2:00PM Water Cooler 1/27/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


On Warren and Weiss: “[T]he despair among Wall Street’s Democratic elite is growing acute” [Politico]. Interesting, if true.

Hillary camp floats trial balloons for VP: Tim Kaine (D-VA), Michael Bennet (D-CO; Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), HUD’s Julian Castro, Labor’s Tom Perez, California AG Kamala Harris [Talking Points Memo]. Cory Booker? Private equity’s BFF? Please kill me now. To be fair, thing the Hillary campaign has down to a science: Sucking all the oxygen out of the early campaign season.

Former Bill Clinton pollster: Warren closer to Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire than national polls imply, especially with a strong populist message [Wall Street Journal].

Bush the Elder tipped off The Big Dog that Jebbie was going to run, according to [Politico]. Small world…

Bafflegab from Paul, Rubio, Cruz — and these are supposed to be the principled candidates, as opposed to the clown car, or establishment, candidates — on minimum wage repeal, even at Koch Brothers beauty contest [Bloomberg]. And of course, that communist Obama wants a miserably inadequate $10.10. I’ve always wondered why the dime. Why not round up to a whole quarter?

Red meat for the base at the Freedom Summit (love the name) [WaPo]. Best line, Rick Santorum: “We need to be the party of the worker.” Let me know how that works out.

Clown Car

Jindal at prayer rally: “On the last page, our God wins” [Times-Picayune].

Ben Carson’s campaign’s chief executive, Terry Giles, aims to raise $100 million to $150 million for the first four Republican primary states [Wall Street Journal]. Even today, that’s real money.

How does a Republican win the Iowa caucus and then climb off the clown car? Or do they? [WaPo].

Bernie Sanders on deficits [The Hill]. Refreshing:

Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said lawmakers must address deficits in jobs, income equality, infrastructure, trade, retirement security and education in their next budget blueprint. “Investing $1 trillion over five years to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure would create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs that our economy desperately needs,” the report said.

CBO on deficits: To narrow for two more years, increase in 2018 [Wall Street Journal]. So, will the resulting downturn kick in before 2016? And will whoever’s president in 2018 get a nice tailwind?

“Which Republican 2016 hopeful might be most like Reagan?” [CNN]. Depends on the results of the neurological exam, I suppose.

Herd on the Street

Stocks “tumble” at opening on data, earnings, S&P 500 down 32 points, or 1.5% [Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Stocks Tumble After Downbeat Data, Earnings”]. But perhaps storm-related light trading caused undue friskiness. Rule of 48 invoked to smooth trading.

Stocks “slide” with S&P 500 down 28 points, core sovereign bond yields “moving sharply lower amid disappointing company earnings and evidence of slowing US growth [FT, “Weak US earnings knock S&P 500”]. Wait, wasn’t I hearing at Davos that the US had the hot hand?

Stats Watch

Durable goods orders, December 2014: Unexpectedly fall 3.4% on “plunge” by non-defense aircraft [Bloomberg]. “Overall, manufacturing is soft. The outlook is questionable with the recently sharp boost in the value of the dollar.”

Consumer confidence, January 2015: Strongest reading of the recovery. Current conditions up on jobs. Expectations slightly down [Bloomberg]. “16.9 percent see fewer jobs ahead versus 14.7 percent who see more opening up.”


Sheldon Silver is so corrupt, he corrupted an entire branch of government! [The Albany Project].

Preet Bharara on Albany’s “three men in a room” culture [New York Times].

“Why three men?” he asked. “Can there be a woman? Do they always have to be white? How small is the room that they can only fit three men? Is it three men in a closet? Are there cigars? Can they have Cuban cigars now? After a while, doesn’t it get a little gamy in that room?”

Zephyr Teachout on corruption [New York Times]. Very good.

“Political Corruption and Capitalism” [Richard D. Wolff, Truthout]. Also very good.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

1950s plans for martial law (“Plan C”) [Muckrock]. Sure would have been handy to have had something like that to shut down New York in case of a blizzard. Oh… Wait?

Verizon considering allowing its subscribers to opt out of being tagged with its undeletable customer codes [New York Times]. Just the sort of company we want to put in charge of the Internet.

Cops want Google to disable feature where users can add cops to Waze maps [AP].

“Avoiding Internet Surveillance: The Complete Guide” [MakeUseOf]. Can somebody smarter than I am give this a look-see?


Why not teach cops “tactical restraint”? [St Louis Today].

“The decline in school violence may have little to do with the presence of officers on campuses” [The Marshall Project].


Adminstration to overhaul Medicare payment structure with HMOs ACOs [Bloomberg]. From the same team that launched the ObamaCare website!

“[T]he government wants to link payments to how well providers take care of patients” [Businessweek]. For some definition of “well.”

Class Warfare

The most unequal states in America, by Gini co-efficient, with handy map [HuffPo].

News of the Wired

  • Deputy head of the Russian Central Bank directorate in the Amur region kills three, shoots self [Business Insider]. Hmm.
  • Facebook outage for a whole HOUR and what am I gonna DO??? [Guardian]. Overheard at NSA….
  • Download NASA sounds [NASA]. Not just “Houston, we’ve got a problem” but Cassini: Saturn Radio Emissions #1, and so forth.
  • Condé Nast to use editorial staff to write advertising copy [Digiday]. Totally same skillset! Well, in fashion, maybe so….
  • Worker-owned co-ops and other “alternative business models” gaining ground [Guardian].
  • Church of England consecrates first woman bishop [Reuters].
  • Chinese officials feast on critically endangered giant salamander and turn violent when journalists photograph the luxury banquet [Agence France Presse].
  • “Vietnam: Open Secrets on the Road to Succession” [Center for International and Strategic Studies]. Hmm….
  • “Here’s Why I’m Dying To Invest In North Korea” [Business Insider]. Jim Rogers.
  • “The Source: Revealed at last — NC’s shadowy left-wing network” [Charlotte Observer]. I can’t even.
  • “What Is the Value of History in Policymaking?” [Institute for Government].
  • “Ancient underwater forest discovered off Norfolk coast” [BBC]. Doggerland!
  • True facts about irony, including the failure of a typographic irony mark [Brain Pickings].

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (MM):


Moar orchids, very nice in winter!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the heating season!

Talk amongst yourselves!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. rjs

      almost thought you were going to explain that, bob…
      commerical aircraft orders drive that report; they can be up 140% one month, down 70% the next; hence we had two moves over 10% in headline durable goods this year…
      that said, new orders and order backlogs were both down even without aircraft; mostly on lower machinery and capital goods orders…what you’re seeing there is the effect of the pullback in the oil patch; none of the oil companies are ordering any new equipment…that it surprised the experts shows how little they actually pay attention to what’s going on in the economy…

      1. Code Name D

        There is bound to be some of that “balanced budget magic” in there too. It’s the Mides Touch only in reverse.

  1. bob

    “Condé Nast to use editorial staff to write advertising copy”

    Too many names for one group. Newhouse LLC sums it up nicely, and much more accurately.

    Their non-profit educational arm, the Newhouse School of public communications at Syracuse University, already changed their name from “journalism” a few years ago. 3 to 1 in favor of PR at graduation.

    1. Bunk McNulty

      Re: Editorial writing ads–
      Back when I labored in trade mags, we wrote “advertorials” regularly. We never pretended we weren’t whores. So now the legit writers will do it too? Oh, the horror. As the old joke goes, we know what kind of girl you are, we’re just haggling over the price.

    2. DJG

      In a weird way, it may help for the adverts to be written by real writers. I had as gift subscription to The New Yorker for a while, and I recall that the advertisements were barely literate. They often had terrible photography, offset by some advert-prophetic lines like:

      Lincoln TowneCarr. Edgy. Heavy. You.

      I kept wondering if the literate ad copywriters may have all migrated to TV, although that seemed not so likely.

      1. Sam Kanu

        In a weird way, it may help for the adverts to be written by real writers. I had as gift subscription to The New Yorker for a while, and I recall that the advertisements were barely literate. They often had terrible photography, offset by some advert-prophetic lines like:
        Lincoln TowneCarr. Edgy. Heavy. You.
        I kept wondering if the literate ad copywriters may have all migrated to TV, although that seemed not so likely.

        No it doesn’t help. You only have to go look at Monocle for example, which does all this. Basically they will create not only display ads but also the written advertorials, for the advertisers. Reads nicely. In fact the entire magazine reads nicely – but then you get the sense that the entire magazine is one big ad – even in the “editorial” they basically are feeding propaganda.

        That’s NOT a way forward for journalism – that’s journalists so desperate that they are have become advertising agencies without declaring the truth to the reader.

    3. Pepsi

      Check who doesn’t pay tax if you’d like a roster of elites in a state.

      In feudal times the aristocracy didn’t pay taxes. Now our ‘corporate citizens’ and the masters of their master/blaster pairing are the ones who go tax free.

  2. Ned Ludd

    Tough EU Statement on Russia Didn’t Have Greek Consent, Officials Say

    The statement does not have Greece’s consent,” a government official said. The official added that the Greek government will put out a statement later saying the European Council, the body which issued the statement, didn’t follow the correct procedure to win Athens’ consent.
    In the past, Mr. Tsipras, who took office Monday afternoon, has been sharply critical of EU sanctions against Russia.

    From May 2014, via Ian Bremmer:

    “We should not accept or recognize the government of neo-Nazis in Ukraine” – Alexis Tsipras

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Syirza halted the fire-sale privatization of Greece’s key assets today, to the consternation of Germany, and may well pivot toward Russia, which already offered its assistance, as Ian Welsh advocates. Now THAT would be a game-changer sure to set the neocons’ hair on fire.

  3. hunkerdown

    Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a much-publicised austerity drive for the ruling classes, including a campaign for simple meals with the catchphrase “four dishes and one soup”.

    Investors’ rights complaint to the ICSID in 3… 2… 1…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Fifteen or twenty-five years ago, we sacrificed our manufacturing jobs (not very efficient, tsk, tsk) so the whole world could benefit from our financial ingenuity.

      Now, they are saying it is negative?

  4. Anon

    Re: Avoiding Internet Surveillance – The Complete Guide

    I haven’t finished reading all of that yet, but it seems like really solid information. Not only are VPNs a tiny bit more secure than browsing, there’s also one (un?)intended benefit: No throttling on your internet connection as seen here: Netflix Slow on Verizon or Comcast?

    To that end, I wonder how the R pivot to being “the party of the worker” is going to go.

    1. Hacker

      I didn’t finish reading the article either, yet I found it awful so far. Using both Tor and a VPN is stupid and shows a fundamental misunderstanding on how they work. VPNs are only useful against certain types of tracking. For instance, every web site will still track you whether you use a VPN or not, and other than the geolocation of your IP address and maybe a Verizon tracking supercookie there is nothing protected by VPN alone.

      1. steve dean

        Every website will not check whether or not you are using a VPN. I doubt that this website checks.

        And depending on record keeping, it may be not that easy to identify an IP address belonging to a
        VPN provider.

    2. MartyH

      Hacker’s comments about “them” tracking you are right on target. If you have enough horsepower, it is simple enough to correlate messages to, say, a VPN with messages from the VPN elsewhere. And the cookies etc. go blithely through all the bounces and twisty-passages. There is some good advice. Some. Using secure links for email, messaging, etc. is a good idea but mostly against the amateur and semi-pro stalkers.

      What didn’t jump out at me in the bit that I skimmed was the most obvious point. There are many online businesses whose business is, at root, surveillance. Google, Amazon, and Facebook feature capabilities that represent the outcome of deep and habitual surveillance of your interactions with them, their applications, their hidden capture points (especially advertising), and their allies. Complaining about people stumbling over material on Facebook or Twitter is just inane. The answer is, if you want to be private and on the internet, it is a lot harder than this piece implies. But it can, largely, be done if you dedicate enough care and discipline. The Electronic Freedom Foundation manifesto mentioned in Links is probably a better guide.

      1. bruno marr

        …until we get the NSA out of domestic surveillance (stop funding them) using the Interwebs will be fraught with grief. They have the “horsepower”, you don’t. When someones sole purpose is to surveil and yours is simple obfuscation, they win in the end. Make digital dragnets illegal, throw folks in jail for it, or re-design the Web completely to render it more secure.

    3. bob

      Solid information? I saw a lot more product placement than anything useful.

      The idea that you can simply “buy an app for that” is nuts. Their first idea? Using a VPN, which puts the user directly within the claimed, and so far unchallenged, legal authority of the NSA. But, there’s a handy list of people you can pay to pass all of your information through, and you can trust them….right?

      The way most people want to use the internet, for “useful” things, is impossible to do without being watched or surveilled. Listicles and apps don’t solve any of this. They will take $20 a month out of your pocket to make you feel better though…

    1. bruno marr

      Folks shouldn’t be surprised to find 10,000 year old forests underwater. As the Ice Age ended (18,000 YA) ocean levels began to rise, submerging more than just forests. It is believed that early colonizers crossing Beringia land mass (now Bering Sea) and moving down along the west coast of N, America have had their artifacts submerged by the increasing sea levels (more than 300′). I imagine the same goes for Central, South America, as well as Doggerland.

    2. bob

      I see it already- 50,000 year old hardwood floors!

      Someone is going to “log” them if they are as well preserved as they claim, and in only 60 feet of water.

      There are “logging” outfits that trawl old logging river routes to find submerged, and often very valuable, logs left over from the first clearing of the US.

      Wood doesn’t rot underwater, as long as it stays completely submerged. Lots of 1800’s engineering underground relied on this property of wood within high water table areas. Keep it underwater, and it should last forever, or at least 50,000 years.

      1. ambrit

        The local paper last year ran an interview with the people who are investigating this site. One main reason they cited for keeping the location secret was to prevent harvesting of the wood for specialty uses. One mentioned that the wood was perfect for some types of musical instrument construction. Having lived in a house made from cypress wood ‘recovered’ from the Pearl River delta as you described, I can attest to the beautiful quality of these woods. First growth trees have a distinct quality all their own and bring a premium.

  5. Ned Ludd

    Drat. I thought I was going to read about Naked Capitalism’s “shadowy left-wing network”. That could have been an interesting article.

    According to the conservative Civitas Institute, they’re part of the “vast, shadowy network” that makes up “the radical liberal left in North Carolina.”

    Who are in the “radical liberal left”? Do they have long arguments with themselves about Obama? (One of the best presidents ever? Or the more effective evil‽ I cannot decide!)

    1. MartyH

      “Revealed at last — NC’s shadowy left-wing network” … but that’s not a picture of Yves??? Huh?

      1. Carolinian

        Get a clue you guys. It’s like the NY cab drivers who used to talk to me about “Carolina” not realizing there are two of them. I mean they were vaguely aware that there might be two but, you know, why bother.

        NC, proud home of Andy Griffith. I live in the other one.

        1. Ned Ludd

          My family is from the East Coast – but for them, “East Coast” refers to the states from Maryland to Massachusetts, and maybe up to Maine.

          So where are these two “Carolina’s” that you speak of? Somewhere on the Gulf of Mexico, maybe?

          1. ambrit

            I grew up mainly in Miami, Cuba del Norte. A lot of those East Coast types used to live around here. (Now they’re generally up around Vero Beach and points north.)

    1. Carla

      I really, really object to the misnomer the “Sharing Economy.” It’s the Renting Economy. Even if the property or item being rented out is owned by a co-operative (which would be fine), the co-op is sharing among its members the ownership of the property, item or service being offered to the public (and presumably the proceeds of the rental). It would still charge members of the public for the use of said stuff. That is NOT sharing.

      1. diptherio

        Totally agree. Hence the scare quotes. However, it’s the terminology that’s being used and it seems to have stuck, so if you want people to know what you’re talking about, you gotta use the lingo…misleading or not.

        But I’ve often made the point that if money is being exchanged, it is NOT sharing. Rental economy is way more realistic but it doesn’t sound nearly as hip (and renting has an overtone of poverty about it).

        1. Milton

          There are terms that bug the he’ll out of me – one being “activist investor”. I’ve also had issues with “sharing economy” and thought it should be the hustling economy or pimping economy if you’re looking at it from Uber’s perspective.

        2. Carla

          “Rental economy is way more realistic but it doesn’t sound nearly as hip (and renting has an overtone of poverty about it).”

          I was recently in the company of some very wealthy people who regard Uber as the only way to get around — because yes, it is hip. And also, it is cheap. And no one is as cheap as rich people. They will tell that’s why they’re rich–because they’re so frugal. If you were as careful with your money as they are, you could be just as rich, etc.

          But what actually surprised me was that these very affluent folks had–and touted– “Uber accounts” for their children. They regard it as a great convenience. Much easier than having to go pick the kids up themselves. Just have the kids use their I-phones to summon an Uber chauffeur. Apparently it did not occur to these parents that there might be any safety issues with entrusting their children to a completely unregulated and unaccountable service. Because, you know, it’s cool. And SO convenient.

          Sometimes I think you have to be poor or middle class to have any common sense whatsoever. The stupidity of these people is just overwhelming. May it sink them before they starve all of the rest of us.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Not sure about the link. This is my hometown and it’s the first I’ve heard of this. $1 million year starting in 2016 subject to council approval. Would be nice if it happened.

      1. diptherio

        It happened, whether you heard about it or not:

        Soon after that conversation, Soglin initiated Madison’s Capitol Improvement Plan, “Co-operative Enterprises for Job Creation & Business Development.” This plan would authorize the city to spend $1 million each of five years starting in 2016 to fund “cooperative/worker-owned business formation for the purposes of job creation and general economic development in the city.”

        The Madison Common Council, known as city councils or commissions in other cities, approved the initiative on Nov. 11, 2014.

  6. LifelongLib

    I recall earning the $1.90 minimum wage working at McDonald’s in 1974, which depending on which online calculator you use translates into $9.20 – $10.00 in today’s money. So based on AVERAGE cost of living a $10.10 minimum wage looks reasonable.

    However, studies show that over that time period the real cost of basics like housing, education, and medical care have skyrocketed, while costs for things like TVs have fallen. So the average cost of living masks important differences in what the minimum wage today will buy compared to back then.

    1. sleepy

      Yep, you’re certainly right. i remember working for minimum wage around that time and you could actually live on it–I rented a small apartment for $75 a month. You lived frugally, but had far more spending money than a McDonalds worker nowadays.

    2. ambrit

      Well do I remember making minimum wage back in ’71 and ’72. After giving some to Mom, (I did live there after all,) I still had what felt like a good bit of brass in pocket. (Actually, I played the market with most of what was left, and came out a winner. Try doing that now.)
      Not only is the Minimum Wage a joke, but the fate of the small investors on Wall Street has become a Grand Guignol spectacle.

  7. DJG

    The continuing crisis of monotheism:
    –Jindal at prayer rally: “On the last page, our God wins”–
    The problem is that much of the Bible is exactly that. Yahweh smiting the lesser god. The Apocalypse, in which the twelve-headed beast is vanquished. So Jindal is right. It’s eschatology that is a disease in the Western psyche.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thou shall have no other gods before me.

        ‘It’s OK for them to be after me.’ – one interpretation.

        ‘Don’t bring them over before me.’ – another’

        ‘They can be before me, but it better not be your doing (Thou shall have no…).’ – another interpretation. That is, you just run along and play in the Garden…the other garden.

        All wrong of course, my learned friends told me.

    1. hunkerdown

      St. Augustine sure did spin a good conquest-from-beneath narrative, didn’t he. Which explains why political Christianity has to pretend to be persecuted in order to have any credibility. The matter-worshippers from the liberal bourgeoisie must know they’ve been reduced to enablers by now.

  8. Vatch

    I think this is rather funny. “Panicked super rich buying boltholes with private airstrips to escape if poor rise up”:


    Hedge fund managers are buying up remote ranches and land in places like New Zealand to flee to in event of wide-spread civil unrest

    Robert Johnson, president of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, told people at the World Economic Forum in Davos that many hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. He said: “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”

    His comments were backed up by Stewart Wallis, executive director of the New Economics Foundation, who when asked about the comments told CNBC Africa: “Getaway cars the airstrips in New Zealand and all that sort of thing, so basically a way to get off. If they can get off, onto another planet, some of them would.”

      1. James Levy

        My wife heard about this perhaps 5 years ago when we were living on the North Shore of Long Island renting an old two-family house. She taught high school and wealthy parents talked about this openly (because, like servants, they didn’t actually consider teachers people whom you have to speak discretely in from of). They were all investing in “farms” and “ranches” out in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. Many people have laughed that the bubbas will eat them alive, but I fear the bubbas are so inured to American ideology that they will in stead prove mighty deferential to these ultra-rich lords and masters (and a force of exceptionally well-armed private security guards won’t hurt, either).

  9. Barmitt O'Bamney

    $10.10 is just meaningless ones and zeroes to Obama: garbage in, garbage out. You ask “Why a dime? Why not a duck?” He no give a duck. That’s why a dime.

    Make it $17.76 or you’re no patriot, Barry. Go back to Soviet Russia! (Of course I understand it would need to be over $21 to make up for all the erosion that’s happened since the last real Democratic President.)

    1. Jack

      They probably think it’s catchy. Ten-Ten. I bet some ad agency douchebag got paid $20,000 to come up with that one.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes, I like it a lot. It sounds much better than $15.00, which is what activists are going for, and which — hold on to your hats here, folks — Obama gutted with $10.10.

  10. Jack

    This is really apropos of nothing in today’s news (though it does connect with the deficit talk), but a while back someone mentioned a desire for a series of posts debunking common Federal Reserve myths. I want to second that request. Further, MRW a few days ago mentioned that he had acquired gigabytes of information and folders of physical documents from various government agencies in his quest to understand the minute mechanics of our currency and whether MMT’s claims are correct. I would very much like to see some of those. I’m especially interested in information regarding the shredding of money at the Federal Reserve, since I’ve seen quite a bit of back and forth on this issue around the internet, with critics claiming it doesn’t happen and the procedure for it doesn’t appear in any manuals.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For me, the trees are the minute mechanics.

      The forest, then, is letting the people have the first, direct and immediate access to new money.

  11. ewmayer

    Extreme personalized fitness tech goes mainstream:

    Workouts get smart, streamlined with tech-personalized routines | Reuters

    I sense a large – and at present shockingly underexploited – third-party targeted marketing opportunity here. Imagine you’ve had an especially rough day at your work, to the extent that you even struggled to keep the treadmill attached to your new high-tech standing desk moving sufficiently to power your work computer, monitor and phone. Now you’re at your local hi-tech wired-to-you gym, and struggling even more than usual through a set of crunches. Presto! A high-tech curvy bar lowers down, blocking you from your next crunch, and a built-in LCD screen displays a targeted ad for an electrolytic miracle fitness drink, with several nose-level widgets displaying options including “no thanks,” “tell me more,” and “order me a caseload.” You would continue your interrupted crunch and simply move your head slightly to point your nose at the desired option. For “try before you buy” incentivized marketing there could also be a “try a free sample now!” option, which would release a (disposable) Camelback-pack-style flexible tube you would stick in your mouth to dispense an ounce or so of the stuff. How cool would that be?

  12. cripes

    Just a note on Social Security mortality study I found while searching on the topic of “mortality by income level.”
    Shockingly, but not surprisingly, recent decades have shown a growing differential in life expectancy for male adults:

    “For example, at age 60 and birth year 1912 only 1.2 more years of expected life separated the bottom half of the earnings distribution from the top half; by birth year 1941, that difference had increased to 5.8 years. Additionally, by reading across the rows for those projected to survive to age 60, one can see that over the 29 birth cohorts examined, the bottom half of the distribution is projected to gain 1.9 years of life (19.6 years minus 17.7 years), while the top half of the distribution is projected to gain 6.5 years of life.”

    I wonder what the differential is for men in the 18-30 bracket? Or those without substantial SS earnings history?
    In any case, it’s bad, and growing worse. Income disparity.
    In related news, white women are dying earlier than their mothers, especially those with high school level education or less.
    Job creators, indeed. For the funeral directors.

  13. vidimi

    a few days late, but

    This is not the government of enterprise; it is the government of monopolies. Its mission is to protect its major donors and lobbyists against effective competition. Through privatisation, successive UK governments have created a tollbooth economy, whose gatekeepers enrich themselves at public expense. The profits of the big six (and utility companies operating in other sectors) arise from the same treasure house as the wealth of the Russian and Mexican oligarchs: a state licence to rob the public.


    As the Guardian revealed earlier this month, the Renewable Heat Incentive was rolled out by the government without any basic tests, safeguards or quality standards. The rich have been encouraged through amazingly generous incentives to install biomass boilers so inefficient that they don’t meet the official definition of renewable energy, under a scheme which encourages as much waste as possible. The bigger the boiler and the more fuel you burn, the more money you are given. So rich people now run their oversized boilers at full steam, and leave the windows open to cool the house. The returns are astonishing: 20, 30, sometimes 40%.

    I’m told that there are farmers who have used this incentive to install biomass-fired grain dryers, which would normally operate for just a few weeks a year. But because the scheme pays them to burn wood pellets, they keep the empty dryers running year-round.

    This scheme is expected to cost us around £10bn, while doing little to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. As hundreds of thousands languish in fuel poverty, forests are being felled so that rich people can burn wood with the windows open to profit from a government-approved scam. Does that sound like good policy to you?


  14. QuarterBack

    Note that in the martial law Plan C the ten “Regional Mobiliztation District” cities (page 24) are all Federal Reserve Districts. Go figure.

  15. Wayne Gersen

    Two political rejoinders:
    => Santorum won the Iowa caucuses in 2012… my hunch is that serious candidates will skip Iowa and go to NH where a VOTE takes place
    => Bernie Sanders should not be dismissed as a viable contender… he may be the voice in the wilderness that finally gets heard, heeded, and elected…

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