Links 11/7/14

‘WireLurker’ virus hits iPhones and iPads Financial Times

Bitcoin Firm Head Charged in First-of-Kind Ponzi Case Bloomberg (furzy mouse)


As Ebola infections drop, Liberian capital reawakens Washington Post

It’s Over: Texas’ Ebola Outbreak Is About to End NBC

Popularity of ‘solitary confinement’ condos worries Hong Kong property watchers Nikkei

ECB Unites on Possible Further Stimulus Wall Street Journal

For E.C.B.’s Draghi, Promises Are Still His Main Policy Option New York Times

Deutsche Bahn fails in first court bid to stop train strike DW

Riots in Brussels: 100,000 Protest Austerity, Overturn Cars, Throw Fire Bombs; Wherefore Art Thou Austerity? Michael Shedlock

IPO Scandal in Denmark Is ‘Poison’ for Stock Market, Nasdaq Says Bloomberg

Putin Loses to China in Central Asia’s Latest ‘Great Game’ BusinessWeek

Hungary is Helping Putin Keep His Chokehold on Europe’s Energy Foreign Policy

Show me the money: PayPal to support cash payments in Russia Pando

In Ukraine Crisis, U.S. Businesses Face Tit-for-Tat Response to Sanctions New York Times


Jihadists ‘using cruise ships’ BBC (furzy mouse)

Violence in Turkey’s Kurdish region raises questions about peace talks McClatchy

Study: Westerners join Islamic State because of peer pressure, not social media Pando

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ ‘spied on lawyers’BBC (EM)

Uncle Sam’s Databases of Suspicion, A Shadow Form of National ID TomDispatch

EFF Hints at Lawsuit Against Verizon For Its Stealth Cookies DSL Reports. Bob: “Google doesn’t like Verizon in its business line.”

Workday to Put Employees Through a Big Data Analysis New York Times

Election Wrap

One Chart Explains Democrats’ Loss Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

Could Obama have fixed the economy? Ian Welsh (furzy mouse)

Those Who Benefited Most from Obamacare Voted Republican Roll Call (furzy mouse). Maybe that means the assumption of “benefited” needs to be questioned. If you are forced to buy expensive insurance that does not cover much, pray tell who benefits?

Despite election defeat, foreign policy is not ‘game over’ for Obama Reuters. EM: “Makes it sound as if Obama and the GOP were actually at odds on various warmongering initiatives.”

Obama is secretly Republican, can’t wait to deal with new Senate majority Cenk Ugyur

Mississippi prisons chief resigns abruptly amid federal suit Reuters. EM: “We can only hope he’ll end up being blessed with a multiyear up-close inspection regime of his former bailiwick.”

Developer withdraws bid on 6,300 Detroit-area blighted properties Reuters (EM). This seems like no accident, but I wonder what the play was. Was the city dumb enough to let him bid without putting down a bond?

Crude oil hasn’t bottomed yet, traders say CNBC

The Threat from Saudi Arabia’s Oil Power Play Fiscal Times

Doubting the Economic Data? Consider the Source Floyd Norris, New York Times

Antidote du jour:

matched birds links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. wbgonne

      Obama wants everything the Bush-Rove Republicans want: Tar Sands Pipeline; TTP; TTIP; Social Security cuts. The real questions are: 1) whether the GOP continues its mindless obstructionism or tries to take some winnings off the table before Obama leaves; 2) whether the Democratic Caucus rebels against Obama now that he is an obvious lame duck and the DC Establishment considers him a dead-man walking; 3) assuming the Dem caucus rebels, whether Obama sides with the Democrats or the Republicans. I think we may know a lot after the lunch meeting today.

      1. different clue

        Will the DemCaucus rebel? Or are they all secret Obamacrats? Will they co-conspire with Obama and his Republicans to cut Social Security and pass the TTAs? ( TTAs stands for Trade Treason Agreements . . . . an acromeme which I will try to spread around for a while and see if appeals to common usage. Think of what a reality-evocative name that is for these agreements . . . Trade Treason Agreements . . . TTAs.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps we think the democrats lost because of Obamacare, non prosecution of financial frauds, or the economy (the 99.99% economy, Wall Street is fine, thank you), a few days ago, but I believe, they lost before that, in the first round, the most important round, when Big Money voted and they voted against the lack of progress in those trade deals.

        Let’s see if our new boys and new girls can get to work to pass those sovereignty-infringing pacts.

        1. Working Class Nero

          The American people are like madmen in the political padded cell of the US electoral asylum — bouncing off the Democratic wall towards the Republican. And yes, this suits Big Money as the trade pacts and tax cuts will be more coherent coming from a Republican congress. And as compensation to his base, Obama will force through a cheap labor amnesty. But not to worry, in two years Americans will bounce off the Republican wall and back towards the Democrats because by then Big Money will have devised some special little tasks that Democrats are better at achieving.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Cheap labor amnesty and the global reserve currency.

            Is the latter a burden or a privilege? There was a discussion in a thread yesterday about the imperial currency about that. I believe it’s both light (ethereal) and matter (dross). For those with EZ access to imperial money, at low cost, it’s pure bliss to use it to dominate the world. (AND parallel to the most amazing chart everyone is talking where the more the US economy grows, the poorer the 99.99% get, one has to wonder if the more the First World of the Empire and her close colonial possessions grow, the poorer the Third World becomes, with ever increasing cheap labor migrants to the imperial core, similar to what happened in ancient Rome).
            At the same time, it implies we must carry trade deficits – which only matter for the working people.

            That is, the imperial fiat money, with global reserve currency status, is by it’s very nature, anti-democratic – a feature, not a bug. It favors those at the top and punishes those at the bottom….for imperial glory.

            And we have to (yes, HAVE TO) accept it as the lesser of two evils – we have no choice but to reluctantly acquiesce to that…or not.

            We reverse that by instituting Constitutional People’s Money (all new money goes to the people) and cutting off EZ access to money privileges of the 0.01%, and by recognizing that the government is a household (but not the People as a whole; together, we are not a household).

          2. spooz

            Which base is that? Only 20% of Tuesday’s voters supported an Obama executive amnesty. Another corporate handout, and the voters see it.

                1. Working Class Nero

                  That site seems reasonable to me. He does point out the problem of Obama acting alone. The fact is; the Republicans are supposed to be the party representing the managerial classes and so by definition they support cheap labor. The weird thing is that the Democrats are so emotionally committed to mass immigration since they are supposed to be the party representing labor. So the most stable solution for the powers that be would be a grand globalization bargain between Republicans and Democrats where they bundle the free trade agreements and the mass immigration amnesty and by doing so stab working Americans a final fatal blow in the back.

                  1. spooz

                    Incidentally, I just turned on TV to CNBC’s Toure’ screaming at me about how Obama must take the offense and do what he thinks is right and act with “the freedom of someone liberated from the weight of electoral politics”. That “if he acts as though his promises, principles and legacy matters, if progressives matter at all, he must grab an executive pen on immigration reform.” He points to a Pew poll from early 2013, ignoring the exit polls from the midterms. More mainstream media trying to manufacture consent, it seems.

                2. Mel

                  %turnout is starting to look like it will have been in the high 30’s. If so, 60% of people were doing something else, or forgot, or didn’t care, or were’t appealed to.
                  Were Howard Dean and his DNC’s 50-state solution a weird outlier?

              1. spooz

                I don’t endorse the site, looks kind of fringy, but it gives support to how the president is turning his back on public opinion (across demographics) on the immigration issue in favor of corporate interests.

  1. Banger

    The “Big Data” story is kind of scary but to be expected. As it is, we all are in the process of losing our identity to Big Data which will follow us around everywhere. Since everything we do is “on our permanent record” we are now in one of the “coolest” police states and panopticon with a smile that can be imagined. Most people say they have “nothing” to hide but their choices in life will have a major effect on their economic life (the only life recognized in our society) and radically inhibit experimental behavior and repress creativity just at a time when we need it most.

    While political matters are important and we are in a bad way in that area–the invastion of Big Data to our daily lives is perhaps more important. This is all the more reason to do all we can to create alternative economic entities that honor the human-scale and not the “paper”-scale or Big Data-scale where our lives become a dance of shallowness. I’ve seen this happen in the field of HR where keywords and the most shallow aspects of ourselves are emphasized–HR people only want to hire people that won’t get them in trouble thus the paper-trail has to be impeccable–doesn’t matter if you’re an idiot–if you look good on paper the HR person is safe from angry bosses.

    1. RWood

      Well, Noam Chomsky did make a statement that he didn’t think COINTELPRO was really shut down. Pointedly, he said that the Watergate investigation was a good cover for revelations about COINTELPRO, sufficient to allow it to disappear under all that foaming democracy. The Rethugs sealed over the crevasse and other things were put on the rug.

      1. Banger

        It expanded and is now a deeply networked system. Also, expanded and very robust is Operation Mockingbird and other programs to control us–as Machiavelli or any classical thinker could have told us.

        1. susan the other

          any dog, mine especially, calculate the odds of reverse pavlov… let us control cointelpro and all share a big glass of wine…

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Hat tip to the branch. It plays a major supporting role in that masterpiece and yet asks for nothing.

    2. susan the other

      I know! this is a way cool image. My favorite individualist is the guy pointing his beak (actually there are two) in the opposite direction… catepillar politix…

  2. Dino Reno

    It’s a well plowed field, but Ian Welsh sums it perfectly in is piece, “Could Obama fixed the economy?”

    My addendum: America was so all in for a complete upending of the economic order that it elected a black man with a Muslim name as president. He would never have been elected under ordinary circumstances. HIs skin color was the guarantee on the label that promised justice for all the wrongs that America had suffered. His election was suppose to the first of many slaps in the face administered to the establishment that tanked the economy as the result of fraud. HIs election was nothing short of a revolution given the racial prejudice in this country. The underclass and oppressed joined forces to send a clear message of transformational reform. What did we get? A Reaganite who loved the rich and wanted to keep it that way. The Bush/Obama double whammy sets up the Imperial Phase of Empire that ensures a clash of civilizations. Support the troops.

    1. DJG

      Dino Reno: Agreed. Now just add in Hillary! Only a declining empire living on its remaining assets can afford Clintonbushclintonobamamania. I wonder if it is time to scare up a copy of Canticle for Leibowitz for another read.

    2. Working Class Nero

      The fact that Obama is half black, has a Muslim name, and (what you didn’t mention) grew up in an Asian country (Indonesia) is exactly why the establishment wanted him in power in the first place.

      This is extremely obvious if you live outside of America like I do. First of all you must understand that America sees itself as the universal leader of the world. During the Bush years people were beginning to hate America. Now US elites were not interested in actually changing any of the policies that were so unpopular. So instead they decided to change the look of the leader away from the long line of white males who had been doing that job and to instead make the US leader look more like the rest of the world, where white males are actually a pretty small minority. And this little experiment in global Identity Politics worked! I know from personal experience that the reaction to Obama’s election outside of America was almost universally positive and instantly changed America’s branding from bad to good internationally. But at the same time America’s imperialist policies didn’t change one iota.

      And if you look back at the 2008 election it is obvious the establishment was firmly behind Obama — and McCain was doing everything in his power to lose the election, up to and including selecting for his vice presidential candidate the only politician in America with less experience than Obama.

      Besides the establishment knew that “progressives” and “liberals” would be so pleased to have a half black president that they would slobber over the minuscule gay-marriage culture-war crumbs tossed their way and ignore his moves to to transfer more and more wealth to the rich on the economic front.

      From this framework it will be obvious that in 2016, the American establishment will continue rolling the diversity dice by selecting the first female (albeit neo-con) President which will again be widely popular with the collected dunces that make up the rest of the world.

      1. steviefinn

        You got that right – here in the UK there is surprise from those who call themselves liberals that the great black hope has been given the thumbs down. I have been busily posting that handy inequality chart in a probably futile effort to remind them ” It’s the inequality, stupid “. One FB friend posted a sunshine & roses article which led to many comments from other usual lefties, also proclaiming shock. She works in the states but has a pretty high flying job – Who says parallel universe’s don’t exist ?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When there is still racial prejudice at the lower floors of the building, any signs to the contrary on the top floor are but mirages.

      In 2008, I didn’t feel like there was substance behind the appearance of hope and change.

      I believed we had and still believe we have a lot of do in that area..we were and are a long way off.

      I also believe we are not progressing much, simply catching what people say (mostly in public, a few times privately), but not what they think. The latter will only change when we have equality in wealth…witness our red carpet treatment of, say, the king of Brunei, a Chinese billionaire or a petro-state sheik – money talks. As some posters have advocated here, we need a wealth tax, GDP sharing (color blind) and (also color blind) People’s Money (where all money newly created belongs to the People).

  3. Ceding control, uh huh

    Chalk up another point for the Committee Against Torture. The USG needs something, anything, to brag about in this month’s review in Geneva. A relatively painless gesture is to sacrifice a crooked redneck, and there’s plenty of them, since torture is institutionalized in state prisons. One possible poster boy is Darren Rainey, scalded to death Uzbek-style at Dade Correctional. Notice though, no mention of EMCF‘s torture in media for domestic consumption. Reuters sticks to the corruption/ineptitude angle. (This is a traditional propaganda trick, one charge for the rubes back home and another for the international authorities. It works! Everybody stills thinks Nixon got purged for a “coverup” and not for a genocidal bombardment of neutral Cambodia that spurred the world to formalize the crime of aggression.)

  4. Larry Headlund

    Riots in Brussels: 100,000 Protest Austerity, Overturn Cars, Throw Fire Bombs; Wherefore Art Thou Austerity? Michael Shedlock

    In spite of the fact there has been little-to-no austerity to speak of in Europe, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, (rising government debt proves that claim)

    So if austerity results in a shrinking economy and hence shrinking revenues, like critics predict, then it isn’t austerity? Neat! Austerity can not fail. If it does, it was not austerity.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Indeed. I’m actually surprised such a completely intellectually vacuous and neoliberally misinformed link made it into the list without at least a snark tag of some sort. Mike Shedlock seems well divorced from reality. Orthodox BS like that can be read almost literally anywhere.

    2. Erick Borling

      The Shedlock article is very strange. Europe is on the razor’s edge between deflation and zero-inflation, there’s been an obvious war on wages and unemployment is so high there I am amazed that there has not been some forms of violent regime change (war, coup d’etat). I haven’t checked on this, but don’t the policymakers in the EU call it austerity? The perception problem highlights what a bad idea it is to back currency with “debt” issuances like bonds.

      Dr. Kelton has observed that “finance types” are the ones banging on the door to learn about MMT, so we’re on to this Shedlock dude; he was in the toilet to begin with but in this bonkers article he just flushed his credibility down the crapper.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Shedlock is an Austrian. Should have offered a caveat. His perspective on deficit spending isn’t sound, it’s 100% ideological. But hardly any MSM sites have taken note of the riots. This BTW also happened with other large scale anti-austerity protests in Europe.

        1. Erick Borling

          By Austrian, I understand you to mean that Shedlock is of the Austrian “School” of Economic thought. I think it’s actually very good that NC readers who went to the Shedlock article had to stomach the taste of baloney for a spell. May I recommend that in the future, you should link to faulty or even disingenuous articles purposefully so that readers may use them as intellectual whetstones. I’m not kidding. That brings me to the “Doubting the Economic Data” article. Paul Singer seems to be an incarnation of Peter Schiff, ideologically speaking. That is, a person with wealth is offered the soapbox to proffer “special insight” about macroeconomics, as if an accurate understanding economics results in becoming a tycoon. Or (conversely), if you’re not rich, then your economic theory is incorrect. Some people actually believe this, and they are entranced with these “economists” like Schiff and Singer who can’t get over the fact that money is just numbers on paper and yet it still has value. Using the “reasonable man” argument to supposedly establish that paper money is worthless, all they do is predict economic collapse while conveniently ignoring the deplorable situation that’s already extant. If anyone needs something to cheer them up, you can see how pathetically the Austrian school of Economic Philosophy performs in a very civilized debate between Warren Mosler and Dr. Robert Murphy of the Mises Institute. Mosler destroys the Austrian ideology while remaining a perfect gentleman. It’s utterly captivating, and helpful for those of us attempting to teach ourselves economics with a public purpose.

  5. Jonathan Nguyen

    Re: Detroit developer withdraws bid,

    The county’s plan all along was for the “blight bundle” to pass through the auction unbid on so the County Land Bank could take control and leverage the equity of the ~1000 good properties to do the much needed demo work on ~3000 (the other ~2000 are vacant lots). This bidder had no idea what he was doing He has a history of tax liens in other states and said he wanted to work with local orgs including the Land Bank (a non-profit) to make a handsome return on the investment.

    The county did require a $315,000 deposit, but contingent upon Strather submitting his plan. Once he started to get an idea of what the county would or would not deem viable he quickly exited.

    More via this Next City article.

    1. cwaltz

      When you consider that they’ve been calling the economy at large a Ponzi theme since the abandonment of a gold standard, it’s almost ironic.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Solitary confinement condos.

    First you make smaller living quarters.

    Then, you make smaller babies, and in a few years, smaller adults as well.

  7. Propertius

    I think Mr. Shedlock needs to look up the definition of “wherefore”, since he seems to be under the mistaken impression that it’s a long-winded way of saying “where”.

    1. Working Class Nero

      That’s kind of embarrassing! I suppose he took the phrase from “O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?” But people who speak Swedish know that wherefore (varför ) actually means why. So “wherefore art thou austerity” actually means “why are you austerity”. Just like in Shakespeare what Juliet is actually asking is “Romeo, why are you Romeo (a Montague)?”

  8. Propertius

    I would dispute the notion that Obama is “secretly” a Republican. I think he’s been perfectly open and frank about it, at least since 2007 when he first started talking (but not saying anything) about health care.

    1. cwaltz

      The guy called Reagan his role model. I’m pretty sure that pretty much sums up where he falls on the political spectrum. It’s amazing to me that so many are surprised that he isn’t a bastion of liberalism.

      1. James

        Love that word bastion (so stalwarty!). Pretty sure Obama would be happy to be a bastion of anything at this point.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Putin, losing the Great Game to China.

    Lesson – it’s important to start at the bottom of supplying the Empire, in order to earn something the rich sitting atop the Empire can create from thin air – imperial money.

    They don’t like it (this makes their elites feel like taxpayers in America) but the Chinese have worked hard to accumulate those $16.3 billion imperial money for developing Central Asia. One day, perhaps, they can sacrifice the Middle Kingdom’s middle class to crown their own money the global reserve currency, so their elites, too, can dominate Asia and the rest of the world without having to work as hard (yes, bossing over billion plus people to earn imperial money is hard work) as they have to now.

  10. TarheelDem

    It is clear from almost all parties concerned that Obama is a secret Al From DLC Democrat. Multiculturalist economic nationalist republican. That is not the same as the white patriot party that just captured the Senate. Call Obama an Eisenhower Republican or a George Romney Republican and you would be correct.

    1. different clue

      There is nothing economic-nationalist about the Fromists. They are economic anti-nationalist and pro Corporate Global Plantationist. Obama wants the Trade Treason Agreements. Where is the economic nationalism in TTAs?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      An Eisenhower Republican would now be leftie fringe and vastly to the left of Obama. Eisenhower had a 90% marginal tax rate, thought people who wanted to touch Social Security were inconsequential extremists who would go down to defeat, and was opposed to the military-industrial complex. Even a Reagan Republican would probably be to the left of Obama. Reagan though the neocons were crazy and wanted nothing to do with them, and wasn’t responsive to bank entreaties (I can’t remember the details but he and Nicholas Brady nixed one). And the Brady Treasury proposed reducing the tax breaks for highly leveraged transactions. Oh, and Reagan freaked out when unemployment went over 6% and the US was losing manufacturing jobs to Japan. That led to the Plaza Accord of 1985 to drive the yen higher. But the Japanese just moved more of their final assembly to the US.

  11. frosty zoom

    what mish says about austerity is not right. he says there isn’t any anywhere. government deficits are up. what he seems to fail to see (and fortunately for him, live through) is that the money’s just been shifted to war and banks.

  12. Peter Pan

    “Those Who Benefited Most from Obamacare Voted Republican Roll Call (furzy mouse). Maybe that means the assumption of “benefited” needs to be questioned. If you are forced to buy expensive insurance that does not cover much, pray tell who benefits?”

    There’s no doubt that this should be evaluated more closely. However, I couldn’t help noticing that the three states mentioned in the article all expanded Medicaid under ACA. It also appears that several more Red states will be expanding Medicaid under ACA, although one of the states mentioned in the article (Arkansas) will probably withdraw from Medicaid expansion.

    So the question is whether Medicaid recipients voted Red or whether those who had to pay for shitty health insurance under ACA voted Red.

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