Links 1/6/15

Dear patient readers,

Links are a bit narrow today. I was doing blog work but not on stuff that leads to immediate posts.

Nazi super cows: British farmer forced to destroy half his murderous herd of bio-engineered Heck cows after they try to kill staff Independent (YY)

Killed for cutting his 30-year-old son’s allowance? Princeton graduate who ‘shot dead his $200m banker father, 70, was angry over having weekly handout axed’ reports claim DailyMail (Li)

Security breach halts Bitcoin exchange Financial Times

China faces criticism from conservation scientists for attempts to exterminate real-life ‘Pikachu’ with mass poisoning Independent (YY)

Bonds Rise as Stocks Fall With Oil Below $50; Yen Gains Bloomberg. AM update.

Stocks Fall Further as Oil Weakens Wall Street Journal. Another AM update

Euro-Area Economy Menaced by Threat of Relapse as ECB Weighs Action Bloomberg. Inflation, as in deflation, figures due Wednesday.

Euro Falls Lower as Central Bank Hints at Increase in Stimulus Plan New York Times. It’s been hinting for a while, which means the hints are pretty well priced in.


Greece vs Europe: who will blink first? Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Greece’s snap elections Economist. A useful backgrounder.

Greek Exit Could Bring a Euro Crisis Bloomberg. Editorial.

Paul Krugman has got it wrong on austerity: Jeffrey Sachs Guardian (Ed Harrison)


The Isis economy: Meet the new boss Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

It Might Not Be Long Before The Internet Could Rule Every Aspect Of Our Lives Business Insider (David L)

Writers in ‘Free’ Countries Now Share Surveillance Concerns With ‘Not-Free’ Brethren Intercept

Michael Brown grand juror sues St. Louis County prosecutor, asking to speak out on case St. Louis Post Dispatch (martha r). This is major. The ACLU filed this case.


Harvard Ideas on Health Care Hit Home, Hard New York Times. Wow, this plan is so good I doubt anyone will have much sympathy. The flip side is Harvard has adjuncts who make close to nada who I assume are on the plan, so even this level of costs would be meaningful.

A New Congress Faces Many Old Problems Fiscal Times

New Congress Grapples With Energy Issues Wall Street Journal

NYPD Soft Coup

For Second Week, Arrests Plunge in New York City New York Times

Two New York City Police Officers Shot Wall Street Journal


Oil Prices Extend Declines Wall Street Journal

Timelapse of drilling & fracking a well YouTube. Joe Costello: “In case you’re wondering where all that money goes.”

What a Stronger Dollar Means for the Economy New York Times

Stiglitz Blocked From SEC Panel After Faulting High-Speed Trades Bloomberg

Nine reasons why banking growth cannot be taken for granted Financial Times (David L). Bizarre subtext that more growth would be good when we have an oversized and predatory financial services sector.

Goldman Sachs says JPMorgan Chase should be broken up Fortune

The Ghosts of Bailouts Past, Bailouts Present and Bailouts Yet to Come Alternative Banking Group, Occupy Wall Street, Huffington Post

Morgan Stanley reveals client data theft Financial Times

Nighttime Must-Read: Richard Florida: Is Life Better in America’s Red States? Brad DeLong

Best political philosophy/theory papers, a decade later Crooked Timber

Nostradamus-Style Predictions for Consumers in 2015 Nathalie Martin, Credit Slips

Class Warfare

Scott Walker, Starting Second Term as Wisconsin Governor, Resists New Union Battle New York Times

The Real Winners Of The Recovery: The Superrich DS Wright, Firedoglake

Antidote du jour. Ben Johannson: “My friend Atka, relaxing after a morning swim in the Atlantic.”


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. DJG

      Interesting map of Greece from ex-PFC Chuck. I don’t know Greek regions and their history well enough to explain certain prominent patches of yellow (leftists). Attica and Thessaly? And Corfu? And all of Crete?

  1. diptherio

    Sideways antidote again today…but I can’t think of anything clever to say about it….

    And there’s a little html SNAFU with the second Grexit link:

    ” rel=”nofollow”>Greece’s snap elections Economist. A useful backgrounder.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Ah, better; he now looks like a regal sage. Sideways his white chin looked like a goofy underbite. Our late lahsa had a crooked underbite, not uncommon in the breed, and he always looked kind of comical, epecially when he growled. It invariably evoked howls of laughter. “Ooh, are you going to underbite me?” That’s how HE trained US; it was a reliable way to get treats.

  2. diptherio

    Re: Goldman Sachs says JPMorgan Chase should be broken up

    They’re starting to go after eachother now, eh? Something must be going on. Goldman trying to divert the torches and pitchforks, I imagine. Maybe they know something I don’t.

    1. fresno dan

      after a vampire, or a vampire squid, has eaten everything available, evolutionary theory states that random changes will occur so that the species can survive. One of those GS squids is licking his chops at that big pile of money that is JPMorgan…

      1. frosty zoom


        Garlic Futures Surge, Vatican Contemplates Drastic Holy Water Production Cut

        1. fresno dan

          I suspect that shortly we’ll see a mysterious fungus that attacks garlic, rendering the pure defenseless against the depredations of vampires and vampire squids…(well, we’ve always been defenseless against vampire squids – we’re just their herd….)

          And segueing into herds
          Nazi super cows: British farmer forced to destroy half his murderous herd of bio-engineered Heck cows after they try to kill staff Independent (YY)
          “The cattle were mostly destroyed after the fall of Nazism in 1945, although some have survived in European nature conservation parks.”

          Did the Nazi cows survive to feed the Nazis that survive???

          1. diptherio

            The crazy thing is they specifically bred the cows to be aggressive. Anybody who thinks a large domestic animal will be improved by making it meaner definitely deserves a Darwin award.

            1. Bridget

              It’s a puzzlement. There is absolutely no reason to breed aggressive cattle. Dogs, yes. Cattle, no.

              And then there’s the whole time frame thing. Nazis were around for, oh, say 40ish years? And a cow generation is like, 15 years. 3 generations is not enough to selectively breed for aggression in cattle.

              Something about this story smells like methane gas.

              1. evodevo

                15 years? Really? You can breed a heifer at 2; and breed her offspring at 2; that’s 4 years. and she has an offspring every year. You are thinking of humans, I guess, who aren’t sexually mature till 12. the Hecks started their breeding program in the ’20’s, and it ran for ~25 years. That’s a lot of cattle.

        2. GuyFawkesLives

          We can only hope that Laura Dimon follows in the footsteps of the 30 yr old parent-killer.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Money can’t buy you happiness.

        You have the spectacle of a vampire squid going after another.

        In fact, money might get you tragedy, as we have here with a Princeton grad son and a very rich father.

        As a civil, caring society, we must make sure no father (or mother) is so super rich as to ruin his (or her) kids like this again.


      3. ChrisPacific

        That was my interpretation as well. I think the Vampire Squid is hungry but thinks the entity that is currently JP Morgan would be too big to swallow whole.

        We could Onion-ize the headline as follows:

        Goldman Sachs calls for JP Morgan Chase to be broken into tasty, bite-sized chunks

  3. Clive

    Re: “It Might Not Be Long Before The Internet Could Rule Every Aspect Of Our Lives”… Well, that might be the sincere wish of the electronics manufacturers, but I’ve a hunch that there’s a subtlety at play in the interaction between the behaviour of the manufacturers and the behaviour of the consumers (or potential consumers) — especially post-Snowden.

    My views have been informed by my purchase of a Nest “Learning Thermostat”. I’ll cut out a lot of the incidental detail (which is still important, but this is a comment so I’ll keep it brief) and posit my theory that — for the manufacturers — there’s a lot of fear that if they expose to the customer exactly what these sorts of devices are collecting then the customers will be too wary, so the manufactures are intentionally dumbing down their products (in the guise of “making them simple”). Conversely, early adopter customers — real or potential — are likely only interested in such products because of their appeal to gadgetry or sophistication or possibly the potential to satisfy a need to tinker. Otherwise, they’d simply buy the cheaper “dumb” conventional products already on offer. This means that the manufactures end up deliberately producing a product which doesn’t satisfy the needs of early adopters in the hope of not scaring off the mass-market. But without a critical mass of early adopters, they’ll never develop the mass market.

    This is the exact opposite of what happened with personal computing and, indeed, the internet. Initially, a nice steady stream of early adopters were the key to maturing the products and doing a lot of the marketing by word of mouth (still the most valuable group in developing an entirely new market). It is difficult to broaden a market while alienating your early adopters, but that is what the manufacturers seem to think they have to do else risk giving rise to privacy concerns. But the privacy concerns don’t go away just because you try to hide and deny access to the data your “smart” device is collecting about the owner so this strategy is doomed to fail.

    1. ambrit

      I’ll go out on a limb and say that the bottleneck is in the ‘discovery’ algorithms that interpret what that mass of data is telling the panopticon manager. (In other words, the code that rules. Cue David Warner in his suit of lights!)

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      To have the consumer want entanglement in the internet of things, to pay for it, to think of it as keeping up with the Joneses, to beg for it is the dream of big business and the most effective model of subjugating the public to digital monitoring-data collection-analysis-control. It was astoundingly successful for TV and the ability of TV as media to guide and literally create the public’s ideology/mythology/reality with an accuracy and consistency and scale never before even imagined as a possibility. Any other model would have the masses revolting or being increasingly resentful at being treated as such idiots.

      But as with TV, as with the internet-of-consumerism and then the internet of social control, there is a start up time where these things have to be artificially goosed along by big money, by sex exploitation, by exploitation of children, by big media and so on. It’s basically the con job, the flywheel, that period where the public has not yet been modified to accept the new reality that this internet of things is a critical part of their existence.

      As such, the problems you raise are not really significant. Sure, this stuff may resemble “useless junk” to too many to compel the engine to kick over and self sustain, but the media won’t report that. Au contraire, they will dutifully report that everyone is crazed to get this new stuff into their house – that for the time being only the rich and famous can afford it (who cares if the elite are in reality paying good money to avoid the stuff like the plague), but not to worry, folks, for it will soon be more affordable. And just as we live in an illusion of democracy, we also maintain an illusion of transparency; there will even be news articles about how the internet of things is dangerous, is eroding our rights and our privacy, but it will be done in such a way that will only make it more attractive – something for adults who aren’t basket case conspiracy theorists or paranoids on the edge of needing help or hopeless troglodytes caught in a bygone age.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Also, I didn’t really reply to the subtlety of your argument; that they are purposefully dumbing these things down to make them less frightening, but my point is the same. They don’t really care or need to care at this point in time about market viability (though they do need to avoid overly frightening people). They only need to produce the illusion of mass acceptance and desire for the stuff.

        Where it’s going to be interesting is the forthcoming legislation that requires everyone to be connected; cars, household appliances, everything. That will come about by our fearless (and brainless) legislators over stepping themselves and trying to make this new form of potential total subjugation law before the public is ripe for it.

  4. MartyH

    “Is Life Better in Red States” … I was surprised this passed without NC Snark. It deserves plenty. Florida’s (the original author’s) premise is that lower housing costs, by implication, lower costs of living, buy the votes of the Red State voter. He then makes the leap to blame those specific dynamics for the failure of the Federal Government to invest in “Infrastructure”, health-care, etc. It’s all the fault of the Red-State citizens being bought off in the name of cost of living!? Not one word about capture of the legislative and executive branches by wealthy special interests for whom these outcomes are, by some measures, optimal? Not one word about a monopolist corporate media that blasts highly-professional propaganda 24x7x365 to sell the Red-State talking points (even in the Heart of The Blue). The ironic part of this is that I am forced to listen to the Red-Minded Republicans here in the heart of Blue-Istan who sound more like back-county Texans than Blue-Staters. And, they are Proud Of It!

    De Long’s snarky “anti-social NIMBYism” doesn’t help at any level as the housing cost crises in Massachussets that he cites, like those in San Francisco, Brooklyn, NY, and the Washington, DC, metropolitan area are the direct result of wealthy individuals immigrating into preferred enclaves and squeezing out the pre-existing and more diverse original locals.

    Interesting that neither author points out the subsidy the Blue States pay in Federal disbursement imbalances to the Red. As “Librul” propaganda (Mr. Florida is supposed to be a major Leftist) this is pretty lame stuff. It is a sales pitch for the Neo-Liberal colonization of the globe by the 0.01%. And not a very good one.

    1. McMike

      Whenever I see an article about how some red state or another is the best place to start a business/live etc, it invariably gives heavy weighting to low nominal tax rates.

      And of course ignores nearly every other economic, infrastructure, or quality of life indicator.

    2. diptherio

      It’s always safer to cast dispersions on people with no actual power. I’m assuming this Florida guy/gal is at least aware of the Gilens and Page study, so s/he must know that the preferences of voters have essentially no effect on policy outcomes. So the question is: stupid or chicken-sh*t? You be the judge.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Yeah, we had all manner of Obots identifying with Florida’s “creative class” formulation in 2008. You know, like ordinary working people can’t ever be creative….

          1. cwaltz

            Many of the lower income poor are some of the most creative people I know. You pretty much have to be because a couple days before payday you end up looking in your fridge and doing your own household version of Chopped.

    3. Carolinian

      You might want to also mention all that money being shoveled back to Wall Street–the “heart of the blue”?–by those vile Red State parasites. Do you even read this blog? Florida is not exactly ground zero of America’s economic dysfunction at this point in time.

      And yes the great empty spaces are scarce on jobs. A more useful comparison might be between large cities in the South and North. Atlanta is definitely more expensive than where I live now (I lived there many years) but a real estate backwater compared to NYC (I lived there too btw). The truth is that the U.S. is becoming increasingly homogenized–much more so than some people realize. Regional comparisons can be odious.

      1. Propertius

        Regional comparisons can be odious.

        But they constitute one the few socially-acceptable expressions of bigotry we have left. Keeping οἱ πολλοί as divided as possible is essential for the maintenance of TPTB, after all.

    4. jrs

      Also why would anyone think housing is the only thing to look at in whether “life is better” EVEN ECONOMICALLY.

      “For blue state urbanites who toil in low-paying retail, food preparation and service jobs… teachers, civil servants, students and young families, the American dream of homeownership–or even an affordable rental apartment–is increasingly out of reach.”

      Maybe those tolling in low-paying retail and food service jobs are more concerned with EXPANDED MEDICAID than buying a house. Then it’s not at all clear they are better off in the red state that hasn’t expanded it. And yes I know Obamacare stinks, but for some people expanded Medicaid is better than what they had before. Some will clearly be better off in a state with slightly more social safety net. Also in a state with a less punitive criminal justice system, so their son isn’t sent to jail forever for minor crimes like drug use, although the criminal justice system is out of control pretty much everywhere.

      But the housing costs? Yes well the Fed and the Fed gov decided to deliberately keep housing prices high even at the consequences of the market being dominated by investors etc.. If not for that after 2008 housing prices would have tanked and housing would be more affordable. But can’t have that, hence housing bailouts.

          1. Carolinian

            Most of the South is quite soggy. In fact Texas barely qualifies as being “in the South” although I suppose we are stuck with them. In normal years wind patterns off the Gulf of Mexico give the deep South a rainfall total close to the Pacific Northwest.

            I’m afraid you’ll have to find something else to sneer about.

      1. cwaltz

        Someone get back to me when they run out of skilled labor- Texas claim to fame is it’s a state that has one of the highest HS drop out rates. They also have more poverty than the Blue states. They aren’t Mississippi poor-yet however, they are in the top 5 in terms of most poverty.

  5. James Levy

    The article about Stieglitz being black-balled from the SEC advisory group says a few things about the world: 1) yes, the Democrats stink, but the Republicans don’t even try to hide their paid shill status anymore; 2) given the sclerotic state of our political economy, many more players have veto power than they have any power whatsoever to make positive changes (thus reinforcing the status quo); 3) the Power Elite don’t even want people like Stieglitz on a powerless advisory panel, so you can pretty much forget about any of them reaching positions of real influence and authority; 4) although the CREF guy would likely want a more probing eye to be directed at the financial sector, he’s married to a woman who makes her fortune off of chiseling the system (these types of marriages keep popping up, where one spouse is presumably on one side of a divide and the other on the other–the conflicts of interest abound).

    So, if you are smart, impeccably credentialed, and have been right about a lot of important things, don’t expect to be ask to help manage anything, because the only people who can manage the corrupt, convoluted system we’ve got are those who already run it and make windfalls off of its current operations. All outside the Charmed Circle are unneeded and unwanted. What a perfect recipe for nothing being done,no reforms, even system-preserving ones, being implemented. We are going over Niagara in a papier-mâché barrel.

    1. TedWa

      Well said, the most important qualification is who you know in the system, how corrupt you are and how well you can keep a secret. Being smart and qualified disqualifies you. The cream of the crop are being sunk while the mediocre are being elevated

  6. jjmacjohnson

    So owning one’s own house is the soul gateway to happiness?

    Looking at job prospects in Red States not sure one can even move there for work.

    This of course only concerns the rich and upper middle class, I forgot.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Blue States aren’t exactly brimming with ‘The Good Jobs’ either. My nephew graduated (with honors) with BS in Environmental Science last May. Has sent out tons of job applications. He spent the summer doing trail maintenance at a national park, now unemployed. I would think the way Corps are crapping all over the environment, his degree would be in demand.

      1. James

        Environmental remediation and cleanup is where the money’s at, the nastier the better, although I’m not sure I’d label that a “good job.” Mostly contract work too, so you have to find and get on with the guys who contract with the guys and all that. Lots of turnover and work stoppages/furloughs too of course. In other words, the new normal.

      2. hunkerdown

        Helping huge corporations externalize the maximum allowed by law isn’t exactly what enviro students signed up for.

  7. OIFVet

    Re: Harvard Health insurance. “Consumer cost-sharing is a blunt instrument,” Professor Rosenthal said. “It will save money, but we have strong evidence that when faced with high out-of-pocket costs, consumers make choices that do not appear to be in their best interests in terms of health.” Blame the “consumer” for being too “irrational” to benefit from Harvard’s brilliant ideas. Has Rosenthal ever had to face life as a poor “consumer” in America?

    1. fresno dan

      “faced with high out-of-pocket costs, consumers make choices that do not appear to be in their best interests in terms of health”
      To paraphrase Orwell, There are some things only an economist can believe, for no common man could be so stupid….

    2. Doug Terpstra

      High out-of-pocket costs are the inanimate auto-gatekeepers that deny claims without apparent agency, an obvious design feature, not bug, of the “death-panel racketeers’ bailout” bill, aka ACA, aka ObomneyCare. The exquisite elegance of this “free” market vehicle, in addition to its “legally” captive market, is the reduced personnel required to deny claims. That’s the real beauty of capitalism, the freedom to buy Congress, the SCOTUS, and the POTUS and write legislation according to efficient market hypothesis.

    3. DanB

      This is typical 1% thinking. here’s a snip from an essay I wrote recently about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard’s school of public health. Note that they see their role as informing people how to cope with stress and be resilient -RWJ and Harvard ignore the socioeconomic causes of stress. This is classic blaming the victim logic.

      “Below is an excerpt from the RWJ Foundation …” describing “the relevance of several Harvard School of Public Health faculty members’ research to the public health issues flowing from the “Great Recession.” RWJ titles this, “Harvard School of Public Health Special Report: The Financial Crisis as a Public Health Crisis.”
      …HSPH faculty are exploring ways to buffer people from the health impacts of economic downturns. Laura Kubzansky, for example, is looking at the biology of resilience. “What are the resources that would mitigate the impact of stress?” she asks. “What are the assets that enable people to meet life’s demands in a hardier way? Wouldn’t it be great if we knew the answers and put some proven protections in place before the next recession?…
      “What drives resilience in some individuals? What leaves others more vulnerable?” asks [Michelle] Williams [Chair of Harvard’s Department of Epidemiology]. “Those are the public health questions we need to answer.”[xxix]
      This professor went on to offer this risible ivory tower observation:
      “You can ask and answer a lot of research questions when what we call a natural experiment—like the Great Recession—happens on a population scale.”

      1. jrs

        “What are the resources that would mitigate the impact of stress?” she asks. “What are the assets that enable people to meet life’s demands in a hardier way? Wouldn’t it be great if we knew the answers and put some proven protections in place before the next recession?…”

        Isn’t this kind of known? Social support. Even better if the social support comes with economic support of course!

        All else lacking I suppose they will recommend meditation or other stress reduction techniques. I shouldn’t badmouth scientific research but this really sounds like one of those scientists prove the obvious experiments waiting to happen.

        “You can ask and answer a lot of research questions when what we call a natural experiment—like the Great Recession—happens on a population scale.”

        Doesn’t the Geneva convention prohibit involuntary human experimentation?

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s a pretty loose definition of the word “choice,” when not purchasing something one can’t afford is represented as “choosing.” So loose as to render the word “choice” pretty much meaningless.

      But I guess the blame-the-victim-for-choosing-poorly explanation is the only recourse for those responsible for setting up the no win situation in the first place.

      And, by the way, Rosenthal seems to understand that “cost-sharing” will “save money,” but exactly HOW was that supposed to happen without someone spending less? Who is it that would supposedly be “saving money?”

      I guess this is what it looks like when intellectual inbreeding finally expresses its ugly self. Kind of like hip dysplasia in dogs.

      1. OIFVet

        Indeed. This is what really got my ire, as I am quite sensitive on the topic of the poor being blamed for the “choices” that they make. Let’s just say that as poor immigrants my father had to make a “choice” when he developed a preexisting condition while uninsured, and he is no longer alive. It was a highly treatable condition, as long as one either has the insurance or enough cash to pay for it, or else lives in a civilized country with universal health care. So to read this Harvard jacka$$’ victim-blaming opens up a ton of hurt and anger in me, something that’s always just below the surface and will never go away. The people are being harnessed as unwilling participants in a “population scale natural experiment”, per another Harvard jacka$$ quoted by DanB above. So screw Harvard’s health care “brains”, they are nothing but vultures with credentials feasting on the carrion of their victims.

    5. McMike

      Yes, it is irrational to postpone that colonoscopy…. unless it is impossible to come up with $3,000 cash and two days off work (one day to fast and purge), plus a designated driver. In which case, there really isn’t a choice.

      * ACA, in its defense, now mandate “free” colonoscopies at age 50. But the above still serves as an illustrative example.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Colonoscopies are a seriously overrated test. The US is the only advanced economy to recommend them for everyone over 50. Unless you are in a high risk group (and that does not mean merely being over 50), getting a fecal occult blood test annually (which is trivial in terms of cost and hassle and you get the results immediately in the exam room) is as effective in terms of health outcomes.

        In addition, in 15% of the cases with colonoscopies, the equipment was not properly cleaned, plus you have the risk of colon perforation.

        1. McMike

          There’s a lot about medical procedures that are overrated or counter-productive.

          Taking the colonscopy at face value though, my point was the “irrational” calculation is quite simple. Even when presented with risk factors worth investigating, some people will be unwilling/unable to obtain the test. A result almost entirely of the high deductible form a rationing care.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            True, the same math applies if you are in a high risk group and should get the test.

            Sorry for getting testy. The discussion of certain medical ripoffs elicits a Pavlovian reaction in me.

            BTW the colonoscopy is free under Obamacare (the diagnostic part) but if they snip anything….you get charged, and they snip everything they see.

  8. Carolinian

    This may be of interest to NC readers. Microsoft must shortly make decisions about pricing and business strategy for Windows 10.

    Among other tidbits it says MS has been giving OEM Windows 8 away for free to makers of small tablets (I got one of these–an HP Stream 7–for Xmas…a great piece of hardware). Millions and even billions are at stake in how Redmond decides to price its cash cow in the future.

    1. fresno dan

      I have no problem with a company trying to optimally price its product.
      As I have noted many times, Microsoft’s market dominance is merely do to illegal restraint by way of illegal trade contracts that took the government years to rectify. Bill Gates is the epitome of thwarting the free market.
      The fact that Microsoft is held up as some kind of example of capitalism galls me to no end…

      1. Carolinian

        I’m not much of a Microsoft fan and frequently use linux but they are still a bigfoot in the techiesphere. MS’ real monopoly power is apparently in the business realm. They are reputedly quite draconian in enforcing their licenses.

        1. flora

          ” real monopoly power is apparently in the business realm ”
          that’s why Windows 8, optimized for touch screens/tablets/social media, makes no sense in the business world. MS chased after the smartphone/tablet market at the expense of its core competencies – the business/office environment.

      2. GuyFawkesLives

        Dan, being from the NW, you have NO idea how similarly I feel about that.

        Microsoft hires its computer geeks from other countries like Argentina, India, etc. Pays them $40,000, which to someone in another country seems like a windfall…..of course, until they actually get to Redmond and find out that the garbage man makes more than they do. Once their contract is over when they can advocate for more money, Bill rounds up more overseas employees for his “campus” in Redmond.

        I hate him.

  9. Howard Beale IV

    Bar Complaint Filed against McCulloch: CBS St Louis.

    It is the position of the complainants that McCulloch, Alizadeh and Whirley’s conduct have done both.
    – Presenting the grand jury with a legal instruction ruled unconstitutional for decades.
    – Mislabeling and misplacing evidence related to key witness Dorian Johnson.
    – Failing to provide specific charges to the jury after “dumping” on them thousands of pages of interviews and evidence the complainants cite as going above gross negligence.
    Griffin has said initial reports from the Ferguson police chief that Darren Wilson did not know Michael Brown was suspected in an earlier convenience store robbery were changed in testimony before the grand jury, and she believes that represents perjury.
    “He is the one that is allowing that perjured testimony to be presented to the grand jury, and that is a direct violation of the Code of Professional Ethics,” she said.

    1. fresno dan

      Thanks for posting that – I saw that and it is a good issue to bring up.
      I think the secrecy of the judiciary (results of so many suits sealed) is an issue that needs to be addressed.
      Its been my theory that so much of what goes wrong in this country is obscured, obfuscated, and hidden by layer upon layer of legal minutiae – all designed so that the powers that be…hey, there was a process and this is the outcome. Well, the process is designed to pretend that it is objective – which is far different from BEING truly objective…
      FACTS matter – and the plethora of videos showing that the system is incapable of dispensing justice I hope will eventually open the public’s eyes.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      McCulloch also allowed that rascist, bi-polar lady to testify as an eye-witness to the killing, even after police proved she was not in the area at the time. I’m mean c’mon, McCulloch did not even try to look fair.

      1. Norm de plume

        ‘Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
        And the newspapers they all went along for the ride…

        Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
        Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise…’

  10. fresno dan

    Last month, the Center for Immigration Studies released its latest jobs study. CIS, a research organization that tends to favor tight immigration policies, found that even now, almost seven years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, 1.5 million fewer native-born Americans are working than in November 2007, the peak of the prior economic cycle. Balancing the 1.5 million fewer native-born Americans at work, there are 2 million more immigrants—legal and illegal—working in the United States today than in November 2007. All the net new jobs created since November 2007 have gone to immigrants. Meanwhile, millions of native-born Americans, especially men, have abandoned the job market altogether. The percentage of men aged 25 to 54 who are working or looking for work has dropped to the lowest point in recorded history.
    So long as everyone imagines that low-wage immigrant workers are paired off with high-wage natives, such assurances seem credible. The foreign-born nanny enables her college-educated employer to return to the workforce earlier, raising wages for both nanny and employer. The foreign-born gardener mows the lawn, freeing his accountant employer to spend Saturday morning billing clients.
    Economic popularizers passionately deny that immigration causes wage declines and job displacement. From the point of view of several actual economists, however, these reassurances are so much uninformed propaganda. As the technical economists understand, wage cuts and job displacement are the exact and only ways that immigration confers any benefits on native workers at all. It is wage decline and job displacement that drives natives to shift to higher-paid sectors. No wage cuts, no job displacement. No jobs displaced, no benefit to natives.
    Why? Economists talk too blithely about natives shifting to more skilled and remunerative work. Up-skilling costs time, effort, and money. (UPSKILL – if a guy is lawn mowing, maybe he doesn’t have the intellect to something more intellectually demanding. There is a tremendous glut of lawyers and Phd’s) It can oblige a worker to move away from family and friends. It forces older workers to begin again at a time in their lives when they felt settled, to risk failure at a time in life when risk is not appreciated. It’s not highly surprising that many displaced workers would opt to give up on work altogether instead.
    The exit of native-born men from the workforce—at least arguably because of immigration—has the curious side effect of tilting the immigration models in a pro-immigration direction. Remember, the models are based on ratios of hours worked and wages paid. If a native-born janitor earning $18 an hour is displaced by an immigrant and then shifts to a $12 an hour retail job, the models capture that change as a harm to native-born workers. But if the displaced native-born janitor exits the labor force, he disappears from the model altogether, and with him, the evidence of the harm. It may seem crazy, but it’s the way the model is built (LOL – way model is built)
    Yet immigration is inescapably a political act. Nations can regulate immigration, can make choices about which immigrants they allow and how many, about how strictly labor laws will be policed and what will be done with lawbreakers.

    Theoretically, a nation could determine that high-skill labor is complementary to low-skilled labor and make decisions such as the following:

    “If we admit a lot of foreign-born surgeons, we could hugely drive down the cost of major medical operations. American-born doctors would shift their labor to fields where their language facility gave them a competitive advantage: away from surgery to general practice. This policy would hugely enhance the relative purchasing power of plumbers and mechanics, enabling them to eat out more often and buy more American-made entertainment, increasing GDP and creating jobs.”
    But that’s not how things are done. In the United States, the hypothesis of native-immigrant complementarity is deployed to justify policies that intensify competition for the lower and middle echelons of the society, rarely near the top. Perhaps it doesn’t have to be that way, yet somehow it always is.
    I remember NAFTA and how all the cool kids said it would make everybody richer. And than I read article, after article, about rising inequality. So how’s that working out economists? As economists say, “Let them eat Ipods…”

    “This policy would hugely enhance the relative purchasing power of plumbers and mechanics,”
    Uh, the policy is designed by, for the benefit of the 0.1%. Their wealth comes from strip mining this country’s wealth.
    What does Blankfine actually do??? Really, when he is sitting in his office, what is he trying to do???
    What he does is run an operation that finagles the system to always, ALWAYS get the advantage in every economic transaction (in economic speak, he extracts rents). He arranges for cost free insurance so that any loss is borne by taxpayers. He doesn’t produce anything. He doesn’t make anything more efficient. He doesn’t make anything better. He empirically makes things worse. THEORETICALLY, his own shareholders (affectionately known as “muppets”) should get rid of him.
    Yogi Berra: In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

    1. Banger

      Wonderful quote–did Berra really say that or is it a Berraism?

      Anyway, the immigration issue is your standard Democratic Party misdirection. If you oppose illegal immigration, so they say, you are a racist; if you oppose the policies of the Israeli government you are an anti-Semite; if you oppose crime crime the you are a racist and so on. This is why in the real world the DP is so discredited among the “white” population. At any rate I agree with you that immigration always lowers wages–however, in our history the economy usually grew fast enough to absorb the extra workers but the current political economy no longer does that as we approach a zero-sum game.

      Having said that i think it may be too late to do that much on immigration as we are headed to general social disintegration so I don’t favor anything the security agencies do at this point.

    1. paul

      If I hadn’t read Sach’s piece, I would have had no idea that David Cameron’s UK was doing so well.
      Mind you, I only live here.

    2. fresno dan

      My problem with any discussion of “growth” is that when the 0.1% captures the overwhelming benefits of growth, and the whole ideology is that Goldman Sachs has to be 100 billion dollars richer to prevent 5 poor people from sleeping under a bridge….well, it just turns out there never is enough “GDP” to prevent poverty.
      As long as we play the game by the rules of “growth” we lose the game
      However, the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by
      31.4% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.4% from 2009 to 2012.
      Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years
      of the recovery. From 2009 to 2010, top 1% grew fast and then stagnated
      from 2010 to 2011. Bottom 99% stagnated both from 2009 to 2010 and from
      2010 to 2011. In 2012, top 1% incomes increased sharply by 19.6% while
      bottom 99% incomes grew only by 1.0%. In sum, top 1% incomes are close to
      full recovery while bottom 99% incomes have hardly started to recover.
      And note of course, that 99% has the limitation of all such aggregates – that some of those didn’t have ANY rise, and some LOST ground…

      1. James

        Top 1% incomes grew by 31.4% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.4% from 2009 to 2012. … In sum, top 1% incomes are close to full recovery while bottom 99% incomes have hardly started to recover.

        Good work if you can find it, eh? I’m sure all this crossed the young laddy Gilbert’s mind right before he popped a cap in dear daddy’s noggin.

  11. Bridget

    Ha. Call me a cattle oligarch, but anyone who knows anything about cattle knows that to keep cattle peaceable you only keep polled cattle (bred to be hornless), or you remove their horn buds when they are babies. Otherwise, they start getting real uppity.

    1. jrs

      Ok but your going to die anyway right? And as long as one isn’t dumb enough to procreate, and there is good birth control these days, procreation is entirely unnecessary!

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      People “aren’t gonna learn what they don’t want to know”.
      Forget Near Term Extinction. Just even mention Long Term Extinction of Humans at a party if you want to be laughed at.

      The Elephant In The Room is ironically almost extinct. And the frogs being slowly boiled in the pot are more interested in copulating than shutting off the heat source. People can’t see that we are starting to die in a pool of our own excrement (acidifying oceans). Everything humans do must be tied to making stock prices go up, or it ain’t worth considering. Is my pessimism showing?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You may still encounter billions of that particular species, and it may in fact be gone abruptly in the future or near future, but the qualities that make us human, aspects of our humanness, of that humanity, have been long gone – sharing, caring, compassion, humbleness, hunting and gathering (ok, some may disagree with this), coexisting with nature, etc., except in isolated cases here and there.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Haha. Somebody more pessimistic than me — that’s a rare sighting. I kinda see the current plight of humans like the novel King Rat. The good people are being preyed upon by the immoral ones.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think we can isolate patient zero of this humanity-wiping-out virus: he or she works with, and has, lots of imperial money.

  12. OIFVet

    Must-read Ray McGovern piece: Rebuilding the Obama-Putin Trust. I am not sure I agree with the premise that Kerry, Nuland, and their merry band of neocons and liberal interventionists are operating without Obama’s implied or explicit approval. After all, as McGovern himself notes, Obama has been dishing a ton of American exceptionalism and America the indispensable inanity. Also, I very much doubt that Obama will ever fire Kerry and Nuland, though that would be a good first step indeed. Nonetheless, very good recap of the events that transpired before, during, and after the coup in Ukraine, and fascinating insider information on the promises not to expand NATO that were made to Gorbachov.

    1. Jackrabbit

      The comments to McGovern’s post are also a must-read. Most say that McGovern has it wrong: Obama is also a neocon; others say Obama is weak and always caves-in to neocons. Either way, McGovern’s hope/expectation that Obama can act against the neocons seems to be a pipedream.

      H O P

  13. fresno dan

    The Real Winners Of The Recovery: The Superrich DS Wright, Firedoglake
    The long term trend exacerbating wealth inequality is the structure of compensation for corporate executives. Corporate executives are now siphoning off more and more of a firm’s wealth while the pay of the average worker is treading water.

    If the ultra-wealthy are worth that much, the idea goes, it’s just a fair valuation of their contributions to the market. But rocketing compensation and increased concentration of wealth in the stock market aren’t necessarily an indicator of performance. According to the AFL-CIO, the CEOs of S&P 500 Index companies made, on average, $12,259,894 in 2012, or 354 times that of the average rank-and-file U.S. worker. Meanwhile, in Japan, the average CEO earned $2,354,581 in 2012, or 67 times what his or her average worker earned.

    There is an even more subversive aspect to this trend. By denying workers pay gains and redistributing wealth up to executives the superrich have forced the lower classes to borrow money to maintain a lifestyle they could maintain previously through saving. That borrowing placed more Americans into debt and pumped up credit bubbles – bubbles also pumped up by executives who have nowhere to put their money except the financial markets after hitting their own consumption limits. It’s a perverse system especially when you remember that when those bubbles pop it is the superrich who get the bailout.
    Uh, I think it has reached the point that you can no longer call this “subversive” (which implies hidden and non obvious as to intent) in the same manner that Nazism was subversive in 1933, but in 1941, not so much. The fact that our two bought and paid for political parties “can’t see it” and won’t talk of it only indicates how obvious it now is…
    Now, if you want to use the word “subverted” as in our representative government has been completely subverted to do the will of only the 0.1%, I would say that is a good use of the word….

    1. James

      Or a couple quatrains from the Beatles in question and answer form:

      I don’t know how you were diverted
      You were perverted too
      I don’t know how you were inverted
      No one alerted you

      Read more: Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps Lyrics | MetroLyrics

      Well, now give me money, (That’s what I want)
      A lotta money, (That’s what I want)
      Wo, yeah, You need money (That’s what I want)
      Gimme money, (That’s what I want)

      Read more: Barrett Strong – Money (that’s What I Want) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  14. flora

    “Timelapse of drilling & fracking a well.” youtube.
    Thanks for that link. Large costs, short play. The fracking industry is in a financial jam at current prices and debt levels.

  15. Vatch

    “For Second Week, Arrests Plunge in New York City”: I guess this means there’s less need for police in New York City, so the city government can begin laying off the excess police officers.

    1. optimader

      that seems to be an obvious backstory here, is MSM working that angle at all I wonder?
      When it comes to property crime at least, there is some equilibrium to be struck where the Cost of Police and the Cost of Insurance curves cross.

  16. andyb

    There are many issues that too few are dot connecting: Geo-engineering chemtrails that have neuro toxic elements like aluminum infecting the air we breathe and the soil upon which we grow crops and livestock; the proven neuro toxic effects of fluoride in the drinking water; GMOs and Roundup using glyphosphate which has been definitely linked to autism (a Harvard researcher predicts 1/2 of all infants born after 2025 will be autistic); the fact that uncontrollable and unstoppable Fukushima radiation means that all Pacific rim inhabitants born today (and others in the wind current pattern) will get life threatening cancer before age 50. Progressives should worry less about global warming and more about what criminal governments are doing to ensure mass genocide.

  17. Bill Frank

    Michael Brown Grand Jury member suing to be allowed to speak out? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the penalty for breaking silence is a misdemeanor. If this is correct, just stand up and SPEAK OUT!

    1. Vatch

      A person convicted of violating a misdemeanor can be sentenced to prison. Even if the person is not sentenced to prison, he or she could spend time in jail or other police custody, and as we know from the Michael Brown case, the police sometimes do very bad things to people. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the grand juror for wishing to avoid such consequences.

        1. Propertius

          … I guess we all can’t have the courage of Ed Snowden.

          Or the resources to quickly get beyond the reach of the authorities.

  18. fresno dan

    “Another complication is suggested by Jonathan M. Ladd, an associate professor in the school of public policy at Georgetown University. Ladd recently argued that public opinion on torture is malleable, and is unlikely to drive policy. Instead, Ladd says, “people tend to adopt the political views of politicians who share their ideological predispositions, a pattern that is not alleviated but actually worsened when members of the public have more education and political knowledge.” Ladd points to studies suggesting that Americans reject climate change not because they are more stupid or less informed than Europeans, but because Republican elites have rejected climate change, and partisans follow their lead. Opinions on torture, then, are not shaped by arguments about effectiveness, but rather by what Dick Cheney and other opinion leaders tell their partisans.”

    I’m of a mind that our elites once reflected principals. As the only principal today is to do whatever someone with money wants you do to, and than twist and turn to make your principals fit your corruption (Obama – constitutionalist? Bush – small government, balanced budgets?) is it a wonder that a principal that demands restraint and high mindedness would go by the wayside?
    Think of it this way – how many democrats voted for intervention in Iraq? When staying in office is everything, than there is nothing you won’t do…

    1. Banger

      Excellent points. On the elites–they once had principles, sometimes not very good ones, but better than nothing (see Walter Lippmann and others). We need to see that elites have no loyalty to country (other than in Sports maybe) but rather to their networks mainly in the elites and their servants. I think increasing numbers of people are beginning to realize that even people that always vote RP–their loyalty is very shallow and mainly tribal–in this part of the world it is simple: white people=RP for the most part and since the DP doesn’t have much to offer anyone other than keeping things as they are why vote any other way.

  19. Jackrabbit

    Oil Price Blowback and China’s Offer of Currency Swaps with Russia

    Mike Whitney’s reports and opinion been mostly on the mark wrt Ukraine Crisis and the Oil Price Drop, even if I don’t always agree (he goes overboard sometimes – like labelling Saudia Arabia a ‘client state’ of the US, which I is much more independent than such a term implies). In his latest writing at Counterpunch: Oil Price Blowback, Whitney describes the extreme economic dislocations that could occur from the oil price drop to illustrate how Obama’s ho-hum stance regard the price drop indicates collusion with Saudi Arabia. He also furthers his case for USA-KSA collusion by quoting from an NPR interview with Obama last week. To the question: Are you just lucky that the price of oil went down and therefore their currency collapsed or …is it something that you did? Obama answers:

    If you’ll recall, their (Russia) economy was already contracting and capital was fleeing even before oil collapsed. And part of our rationale in this process was that the only thing keeping that economy afloat was the price of oil . . . [sanctions] make the economy of Russia sufficiently vulnerable that if and when there were disruptions with respect to the price of oil — which, inevitably, there are going to be sometime, if not this year then next year or the year after — that they’d have enormous difficulty managing it.

    Whitney then asks:

    “Am I mistaken or did Obama just admit that he wanted “disruptions” in the “price of oil” because he figured Putin would have “enormous difficulty managing it”. Isn’t that the same as saying that it was all part of Washington’s plan?

    Whitney asserts or strongly implies that the oil price drop will, in the long run, hurt the West as much or more than Russia. But when making the case that the price drop is foolish policy, why not mention China’s offer of currency swaps?

    It seems to me that Russia can manage for some time (months?) with low oil prices but at some point in the not-too-distant future the combination of sanctions and the low oil price is devastating. The offer of currency swaps may be key to Putin’s survival / the success of any conspiracy to oust him. Am I missing something here? Why is the offer of swaps ignored by Whitney (and others)?


    This leads me to ask:

    – Does the currency swap offer negate the oil price conspiracy theory?
    If policymakers can not really expect that low prices will dislodge Putin, then the “just markets” rationale is a better explanation for the price drop.

    Does it make the fall in oil prices even more fraught?
    Did policymakers err by not considering potential for swaps – and subsequent offer – of swaps? Or are they testing China’s resolve?

    Can Russia really count on China to come through with these swaps when needed?
    Are US/Western policymakers testing China’s resolve? Are swaps not a factor until it actually happens?

    Would currency swaps not be of sufficient help to Russia?
    It’s difficult for me to imagine that they would not be a decisive factor because China’s economy is so large that the oil price drop is allowing it to accumulate a lot of dollars.

    H O P

    1. Banger

      I think the oil “weapon” may have been, in part, deployed as a power-play within Washington by forces close to Prince Bandar (Bush) who want to seize the reins of the Empire (of Chaos). Whatever it is the truth, as always, lies beneath the surface and involves the usual Washington sinister forces within the covert op community.

      Many commentators outside the MSM seem to believe that Russia has a good chance of surviving this onslaught because the Russian people are more united with their leadership that the American people–I hope they are right–the last thing we need is a color revolution inside Russia. We have to remember that the chief enemy of the Washington oligarchs is the American people not anyone else. Everything, in my view, is aimed at that demographic–i.e., to control, suppress and exploit the population of North America as “Job 1.” Conflicts are seen as opportunities to manipulate the U.S. population by creating a Narrative wherein the world is full of “threats” and we need constant vigilance, surveillance and “tough” law-enforcement, pretend wars and useless weapon systems (F-35 and so on and so on). Washington needs lots of threats to justify its existence.

      1. Jackrabbit

        You may be right in this way: they seem to be on track to either break the back of the resistance to US-led unilateral NWO, or accelerate the rift between SCO-BRICS and US/NATO/West. Washington ‘wins’ or ‘wins big’.

    2. DanB

      Food for thought: “Arthur Berman: The current situation with oil price is really very simple. Demand is down because of a high price for too long. Supply is up because of U.S. shale oil and the return of Libya’s production. Decreased demand and increased supply equals low price.” You cannot understand oil merely as a geopolitical weapon without considering how peak oil impacts the economy. Here’s the interview link:

    3. Doug Terpstra

      This “just-markets”/”geopolitical collusion” debate reminds me of heated battles over theology in which the need to be right is existentially essential … and God says, “Meh, whatever! I have no idea how manyangels can dance on the head of a pin and couldn’t care less. You’re missing the point entirely.”

      I’m increasingly convinced that Kerry-Obama are explicitly colluding with Bandar Bush to make Russia’rhe s (Iran’s, Venezuela’s, Libya’s, Iraq’s, et al) economy scream, but that market conditions almost perfectly enable and provide convenient cover for the perfidy. All the ME wars and tevents in Ukraine, including the murder of 298 MH17 passengers tell us that containing Russia and China are so critical to neocons’ obsession with full-spectrum dominance that there is nothing they won’t do, no moral line they won’t cross in the compulsion to achieve it, not even a nuclear first strike.

      But so what? We can’t prove it (yet), and what do we gain when/if we do? Can we circulate a petition and stop the next war? In the end, ISTM the debate is purely academic and there’s n much to be gained in the contention. I just hope that Putin once again proves a better chess player than Obama as he was re Syria.

      BTW, the idea that Saudi Arabia is an independent sovereign is laughable IMO. They are wholly, existentially dependent on the empire, even more so than Israel. That makes your co-dependency definition fit perfectly. I don’t have sufficient imaginative power to conceive of les petites princes today pulling off the macro-economic nuclear equivalent of the 70’s oil embargo or the 80’s price collapse without the emperor’s blessing or commmand.

      1. Jackrabbit

        I have concluded much the same thing. (see my comment on the Arthur Berman Post the other day if you are interested): the price drop is a combination of ‘markets’ and enmity. Weaker global demand and oversupply have created a situation where the price could drop quickly and well beyond the point that Saudi Arabia/OPEC needs to choke off shale oil suppliers.

        I think it always matters why they info this from us / lie to us. For example, by the public perception of ‘clean hands’ is important and valuable to TPTB. They also avoid a chorus of criticism from people who will get laid off or lose money from this gambit – which may be for naught if Russia, Iran, etc. can manage to escape regime change (which may ultimately require China’s help).

        1. Paul Niemi

          There are many who do not believe oil was in a bubble, and that the price drop is caused predominantly by policy. While I do believe oil was in a bubble, and that the bubble was caused by ZIRP (not QE) pushing investors into risk assets, especially oil futures where owners did not have to take delivery and could roll over contracts, and that it was a bubble that popped twice, first in 2008 and then reinflated to pop in 2014, nevertheless it is absolutely likely players anticipated the latest popping and adjusted their posture to gain politically from precipitating the popping of the bubble. And you are right that in the lead is the KSA, pursuing their own ends, and it is very much a combination of markets and enmity, or grudges.

      2. Jackrabbit

        All Saudi Arabia had to do was to accept the pleas of its fellow OPEC members and stabilize the price in the 80’s with a warning that it could go much lower. That would’ve choked off investment to the high-cost shale producers (as per info from Arthur Berman).

        Shale oil producers are going to pump until their funding runs out anyway and much of the shale oil production comes from major oil producers that will buy small companies cheap and then bide their time until the price goes back up.

        Why lose more money than you have to in defending market share? In addition, the Saudi’s stubborn insistence on defending market share doesn’t seem genuine because they could’ve protected their market share more effectively and for much less expense if they had taken action years ago. That the US govt is so unconcerned and MSM push the “just markets” explanation with gusto are also important clues.

    1. Jess

      Stoller will be an excellent source of policy ideas that Sanders will extoll as a candidate but immediately jettison if elected. (The same way he espoused, then tanked, on a public option in the ACA.)

      If Bernie was a boxer or MMA fighter, he’d be billed as Bernie “The Fraud” Sanders. The Dennis Caving-inich of the Senate.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The so-called public option was always a steaming load of crap, a bait-and-switch operation run by career “progressives” to suck all the oxygen away from single payer. No reason for Sanders to feel ashamed of dumping it. See here and here.

  20. Oregoncharles

    Bonds Rise as Stocks Fall With Oil Below $50; Yen Gains –

    and silver jumped up, gaining $.65 over the level it’s been stable for weeks.

    Could that be Syriza? Or fears of destabilization from low oil prices?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t write it up because the market seems to be recovering. The S&P was down this AM about 1.38% and is now down .44%. There was something approaching a flash melt-up in the 10-year, with yields going from 2.2% to 1.9% this AM.

      Grexit risk + ECB probably finally doing QE, which makes the dollar stronger and thus oil weaker, plus recognition that strong dollar and weak oil may not be so hot for US corp profits. Basically people got back from holiday and took a look at the news.

      Also some thought that portfolio rebalancing was deferred to the new year for a lot of players(sell stocks and buy bonds) so as to push capital gains out one more year.

      Note the S&P is ~ 40 points higher than where it was on Dec. 16.

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