of the cardiac rehab I am already doing but heavily monitored as to fitness for work. It is supposedly designed to help me avoid depression & to turn me into a physically productive commodity within a local zombie economy.

      Maybe when I again meet the semi moronic young woman who talks to me as though I am senile & she asks me again if I am depressed – I might this time answer yes & explain that it’s not because of my medical condition, but rather because I am expected to live on £70.00 a week, the industry in which I have worked for thirty five years has been off-shored, the world is being run by two sets of ‘ Chicago boys ‘ – the first a Neo-Classical priesthood & the second a bunch of banksters who make Al Capone look like a pickpocket, all under the shadow of a very probable, soon approaching, massive financial meltdown.

      This should maintain my status as an obviously very sick person until at least Christmas, when I should presumably – In true Dickensian style – Die, & therefore help decrease the surplus population. I won’t though as I still have a few cards up my sleeve for later use. Here’s a link from the people who are putting up a fight against the above :

      1. Banger

        The whole problem is ideological. We are not worth anything at all unless we are “productive” meaning we work for the virtual State which most corporations are a part of at this point in history. We have, because of our acceptance of the culture of narcissism growing our donkey’s ears as would have been obvious to anyone reading Pinocchio and having their eyes open.

        This is not how humans were meant to live–this notion of human worthlessness is leading us to radical evil. Eventually, the logic would mean, indeed, culling the surplus population and I do know that there are people who want to do exactly that.

        1. scraping_by

          The concept of the ‘undeserving poor’ is often identified with the clergyman Malthus and his oversimplified population vs food supply dynamic. Before then, the Puritans made it a religious tenet that bankruptcy was an act of fraud, and those who used it were ‘shunned from the congregation.’ And of course the Elect were supposed to be obvious from their worldly success.

          In all cases, equating moral worth with financial worth is an ideology that ignores too much of the real world. And it jettisons way too much that whacked out Hebrew carpenter taught. But it’s useful as a state religion.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In a sort of ‘chicken or egg first’ way, I wonder whether it was a case of ‘the successful selecting “fit” religious doctrines, wiping out “unfit” ones, to justify their wealth’ or ‘religion promoting the pursuit of worldly success?”

            Which came first?

  2. kj1313

    Woke up a half hour early and cast my vote for Howie Hawkins. Felt good even though I know Cuomo is going to win.

    1. wbgonne

      Voted in Boston. Only 3 Green candidates on the ballot and I voted for every one. I also voted on each of the 4 ballot questions. I left blanks when it was just GOP vs. GOP-lite. Let the Democrats wither and rot.

  3. proximity1

    EM: “Note the continuing encroachment of computer-geek-speak: We no longer ‘digest new facts’, we ‘process new data’. And Obama looks to ‘reboot’ presidency. I’m guessing any such “reboot” would be firmly into ‘safe mode’.

    An astute abservation. We ought to regularly note and ridicule this kind of junk phrase– mass communications media have led us to say, “Jump-start” whatever isn’t operating, especially “the economy” which, after being jump-started, is to be “grown”–with a vengeance; “the data shows” ; we substitute “folks” for “people” –I have even seen someone use “folks” in reference to people who, in the context of the discussion, were also called “terrorists” as in “these folks” (i.e. terrorists) ….” Today, instead of just tell us about…” news reporters are asked again and again to “give us a sense of…” Etc.

    I look forward to never again hearing the Idiot-in-Chief refer to any and all people as “folks.”

    1. Tom Allen

      I dunno, “folksy politicians” and “just plain folks” became cliches long ago, so I doubt the use of “folks” will vanish with Obama.

      1. David Lentini

        True, but I suspect that few around the Harvard Law Review and U. Chicago law school use those words and phrases. Listening to Obama use that language only makes me see him as arrogant and condescending. I felt the same way when “W” and “HW” used the talk too, although the former carried it off quite well.

      2. Banger

        Politicians and journalists love cliche because it makes their jobs easier–they can pretend to say something but mean nothing. We aren’t able to handle reality so the media happily avoids it. Cliche, platitudes the whole thing is all about propaganda. Repeat the same thing over and over and over again and it become real even if it clearly is not.

        “Folks” is a term that appeals to a sense of wholeness in a demographic that is radically split into sub-cultures that are often mutually exclusive. There are no “folks” in North America–there are various tribes and sub-cultures and, increasingly, isolated individuals who pick and choose among alternatives and live out their lives pretending to be a series of identities–that’s the trend. It’s all about, like, fashion man.

        1. sleepy

          I was born and raised in the South and the word “folks” was used constantly, by everyone, and without any sense of sociological meaning. Guessing about it, I imagine it is used as another form of the plural “you”, much like “y’all”.

          But when folks like Obama or Pops Bush use it, it’s cynical rhetoric, much like Pops’ eating pork rinds with regular folks or Obama celebrating the middle class folks working at the Amazon warehouse.

          Like Porky Pig said, “That’s all Folks!”

          1. Propertius

            I was raised in the South as well, but whenever I hear Bush or Obama use the word, it has reminded me more of “Ein Volk, Ein Reich” than “just plain folks”.

    2. Brindle

      This sentence from the Reuters article wallows in the vacuity of beltway insider-speak—“new talent” to help “burnish his legacy” . Gotta throw in the ever present “gridlock”. Has absolutely nothing to do with reality—just blather for the writer to get his paycheck.

      –“Even slow-motion staff turnover could add some new talent to an inner circle that has been criticized as too insular. But it remains to be seen whether new blood would be enough to help a diminished president overcome Washington gridlock and push through new initiatives to burnish his legacy.”–

    3. LifelongLib

      When we get rid of computer-geek-speak can we throw in therapy-speak too? Maybe I’m callous but I get tired of hearing about people who are always healing or on a journey or in recovery or whatever. Yes a lot of people are in situations where those words are appropriate but the terms get used far too often.

      1. Erick Borling

        Hear hear. AND all the armchair psychologists. An overwhelming body of evidence discredits even clinical impressions (by Psychologists!) as a basis for diagnosis, so when laypersons dabble in it — it’s even more odious. Bunch o’ narcissists ;-)

        1. Propertius

          I’m a Classicist by training: when I use the word “narcissist” I’m not indulging in therapy-speak. ;-)

      2. hunkerdown

        The previous generation’s clichés are just layers of an onion… you peel one away and then you cry; you peel another layer away and you cry some more…

  4. David Lentini

    Suggested rephrasing:

    Narrowly correct, but the reason “old white guys” can get away with it is that the Dems have relied pretty much solely on identity politics and have failed to deliver on to distract the voters and avoid dealing with the economic front, particularly on jobs.

    1. neo-realist

      Just want to add that the Dems, I suspect, are beholden to “old white guys” for campaign contributions to maintain the economic model and continue the identity politics kabuki theater.

  5. fresno dan

    “During the August protests in Ferguson, Missouri, the Federal Aviation Administration limited access to the airspace over the affected area, “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.” Now the Associated Press seems to have uncovered evidence that the purpose of the limitations was to keep media helicopters out, and the FAA went along with it anyway.”

    Now we’ll see our representative democracy, with its deep and abiding respect for the constitution, leap into action and rein down accountability upon those who would abridge our rights….

    OUCH!!! I hurt myself laughing.

  6. David Lentini

    What Did QE Do? Save the Bansters. As Planned.

    Great set of charts and explanation, all of which just reinforced the obvious. The conclusion however, is the most importan (my emphasis):

    This brief look at what QE did not do helps us understand why it is so hard to know what it did accomplish. It was an uncontrolled experiment. There was no way to apply QE to half of the economy and a placebo to the other half. Furthermore, for most of its life, the expansionary effects of QE were fighting against the contractionary effects of fiscal policy. It was a standoff, but there is no way to tell if that is because both policies were weak, or because both were equally strong. The most widely accepted conclusion about QE—that things would have been even worse without it—remains plausible, but since that is a counterfactual hypothesis that can never be conclusively tested, the debate will undoubtedly continue.

    It’s immoral to make people suffer deliberately by setting policies using unscientific ideas, like economics. Uncontrolled experiments in macroeconomic policy that affect millions of individuals are no less heinous than uncontrolled experiments on individual human beings. If there is not sound scientific basis for making a policy decision, then the best decision is to follow historical precdent and do what’s needed to minimize human suffering. The sound answer is to follow what we know worked in the ’30s—Close the banks, reorganize them, and use massive government spending to both improve the country and re-start the economy while also prosecuting the criminals.

    How the argument that things would have been worse without QE “remains plausible” is a mystery to me. First, the authors can’t describe any positive results from QE. Second, they don’t compare QE to any other policy response, even though many economists were demanding a truly Keynesian policy with the other actions we know worked in the ’30s! At best, then, their argument is that QE has been better than nothing, i.e., abject neglect of the population.

    This is why economics and economists should be removed from key policy making bodies—they have no interest in actually learning anything or making life better for mankind. Instead, they run around in circles chanting and ruminating over their stale, failed ideas. Economics only subtracts from the sum of knowledge.

  7. BobW

    Following links trail from Cathy O’Neil, I somehow wound up at an IMF book review site. Toward the bottom, at China Rising, is a review of “The Writing on the Wall, Why We Must Embrace China as a Partner or Face It as an Enemy” by Will Hutton.

    There is this interesting section: “But the growth machine is running out of gas, locking China into a low-productivity, low-innovation economy. Refueling this machine will require the ‘soft’ institutional infrastructure that accompanies successful capitalism: impartial courts, clear property rights, independent banks and auditors, a free press, effective corporate governance, and free intellectual inquiry.”

    How many of these do we have here in the US now? Considering that government is not the only source of tyranny – think share-croppers, company stores.


    1. diptherio

      Don’t know why, but I am seeing the “click to edit” and “request deletion” buttons under BobW’s comment. That doesn’t seem right….(8:55 am, EST, btw)

    2. not_me

      independent banks

      Yes, let’s have those, independent of ALL explicit and implicit subsidies from government.

      The hypocrisy astounds.

    3. craazyman

      I read Spots on the Wall by Hu Flung Du and it said the shit would hit the fan.

      If you look at history, it does periodically. It’s like a comet coming around. When it goes away you forget about it, and then one day there’s a funny thing in the sky.

      Maybe money will be our savior. Money/wampum/spirit helper. If anybody saw the Iroquois video on Youtube you’ll know what that’s all about. Strange Days they find us, strange days they track us down. They’ve come to destroy, our casual joy . . . -J. Morrison (Be sure to note ca-su-al has three syllables if you wanna say it rite).

      1. craazyboy

        Yu Flung Du! Oh wise one.

        That was a quote from the kid who played young David Carradine when David was playing the Kung Fu dude.

        Yeah, can’t wait till they start printing some money for us. That would fix all sorts of problems! Don’t know why it’s taking them so long. Maybe they had to order the ink from China? Maybe they subcontracted the whole job to China and it’s taking China a while to get the bills to look right? Gotta be some explanation.

        1. craazyman

          Does that truck you’re building with Fourier wave form analysis bark and pee on fire hydrants?

          You could make a few hundred million dollars if you could get it to do that.

          1. craazyboy

            I don’t have to do Fourier transforms anymore. That was the old analog control systems way. It got way easier using digital techniques. It’s called PID, for proportional-integral-derivative – but it solves simply for our purposes to a simple algebraic formula. I got it working real nice too. Was in the park yesterday for a test run and it would go to a GPS waypoint from any direction I started it in, then circle the waypoint when it got there!

            Actually, I could make it bark and pee on fire hydrants. Where do I pick up the money?

            1. Optimader

              PID analog as well although it can obviously be implmented w digital controlas i reacall Sperry (as inSperry Rand) first developed the PID algoritm for naval autopiliots, I would guess using hydraulic controllers? It is the core of most process control… Great for temp/pressure control

              1. craazyboy

                Yup. All aircraft control surface prime movers were hydraulic motors. They started developing brushless DC prime movers for “smaller” applications in the early ’80s – the Amraam tail fin actuators being the first large production app,

                Now in RC planes and quadcopters you can buy a Arduino-like complete open source autopilot system for about $180. This includes data telemetry for “heads up display” goggles and ground station software for a laptop. FPV(First Person View) video telemetry sold separately.


                I’m doing a truck from “scratch” because I don’t need the gyro for a ground vehicle. But eventually an airplane or quadcopter is in the plan. Then I will definitely just buy the autopilot system.

          2. Optimader

            Fugit the fouryear transformer sht an mount the bloody auton o mouse paintball gun an git a darpa contract

  8. McMike

    re less smoking, less drinking, and safe driving versus obesity, drugs, and guns.

    Looks like the areas where the state intervened the most showed significiant reductions in public health consequences.

    Bad news for Libertarians. Seems like a bit of nanny-state regulation works.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The beauty is that the government doesn’t have to spend much to come up with and enforce those regulations, thus saving the money for other areas…hopefully not on surveillance, but perhaps on government run organic farms.

      1. McMike

        These are, kidding aside, splendid examples of enlightened public health/commonwealth regulation that delivered high yield societal payback.

        The arguments against were either pure principle (the pursuit of happiness right to take risks with your body, the free speech right to advertise unsafe products), but they were met by modest regulations, and more extensive education that reduced the undesirable behavior without draconian restrictions.

        Cigarettes and liquor are still advertised and sold, just less widely. People better understand the consequences of both. Cars are safer and no one is complaining about that. Most people wear seat belts reflexively now, but you are still free to skip it if you choose and face a large but not onerous fine if caught.

        Perhaps one “tell” for enlightened regulation is that no particular interest group gained a windfall as a result of the regulation, and the offending industries felt a pinch but still survived and continued on a different trajectory. (State level expropriation of cigarette settlement funds aside, which nonetheless went into public coffers).

        I am sure there are counter examples, but its an interesting thought exercise.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I love, I mean I LOVE, those enlightened regulations.

          Very little money and BIG, BIG returns.

          Instead, we place money front and center, ahead of heart, and thus we rob in the name of help or love (sorry, the money rightfully belongs to the people).

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Very few mandarin officials can resist the temptation to abuse imperial money.

            “Why do we have to earn it while you can just print it?”

            With proper ownership of the imperial money, that is to say, when newly created imperial money belongs to the people, I believe, at that time, we will see many ‘very smart’ people solemnly proclaim the need to create money most prudently.

            “Let me spend your money so you will have some money (when you get a job)” – the greatest ad. campaign ever invented.

            1. LifelongLib

              Just printing money works if there’s not enough money in the right hands (which is most of the time). Caveat — the money has to be given to people who will actually spend it on necessities, which are the poor and working/middle class. Unfortunately our current money printing is targeted at people who already have more money than they know what to do with.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I believe the money belongs to the people.

                There is no ‘welfare’ if you take possession of something that belongs to you, the people.

                Not trickle down. No charity.

                You take your rightful place at the dining table in the great hall.

                “We have created $700 billion in new money. That means about $3,000 per man, woman and infant…to each, directly.”

    2. ambrit

      *sarc on* My problem with that is that these ‘interventions’ directly inhibit the “free markets” ability to “efficiently” allocate resources. What’s the point of running a for profit obesity clinic if that d—-d State makes becoming overweight so hard? Likewise, where’s the big bucks for defense lawyers when “ordinary” citizens lose the ability to “effectively oppose” the Police State Goons? *sarc off*

      1. LifelongLib

        While we’re at it let’s not forget designing communities with no transit where everything you need is so far away that you have to own a car, and the parks are so rundown that your kids need a big yard to play in, and on and on…

      2. jrs

        Well you can be darn sure the State won’t intervene against the corporations, selling us GMOs etc..

        But yes it will intervene against the individual who drinks too much coca cola. You want the form of fascism that strictly regulates the individual? You got it! But you want a better society that would make making better choices easier? Not if it interferes with profits …

    3. jrs

      Oh I’m glad the state didn’t intervene any in drug use … /sarc

      actually of course that is the place of greatest intervention – the whole “drug war”.

  9. Brooklin Bridge

    Does anyone know more about the Verizon and AT&T supercookies? How can they make them undeletable (except of course on devices where users don’t have full privileges). If they can be put on, they should in theory be able to be taken off even if it means by special software. Is this article leading people to believe there is no alternative (is that part of its mission)? Which raises another question, are there open source projects to scrub such devices?

    The comments in that article raise a good point; permission by corporations to track you should be based on opt-in and not on opt-out, not that I expect that anytime soon.

    1. Gerard Pierce

      The simplest analogy I can come up with would be if your local postman were to write your name and address on the back of any piece of outgoing mail that you sent out – even though you tried to avoid being identified by deliberately choosing not to put a return address on the envelope.

      The address added to your envelope is the equivalent of a “super-cookie”. You can’t control it, and anyone along the route of travel (post offices, mail rooms or recipient) can tell who sent the letter.

      You not only can’t control it, you can’t even be aware that this information was added after the letter left your hands.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Apparently, most VPNs will remove the header as will proxies and of course the onion router. See the article on Wired I mention in comment above.

          You can check to see if an UIDH is being injected into your http requests (if you’re being tracked) at this web site I don’t know how long he will keep that page up, but for the time being it will show you the UID and he explains how to tell if it’s a Verizon or AT&T UIDH.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Oh yes, using https will also remove the nasty, so any sites that are https by default will be safe.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Absolutely not true.

              Https does not offer end to end security. If a site uses https but has third party content (say uses another site to run its comment section, which almost all blogs with large comments sections do, NC is an exception here) you are not safe.

              The fact that the Guardian, which has gotten in rows with GCHQ and has obvious reasons to be concerned about its and its readers security, and is better off financially than virtually all MSM outlets (as in it can afford the investment to go to https, it doubles server load and thus greatly increases hosting costs) and hasn’t done so says that this isn’t the magic bullet that its fans say it is. Yes, it helps, but giving people an illusion of total security when they don’t have it is arguably worse than having them recognize that they are at risk.

              There is tons of urban legend on the security issue. Your general assumption should be that if someone tells you, “If you do this, you’ll be safe,” they are probably wrong. Seriously. Being secure on the Web is virtually an oxymoron.

              1. Brooklin Bridge

                This thread is probably done and gone, but my comment about https is that it removes, or does not include, the UIDH identifier (which I called the “nasty” above) which Verizon and AT&T injects into http requests for it’s ISP customers whether or not they opt out of being tracked. That was all I meant and you can check out the link to the test page for corroboration:

                In response to many questions about the best defense you can take (short of changing providers), my advice is to use HTTPS wherever possible, or (better) use a VPN service, or possibly a proxy service. Unfortunately, no browser plug-in is going to be 100% effective unless you strictly visit HTTPS sites or trust the plug-in proxy provider. In the case of HTTPS, a VPN or proxy, the HTTP network headers cannot be modified/injected by your cellular ISP.

                True, elsewhere on NC I’ve made one single comment where I said it would be nice for NC to have https, but I did not claim that doing so would solve all security problems. It would be nice.

              2. Brooklin Bridge

                Also, having re-read my comment, I was very unclear. I should have said, “safe from UIDH”, not just “safe.” And lastly, I realize it’s easy to make suggestions from outside an organization when one hasn’t a clue as to what that might entail, so sorry.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Here is a fairly good description (from Wired) of the process. It’s actually a header, UIDH (Unique IDentifer Header) attached to every http request (so it’s not a file turd in the usual sense of cookie). This means the problem goes away if you don’t use Verizon or AT&T as your ISP (though I imagine other ISP’s are drooling over the idea and waiting to see how a blatantly illegal process works out for Verizon)

    1. Banger

      To clear up–I will not be voting for Kay Hagan the Democratic Party candidate in North Carolina.

      1. Paul Niemi

        Did her family get a quarter million in federal stimulus grants that she voted for? Was it legal graft, or was there no conflict of interest? It’s OK to give ourselves permission to vote to throw the bums out, especially if they are feathering their own nests first, before tending as may be to the people’s business.

      2. Benedict@Large

        I did not vote for Pat Murphy, the Democrat who replaced Allen West. Every time I had checked how he voted, it was the same as West would have voted. He claimed this was him being “independent”, but in a two party world, being “independent” simply means you call yourself one thing but vote as the other.

        In the end, the toxic US Chamber of Congress agreed with me; Murphy was 1 of only 6 Democrats they endorsed. The GOP agreed with me also; they offered no support for Murphy’s Republican opponent, and this in a district that voted Romney in 2012.

        1. LifelongLib

          “…you call yourself one thing but vote as the other.”

          Seems like it’s a one-way street though. How many “Republicans” vote as “Democrats”?

          1. ambrit

            If it serves the purposes of their “thought leaders” they will. We just had an example of precisely that here in the Mississippi Republican Run-Off for Senate candidate. The ‘Old Guard’ Republican Cochran managed to defeat the Tea Parties’ McDaniel with the co-ordinated support of otherwise Democratic voting African Americans. A big chunk of African American political activism still originates in the churches down here. Black Baptist preachers were reported by reliable sources to have preached sermons exhorting the Party faithful to cross over in the run offs and vote for the “Moderate” Cochran in the week preceding the run off contest. Mississippi allows this in primaries. Tea Party hopeful McDaniel was leading Cochran by comfortable margins among Republican voters in the run up to the run off. Then the Democrats put their oar in and drowned the Tea Party movement.
            I guess the point I’m trying to remake here is that there isn’t a dollars worth of difference between the two ‘Legacy’ parties. Indeed, money is the perfect metaphor for Americas’ politics.

    2. David Lentini

      Good article by Gupta. But I still tend to see the key issue in the transformation of the Democrats as being the ascendence of the colleged-education, professionals who came off the campuses of the late ’60s, thinking they could pursue riches while “doing good” by focusing on very specific social issues. The promontory point with the GOP was the triumph of that party by the libteranian ideals of Milton Friedman as financed by Wall Street. In the end, that left neither party with any soul. Instead, each became slave to Wall Street and our politics degenerated into an orchestrated absurdist kabuki of side shows driven by the inflamed revanchist anger of the religious right and the stoked outrage of the left over limitations to middle class freedoms of gay marriage and abortion solving nothing by design. Of course, as the culture has accepted more of the middle class freedome, the Democrats have fewer places to hide.

      1. Banger

        Good points David. I’m a member of that generation. I stayed in the counter-culture as long as I could while everyone else was off careering around. Those insights from the sixties wafted away as if they never existed as my fellows became even more materialistic than our parents. Very sad to see.

        At any rate new generations will be coming to the fore with a far more cynical and, I’m hoping, honest attitude that may want to do something about our culture of denial that my generation has created.

  10. rjs

    yesterday, the Census report on Construction Spending for September estimated that our seasonally adjusted construction spending for the month would work out to an annual rate of $950.9 billion of spending overall, 0.4 percent (±2.0%)* below the revised August estimate of spending at a $955.2 billion annual rate and well below estimates of a 0.6% increase from originally published figures….construction spending for August was revised from the originally reported $961.0 billion to $955.2 billion and construction spending for July was revised down from $968.8 billion to $960.0 billion, so construction spending for the entire third quarter is considerably lower than previous estimates and will likely result in downward revisions of 3rd quarter GDP components for residential construction, private structures, and public investment…..

  11. Dikaios Logos

    Here’s a link for everyone, especially those who remember the triumphalism around the fall of ‘communist’ regimes in 1989-1991 and the subsequent nonsense it produced in the 1990s that harmed people in those countries AND in ‘the west’. It is called “For Whom the Wall Fell? A balance-sheet of transition to capitalism” and is by the very insightful Serbian-American economist Branko Milanovic.

    Milanovic examines the fortunes of those countries notes, among other things:
    1. many have LOWER per capita incomes than in 1990
    2. many others have seen anemic growth, along the lines of 1% per year
    3. about a third of the people in these ‘transition countries’ have seen annual growth rates of 2% or greater. But many of those countries are mineral exporters AND are still authoritarian.
    4. And finally, this period in all of these countries appears to be appalling bereft of cultural contributions . The previous 25 years of communism were a much more productive time culturally.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The countries can start from the bottom (hey, upward mobility available for all new comers). They can do that by earing imperial money (like the rest of the colonized world) by supplying the empire with needed raw materials, finished products and services.

      Once they get on the GDP growth bicycle, the only to keep from falling over is to keep pedaling.

      And when you have enough imperial money, you become quasi-imperial yourself and other late comers might actually want your quasi-imperial Yen or Yuan. You are an imperial proxy.

    2. JohnnyGL

      If you’re going to comment on cultural achievements in former communist countries, you might as well touch upon the athletic realm, too. Easten bloc countries used to be a much bigger force at the Olympics and in world soccer tournaments such as the Euro-cups and world cups. Now, beyond the former Yugoslav countries, there’s barely an impact. Even a big country like Russia either doesn’t qualify or can’t get out of the group stages in big soccer tourneys.

      I should make an exception for Russia in 2008, they had a fluke-y run to the semi-finals of the Eurocup, but have been very mediocre since then.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Japan, bond bubble

    Who is the patient BoJ seeks to cure?

    Answer: The Little People.

    How do we get medicine to the Little People in the fastest, most direct way possible?

    Not through never trickle down private Big Money wealth effect, nor through hardly trickle down Big Government spending. What is that immediate, straight-to-the-patient cure?

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      There isn’t one. The money goes to the smart-n-savvy people. Who else would it go to, the nice people?
      The smart-n-savvy people wouldn’t be very smart-n-savvy if they let lots of money go to the “little people” (aka dumb-n-clueless).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s very funny because the world has never tried printing and giving new money directly to the people.

        ‘They’ – not the rich banksters, but little people we are talking about here – are not worthy or trustworthy.

        The government is more effective in spending that money than the little people, it is claimed (for sure more effective than corporations, that’s not being disputed here).

    2. Benedict@Large

      Japan Creates World’s Biggest Bond Bubble – Bloomberg

      This is monetarist garbage. When are these guys going to realize that their last chance walked out the door in 2008? Japan is conducting a bookkeeping operation, nothing more. They are simply rearranging how this stuff appears on their books, not how it affects their economy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Japan has inherited the Confucian tradition where wise officials act for the people. You see that tradition in many East Asian countries, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, etc. and that’s what we see – state managed economies, to varies degrees.

        So, Japan and her MITI and other ministries would know, for at least 2 decades post-bubble, more than other countries in the West presumably, what infrastructure projects to spend on…maybe like the next generation internet, cracking the DNA, fusion, non-nuclear renewable energy, etc.

    3. Erick Borling

      Regarding your comment and the Japan article; Fiscal policy of “big government” spending is actually trickle-up spending if it goes directly to the people, for example a basic income guarantee. Historically, the most effective job-creator has always been the government; or fiscal policy but not Federal Reserve bond-buying, which results in leaving decisions about how to distribute public moneys to the banks, with unfair results so far. (Newly created money belongs to who?)

      But as to your Big Gubmint bugaboo, ask that question more precisely and try to answer in various measures just how “big” the government is, and the problem of the impluted “big government” disappears or becomes finely nuanced. For example, there are now fewer federal employees per capita, as this number has been shrinking for decades. If the size of government is measured by the size of the federal budget, that assessment also disintegrates the idea that government is too big because we have huge excess capacity; or vast unemployment. That argument seems to emanate from the idea that big numbers with lots of zeros are scary, just like in the Japan article. 1,000,000,000,000,000 is not a big number. Just try to get something done with the government, you’ll see the offices are too far away and the offices understaffed. The big government argument is so 1995 (i.e. “Contract with America”)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the government has been the most effective job creator, it’s because we haven’t tried given the money directly to the Little People, not just once or twice, but on a regular basis – that is, every time we create new money, we hand it over to the Poeple.

        As for Big Government, it is not monolithic. It would be interesting to look at state security spending as a percentage of GDP and see if it’s big. That’s the part of Big Government that is wasteful…to big.

        As for government regulating clean water part of Big Government, for example, we don’t have a Big Government problem there.

        And for prosecuting financial frauds part of Big Government – again, it’s not Big Enough, though not necessarily in monetary terms. We don’t need to money figures with lots of zeroes…certainly not 1,000,000,000,000.00 And yet, impressive enough, the rate of return of prosecuting a bankster would be astronomical.

        And so, money is not that important, if, and I emphasis if, the heart is in the right place

        That’s the same with any long term relationship – it’s about love, not money. But unfortunately, soon or later, we fight over money. In this case, money created belongs to the People, not the government.

        At the end, we need Big Hearted Government and not Big, Rich Brother.

        And let’s stop squabble over money – we are not a bad marriage. The money created is the People’s money…not to be wasted on cheap imperial thrills or fair weather bankster friends.

        1. Erick Borling

          I appreciate your response and agree. I’ll run with one of your points: From the (erroneous) standpoint that the federal government “can’t afford” to spend money into existence, I cringe when the choices of spending cuts tend to fall on medicare, social security, food stamps, and not on things like the NSA data center being built in Utah. After all, in both parties, there is overwhelming sentiment against these unreasonable searches and seizures.

          But I’m still curious about the Japan article since Japan is such an interesting foil to some of the discourse in the U.S. The article seems to espouse the myth that sovereign debt is unsustainable simply “especially” when the number has a lot of zeroes. For example Mercury is 150,922,574,880 feet from the Sun at it perihelion (closest), and that comes out to 46 million kilometers — but all other planets are farther away and the numbers are much larger! I might have a zillion(?) cells in my body but an elephant has more. If a li’l ol lady bookkeeper goes into the accounting department at General Electric she’d wonder (no offense to li’l ole ladies) how in blazes such large numbers can be managed. Well… because they can and they have to (manage such numbers).

          Finally the idea of a bubble is getting to seem really vague to me. Is that the same thing as inflation limited to one small market? If so, then directing those moneys more evenly would seem to avoid isolated bubbles.

          Lastly, your invocation of love is greatly meritorious but those with no sensitivity or philosophical inclinations tend to be alienated from the superior logic of clean emotion. So, I’d refashion your “love” concept towards a discourse on fairness, rights, and ownership. Basically I’d cite the first two sentences of the Declaration of Independence, and point out that everyone starts life in a state of disenfranchisement, and that “market efficiencies” also result in further disenfranchisement as if we are all Native Americans being overrun by an army of rentiers and fee-vampires. …Because that what happens here, more or less. Furthermore, as we move towards a condition where more and more of what we need is produced by machines run by one person at the touch of a button, we have to ask what a fair and humane outcome looks like. Fortunately Japan’s Constitution is better than ours so I’ll be watching to see what happens.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It is important to note that, since the government is not monolithic, when we say government spending, there is no guarantee that, for example, HUD will get more (or just simply what it deserves) than the Pentagon. In fact, the opposite is likely to happen, as the MIC boys lord over the other departments.

            On the other hand, when newly created money is given directly to its rightful owners, i.e. the People, we can make sure that each of us gets an equal share, and the government is run as a household. While that does not ensure we stop imperial adventures, it’s a start. With newly created money (the amount is determined by the needs of the people) on hand, the people can demand a responsible accounting of what the government is spending, without the emotional ‘we are spending to help you’ component, and ask the government to be more efficient (spend just small amounts of money to prosecute financial frauds – the rates of return of which are enormous).

            We are talking about People’s Money and People’s Central Bank (or just a People’s Account at the Central Bank).

  13. cwaltz

    Enjoyed the interview with Tirado. I’ve been up and down the economic ladder a few times and my experience was very similar to hers. The reality is that poverty robs a lot of human potential. When you are busy figuring out “logistics” to survive that opportunity cost is that you don’t have a lot of time to try and fix the problems we face as a society. This suits the rich just fine because it essentially allows them to own our political system. However, if the middle class wants some sort of say they need to stop assuming that the poor are stupid, lazy, apathetic, or have more flaws then any other group of people and actually work to fix things so the poor aren’t always working on logistics and have time to help us work on fixing broken parts of our society.

    1. hunkerdown

      Logistics is exactly it. Imagine a society whose normal demands on its members could not be satisfied without the use of teleportation, and in which some members’ access to the facility is rationed or limited… then observe that is essentially the USA we have wrought.

      It’s been said the social purpose of an elite class is to preserve culture. Likewise, according to US historian William Hogeland, the social purpose of the bourgeoisie is to criticize culture. Together, it could be said their joint purpose is to reproduce culture. In practice, to paraphrase Steinbeck, ours seem to see themselves not as cultural critics but as “temporarily embarrassed elites”, cultutral production managers strutting around with peacock feathers Scotch-taped to their derrieres calling it macaroni to prove what good liars and fishwives they are and thus their desert to be promoted.

      One question worth asking is whether the clearly helpful, equitable components of present-day culture can be preserved without dragging too much of the inequitable baggage into it. For instance, the Protestant work ethic is entirely the latter, by design and in practice, and ought to be nuked from orbit, only to be unearthed by archaeologists in centuries long to come and condescendingly derided by the intelligentsia of that day as on par with epicycles. Can the benefits of industriousness as a principle be combined with the benefits of knowing when to quit? IETF RFC 1925, 3.6a: “It is always possible to add another level of indirection.” The ancien regime never died; it just moved itself to another part of the overall network architecture. For another instance, the suggestion that those who don’t show up hold no valid stake in an enterprise is itself odious and elitist, and is instrumental in the preservation of inverted totalitarianism, and too conveniently protects the interests of those who can fashion their lives to show up consistently, or send proxies to represent them.

      (In that light, are legislators merely our public defenders as lobbyists are to the likes of David Boies?)

  14. fresno dan

    “A rose is a rose is a rose, and ibuprofen is ibuprofen no matter what generic-drug company makes it. The chemicals in one batch are identical to chemicals in another. Many new drugs, however, aren’t mixtures of chemicals produced by recipe but are organic substances such as hormones, antibodies and other proteins. They’re called biologics and are generally produced within genetically engineered cells that in effect become factories. Because each biologic drug can be traced back to a single cell, no two versions are ever exactly alike; a generic version can be similar to the branded equivalent, but never exactly the same. That’s why they’re called biosimilars.”
    “But in 1984 the biotechnology revolution was too new to fall under the provisions of a new law that expanded the use of generic drugs in the U.S. Under that law, drugmakers have been able to make copies of traditional chemical drugs — ranging from Lipitor for cholesterol to the antidepressant Prozac — once their patents ended, without having to do additional clinical trials. In Europe, the sale of biosimilars was approved in 2006 and their use is growing rapidly. Japan has been approving biosimilars since 2009 and Australia since 2010. The process for approval in the U.S. calls for more testing than is required for traditional generics, costs that will cut into potential savings. Biosimilars won’t force prices down the way generics did, but they could shave 30 percent off spending on biotech drugs. Express Scripts, which manages the pharmacy benefits of 85 million Americans, estimates biosimilars could save $250 billion over the next 10 years.”

    When I was at the FDA in Biologics (Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research), the agency said “the process was the biologic (drug).”
    FDA requires reporting to the agency of changes in manufacture (well, actually any change you can think of, including expanding the safety warning), which includes how you purify your water to changes to machinery. The agency has liberalized its reporting requirements under pressure from industry, as well as common sense (the changes couldn’t be implemented until approved by the agency, which was prudent for changes made to a water system, but ridiculous for adding a refrigerator).
    But the debate was always whether new clinical information, and how much, was necessary if the change was considered substantive enough (e.g.,a new or different manufacturing location).
    Now of course, the patent holders, who used to argue that all this testing was superfluous and unnecessary, and FDA is way too cautious and doesn’t know what they’re doing, now vociferously argue that it is absolutely necessary to do everything that FDA required them to do and MORE.
    Ah, human nature – too much regulation of me, but not nearly enough of you….

  15. fresno dan

    “The big news in the chart above, other than global connectedness getting back close to its 2007 peak, is that the breadth of connectedness is still declining. Breadth is a measure that reflects how many different countries a particular country is interacting with and the distances over which interactions occur, among other things. So the tourist trade in the Bahamas, while it scores high for depth because there are lots of tourists, doesn’t have much breadth because more than 80% of them come from one country, the U.S., that is less than 200 miles away and accounts for less than 10% of the world’s outbound tourists.

    This global decline in the breadth of connectness, Ghemawat says, suggests that “with the big shift in economic activity to emerging markets, the world is in some sense getting pulled apart.” For the past couple of decades, globalization been largely driven by trade, investment, and other interactions between developed countries and developing ones. Now the action is among the developing countries (and formerly developing countries), which is having the effect of re-regionalizing many economic flows. South-to-South trade is now growing faster than South-to-North or North-to-South, Ghemawat says, while North-to-North trade “has basically stagnated.”
    Well, I imagine at some point high oil prices are going to impact how many lobsters you can ship via air from Maine, or low margin “hello kitty” tchotchkes.

    1. ambrit

      Well now, there’s going to be a sharp increase in sail/motor hybrid freighters into the future. Maine lobsters can well become yet again a regional delicacy, but Hello Kitty shall never die. If those beloved mental constructs can be shipped for similar prices but over a longer timescale, they will be. Let us not venture into raw materials conveyance, it’s a natural for sail.
      Two takes on the subject:
      I for one will rejoice at the return of the “Slow Boat to China.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Global connectedness.

      I was just thinking this morning about some examples of neighboring peoples/nations/empires co-existing, for a thousand years* or so, peacefully without one single arms conflict.

      I couldn’t come up with one. Maybe others can help here.

      On the other hand, peoples/nations far apart, say between Mongolia and Peru, we know that they have not had any arms conflict forever.

      *Why a thousand years? Well, we hope the warming world can still exist for a long time, so, examples of a few hundred years don’t suggest much.

    3. hunkerdown

      The USA consumes 25% of the world’s resources and only sends out 10% of the world’s international tourists? How can that not lead to arrogant provincialism the likes of which we’re soaking in this very day (even more than usual)?

  16. Benedict@Large

    … the Dems have relied pretty much solely on identity politics and have failed to deliver on the economic front, particularly on jobs.

    Oh no, the Democrats have delivered exactly what was ordered; a weak labor market unable to squeeze a penny’s raise out of Boss Man. We have to stop thinking there is anything left in the Democratic Party for the working class. Those folks are gone.

  17. optimader

    “China will achieve Asia-Europe intercontinental quantum key distribution in 2020 and build a global quantum communication network in 2030, said Pan at the 2014 International Conference on Quantum Communication”

    I’m always amused at decade plus predictions.
    If the Chinese know the rate of quantum communication advancement with this precision, then they don’t know where the network will be.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s interesting they are spending government money on potential global hegemony, but as far as I know, not on food safety or clean air in Beijing

      On the other hand, a bullet to the back of the head of a corrupt official (even if the family is safely in Australia), brings a rate of return of infinity or close to it.

      1. hunkerdown

        Somehow, whenever there’s a choice between reproducing an abstraction and reproducing those who depend on that abstraction, any number of the latter are fair fodder to preserve the former. I blame the Enlightenment.

      2. optimader

        china has heavily back-loaded environmental liabilities for an arbitrary (and probably fictitious) YonY growth rate, and it will haunt them. Nothing is free. Unfortunately we all get to enjoy the air pollution.. as the world turns..

  18. fresno dan

    Some thoughts on QE Steve Waldman (Scott)
    “I pull the lever for the really-pretty-awful to stave off something-much-worse, and hate both myself and the political system for doing so.”

    I love Waldman, and its a good article….but, if you keep doing what your doing, why are you surprised that you keep getting what your getting?
    There are 3rd, and often 4,5,6 other parties on ballots. Its like bitching about going to the supermarket and only having coke and pepsi to choose from and ignoring Nehi:
    Nehi Blue Raspberry
    Nehi Berry
    Nehi Blue Ice Cream
    Nehi Ginger Ale
    Nehi Fruit Punch
    Nehi Blueberry
    Nehi Watermelon
    Nehi Lime-lemon
    Nehi Diet Lime
    Nehi Lemon Sour
    Nehi Luau
    Nehi Orange-Ade
    Nehi Sangria
    Nehi Sarsaparilla
    Nehi Sparkling Water
    Nehi Monkey
    Nehi Upper 10 (with lithium)
    Think how much better off we would be if people would vote for something other than a dem or repub and drink something other than coke or pepsi (I find the Nehi Upper 10 with lithium intriguing and will try and find an outlet that carries it)

  19. Brindle

    Mathbabe/ Cathy O’Neil makes great point about the emotional structures of growing up poor compared to upper middle class.

    —But since the researchers grew up in places where it made sense to go to grad school, and where they respect authority and authority is watching out for them, and where the rules once explained didn’t change, they never think about those assumptions. They just conclude that these kids have no will power—.

    1. jrs

      The truth is probably somewhere in between, but since the marshmallow experiment was kids not adults, I’m entirely prepared to believe that they are mostly products of their environment.

  20. ewmayer

    Re. Reuters’ “U.S. student debt burden falling more on top earners, easing bubble fears” — As the article notes, “U.S. student loan balances have quadrupled since 2004” — but no bubble to see here, folks, just nicely broad-based debt slavery. Mission accomplished!

    Mish (to whom I also fdwed the link) adds “Yeah – interview those who landed a top job and it was worth it. Everyone else?”

  21. Illort

    This is somewhat connected to the article about REEs, I was just having discussion about these and metals with one older well informed guy. He was casually referring to how REE- and “normal” metal prices were pumped up during prelude to 2008 crisis by speculation. I believe this speculation has been discussed here earlier too, but it still strikes me as odd that this is allowed, after all it seems to be a known fact when following the news and discussions. Perfect example (sort of, atleast) how high wealth can be used to generate more wealth. I’m also pretty sure the people doing this speculation see it as perfectly fine business, even integral part of how capitalism is supposed to function…

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