Links 1/27/15

Belated Happy Australia Day! Because Lambert was doing Links yesterday, I’m late in giving our Down Under readers my customary annual good wishes.

San Francisco Zoo offers spurned lovers cockroach, scorpion adoptions Raw Story (furzy mouse)

First Videos Created of Whole Brain Neural Activity in an Unrestrained Animal MIT Technology Review (David L)

Facebook is down worldwide Thai Tech

Why the UFC is treating its female fighters better than (almost) any other sport New Statesman. Chuck L: “I’m personally not a fan or any fight sport in which brain damage is an intended outcome, but this does speak well of the UFC.”

Record fall in China industry profits Financial Times

Regime strives to keep trump election hand Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)


Greece’s Crazy Leftists Have a Good Idea Bloomberg. An editorial.

Europe cannot agree to write off Greece’s debt Gideon Rachman, Financial Times. The supposed grownups tell Syriza it cannot have a pony. Subhead: “The prospect of defaults would frighten the markets and increase the risk of another crisis.” In other words, Greece must submit to the will of the Market Gods even though it clearly cannot pay down its debt unless it gets a massive, sustained stimulus shot in the arm, which is also not in the cards.

Syriza wins in Greece: what it must do Ian Welsh (Margarita)

Greek coalition braces for debt showdown as Germany rattles sabre Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Schaeuble says there is no question of a debt haircut for Greece Reuters

How Greece’s Exit Might Stabilize the Eurozone WSJ Washington Wire

Finance Ministry slows blogging down but ends it not Yanis Varoufakis

Argentinian government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency Guardian


Europe’s addiction to Russian gas: How long before withdrawal symptoms set in? Vineyard of the Saker. A must read.

Russians accused of spying in New York Financial Times

S&P Downgrades Russia’s Sovereign Credit Rating to Junk Moscow Times

What Does Russia’s Junk Rating Mean? Mohamed El-Erian, Bloomberg

EU threatens Russia with more sanctions Financial Times

Lies And Deception In Ukraine’s Energy Sector OilPrice. So there is gambling in Casablanca…

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers ACLU (Chuck L)

Crash could set back media’s drone hopes Financial Times. Haha, the White House not being able to catch one fast enough may put this little initiative on hold.

WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government Guardian (EM, furzy mouse). See the letter here (Harry Shearer)

How A Box Could Solve The Personal Data Conundrum MIT Technology Review (David L). I don’t see how this solves the “man in the middle” problem.

EFF’s Game Plan for Ending Global Mass Surveillance Electronic Frontier Foundation

CBO projects deficit to fall to $468B in 2015 The Hill (furzy mouse). Remember, a smaller deficit means less demand…

Senior House Republican says housing finance reform ‘huge priority’ Reuters (EM)

Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections Associated Press

Obama to propose protecting U.S. Arctic wildlife refuge from drilling Reuters. EM: “Another cynical “bold initiative with 0 chance of passage” here, or merely political us-vs-them-PR opportunism enabled by the plunge in oil prices?”

Exclusive: politicians are supporting Comcast’s TWC merger with letters ghostwritten by Comcast Verge (Chuck L)

The Lemmings of QE Stephen Roach, Project Syndicate (David L). A great piece.

The day the Klan messed with the wrong people Daily Kos

Fortescue shares dive by 10 per cent as iron ore price plunges to five-year low Sydney Morning Herald (EM)


Why Saudis Are Holding Strong on Oil Bloomberg

Oil dips despite OPEC talk Business Spectator

How Elliott Gained an Edge on Caesars Swaps Wall Street Journal

Geography of Jobs TIP Strategies (furzy mouse)

Class Warfare

Death-Dealing Politics in the Age of Extreme Violence Truthout (RR)

Investment Riches Built on Auto Loans to Poor New York Times (furzy mouse)

The TPP Will Sink the Middle Class Thom Hartmann (RR)

Building a Caring Economy Project Syndicate (David L)

‘It’s like a ghost town’: lights go out as foreign owners desert London homes Observer (furzy mouse). Last time I was in London, Chelsea near Sloane Square was like that.

U.S. firms raising wages; skills gap in goods producing sector: survey Reuters (EM). Not confirmed as happening on anywhere near a large-scale enough basis to increase average wages. Also note high-pay, high skill jobs are being cut in the energy sector thanks to the oil price plunge.

Antidote du jour:

dolphins links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Clive

    Re: How a box could solve the personal data conundrum… Not the subject of the link, but regarding quantum encryprtion which is the other Great Hope for online privacy. A common misconception is that quantum encryption can somehow prevent man in the middle attacks. It can’t. But that isn’t the aim — the aim is to infallibly *detect* a man in the middle. Live operational quantum encryprtion isn’t actually available commercially yet of course so I am speculating a bit here, but I think the way it would work here is that in the event of a man in the middle snoop, this would without fail be detected and the communications would be halted before any (presumably confidential) data ever gets sent.

    So I send you an email or something, I click on “send”, if the NSA / GCHQ / my mum is listening in, I get alerted and can then opt to send anyway or make an informed choice to not use that communication method. The reason we encrypt today isn’t to use encryprtion per se, it’s to stop our information being read by people we don’t want reading it. But if we can know whether or not anyone is on the line capturing our data, we simply don’t send it (so actually, we’d end up sending data in the clear because there’s no point in scrambling it — the reason we scrambled it has been removed).

    All a little above my pay grade so happy for those with more expertise to correct me.

    But I too don’t get how the box in the linked to article can help here.

    1. hunkerdown

      MIT has apparently prepared quite thoroughly for the All Your Base trade agreements — a container that sells empty promises to you and strong promises to the content industry.

      They can STFU about “business models” already and sell me a Freedom Box instead.

  2. financial matters

    The Lemmings of QE Stephen Roach, Project Syndicate (David L). A great piece.

    “”In terms of transmission, the Fed has focused on the so-called wealth effect. First, the balance-sheet expansion of some $3.6 trillion since late 2008 – which far exceeded the $2.5 trillion in nominal GDP growth over the QE period – boosted asset markets. It was assumed that the improvement in investors’ portfolio performance – reflected in a more than threefold rise in the S&P 500 from its crisis-induced low in March 2009 – would spur a burst of spending by increasingly wealthy consumers.””

    That is a pretty amazing statement. The Fed was responsible for tripling the stock market. Wait a minute, what is the stock market again? A place for the Fed to give money for wealthy people to spend?

    1. cwaltz

      I consider the stock market the equivalent of the well to do’s version of a scratcher considering computers do most the work and the average trade is very short term. I also believe it should be taxed as such.
      Then again while the investment class calls themselves “job creators” I call them the reason jobs were shipped overseas and the reason for broad swathes of exploitation in other parts of the world. They cheer when labor costs are shipped to China as they earn their dollar in shares. They cheer as American workers lose hours to avoid health care because it’s an extra dollar to them. They cheer as companies replace parts with inferior ones to lower the price of production. Even worse they’ve managed to pit the middle class against itself(upper versus lower). When the President proposed taxing gains in 529s(an investment vehicle) to allow every child to attend 2 years of community college you heard an uproar. Nevermind that those that hold 529s tend to make 3 times the median wage and that the money that he proposed being taxed is passive income from a plan, they “earned” that money, blah blah, blah(and let’s not forget they probably earned it off the backs of the very kids who they would deny the same opportunities they’re anxious to give their own kids, the kids who don’t have parents well to do enough to afford 529s and who either need to go in debt or get work to attend college.) God bless America, Land of the Selfish. I got mine and screw you!

    2. Doug Terpstra

      In a nutshell, a clever shell game … soon to become a game of musical chairs, as casino insiders find their seats and chumps and taxpayers are left standing with the bag of counterfeit cash.

      1. skippy

        “counterfeit cash” is a misnomer, now if the asset valuations denoted in FRN is questionable, you have a different problem IMO.

    3. MikeNY

      Agreed. Welcome to “the asset economy”.

      To his great credit, Roach has long been a fierce critic of the Fed’s manipulations and bubble-blindness.

    4. craazyman

      Don’t forget about all the people who lose money in the stock market. Somebody should make a statue for us — for all of us who manage to lose money even when the market goes straight up — and put it someplace in New Yawk. I don’t know where. Maybe someplace down by Wall Street, in it’s own little park with trees, where people can sit on benches in the sun and eat lunch while pigeons shlt all over it. They can call it “Doomers Plaza” and they can have a plaque that forecasts the end of the financial system. It will look quaint in 100 years. I can think of a few people whose pictures they can engrave there in brass, but I won’t name names in public.

      1. GuyFawkesLives

        I will agree to a statue only if it looks and works like a guillotine. This statue should be a working statue.

        1. craazyman

          You can’t have moving parts in a public statue. And it has to last for centuries.

          I was thinking of something more like Rodin’s Thinker, but with clothes on. Maybe tensely reading something related to derivatives or central banking.

          1. craazyboy

            You should have shorted the big snowstorm in the aftermarket yesterday. Would have made out big today! Not a 10 bagger, but something is better than nothing. It doesn’t matter if your reasons are right, just get the timing right. See?

            A lotta people think the Thinker dude is really sitting on a commode and taking a crap. Remember, this was sculpted before people read blogs on their iPhones while sitting on the throne.

            So I wouldn’t change a thing – naked, taking a crap in Finance Park.

            ‘Course when the market crashes next time everyone will be saying the dude sure looks smart!

      2. ambrit

        You must put it in Zuccotti Park. It’s private land you say? If Chicago can expropriate 25 acres of public park for a quasi-private Presidential Library, New York can do the same for “The Wall Street Memorial.” (Removes hat and holds it over his heart for a moment of silence.) As for the design; allow me to humbly suggest Alfred E Newman. In a hundred years teams of treasure hunting divers can marvel at the curious mutations that apparently afflicted the Pre Melt Peoples.

        1. craazyman

          there’s bulls. there’s bears. and there’s losers. losers lose in both directions but they dont even have their own animal, let alone a monument in a public plaza erected in their honor. that’s not fair. And a muppet isn’t an animal! it’s just somethiing somebody made up. We need our own animal. I don’t know which one though. Every animal seems too successful in it own way. Even plankton probably has good days, between the whales. But when you lose in both directtions, each day is bad. Is there an animal that always gets eaten but eats nothing themselves? It”s so sad. I hope not. It must have been like this when they invented Buddhism. You’d think that would be a good religion for people who like to lay around and do nothing, but for that you need cash. It’s just a big circle.

          1. ambrit

            Don’t despair good sir. Who knows what philosophical enlightenment will emerge from the subatomic decipherment of that Vesuvian library? Finally, science will reveal a sane way of dealing with itself!

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Money in terms of transmission:

      1. From the stock market to you, the people


      2. From the government spending to you, the people.

      Never on the table:

      3. Start from you, the people first.

      In that way, we the people are still subsisting on the Manor.

      :”I am going to trickle it down to you.”

      “No, you don’t trickle down to me. Nobody trickles down to me. I trickle down to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    6. Ronald Pires

      So what’s the problem. Bernanke was constantly telling Congress to open their checkbook; that what he could do (this sort of stuff) wasn’t what was needed. If you want a question to answer, did Congress deliberately not open their checkbook in order to force the Fed into this giveaway to the rich??

      1. financial matters

        Congress certainly wasn’t of much help.

        “”All this was explained in the White Paper Bernanke sent to Capitol Hill, which detailed why cleaning up the housing mess is necessary for a “quicker and more vigorous recovery.”139 Housing advocates and community activists had been telling the central bank the same thing since the collapse began.

        The White Paper was hedged with qualifiers, but it read like a handbook for recovery. A prime mover behind the initiative was William Dudley, president of the New York Fed. Dudley suggested $15 billion in bridge loans to tide over unemployed homeowners.

        The foreclosure mess, the Fed noted, hurts innocent bystanders when their neighborhoods are ruined by other people’s failure. Towns burdened by lots of empty houses lose property-tax revenue needed to sustain public services. The foreclosure process piles up “deadweight losses” in which nobody wins, not even bankers. Mortgage relief, on the other hand, in effect redistributes income and wealth from creditors to debtors. “Modifying an existing mortgage—by extending the term, reducing the interest rate, or reducing principal—can be a mechanism for distributing some of a homeowner’s loss (for example, from falling house prices or reduced income) to lenders, guarantors, investors, and, in some cases, taxpayers,” the Fed document explained. Both the lender and the borrower can gain from reducing the size of an underwater mortgage, the Fed asserted. “Because foreclosures are so costly, some loan modifications can benefit all parties concerned, even if the borrower is making reduced payments.”

        For many, the Fed’s message is alarming. The Wall Street Journal criticized Bernanke for his “extraordinary political intrusion,” denouncing the white paper as “a clear attempt to provide intellectual cover for politicians to spend more taxpayer money to support housing prices.” In a stern letter, Senator Orrin Hatch told the Fed chair to back off. “I worry that…your staff’s housing white paper…treads too far into fiscal policy, and runs the risk of being perceived as advocacy for particular policy options,” Hatch wrote””


        Ben S. Bernanke, “The US Housing Market: Current Conditions and Policy Considerations,” White Paper, Federal Reserve Board, January 4, 2012.

      2. cwaltz

        Perhaps, it isn’t like Congress isn’t full of rich people
        I think the cromnibus included a $1000 a month tax subsidy for their vehicles- because you know it’s “hard work” to figure out how to pay for a vehicle on a six figure salary.

        In this country many people bitch and whine about subsidized housing, food, and childcare for the poor but apparently they don’t put up much of a fuss when the rich write off houses, cars, and the tons of investment shelters that they’ve managed to get legislated into the tax code.

        The 47% who survive on $20,000 who pay nothing in income taxes because they can get to zero because of a credit for a kid on their income are takers while people like Romney who write off things like concierge medical treatment or interest for the McMansion are patriots even though both sets of people are doing exactly the same thing.

        *Sigh* It’s the declining middle class who have a right to complain while the rich are using investments to pay for college and selling it as a “middle class benefit” the less well off are taking out loans to pay for their kids education. The same goes for housing. The larger houses owned by the rich are the ones that really benefit from the interest deduction. A modest home for median is not going to get you a deduction above the standard on its own. Yet somehow or another this isn’t perceived as being a “taker.” No use rich people deductions and you’re just being “intelligent” not a taker at all even though that is money that the rest of us have to come up with to pay for things.

        The more I think about it the more I think the country could use a flat tax with a few caveats for things like those at poverty level and those under the age of 18. You want to save for your kids college? Great. Do it, but don’t expect those savings to get preferential treatment-

      3. Chauncey Gardiner

        Re Ronald Pires: … “[D}id Congress deliberately not open their checkbook in order to force the Fed into this giveaway to the rich??”

        Excellent question, Ronald Pires. I believe the answer is, “Yes.” I further believe that as a tool of economic policy, QE has fallen far short of its proponents’ publicly stated expectations of benefits from reduced interest rates and their so called “Wealth Effect”. QE has largely failed to meet any of the three of Roach’s “Three T’s”, although it has served to elevate the prices of financial assets.

        Why are domestic non-military, non-surveillance spending initiatives for infrastructure, education, healthcare and other domestic programs that benefit the American people so difficult to get passed and funded by Congress, and initiated and approved by this executive branch?

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        No he most surely was NOT an advocate of stimulus when it mattered, early 2009. He was remarkably quiet.

        He was also a deficit hawk during all the fiscal cliff fights in 2012 and 2013.

    7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Moreover, it is now relying on ambiguous adjectives to provide guidance to financial markets, having recently shifted from stating that it would maintain low rates for a “considerable” time to pledging to be “patient” in determining when to raise rates.”

      It is now relying on ambiguous adjectives…

      Just now? Not ‘always has been?’

      Not too many non-experts can decipher exact how ‘considerable time’ and ‘be patient’ equate to our everyday scale of time.

  3. cnchal

    Wait a minute, what is the stock market again? A place for the Fed to give money for wealthy people to spend?

    Yes. Fed economists are either clueless or criminal.

    Like lemmings at the cliff’s edge, central banks seem steeped in denial of the risks they face.

    Fire them all. They are the useless eaters.

  4. fresno dan

    A reader wrote in to a columnist at the Los Angeles Times saying he has noticed a roughly 26 percent reduction in the surface area of his toilet paper.

    “The old standard for a single sheet of tissue was 4 and 1/2 by 4 and 1/2 inches, a nice square,” the reader wrote. “Some tissue companies have changed the length of the sheet to 4 inches, with a width of 4 1/2 inches, no longer a square.”
    I am diligently working on determining the FED metric for toilet paper inflation calculations…
    Now, I am not going to use this to advance my theory of “crapdonics” (my take on the FED’s “hedonics”) and make some comment about substituting….

  5. Garrett Pace

    UFC women

    But it’s a heartening series of events. Because it suggests that, left to their own devices, the XBone-and-Snapchat generation, despite their worst excesses, can appreciate female athletes for the same reasons as their male counterparts.

    Hundreds of years from now people will pull out UFC tapes and see just how genteel and civilized we are compared to our brutal ancestors. “Look, they trained their women to be killers, too!”

        1. cwaltz

          I’ll have to take you at your word since I’ve never been one nor spent a great deal of time at strip clubs.

          I’m not a big fan of exploiting people even if it essentially is MUTUAL exploitation(women exploiting men for their wallets and men exploiting women for their looks.)

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          I gather you don’t know many strippers. I had some friends who stripped, one a woman who was getting work as a professional ballerina but wasn’t making enough to pay her student debt.

          In NYC, strippers are strippers only. It’s illegal to touch them on the job. At pretty much all strip clubs anyone who breaks that rule is thrown out in a nanosecond. The bouncers also makes sure the women get into cabs to get home to make sure the patrons who don’t get the rules don’t proposition them on the way out.

          1. ambrit

            It’s not like that out in the boonies. A few years ago we had a case of an “exotic dancer” who was killed and dismembered by a man and his girlfriend in New Orleans. They evidently met her at the club she worked at and arranged a rendezvous after her shift ended. Parts of her body kept washing up on Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches.
            The “rules” are the same down here as up there. The intentions are what counts.

    1. diptherio

      Given everything else the US does that involves violence (drones, invasions, “advisors”), mixed-martial-arts seems pretty tame by comparison. Sure, many of the athletes will probably have cognitive problems in the future, but plenty of people who never took a right-hook to the temple will too, so….

      I have to say, I actually watched a good bit of UFC a few years back. Say what you will, but there’s something really cool about seeing a well executed wheel kick, or some super-clever jujitsu IRL. But if you want to see real violence (of both the physical as well as intellectual variety) you just gotta turn on the nightly news…or go watch “American Sniper.”

  6. Santi

    I’m trying to understand the opening of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard article: “The new Greece of Alexis Tsipras will run out of money by early March. It will then face a series of escalating crunch points that will end in default and a return to the drachma unless it can reach a deal with EU creditors.”

    If Greece, as it is the case, has a big primary surplus, a default should not forcefully result in a return to drachma, unless it is followed by strong sanctions or other economic blockades. If I understand correctly, if Greece stops paying debt service it will have a 4.5% of their GDP surplus to spend in stimulus measures and no need for external financing. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    This, BTW, is not at all the position of Spain. We have a big primary deficit and are, thus, in dire need of external financing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The external financing could be short term financing to manage reserves, like a profitable corporation borrowing short term to manage cash flow.

      1. Santi

        I’m quite sure that both chinese and russian governments will be eager to sign financing agreements with a defaulted Greece, as they have have already done with Argentina or Ecuador

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I agree with you there that

          1) they will still need external financing (instead of the other scenario where they will not need to) and

          2) the Chinese will be smart to step in.

    1. flora

      In the states where judges are elected think how all that money from a single special interest group can be used to sway judicial elections.
      How will that affect judicial independence ? (rhetorical question)

  7. vidimi

    re: grexit

    greece’s willingness to default on its debt should be its greatest bargaining chip. euro banks are so levered that the whole financial system could come down if greece doesn’t pay up. sure, the result for greece would be terrible as well, but it’s something europe cannot afford.

    1. susan the other

      Just because of the timing of the EU’s QE it looks suspiciously like they waited until Greece would finally say No More to launch QE as a safety net for German and French banks. Which might explain the cynical response from Germany – that QE won’t accomplish anything so just go buy stocks, etc. Cynical, but placated it seems. The EU’s QE has been designed to support its core economies. Same modus operandi as we have here. Mainline money to the banks.

  8. russell1200

    On the KKK picking on the wrong people:

    Charles Cobb’s “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed” comments on the “armed” portion of the peace movement. The book blurb notes it as follows:
    “Giving voice to the World War II veterans, rural activists, volunteer security guards, and self-defense groups who took up arms to defend their lives and liberties, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed lays bare the paradoxical relationship between the nonviolent civil rights struggle and the Second Amendment.”
    North Carolina has had a fair amount of gun control laws in the past. More than you would normally think for gun-loving Southerners. These laws are not in place for safety purposes, but are holdovers from the Jim Crow period were the Sheriff, who had the final say on processing permits, decided who had a right to defend themselves. The Maxtin story has been picked up by Raleigh’s News & Observer in the past: who also failed to comment on the Second Amendment implications of the story.

    1. Propertius

      Sipping coffee in Perry’s garage with shotguns across their laps, the men agreed that defending their families was too important to do in haphazard fashion. “We started to really getting organized and setting up, digging foxholes and started getting up ammunition and training guys,” Williams recalled. “In fact, we had started building our own rifle range, and we got our own M-1’s and got our own Mausers and German semi-automatic rifles, and steel helmets. We had everything.”

      I wonder if this would make them “ammosexuals” in Lambert’s book?

  9. Vatch

    Here’s a good LA Times editorial about the need to do something about overpopulation if we are serious about solving the problem of anthropogenic global climate change:

    A few quotes from the editorial, which is worth reading in its entirety:

    …population is not just a Third World issue. More than a third of the births in the United States are the result of unintended pregnancies, and this month the United Nations raised its prediction of population growth by the year 2050 because of unforeseen, rising birth rates in industrialized nations. So even though the highest rates of population growth are in the poorest and least educated countries — Africa’s population is expected to triple by the end of the century — any attempt to address the issue will have to target the industrialized world as well.

    The most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations’ board of climate experts, included concerns about population size, saying, “Globally, economic and population growth continued to be the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.” For the first time in its five years of producing such reports, the panel acknowledged that family-planning programs could make a real difference, both in slowing the rate of warming and in helping vulnerable nations adapt to its effects.

    …nations need assistance on two fronts: education for girls and access to free or affordable family-planning services. The benefit of even minimal education is startling: Women in developing countries who have had a year or more of schooling give birth to an average of three children; with no schooling, the number is 4.5.

    It is not a sustainable scenario to keep producing larger young populations. Our finite planet cannot host infinite growth. It’s already showing the strain.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Exactly. There are already way too many humans on the planet. We are drowning in our own excrement just like bacteria in a petrie dish (see Ocean acidification, green house gas, etc). All these economic systems that rely on growth, growth, and more growth to succeed are doomed. As always humans are either too stupid to see the big picture or too greedy to care (IMO both).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Humans (conservative, liberal, progressive or otherwise) belong to the Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens species.

    2. afisher

      Interestingly, one political party is against any of this nonsense control, such as birth control or abortion. They are more intent on “saving the soul” of a few thousand cells – after all, they don’t believe that man has anything to do with Climate Change – it is all in the hands of their “god”.

      Sadly, they will feign surprise when the tipping point is reached here in the US.

    3. susan the other

      I still think that the GFC is a stealth depression implemented by every industrialized government/central bank because nobody can discuss the overpopulation situation. It is dire. Way too many people, all refusing to curb their enthusiasm for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Actions prove intent and QE has ended credit and created and maintained a worldwide depression just above the intolerable level for us humans. All the blabber they tell us is nonsense. But then, it is working. Except for the inequality. imo.

      1. Vatch

        I have trouble believing that the Great Financial Collapse was a program to stop population growth. If that was the intent, it has failed completely. Poverty does not stop population growth, and there are still plenty of rich people. Remember the old saying:

        The rich get richer, and the poor get children.

        See the U.S. Census Bureau’s population clock for more on continuing population growth.

        The GFC was caused by greed and incompetence.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When the people have money…some time in the distant future…we will build a memorial to the victims of the GFC.

  10. dcblogger

    Apple revenue drops to $5.86b during talks with ATO

    While Apple Australia’s transfer ­pricing talks with the Australian Taxation Office remain locked, the US giant’s tax payments last year remained locked at 1 per cent of sales.

    Apple’s 2014 accounts show Australian sales dropped 1 per cent to $5.86 billion for the year to September 27 – the first time since at least 2000 that Apple’s revenues have fallen.

    The results show that Apple is ­paying slightly more tax in Australia, though this is on its local operations, and not on the windfall profits Apple Inc makes offshore when its Irish subsidiary in Ireland Apple Sales International sells products to Apple’s Australian stores.

  11. tgs

    re: S&P Downgrades Russia’s Sovereign Credit Rating to Junk

    Since the S&P is clearly a disinterested observer, it is clear that there is no political motivation involved. After all, in India:
    Obama glibly told reporters that the United States has no interest in weakening Russia or devastating its economy. “We have a profound interest, as I believe every country does, in promoting a core principle, which is, large countries don’t bully smaller countries. They don’t encroach on their territorial integrity. They don’t encroach on their sovereignty. And that’s what’s at stake in Ukraine,” he said.

    And then he was off to Saudi Arabia with a sizable number of other ‘western leaders’ to pay his respects to the departed despot recently described by Lagarde as ‘an advocate of women’.

    The moral flexibility of the ‘west’ is truly mind boggling – after all just a week or so ago they were all ‘Charlie’ and in a panic over Islamic extremism. This week finds them in the nerve center of Islamic extremism paying their respects.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Money is power.

      Money can buy you love, it’s true.

      That’s why, instead of saying the government can spend as much new money as it wants (I hope, in vain, they are not spying on this comment), we should pray that only the people can spend as much new money as they need.

      1. hunkerdown

        Lagarde is no idiot. She apparently knows better than you do that her job is to reproduce an elite, not to tell the truth.

    2. cwaltz

      Larger countries don’t bully smaller countries……Did his nose grow when he said this or does he really believe we aren’t really bullying when we tell other countries that they can’t have nuclear power and sanction them when they don’ move in the direction we like?

  12. c

    Finance Ministry slows blogging down but ends it not
    Yanis Varoufakis thoughts for the post-2008 world
    The time to put up or shut up has, I have been told, arrived. My plan is to defy such advice. To continue blogging here even though it is normally considered irresponsible for a Finance Minister to indulge in such crass forms of communication. Naturally, my blog posts will become more infrequent and shorter. But I do hope they compensate with juicier views, comments and insights.
    For hope to be revived we must all strive to change the ways of a dismal past. Maintaining an open line with the outside world may be a small step in that direction.
    So, keep watching this space!

  13. ambrit

    Copper has gone below $2.50 a pound.
    The PMs haven’t jumped very high yet.
    The stock market isn’t liking those earnings reports.
    Next: Lizard Men from hollow earth announce “Protectorate” over humans, “for their own good.”

      1. ambrit

        Extend and pretend. Men especially are prone to it due to the phenomenon known as ‘foreshortening.’

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not sure what it is, but whatever it was, it was probably already a common occurrence among the males of the Homo Erectus.

  14. afisher

    It was surprising at how fast the Austerians have taken to their quills to try and smear the new finance minister of Greece. I can say that I had never heard of him until I started reading on this site a year or so ago, but the smear shots and the circle jerk comments are wildly wrong and pretty funny. It appears that Yanis still has his sense of humor – which is a very good thing.

    1. Steve H.

      I say this believing that there is no other person on the planet better suited to be the Greek finance minister.

        1. Jack

          Well I never said it wasn’t smarmy in what it does. But it does what it does correctly. Varoufakis has actually been in charge of running an economy, basic and virtual though it may be. That already puts him ahead of at least 95% of the economics profession.

          1. skippy

            Just cracking a joke Jack. Spent quite a bit of time with the valve – steam boys back in the early HL2 – DM/CTF days, as a guinea pig, sight admin on top server, and other nefarious activity’s.

            Skippy…. just treading water till HL3 – teh_pwnerer – teh noob song


            PS. just don’t want to end up a companion cube….

          2. norm de plume

            Yes, Varoufakis has corporate-world runs on the board and governmental experience advising Papandreou, as well as great respect in academe, in both economics and philosophy. He is also now with his artist partner dipping his toe into the art world…


            I can’t get terribly excited by the art to be honest, but YV’s text contributions are very good indeed.

    2. ChrisPacific

      He was also the economist for Eve Online, so he knows a thing or two about self-serving amoral bastards. That ought to come in handy.

  15. susan the other

    Vineyard of the Saker. Putting the pieces together in the Russian oil puzzle. The bit about the Nabucco pipeline which has fallen behind is interesting. Oil from Central Asia and the Mid East was to cross Syria and establish a connection for the EU in Turkey. But that plan has been demolished. It is very curious because the advocates of crossing Syria seem to have been the Saudis and the Israelis and we have distanced ourselves from both of them. This also makes sense of what seems to be Syria’s suicidal loyalty to Russian interests, abandoning their own and devastating their country when they could just ok to the pipeline. It makes sense that we might even be backing Syria and Russia in all this confusion. Either way the EU is desperate for oil. They are much like Japan when it comes to energy. So we aren’t doing anybody any favors here. It looks like more of our agenda to slow down the industrial nations and put a lid on them. I like this idea so I stick with it. Maybe if I say it enough it will happen.

  16. BondsOfSteel

    RE: How A Box Could Solve The Personal Data Conundrum MIT Technology Review (David L).

    Hmm. This is nothing more than an eWallet (think PayPal) for personal data. (Aren’t credit cards personal data?) It’s a good idea… but just an iteration on what already exists. Since adaption is 99% of the problem, it’s not really going to solve anything.

    1. hunkerdown

      Worse. It’s a coinbox on what already exists… consider the MITTR a catalog for VCs, not a news source. Any pie-eyed capitalist kid from MIT can come up with a business plan for a device that enables the exploitation of citizen information under the pretext of protecting it.

      Anything to prevent people having a printing press in their own home…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Love it – People’s Money from the People’s Printing Press by the People’s Central Bank.

  17. Carolinian

    More on this for those who might be interested

    Further, he notes that Clint Eastwood, director of the American Sniper movie, made many changes to Kyle’s accounts of what happened. For one, Kyle, in his autobiography, recounts shooting a woman who was taking the legal action of throwing a grenade at invading forces. Eastwood changes this so that the woman gives the grenade to her child to throw at the invaders. “Did Clint Eastwood think that this is a more representative portrayal of the Iraqi resistance?” Caputi asks. “It’s not.” (Caputi gives Eastwood the benefit of our lack of knowledge of his thought process; he could have asked if Eastwood did this to try to dehumanize Iraqi mothers or Iraqis in general, or whip up US American xenophobic hatred of foreigners, a not-so-difficult feat which Eastwood accomplished with flying colors. See The Guardian’s “American Sniper: Anti-Muslim Threats Skyrocket in Wake of Film’s Release“; many who see the film “emerge from theatres desperate to communicate a kind of murderous desire.”)

    This faking an account of a mother who turns her child into an ied strikes me as particularly despicable.

    And Pat Lang calls sniping an unheroic if necessary part of war…puzzles over the film’s popularity.

    Shooting people with a rifle at extended ranges is something I am familiar with. There is nothing particularly noble about shooting people with a rifle at several hundred yards. It is merely necessary in war. I was not a sniper but I was a notable marksman and I shot men with a rifle at long ranges. I am not ashamed of that. It was war and it needed doing, but I sure as hell don’t want anyone to thank me for it.


    Fallows has it right. Too many Americans these days view war as a spectacle that has little to do with them. It is an attitude we will continue to pay for.

    1. vidimi

      i don’t understand why this film is not generating more outrage, and a stronger pushback, from the left. it seems like only yesterday we were successful at stopping zero dark thirty in its tracks and this movie is even worse, even more damaging. did the success of the ZD30 campaigns discourage people from taking this on? i’m looking at you, GG.

      1. ambrit

        I times of uncertainty, most people look for a savior figure. Also, like in WWII, Hollywood is the primary purveyor of pro status quo propaganda. So, combine the two and you have films like “Sniper” and also like “Transformers.” I would venture to guess the two films have similar story arcs.

        1. vidimi

          i get the saviour figure need, but why does that saviour have to be an unrepentant, racist psychopath murderer? the fact that on a week in which we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the holocaust americans are celebrating a movie that is all about dehumanizing the arab other as a pro-family spectacle makes me want to weep for humanity and the fact that we’ve learned absolutely nothing from events of seven decades ago.

          1. ambrit

            That comes down to the backers of the movie and their own ‘hidden’ agendas. For an idea of how that has worked out in the past, google Upton Sinclairs’ End Poverty In California (EPIC) campaign in 1934 and all the media dirty tricks used to defeat it.
            We have regressed to the point where attention spans are so short that even recent history is of little utility to the ‘average’ voter.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I wonder if ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ is at play here?

        I am tempted to pay the studio and theater to watch the film so I can join the discussion.

        1. ambrit

          Dear MLTPB;
          opti is right, please don’t.
          If you must, try something with real meaning like, “Paths of Glory” or “Ballad of a Soldier.”

      3. Jack

        Probably has something to do with the supposed ‘humanity’ of the film. The protagonist has a ‘profound’ personal journey and eventually comes to realize what he’s doing is wrong. So it’s all a wash.

        Also hey, I finally get to use this wonderful quote:

        ’cause not only will America go to your country and kill all your people, but what’s worse I think is that they’ll come back twenty years later and make a movie about how killing your people made their soldiers feel sad. Oh boo-hoo-hoo! Americans making a movie about what Vietnam did to their soldiers is like a serial killer telling you what stopping suddenly for hitchhikers did to his clutch. – Frankie Boyle

    2. OIFVet

      I am fed up with people assuming I will be seeing and/or liking the movie just because I am a veteran. No, I haven’t seen it, and no I won’t give my money to Clint Eastwood. Just today someone who assumed I cared gave me a whole synopsis of the movie. He was particularly touched by the scene of Kyle shooting the mother and the child, particularly Eastwood’s erroneous portrayal of a “conflicted” or “reluctant” Kyle. What a steaming pile of crap, paying for the privilege of being brainwashed. The one-sided conversation ended quite abruptly when he mentioned “$180,000” (?!) price the insurgents had on Kyle, and I opined that the Marine vet who killed him ought to collect on it. That shut him up good and proper.

  18. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    I’m a little surprised that the vehemently antigun NC would link to the Daily Kos article about the Klan messing with the wrong people, given that the “wrong people” chose to arm themselves to fend off the Klan. No cognitive dissonance going there? Or would the NC preference have been for everybody to be unarmed (presuming some magic magnet could have disarmed the Klan) such that the Klan would have been free to burn crosses in people’s yards without fear of reprisal – since I’m fairly confident the local sheriff was unlikely to show up and assist. The victims’ solution, from the article:

    Sipping coffee in Perry’s garage with shotguns across their laps, the men agreed that defending their families was too important to do in haphazard fashion. “We started to really getting organized and setting up, digging foxholes and started getting up ammunition and training guys,” Williams recalled. “In fact, we had started building our own rifle range, and we got our own M-1’s and got our own Mausers and German semi-automatic rifles, and steel helmets. We had everything.”

    OR, on the third tentacle, would the NC preference be to rely on law enforcement officials to protect people, much the way Eric Garner was protected?

    Gots my libertarian popcorn right here,* waiting for a cognitive and coherent response.. :D

    *and zero guilt, since I make modest donations to both NC and Corrente in appreciation for outstanding NON-dissonant work they do in other areas.

    1. JerryDenim

      I too was a bit surprised to see the good-guys-with-guns save the day story linked here as I have been shouted down in the past for pointing out some of the democratic virtues of the 2nd Amendment, but hey let’s give credit where credit is due. I think the fact that the story originally appeared in the far more politically rigid Daily Kos is even more surprising.

      That said, I absolutely loved the story! I am a SE North Carolina native and I certainly never heard that little bit of history growing up in my recently desegregated Sampson County public school. (70’s and 80’s) I’ve got a couple of Oxendine’s scattered about in my family tree and my sister married the grandchild of one so the stories of regular Sandhills folks banding together to kick the racist hillbillies back down to South Carolina make me proud. Now if only the good civic-minded people of North Carolina could only do something about Art Pope, Pat McCrory and Thom Tillis…

      Great story!

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      That was a different time when you didn’t have suburbanites who have no clue about gun safety keeping guns in their nightstand or car to protect property.

      This looks to have been the rural South. A big, if not the, motivation for owning guns was hunting. The hunters I know are big on gun safety and unload them when not in use, or even keep them under lock and key.

      I don’t like widespread gun ownership, particularly since all the evidence is that owners are far more likely to kill themselves and loved ones rather than do any good. And police studies find that guns are useless for personal safety, that if an assailant is within 21 feet, you can’t get your weapon out quickly enough to shoot an attacker. So they really are only for “I’m gonna shoot at the person making the strange noise I hear on my property” which too often winds up being someone they know.

      If you are worried about protecting yourself from assault, a bludgeon is your best weapon. Or take a real self defense course, which sadly means offense (as in if someone really means to hurt you, you have to hurt them first, and badly which is less hard than you think if you know what to do).

      1. Kyle


        Although they have been put to good use slaughtering hogs and knocking down game, there are a great number of people who are of the opinion that a well armed population is a deterrent to government tyranny.

  19. kay

    I like the picture of the dolphin. I donated to support the site to keep it exactly as it is. I’ve been with you since the early part of the century. In this world of constant change and google’s march to put a chip in everyone’s head, I prefer to come to this site and actually read the content. Its familiar and comfortable. I hope Yves found an solution to the IT issue b/c I’m having a real issue w/all these sites I go to that want my opinion on the changes that they’ve made. Well, the common feature is they’ve dumbed it down. Please keep the daily pictures and the format exactly as it is until I pass from this world as I won’t be uploading myself into any identity2.0 product. Then you can change the website. Thank you.

    PS – what’s going on with the constant revisions of the numbers? Holy guacamole batman. Can’t anyone count at the government offices?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We aren’t going to change the layout of the site or its look and feel

      A “mobile first” design means we are redoing the plumbing (the CSS) so it renders correctly on tablets and smartphones. It doesn’t now.

  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the article by Henry Giroux. Not to diminish other aspects of his essay, but I found the first part of his essay about the organized, concerted attack on our nation’s youth and public education by the two legacy political parties through their imposed fiscal austerity policies, testing and other programs particularly maddening.

    A “Money quote”:

    …”When it comes to educational policy, the logic of privatization and capital accumulation is the real force at work in destroying public schools, and it’s done ironically under the name of reform.”

    Setting aside other important and relevant considerations for a moment, where are the owners of the large transnational corporations going to find the talent they’re looking for?…

    What a bunch of jackasses, to put it as charitably as I can.

    1. Emma

      Wasn’t it George Bernard Shaw who said ‘What is the matter with the poor is poverty; what is the matter with the rich is uselessness’?

      So we have a ‘no child left behind’ country which by global standards/stats increasingly means a ‘country left behind’ because no child is left fed and no child is left educated. Undeveloped investment for underdeveloped returns.

      Forward-thinking compassionate men who reason together to serve the people, are not elected to office. If they were, the nation would be ahead.

      It is instead to the Scandinavians the world looks today for superior examples of top performance in education, civil liberties, economic competitiveness, the human development of an entire nation, and a first-rate Gini coefficient.

      The sound era of economic prosperity under Eisenhower is but an option in the figment of our imagination. Most people today can barely stay afloat and increasingly believe that nobody in office can do much good about anything. It’s a two party monopoly working in the interests of a minority over the majority.

      Free-market capitalism for free-unrestrained power. Free-choice illusions for free-floating insecurities. That’s the established order of ‘globelitism’.

  21. Christopher D. Rogers

    OK, for doubters on what Syriza can or cannot do now it’s actually in government, and for those following Prof. Yanis Varoufakis elevation from “cranky” economics professor espousing heterodox economic solutions for our present economic woes – all of which are self inflicted, to a member of the elite, with a seat at the table

    First some honesty on my behalf, for the past few months I’ve worked on an event in London to try and promote heterodox economics into the mainstream, regardless that high-level monetary policy makers from the New York Fed and ECB were actually the speakers, there was scant interest in London, even though our subject matter was “banking union” and our guest economists were both of a mainstream and heterodox persuasion, with Prof. Steve Keen representing the outlier, but at least he was on the podium, which was a start. Our other gang of misfits included Prof. Varoufakis and Prof. David Graeber, as well as quite a few UK economists known for their outspoken remarks, among them one Timothy Congdon, who’s in bed with UKIP, still, London media was none too interested.

    Well guess what folks, the ascent of Syriza and Yanis’s elevation to Finance Minster in Greece has changed all that, now all major UK London-based newspapers are keen to see fireworks, further, the alternatives discussed yesterday for Greece to follow will actually be aired in public under the full media spot light, which means maybe, just maybe we can gain some traction, if only in the UK, which itself is inflicted with austerity from our friends in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Party – who needs Germany and the ECB when you have Osborne. Anyway, we have also began to make small inroads into Parliament and have got the Greens involved, and maybe a few London MP’s – so Yanis is selling well and that benefits those who are pushing the heterodox cause and are blindly ignored by TPTB, hence my elation at the Syriza election result. But, it is but the beginning, it’s not the end of the beginning, but the start itself, but finally someone with common sense and the People’s touch is actually calling it out for what it is, and that really helps, particularly given we are hoping to get something arranged on “Debt & Deficits” in London or New York/DC, but without MSM media attention it would be fringe, with MSM attention, well, perhaps those who really know better will begin raising their heads above the parapet once more and stop parroting the neoliberal line that they themselves know is digging their graves, as well as ours. Anyway, well done Yanis and what a difference 48 hours actually makes!

    Next step, President of the European Union, and I’d vote for him that’s for sure – that’s if we had a vote to begin with.

  22. SDB

    “Remember, a smaller deficit means less demand…”

    No, it doesn’t.

    It means the ratio of federal government spending to federal tax revenue has decreased. Since federal government spending pretty usually increases year-to-year, a smaller deficit is likely the result of increased tax revenue from an improving economy.

    Is an improving economy coming from less demand?

    Doubt it.

Comments are closed.