Links 11/9/14

“I’ve waited my whole life for this moment.” Twitter

These 8 Images Of The Cosmos Will Stop You In Your Tracks Business Insider (David L)

Best way to get pesticides banned is to claim they’re legal highs Daily Mash

A Push to Back Traditional Chinese Medicine With More Data Wall Street Journal. Ten years ago, I found doctors in Australia to be far more receptive to what they called “complementary medicine” than their US counterparts were.

China’s growth in exports and imports slows, adding to signs of fragility South China Morning Post

China’s exports spike but data unreliable Walter Kurtz (furzy mouse)

China trade area plans meet Apec resistance Financial Times

Japan economy minister says TPP agreement difficult by year-end: report Reuters. When Japanese say something is difficult, it’s accompanied by an inward hiss. That’s as direct a “no” as you ever get. It translates roughly as “I’ll try but don’t expect this to work.”

Catalonia set for symbolic independence poll Aljazeera

Greece: A Grave Situation With Very Real Consequences TruthOut

Political row overshadows 25th anniversary DW

Gorbachev warns of ‘new Cold War’ BBC


US and Russia find common ground on Ukraine Aljazeera

Heavy shelling, unmarked military columns in eastern Ukraine DW

Heavy shelling in Ukraine city BBC


Strikes Hit Convoy of Islamic State Leaders, U.S. Says Bloomberg

U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq Target Leaders of Islamic State New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

On LinkedIn, a Reference List You Didn’t Write New York Times

Did the government hack a CBS journalist? Maybe. [Updated] ars technica

Erased iPhone Gets a Mother in Trouble New York Times

Health Care Reform Imperiled New York Times

Lame duck looms over Lynch confirmation Politico. Holder said he wasn’t leaving till his replacement was confirmed, so we may have two more years of Holder. Not that Lynch will be a functional difference, mind you.

A Blank Page in the S.E.C. Rule Book, Four Years Later Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. So guess what the SEC has been slow to implement? Executive pay clawbacks, natch.

Election Wrap

President Flim-Flam Leads Dems to Midterm Massacre Mike Whitney, Counterpunch

How Voter Suppression Helped Produce the Lowest Turnout in Decades Intercept

How Much Was Your Ballot Worth in 2014? Angry Bear

Facing Down Corporate Election Greed Bill Moyers. A rare success story.

Yellen: Monetary Policy Normalization Could Heighten Financial Volatility WSJ Real Time Economics

Keynes to FDR: Forget Quantitative Easing Free Banking

Redefining Business Competence Project Syndicate (David L)

Class Warfare

10 Economic Trends that Spell Doom for America’s Workers Alternet

They’re Still Redlining Jacobin (CTL)

Why Innocent People Plead Guilty Jed Rakoff, New York Review of Books. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

dog and tiger cub links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Dan

    “Greece: A Grave Situation With Very Real Consequences” – Hmmm. Concentration of ownership and control of the media – where have I heard that before…..

  2. Furzy Mouse

    I was first introduced to Tibetan herbal medicine while suffering from recurrent kidney stones. The US docs were good enough to remove them, and dose me with antibiotics, but they kept coming back…for several years…I became really run down. So, a friend took me to a local Tibetan herbalist in NJ. After he ground up some herbs by hand, he gave them to me, saying not to worry, I would be better soon.

    I never had another stone again! And my overall health improved greatly. What I wish to add to the discussion on Chinese traditional medicine is that all of their diagnostics, the concepts of humors and the herbal prescriptions came from Tibet nearly a thousand years ago, via travelling teachers, and also from India, via the Ayurvedic tradition. I’ve personally had rather mediocre results from the Chinese herbals, but many have claimed to have received good relief from the Chinese meds.

    1. Banger

      There are many modalities that work but the medical establishment prefers those that follow the mechanistic nature of medical education. The body is a machine–you cure symptoms not people. That is beginning to change because the data has been coming in for so long that stress is the major cause of all illness including cancer, MS and so on.

      The system does what it can to stop holistic medicine and avoids evaluating traditional methods and many new ones that feature cheap and effective remedies–and they do that for economic and political reasons because the medical establishment, like all our other institutions, exists for its own sake and not ours–because that is how the “game” is arranged (see ideas in game-theory).

      1. diptherio

        Re: Stress and health–True dat! The science is clear: being low-ranking in a rigid hierarchy causes stress and stress leads to poor health outcomes, for reasons that are detailed in this here article [shameless self-promotion alert]:

        Health and Hierarchy

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I dunno. I eat stress for breakfast. I’m in better condition than the overwhelming majority of my peers, so I think it depends on your temperament.

    2. voxhumana

      Can you elaborate on which Tibetan herbs worked? I had my first (I’m 58) kidney stone several months ago and hopefully it was my last as I never want to go through that pain again. My ER visit – also the first in my life – dealt with it well enough (IV hydration, a touch of morphine and a diagnostic body scan that correctly revealed the problem) but ended up costing me $900+ beyond what my rather good insurance (not ACA) covered. I do have access to alternative medicine and have experienced good results from acupuncture for shoulder and neck problems but attempts to replicate palliative relief from systemic illnesses have always been homeopathic and I have serious doubts about homeopathy. That said, I will definitely ask him about herbal treatments for kidney stones. Thanks for pointing me in that direction. Live and learn!

      As a side note, I once performed in Nepal and came home with some beautiful Tibetan antiques including the most amazing chimes (brass?) I’ve ever heard. The seller – went by the name of “Dutch Bob” in Kathmandu – said they were probably 500 years old and the metallurgy is astounding. They are so perfectly tuned to one another that if I strike one and then hold the other one (unstruck) next to it, the vibrations of the ringing chime transfer immediately to the muted one. The effect is breathtaking, actually, and I am in awe of whoever fabricated them and the technique they must have used. How’d they do that?!

      1. diptherio

        I can assure you that “Dutch Bob” was probably lying about the age of those chimes…or you flagrantly violated the law and should return that national treasure to the people of Nepal post-haste (anything over 100 years old is forbidden to sell). But, fortunately, most anything that a normal person can afford to buy in KTM is considerably newer than what the sales people would have you believe. And it’s not just the “antiques”: I’ve never met so many 120+ year old people as I have in Nepal…makes you wonder ;-)

        1. voxhumana

          Yikes… as I understood it at the time, “Dutch Bob” was one of only a handful of dealers who was allowed to collect and to sell Tibetan antiques – and he made a clear distinction between Tibet and Nepal. He was a very well known dealer and quite the legend in Kathmandu, driving his prospective clients to and from the Hotel Yak &Yeti in a large sedan that was bigger than most of the homes there. I may be off on the 500 years old number, as Dutch Bob was also a dealer in hash and even if one didn’t smoke with him – and boy did he smoke the stuff copiously – one couldn’t avoid being stoned in his home/showplace without ceasing to breathe (then again, the air in Katmandu was so foul I regularly tried not to inhale there). But I am sure that whatever number of years he attached to his antiques they are all older than 100, which makes me a criminal if you are right about the laws. I’ve no plans for a return trip. BTW – I was there about 6 months before the royal family massacre at the hands of the prince who was disgruntled over his family’s refusal to allow him to marry into an opposing family, indeed, I met some of those murdered. It was also just shortly before the Maoist revolution and I have pictures of that growing storm… the public protests, the glares of disdain I got from crowds displaying the red flags and banners of revolution. And back to Dutch Bob (he died several years ago according to his webpage: ) – strangest thing of all was when I was at his home/showplace, both times, I met and had several conversations with Maura Moynihan, the expat daughter of Daniel Patrick Moynihan who considered Bob a second father apparently. She was very strange – a musician, journalist and avid enthusiast for some type of yoga that allowed her a remarkable flexibility First time I saw here she was in a position which I can only describe as physically impossible.

          She (and Bob too) will definitely make an appearance in my “The people I’ve met” book.

        2. alex morfesis

          not everything 100 years old is illegal to sell…you must be related to attorney goold…the law in Nepal precedes the unesco nonsense…and how exactly are chimes covered by the law of 1956…so are you suggesting that a stradivarius can not be owned by a private party since it is over 100 years old….get a grip…

      2. Furzy Mouse

        Tibetan meds are excellent for chronic conditions. But if you have appendicitis, I would recommend the nearest well established hospital…and the same for the immediate problem of a painful kidney stone. But after that, if you suffer recurrences, a Tibetan herbalist might be the best choice. Now, there are not very many in the US these days, but there are some. I googled “Tibetan medicine practitioners USA” and a fair number of references come up. If you are in the vicinity of NYC, I have worked as a volunteer for Dr. Yeshe Dhonden who visits Manhattan regularly. As I am out of the country, you would need to make inquiries about his schedule.(

        I cannot name the herbs, as what I was prescribed was a blend of many herbs, mostly plants that grow in the Himalayas. Also, and this is very important, Tibetan docs work one on one with a patient; each of us. when ill, has a unique set of “imbalances”, so that the herbs the doc might advise for you would be different for someone else with the same malaise. Not one size fits all!

        A good acupuncturist is a valuable doc to have; he or she can work on your kidney meridian, or acupressure points, to restore good function. I don’t recommend homeopathic, based on my own experience (not bad, but not good either). Also, be a bit suspect of many purported cures…one reason alternative meds suffer from a bad rap is that there are many snake oil “herbalists” out there – be judicious!

        If I find myself with a serious health problem, I will probably go to The Tibetan Medical and Astro. Institute in Dharamsala, India. ( OK, a long hike…but what is your health worth?

        Hope you stay healthy!

        1. quixote

          (Great minds think alike :D. As I was writing the response below, I see you have a link to the hospital I mentioned. They really do have good practitioners there, with the sense to send you to clinical medicine for acute appendicitis and to do their best with Tibetan medicine for chronic conditions clinical medicine is not so good at.)

      3. subgenius

        …you can’t get herbal advice in classical Chinese or Tibetan medicine like that.

        These are holistic (whole-istic) paradigms that require accurate diagnoses in order to be effective. The signs and symptoms used are much wider than is apparent to non apt act it I one’s, and include aspects of body type, current and previous environmental factors, a comprehensive medical history, etc.

        There is a saying in these traditions “Same disease, different treatment. Same treatment, different disease”…. If you have 2 patients with the same presenting symptoms their individual treatments are highly likely to be radically different, as their underlying personal types are different; if you see 2 patients receive the same treatmwnt , it is highly probable that the actual disease is different ( or, that the practitoner does not actually understand the medicine very well -which is increasingly common in the current age, particularly in the west).

        1. subgenius

          Phone fail…

          The signs and symptoms used are much wider than is apparent to non apt act it I one’s,

          …should read….

          The signs and symptoms used are much wider than is apparent to non-practioners

    3. quixote

      Tibetan ethnomedicine was a particular interest of mine way back in the high and far off times. As a botanist, a big stumbling block seemed to be that it was hard to know which plants matched which Tibetan names. So I collected dozens of samples from the practitioners at the hospital in Dharmsala (where the Dalai Lama lives and where there’s a big Tibetan expat community).

      Then I identified as many of the samples as I could from the parts used as raw materials for medicines. The list of Tibetan names and their Latin equivalents was eventually published in 1988. Just recently I scanned it and it’s now posted: A Glossary of Tibetan Medicinal Plants (largish pdf). They use minerals and animal parts as well, but those aren’t included.

      If you can find the Tibetan name of your medication, it should be fairly simple to find a list of the ingredients, and then you could look up at least the plants.

      1. Furzy Mouse

        Thanks for the excellent link, Quixote! Wish it had photos… I have a Tibetan thanka (painting) with Medicine Buddha in the center of a mandala, surrounded on all 4 sides with the primary plants and minerals used in Tibetan medicine, with the Tibetan names alongside. A great intro to Tibetan meds is “The Knowledge of Healing” ( if anyone is interested. I found out during my last visit to Dharamsala (where they manufacture most of the herbal formulas) in ’04, that the required herbs are starting to “run out”, so treatment of the Tibetan refugees there now comes first before allowing foreign visitors to purchase large amounts of the herbs for export. As my prescribed herbs changed over time, over years in fact, it would be of little use to post them here. Anyone who wishes to try Tibetan healing should visit a genuine practitioner, and try to get some good references for him or he as well.

    4. subgenius

      These herbal traditions are considerably more than a thousand years old. The ayurvedic, Chinese, and tibetan traditions are entirely different in concept to each other, and cannot be combined.

    5. participant-observer-observed

      Tibetan medicine (and astrology) are hybrids of Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine, but more culturally related to Indian vis a vis transmission lines of Buddhism and medical tantras. Chinese medicine has its own roots and clinical experience going back before Buddhism went to Tibet from India.

      Both Tibetan and TC medicine are well known for help in chronic problems dismissed or exhausting allopathic therapies. One advantage to Tibetan medicine is the dry pill form; no pesky herbs to brew.

    1. dearieme

      “your belt is plenty big enough for your belly”: how sweet of Keynes to adopt such an Americanism for the NYT.

      1. dearieme

        Actually Keynes’ whole article is interesting.

        I translate below.

        Para 1: is just a bit of the ritual arse-licking that JMK understands that American Big Chiefs enjoy.

        Para 2: “At the moment your sympathisers in England are ” … fearful of the danger that you will cock everything up.

        Para 3 means: The Executive Branch of the US government being obviously incompetent, you are in danger of trying taking on too much at the same time.

        Para 4 means: Your NIRA policy has been a great blunder.

        Para 5 means: Your best bet is that “public authority must be called in aid to create additional current incomes through the expenditure of borrowed or printed money.”

        Para 6 means: your policy of forcing up prices is foolish.

        Para 7 links the error discussed in para 6 to the blunder identified in para 4.

        Para 8 implies: Pay particular attention, you dim little man, because “I lay overwhelming emphasis on the increase of national purchasing power resulting from governmental expenditure which is financed by Loans and not by taxing present incomes. Nothing else counts in comparison with this.”

        Para 9 emphasises the point in para 8, starting with something that speaks for itself: “The set-back which American recovery experienced this autumn was the predictable consequence of the failure of your administration to organise any material increase in new Loan expenditure during your first six months of office.”

        Para 10 draws the lesson of paras 8 & 9: For God’s sake get on with it, man, in spite of the disproportionate risk in the US of “waste, inefficiency and corruption”.

        Para 11 needs little translation: “I fear the influence … of a crude economic doctrine commonly known as the Quantity Theory of Money. Rising output and rising incomes will suffer a set-back sooner or later if the quantity of money is rigidly fixed. Some people seem to infer from this that output and income can be raised by increasing the quantity of money. But this is like trying to get fat by buying a larger belt. In the United States to-day your belt is plenty big enough for your belly. It is a most misleading thing to stress the quantity of money, which is only a limiting factor, rather than the volume of expenditure, which is the operative factor.”

        Para 12 appears to mean: Your policy of devaluing the dollar against gold was ill-timed.

        Para 13 extends para 12: “the recent gyrations of the dollar have looked to me more like a gold standard on the booze than the ideal managed currency of my dreams.”

        Para14 is a bit more ritual arse-licking, deemed necessary, I expect, because JMK has been pretty damning, yet would really like FDR to absorb the next bit and act on it.

        Paras 15 & 16 contain the essential advice (i) “In the field of gold-devaluation and exchange policy the time has come when uncertainty should be ended. This game of blind man’s buff with exchange speculators serves no useful purpose and is extremely undignified. It upsets confidence, hinders business decisions, occupies the public attention in a measure far exceeding its real importance, and is responsible both for the irritation and for a certain lack of respect which exists abroad.” And (ii) “you [should] announce that you will definitely control the dollar exchange by buying and selling gold and foreign currencies so as to avoid wide or meaningless fluctuations, with a right to shift the parities at any time but with a declared intention only so to do either to correct a serious want of balance in America’s international receipts and payments or to meet a shift in your domestic price level relatively to price-levels abroad.”

        Para 17 says hurray for government expenditure on Infrastructure, as long as it can be done quickly.

        Para 18 says that the engineered decline of long term interest rates in Britain has led to “the turn of the tide” so the USA should attempt the same thing. [Was that really a politic way to make the argument?]

        Para 19 says that if FDR would only give up his own policies and adopt JMK’s, we’d all live happily ever after.

        1. fresno dan

          thanks for the amusing and time saving translation.
          this is a gem:
          Para 11 needs little translation: “I fear the influence … of a crude economic doctrine commonly known as the Quantity Theory of Money. Rising output and rising incomes will suffer a set-back sooner or later if the quantity of money is rigidly fixed. Some people seem to infer from this that output and income can be raised by increasing the quantity of money. But this is like trying to get fat by buying a larger belt. In the United States to-day your belt is plenty big enough for your belly. It is a most misleading thing to stress the quantity of money, which is only a limiting factor, rather than the volume of expenditure, which is the operative factor.”

          1. susan the other

            I enjoyed dearime’s synopsis too. Would add that FDR looked at US corporations as the obvious way to stimulate growth in the early 30s and realized that it wouldn’t work, because even then – without the insane productivity and efficiency we now have – that US corporations could produce everything that could be consumed by only running their factories half time. So anything else would be inflation. Hence the solution: WW2. My point being that both Keynes and FDR missed the point – because they were both enthralled by capitalism because it enriches those in power – that profits are a social poison we still have no solution for. I recommend spending them all on cleaning up the environment and having super-good parties every Friday.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              There is a version of Capitalism that might work, that those in power would not be enriched by it.

              It’s called People’s Capitalism.

              And as of now, there are still plenty of opportunity to contribute ideas to perfect People’s Capitalism.

    2. Calgacus

      IMHO, the response of the Roosevelt administration, US economists to Keynes’s letter, printed subsequently in the Times, was basically accurate: We’re already trying to follow Keynes’s recommendations, mostly. It was welcome support for their course. IMHO, the “naive” old view that the New Deal was a Keynesian program. that FDR = Keynes is basically right, is more right than numerous recent sophisticated ones. Contrary to such, Roosevelt did say, even before he was elected, that he would deficit spend against unemployment, in line with Keynes “Nothing else counts in comparison with this” primary recommendation, and which was instituted by the PWA, WPA, CCC, NYA etc.

      Neither Keynes nor FDR were enthralled by capitalism, and both understood that the New Deal and New Dealish policies worked far better than WWII, but Roosevelt or Keynes could only partially surmount political obstacles. The nearly universal rewriting of history by minimizing the New Deal’s accomplishments has been an important tool in neoliberal reversal of them, the war on the 99%.

      1. gordon

        “Neither Keynes nor FDR were enthralled by capitalism…”

        [It all depends on what you mean by…. Oh, God, no, I’m not going there…]

        I think perhaps both Keynes and FDR knew that capitalism was a tough old bird, able to withstand a lot more twisting, pulling, shoving and elbowing than some of its more ideological “defenders” would allow.

  3. McMike

    re: CBS phone hack.

    Poor dear, she’s caught in the Right that Cried Wolf syndrome.

    While it is entirely plausible, even likely, that the Obama admin did everything they could to keep tabs on her or even disrupt her work, it remains incredibly difficult to take her word for it.

    This is the right after all that exhibits a form of Help Help I’m Being Repressed Tourettes syndrome. Amongst the daily flood of proof of Kenyan socialists and Brietbart assassinations that come out of the right wing hysteria machine, it is incredibly hard to take her dog-at-my-homework complaints seriously.

    Because just as it is possible that the Obama admin had a hand in this, it is also highly plausible that she is making this stuff up just to rile the base and sell some books.

    1. McMike

      I should add another possibility; that she herself believes it.

      You know, that she is a tinfoil hatter after all. I mean, not just that agents are planting trojan software on her machine (quite possible) but that they are crawling around her garden with phantom coax cable, and thumbing the delete key while she records it, just for giggles (quite a stretch).

      A real life example of: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” – Joseph Heller

  4. McMike

    You heard it here first. Obamacare will not be repealed or substantively undone.

    Sure, the GOP will modify it in ways that make it worse and more blatant and all that, done in the name of reforming it. And Obama will sign all of it while shedding crocodile tears. But they won’t kill it.

    For the simple reason of why? What’s the end game? Cui bono?

    The GOP certainly doesn’t want to reopen that can of worms, restart the conversation, give everyone a chance to talk about health care again, compare us to other systems, reopen the conversation about single payer. They also surely don’t want to have to come up with a solution of their own and have their name attached to it. They can’t just kill it and roll back to the previous system, for a variety of practical and political reasons.

    No. Obamacare has served its purpose. Red meat to work up the base. So now it will simply slide into the festering mass of government sponsored looting and pillaging, soon forgotten, except by its rent-extracting beneficiaries, and long suffering human victims.

    Mark my words, after a round of GOP headline grabbing kabuki reform hearings and bills that screw the people a little harder, this thing will fall off the face of the earth. Lexus/Nexus searches for Obamacare in a couple years will come up empty.

    The timing is not entirely clear though. The GOP will milk it for a while longer for sure, and would probably like to keep it alive until 2016 to whack Hilary with. But the other edge of that sword is at what point do they own it, via their failure to do anything about it?

    Hmm, maybe they will take a run at full on repeal, which Obama will veto, along with lots of smoke blown in between about filibusters and executive orders, and then everyone will agree on a grand bargain compromise – which will be the screw job they wanted all along.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Obamacare will not be repealed or substantively undone.

      Wrong. Of course the GOP congress can’t do it. The insurers would bury any GOPer who messed their multi-billion dollar cash flow boondoggle up right next to Jimmy Hoffa. But SCOTUS can. Note, King v. Burwell, which SCOTUS said on Friday they will take up. Ooops, not even a veto can protect those subsidies from a bad decision here. And with a GOP congress, the law can’t be fixed for at least two years. Obama will leave office with his signature legislation looking like a burnt cross on the White House lawn.

      1. McMike

        Can you name anyone (who matters) that truly wants Obamacare repealed, for real?

        This SCOTUS is certainly not above making sh*t up to fit the desired outcome.

      2. Howard Beale IV

        What’s stopping the Savonarola Five from being bribed by Insurance industry? As much as they would love to ideologically kill it it there’s billions in dollars now flowing. Turning off that kind of spigot has knock-on consequences.

      3. davidgmills

        I am not saying that a bad decision won’t be the outcome, but it shouldn’t be for three reasons.

        First there is a principal of constitutional law that says if a statute is ambiguous, and one interpretation would lead to an unconstitutional result and the other interpretation leads to a constitutional result, the court should adopt the meaning that leads to a constitutional result. If the subsidies are permitted in states that have exchanges and not in states where the federal government was forced to take over the exchange, it creates a serious equal protection issue.

        Second, there is the issue of Congressional intent. Does anyone really think Congress intended state exchanges to have subsidies and federal exchanges not to have them?

        Third, at common law there is a doctrine called subrogation. When a party is required to take over the obligations of another, it acquires that parties rights.

        So I think legally the subsidies should stand although Congress apparently failed to expressly give them to persons whose states forced the federal government to operate their exchanges.

        For what its worth, I thought the ACA was constitutional based on Congress’ taxing powers and went on record long before the SC ruled. It upheld the ACA based on Congress’ ability to tax.

        1. Bridget

          “Does anyone really think Congress intended state exchanges to have subsidies and federal exchanges not to have them?”

          You should google Jonathan Gruber.

            1. davidgmills

              And he is not a lawyer or judge so his opinion won’t count for much. However, all the lawyers who work for clients who hate the ACA will argue anything, I am sure.

  5. McMike

    re pleading out. By the time they’ve arrested and cavity searched you, frozen your bank accounts, cost you your job and marriage, harassed and bullied you on the street and in your home constantly, bankrupted you with bonds and fees, and strung you out for a couple years until all your hair has fallen out from stress – you’re willing to sign whatever the heck they put in front of you, just to get it over with.

    Two notable aspect of the overdue attention on our justice system that bear scrutiny are these:

    – The for-profit bail bond industry. A sort of government mandated captive market payday lender system that costs you thousands of dollars regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent.

    – The fact that trials are often heavily stacked against the defendant by arrogant, ideological, or just plain ornery judges. Take a look at the Tim DeChristopher or Cecily MacMillian cases for great examples of judges essentially barring defendants from presenting a defense, tying both hands behind their backs, and keeping the juries in the dark. Going to trial isn’t just a crap shoot, it’s staking your life on a fixed game.

    1. GuyFawkesLives

      If you want some Kabuki theater resembling our “justice system” all you have to do is watch a few hearings between a foreclosure defender and the banksters. You can watch as the “judge” bangs that gavel down repeatedly for the banksters when there is so much evidence of fraud. You can watch as the “judge” disallows the foreclosure defense attorney from even uttering the word “fraud” in his courtroom (true story!)

      It’s all theater and many Americans don’t have the first clue about it because literally no one is in the gallery observing what’s actually going on.

      The one reason I believe I am getting a better outcome? Each and every time I have gone before the judge, I have PACKED the courtroom with my peers. In the first court appearance, there were 30 approx people waiting with me, the bailiff came out *nervously* and asked, “The judge would like to know why all these people are here?” To which I replied, “They are my support team and my witnesses.” She was sent out two additional times to ask the SAME question. Apparently, the way to scare the justice system is bringing along live body witnesses to the Kabuki theater.

      1. McMike

        Oh God, yes, the foreclosure scams.

        Exposing the lies of our “justice” system to a wider audience I guess.

    2. susan the other

      At the bottom there was a previous Rakoff essay which I read on the lack of prosecutions of execs for securitization fraud. He regressed the causes of the GFC back to the repeal of Glass Steagall and our rush to deregulate. I wish he had gone further into our ideological dedication to a strong dollar at the end of the Cold War (Reagan and trickle-down suicide) when we didn’t even need a strong dollar – in fact we needed the exact opposite. So instead of offshoring all those jobs so investors and corporations could skim their way to dollar heaven, we should have protected our struggling economy with socially beneficial rules and assistance to keep the jobs here. Rakoff doesn’t let the execs off, but he still looks at a limited picture where they and their oh-so-meritorious corporations couldn’t make a profit unless they jumped in and started “trading” MBS. And the reason they couldn’t make a profit unless they sold out was because global competition would have killed our dinosaur corporations. Denial, denial, denial.

    1. afisher

      Sorry, this is now a dead story. TX has said that it has purged itself of this disease. RWer’s are claiming that it is Obama’s fault for vaccine funding – because he signed the GOP update bill in 2013 – and there is a guy in NY and maybe another in SC (his sin was being in an airplane that landed in Liberia – but never got off the plane) and NY is also “doing some serious monitoring” – unclear if they are relative to the NY Physician or just folks who flew into their fair State and had been in W. Africa).

      I agree that RN should continue to push for training – but HINT: The election is over.

      1. McMike

        ha, good point.

        You think the union missed their window? Wonder if the media will even show up to cover it.

        I can picture the coverage on Fox News. Same commentator who spewed hysterical fear about Ebola, telling us that the nurse’s fears are overblown.

  6. financial matters

    The BOJs decision to buy equities really begs the question of what stock markets are for. Are they for investing in business or for supporting pension funds and insurance companies? If the former, a doubling of social security would be more to the point.

    Similarly for venture capital which often wants quick returns often in the form of IPOs.

    This leaves the state for serious long term investing such as that needed to develop new technologies to deal with climate change from both a supply and demand side perspective.

    “China and Germany are making a big push into clean technology sectors with coherent policy frameworks coordinated by an overall ‘green’ vision. Other countries like the US, the UK and other European laggards are deploying patchy strategies that lack a clear direction.” (Mazzucato, The Green Industrial Revolution, Ch 6, The Entrepreneurial State)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When the baton of the PetroDollar passes from us in tomorrow’s Age of the PetroYuan, we will be just as eager for clean technology, taking up the slack left behind by the new hegemon, the Middle Kingdom, of course.

  7. sd

    My theory regarding the 2016 election. It will be Hilary Clinton vs Jeb Bush. At the 11th hour, Michael Bloomberg will enter the race as a third party candidate – and the hopey changey thingie will get him elected. At least he likes bicycles which I guess is like saying the trains will run on time.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am voting John Q. Public as a write-in.

        We accuse, sorry, we challenge the assumption that we need one single person (or a very small group of persons) to lord over us, when we, as responsible adults and informed citizens, can lord over us ourselves.

        Perhaps on practicality consideration alone, it was difficult to pull that off 200 years ago – and it is hard for this self-proclaimed Luddite to say – but we no longer rely on the Pony Express to communicate long-distance. With technology’s help, it’s possible to reflect the Will of The People in real time, with a few features to prevent mob mentality of course.

    1. neo-realist

      Or Bloomberg sucks votes that potentially go to Clinton, e.g., John Anderson from Carter, 1980, and helps elect Bush.

      1. sd

        Teensy issue, Jeb Bush’s wife is Mexican American. That flies in Florida, not so much in the rest of the red states. Just saying, a black man in the White House has driven them all fatmbsc*

        *foaming at the mouth bat shit crazy

  8. Banger

    While over at Counterpunch reading Whitney’s fine piece on “President Flim-Flam” don’t forget to read Doug Valentine’s piece on the the CIA and drugs. Valentine is author of a two-volume history of drug-enforcement in the United States. He has tracked, in great detail, the whole sordid story gleaned from personal interviews with scores of agents and managers–it is, quite simply, the best history of U.S. Drug enforcement out there.

    The CIA has been intimately linked, even before its creation (via the OSS and Wild Bill Donovan), with the illegal drug trade and the article deftly handles the issue–but, once again, we need to face facts here that even NC readers don’t like to think about. To put it as simply as possible, the covert wing of the CIA is a criminal organization that has infected not just the government through its ability to manipulate and control government officials through rewards and punishments (including assassinations) such that no progressive movement is even remotely possible in the USA, but also influenced all aspects of not just American culture but world culture as well. Now this CIA project is not limited to the CIA–in fact, the CIA has expanded so that nearly all institutions are, essentially, CIA in the sense that the morality and sensibility of that organization has infected all parts of our society.

    Until we are willing to go into “deep politics” and look realistically at the way power actually works in this country we will never have anything but President Flim-Flam, or Senator Flim-Flam, or Governor Flim-Flam ever again. A good place to start is the history of illegal drugs in the U.S.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Buh-bam! Well and forcefully said. Exactly what I’m on about. Thanks for the tip.

      Most of us grew up blissfully ignorant of the Deep State. And yet it has literally formed the world in which we continue to ignore it. Said it elsewhere already, but I’ll say it again: damn hard to confront, let alone defeat, an opponent whom we never imagine to exist.

      1. Banger

        That enemy is easy to defeat because it thrives on secrecy and fear–without it, it can’t function.

    2. neo-realist

      Isn’t the CIA really for the most part an attack dog for the interests of the 1% rather than an organization that acts unilaterally for what it perceives to be in the best interests of America

  9. fresno dan

    Why Innocent People Plead Guilty Jed Rakoff, New York Review of Books. Today’s must read.
    To the Founding Fathers, the critical element in the system was the jury trial, which served not only as a truth-seeking mechanism and a means of achieving fairness, but also as a shield against tyranny. As Thomas Jefferson famously said, “I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”


    The Central Park Five are getting paid. The cops and prosecutors involved in the case are off the hook. And the justice system will go on like none of it ever happened.

    I would submit that is the real problem. Without cross examination and public view, independent experts, one seems a system with no accountability. How often does someone like Nifong happen? Probably very frequently, the only difference being was that Nifong was too obtuse to realize that going against white moneyed people introduced opponents who were not voiceless.
    We talk on NC about the casino culture – how bailouts demand that bankers take risk – indeed, it doesn’t make any sense not to in such a scenario of heads I win, tails you lose.
    For a prosecutor trying to advance legal or political career, the good press and notoriety of lots of convictions is great reward for harsh prosecuting, and a great disincentive for a balanced, nuanced look at the circumstances.
    Other than Nifong, can anyone name a prosecutor who suffered any harm for bad conduct (actually, the prosecutors in the Alaskan senator Stevens case came to harm, but such consequences are few and far between)
    It always pays to have friends to consider your good intentions…..

    1. trish

      so many serious problems with granting prosecutors (and judges) this excess power. so many… diminished transparency, coercion of guilty pleas from innocent people and other prosecutorial misconduct/criminality, etc…but one of the main ones is it disproportionately harms the poor, particularly minorities.
      Desperate impoverished people are strong-armed by these prosecutors. Offered deals along w/ threats of much harsher sentences if they go to trial. These people are driven to take what appears to be the lesser of two evils, they have little choice, no resources. and no connections. They can’t afford a big-shot lawyer, or just a competent one, often.
      Justice for some in this pathetic country.

  10. wbgonne

    Why Innocent People Plead Guilty Jed Rakoff, New York Review of Books. Today’s must read.

    A good read. Several points:

    1. The author mentions the problem of high bail but neglects the even more severe problem of pre-trial detention (no bail), which is pretty much the norm in federal court.

    2. Attributing lower crime rates to our punitive criminal justice policies is dubious. Most of the research I’ve seen says this is a matter of demagraphics.

    3. The fierce resistance by law enforcement to easing our draconian criminal penalties is economic. Law enforcement and criminal corrections is now — quite disgustingly — Big Business.

    4. The author’s proposed solution is to transform the American justice system from its adverserial model into a continental-style inquisitorial system. That is a non-starter, both Constutionally and practically. The real solution is to do what Law Enforcement, Inc. resists: lower the penalties and reurn sentencing power to judges.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A Zen-ist might say Capitalism is a sharp-edged sword…so sharp that it cuts itself.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Reaffirming does not mean delivering. And in Japan, the head man does not tell the buchos (roughly, department heads) what to do. Decisions are worked through the bureaucracy and passed to the top guy for ritual approval. Only organizations in Japan that run on the Western “top guy makes decisions” model are owner-controlled companies.

      So Abe is trying to save Obama’s face. The Economics Minister is closer to where the bureaucratic rubber meets the road and is the more germane source.

  11. Propertius

    Perhaps there is a cultural difference between Japanese engineers and Japanese bankers. My experience with Japanese engineers when I lived in Tokyo (which, coincidentally, was right about the time Yves lived there) was that saying something was “difficult” was tantamount to saying they weren’t going to waste any time on it at all. The real kiss of death, in my experience, was being told that something “will take a little time”, which seemed to be the Japanese equivalent of “when Hell freezes over”.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I worked for an Osaka bank. Kaisai folk are a bit more action oriented than Kanto folk. For them, “it is difficult” might be more accurately translated as, “if you ask I’ll poke at this a bit, but really, this isn’t gonna happen.” But the hiss was SO effective. It was almost like the reaction of someone who had touched a hot stove.

  12. bwilli123

    More detail on the earlier posted article
    on Luxembourg’s tax scamming.
    “The deals can be so complex that PwC accountants frequently include “before” and “after” diagrams to illustrate how money flows from subsidiary to subsidiary and across different countries and tax havens. The leaked records show that Luxembourg’s 2009 tax deal for Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories – which makes arthritis drugs and Ensure meal replacement shakes –features 79 steps including companies in Cyprus and Gibraltar. Abbott projected it would invest as much as $50 billion via Luxembourg.”

  13. gordon

    From Gretchen Morgenson’s piece (“Blank page…” in the links):

    “The S.E.C. had much work to do under the Dodd-Frank law of 2010. Of the 102 regulations it had to write…”

    I remain astonished at the way the US Congress abdicated its legislative responsibility and delegated the making of law under Dodd-Frank to an executive agency.

    1. trish

      banks’ lobbyists helped, too. and helped since at the chipping-away of the regulations. another feature.

      ah, but that’s right…they’re the ones who understand all those complex financial instruments so they know what’s best…

  14. skippy

    Brisbane residents ignore pleas to stay in the city during G20

    Brisbane residents appear to have ignored pleas from the city’s lord mayor to remain in Brisbane during the G20.

    Lord mayor Graham Quirk has been at pains to tell Brisbane the city is open for business during what will be the most intense peacetime security operation in Australian history.

    But regions around the capital have reported huge spikes in holiday bookings over the G20 long weekend.

    Read more:

    Skippy…. Ahhhh civil disobedience Straya style…

  15. Howard Beale IV

    Valerie Jarrett, the Obama Whisperer: Noam Schieber, The New Republic

    Some real choice stuff here:

    At one point, Obama personally ordered Emanuel to rein in his habit of screaming at subordinates. Emanuel soon lost his cool at a subsequent meeting and received another talking-to from the president. He was convinced that Jarrett had ratted him out. It was the sort of tradecraft Emanuel himself might have admired had he not been on the receiving end. As a former White House official told me: “In the wild, they would have been natural allies. In captivity, they became natural enemies.”

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