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Links 4/16/15

You are getting a huge dose of links today because Lambert did a ton before he realized he was not on duty, and I was partway through them myself.

Feline chatty? How cats communicate with us through meows, blinks and whiskers Daily Mail

Earth ate a Mercury-like body early in its history, study finds Los Angeles Times

Does booze really make people seem sexier? ‘Beer goggles’ observed after low, but not high, alcohol consumption PsyPost (Chuck L)

Study: Dogs Have a 93 Percent Accuracy Rate In Detecting Prostate and Bladder Cancer Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

GAO Warns of Cyber Risks In-Flight Security Ledger (Chuck L)

Google rivals urge U.S. Justice Department to probe Android: sources Reuters

Amazon Lawsuit Takes On Fake Reviewers Forbes

Meerkat Learns Buzz Doesn’t Always Mean Business Bloomberg

Encouraging dialogue between economists and social scientists Mainly Macro

Your pain reliever may also be diminishing your joy Ohio State University (Chuck L)

Global property bubble fears mount Financial Times

Two-bedroom home measuring just 8ft wide goes on market for £750,000 London Evening Standard. Chuck L: “A narrow market niche.”

57 nations approved as founder members of China-led AIIB South China Morning Post

The Major Paradox at the Heart of the Chinese Economy Bloomberg

Japan Overtakes China as Largest U.S. Bondholder Wall Street Journal

EU set to follow Google case with broader competition crackdown Financial Times

Europe’s Right: Sensational but Ineffectual William Pfaff (Chuck L)

Financial mafia threatens Correa, Greece the next target? unbalanced evolution

Lies, damned lies and the British election Financial Times


Greece in Talks With Russia to Buy S-300 Missiles — Report Reuters (Mark Ames)

The Weak Suffer What They Must: Yanis and the End of Europe Ilargi

A senior eurozone figure says it’s ‘impossible’ to work with Greece and it’ll miss its deadline for a deal Business Insider

Schaeuble Criticizes Greece for Backsliding as Time Runs Out Bloomberg

S&P Downgrades Greece to Junk; Outlook ‘Negative’ Greek Reporter

Wolfgang Schäuble on German Priorities and Eurozone Myths New York Times

New questions in mysterious death of Argentine prosecutor after mother discovers gun Star-Tribune


Another ally of Ukraine ex-president Yanukovych found dead Telegraph


Nancy Pelosi May Save The Iran Negotiations For Obama Huffington Post

No, the 1998 Iraq Bombing Campaign Isn’t a Model To Strike Iran DefenseOne

The War Against ISIS Will Go Undeclared Atlantic

Bleeding in Yemen Foreign Affairs

Yemen envoy urges GCC to bring factions to dialogue Daily Star

Tensions Flare Between Iraq and Saudi Arabia in U.S. Coalition NYT

Turkey’s unemployment rate rises to highest level in five years Hurriyet Daily News

A Snapshot of the Campaign Finance Landscape New York Times

The great American voting scam: How political insiders are gaining the power to steal our elections Salon

America’s lobbying addiction Brookings

Obamacare Savings Experiment Yields Modest Results in Study Bloomberg. Lambert: “1%. Single payer would, of course, save $400 billion a year (a very conservative estimate). But we can’t do that because markets.”

New Wrinkle for Health Law Wall Street Journal. Lambert: “WSJ catches up to NC on Medicaid estate recovery.”


Florida mailman lands a gyrocopter on Capitol lawn, hoping to a send message WaPo

FAA investigating Florida mailman’s landing of gyrocopter on U.S. Capitol lawn (video) Tampa Bay Times. Text of mailman Doug Hughes’s letter included. Interestingly, there’s no personal grievance.

Who Is Doug Hughes? Inside the Mind of the Mailman Who Flew to Washington NBC.

The Civilist Papers (Hughes’s site). Your Pilot The Democracy Club. A post from Hughes.

Andrew Cuomo appears to have made a tidy $180 on every book he sold WaPo. Imagine the profits if anybody had read it!

Feds probe CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett: sources Crain’s Chicago Business. Nice of the Feds to hold back ’til after Rahm was elected.

Authorities: Knight chairman paid to have drugs planted; ‘whereabouts unknown’ TheAdvertiser (Chuck L)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Myth of Police Reform Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic

A Police Story Unravels: How Did the NYPD Break an NBA Player’s Leg? The Nation

General Counsel Change Announced at Jackson National Life Insurance Company Business Wire (DCMI). Andrew Bowden has landed. As MF noted:

Thinking further about Bowden landing at Jackson Life, it really is curious, in that Jackson has virtually no nexus to U.S. securities law. It’s a subsidiary of Prudential PLC of the UK (which is unrelated to Prudential of the U.S.). The guy has spent his whole career as a securities lawyer at Legg Mason and at the SEC, and it’s almost as if he no longer wants anything to do with securities law, or that he couldn’t get a job as a securities lawyer. I wonder whether there might be a truism in high level career management that, if one leaves under a cloud, one doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for the optimal opportunity but must instead land quickly to prove that one isn’t damaged goods.

It’s also somewhat of an odd choice for Jackson, since insurance law is so specialized (and state-by-state, with virtually no federal nexus), and Bowden has no apparent background in it.

Anti-Wall Street senator lambasts bank non-prosecution deals Financial Times (Adrien)

KKR Said to Raise $1.3 Billion for Loans as Banks Retreat Bloomberg

UPDATE 1-Ernst & Young settles with N.Y. for $10 mln over Lehman auditing Reuters

More than 700m people leave ranks of the ‘unbanked’ Financial Times


‘Super taper tantrum’ ahead, warns IMF Financial Times. Important.

Fed has ‘tools’ for smooth rates lift-off Financial Times. Lambert: “Since when is a rate increase a “lift off”? I’ve never understood this metaphor.”

Class Warfare

The greatest trick the rich ever pulled was making us believe they pay all the taxes Vox (Dr. Kevin)

Toyota to move assembly of Corollas to new $1 billion plant in Mexico McClatchy

‘End ECB dick-tatorship!’ Protester attacks Draghi during keynote speech (VIDEO) RT (Kevin C)

The Long-term Unemployed: Lost, but not Forgotten Economic Populist

Unemployment makes you sick Bill Mitchell. Lambert: “That’s not a bug…”

The Very Real Hardship of Unpredictable Work Schedules The Atlantic

Fast-food strikes widen into social-justice movement USA Today

Is $15 an Hour a Realistic Goal for Fast-Food Workers? Wall Street Journal

Queen’s staff at Windsor Castle to take industrial action for first time ever over their ‘ridiculously low’ wages Daily Mail

Redistribution Can Involve Less Government Rather than More CEPR

Bye Bye Labour London Review of Books

How Silicon Valley almost joined the Confederacy… and the Rand Paul speechwriter who probably wishes it had Mark Ames, Pando Daily

The Retro Future Archdruid

Antidote du jour (Corey). More photos and story at Demotix:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Kokuanani

    In a future antidote, please feature “Teddy the porcupine” from the first comment to Jonathan Turley(!)’s story on dogs detecting cancer.

  2. Benedict@Large

    The greatest trick the rich ever pulled was making us believe they pay all the taxes = Vox

    No, the greatest trick the rich ever pulled was making us believe that taxes were even necessary to fund the federal government. It’s how they keep us poor enough to force us to work for them. A sort of “enclosure”, if you will.

    1. vidimi

      i’m not sure that’s why most people work for them. i think it has more to do with having a roof over one’s head and food on the plate.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “You’re wasting our tax money.”

      “No, I never touched your tax money.”

      “You’re wasting a trillion dollars.”

      “It’s nothing.”


      “A trillion divided into infinity – that’s how much we can have – is zero. Zero percent is nothing. That’s nothing. I wasted nothing.”

      “You…you are wasting…OK, maybe you are not wasting my tax money, per se, and you have wasted nothing…sigh…”

      “I am glad you are no longer thinking like a 18th century man. Welcome to modernity.”

  3. timbers


    “President Vladimir Putin says the West must respect Russia’s interests if it wants to normalize diplomatic relations. Putin said Thursday during a televised call-in show that the United States “doesn’t need allies, they only need vassals.” He said Russia would never accept that role and urged the West to take Russian interests into account. Putin said that “it’s useless and senseless to put pressure on Russia using those means.” He said Russia remains ready to normalize ties with the West, and doesn’t consider any nation its enemy.”

    Wow those are shocking words in this day and age.

  4. rusti

    Few things have made me more dreadful about our prospects here in Europe than reading Wolfgang Schäuble’s short NYT op-ed. He really is a true believer:

    Countries like Ireland and Spain, which put far-reaching reforms into effect when they hit financial trouble a few years ago, now boast some of the highest growth rates in Europe.

  5. Monty

    You are getting a huge dose of links today because Lambert did a ton before he realized he was not on duty, and I was partway through them myself.

    Curious as to how much overlap there was between the links provided by you and Lambert.

  6. rich

    Ben Bernanke Will Work With Citadel, a Hedge Fund, as an Adviser
    BERNANKE, CITADEL’S NEW ADVISER In the latest and most prominent move by a Washington insider through the revolving door into the financial industry, the former Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke will become a senior adviser to the Citadel Investment Group, the $25 billion hedge fund founded by the billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin, Andrew Ross Sorkin and Alexandra Stevenson report.
    Mr. Bernanke “will offer his analysis of global economic and financial issues to Citadel’s investment committees. He will also meet with Citadel’s investors around the globe,” they write.
    Mr. Bernanke said he was cognizant of the public’s concerns of undue influence of Wall Street on government and chose to join Citadel, in part, because it “is not regulated by the Federal Reserve and I won’t be doing lobbying of any sort,” he said in an interview. He said he declined offers by other banks that were under the purview of the Fed. “I wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest,”he said.
    Without getting into specifics, Mr. Bernanke said he would receive an annual fee but would not own a stake in the firm or receive a bonus based on its performance. He said his arrangement with Citadel allowed him to take on other consulting roles.
    Other top government officials have gone on to Wall Street and investment firms. Mr. Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan, was recruited as a consultant for Deutsche Bank, the bond investment firm Pacific Investment Management Company and the hedge fund Paulson & Company. And last month, Jeremy C. Stein, a former Fed governor, agreed to join the $20 billion hedge fund BlueMountain Capital Management, where he will advise managers on issues like financial regulation.

    is he serious?…Citadel?avoid conflict of interest?wtf

    1. fresno dan

      They are merely looking to take advantage of all that Bernanke prescience

      7/1/05 – Interview on CNBC
      INTERVIEWER: Ben, there’s been a lot of talk about a housing bubble, particularly, you know [inaudible] from all sorts of places. Can you give us your view as to whether or not there is a housing bubble out there?

      BERNANKE: Well, unquestionably, housing prices are up quite a bit; I think it’s important to note that fundamentals are also very strong. We’ve got a growing economy, jobs, incomes. We’ve got very low mortgage rates. We’ve got demographics supporting housing growth. We’ve got restricted supply in some places. So it’s certainly understandable that prices would go up some. I don’t know whether prices are exactly where they should be, but I think it’s fair to say that much of what’s happened is supported by the strength of the economy.

      At first, I thought, who would pay for such insights??? But of course, they will just think the opposite of whatever the Bernanke believes….

      1. Kyle

        Isn’t there also the consideration that what we here from Bernanke isn’t what Citadel will be hearing from Bernanke?

  7. Bill Smith

    “Greece in Talks With Russia to Buy S-300 Missiles”

    The Greek military already has these in their inventory.
    They might be interested in later versions than whatever it is they already have.

    The Greek Air Force and the Israeli Air Force often exercise together.

  8. abynormal

    “The long game is to transform China’s $10.4 trillion economy into a more sustainable one, featuring a vibrant service sector and a more diversified finance industry that doesn’t rely so heavily on state-owned banks to allocate capital. It will be a messy process and will result in sub-par growth, at least by Chinese standards.”

    …as for mimicking US Failure(S) in the service sector & financie:

    “Are you an idiot, or an idiot?’
    Gargarin hissed.
    ‘The first one. I really resent being called the second.”
    Marchetta, Froi of the Exiles

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe the Chinese Patriotic Internet Commenting Squadron will disagree with this note, but shouldn’t we suspect the Standing Poliburo as having been infiltrated by imperial neo-liberalists from the West?

  9. Santi

    Re: Greece and Grexit stuff, I sill have not read the news, but the handy Prima de Riesgo Bot already tell me that the spread between German and Spanish 10y bonds has gone up from 110 to 125 in two days, as rumors of Greece default exacerbate… Similar for Portugal and Italy, so not even QE gets Spain/Italy/Portugal off the hook…

  10. abynormal

    “moments ago GoldenSachs reported Q1 earnings that smashed both top and bottom-line expectations, with revenues of $10.62 billion, up 13.8% from last year, and EPS of $6.00 printing far above the expected $9.31bn and $4.26. This was the best revenue generating quarter for Goldman since Q1 2011, or in four years. ” zh

    “He has committed the crime who profits by it” Seneca

  11. savedbyirony

    For anyone who follows the Roman Catholic Church or is a member or who has family/friends amongst the religious sisters (especially but not exclusively those in the USA) or favors the RCC working more for the social justices causes of the poor and marginalized, this is very big news:

    The “complementarity” riff which makes females secondary, less-than and less-empowered than males in the institutional RCC isn’t going anywhere in the near future of the current evangelization of the Pope, Bishops and clergy in general. Mysogyny in the RCC is a cornerstone of the church’s institutional practices and fundemental to too much of its theology. But this and the concluding of the “Visitation” report last December are demonstrations of the Sisters’ continuing exctremely courageous and wise efforts to deal with it and decrease it from the inside. Francis receives so much attention and credit for his leadership; these women are very important and influential leaders in the church, too; especially with the laity but also institutionally within their own organizations and combined influences on the gretaer church. (And these “investigations/inquisitions” were all about who will control those oragnizations, their leadership council/development and their orders’ assets and community “rules”.) Also, this could be a sign of less pull and influence in the Vatican exercised by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. Easily numerous members of their leadership bodies would make exemplary and gifted Cardinals, beginning with Sister Sharon Holland, IHM.

    1. savedbyirony

      To add, one does not have to be male to be a Cardinal in the RCC and Francis does tend to go on about needing and wanting more females in positions of church leadership and authority -though we have yet to hear from him just whether-or-not the “female genius” would suitably complement/compliment the red hatted Ol’boys, or just intimidate, annoy and/or distract them.

  12. Vatch

    Regarding the antidote: that’s the first time I’ve ever seen an actual photograph of a Pooka!

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Unemployment makes you sick.

    Many will tell you employment makes them sick too.

    Lack of basic income does two things:

    1. Makes you sick
    2. you stay sick…sorry, you haven’t met your deductible threshold.

    1. abynormal

      gobble some acetaminophen…you won’t feel a thang
      “‘Each week about 23 percent of American adults (about 52 million people) use a medicine containing acetaminophen, the CHPA reports’. ‘Test results showed that participants who took acetaminophen rated all the photographs less extremely than did those who took the placebo.'”

      that 23% could be just what we need to see our fearless bankers in chains

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The rich make us believe they pay all the taxes.

    Taxes are for dealing with inflation/deflation.

    It becomes meaningless to ask ‘where does it your taxes go – for war or for social justice?’ Taxes go to money cemetery to die. You can’t criticize the Pentagon for ‘wasting your tax money.’

    No, you can’t do that, on that basis.

    On the other hand, it opens up a brave, new world for the rich.

    The rich can evade taxes and claim, “I work in monetary policy area. My work defeated the last inflation and is defeating inflation now. I ask your honor to give that due consideration. In a real world, effective sense, I PAID my taxes!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    1. jgordon

      Ah that’s right. The elites can just apportion whatever portion of a society’s resources to graft and boondoggles that they desire. Taxes are entirely unnecessary for that endeavor. As a corollary of that insight, for sufficiently advanced economies there are never any consequence for flushing scarce resources down the toilet because innovation and technology. That is the magic of economics. So we can continue to build out and maintain a national highway system that will be obsolete in a few years, and by magic a new national railroad system will spring from the ether just when we need it. If only we had had monetary theories back in the old days we wouldn’t have had to fight all those constant wars over resources.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The banker: “When the wage inflation finally hit, I turned down every loan applicatoin, as fast as I could, to prevent further credit creation. Your honor, that’s why I ask my contribution to the War on Inflation be adjusted to reflect that, removing any tax payments required of me.”

        Judge: “That’s all? How about a medal, as an exemplary man with exemplary understanding of today’s banking and eonomics?”

  15. rich

    Elizabeth Warren Hammers The Endless Failures Of Wall Street Regulators

    At a conference hosted by the Levy Economics Institute, Warren called not only for structural change to the banking system but for a revamping of the weak enforcement culture at the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, according to a transcript of her prepared remarks. Although Warren did not cite any officials by name, the regulatory failures she highlighted reflect poorly on a host of key policymakers, including U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, nominated to be the next attorney general; Fed General Counsel Scott Alvarez; and SEC Chair Mary Jo White.

    “The Department of Justice doesn’t take big financial institutions to trial ever — even when financial institutions engage in blatantly criminal activity,” Warren said. She accused DOJ of turning deferred prosecution agreements, designed for low-level offenders, into “get-out-of-jail-free cards for the biggest corporations in the world.”

    “The SEC is even worse,” Warren said, noting that the agency has repeatedly granted significant regulatory perks to companies that it has charged with civil securities fraud. The senator also criticized the SEC for slow-walking CEO pay regulations required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law and for protecting the secrecy of corporate political contributions.

    “The SEC needs to get its act together,” Warren said. “In all sorts of ways and on all sorts of issues.”

    what say shillary?

      1. hunkerdown

        I’m going to guess it’s because she’s not actually opposed to the megabanks running things and collecting rents from society, but just wishes they’d be a little more grateful and circumspect about it.

        1. optimader

          Its called cultivating constituency without provoking influential enemies bent on destroying you at all cost. Dust off David Attenborough to do the voice over on this delicate political dance.

    1. monday1929

      Don’t Rappers often employ someone to stir up the crowd from on stage. That seems to be all Warren is there for. Hillary’s excitation shill.

    1. Oregoncharles

      He just went on my daily-visit list. That stuff isn’t optimistic, but it is the real deal.

  16. jgordon

    I think that it’s unjust that police are being increasingly seen as violent, psychotic liars in America. I mean sure, every time we see police in the media these days they are planting evidence, stealing drugs, lying through their teeth or whatever–but we should remember that are just the salacious cases that get all the media attention. I’m sure that there are at least a few good cops out there that wouldn’t engage in any of that stuff.

    I’m sure that if the good cops (and prosecutors) would stop covering up the crimes of their bad coworkers their reputations would improve dramatically. It’s a bit mysterious to me why they don’t do that, but just because of that all of you self-righteous people out there shouldn’t get on your high-horse and prejudge every police officer you see: there’s at least a chance that that cop stopping you isn’t a homicidal maniac, so don’t over-generalize.

    1. abynormal

      “Do you see law and order? There is nothing but disorder, and instead of law there is the illusion of security. It is an illusion because it is built on a long history of injustices: racism, criminality, and the genocide of millions. Many people say it is insane to resist the system, but actually, it is insane not to.”
      M. Abu-Jamal/Death Blossoms (2004, South End Press; Cambridge MA)

        1. hunkerdown

          Many of the bigger US cities’ forces have taken lessons directly from the IDF, which explains the attitude problem the rest of the time.

    2. ShamanicFallout

      Can they really be called “good ones” if they’re covering up the crimes of the “bad ones”? Sheesh

    3. Oregoncharles

      “We begin by seeking justice, and end up with the police”

      From a sixties poster, credited to a French philosophe whose name I can’t remember. (Help?)

    4. optimader

      I think that it’s unjust that police are being increasingly seen as violent, psychotic liars in America.
      Wow…I don’t.
      Until they demonstrate efficacy in voluntarily policing their own ranks AND retiring certain legally endorsed entrapment strategies they are trained to employ (and professionally measured with), there is every reason not to trust them. Assume you are dealing with violent, psychotic liars is a safer assumption …sadly.
      . I have friends that are frmr federal agents and in their cases I can think of know one more honest and forthright, they chased breathtakingly evil perps, but in you daily life there is simply a huge downside risk trusting Police any more than absolutely demanded in a given circumstance

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Two bedroom house 8 ft wide.

    Funny, a lot of houses where Tulipmania took place, that is, in Amsterdam, are narrow as well.

    Taxes were based on the width when they were built.

    Taxation Gone Wild, you might say. (In truth, Inflation Fighting Gone Wild).

    It did not prevent Tulipmania, but one hopes it prevented inflation, at least wage inflation…

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Landing a gyrocopter on Capitol lawn.

    The real threat may be more like an Onion piece, inspired by Hitchcock perhaps – landing a huge flock of seagulls there.

    1. TedWa

      To me this points out the ridiculousness of a terrorist threat. Add in that guy that got through the fence, that couple that acted like to they were supposed to be there and got to stay at a White House bash. I mean, simple things like this are not happening. Terrorists are too dumb to think of these things? I seriously doubt that. The “threat” hype is not invigorating at all, and is mostly tiresome. I wish people would stop reacting to sensationalism as when the guy says the sky is falling for the first time and getting everyone into a lather, and keeps saying it every other day and people still keep believing it. Propaganda is true mind control. Anyway, I digress. Agree with that comment MLTPB

    2. Keenan

      As Mark Twain said, history rhymes. This story echoes the 1987 adventure of Matthias Rust
      The teenager, who in landing his Cessna right in the Kremlin in 1987 marked the beginning of the end of the old Soviet Union.

      Mordor-on-the-Potomac has shown itself to be naked. Is this touchdown, right in the heart of the World Imperial Capital, another sign of its impending collapse & disintegration?

      1. hunkerdown

        Capture-the-flag seems to be a popular game at the White House these days. So popular, in fact, that I suspect the FBI’s got the boys down at the crime lab working in shifts trying to meet quota. (“Leads”… lol)

    3. optimader

      Apparently big criticisms of NORAD /WH security etc that this nut behind the wheel in a gyrocopter didn’t get shot to pieces and those pieces shot into confetti before it hit the ground in a spectacular flaming photo op,

      Personally I applaud the restraint and that no one was injured.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Myth of Police Reform Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic

    Excellent and insightful. I’d have tagged this a “must read.”

    The erosion of “authority” and its replacement with “power” is a concept that belongs in ALL the Links categories, not just “Black Injustice Tipping Point.”

    “When African American parents give their children “The Talk,” they do not urge them to make no sudden movements in the presence of police out of a profound respect for the democratic ideal, but out of the knowledge that police can, and will, kill them.”

    “The Talk.” “Dem black folk may well be ahead of the power curve on this one, and whitey might do well to listen up.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That was the same exact talk in Ming China regarding their Imperial Military Secret Police, the Jinyiwei.

      Funny how people are all the same everywhere, in the past or now.

    2. tim s

      I agree 100%. I’m at a loss as to what to say to follow up on that. Very sad that we are at such a point that is both imposed upon us and self-inflicted to an extent at the same time.

      1. hunkerdown

        If we’re paying attention, it helps disperse the tired old show of ethical vapors in which people attribute to ignorance that which is explained adequately by one value system being forced into competition with another. (How could anyone, yuk yuk)

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Anti Wall Street Senator …non-prosecution deals.

    Always $$$ for adventures.

    Always $$$ for internal security.

    Always $$$ for drones.

    Always $$$ for banks.

    Sorry, not enough money to prosecute everyone….Too Many Cases To File

    1. rich

      16 April 2015

      Simon Johnson: Restoring the Rule of Law in Financial Markets

      “Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.”


      With campaign finance reform, the need to reform the financial markets is one of the greatest social policy issues of our time.
      To put a fine point on it, once the professional classes become cowed or corrupt, reform of the process through systemic means is exceptionally difficult. What we have is deep capture and the credibility trap reinforcing the worst of the abuses through a series of punishments and rewards.

      And what may be particularly galling is when insiders who are at the locus of the corruption, like our recent crop of presidential candidates on both sides, talk about how they will change things, while the money is still flowing through their hands, and the spin is flowing out of their mouths.

      And alas, even some of the reformers seem more interested in getting some of their own power and money than in promoting real reform. We have a problem, not at the periphery of our actions, but at the moral root of our thinking.

      I have always enjoyed listening to economist Robert Johnson’s brief excerpt below, because it highlights the very crux of the problem. Unless some of the well to do and the professional classes shake off the lure of big money and the credibility trap, and start acting responsibly, this is going to end very badly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        Tell the victim you steal from you are helping him/her.

        That’s audacity.

  21. Ivy

    Elizabeth Regina Too doesn’t feel the need to pay the little people any more than they’ve been groveling for already. After all, the lower orders will only get ahead of their station with more pay. Next thing you know, the servers over the road at Eton will expect more than a pot of gruel and a ship’s cracker.

    In other news, cutbacks in neckties dictate that only half-windsor knots will be acceptable attire for native English. Immigrants will be restricted to four-in-hand knots, given how much they want off the dole.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Study: Dogs…93 percent accuracy rate…prostate and bladder cancer detection.

    Dogs: Humans, in particular, human scientists, have less than 90%, AND declining, accuracy rate in their studies.

  23. snackattack

    The following Syraqistan story is pretty important, may I suggest linking it this afternoon?

    Basically, NBC reporter Richard Engel was reported to have been kidnapped in Syria by pro-Assad militias in 2012 before being rescued by rebel forces. But it turns out, it was all staged by the rebel forces to begin with!

    BTW, the Angry Arab recognized the story as a fraud in 2012 already; or as he said, “If this one is believable, I am posing as a dentist.”

  24. Jackrabbit

    Nancy Pelosi May Save The Iran Negotiations For Obama Huffington Post

    We have seen a number of people arguing that the Senate’s insistance on oversight strenghtens Obama’s hand at the negotiating table. Our AIPAC Congress + Netanyahu being the “bad cop” to Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning & legacy-seeking “good cop”.

    But it all looks like kabuki. The establishment has become very good at that (especially the Obama Administration). But this time, it may have backfired.

    Russia and Iran have taken advantage of the faux peace deal by moving forward with plans for the sale/purchase of sophisticated air defence systems to Iran. This is anathma to the neocons. Preventing Iran from attaining this kind of military hardware is almost certainly one of the main reasons that Washington want sanctions to be lifted gradually. They want to maintain the possibility of attacking the nuclear installations – which becomes a more realistic possibility when Iran reduces the number of centrifuges it is spinning as there is less environmental consequences.

    The faux peace deal, thru which Obama attempted to ‘bank’ a political/propaganda victory, has turned into a fiasco whereby hardliners (they would call themselves ‘realists’) on both sides seek to leverage the hype to their own benefit. Washington hopes that Iran relents in fear of the ascendancy of Western hardliners (increasing the chance of war) while Iran hopes to use Obama’s peace rhetoric (and MSM boosterism that amplifies it) to complete the arms deal with Russia.

    This faux peace is looking to be more dangerous than the previous stand-off.


    HOP back to see more info at previous comments.

    H O P

    1. Jackrabbit

      From Putin’s annual Q&A (TheGuardian, ht ZH)

      Putin insisted lifting a five-year embargo on the delivery of air defence missiles to Iran did not undermine international sanctions since the Russian ban was voluntary. The US and Israel have objected to the move announced this week. Putin said he made the decision since Iran had shown “a desire to reach compromise”.

      That’s pretty flimsy. But it seems quite reasonable in light of the Obama-friendly Western presstitute ‘news’ media depiction of Obama has a peacemaker – as though peace with Iran is a done deal (it is not, by far). Obama clearly wanted to ‘bank’ a political/propaganda victory for his legacy – whether there was ultimately a peace deal or not.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Too cynical on Obama? Not in the least. Now he can say he sincerely tried to fulfill one of his campaign pledges before the Israeli bombs fall.

        In this act too one must always remember that the USG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Wall Street/AIPAC alliance and that both Barry and Nancy ultimately answer to Bibi. All actions to the contrary are mere theater.

        Putin has once again proven to be the better chess player. The arms deal is exhilarating news. Bibi must be livid. Expect things to heat up again on Ukraine’s Eastern Front.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Israel isn’t going to bomb Iran; they can’t get their planes and pilots back from there. It’s a long way.

  25. paulmeli

    ““Since when is a rate increase a “lift off”? I’ve never understood this metaphor.”

    That’s the point.

    1. hunkerdown

      It’s a talisman, very much like the “iPhone non-argument” that the Archdruid illustrated last week. By holding it up, you can make the scary things run away.

  26. FederalismForever

    Terrible, awful article by Mark Ames – full of base ad hominem attacks, attempts to establish guilt by association, and misleading headlines. Referring to Northern California circa 1863-1864 as “Silicon Valley” is click-bait, since silicon chips would not be invented for another 100 years or so. Moreover, California’s leaders back then never seriously considered joining the Confederacy.

    Also, does Ames really want to entirely dismiss Murrray Rothbard, or anyone who cites him as influential, just because Rothbard’s libertarian views have overlapped with those of David Duke at times? I’m not a libertarian, but I’ve often found Rothbard to be an intelligent and perceptive writer on money systems and economic history. Moreover, Rothbard has often argued that the way Lincoln carried on the Civil War often set troubling precedents that have been followed in subsequent American wars for far less noble aims. Is that wrong? Should we automatically condemn any writer who invokes “states rights” as a neo-Confederate sympathizer, no matter the issue? Seems to me that on matters such as marij*ana legalization, ‘states rights’ could be the right approach.

    If we are going to dismiss political leaders who have sometimes employed writers with checkered, pro-Confederate leanings, than we are long overdue for a serious take-down of FDR on this score. It was FDR, after all, who read and promoted Claude Bowers, even to the point of advocating that Bowers be the keynote speaker at the Democratic Convention – a rare feat for an amateur historian! Bowers’ book The Tragic Era, which was widely read during the 1930s, was a massive attempt to sell the Dunning School’s views on Reconstruction to the populace, and thereby put Republicans – and Republican rule – in a bad light. People talk about Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” but FDR had a far more comprehensive southern strategy of his own, which included promoting authors like Bowers, who told racist white Southerners they needn’t feel guilty about their past, and Radical Republicans really were evil monsters. FDR’s strategy worked like a charm, as he would win all 13 former Confederate states all four times he ran – 52 out of 52! Perhaps Mark Ames can write an article about it sometime, since he obviously enjoys attacking politicians who have employed writers with questionable pasts.

    1. jrs

      Those who invoke state rights as a way to argue for decentralization aren’t exactly wrong … if this country wasn’t WAY too darn big (and WAY too darn rich – it might be the biggest government in the world), it wouldn’t be an empire bombing, tormenting, and destroying the rest of the world (maybe some other empire would but not it) and it might be more accountable to the people (although the rules were rigged to some degree against democratic control from day 1).

      Ultimately the U.S. is not really a country by most definitions (a country would have to represent the people in it to some degree, although a few brutal dictatorships, usually not natural countries either like in the middle east, also don’t).

      The thing is though state rights has a history and this (don’t really a have a government that represents them) country has never gotten past it’s original sin: racism, and all it implies: slavery and genocide. It’s never been remedied or fixed.

      1. hunkerdown

        What makes you think that racism wouldn’t simply go away if it weren’t actively being fomented by the aristocrats? I mean, I know blame-the-victim is a central part of the American identity, but geez.

        Maybe dumping the Constitution and all its baggage in favor of something more like the Grundgesetz? I mean, doing it voluntarily, before Russia and China force us to do so at gunpoint, to the great cheers of the Non-Aligned Movement.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Last I checked, FDR wasn’t asking for my vote. And perhaps the realpolitik of that time is no longer relevant today, and we have the freedom to avoid making the horrid compromises that FDR had to make?

      That said, I’m not at all opposed to strange bedfellows alliances. But I would be awfully leery of anybody who found David Duke’s company congenial; and as for Rothbard, alas, fine writing and even thinking are not incompatible with utterly noxious political affiliations and actions; just ask Hannah Arendt. And I think Ames has a fine eye for libertarian sleaze, which weighs heavy in the Valley; without going into individual cases, my default setting is to trust his judgment in general.

      NOTE I’m not sure it’s fair to characterize Ames as ad hominem, at least not pejoratively, in the same way it would be unfair to characterize Hunter Thompson that way. Stylistically, they’re similar.

  27. vidimi

    crapification of london’s buses:

    amazing that nobody inside that car got killed, it looks totalled.

    i was just in one of these new routemasters this weekend. i like their design from the outside but the older buses are more comfortable inside. however, people were complaining that the original routemasters were the best, so this new model is to be a revamped throwback to that model except that it’s shaping up to be the f35 of buses.

    1. vidimi

      that CEO story is incredible. i think it’s incredibly hard for anyone to give up 90% of one’s paycheck, no matter how big, so kudos to him.

      the article is precious, though, especially this part:

      Mr Price set up Gravity, a credit card payment processing company, in 2004 when he was just 19. Entrepreneurship runs in the family – his father Ron Price is a consultant and motivational speaker who has written a book on business leadership.

      enterpreneurship runs in the family. not that being born very rich gave him a massive leg up on most everyone else, but he inherited some kind of ubermenschen enterpreneur gene.

      but disingenuous writing aside, kudos to mr. price.

  28. susan the other

    About Ilargi’s piece on Varoufakis and Greece and the fate of the EU. I was surprised to read about the internal politics of Finland wanting to leave the EU. Makes me wonder what the stats are in the rest of the EU which we never fully hear about or understand. And makes Varoufakis’ concerns about the death of the EU seem less like forecasting and more like simple observation. If the northern countries form a confederacy and align with Russia and Eurasia, and the southern countries form their own confederacy and align with the “West” then what happens to France? Can it divide up into North France and South France, or be forever bipolar economically? This also makes me think, in light of what an ungovernable mess we here in the US are in, that it was wrong for socialists to think that capitalism would evolve into socialism. On its own, capitalism kills it instead – but as we are seeing it also commits suicide. So that progression from capitalism to socialism was illogical thinking. It could be more accurate that socialism is what will finally evolve into a viable form of capitalism, with a few regulated economic freedoms. And Pragmatism is probably what we will all be practicing in the near future. As soon as we can come to a consensus about whether productivity creates or destroys equality.

    1. vidimi

      i think it would be more likely that the southern countries ally with russia and the atlanticist north remains with the u,s,

    1. ambrit

      Hey, TAFKAFZ, perhaps, in the interests of, you know, convenience, you can shorten your ‘handle’ to an emoticon.
      (I kind of liked your old handle, frostyzoom. It conjured up images of sitting in Dads’ old Fury III, the one with the big block V-8 motor, in the drive up window at Wendys.)

  29. kathy

    Very concerning to me that Republicans are trying to pass tax credits to reduce payroll taxes, much as I want to reduce the horrible inequality in this country. These are the same people trying to end Social Security and further reducing payments into the system gives them more ammunition.

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