Links 1/17/15

2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics New York Times

Higher water mark: The rise in sea levels may be accelerating Economist (David L)

Revealed: Elon Musk’s Plan to Build a Space Internet BusinessWeek

Something Lost in Skype Translation MIT Technology Review (David L)

The risks of deflation in China FT Alphaville

ECB set to unveil mass bond buying scheme Financial Times

Making Sense of the Swiss Shock Project Syndicate (David L)


Draghi blackmails Greeks failed evolution

Greek deposit flight forces banks to apply for emergency support Telegraph

Why a Grexit is more costly for Germany than a default inside the euro area Bruegel


The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs New York Observer

$151 billion fled Russia in 2014 CNBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Justice Department Kept Secret Telephone Database Wall Street Journal

Privacy advocates say NSA reform doesn’t require ‘technological magic’ Christian Science Monitor

Guantánamo Diary: How a classified, handwritten manuscript became an extraordinary book Guardian

Obama sketches out plan for paid family leave MSNBC (furzy mouse)

Romney shifts stance from failed 2012 bid Financial Times

Trade Deals and Democrat Delusions Counterpunch

Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police Washington Post

Hotter Than Lava ProPublica

PIMCO Names Former White House Advisor Gene Sperling As Consultant on U.S. Economic Policy Issues Pimco

Bernie Sanders Agrees With Goldman Sachs .. Sort Of Huffington Post

Faith leaders call for universal health care VTDigger (martha r)

Chris Christie: Jerry Jones And Campaign Donor Benefit From Izod Center Decision David Sirota

WSJ Survey: Economists Pare Back Fed Rate Rise Expectations WSJ Economics


The casualties of cheap oil Washington Post

Oil rebound on horizon as oil companies start to turn off the taps, IEA says CBC

Class Warfare

The Price of Privilege New York Times

A homeless man was found impaled on a spike in a square in London’s Kensington – but who was he and why did he die? Independent

March of the Squirrels Archdruid

Antidote du jour. Christine: “Scooter in repose.”

Scooter links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. fresno dan

        I am amused that the link, contains a link for “second hand” Amals….as if I was searching the bins at the Salvation Army…
        Gee, I thought these luxury crafts would be described as being previously graced with the buff derrières of Victoria secret models and Hollywood starlets

  1. Llewelyn Moss

    re: Holder limits police seized-asset sharing

    Huh? You mean police can no longer just rob my sh1+ just because they want to (Civil forfeiture)? Why the step back from the Fascist Police State? One could ask why it took the Obama admin six years to suddenly become “kinder and gentler”. But I guess The Abused should just be thankful the beatings have stopped.

    1. Banger

      I think this happened because of pressure from the media (recent stories in the WaPost were pretty dramatic and explicit) and some of the ruling elites who are worried that police are losing their moral authority are naturally concerned. Many people are aware now that the police seem to be able to take your life and your belongings whenever they want so that perception needs to be modified.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Cops “losing their moral authority”, you mean “LOST”. There fixed it for ya.

        Funny how they don’t stop lawless practices until they get exposed. They don’t stop because they reach a moral or ethical epiphany. They only stop when people figure it out. This country is so screwed up.

        1. Banger

          With some people, yes but with most people maybe not–I don’t know. We have a Republican friend who was recently taken in on trumped up charges (the last individual you would ever imagine getting caught up in a hassle with cops) later dropped, a woman in her sixties and roughly handled to boot.

        2. hunkerdown

          “The future is already here; it’s just not equally distributed.”

          Oh yes, the USA’s national mental disorder appears to be schizophrenia. But hey, if certain mental disorders are part of one’s identity, they should and must not be treated.

      2. tim s

        It may be that this reversal would not have have happened now had the semi-strike not happened with the NYPD recently. Even if TPTB do not favor DeBlasio, they may have been disturbed by the disrespect and disregard given to one of their “own” or “own tools”, and may have decided to try to take the NYPD down a notch or two, just to remind them who is really in charge (currently).

        1. Banger

          Good point–that actually occurred to me–the police seemed to be overreaching in NYC. If DiBlasio were to give into them then all mayors would feel threatened and, indeed, all political leaders. As it is, we are a overly policed society that could easily become a full fledged police-state.

          1. Chief Bromden

            Careful… you two are tip toeing on the edge of conspiratorial “blather and pollution”.

              1. optimader

                Pushing back on the NYPD by the political class is preservation of a long established pecking order, not CT.

                The malevolent “Deep State” CT premise would have more credence if the theorists here started coughing up few likely Deep State membership names. Until then its just a paranoid rambling equivalent of string theory.
                Maybe these incredibly effective but evil professionals should just be identified and flipped to work for good rather than evil? Surely they would make for a more effective political leadership class/ banking -finance sector executives than the stumblebums we are currently subject to if they indeed organized everything bad that’s happened from the JFK assassination to 9-11 with nary a whisp of a thumb print of evidence?

                1. Banger

                  No offense but that is straw man stuff and bass-ackwards. You work from the evidence out not from a general theory into particulars. Incidentally, there have been names associated with this “deep” state but you aren’t aware of them because you haven’t looked into it.

                  One thing you who make fun of people who think outside the box is that you don’t understand what evidence is–it isn’t conventional thinking presented by the MSM. I’ve pointed out various areas in the past to look into–its up to you to look into it because this blog is not the place, as per Lambert, to discuss anything that smells of the forbidden areas of CT. I reject most of the characterizations you all make about me and those who have come to similar conclusions. If we were able to have genuine discussions that did not involve name calling and ad hominem attacks I would be glad to share what I know but it’s impossible in this forum as Lambert asserted in his New Year’s resolutions and yesterday. Until Lambert is willing to have an open discussion I am not going further into the matter and be called names and vilified here. My facts and defense of my positions are not engaged or acknowledged except in a very general way. I don’t begrudge Lambert for wanting to stay away from the CT stuff–it is his show not mine and he can run this as he deems appropriate. As I’ve said many times, he does a very good job here and I have no complaints other than in the area we are discussing.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Your assertion about “evidence” is astonishing since you virtually never offer any when you go on about your pet “Deep State”.

                    In general, CT people have double standards and I am getting tired of this sort of thing. This site is above all about promoting critical thinking. These CT conversations undermine that. They are far too often sorely lacking in support as well as rigor.

                    1) CT types act like they’re the only people trying to tell the truth

                    2) They act like they’re the only people who don’t trust the government and the media

                    3) They demand a lower standard of evidence than posters in any other topic area, including especially finance and markets, but also ObamaCare and political economy generally

                    4) They claim a higher level of insight, based on a lower level of actual reasoning, than posters in any other topic area. Compare your remarks about Deep State, with, say, the work of the MMT thought collective.

                    5) They operate at the wrong level of abstraction. They treat interplay between individuals as key, but never specify the roles that the individuals play. Were they to do that, they would see at once that the individuals are replaceable, but the roles are constant. So they cannot perform any systematic, structural analysis and are condemned to what is in essence anecdote.

                    6) Parsing out the machinations and interplay of ruling class factions is hard work. In general, CTers are intellectually too lazy to do it. Instead, we get “dot connecting” followed by a chorus of “false flag.” Again the double standard: We would never accept this in any other topic area.

                    7) Theories that cannot be disprove are not theories. The impulse behind CT is fundamentally religious, with powerful, unseen manipulators taking the place of the Greek Pantheon. Again, the double standard. Imagine a post on oil pricing written as a CTer would do it.

                    1. skippy

                      Your 7 points above a nutter shell….

                      Molyneux is also part of the men’s rights movement, and has made outlandish claims about the effect that women have on society.

                      “”The evil that women are capable of and the evil that women do — not all women — but the evil that women do is generally invisible to society which is why there’s so much violence in society.

                      Skippy…. reads like everyone of bangers comments followed by the accompanying sprinkles that always garnish it.

                    2. James

                      Hmm… my previous post seems to have disappeared. Imagine that!

                      So, in order:

                      1. No, they don’t. CT “types” often appear to act like they’re the only ones pursuing the truth far enough, simply because they are.

                      2. No they don’t. Although, once again, it’s a matter of relativity.

                      3. Like mainstream NC isn’t accused of the same thing by the mainstream media? You guys need to look in the mirror!

                      4. Bullshit. MMT is, in fact, just a lot of unsubstantiated hooey at this point, official NC support notwithstanding.

                      5. They operate at whatever level of abstraction is available to them, as CTs worth their name are by their very nature secretive and unprovable. Were they not, they’d by definition be Conspiracy Facts (CFs).

                      6. No, we’d never accept parsing out and yet unprovable connections/hypotheses in any other area of human endeavor would we? Oh HELL NO!

                      7. Theories are never “proven” or “disproven.” They are merely supported or not supported according to currently available facts. The “impulse” behind CT is neither religious, nor “scientific” per se either. What it IS, is a TRUTH BASED intuitive search for what actually happened, and/or what it actually means, NO MATTER WHO IT OFFENDS!

                    3. Chief Bromden

                      CT is a meaningless term. Tossing it around just provides one more unnecessary hurdle to rational discourse.

                      “Conspiracy theory’s acutely negative connotations may be traced to liberal historian Richard Hofstadter’s well-known fusillades against the “New Right.” Yet it was the Central Intelligence Agency that likely played the greatest role in effectively “weaponizing” the term. In the groundswell of public skepticism toward the Warren Commission’s findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA sent a detailed directive to all of its bureaus. Titled “Countering Criticism of the Warren Commission Report,” the dispatch played a definitive role in making the “conspiracy theory” term a weapon to be wielded against almost any individual or group calling the government’s increasingly clandestine programs and activities into question.

                      This important memorandum and its broad implications for American politics and public discourse are detailed in a forthcoming book by Florida State University political scientist Lance de-Haven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America. Dr. de-Haven-Smith devised the state crimes against democracy concept to interpret and explain potential government complicity in events such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the major political assassinations of the 1960s, and 9/11.

                      “CIA Document 1035-960” was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times. The directive is especially significant because it outlines the CIA’s concern regarding “the whole reputation of the American government” vis-à-vis the Warren Commission Report. The agency was especially interested in maintaining its own image and role as it “contributed information to the [Warren] investigation.”

                      The memorandum lays out a detailed series of actions and techniques for “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.” For example, approaching “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” to remind them of the Warren Commission’s integrity and soundness should be prioritized…..

                      The effect on academic and journalistic inquiry into ambiguous and unexplained events that may in turn mobilize public inquiry, debate and action has been dramatic and far-reaching. ”


                    4. Chief Bromden

                      It looks like CIA document 1035-960 is a conspiracy to use the word conspiracy in order to discredit people inquiring about conspiring. Oh boy.

                    5. Yves Smith Post author


                      Your effort at argument amounts to digging your hole deeper. You have just proven my points rather than refuting them.

                      To your 1-7.

                      1. Is an utter lie. Start with our work on Magnetar and the role of CDOs int the crisis and chain of title, or Lambert’s detailed, extensively documented work on Obamacare. I can give tons of examples outside this site.

                      2. The people who take this line of thinking DO take the position that they’ve looked harder and others are simply not skeptical of official sources, as opposed to they haven’t delivered the goods.

                      3. Is completely off the mark. The MSM has nothing to say formally about NC and in fact I am told by editors at MSM pubs that our reporting is read by “all the influencers” and often does have an impact on reporting on our beats. A peculiar effort at deflection.

                      4. MMT is not “hooey.” It describes how monetary operations work in a fiat currency regime and the implications that flow from that. Saying you don’t agree with MMT is like saying you don’t “agree” with a plumbing diagram. If you want us to believe otherwise, the onus is on YOU to prove why, not by assertion and name calling. Your approach here demonstrates the sort of intellectual laziness I discussed above.

                      MMT people have made policy recommendations in addition to MMT, like the jobs guarantee, but those are outside the theory proper.

                      In terms of the argument, this is another deflection, and not a rebuttal to the point that the level of reasoning offered is lower than on other topics. In fact, the caliber of your responses 1-4 along prove this very point!

                      5. This is a non-denial effort at denial.

                      6. Another non-denial denial. So you’ve conceded 5 and 6 while pretending not to (as in if you think 6 relies on you winning at 4, sorry, you failed there).

                      7. A straw man. A theory needs to be framed in a manner that is provable or disprovable. There is such an thing as assembling evidence and seeing whether it supports a theory or not. But too many CTs (as Lambert demonstrated in a long post on the “Deep State”) are so sloppy and internally inconsistent as to be not subject to rigorous examination. Hence, it does become a vague, religious invocation about powerful mysterious forces.

                      Your entire diatribe proves our point about a lack of rigor in reasoning and evidence.

                    6. Banger

                      I am not a “CT type” and refuse to be categorized in that way as if those of us who have spent the time looking into this stuff are a cult.

                      I have facts but you don’t want to hear them. I don’t list a hundred reasons why in the RFK or JFK or MLK cases the government’s conclusions cannot, in the main, be true and if I do then it is “hairballs” and “blathering” and I want to avoid hijacking your blog because I know that any blog which tries on the “respectable” left does not want to talk about such things. If I bring up the RFK fact I use because it is simplest to present, i.e., if the Coroner’s report is true then the government case is probably wrong particularly when you combine it with the number of shots recorded–it’s that simple ultimately–if Noguchi was correct then there was a cover-up and a “conspiracy” and that’s that and you have to posit something “deeper” than what is obvious within the mainstream narrative. To Lambert this is an irrelevant “hairball” and a source of “pollution” on the site.

                      Lambert has the last word on this so to speak, by making the point that the (revisionist)history of things that happened decades ago has no bearing on the issues dealt with on this blog and presumably you agree with him. That’s fine, I hear it and I will not personally bring up the subject unless it is brought up by others.

                      I would be happy to present my case based on evidence if those pieces were admissible in this forum but I see not indication whatever than anything I say would be considered. Instead I get projections and labels as well as no intellectual engagement–you assume I’m completely wrong and that’s the end of it.

                    7. Yves Smith Post author


                      You cherry-pick one of the few cases where you have offered evidence, and that neither Lambert nor I have objected to.

                      We object to the fact that you regularly use “Deep State” as a one-size-fits-all explanation that serves to discourage further investigation. And you CONTINUE to resort to it after Lambert provided a lengthly analysis showing how the construct was not only sloppy but also internally inconsistent.

                      The regular harping on Deep State also amounts to nihilism. “Oh, the big bad forces behind the curtain are too powerful and mysterious.” By implication, that it an argument for resignation. As Matt Stoller, who has been a political operative for over 15 years and until recently worked for Alan Grayson, who is on one of the defense-related committees, said to you on this very issue last June in comments (emphasis mine):

                      Saying ‘deep state’ over and over and over, and questioning my integrity, doesn’t make you smart, nor does it make you the first person to notice links between the CIA, Wall Street, and policymaking.

                      You hint at more behind the curtain, but you don’t actually bother to explain anything, because explaining actually takes work and requires having an attitude beyond just fatalistic mumbo-jumbo. Throwing out words like cybernetics and systems theory and pretending it’s all a giant all-powerful borg-like system is intended to protect you from having to actually take responsibility for doing anything about injustice. If it’s all hidden and all powerful, then you are protected in your little cocoon of powerlessness. You act exactly like the elites you deride by granting them authority and wisdom they do not deserve. These are not all powerful institutions, they are just groups of people who act like people. Some of them lie. Some don’t. A lot of them are idiots and bureaucrats. It’s not always impossible to figure out what’s going on, but the stupid wizard of oz curtain you constantly try to construct is nothing but an illusion.

                  2. skippy

                    Wand waving aside, a list by proponents would sort this all out and save a lot of readers from walls of text, which shape a narrative, yet leave out the means to validate it.

                    Skippy…. the onus is on you to flesh out, not the reader.

                    1. James

                      Bullshit! The onus on him is to present it. The onus on the reader is to decide whether to pursue/entertain it.

                    2. Banger

                      I would be glad to present mounds of evidence but it would not be welcomed here which is why I invite others to look into it. My one piece of evidence I give is NEVER EVER refuted because it is irrefutable. Instead y’all change the subject and call me names.

                    3. skippy

                      Argument from incredulity… nice…

                      Moving on….

                      “My one piece of evidence I give is NEVER EVER refuted because it is irrefutable”

                      So even in this comment you can’t even take the time to lay out your facts clearly, its all pontification with out clearly spelling out what the heck you on about save aspersions.

                      Skippy… irrefutable like praxeology?

                  3. Kurt Sperry

                    ” there have been names associated with this “deep” state but you aren’t aware of them because you haven’t looked into it.”

                    This is plain lazy. Instead of naming names as requested, you go straight to deflection and ad hom. Who are they? If you can’t actually name them so we can test the hypothesis, your argument is ultimately baseless.

                  4. Lambert Strether

                    You say you know what the smell is, because of your DC experience and expertise. Swell, because you don’t need me to define any boundaries for you. When you get a hint of the smell, move back. Thanks.

            1. Banger

              Actually, you make a good point. Conspiracies are central not peripheral to real power. I’ve studied classical historians and been in and around the Washington scene most of my life and saw a lot–I’m no longer in contact with that world, btw, but I can smell it all the way to North Carolina where I now live. We can mention conspiracies here and until recent months we weren’t attacked for bringing up the subject. BTW, Lambert and others do CT all the time–but only in certain areas. There are sacred areas they don’t want us to go and you know what those are. There are shadowy areas we can touch but I’m not sure where the line is drawn. At any rate, I’m keeping away from the subject unless deliberately baited by people like optimander and in that case I’ll just speak in generalities.

              1. skippy

                Baited [?????]… mon dieu [!!!!].

                Every comment of your is soft mind kibble, ingredient fact free, and trotted out Stefan Molyneux of all bloody people.

                What kind of critical thinking sorts do you consider rational… eh.

                “Stefan Molyneux (born 1966) is an Irish-Canadian political activist and self-proclaimed philosopher and anarcho-capitalist. He is the host of Freedomain Radio,[1] a series of podcasts where he discusses philosophy, libertarianism, anarchism, atheism, science and relationships (specifically, why women are evil) on a frequent basis. He also regularly writes articles on a variety of right-libertarian websites, and has published several books.

                Family relationships

                Molyneux’s most arguably controversial viewpoint is that concerning his adherence to the non-aggression principle. Molyneux has stated that adults who deem their parents to be physically or psychologically aggressive should cease all connections with them, instead of trying to mend any faulty relationships. He also believes that his followers should abandon all family and friends who are not anarcho-capitalists or not adherents to the non-aggression principle.[2]

                His adherence to the non-aggression principle is so extreme that he claims that people who engage or are drawn to contact sports were abused as children and/or had aggressive childhoods. [3]

                Molyneux’s attitudes and beliefs have led to some, such as Sam Seder and his fellow co-hosts, claiming he runs a cult given his large circle of followers and their cult-like behavior.[4] Parents negatively affected by their children abandoning them on the advice of Stefan have been more prominent in decrying Stefan as a cult leader.[5]
                [edit] Men’s rights activism

                Molyneux is also part of the men’s rights movement, and has made outlandish claims about the effect that women have on society.
                “”The evil that women are capable of and the evil that women do — not all women — but the evil that women do is generally invisible to society which is why there’s so much violence in society.

                He was a speaker at the A Voice For Men 2014 conference.
                [edit] Women are the source of evil!

                According to Molyneux’s ridiculous and batshit crazy beliefs woman are the source of all evil.
                “”Woman who choose to breed with assholes will fucking end this race. They will fucking end this human race if we don’t stop holding them A fucking accountable. Woman who choose assholes will guaranty child abuse. Woman who choose assholes will guaranty criminality. Sociopathic. Politicians, all the cold hearted jerks who run the world came out at the vaginas of woman who married assholes and I don’t know how to make the world a better place without holding woman accountable for choosing assholes. Your dad was an asshole because your mother choose him, because it works on so many woman. If asshole wasn’t a great reproductive strategy it would have been gone long ago. Woman keep that black bastard flame alive. They kept their hands around it. They protect it with their bodies. They keep the evil of the species going by continually choosing these guys. If being an asshole didn’t get woman there would be no assholes left. If woman chose nice guys over assholes we would have a glorious and peaceful world in one generation. Woman determine the personality rates of the man because woman choose who to have sex with and who to have children with and who to expose those children to. I get you are angry at your dad and you have every reason to be angry at your dad.Your dad is who he is fundamentally because your mother was willing to fuck him and have you. Willing and eager to fuck the monster. Stop fucking monsters we get a great world. Keep fucking monsters we get catastrophes, we get war, we get nuclear weapons, we get national debts, we getting castrations and prison guards and all the other foreign assholes who ruled the world. When at woman worship at the feet of the devil and wonder why the world is evil.

                The major flaw within his logic is if this were true then should swimming in woman who want to have sex with him. But as we see that’s not the case.
                [edit] Philosophy

                Molyneux’s arguments in his philosophical piece Universally Preferable Behavior: A Rational Proof for Secular Ethics were criticized heavily by fellow libertarian David Gordon, who claimed they were “preposterously bad”. He praised Margaret Thatcher upon her death in 2013, despite claiming to oppose all forms of government.[8]

                Molyneux has claimed that Freedomain Radio is the most popular philosophy conversation online in the world, despite there being much evidence to the contrary.[9]
                [edit] Mental illness denial

                Molyneux has denied that mental illnesses are real, saying there is not enough evidence to prove otherwise. He goes further using this argument to call psychiatry a pseudoscience and has devoted much of his time trying to claim it isn’t based on true science, claiming it was a part of a government agenda.[10] This has drawn the ire of many including online scientific skeptic Emil Karlsson of Debunking Denialism who responded with a lengthy refutation of his claims.[11]
                [edit] Homosexuality

                Molyneux also has unconventional views on homosexuality, arguing that it is the result of childhood sexual abuse.[12][13] He later apologized though when contacted by a caller during a radio interview. Apologizing for his comments, he attempted to better clarify his views, saying he had reversed his views on the matter and would do his best to better improve on his treatment of homosexuality. He even promised to edit the video where he made his controversial views to better reflect his ignorance of the previous statements.[14] The video still remains unedited and his fans continue to hold to the views. Stefan, despite his promises, still remains noticeably uninterested in intervening to correct them.[15]
                [edit] Science

                Molyneux is a climate change denier, and views global warming through the same lens as many conspiracy theorists.[16]

                Taking a page from Objectivists and Insane Clown Posse, he has a problem with modern physics. “Physicists kind of piss me off, ’cause they’ve always got their fucking pale hands in my goddamn wallet, and stealing from my child’s future, indebting her.” “You know, go be a fucking engineer, you lazy, pasty bastards. Go do something useful that people wanna buy.” [17]
                [edit] DMCA and IP law

                Molyneux has gone on record against the DMCA and IP law, saying that “IP must die” as it is an unjustified use of force.[18][19] He believes this is a universal principle with no exceptions.[20]
                [edit] DMCA Smackdown

                He also uses IP law in order to censor critics on YouTube by filing DMCA claims against them with the most notable being TruShibes: a Youtube user who devoted an entire account to uploading clips documenting Stefan’s questionable behavior and philosophy.[21]

                In a textbook case of actions having consequences, TruShibes has filed a case in US federal court against Stefan for his blatant exploitation of the DMCA to shut down her account, for silencing her and for defaming her afterwards[22][23] (she is in the US and he is in Canada, but his YouTube activity and income is US-based and constitutes a local presence).
                [edit] History

                In a presumably unwitting Marxist fashion, Molyneux frequently defends his more unusual political and economic positions with historical examples. These are invariably healthy servings of PIDOOMA. He has, for example, claimed that the First World War was more destructive than the Second, and that the majority of casualties in it were members of the aristocracy.[24] This is a self-evident argument for free trade, apparently.
                [edit] The good stuff

                Stefan Molyneux has claimed to be strongly opposed to America’s war efforts and the War on Drugs. He is also immensely skeptical of religious extremism and fundamentalism (despite himself being something of a cult leader), personally advocating strong atheism.

                He is able, despite his above mentioned statements regarding the origins of homosexuality, to recognize unjust discrimination against homosexuals.[25] ”


                Now NC is incorporated into your pathological CT OCD…. seriously Banger. Just get the compound going and I’ll pony up the Kool-aid… for you all… seriously.

                Skippy…. If the Rapturenistas ain’t bad enough, one has to contend with their two headed off spring…

                  1. skippy

                    Your reply to all the above is “Fair to say that got you spun up?”. That’s it, nothing more, a pejorative projection with out a hint of distinction.

                    Let me put this another way, Stefan Molyneux and assorted ass hats should never try their hand at sociology, anthropology, physics, soft or hard science, nor anything that requires intellectual rigor, too include biography as they would die in abject poverty.

                    Skippy… Foot chewing and punching ones self in the head is trade mark for this cult.

                    1. James

                      No, that was it. I’m simple minded that way. Being a member of a cult and all. Never was one much for foot chewing, what with the reach involved and all, but face punching, now THAT was something I could definitely get into!

                    2. skippy

                      Look if you can’t figure out the curricular reasoning libertarians dress up as logic [bastardized to meaninglessness] is a complete sham, that’s yours and your ilks personal dramas.

                      Just don’t think when someone points out, during a member drive, its incoherent construct and disingenuous mannerisms, that you have any rights to endless pontification.

                      Prime example –

                      “And hyper-intellectual bullshit rationalization is a trademark for it’s opposite.”

                      Post WWII libertarians are a product of Lippmann and friendsters [what we now call corporatist]. So it quite the trick to decry the last decades they helped enable, especialy as it blows up in their collectives face.

                      Skippy…. might have something to do with possible wind changes on the even horizon.

                1. Banger

                  I have stated that I disagree with Molyneux in most areas. So WTF are you talking about? Why beat me with someone like that? I also find Zbig well spoken and interesting as well as old Henry K. I also found William Buckley intellectually stimulating though my POV is closer to Gore Vidal. I find many conservative thinkers important though I’m a follower of Marcuse. You all believe I’m as one-dimensional as you are with your little orthodoxies and poltical correctness–I like to hear all sides. Why do I become the focus of everyone’s projections?

                  1. Doug Terpstra

                    I was rather puzzled by the rambling Molyneux tirade seemingly without any context. Later I saw your brief reference yesterday. I guess that pegged you as a cult disciple. You’ve certainly found some hot buttons on this blog, getting awfully close to some delicate truths I suspect.

                    Some responses remind me of one of our dogs. Just by walking around a bit you could always tell where he’d hidden his bones by the agitation exhibited if you wandered a bit too close. Quite funny in his case.

                  2. skippy

                    Anyone using Molyneux for anything other than determent is a tell Banger, why even mention him if you disagree with in most areas. More is frighting, what you do agree with him on.

                    Skippy… Am I to be informed your a AET Ludwig von Mises Institute aficionado, as well, ground zero for libertarians imo.

              2. Ken Nari

                Yves, remember when you use “CT” (as pointed out in yesterday’s comments) the term first appeared in a CIA memo directing employees how to shut up anyone who questioned the Warren Commission. But then Congress itself (Select Committee on Assassinations, 1978) investigated the Warren Commission and found evidence of a cover-up and rejected the lone-gunman theory. So Congress became CTs.

                Like “tree hugger” “women’s libber” “liberul” as well as a range of epithets used to demean and silence those who supported the Civil Right Movement and opposed the Vietnam War, it’s a great term not to use on NC.

                I do, however, agree it’s not smart to let NC get too involved in questions of the deep state.

                As for evidence, anyone who really wants to see it doesn’t have to look too far, and I’m providing a list of well-researched and documented works. None of these take on 9/11, stolen elections, the Boston Marathon Bombings, which for now I would strongly advise NC to avoid. I Think Banger and everyone else would agree that’s prudent.

                1) “LBJ: Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination” by Phillip Nelson
                2) “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters” by James Douglass
                3) “Brothers: the Hidden History of the Kennedy Years” by David Talbot
                4) “The Dark Side of Camelot” by Seymour Hersh
                5) “Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty” by Russ Baker
                6) “Power Beyond Reason: The Mental Collapse of Lyndon Johnson” by Jablow Hershman
                7) “American War Machine” and “Deep Politics and the Death of JFK” by Peter Dale Scott
                8) “Gold Warriors” by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave
                9) “Cuba, or the Pursuit of Freedom” by Hugh Thomas (From page 1326 starting with Bautista and the Sergeants’ Rebellion
                10) “Our Man in Mexico” by Jefferson Morley
                11) “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ” by Roger Stone
                12) “The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War” by Stephen Kinzer
                13) “Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace” by Peter Janney
                13) “Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II” by William Blum
                14) “Conspiracy Theory in America” by Lance deHaven-Smith

                Just the same, I’m at a loss as to how you’re going to honestly examine financial and political events without implying things may not be as they seem. I think most of us understand your dilemma. It’s going to be extremely difficult, more difficult everyday. Let’s all leave it at that.

                  1. Banger

                    Nonsense. Go here: for reality-based research that the vase majority of opinion in the research community–the mainstream only recommends hacks and frauds like McAdams–thank God there are so few of them and they are the ones recognized by the mainstream–if that’s the people you feel are leading us into greener pastures (i.e., the mainstream meida, then cool). You want the world according to the CIA then go to your place.

                    At any rate I think we all agree this sort of discussion unless we get down to brass tacks goes nowhere. McAdams, was, btw, recently suspended from his teaching duties–he’s also a right winger in case you didn’t know that which is more than enough to get you demonized on this site.

                    1. skippy

                      McAdams… gezzz…. is the fish tank full or what…

                      He’s the Westboro Baptist Church of The JFK Research Community!

                      …McAdams has neither the educational preparation nor the ability for such a position — his language skills are abysmal; his analytical skills non-existent. Not only has he done no research whatsoever on the historical question he pretends to study, he has no knowledge of even the basics of a research methodology. Thus, McAdams himself argues against long established historical facts; on the other hand, he is incapable of doing the research necessary to either confirm or dispute such facts. – Debra Hartman

                      Skippy…. Great more Emmanuel Goldstein 1984 conditioning, gift that keeps on giving thingy.

                    2. Optimader

                      As compelling as your arguement construct is, Ill take a physics and geometry based world neither of which are influenced by the CIA or people trolling CT books w/ rewarmed bilge.

                    3. skippy

                      John McAdams was not suspended for being a right winger, that would be –

                      “McAdams, who teaches political science, was notified by email Tuesday that he was relieved of his duties until further notice and was not to come to campus without advance written permission from his dean.

                      The email from Richard Holz, dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, did not specify an offense but referred to general university policies on faculty conduct that Holz said would guide the review.

                      The controversy apparently began with a post McAdams wrote in his Marquette Warrior blog Nov. 9 in which he criticized a graduate student teaching assistant for not allowing discussion of gay marriage in an ethics class.

                      A student challenged her decision after class and recorded the conversation. The student told teaching assistant Cheryl Abbate that it was his right as an American citizen to make arguments against gay marriage, and she replied: “You don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments.”

                      Huge difference between being simply demonized as a far right wing thumper imo, more like no being able to spout his canons opinions in a class they had no place. Then tried to use his blog as – force tool – to influence his employer.

                      Again all the funding for libertarianism came from the individuals and groups you deride, heck even Locke was Secretary of the Board of Trade and Plantations and Secretary to the Lords Proprietor of Carolina, which helped to shape his ideas on international trade and economics.

                      Skippy… 17th, 18th, 19th, century’s go live them on your own personal time.

                    4. Optimader

                      Actually badger i provided you a link that provides several demonstrated confimations of the actual bullet trajectory using physical and documentary evidence. Ill stick to physics and geometry, you may continue handwaving. The link you provide is a wideranging colletion of rhetoric on pet CT themes, the equivalent of providing a dictionary and saying “its in here, some assembly required”.
                      So put up or shut up on any factual error/misrepresentations of the alledged “magicbullet” trajectory that isnt magic at all when considering the accurate placement of JFK and John Connelly at the time of the shooting.

                1. James

                  That does seem to be our basic point of contention, doesn’t it?

                  I think even mainstream blogs like this begin to break down when they consider such basic principles.

                  Not surprising. We’re beginning to get at the basic validity of our entire culture/way of life. It’s pretty damn uncomfortable, isn’t it?

                  1. Banger

                    As I said the traditional principles behind the 18th century enlightenment are dead in U.S. intellectual culture. Now they want eyewitness accounts–if I did not see the JFK assassination with my own eyes or talk to the plotters then it didn’t happen–besides it happened to long ago and history is bunk (Lambert’s position).

                    1. Lambert Strether

                      “history is bunk (Lambert’s position).” First a straw man (“Now they want eyewitness accounts”). Then the lie direct. Stop it.

                      NOTE Bonus points for then Henry Ford association!

                    2. Yves Smith Post author


                      You make one more false accusation against Lambert, and I’m banning you.

                      This discussion and too many of your other introductions of stuff from the 1960s, one of the very few instances when you do deign to provide evidence, is vastly off topic. You repeatedly highjack threads, as you did today. Intervening in comments also cuts into the time Lambert and I have available to research and write new posts, so you are becoming a big negative value added to this site.

                      So you need to shape up. We’ve told you repeatedly what you need to stop doing and you refuse to do it.

                      Or you can get your own blog and see how well you do.

                2. Vatch

                  I’m curious. Two of the titles indicate that LBJ was responsible for JFK’s assassination, and one indicates that the CIA was responsible. Which is correct? Or did LBJ and the CIA work together? I don’t expect to have time to read the books, but since you have, maybe you can tell us.

                  Thanks in advance.

                  1. Ken Nari

                    Vatch, of the two books I’d read the Nelson book rather than Stone’s. If you don’t have time to read that you need to make time.

                    Kennedy fired Allen Dulles as head of the CIA. Dulles hated Kennedy for that and lots of other reasons, including not sending U.S force to save the Bay of Pigs fiasco. (Dulles’ baby.) Dulles’ people still ran the CIA, and Dulles was also chairman of the board of United Fruit and wanted Cuba back under U.S. control. Hoover, who had many secrets of his own, was certain, as were many others, he was to be replaced at the FBI and then shamed publicly right after Kennedy was re-elected. (Good recent biographies of Hoover confirm this, but are not on the list.) Joe Kennedy made devil’s deals with organized crime, which also wanted Cuba back, to get Jack elected, but then Robert and Jack didn’t honor them — or maybe know about them — and then even worse, Robert went after organized crime. After the Missile Crisis Kennedy didn’t really trust anyone outside his circle, and was apparently putting out back-channel feelers to make peace with Castro and the USSR. That made him a Commie and an enemy of about everyone in the U.S. who owned a gun including many in the Secret Service assigned to protect him. Both Robert and Jack humiliated Johnson daily, and Johnson was sure Jack planned to drop him from the ticket for the second term. Johnson was also about to face serious criminal charges, and could only put a lid on those if he was president. Kennedy, apparently knowing no bounds, was also talking about reining in the Fed and Wall St. He also expressed interest in pulling out of Vietnam, which enraged the military establishment which was anticipating a lucrative build-up, money and glory, and a piece-of cake-victory. Those close to Kennedy believed once out of office he planned to divorce Jackie and marry his longtime (since high school) sweetheart Mary Meyers. Meyers’ bitter ex was under Dulles in the CIA, they were close friends, and Meyers naturally also hated Kennedy.

                    Of course no one knows what happened, but all these dangerous enemies did seem to find each other, and I guess it would have been a miracle if someone hadn’t killed Kennedy.

                    That’s the best I can do. I’m not an expert at all. Just answering your question as best I can.

                    1. JTFaraday

                      It seems to me there is something black hole like about the Kennedy Administration, and the years around it more generally, in the mainstream public discourse.

                      Perhaps the issue with Banger is that he has read the materials that seek to make sense of a lost history and is too chicken to do what you just did, or he just knows there’s a black hole and so references it repeatedly.

                      It’s also not entirely crazy to think that the “conspiracy theory” charge is thrown up in order inhibit inquiry. I think it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that anyone who even tries to look into the Kennedy Administration-Assassination is automatically labeled a nut.

                    2. optimader

                      What I do find in poor taste is slandering people, particularly the dead who cannot defend themselves, with incredible suppositions. “(X and Y really had a well documented professional animosity so it is surprising X hadn’t assassinated Y sooner!). For Proprietors of a blog endeavoring to maintain standards of evidence associated with claims, leaving fantastic claims stand unrebutted unfortunately diminish the Brand the Proprietors are cultivating. Consequently, time spent rebutting topical deerpaths in the woods is a neccesity.

                      With regard to using the JFK assassination as a bogey example manipulative CT, there is essentially “bullet proof” contemporary forensic modeling brought to bear on the event that was not even conceivable at the time of the Warren Commission. So attempts to muddle perceived and disproven physical model inconsistencies from that era is not really even offering an honest line of argument. Indeed Bangers offering up of a CT aggregation site (Citizens for Truth in the Kennedy Assassination (CTKA)) that contains known to be bogus evidence.
                      As it turns out contemporary evidence analysis is consistent w/ a lone shooter in the Texas Book Depository. The fact of the matter is it wasn’t even a particularly dramatic feat of marksmanship. Naught deflection shooting at a slow moving relatively close target, within a flat trajectory from a military rifle w/ scope fired by a military trained marksman.

                  2. Kurt Sperry

                    Indeed. Saying that it couldn’t have happened the way the official explanation describes is not an actual argument. It might be part of a larger argument that has expository value, but any laundry list of alleged inconsistencies, however long by itself, is just a recipe for a long and pointless argument. The 9-11 truthers are among the worst in this respect, they offer such a list but then they offer no cogent counter-explanation to fit it all into. If the building were wired with explosives who exactly did it? How did they do it without even the union building staff who were onsite every hour of every day knowing? If the plane didn’t strike the Pentagon what became of the missing plane? What became of the people who were on it? That they have no answers at all to these–and in fact don’t even care about the answers or their lack–doesn’t even slow them down, they just mindlessly fall back, pressing on their long laundry list asking, “Well explain this then?!” ad nauseum, changing the topic and shifting the burden of proof whenever asked to get specific or provide falsifiable or testable evidence.

                    It reminds me of the nutritional supplement scam where they put fifty herbal ingredients in a pill to make the consumer think, “Even if 90% of these ingredients are pure BS re the claims made, what are the chances ALL of them are? I read an article that said several of these might work. There must be something to this.”

                    Sorry to any offended, but I share Lambert and Yves’ frustration with the sloppy and often astonishingly blinkered reasoning that is the stock and trade of the so called CT pushers. I’ve engaged them trying to get answers to my objections to their reasoning but they inevitably go back to their lists of alleged inconsistencies as if that were actually explanatory or expository when all it really amounts to is mindlessly reading off a script like a telemarketer or a religious proselytizer. It becomes a huge exhausting waste of time to even engage them, and it becomes a counterproductive distraction from doing anything useful. These are, after all, extraordinary claims are they not?

                    My pet CT is that the CIA (or the like) deliberately plants or seeds these to categorically discredit all heterodox ways of looking at reality and the more people are duped by them, the better it serves to broadly discredit all non-mainstream narratives–even those that might be solidly based in empirical fact. One could see such a thing being very useful to a powerful status quo that doesn’t want competing narratives to be taken seriously. So my CT is that those caught up in these CTs are themselves unwitting accomplices in a larger CT! And no I can’t prove it…

                    1. tim s

                      The problem with this line of reasoning is that it assumes that there is an answer that may be had by anyone about every question they may have. I think that there is much that we cannot know, and that there are other avenues of reasoning that may allow a person to call BS on a story without refuting it line by line at any given time.

                      Surely it is better to have questions that you keep in the back of your mind as unresolved rather than summarily dismissed because of a lack of details. To recall what is not yet known is probably the best self-defense against building an argument or position on a faulty basis.

                      Who can know it all? All descriptions of wisdom I can recall are along the lines of “the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.”

                3. Lambert Strether

                  Banger wrote:

                  He and Yves [sic] allow us to talk about it as long as we don’t belabor the point too much.

                  And the knob for “belaboring” has now been dialed back from its current 11 to near zero, from perhaps 3.

                  The blather about a 51-year-old hairball that follows this comment — itself a classic example of a CT link-less “Look over there!” list o’ sources — is a perfect demonstration of why that needs to be. This comment, and the material following it, are of no conceivable value or interest whatever to the readership that NC seeks, and in fact destroys the value of the site to them, and for good reason.

                  It’s a big Internet. There are other places to pursue your hobby. Find them.

              3. Lambert Strether

                Staying away from it entirely would add immense value to the comment section.*

                As for being baited, I don’t know why you’d want to surrender your autonomy to a baiter, but it’s a funny old world, as Maggie Thatcher was wont to say.

                NOTE * Although, reading downward, I see this hasn’t been done. Oh well.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Funny — the late Rep. Henry Hyde successfully sponsored the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000. Yet 15 years later, the WaPo tells us that ‘police have made cash seizures worth almost $2.5 billion from motorists and others without search warrants or indictments’ since 2001.

      It just goes to illustrate the iron law that anything labeled ‘reform’ in Vichy D.C. is always intended to entrench the status quo, but with better optics.

      The only true reform of this police-state horror would be the repeal of the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (the original charter of the ‘War on Drugs’). That’s not even on the agenda. So the predatory looting will continue, to feed the maw of the Gulag.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Yup. The US Private Prison Industrial Complex will never allow their DC puppets to end the War On Drugs. Afterall it’s a Prison Occupancy Program. The Fascists are strong in this Empire Of Absurdities.

        Haha. I googled up Henry Hyde. He looks like Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life.

          1. Llewelyn Moss

            Geez, what a scumbag. Breathtaking that Repubs will risk women’s health as bargaining chips and dog whistles for the religious-whacko voters — an important Repub base voting block.

            1. Vatch

              Henry Hyde was very sanctimonious and hypocritical, and he was one of the key Congress critters in the Clinton impeachment. Hyde was quite offended by Bill Clinton’s behavior. Interestingly, Hyde himself was an adulterer:


              In 1998, the Internet magazine published “This Hypocrite Broke Up My Family” which stated that from 1965 to 1969, Hyde conducted an extramarital sexual affair with Cherie Snodgrass. At the time, Snodgrass was married to another man with whom she had three children. The Snodgrasses divorced in 1967. Hyde said the affair ended when Snodgrass’ husband confronted Mrs. Hyde. The Hydes reconciled and remained married until Mrs. Hyde’s death in 1992. Hyde was married and 41 years old when the affair occurred. He admitted to the affair in 1998 and attributed the relationship to “youthful indiscretions”.[9] The revelation of his affair was exposed while Hyde was spearheading the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton over charges of perjury in the Monica Lewinsky affair.

              Note that Hyde was over 40 years old when he had his “youthful indiscretion”.

              1. optimader

                Herny Hyde –I imagine Bill Black could heap a mighty dish on him ala the S&L scandal..
                HH inherited the moniker “Old Flannel Mouth” from Everett Dirksen. My Uncle knew both him (and von Rumsfeld) from the Naval Reserve at Glenview Naval Air Station, as well from the financial damage he did to a local S&L . Both HH and von Rumsfeld were consummate fakes that sucked the government tit their whole lives without much (anything?) productive to show for it.

                “…..In 1981, after leaving the House Banking Committee, Hyde went on the board of directors of Clyde Federal Savings and Loan, whose chairman was one of Hyde’s political contributors. According to, from 1982 until he left the board in 1984, Hyde used his position on the board of directors to promote the savings and loan’s investment in risky financial options. In 1990, the federal government put Clyde in receivership, and paid $67 million to cover insured deposits. In 1993, the Resolution Trust Corporation sued Hyde and other directors for $17.2 million. Four years later, before pretrial investigation and depositions, the government settled with the defendants for $850,000 and made an arrangement exempting Hyde from paying anything. According to, Hyde was the only member of the congress sued for “gross negligence” in an S&L failure.[3]”

                I am NO bill Clinton advocate, but I remember H Hydes incredibly puerile rhetoric at the time of the impeachment INSPITE of his own behavior of poor character. Benchmarked him as a sociopath IMO.

    3. Everythings Jake

      This is just more propaganda from an administration that only Eddie Bernays could have invented. Nothing will actually change. From the AP report:

      From the AP report, proving that this is just more propaganda from the Obama administration – whose near entire M.O. on behalf the military-industrial complex, the FIRE sector, and militarized police has been that there’s never a problem that better press (aka lying) couldn’t cure (caps are mine for emphasis):

      The new policy does not affect asset seizures made under JOINT state and federal operations, and local law enforcement may still seize property under state laws.

      The program was developed at a time when most states didn’t have their own asset forfeiture laws and did not have legal authority to forfeit seized items, raising concerns that seized property might ultimately return to the hands of criminals. But Holder said ALL STATES now have civil or criminal asset forfeiture law, so it’s no longer as necessary for local law enforcement to turn over seized property to federal agencies.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘We vaporized some folks’ (continued):

    FXCM Inc., the brokerage facing a shortfall of nearly a quarter-billion dollars after highly-leveraged investors made losing bets on the Swiss franc, pushed back against U.S. regulatory efforts that likely would have left it less vulnerable.

    In 2010, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sought to force individual investors trading currencies to give their broker 10 cents in capital to back every $1 in positions. The regulator failed to accomplish that amid pressure from New York-based FXCM and other brokers, meaning only 2 cents must be pledged.

    The agency’s proposal would “have a devastating impact on the retail forex industry,” Drew Niv, FXCM’s chief executive officer, wrote in a March 2010 letter to the CFTC that was signed by eight other executives at currency dealers.

    The dirty little secret of highly leveraged trading is that the thin margins are solely intended to protect against an account getting wiped out by normal daily volatility — that is, one day’s move.

    In a rare event such the Swiss franc’s revaluation this week, ten years worth of volatility occurred in a single day. Thin margins of 2 to 5% were useless when the CHF popped 40% in a couple of minutes.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. A new generation of total return commodity funds buys futures equal in value to the fund’s capital, with a margin deposit of about 5%. Then the remaining 95% is invested in T-bills. Result: no leverage, no margin calls ever.

    Banks insist on operating with leverage of 10-to-1 and even higher. The Federal Reserve is leveraged 70-to-1. It is absolutely inevitable, given the fat-tailed volatility of markets, that these entities will get their teeth punched in every few years. It is deeply deplorable that their imprudence is viewed as our problem.

    1. diptherio

      My understanding of “leverage” is that it refers to using borrowed money. Pray tell, who is the Fed borrowing money from? I’m not understanding how you can say that the Fed is leveraged when it’s been buying bank paper with new issue….

      1. Jim Haygood

        The Fed has assets of $4.546 trillion, versus liabilities of $4.482 trillion (including $1.333 trillion of currency, $2.754 trillion of reserve balances owed to banks, $0.158 trillion of Treasury deposits, and $0.217 trillion of reverse repos).

        Banking system leverage refers to large pools of assets and liabilities (whether explicitly borrowed or simply owed to depositors), pyramided on a thin equity base.

        The Congressionally-sponsored companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used to operate at the same 70-to-1 leverage which the Federal Reserve uses today. Then a little problem with mortgages came along in 2008, and Fannie and Freddie both blew out their skinny equity. They remain wards of the government today, testifying to the principle that sooner or later, excessive leverage kills.

        Of course, the Fed isn’t going to blow out, since its currency liability is not redeemable (you can’t turn in a dollar bill for a chunk of silver no more). At worst, if interest rates rise and the Fed slides into negative net worth, it will stop remitting profits to the Treasury.

        Still, there’s something absurd about a 70-to-1 leveraged entity (the Fed) serving as the backstop for 10-to-1 leveraged entities (commercial banks) which regularly blow out their own equity. Leverage on top of leverage — surely if we keep trying, it will work some day!

        1. craazyman

          If it doesn’t work, we can always click our heels three times and start over!

          If we want to make it harder than that — just for the sake of ritual — we can load all the debt into a rocket and shoot it at the sun or the moon. That’ll get rid of it.

          There’s also something absurd about measuring n-dimensional social imagination wave forms with the same approach used to count a bucket full of tennis balls. Why do they do that?

          Old habits die hard. hahahahahah

          It’s waaaaaay to spacey for the indoctrinated econ PhDs to comprehend. It might make them think too much and bankrupt their heads, since their analytical methodologies are leveraged 90 to 1 on a thin equity base of impaired lucidity.

          It’s all a metaphor — but a metaphor for what? That’s the question and the answer.

          1. Jim Haygood

            The truth is stranger than fiction. Quoting from a Federal Reserve paper:

            One aspect of Federal Reserve Bank accounting that will be important in some scenarios is the deferred asset. When Reserve Bank income is not sufficient to cover … expenses, a deferred asset is created.

            Most other central banks do not record deferred assets and instead use different accounting policies. [Some] central banks allow for negative remittances—that is, transfers from rather than to the government—if the loss is too large.

            One example of a central bank with a form of a deferred asset is the Czech
            National Bank. This institution has operated for a number of years with a negative equity position and zero remittances.


            Those wild and crazy Czechs — pioneers of negative-equity central banking!

            Say brother … can you spare a ten-dollar negative remittance?

            1. craazyman

              did you make the party last night in New Yawk? I could not — due to too long and exhausting week & some digestive malady brought on by too many weeks like that. I’m usually roadkill on Friday evening. I have to crash until Saturday.

              Of all he wackos who post comments here, you’re one of the most sane, in my view. Maybe that means you’d stay away from those sorts of things. haha

              1. skippy

                You half to be careful when using any sort of esoterica in determining sanity craayman.

                Skippy…. bad track record thingy…

                1. craazyman

                  my judgment in that area does not have a good track record, I’ll admit that. I tend to be too trusting, maybe out laziness, since guile is exhausting for me

                  1. skippy

                    Self singularity esoterica could be out laziness, that’s not so bad tho’, its when even lazier folks take a shine to it.

                    Skippy…. 14,000 years now it seems. hunter gathers building temples to themselves, maybe they had a handle on ex nihilo.

                  1. Jim Haygood

                    Mixes great with bath salts. Let’s get deranged, put on Kurgman masks, and scare the sh*t out of tourists in Times Square.

    2. NotSoSure

      My broker should thank me then for sticking to my own self imposed 10 to 1 leverage on my FX positions. EUR/USD has been pretty delicious.

  3. flora

    re: “Privacy advocates say NSA reform doesn’t require ‘technological magic”.

    Another issue, unaddressed, is that making the network and computer systems easier to surveil also makes them harder to secure from attacks. From the latest SANS Internet Security newsletter:

    “TOP OF THE NEWS –The Crypto Question (January 15, 2015)
    “UK Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to ban encrypted communications without backdoors for government. Cameron is urging President Obama to pressure Apple, Google and Facebook to stop using stronger encryption in their communications products. An article published in The Guardian on Thursday includes details from a 2009 report from the US National Intelligence Council that has surfaced expresses concern that both government and private computers are not adequately protected because encryption is not being implemented as quickly as it ideally should be.

    “[Editor’s Note (Northcutt): I suspect the richer nations are going to have to develop their own encryption systems. The NSA may say that maintaining a known flawed algorithm was regrettable, but that dog won’t hunt.

    “(Honan): Interesting to note the day after Mr Cameron made the above promise the European Network and Information Agency (ENISA) issued a report called “Privacy and Data Protection by Design – from policy to engineering Agency” which urges governments within the European Union to use strong encryption.

    (Weatherford): This is absurd. For the past two decades we’ve been evangelizing for better security to protect our infrastructures and our information to ultimately advance our societies through the economic benefits of technology. This position is essentially saying, technology has advanced too far too fast so let’s dumb down security to make law enforcement’s job easier. It’s a Bizarro World argument. Dumbing down security simply makes the bad guys job easier and the security professional’s job harder – much harder. I understand (and truly don’t mean to minimize) the dilemma it presents to the intelligence community and law enforcement but that’s why the legal system has an entire branch of the U.S. Federal government dedicated to it.] “

    1. Carolinian

      Snowden, in the long interview that was recently linked here, says that the NSA used to be more of a defensive agency tasked with protecting Americans from cyberattacks from abroad. So this probably accounts for the bipolar nature of these calls for more encryption and less encryption. Snowden has also said that the British are far more intrusive in their privacy violations than the U.S. Cameron may be stamping his foot because his government’s spybot is being crippled.

      1. hunkerdown

        The dirty little secret of Five Eyes is that it serves elegantly as a way of getting around national charters’ prohibitions against internal spying. Among the FVEY, the UK’s authoritarian culture is the most stable, thus, GCHQ seems to have the least moral compunction against developing capabilities incompatible with democracy. Thus, despite all the USA’s cheap salesing about being “indispensable”, without GCHQ, efforts to police dissent in the other four republics lose an invaluable, deniable, secret informant.

        Also, how much more red-handed can one get caught than Mr. Cameron? One starts to wonder whether all those neckbeards whose first advice to those implementing their own crypto is “Don’t” and the resulting lack of diversity in cryptosystems has, in the same manner as the mystery other-half of the DUAL_EC_DRBG constants, made us all the more vulnerable by design or by accident.

      1. Ken Nari

        I guess the dry counties will then have to depend solely on tobacco taxes. But in so many ways Kansas has been a failed state for so long.

        And by the way Yves, hope the meet-up was a great success. While you were celebrating yesterday some of the most intelligent, informative and articulate comments ever seen on a blog were piling up (or clogging things up, as Lambert would have it — I’m sure every blog in the world wishes it could be “clogged” like that.) A real tribute to you. As you’ve proved, write intelligently and intelligent readers (and commenters) will come.

        1. Louis

          Of the states that don’t have a income-tax , most of them receive a substantial amount of their revenues from mineral-severance taxes. Unless Kansas has major energy or mining resources—I don’t believe they do—mineral-severance taxes won’t be a viable alternative to having an income tax.

          The math on Brownback’s proposal—eliminating the income tax and making up the shortfall with higher sin taxes—seems suspect. I could be wrong here—I’ve certainly been wrong before—but something doesn’t add up.

          1. hunkerdown

            The only math that’s salient here is making the poor pay for the rich. Hinduism made a religion of it; Brownback seeks to make it a science.

    1. ambrit

      How sweet. He replaces a tax system designed to equalize wealth, somewhat, with one that is purely regressive. (Unless or course, the alcohol tax is progressive, ie. tax rates go up as the ‘value’ of the bubbly does.)

      1. jrs

        Somewhat indeed. Does a flat tax equalize wealth? Almost ALL states with state income taxes have what is mostly a flat income tax and this is true even in states with a somewhat progressive looking tax structure as the maximum bracket is so low as to guarantee a middle class income and a 1% income will pay the same marginal rate.

        And here’s Kansas:
        Single Tax Brackets
        $0.00-$15,000 3.00%
        over $15,000.00 4.90% plus $450.00
        Couples Tax Brackets
        $0.00-$30,000 3.00%
        over $30,000.00 4.90% plus $900.00

        Tax Bracket (Single)
        $0-$15000 2.70%
        $15,000+ 4.90%
        Tax Bracket (Couple)
        $0-$30000 2.70%
        30,000+ 4.90%

        1. ambrit

          At least the state income taxes have Tax Brackets. Sin taxes are purely regressive in that the majority of legal sin ‘product’ users are of lower class, income, and educational levels. Also, if the social engineering component of the sin taxes works, the state should see a gradual diminishment in sin tax receipts. Then what? State fees on ‘privatized’ education? My money would be on an increase on state sales taxes, or, if the state does not have that, its’ introduction. Another big regressive tax scheme.
          Kansas, once Americas breadbasket, now its’ basket case.

      2. Louis

        It’s also worth pointing out that there is a limit to how much you can raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco without creating a black market. Above a certain point, people will buy alcohol and tobacco out of state and smuggle it back into Kansas to sell under the table.

        1. ambrit

          There is that, but it has always been there at some level or another. Then, however, you run the risk of “undesirables” being choked to death for selling ‘loosies.’
          Is Kansas one of the states suing Colorado for stealing business from local pot sellers, (and the cops they pay off?)

            1. ambrit

              Thanks. I wonder if those two states’ attorneys general approached the other Colorado neighbourhoods and were rebuffed?

  4. Jim A

    Re: Oil prices….Weren’t people saying earlier that wells developed by fracking were productive for shorter periods of time than conventional wells? So it stands to reason that these very low prices aren’t likely to be too persistent..

  5. barrisj

    Re: NYT “warmest year evah” headline – “…challenges climate-change skeptics.” NOTHING challenges climate-change deniers, they just move the goal-posts. “Hey, didja see the satellite data on the troposphere? How ’bout that temperature-stable ionosphere?” “Stratosphere looking good to me.” Just like the paid-off Big Tobacco entourage of “scientific experts”, as long as the money keeps coming, the climate deniers will do their thang and flood the media with their BS.

    1. BondsOfSteel

      I think at this point, there are only 3 kinds of skeptics left:

      1) Idiots. People just too dumb to understand the facts.
      2) Religious Nuts. People who for ideological reasons (some religious, some secular) ignore the facts. They believe in faith over facts.
      3) Douchebags. People that know the facts, but choose because of their job or money to ignore them.

      You’re not going to be able to change Religious Nuts or Douchebag’s minds. You have a chance at Idiots… so the challenge is to try and separate out the Idiots and avoid wasting time talking with the other two.

  6. Jeremy Grimm

    I read through the comments on today’s Archdruid posting and ran across the following reference to Naked Capitalism:
    chrome_fox said…

    Thank you for the post!

    In fact, my journey to this blog started with my curiosity with regards to the 2007/2008 global financial fiasco when I was in high school. Can’t overstate how much NakedCapitalism blog and their daily links (your blog is often featured these days, by the way) have changed my perspective about society and finance. All roads do lead to Rome, apparently.

    The Archdruid’s post and several of the comments recalled the post here from a year or so ago about sensing a “disturbance in the Force”.

    1. susan the other

      Archdruid’s March of the Squirrels. Great read today. I thought someone for sure would post a suggestion for best squirrel case scenario.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      That Archdruid read was an eye opener. Would love to hear Yves opinion (or others with economics skills) as to how plausible his Impending Collapse scenario is. It sure sounds plausible to me (as an economic layman).

    1. Banger

      CT? Are you saying the FBI has its own agenda and is plotting to illegally make itself look good? We know that 9/11 caused FBI agents to be focused on “terror” rather than Wall Street–coincidence? Of course, it has to be–I no longer connect dots. William Black wrote on this on these pages some time back.

      1. Jackrabbit

        This is NOT CT. This is well documented.

        I think the question of FBI priorities and the mention of their change in focus after 9-11 are valid and important points. I appreciate your adding that.

        I really don’t think that Lambert’s policy is designed to shut down discussion that has a factual basis.

        1. James

          i>I really don’t think that Lambert’s policy is designed to shut down discussion that has a factual basis.

          Which implies that some discussions don’t, based on still contested factual bases. And therein lies the problem.

      2. James

        No proof? It is by definition theory. Never mind that ALL of science is theory awaiting proof, some more than others.

      1. James

        I dunno, sounds like a whole lot of unsubstantiated theory there to me JR. And where in the world do you get off characterizing the FBI as “overzealous” anyway, neverminding “concocting plots”? What, are you un-American, or what? Should I dial up DHS right now and report you, just to be sure?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          There has been a great deal of evidence provided on tech sites, and we’ve linked to it.

          You are rapidly accumulating troll points for persistent dishonest argumentation.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      This new dead ender (Christopher Cornell) entrapped by FBI made me think immediately of the Newburg Four. Same MO. The FBI prolly saw him on facebook making wild comments and decide “Here’s a good chump for the playbook.”

      His father said he didn’t have a nickle to his name. Like he was gonna cookup a plot on his own, uh huh.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Bobby Kennedy announced to the Black community of Indianapolis during what as supposed to be a campaign stop, the murder of Martin L.King. Notice the lack of police security. The police told him they could not protect him if he went out that night in the ghetto. Among the least damaged cities in America that night was Indianapolis. Real politicians know people, they take calculated risks based on that knowledge. RFK was no more in danger there that night than anyone walking the streets of America on any given day, in any given place because all of us are human beings, not natural born killers and a good leader can keep us from moving out of anger into our heart of darkness that sets the stage for acting out violence and murder.

  7. participant-observer-observed

    With the providence of yesterday’s Salon report on HH Dalai Lama’s marxism confession, I want to take this opportunity to inform NC readers (and writers) of a new book out by one of my faculty at the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology:

    The author also has an interactive twitter side-bar with information and developments associated with the book at the above link.

    “This “fresh, energetic, and revolutionary manifesto” (Santiago Slabodsky) takes its leads from the core insights of Karl Marx, from process philosophers in China (Taoism) and in the West (Alfred North Whitehead), from ecology, and from the organic practices of sustainable communities. This “postmodern Marxism,” the authors argue, is not deterministic and utopian. It allows for market forces while limiting corruption and excessive profit-taking by the wealthy. In the end, localized systems of production and trade, steeped in the cultural traditions of a given people, are far more sustainable and life-affirming than a globalized economy run by the richest banks and multinational corporations. The book is a call to action. We can no longer sit by passively and allow unlimited consumption by the wealthy when it means that there will be nothing left for our grandchildren. Without a planetary crisis, the rich would remain in power. As we approach the planet’s limits, however, there is no other option but to shift to an organic, ecological civilization. Clayton and Heinzekehr show how scientists and economists, farmers and small business people, artists and religious leaders are coming together around the globe, building communities for the common good.”

  8. Stephen Haust

    Orazag’s BloombergView about Brill’s Bitter Pill (NC Jan 16th)

    Does Orszag always talk like this? Has anyone figured out what he said?
    Is this why the Ivy League elites get the fat paying “jobs”?

    The only appropriate word I can think of is “obfuscation”. But then,
    his vocabulary must be bigger than mine. Must be.

    1. James

      No, you’re intuition’s right. He’s indeed that stupid trying to appear to be smart, and you’re indeed just the opposite. Uncomfortable at first, ain’t it? Welcome to the club. That’s the purpose.

  9. Jackrabbit

    Greenwald has a report out about the foiled attack on the capital building (at He writes:

    The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terr-r attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.


    PS I tried to post this earlier.

  10. Jim Haygood

    The D.C. revolving door spins in another corporate insider:

    Marilyn Tavenner, the U.S. official who directed the stumbling roll-out of Obamacare as well as its recovery in recent months, will resign as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

    Tavenner said in an e-mail to staff that she’ll step down at the end of next month. She didn’t give her reasons for leaving.

    Andy Slavitt, a former UnitedHealth Group Inc. executive who is the agency’s second highest-ranking official, will move into Tavenner’s job on a temporary basis.

    Since Obamacare was ghost-written by a Wellpoint hack, it certainly makes sense for a UnitedHealth alumnus to take over the looting reform process.

  11. ewmayer

    o Silicon Valley Companies Agree to Pay $415 Million to Settle “No Poaching” Suit | Re/code

    Local (SF Bay area) news coverage of the settlement cited 64,000 plaintiffs in the class, so given the huge number of affected employees and the likely amounts saved by the firms engaged in the conspiracy and the lack of criminal charges against any of the racketeers, I’m not seeing how this is much of a deterrent. The Eric Schmidts of the world — i.e. the top techno-bras who benefited from this, their own anticompetitive conspiracy — could pay the entire settlement out of petty cash. JPM-style “cost of doing business”, baby!

    o U.S. Marine general sees competition for next amphibious ship | Reuters

    As with the F-35 and similar “jobs programs for military contractors”, the real competition will be to see who can overpromise most shamelessly and waste the most government money.

  12. Ulysses

    From the Counterpunch article in today’s links:

    “FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt), whose legacy Democrats continue to milk for populist credibility, straightforwardly called state capture by corporate interests fascism. The missing piece linking these modern trade deals to traditional fascism is nationalism. But why would supranational governance need nationalism to inspire when engineered economic dependence— immiseration, can accomplish the same outcome?”

    Rob Urie is making a very important point here that bears emphasis. Today’s transnational corporatists are able to appear far less scary than the fascists of the 20th century because they don’t advocate genocide, or enslavement based on theories of racial supremacy. Yet the totalitarian control that the sort of men, and women, who party in Davos aspire to is every bit as complete as that sought by Mussolini or Franco.

    It will be small comfort for us, living under the grinding oppression of a fully realized supranational corporate governance scheme, to know that we are not oppressed for being Jewish, or gay, or non-white, but merely because there is no force left in the world to resist the almighty corporate and bankster elites.

    The neoliberal elites are not nationalists. Therefore any successful resistance to liberal power must be consciously international, and based on solidarities of class experience more than anything else.

    1. James

      It will be small comfort for us, living under the grinding oppression of a fully realized supranational corporate governance scheme, to know that we are not oppressed for being Jewish, or gay, or non-white, but merely because there is no force left in the world to resist the almighty corporate and bankster elites.

      Yep, small comfort indeed! Other than the fact that we all asked, nee – BEGGED for it – of course.

  13. hunkerdown

    From Scared Amateur to Slaughterer: Chérif and Saïd Kouachi’s Path to Paris Attack at Charlie Hebdo (Pravda-on-the-Hudson). A lovely gift for those of you who read your articles from the last paragraph backward:

    When a salesman came to the door, one of the Kouachi brothers merely told him to go away.
    “Leave,” the brother said, like a soldier. “We don’t shoot civilians.”

    Some salespeople are more civilian than others. Golly, just imagine had all this happened at Le Monde. Paging Bob Geldof… “Nous sommes Le Monde, nous sommes les enfants…”

  14. tommy strange

    excellent posts by yves. totally agree. Chomsky had much to say, and he was right, about the JFK thing back in the 80’s. I’ve read all the ‘real books’ about history from anarchist to center. As well as analysis of ‘states’ from Bakunin to present Hedges etc. I have always thought CT was a way to deny responsibility in taking action to overthrow economic and political hierarchies. Because, it’s behind the curtain dude, you can’t do it! The real conspiracies are simply class based interest to consolidate power and roll back all peoples’ gains. That’s all right there in front of us. Why anyone would waste time ‘going behind the curtain” always escaped me. Another recent comment by Chomsky is relevant too: (paraphrased) “It is interesting that everyone involved in 9/11 truther stuff, or still rambling on about JFK, are never people that are involved in any bottom up class resistance…they have no history of social, or political analysis, nor do they pursue it, outside of the ‘look over here instead”. And if you think I am leaving information to ‘elites’, you’re crazy. I’ve read every book from AK press, since day one, and consider it one of the best publishers in the english language. A bottom up anarchist collective. But these well read anarchists will point to the same facts that I do. Whether from Hersh, or the newer CIA book Ashes. I also find CT’ers amazing lacking in anarchist, socialist history. You never hear them lauding bottom up reversals of totalitarian control, even though all have ‘failed’. Ask a CTer how it was possible half of Spain was able to hold back Franco, Hitler and Mussolini with no democratic countries help, only our people as fighters …or ask them how chiapas is able to hold on, with the existence of this ‘deep state’, you won’t get an answer. There are actors, there is money, there is fascism, and there are identifiable power structures wherein all actors can be replaced. It all comes down to class war, and war for the earth. When CTers join us on the ground, then maybe we will listen. Now they all sound like pudgy little men in a basement, telling ‘us’ we’re stupid.

    1. ambrit

      Interesting you should bring up Spain in the 1930s. My understanding was that the Trotskyites were liquidated by the order of Stalinists from Moscow. The Spanish Republic did well with the help of Moscow and Independents. Then the Purges. Could Republican Spain have held out till 1940 and the larger war taken some of the pressure off of them? I don’t know, no one does.
      I don’t know enough about Chiapas to comment, but the trials and tribulations of the families of the Desaparacidos in Mexico is instructive.

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