Link 5/15/15

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Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans New Yorker (EM)

Decaying City Just Wants To Skip To Part Where It Gets Revitalized Restaurant Scene Onion (David L)

BB King dies in Las Vegas aged 89 Guardian

VIDEO: A look back at BB King’s life BBC

‘Simpsons’ Mr. Burns walking away from $14 million deal CNN

Can The Simpsons survive without Harry Shearer? Guardian

Early men and women were equal, say scientists Guardian

Quest For Extra Cash With Airbnb Turns Into Nightmare For South Bay Homeowner CBS San Francisco (EM)

Epic global bond rout is a QE success story – but it won’t last Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Draghi Warns ECB Economic Policies May Lead to Financial Instability and Worsen Income Inequality; Stupidity Index at New High Michael Shedlock

Hollande’s scooter goes into neutral Politico


Creditors push for reform proposals as talks resume ekathimerini

DEUTSCHE BANK: Greece is ‘suffering a new exodus’ as people scramble to get their cash out Business Insider

Controlled default without Grexit: A silent, slow death for Greece failed evolution

Mario Draghi hits back at critics of QE as Greek woes continue Telegraph

Greek FinMin Still Keen on Swapping Debt MarketPulse

Greece’s hot summer Bruegel. A very good analysis of government revenue and spending, plus important data, like: “…reports suggest that so far, only 2 out of 325 mayors across Greece have accepted to hand over their spare cash.”

A Way Out for Greece and Europe Triple Crisis. But per our post today, they won’t take it.


U.S., Arab Allies Find Accord on Iran Wall Street Journal

Obama offers Gulf nations ‘ironclad’ security cooperation Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Government Watchdog: Afghan Military “Will Need Our Help for the Foreseeable Future” Intercept

Isis reaches gates of ancient Syrian city Palmyra, stoking fears of destruction Guardian

Trade Traitors

All the President’s Trade Negotiators – Revolving Doors, Regulatory Capture, and Health Care Corporate Friendly Trade Agreements Health Care Renewal

Influence peddlers seem to know more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership than Congress Sunlight Foundation (SK). Names names.

The Secret Corporate Takeover Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate

Democrats Balk at Sparing Only Military Spending From Mandated Cuts New York Times

Oil Industry Suing U.S. Govt. Over Oil Train Safety Rules OilPrice

Exclusive Dispatch: Private Water Industry Says Water Bills “Have to Go Up” Truthout

Justice Department to Tear Up Past UBS Settlement Wall Street Journal

Forex Guilty Pleas and the New York Fed’s Blinders Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Blackstone Buys a Piece of Hedge Fund Magnetar Wall Street Journal. Aieee…a bigger, better crime syndicate. Lambert’s comment: “It’s like investing in a meth lab.” My response: “Yes, and Blackstone has concluded meth manufacture is lucrative”

Do we really need fund managers to save the CDS market? Nick Dunbar (Richard Smith)

OBL’s Story Lives

Lapdogs, redux: How the press tried to discredit Seymour Hersh’s bombshell reporting on CIA domestic spying Pando (furzy mouse)

An Economics to Fit the Facts Barry Eichengreen, Project Syndicate (David L)

US Economy Collapses Again Counterpunch

Fed staff says first quarter slowdown was real, not a fluke of statistics Reuters

Get Used To It Tim Duy

BlackRock: With Fed Poised to Act, This Feels Like Pompeii WSJ MoneyBeat

Class Warfare

It Should Be Illegal For Student Loan Companies To Wish Happy Birthday Gawker

Why subsidize data centers? Angry Bear

Antidote du jour (Lance N(. This looks to be a little too literal as far as the Democratic Party is concerned.

Sewer Donkey links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. diptherio

      Gives whole new meaning to “can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground.”

  1. Carla

    “Democrats Balk at Sparing Only Military Spending” — that’s okay. They’ll cave in a couple of hours.

  2. scott

    Slipping back into recession? If inflation was measured the way it was when Clinton took office it would show that the economy is 25% smaller than it was in 2007. Perhaps that would explain 50 million on food stamps and 93 million not working.

    Weekly jobless claims should be a ratio of claims divided by number employed full time. We’ll eventually reach a point where 250K claims is as big a chunk of the employed as 500K was back in 2007.

    1. Willipedia

      I believe your inflation claim 100%. I subscribe to the hypothesis that it’s being hidden away through redefinition, like you mentioned, asset bubbles and crapification. Do you know of any resources that detail how CPI is calculated over the years? I’ve always wanted to a more in-depth look at this though I couldn’t find very helpful information on the BLS website.

      1. Benedict@Large

        John Williams’ ShadowStats website deals with the redefinition of key federal numbers going from the present back thru the decades. According to Williams’ (a paid professional) work, there is much to your “hidden” hypothesis.

      2. frosty zoom

        it seems to me that the inflation is hidden away on the backs and lungs of brown people worldwide.

        that $7 set of tlupperware would cost $45 if it said made in u.s. of a.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I hate to tell you, but while John Williams is very good at tracking changes in how official statistics are calculated, his attempts to create his own improved versions are not seen as credible. And I don’t mean the orthodox types doubt his work, I’m including investors who are willing to consider independent ideas and measures that can give them a better handle of what is going on.

      William’s inflation measure is one of his most dubious. All he’s done is add 4% to the official rate.

  3. financial matters

    Marie Christine Duggan in A Way Out for Greece and Europe Triple Crisis seems to be in the same vein as G.M. Tamás, Socialism and Freedom, Jacobin.


    “policymakers must remember the fragile nature of global institutions and the importance of curtailing investments where creditors escape with profits while debtors lose ground. Europe is a family, and when the business owned by one family member is small and precarious, other members do not make short-term loans at high interest, or push the firm into bankruptcy and seize the assets. Family members buy from each other and invest for the long-term in each other’s enterprises because such willing and profitable action fosters family strength and stability.”


    “The whipped-up antipathy towards “lazy Greeks” and immigrants or towards “authoritarian Russians” or “bigoted Muslims” may create a sense of belonging and togetherness that makes it easier to back the system — as it appears that one’s wellbeing is threatened by outsiders and not by class society. It’s an old old story, but it works a treat.

    In such circumstances, people tend to forget that the outsourcing of Western industries to Eastern Europe — capital chasing lower wages (and migrant workers chasing higher ones) — which makes Western workers angry that their Eastern counterparts are stealing their jobs and Eastern workers even angrier because they have to perform the same work for half the Western salary, is detrimental to all and that they should demand a common European minimum wage (meaning of course real wages) instead.

    The internationalism of capital is not countered by an internationalism of labour; there you have the reason for “populism” in a nutshell. Bourgeois egalitarianism stops at the boundaries of the nation-states, but capital doesn’t. This is why Western and Central European social democracy won’t support Syriza.”

    I think both are recognizing the importance of bringing labor back on par with capital/finance to have a functioning system. I think a lot of people are uncomfortable dealing with a ‘class’ issue but this does tend to focus on economics rather than things such as ethnic fears which can distract people from a goal of financial stability and equality.

  4. frosty zoom

    ya’ know,

    i think i’d rather have a 17% inefficient public utility than a 9% inefficient private utility that adds 13% profit on top.

    and ¿private water?

    thank you for calling police corp.. for murders press one, rape press two, jaywalking..

    all our operators are currently busy, please hold the line while..

    “feelings, nothing more than feelings…”

      1. abynormal

        “Listen in close, Wall Street Conquistadors, you’re spreading like vapor up through people’s floors, you’re moving en mass under the cracks of our doors and grabbing our children to work in your stores, feeding the needy to make them your whores, but you need to remember the grave you’re digging is yours.”
        T.D. Richardson, Dystopia Boy: The Unauthorized Files

  5. jefemt

    Northwestern tin-hat paranoia makes me ponder why the Sunlight Foundation link, and web site, are both daid daid daid… great timing. The gub-mints selective kill-switch with unpopular POV? I hope the by-line wasn’t by Seymour Hersh

  6. abynormal

    “When people treat you mean, you dislike them for that, but not because of their person, who they are. I was born and raised in a segregated society, but when I left there, I had nobody I disliked other than the people that’d mistreated me, and that only lasted for as long as they were mistreating me.”

    “I’ve said that playing the blues is like having to be black twice. Stevie Ray Vaughan missed on both counts, but I never noticed.”

    “I think of guitar players in terms of doctors: you have the doctor for your heart, the cardiologist, then one that works on your feet, your leg. But I believe George Benson is the one that plays all over. To me, he would be the M.D. of them all.”

    “The blues was like that problem child that you may have had in the family. You was a little bit ashamed to let anybody see him, but you loved him. You just didn’t know how other people would take it.”

    “I never use that word, retire.”

    “When I do eventually drop, I pray to God that it’ll happen in one of three ways. Firstly, on stage or leaving the stage, then secondly in my sleep. And the third way? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself!”

    long live the King

  7. Jim Haygood

    Clintonian sleaze seeps into ABC ‘News’:

    On Thursday, George Stephanopoulos acknowledged donating $75,000 to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation over the past three years. He withdrew from playing any role in a planned Republican primary debate on ABC and called his donations an “uncharacteristic lapse.”

    Mr. Stephanopoulos had just last month conducted an aggressive interview with Peter Schweizer, the author of a new book about the Clinton Foundation. During the interview, Mr. Stephanopoulos seemed to dismiss Mr. Schweizer’s reporting about conflicts of interest among donors to the charity who also had matters pending before the State Department. “We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action,” he said.

    “We accept his apology,” a statement from ABC said. “It was an honest mistake.”

    And here’s the kicker:

    Despite the criticism, Mr. Stephanopoulos insisted he would continue as a leader in the network’s political coverage. “I am going to continue to cover the campaign,” he said in an interview.

    Ha ha ha ha … brave, George! Like an indicted KongressKlown promising to soldier on in office … for the people!

    Watch ABC for D-party news, Fox for R-party news. Or ‘None of the above,’ if you don’t want to morph into a brainwashed MSM victim.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      C’mon, Haygood–he APOLOGIZED! He’s really SORRY! Not for having DONE it, of course, but for not having DISCLOSED it. Probably just an OVERSIGHT.

      “Worldly-wise” and decrepit media “hero” and probable CIA media plant, Bob Woodward, weighed in on how George SHOULD HAVE handled the situation this morning on Morning Joe. “He should have just said what happened,” opined Woodward. “You know, his wife or his accountant did it and he didn’t know anything about it.” (I’m paraphrasing.)

      After hanging with the clintons for as long as he has, how come george didn’t think of that?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Every smart politician should have a personal charitable foundation on the side while holding office.

      “Who doesn’t want to be charitable?”

  8. timbers

    “US Economy Collapses Again – Counterpunch”

    If only we could figure out why Republicans have won more elective offices under Obama than any President in history.

    I guess it will just remain a mystery.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I can see it: the S&P will make new highs in the coming months.

      “A new source of energy for our hologram money-universe.”

  9. Oregoncharles

    “Early men and women were equal, say scientists Guardian”

    A very ingenious study, though a bit of a stretch. The biggest problem in anthropology is overcoming observer bias; recruiting a lot of women to the field helped. In this case, they’ve found an objective measurement with real significance.

    When I was studying anthro, back in the 60s, this question was pretty open. I’ve been trying to remember the picture in the ethnographies of hunter-gatherers; they tended to be moot on the question. Things didn’t look good for women among the Australian aborigines, but again, you have to watch for observer bias. The biggest objective item was that women “gatherers” brought in a lot more food than male “hunters,” who were responsible for the occasional protein bonanza. That militated for (at least) equality.

    The consensus in the field was that the status of women varied widely, but well short of equality (I can think of a couple of exceptions, that appeared to be a result of contact with modern society). So this study is an important corrective. Apparently there isn’t only the “Paleo” diet, but also the “Paleo” relationship between the sexes.

    (Be careful what you wish for, though: primitive societies were far more restrictive of marriage and sexual relationships than ours. You really wouldn’t like it.)

    1. Jack

      It always seemed to me self-evident that discriminating against fully 50% of your population and declaring entire categories of endeavor off-limits to them is an indulgence only a relatively well-established and stable society can afford.

    2. Binky

      you cant judge hunter gatherers by the mores of agropastoralists or herders. It is difficult to impossible for most people to detach sufficiently so as to observe in context what really goes on in H/G cultures. Levi Strauss, Mead, Godelier, gay people looking to prove that there was a natural aspect to homosexuality. Sometimes they imposed their own ideas on what they saw their subjects doing.
      We in Europe and America typically describe and treat women as herders or farmers do livestock, and we have similar goals for the relationship (leaving out Neil Horsey). Our conservative friends do this so explicitly that it is a source of discomfort in social situations and the source of wonderment by coastal onlookers as the Duggar family or oathkeepers cleave to these ideals, drawn from interpretations of the Bible steeped in the lore and tradition of herders and farmers.
      For the Inupiat I suggest Tom Loewenstein’s book “Ancient Land, Sacred Whale.” It explicates some of these relationships and how they work or don’t anymore as Inupiat people are Americanized following WWII and with increasing rapidity as communications explodes with cell phones, internet, and cable television.

  10. PhilK

    Afghan Military Will Need Our Help for the Foreseeable Future

    Well, obviously. Can’t trust the Afghan military to guard those poppy fields!

  11. flora

    re: “Lapdogs, redux”
    Read the article and the LRB Sy Hersh article. Then thought about Obama declaring, “”The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else” So that’s what O thinks a politician’s life is all about, including himself? Sell out everybody to get re-elected?

  12. Ulysses

    Interesting question posed by Brent Budowsky:

    “For Obama to fire insults against liberals at Nike last Friday only adds insult to insult to injury. Nike is one of the companies most associated with exporting American jobs abroad to low-wage nations that often have abusive practices against workers. Is the president who says liberals don’t know what they are talking about on trade intellectually unaware of this, or callously insensitive to this, or so contemptuous of liberals he simply does not care?”

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