Links 1/21/15

Xbox, Sony hackers hit by hack attack BBC (furzy mouse)

As U.S. Bids to Renew Relations With Havana, Heralded Cuban Diabetes Drug Remains Off-Limits FairWarning (martha r)

Asian Banks in Trouble Frontline

Countdown to ECB QE

Is Draghi about to massively misfire? CNBC

Tensions simmer over eurozone QE Financial Times

Draghi’s eurozone steroids BBC

QE and central bank solvency Bruegel

Central bank prophet fears QE warfare pushing world financial system out of control Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

France begins jailing people for ironic comments Electronic Intifada (YY)

Olympic host Brazil dominates list of world’s 50 most dangerous cities McClatchy (furzy mouse)

Citgo Said to Plan $2.5 Billion Debt for Venezuela Dividend Bloomberg. Optimader: “Ouch this will be a bond equivalent of a garage sale.”


Distortions, lies and omissions: The New York Times won’t tell you the real story behind Ukraine, Russian economic collapse Salon. An important, blistering piece. Circulate widely.

Ukraine Goes to War – and Always Will as Long as Maidan Holds Power Russia Insider (via Vineyard of the Saker, courtesy YY)



ISIS Pisses Off Pacifist Japan by Taking Hostages Daily Beast (furzy mouse)

Obama calls for congressional authorization for the war against ISIS Washington Post

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How to Catch a Terrorist New Yorker (furzy mouse)

Europe Considers Surveillance Expansion After Deadly Attacks Intercept. Quelle surprise!

Seriously? NSA Knew North Korea Hacked Sony Because It Hacked North Korea First Peter Van Buren, Firedoglake

SOTU. You will find more respectful commentary from Lambert in today’s Water Cooler (as in merely giving it more coverage is more respect than it deserves)

What You Need to Know About the State of the Union Gawker

Retro SOTU Speech Shows Populism Has Gone Mainstream in U.S. Politics Bloomberg. Featured for the layers of spin. Note that I gave you the subject line of the media e-mail from Bloomberg.

Bold Call to Action in Obama’s State of the Union, Even if No Action Is Likely New York Times. Obama in a nutshell.


GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE WEBSITE QUIETLY SHARING PERSONAL DATA Associated Press (martha r). Complain to your Congressperson about this.

‘Koch Primary’ Tests Hopefuls In the G.O.P. New York Times

Only Sarah Palin has worse numbers than Christie in new CBS presidential poll Asbury Park Press (furzy mouse)

Missouri 9-month-old fatally shot in his crib by 5-year-old brother, police say Washington Post (martha r). I grew up in a family that owned guns. Keeping one near the bed was not even remotely on the radar of what was considered sensible


Ex-S&P Exec Joins Battle Against SEC Administrative Actions Litigation Daily


Whiplash! ClubOrlov

BHP cuts shale production amid oil drop Financial Times

Not your usual oil-price decline effect FT Alphaville

Fed’s Powell Says Rate-Rigging Undermines Trust in Banking WSJ Economics. They are figuring that out only now?

S&P faces rating suspension in SEC deal Financial Times

Class Warfare

The office cubicle: Inside the box Economist

People are very strange: murder edition Ian Welsh. Not class in the classic sense but gets at the issue of tribalism.

If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end New Statesman (martha r). Provocative and more insightful than you’d think given the headline.

Antidote du jour:

smiling lizard links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. gonzomarx

    The poor are getting richer, and other dangerous delusions

    The seven “dangerous delusions”, in the campaign group’s eyes are:
    1. The poor are getting richer
    2. Big business runs things better
    3. We need to have faith in the market to solve our problems
    4. All you need is growth
    5. Everyone wins under free trade
    6. Africa needs our help
    7. Aid makes the world a fairer place

      1. jgordon

        The defining characteristic of cancer is that it grows until the host dies. That’s a good analogy for the economy and the earth.

  2. Ned Ludd

    In France, posting this cartoon might get you arrested:

    I imagine the Electronic Intifada article, which shows the cartoon, could get the writer, Palestinian American journalist Ali Abunimah, arrested in France. If Yves lived in France, could she get arrested for linking to their article?

    His alleged crime? He posted on Facebook a cartoon “representing a person holding the magazine Charlie Hebdo, being hit by bullets, and accompanied by an ‘ironic’ comment,” France 3 states.

    The teen lives at home with his parents, has no prior judicial record and, according to prosecutor Yvon Ollivier quoted by French media, he does not have a “profile suggesting an evolution toward jihadism.”

    The boy told prosecutors that he posted the cartoon because he thought it was “funny.”

    The media reports do not include the drawing – presumably that could put journalists afoul of the law.

    The outlawed cartoon is a parody of an earlier cover by Charlie Hebdo, which made fun of Muslim protesters getting gunned down during the July 2013, military coup in Egypt.

    1. Andrew Watts

      France has an embarrassing surplus of bourgeoisie bohemians. What you need to know about bobos is that they are hypocritical and they always claim the moral high ground while maintaining their privileged lifestyle. Nor will they do anything that threatens that lifestyle.

  3. Ditto maker

    Heterosexual men and sex

    As a gay man, I feel that my being an outsider gives me a perspective on straight sex, relationships and sexuality. With the clear view that I’m not advocating sex against ones will or sexual assault, I think too many sraight women still play a lot of games with sex with men they actually want to be with that props gates gender roles.Some of that comes from social norms, but some of it seems to come from a desire to control. I’ve had some women try this with me until I pointed out I’m. gay and the norm rules don’t apply. It seems like a desire to both be liberated from , but also control men at the same time by using social norms. I think true liberation will only come from both sides destroying the games. I have seen. this control play out in the work place in ways that are unhealthy for women (who may be abused due gender expectations) and men (who may think with their penis). Gay men have a lot of flaws. Some times the ease of too much access to sex can be one of them. However not being shackled to the gender games is thankfully is not one of them. A gay man could not truly play these types of games that I’m inartfully describing even if he wanted to. It affects how we view relationships in good and bad ways. It affects how we view gender not just sexually but expectations biased on gender. In my view there are things gays can learn from straights but there are relationship and social lessons that straights can learn also from us.

    1. vidimi

      given that this is an economics and finance blog, we can explain this gender game you describe in economic terms: in heterosexual relations, supply (penis) vastly exceeds demand (vagina). in homosexual relations, the market is always in equilibrium.

      1. Irrational

        @ vidimi: Erm… I think it is more complicated than that.
        I – as a woman who does play whatever game for a variety of reasons – can see quite a bit of what ditto maker describes going on!

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I think I am as clueless as vidimi on this front. I never expected or even wanted a man to support me financially, so I can’t relate to these games (plus by the peculiar circumstances of how I grew up, I got as little female conditioning as it is possible to get if you were not brought up in a cave).

        However, women still make less than men and have less job security (as in tons of environments I’ve been in, women as presumed betas will be preferred scapegoats. The bankruptcy rate among single women is higher than among any other household configuration. That’s one big reason why women tend to be internal whistleblowers more than men, they are more likely to be the losers when the mess blows up).

        So the deal has long been, and still too much is, that women trade the use of their bodies (sex and having children) for financial security. But the risks are still asymmetrical and not in their favor. If you give away sex too freely, men will not value it (as in give you financial support), particularly if you get a reputation for being “easy” (not as much a risk in big cities, where people can maintain more privacy, but in smaller communities, it’s a lot harder to keep your private life under wraps). If you get pregnant, you are really physically vulnerable in the final months of the pregnancy and the woman is unquestionably the party primarily responsible for childrearing and even support (yes we have courts enforcing child support, but you can’t get blood from stones if the man has a bad patch). The man has the option as to how much time and to a degree, how much money he contributes to the upbringing of his child.

        Thus I can see the gameplaying as a rational but flawed response, as to test men as to the seriousness of their interest, since the woman has more downside.

    1. abynormal

      its got the expression of one that knows you’ll eventually cross the river…

      ALLIGATOR, n. The crocodile of America, superior in every detail to the crocodile of the effete monarchies of the Old World. Herodotus says the Indus is, with one exception, the only river that produces crocodiles, but they appear to have gone West and grown up with the other rivers. From the notches on his back the alligator is called a saurian. ~Ambrose Bierce

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The interesting thing about its anatomy is the brain is relatively large to its body. So is its tail.

        Now, that is a relatively large brain, quantity-wise. Is it all reptilian or more compassion and reasoning? Now, that’s a quality issue.

    2. CaitlinO

      What’s going on with the human’s fingers? They seem to have bulb shaped ends. They look like it could be tough to pick up something small or do any kind of delicate hand work.

    3. craazyman

      Looks to me like the Geico car insurance lizard. I don’t have a TV so I’m not sure if he’s still working for Geico but he looks like he’s getting on pretty well thes days, just from his expression

    1. Ken Nari

      Le plus ça change…

      From a pop song of the early ’80s, now nearly forgotten, written, I think, by Didier Barbelivien.

      On est libre de ce qu’on pense
      Mais attention a ce qu’on dit
      Car honni soit qui mal y pense
      Entre Provence et Normandie
      Entre Provence et Normandie

      On a tous passé notre enfance
      Dans un village de ce pays
      On a appris l’histoire de France
      Entre Provence et Normandie
      Entre Provence et Normandie

      Roughly: “One is free to think what one likes, but be careful of what one says…one has learned the history of France.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Wasn’t familiar with that expression: (Don’t ever throw the handle after the wood splitting ax) trans -> don’t ever throw in the towel.

      is this the gist? Might as well push it into the ground (much like our approach of protecting civil liberties by eliminating them all together)?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Brooklin Bridge, since we talking about wood splitting axes here, I am reminded that we could go to jail in France for simply writing about the tree Quebracho (a very hard wood tree species native to South America), whose name means ‘axe breaking’ (from quebrar hacha).

          That’s ironic (in the very name of the tree itself).

    3. Vatch

      Clearly France needs something similar to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Nobody should be killed for writing satire, and nobody should be jailed for it either.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Their crime was not “satire,” it was “irony.” An apparent distinction WITH a difference.

        1. Vatch

          It doesn’t matter which literary style is used. People shouldn’t be jailed or murdered simply for writing or saying things in the manner of Doug Piranha.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I would definitely not say ‘Holy Roman Empire’ in France.

            It’s ironic it was neither holy, nor Roman. For sure, not an empire.

            So, history buffs beware when visiting here.

          2. susan the other

            Our Achilles heel is that language, words, are never going to be as sophisticated as our immediate perceptions of truth and irony. Irony is us. Now that’s irony.

      2. hunkerdown

        Whatever fancy word white people want to make up so they don’t have to call it “bullying” is of little interest to me.

  4. abynormal

    5yro shoots 9mo baby brother…will we prosecute the 5yro as an adult?

    April 2014 More than 98 percent of the 1,500 cases of children charged as adults between 2012 and 2013 were brought by prosecutors under the direct file statute. The law offers no opportunity for a judge to review or reverse the prosecutor’s decision, no matter how unsuitable the case is for criminal court.
    Prosecutors may contend that they transfer young offenders to adult court for only the most serious crimes. But of the children tried in adult court in Florida in 2012 and 2013, 60 percent had been accused of nonviolent offenses, according to data Human Rights Watch analyzed.

    1. Vince in MN

      The 5yr old should be given a life sentence without parole to one of our fine for profit privately owned publicly financed license plate manufactories and the parents should be sterilized.

      1. abynormal

        that’ll learn 5yro’s to pause and think about their actions :-/

        “Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” ~Melville

        “The ecstasy of wrath is not enough for vengeance!”

  5. Jim Haygood

    Even as Chairman Obamao calls for another AUMF (Authorization for the Use of MFers), the war news from the Arabian front has developed not necessarily to our advantage:

    (Reuters) – Yemen’s minority Shi’ite Houthi fighters took up guard at President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s home on Wednesday but said they had not toppled him, after two days of fighting which left little doubt that the enfeebled leader was now at their mercy.

    The Houthis, friendly to Iran, swept into the capital four months ago and have emerged as the dominant force in the country. For now at least they appear to have decided to stop short of overthrowing Hadi, possibly preferring to exert control over a weakened leader rather than take on the burden of power.

    Their defeat of the presidential guards in gunbattles and artillery duels in recent days adds to disarray in a country where the United States is also carrying out drone strikes against one of the most powerful branches of al Qaeda.

    President Hadi, comrades: he may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard. And now he’s Iran’s bastard too.

    1. susan the other

      Isn’t it interesting that we aligned with Saudi Arabia for 75 years and were loyal trade partners and now as their oil reserves are running down to the last 5-or-so years of production we have let them fall into a price-war desperation. They are pumping oil like there is no tomorrow – because there isn’t. Tomorrow belongs to Iran and the Caspian. And that’s where we really are. Those Caspian reserves will last another 25 years or so and then as Orlov says, the industrial manufacturing market will also run aground. Without industrial economies, oil is just another toxic sludge. It is really all planned out, comrades. But what on earth will replace steel and aluminum and copper and ceramics and you name it? A voluntary pre-industrial world?

  6. Ned Ludd

    A commenter re-framed Ian Welsh’s question in an interesting way:

    …why do “they,”those over there who do justify war and killing, now find it more comfortable to find their justifications in nationalism, or maybe “human rights” for the R2P crowd, or some other abstract but supposedly reasoned principles…rather than religious community or raw ethnic tribalism.

    1. Whine Country

      I read recently that possibly there are many NFL teams that have played with deflated balls. Isn’t is well known that deflated balls is a symptom of steroid use?

    2. Vince in MN

      Without reading the article, I at first thought that “Patriots Inflated Balls Scandal” was in reference to our male-dominated Washington political establishment “leadership”.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Believe it or not, each team gets its own set of balls. You’re right they could solve this whole issue by playing with one set of balls.

  7. jjmacjohnson

    It is as though workers can just change the ofice on their own. Bosses always let workers decide on their work environments right?

    1. jrs

      I don’t even find cubicals particularly oppressive. They are ok for introverts. I mean it’s not like we’re going to be able to have any say in our office anyway, so the last thing I want is some extroverts pushing the whole world to open offices which we will also have no choice in, extroverts already make life hard enough for introverts as is.

      I think a lot of people’s frustration with office work in general gets projected onto cubicals. Yea the average office job kinda sucks. What would you change if you ran the place? Maybe work less, but also maybe get to do more interesting tasks to do etc.? The first thing would probably not be cubicals.

      How workers could break free? They could own the means of production.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Complain to your Congressperson about Obamacare sharing personal data? No. Just be a refusenik. Once the Database State has your vital info, they’ll never give it back.

    Don’t sign HIPAA forms either (a legacy of the 1996 Kennedy-Kassebaum Act). You’re not required to. Tell ’em to take their invasive fedgov paperwork and shove it. Do it for Teddy!

    1. diptherio

      I think he actually did mention torture. Something to the effect of, “We’re not going to do that anymore, that’s not who we are.”

      I was a little surprised to hear how much Obama has taken over the cadences and inflections of GWB. There were moments, especially when he was talking about national security, that he seemed to be doing a spot-on impersonation of his predecessor.

      We had a little dinner party last night and, to my great surprise, a lot of the ’20-something’ guests were keen to listen to the SOTU and to tear it apart and mock both Obama and his speech. And this was a crowd of artists and hipsters–not exactly the type of people who you think about as being interested in politics. That much of the SOTU, at least, was encouraging…

      1. Banger

        I ignored it. As for GWB–it is a sensible thing to do for a good politician–with the popularity of American Sniper and all.

      2. Llewelyn Moss

        I did not watch the SOTU b/c I can’t stomach Obama anymore. But I did surf by PBS afterwards. Mark Shields said Obama sounded Reagan-esque in his delivery. I guess that was a compliment. Oh geez.

    1. Andrew Watts

      That ludicrous allegation stopped being funny many years ago. If I was suckered into unwittingly help form the Islamic State through the merger of Baathist loyalists and Al Qaeda in Iraq at Camp Bucca I would’ve come up with a lame conspiracy theory like that too. It sounds like the plot from a bad movie.

      Unfortunately there is multiple eyewitness accounts including from a few American prison guards. These accounts consistently cast the would be Caliph as a mediator in the midst of the prison population. All the while the US military didn’t even know how close al-Baghdadi was to the leadership of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

      Detainees organized and administered their own classes in subjects like literacy and religion, and competed in soccer matches.” -Wikipedia entry on Camp Bucca

      Fools. That wasn’t the only thing they were organizing. I gotta wonder if the whole idea of organizing and administering the classes came from the Caliph himself.

  9. Doug Terpstra

    Orlov is a worthwhile read. He debunks the oil-price collusion theory by saying it wouldn’t matter either way (a distinction w/out a difference, as I asked the other day, so what?); yet he stokes the fire under Charlie Hebdo as a staged FF, as well as the Ukr shootdown of MH17. Worth reading for inquiring minds.

    1. Banger

      What do you think of Yves putting up a link to a story and a site that is what Yves and Lambert would consider CT (I hate the term but everyone uses it) oriented? But the whiplash I feel is from the obvious contradiction. I can’t comment on the content of that article in which Hebdo and Boston are both mentioned in a CT kind of way since I’m skating on thin ice here. But maybe someone else can.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Mod/ban bait ;-)? “Fair” questions or curiosity directly pertinent to current events are probably okay, if they’re not too presumptive, idly speculative, gratuitously accusatory, or shrill? And maybe if we called it a “collusion, connivance, or collaboration theory” (same acronym), it wouldn’t sound quite as mad-foil-hatter or lunatic-fringe sinister. The unavoidable fact is that secret schemes to defraud, rig prices, fix interest rates, exchange rates, and to start wars and commit murder/assassinations are so terribly common now that not asking “serious” questions about pivotal events that sit up and beg to be asked is just plain foolish. I’m still not quite sure just where that line is; maybe it’s like the gray one between erotic art and porn. If it’s enabling, ennobling, uplifting, and inspiring, it’s art; if it’s debasing, vulgar, and disempowering, it’s porn.

        It’s now the too-frequent —secretive— MO of NSA, CIA, and the USG to propadagandize, lie, cheat, steal, change regimes, wage aggressive war, run guns and drugs, kidnap, falsely imprison and murder people overtly and covertly on a scale that make the mafia look like juvenile thugs. There are as many or more deadly cloak-and-dagger ops now than in the Cold War, and the USG and its Neocon handlers are practically a crime syndicate. To NOT ALWAYS distrust and question its motives, would be supremely disempowering.

        1. jgordon

          No friggin kidding. You have to be supremely naive and/or bought to say things like “tin foil hat” and “conspiracy theory” these days. False flags are SOP as far as states that want wars/control go. To assume that such a convenient event for the security apparatus were not a false flag would verge on being suicidally gullible.

      2. JIm


        Just caught-up with the brohaha over CT over the past few days. I think there is plenty of room to continue to engage in a discussion on this deep state issue if an attempt is made to tighten-up the theoretical framework. I think a great place to start would be the article/book “National Security and Double Government” by Michael J. Glennon. I believe he has made a powerful case for arguing that National Security Policy(independent of Congress, the Presidency and the Courts) is largely defined by a network of executive officers (unelected technocrats) who manage the departments and agencies responsible for framing U.S. National security. These technocrats may also be the more visible portion of a network that has connections to the more nefarious/muscle portions of the surveillance State.

        I also believe that it may be worthwhile exploring whether such a framework could be broadened and linked to the making of domestic economic policy as well ( a group of unelected Big Finance/capital representatives (largely independent of Congress, the Presidency and the Courts) who frame U.S. Economic policy and who were responsible, among many other things, for the decision to save the banking structure in 2008.

        But, in addition to this type of more traditional empirical work, there is an additional issue which needs to be explored.

        Yves, Lambert and yourself all appear to endorse a type of metaphysical position which I would label as the politics of description or a type of metaphysical realism(which must be cherished, followed and applied) Yves and Lambert have been successful, thus far, in arguing that you are not meeting their stricter standards in this area (Lambert “ Its a question of method…standards of evidence and reasoning” and Yves “using “Deep State as a default with no other analysis or evidence amounts to CT”

        I believe that such a politics of description is also open to critique and may have to be transcended before this cultural/political/financial/ economic crisis can be solved. MMT is a prime example of the attempt to articulate such a politics (and Lambert and Yves have completely bought into it.)

        From my perspective the MMT understanding of the monetary machinery of the modern State is simply one interpretation of it and not the truth about it, as Yves continually implies in her plumbing analogy and MMT theorists also tend to argue. However after six or seven years of debate there are now numerous alternative views and interpretations on this issue—see, for example, the brilliant writings of JKH .

        Banger, if there is also going to be a cultural revolution then I would argue that you may have to also rethink your assumptions in this area and perhaps begin to explore the interpretative nature of description, if we are not to repeat the logic of the status quo– which implies that facts have an absolute existence regardless of what we think. Such a metaphysical perspective tends to unite MMT, the neoliberals and the Krugmanites and in my opinion stands in the way of the real paradigm shift needed.

        1. susan the other

          One of the reasons I really like Lambert is because he is a provocateur; a really good one.

        2. Banger

          Jim, always interesting to hear from you but I can’t and won’t comment on the subject matter. You’re on your own. Good luck.

          1. Jim

            Banger, I consider your perspective as an important part of the NC conversation. For example, your street-sense about how power actually operates is extremely valuable, especially at this point in our ongoing and accelerating crisis.

            Now is also the time to press forward, especially on the idea front–we may be on the cusp of significant paradigm shifts on many different levels. We seem to be at a point where all of us need to challenge our most fundamental assumptions–and NC has created a public forum we this can be done–it could be great fun and a phenomenal collective learning experience–as well as a profound threat to the status quo.

            Lets get down to work.

        3. Doug Terpstra

          More, please. The distinction between the physical “absolute existence” of facts and the “metaphysical” WRT the dysfunctional status quo eludes me.

          I still don’t get MMT relative to debt creation myself, but it does seem to describe how money actually works now, albeit very inefficiently and harmfully, under cartel control. Yves “plumbing” metaphor works (for me) because I can visualize money having fluid-dynamic properties akin to water, oil or fuel in a hydraulic system. Money is created as debt outside of the mechanism/organism by elite fiat (demand/dictate) and channeled thru a semi-sententient engine/organism, society to produce some optimum of goods and services, or wealth.

          MMT is already happening now …. but under the control of a self-serving amoral cartel— Wall St banks that own the “Fed”, Congress, and the POTUS. Every economic system is a political economy with some legal structure, and back to plumbing, the one we suffer now under the cartel is a leaky, dangerous, unsanitary, noisy and explosive contraption worthy of Brasil (the movie) that rarely works, requires constant jerry-rigging and expensive repairs and serves only a tiny fraction of the household. It’s a badly engineered system under an authoritarian regime.

          Redesigned, maintained and operated under an actual democracy, MMT, as.I understand it, could be a dynamic engine of efficiently-regulated free enterprise and sustainable wealth creation that rewards merit and creative production while distributing broad-based prosperity in a constructive sustainable demand-supply cycle. The entire design team, management, and piping will have to be replaced for MMT to work well.

          1. Jim

            “Redesigned, maintained and operated under an actual democracy, MMT, as I understand it, could be a dynamic engine of efficiently-regulated free enterprise and sustainable wealth creation…”

            Doug, I tend to agree with your statement but my internal alarm bells went off way back when MMT rolled out its first rendition. Its major theorists then presented its description of our monetary system not as an interpretation but as the truth.

            This type of imposition, within what I call a politics of description, I consider completely undemocratic.

            That is one reason why the Left needs to construct a theory of the State because today it has not only not withered away but instead merged with Big Capital and Big finance.

            In its later renditions MMT has come closer to admitting that it has a powerful State-centric bias (through its calls for the merger of Treasury and Fed)–an even more impelling reason for creating a democratic theory of the State.

        4. jgordon

          “From my perspective the MMT understanding of the monetary machinery of the modern State is simply one interpretation of it and not the truth about it..”

          Your only mistake was the caveat “from my perspective”. Your statement is an accurate description of reality. Not meaning to assume knowledge of the internal thought processes of Yves et al here, but I believe that they have mistaken their interpretation of reality for reality itself and thus have gone off the tracks. Human beings walk around with a plethora of models swirling around inside our brains about how reality really works–and every single one of these models are merely products of our collective cultural and subjective experience. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s all bullshit.

          Anyway, I recommend trying psilocybin (only if legal in your locality of course). It’s a great way of briefly turning off all the cultural programming garbage so you temporarily see the universe as it really is, as if you hadn’t grown up in a utterly perverted and warped cultural context. Actually, that’s more than likely why the powers that be take a dim of view of substances that can impart such knowledge. Wouldn’t want the plebs knowing that all the stuff these guys do is complete useless bullshit now.

      3. Yves Smith Post author


        Your remark is petulant and a straw man of our position. And if you don’t like what we ask of readers, which is for factual support and logic for their commentary, you need to post on another site. We’ve warned you and now you’ve resorted to complaining about our house policies, AND misrepresenting our view. On Barry Ritholtz’s site, and we regard his comments polices as Web standard, that alone would be grounds for banning.

        Orlov gives evidence and a logical arguments to support his views. You too often talk about your pet Deep State as a mysterious force responsible for much, with no particular theory or evidence. You use it as a personal magical talisman.

        We aren’t interested in that, PARTICULARLY, as we told you, that point of view is disempowering. As we said a mere four days ago to you:

        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.

        We keep telling you clearly what is objectionable about your mode of non-arguement. Instead of dropping it and making changes, you come back and misrepresent our position and whine.

        If you think you are going to win your little power struggle with us, you are sorely mistaken.

        1. skippy

          Same MO as he who can not be named and beardo et al, maybe he should familiarize himself with the term institutional capture [w/ ideological], which then runs into a epic hair ball game of Metaphysical Extension and Compenetration.

          Skippy…. Cue the Life of Brian… Prophet #1. Beardo…. Prophet #2. Monetarists…. Prophet #3. Banger and mob.

        2. EmilianoZ

          “Deep State” is to the political scientist what “Dark Matter” is to the physicist. We cannot observe it directly but, if we do not postulate its existence, the known universe does not make sense.

          1. Gaianne


            A very nice analogy.

            Though in truth, I have always hated Dark Matter. That said, for the moment it is all we’ve got.


        3. jgordon

          I don’t wish to be involved in this deep state conversation, however I take issue with your perspective on a disempowerment. Unsustainable systems have a tendency to fall apart all on their own without anyone having to do anything in particular to make them fall apart. By the same token there is not much that can/will be done to hold them together.

          It’s a perfectly constructive and rational choice to give up on such a system with the thus conserved resources (whether mental or material) going towards projects that could actually improve the lot of humanity long after the temporary arrangements of today have been dispensed with. By the way, I truly admire Dmitry Orlov, the Arch Druid, and Nicole Foss/ilargi and I’m glad that you’ve been featuring them, or at least linking to them, on your wonderful site of late. I hope you will similarly take time to look over the work of Chris Martenson, Richard Heinberg, and Charles Hugh Smith as well. Not an exhaustive list of people I follow, but it’s a good start.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I do disagree with you. They don’t fall apart on their own. They fall apart because motivated parties probe, find fracture points, push wedges into them, and apply force. South Africa would still have apartheid, were it not for the ANC and the Solidarity movement. Inertia is a very powerful force in physics and in human life.

            1. jgordon

              I don’t mean to disagree with you since what you are saying is not wrong from a certain perspective, but that is only one perspective among many. We are not thinking or communicating in the same terms, nor do we see the same things as either important or relevant.

              I like where you and NC are going though. I have been catching hints here of a higher level of consciousness, a deeper awareness, of late and it thrills me to think that here there is an opportunity to surreptitiously expose some otherwise insular people to subversive ideas. I would only suggest that as well as looking at the world through the political/economic lens that you take more time to integrate knowledge of energy, ecosystems and material flows into your thinking. “The economy” and monetary system, such as they exists at all, are only idealized abstractions that serve more to distort and obscure our perceptions than to elucidate them.

        4. vidimi

          to me, it’s just a semantics issue. invoking a “deep state” is equivalent to evoking a “MIC”: a collection of power players with broadly aligned interests and excessive clout in decision making. as EmilianoZ notes, it’s somewhat to politics as dark matter is to physics – a placeholder of sorts for as long as the details haven’t been worked out.

          i’ve never used the expression myself, but i don’t look at it as an intellectual cop out when it is used, though maybe that’s inattention on my part.

      4. Gaianne

        Orlov suggests that the Boston Marathon photos were faked. I will admit that I never thought of that: I assumed that the thigh-bones sticking out of missing thighs with no attached knees were real.

        Still, real photos are no less damning than fake ones: The damage shown could only be done with a shaped charge–not such a high technology, but on the other hand certainly not a pressure-cooker bomb as claimed. So the Government was definitely lying from the very first moment. And of course, after that, it only got worse.


    2. Katniss Everdeen


      Interesting, and to my mind, apt, comparison of Charlie Hebdo and the Boston Marathon bombing.

      Hard not to believe that the failure to summarily “execute” both Tsarnaevs cannot be seen as evidence of things not “working” to the empire’s “satisfaction.” It’s sure taken long enough to bring the one who refused to die to “trial.” I guess they needed time to figure out a Plan B.

      It’s a lot easier to put words in the mouths and intentions in the heads of dead guys who can be counted on to tell no inconvenient tales. Osama bin Laden also comes to mind.

        1. Ken Nari

          Okay, now you’ve done it. You’ve put the third letter of the alphabet together with the one that follows S. That’s triggered alarms everywhere. Here come the trolls.

          I suggest at NC it should be required to reverse the letters — an insider code. TC, like the town in New Mexico. (Know the) Truth or (face the) Consequences. The trolls will never know what’s going on.

      1. Vatch

        Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was semi-conscious when he was arrested, so of course they took him alive. (An ironic comment about the MIchael Brown murder would be understandable at this point.) The Kouachis were in a shoot out with the police, and people sometimes die in such situations. For an example, completely unrelated to terrorism, see this bank robbery case:

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          There was a “shoot-out,” but only the cops had guns. Tsarnaev was armed with only a sharpie pen.

          Shoulda’ worked.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Yes, the dead tell no tales, so how do we close Gitmo, Bagram, and other ‘sites’ gracefully? We don’t, and that’s why President Hopey-Changey is too chicken to keep his word, on that and Abu Ghraib, and the unredacted torture report. When more of the truth comes out about America’s current dark age finally trickles out, the Netherlands Invasion Act won’t stand up against bringing the perps to the Hague. Then Germany can wag its finger of shame at the disgraced empire (and its key ME collaborator).

  10. Don Pelton

    The article on liberating men’s sexuality is interesting, insightful and not too surprising.

    The point — the most profound goal — is to liberate men’s psyches, and their sexuality with all its fetishes, kinky or conventional, is one avenue into that.

    But their are other paths.

    In some shamanic traditions, the novitiate, so to speak, cross-dresses for a period of time (it could be years), in order to integrate (or make more conscious) his inner feminine side (or “anima,” the “shadow” or “contrasexual” side in Jungian terms).

    Whenever a man takes on a role which is normally considered feminine in the context of his own culture, then an opportunity exists for him to “liberate” his psyche (to become more fully conscious of its depth).

    In the mid-1970s, after quitting a stressful job at Stanford, I spent a year as a “househusband,” taking care of our six-year-old son and our two-year-old daughter full-time. During that time (and since), my wife and I shared the breadwinning, housework, childcare (until they were grown) and cooking, etc. I joined a men’s group, spent a week in the woods in Mendocino at a men’s conference (with James Hillman, Gary Snyder and others), steeped myself in feminist literature, and even became a bit tiresome with what now in retrospect seems like an overly-doctrinaire obsession with the “patriarchy.” We did our best to raise our children to be at peace with themselves and with eath other, in the deepest sense of that phrase.

    For me, it was like “wearing women’s clothes.” And I was conscious of the psychological significance of it at the time.

    Nothing is perfect, of course. I often longed — and sometimes still do — for the traditional male perqs. Here’s how I described that experience in an essay I wrote in the 1990s (sorry for the excessive length of this excerpt):

    One of the great, influential books that I read during that period was Arthur and Libby Coleman’s “Earth Father, Sky Father.” In their view, father in our traditional, patriarchal system, is a distant and awesome figure, like Zeus on his throne. His power is in the world. He is like a celebrity in his children’s eyes. When he comes home after a day of great accomplishment, they are excited and thrilled by his presence. He is the “Sky Father.” All the while, Mom’s power, because it is so intimate and familiar, is taken for granted. It is part of the background.

    I learned two great, consoling things from this book. First, it is possible to be an “earth father.” Men have an innately nourishing side. There is much support, surprisingly, in myth, for the image of a nourishing male. We have so relegated the soft, nesting virtues to the feminine in this culture that it is easy to miss this fascinating reality. One almost has to experience it to believe it. It was helpful to me to have this interpretation of my own experience.

    Second, I learned that the one who takes on the role of day-to-day nourisher, will necessarily be taken for granted, and become, so to speak, part of the background. This meant that if I truly wanted to become an earth father (rather than the traditional and distant Sky Father) I would have to willingly give up that heady celebrity status. Thanks to the Colemans’ book, I decided to make that bargain consciously. I’ve never regretted that decision, but I still sometimes feel a melancholy longing for that lost heroic status.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That’s a great comment. I didn’t have time to articulate my reservation, but it was basically that her problem definition was better than her remedy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I second that.

        We all have some Yin and some Yang in each of us. We come to terms with ourselves when we can harmonize and balance them.

        That, for example, means managing our conservative side and our liberal/progressive side.

    2. Banger

      We went through some similar things. Cross-dressing whether metaphoric or actual had and may still have a certain magical and transcendent power because it symbolizes turning the world upside down which is, in many traditions including shamanism, a major path to power and/or enlightenment.

    3. steviefinn

      I spent the first nine months of my daughter’s life as a house husband, which i think changed my life. I’m not saying it would not exist otherwise, but we have a very strong bond – although she is also very independent. She has long since forgiven me putting her clothes on inside out, upside down or both & I honestly think she exorcised the asshole macho aggression that was the hallmark of my youth..

      1. susan the other

        Just to get in on this one: When Bill and I got married he facetiously (?) claimed to be a lesbian and said I was a gay guy. So he thought our relationship would work. Funny. And he was always a better mother than I was. And I was an excellent father. If I do say so myself.

          1. craazyman

            yeah. at the end of the day, you’re the only one there when the eyes close.

            I would no more go to a dominatrix than I would to a child brothel. Not that I equate them morally, but the disiinterest is equal.

            There’s no cause for evil except unconsciousess and no cure for unconsciousess except consciousness. That’s a solitary journey and no map shows the way. But people try to sell their sexually obsessed snake oil philosophies and infantile intellectualisms and tortured theorectical transcendeces. They even believe them! The Pied Pipers play their flutes and the world follows. “Men think in heards, they go mad in heards but tthey recover their sense slowly, and one by one” — Charles McKay, Extraordinary Popuular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (from memory, it mght not be exactly right)

  11. Banger

    I’m always impressed with Patrick L. Smith’s writing. In the piece referenced above Smith touches at the heart of things passionately. This matters to Smith–this is not some on-the-mountaintop “objective” reporting–this is deeply felt writing by a sensitive and vulnerable human being. It is in stark contrast to the mechanized reporting of the upper echelon of the MSM, i.e., WaPost, NYT et. al. Having said that we are at a transition point today: the Empire of Chaos is coming into its own and we see that the machinations of Washington are not just Washington but represents the emergence of a world-wide phenomena–which I often call a flight from modernism which we see in Ukraine–a return to tribalism, feudalism and so on.

    People need meaning–the young men attracted to Ukrainian fascism are looking to reclaim meaning as much as anything else. Simple answers which involve wiping out the “other” become fashionable today–there’s no need for inconvenient facts. Though I didn’t see American Sniper it seems to extol meaningless slaughter of “enemies” based on hyper-simplistic platitudes and that mentality seems to have struck a nerve among men in this country (the Salon article should be read alongside the article on men’s sexuality). I think Eastwood has come to the conclusion that simple answers even if wrong are better than the alternative, i.e., the furtherance of the modernist project which leaves everything ambiguous and meaningless–or so it might appear–I see it a little differently that meaning is possible within the modernist project but that’s too long a post for here.

    1. Carolinian

      Dunno Banger. Your praise for Smith–whose premise is that our Western world is run by boobs–seems to be at odds with the simultaneous belief in CT as promoted by Orlov (perhaps half in jest). Which is it?….hapless idiots or superhuman schemers who are able to cover the tracks of even the most outrageous conspiracies?

      Personally I go with the hapless idiots theory. The only thing these “elites” are really good at is maintaining themselves in power and our DC permanent government, decadent news establishment persist because everyone is part of the same crappy system. “Insiders don’t criticize other insiders” is their mantra.

      It will all end in tears of course. Nobody will remember what all those “conspiracy theories” were supposed to accomplish including the people who allegedly promulgated them. So let’s make the Onion our new national newspaper instead of the NYT. Maximum sarc.

      1. Banger

        Very quickly, I happen to know the skills it takes to get power in Washington–I made friends during the eighties and nineties with RP and DP operatives and can tell you incompetence was not their MO. Sorry–the mistakes were made meme usually hides corruption–my longer comment addresses that.

        1. Carolinian

          One could argue that being skilled at gaining power does not indicate other abilities and often indicates just the opposite. We have an elite that is entrenched by an ever hardening class structure that is taking us down.

            1. Carolinian

              Ya think? The vampire squid’s blood funnel needs blood to suck. Of course they are going down with us. Indeed this is the very reason they are being boobs. For example the oil collapse, if it is an American inspired scheme, is just as likely to hurt us as the Russians–perhaps to a far greater degree. I believe this was Orlov’s very point.

              Lambert’s fave, the iron law of institutions, says that power is its own reward. For the powerful it doesn’t matter whether they know what they are doing, just that they have the power to do it. Democracy, that thing promoted by America’s early aristocrats, may have proven to be a shaky political idea but as a social idea it is brilliant. Arguably social mobility is what put the US at the top of the heap. It’s time for these fossils in the news media and the political parties to go.

          1. optimader

            “One could argue that being skilled at gaining power does not indicate other abilities ”
            I’ve never been in public sector service, but I do have friends that have served careers in it..
            My first hand observations from my time in private sector (corporate servitude) are that many on the lowest intellectual functioning level gravitate to “gaining power” to the point of organizational goals being a remote and incidental consideration.

            In conversation w/ friends that did careers in Fed Agencies (higher level LE functions), doesn’t sound much different. My second hand takeaway is that there were those individual primarily consumed w/ triangulating to work up the bureaucracy political ladder (gain power) and then there were the career professionals that coarsely bifurcate into those there to get the job done professionally vs those focused on coasting to retirement and having wiggle room if something metaphorically exploded. No doubt a normal distribution of personality defects throughout , just like the rest of us..

            As an aside, w/ regard to the ecosystem of Fed LE, I have heard it expressed that the agencies that garner the least interagency respect are 1.) the Secret Service, largely staffed by lumps, people that can stand around all day w/o going nuts followed by 2.) the FBI which have a reputation for being lazy w/ respect to casework and have a reputation to fall in at the end to collect credit.-(a culture originally cultivated by JE Hoover?)

            The larger point being, I just don’t practically see the opportunity for (long term and successful) large-scale malevolent scheming (eg: the interagency cooperation that would be required to drop a bunch of buildings w/ commercial aircraft for example) w/o someone dropping the ball.

            I do conceive that malevolent schemes can be pulled off w/o the successful intervention of the appropriate government agencies. THEN those agencies have motivation to engage in venial obfuscation ( file under: Sec. Rice –“no one could have anticipated..blahblahblah”) AND AS WELL magnifying the expertise/CV of the criminals that could possibly successfully engage in such activity ( dept. budget justification).

      2. optimader

        Put my mark in the column for the “hapless idiot theory”.
        FIle under: Financial Crisis — Proof of the unessential necessity of maintaining elaborate secret conspiracies in perpetuity.
        The FC in all it’s nuanced illegal behavior, greed, avarice and stupidity is in the public square to no particular remedial effect as far as I can tell..
        Cui Bono gives way to Cui Curat

        1. Banger

          Who is the hapless idiot? The perps, the victims, the political leaders–more clarity please. Hapless idiots don’t last long in the real world–they get eaten up. I remember being in a serious poker game once with very serious players. It was like being on a b-ball court with Lebron James–I didn’t last more than a few hands and was scared to death by these people–I didn’t belong there so I stopped playing. Power is that way–those guys don’t f-around you can go on thinking they’re idiots–fine with them–they’re not, they are sharks who will fuck you up if you mess with them. I saw it on the “streets” as in the criminal element on real streets and on the “streets” (K Street etc.) in Washington. No difference. Everyone seems to believe that Washington is filled with idiots because they say incredibly stupid things–but what they say is carefully parsed, mostly (not always) to speak to some power issue or constituency–they give messages with words that mean other than what they mean in English.

          1. optimader

            “Who is the hapless idiot? The perps, the victims, the political leaders–more clarity please. Hapless idiots don’t last long in the real world–they get eaten up.”

            I believe Carolinian was contrasting the legions of Jack Bauers that would be reqd for successful antisocial acts to be perpetrated by public sector “servants”, no less w/ the seamless coverup in perpetuity that would be reqd. I agree that the hapless idiot’s behavior by its nature would make any large government spawned CT themed scenario fail.

            “Hapless idiots don’t last long in the real world–they get eaten up.”
            I have very different reflections on that.

            1. Gaianne

              //“Hapless idiots don’t last long in the real world–they get eaten up.”
              I have very different reflections on that.//

              Venkat Rao talks about that. Why does the Peter Principle seem to work? Why do clearly clueless and incompetent people get steadily promoted? The short answer is that the sharks, as Banger calls them (Rao calls them sociopaths–though he uses the term in a technical and fairly sympathetic way) need clueless people to front for them, take the blame when things go wrong, and to naively promote their schemes using sales-pitches they themselves believe in (the better to convince he suckers) The clueless are often essential intermediaries in getting the scams and schemes of the sharks to work.

              Rao neglects neither the why nor the how. Not vague at all.


              1. Gaianne

                I’m sorry: I tangled up my pronouns there.

                The sharks create the schemes, but it is the clueless that do the believing, and, as a result of believing, most of the selling.

                About taking blame: Obviously, the clueless are expendable. More can always be recruited as needed.


          2. Carolinian

            The powerful turn out to be idiots because of the nature of power itself (too much is never enough). You are saying they are being rational and ruthless in pursuit of something that is irrational and instinctive. History is littered with examples of powerful men who met their downfall because of this internal contradiction.

            But to the specific case of current American foreign policy it’s hard to see much of a plan much less rationality. Ruthlessness we have in spades. I chalk this erratic bumbling up to too much intellectual inbreeding among our elites.

          3. Gaianne

            “they give messages with words that mean other than what they mean in English.”

            Power Talk. See Venkat Rao’s blog Ribbonfarm. In his archives there is a six part series on the Gervais Principle–a descriptive theory of business management with more depth and power than the well-known “Peter Principle” or Dilbert cartoons.


  12. Garrett Pace

    Brazilian Murder Capitol

    Gang violence mostly though certainly not exclusively. I lived in two of those cities, and spent months in some of the more “dangerous” areas. My gang was pacific; we wore name tags and ties and talked about Jesus, and we were (mostly) left alone.

    I notice most of the Brazilian cities on the list are in the impoverished northeast.

    This blog is very interesting for people interested in close-up looks at Brazilian violence, Recife and Rio in particular. An American photographer who follows homicide units around. Here’s one of his posts, I think all of his stuff is worth reading.

    Outside of Recife, in the impoverished countryside, the percentage of firearm-related homicides diminishes substantially. Here it is sticks, stones, and machetes.

    Learning of three more homicides in the area over the last month, I ask a detective why people here in these beautiful green hills are killing each other? “Lack of education. Lack of prospects,” he says, looking disheartened for the first time since brunch.

    1. abynormal

      Thanks Garrett…ive waited for follow up to this documentary dealing with the militarization of the police to ‘clean-up’ the gangs: City of God, Guns and Gangs
      Rio is home to 600 slums, or favelas as they’re known in Brazil. These shanty towns are often built right alongside the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

      One in five of the city’s residents live in a favela, and many will tell you they feel like second class citizens. The government has little or no control over the slums of Rio, and over the decades, as officials look the other way, the favelas became a haven for drug traffickers. In a favela, it’s now a commonplace for the media to capture images of teenagers wielding assault rifles, guarding the slums from outsiders and murdering anyone who gets in their way.

      Rio security forces have on occasion led operations against the traffickers, but there’s never been a concerted effort to dismantle their operations entirely… until now. The “pacification” operation is not unlike the US military surge in Iraq.

  13. Jef

    “Distortions, lies and omissions: The New York Times won’t tell you the real story behind Ukraine, Russian economic collapse ”

    I can’t tell if this guy is being willfully ignorant or outright ignorant. Stating peace in the middle east was ever the administrations goal. There is not one serious journalist that would ever say that. And to act like the situation in Ukraine is due to bungling or incompetence one must be blind. Think “Fuck the EU” Nuland. Being aghast at weapons and support for extremist in the region and hinting that that is not a good thing. The West would never do such a thing…except…thats all they do now everywhere.

    This guy is just perpetuating the big lie that the Wests actions around the world are and have been benevolent and with a few tweaks we can get back there. BS!

    This perpetuates the big lie that America is and was indeed exceptional and all of what is great about it came about through good will toward others, moral fortitude, and over all superiority. More BS!

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Spot on comment, Jef; the big lie indeed. Incompetence and/or ignorance aren’t remotely plausible excuses for presstitute “journalists” of the Neo York Times. They’re reliable stenographers for the PTB.

      1. hunkerdown

        For real. It’s bemusing that Roger Ailes writing talking points for *his* news network somehow isn’t kosher, but as long as the astroturf is Democratic and willing dupes are lining up to propagate it, that’s OK somehow…

    1. Banger

      I don’t agree–I think the author was reporting, as he made clear, that this was the WH spin on the speech. I think the idea is to re-insert traditional liberal ideas into the national discourse which, theoretically, means that the MSM must frame issues in the way that the President has articulated. Thus the DP has now come to a more solid position that can be clearly articulated as one side of the coin while the radical right ideas of the RP Congress can be clearly defined. The MSM likes this because it creates a cleaner more easy to define story-line.

      1. hunkerdown

        Traditional liberals want to run sweatshops and play games with other people’s lives. What exactly is to recommend about such nonsense again?

  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the article from Frontline about the troubling levels of growth in private sector debt in many Asian countries. As William White mentioned in another linked article today from the Telegraph by Ambrose Evans Pritchard, the debt ratios cited in the Frontline article may be understated due to corporations in those countries having borrowed trillions of U.S. dollars through offshore centres.

    Among other potential issues, this has created a currency mismatch problem that will worsen if the U.S. dollar continues to rise.

    Just trying to connect the QE-ZIRP-carry trade dots and where the picture might lead. White is not optimistic.

  15. fresno dan
    “Think about it. The immediate problem facing much of the world is inadequate demand and the threat of deflation. Would trade liberalization help on that front? No, not at all. True, to the extent that trade becomes easier, world exports would rise, which is a net plus for demand. But world imports would rise by exactly the same amount, which is a net minus. Or to put it a bit differently, trade liberalization would change the composition of world expenditure, with each country spending more on foreign goods and less on its own, but there’s no reason to think it would raise total spending; so this is not a short-term economic boost.”

    “Would trade liberalization help on that front? No, not at all.”
    Hmmm… does trade ever help with demand??? I mean, if you live somewhere where there are no pineapples, you can have increased demand for pineapples if there is a potential trade partner who can supply pineapples….but is there more “demand” than if there were no pineapples (demand for cars goes up as well)???

    Ahh, so our Nobel prize winner (well, actually a little award from Norwegian..l or is it Swedish bankers) answers that:
    “True, to the extent that trade becomes easier, world exports would rise, which is a net plus for demand.”
    Oh, so demand apparently, in and of itself, does increase demand….NET. Good to know!

    But than our renowned economist states:
    “But world imports would rise by exactly the same amount, which is a net minus.”
    Um….I hate to admit I am actually confused about something so simple: but what does “net” actually mean? So we should trade…cause we “net” more demand? We shouldn’t trade, cause we don’t “net” more demand??? Or is it just a big NET doesn’t matter (if you don’t buy pineapples, you’ll just buy apples)???

    “Maybe you still think we should do this. But trade agreements as your top economic priority? Really? That’s so bizarre that it should make you wonder why, exactly, the likes of Tom Donohue want these deals. And you have to suspect that the reason is that some of his important clients think that the non-trade aspects of the deals — stuff like intellectual property protection — will yield them a lot of monopoly rents.”

    Ah, if only we were back in the days of Reagan and Clinton, when all trade deals were conducted by angels, with motives as pure as the driven snow….when NAFTA unambiguously made every working man wealthier, wiser, and better looking and better smelling…

    1. hunkerdown

      Hmmm… does trade ever help with demand??? I mean, if you live somewhere where there are no pineapples

      WHERE? WHERE? *looks around frantically*

      you can have increased demand for pineapples if there is a potential trade partner who can supply pineapples….but is there more “demand” than if there were no pineapples (demand for cars goes up as well)???

      A serendipitous example, what with the history of the pineapple as lugzhury centerpiece.

      That Krugman can point out the reality of these “trade” agreements in the national press makes me a bit sick to my stomach. When considered as a kayfabe angle, the fix might be in.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Connecticut adopts the Israeli innovation of home demolition as a criminal sanction:

    NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Newtown officials are considering a plan to tear down the home of the man who killed 26 first-graders and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    The Newtown Legislative Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday night on a proposal to raze the house and preserve it as open space. The Connecticut town is also considering putting a limitation on the deed to the property specifying that the victims’ families would get any proceeds from any sale or development of the land.

    We didn’t need that crappy old Fifth Amendment anyway …

    1. hunkerdown

      Nah, this isn’t apartheid, just praying loudly in public (and a repudiation of any polite fictions of a right to property). Symbolism over substance, as a certain talk radio bloviator proudly inveighed two decades ago but could never utter today lest he be flagged offsides.

    2. Jess

      Homes that are associated with particularly gruesome crimes are often impossible to sell. (Many states require seller’s disclosure of any deaths in a home within a certain period. In CA I believe it is six years.) The Sharon Tate murder house was torn down, the lot divided into two parts, and two new houses built. OJ’s Rockingham estate suffered the same fate. In the Sandy Hook case, neither the bank nor the city may want to be seen as profiting, even indirectly, from the crime. Nor does anyone want the house to serve as a constant visual reminder. (Much less become a tourist destination for the morbid and/or little Eric Harris-Dylan Klebold types.)

  17. bob

    Wow, talk about ‘moral hazard’. So, the bank is telling people that all they have to do to get their mortgage forgiven is to go rambo at an elementary school?

    It wasn’t “his” house either, from memory, he was living with his gun nut mother. It was her house and arsenal.

  18. optimader

    Parachuting Beavers Into Idaho’s Wilderness? Yes, It Really Happened
    More than 60 years ago, Idaho Fish and Game dropped beavers out of a plane and parachuted them into the state’s backcountry. This little-known piece of Idaho history stars a crafty Fish and Game officer and a plucky male beaver named Geronimo.

    Idaho Fish and Game has always struggled with problem beavers; those critters who get too close or too used to city life. Trapping and re-homing them into the wild can be tough. It’s expensive and it’s hard to find good habitat for the beavers. That was also true back in 1948, where this one-of-a-kind story begins…..

  19. Synapsid

    BHP is not cutting production, as the item up above states.

    BHP is cutting its drilling budget. This means that it is cutting back on looking for new prospects and drilling for them. Wells that are already producing will continue to do so, because they provide cash flow and in the oil patch Cash Flow is King (so they say.)

    I’m making a point of this because the confusion between exploration and drilling, on the one hand, and production of oil and gas on the other, is common and widespread in the media. (The FT has it correct.) The price of oil is too low right now to support much drilling–everywhere you look drilling budgets are being cut–but once a well has come into production it doesn’t cost nearly as much to keep it going as it does to drill.

    Of course, cutting drilling now will result in curtailing production down the road, but that’s not what the article is discussing.

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