Links 7/26/15

NASA estimates 1 billion ‘Earths’ in our galaxy alone WaPo

Dark Pion Particles May Explain Universe’s Invisible Matter Live Science

Emerging market currencies crash on Fed fears and China slump Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Weekly Commentary: Same Old Same Old Credit Bubble Bulletin (SF).

Are China’s Problems Responsible For Recent Market Slides? Econospeak

IMF Seeks More Overhauls as China Pursues Reserve Status for Yuan WSJ

The Economist: With no clear replacements, Najib looks set to stay in power Malaya Mail

What happens when policy is made by corporations? Your privacy is seen as a barrier to economic growth Evgeny Morozov, Guardian. (TTiP in the URL, but not the title.)

Revenue & Customs goes online to tax the sharing economy FT

Outrage as multi-million dollar startup trashes San Francisco park during farewell party Daily Mail. Froth.

Is Wage Growth Accelerating? All signs point to Yes! The Conference Board

The New American Slavery: Invited To The U.S., Foreign Workers Find A Nightmare Buzzfeed

Foreign criminals push up London house prices FT. What, in London?

The Impact of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct on Appraisal and Mortgage Outcomes (PDF) Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Blogs review: Understanding the Neo-Fisherite rebellion Breugel


Creditors expected in Greece by Sunday night: government source France24

For Greek banks, it’s business as unusual Macropolis

Greek Wine & Spirits industry: The aftermath of capital controls Difford’s Guide

Greek doctors, nurses leaving in droves for jobs abroad Ekathimerini

Europe braces itself for a revolutionary Leftist backlash after Greece Telegraph

Crisis Quiz: test your inner Greek geek FT

Finland is the poster child for why the euro doesn’t work WaPo

EU referendum: David Cameron fast-tracks vote on Britain’s membership of European Union to June 2016 Independent


Turkey Lauches War On Islamic State’s Worst Enemies – The Kurds Moon of Alabama

Is Turkey in war? Hurriyet Daily News

Will Obama’s Iran firewall hold? The Hill

New Photos Show Bush Administration Reaction to 9/11 Attacks PBS (full set). Back when some thought Cheney was not undead….

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Between the World and Me”: Ta-Nehisi Coates Extended Interview on Being Black in America Democracy Now!

In Cleveland, Black Lives Matter Readies For Its Next Big Step Buzzfeed News. Still waiting for an event to be disrupted where the Democrat has actual power.

Chicago Just Fired An Investigator Trying To Hold Cops Accountable For Unjustified Shootings HuffPo. Goods cops are whistleblowers.

America’s Top Killing Machine The Atlantic (from January, but not linked here). “Gun deaths are poised to surpass automobile deaths in the United States this year.” But surely that’s a small price to pay for our Second Amendment freedoms….

Winchester Unveils New 9MM Stray Bullet Guaranteed To Hit Innocent Bystanders The Onion

Port Arthur Massacre: The Shooting Spree That Changed Australia’s Gun Laws NBC

Pentagon Asks ‘Armed Citizens’ Not To Stand Guard At Recruiting Centers NPR

Law Enforcement Seizures Misspent, Missing Oklahoma Watch. “Among the violations were using seized money to pay on a prosecutor’s student loans and allowing a prosecutor to live rent-free in a confiscated house for years, records show.” Admirably simple and straightforward!


Hillary Clinton to appear before Congress on Benghazi McClatchy. I’m gonna have to understand Benghazi. Please kill me now.

Clinton: I did not send or receive classified emails on private account Reuters

The Unanswered Questions From The NY Times’ Debunked Clinton Emails Report  Media Matters

Exclusive: AFL-CIO may delay endorsement of Clinton as 2016 presidential candidate – sources Reuters

Private Prison Lobbyists Are Raising Cash for Hillary Clinton The Intercept

The Vile Language Hurled At Hillary Clinton on Social Media Vocativ. Plus ça change….

There’s No Stopping the Trump Show The Atlantic

The 20 percent of the party that loves Trump may be dumb or racist or angry or wrong, but the Republican Party cannot live without them. The GOP is damned if Trump stays and damned if he goes, and no one knows how the show will end.

In Europe Donald Trump would have his own party and seats in a parliament The Economist

To difficult questions Mr Trump offers appealingly simple solutions, starting with this most painful puzzle for conservatives: if America is the mightiest country in the world, how come it feels so weak? His answer goes beyond blaming Barack Obama and the Democrats. The fault, he insists, lies instead with the governing class in both parties, which has betrayed a great nation.

Crazy talk!

Column: Our generation needs Martin O’Malley in the White House Des Moines Register. Identity politics rolls on…

Biden or Bust National Journal

Red-state Democrats fret about leftward shift Politico. Good. Maybe they’ll have to figure out a way to win other than trying to be fake Republicans.

U.S. District Court Rules Pennsylvania System of Imposing Costs on Minor Party Petitions that Lack Sufficient Signatures is Unconstitutional Ballot Access News. Important, because the legacy party duopoly uses tactics like this to deny emergent parties ballot access.

US income inequality rises up political agenda FT. “[M]any fail to address one of the root causes of America’s income stagnation — dismal productivity growth.” Caused, in turn, by the bloated financial services sector.

Health Care Sleaze: The Person Who Ran Medicare Is Now in Charge of the Insurance Lobby Wendell Potter, Alternet

Millennials No Less Trusting (or Distrusting) of News Sources Pew

Pearson says in talks to sell The Economist share France24

Chrysler’s Solution To The Jeep Hack Is 1.4 Million USB Drives TechCrunch. I wish I knew who invented the phrase “an abundance of caution.”

A Common Hospital Infection May be Coming To Us From Food National Geographic

Picked Out a Coffin Yet? Take Ibuprofen and Die Counterpunch

On Live and Death After 85 NYT

How Artificial Intelligence is Reinventing the Art of Influencing Human Behavior The Vital Edge

Interview: Paul Mason’s guide to a post-capitalist future Prospect

Antidote du jour, from the Bear Cam at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. hidflect

    Antidote du jour: I don’t know how to tell a female bear from a male bear at a distance but this bear definitely looks female. Is there some sort of universal mammal look that mother’s have with their young?

    1. Lee

      I don’t know about a visual difference but there is certainly an observable behavioral difference: a male bear would be slaughtering the cubs to bring the female into heat so as to further his own genetic future. As much as I like bears, I prefer the family values of wolves, although they will engage in raids on the dens of other packs and slaughter the pups. One alpha female of the Druid pack in Yellowstone was rather famous for leading such raids. She was so hyper-aggressive that she was finally killed by member of her own pack for being a compulsive bully.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By universal, we humans mean some common features we humans can detect.

      But other animals or plants may not detect them. It’s only ‘universal’ to us, or sometimes, just a subset of us.

      At best, therefore, its human-universal, not universal-universal.

      1. susan the other

        I’m sure it is usually undetectable. Remember the research on the nutrient given to the mother tree laced with an isotope that they could tract. The nutrients all went to the tiny baby trees growing within the reach of the “mother’s” root system.

    3. Jess

      Don’t know the answer to your question, but I do think that it’s very unusual for a mother bear to have a litter of 4 cubs at one time. I think the norm is usually two or three. Cute little guys, aren’t they. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a species of bears who never got any bigger than these cubs? Might be domesticate-able.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      I was watching the four cubs on the bear cam — I think they’re on a riverbank where the adults are catching salmon — and waiting for the decisive moment of cuteness, when the mother bear suddenly appeared in the frame! Yikes!

  2. Disturbed Voter

    Clinton’s classified emails: there are many levels and nuances to “classified”. One way to escape censure is to simply fail to properly classify things in the first place. Another escape is to declassify after the fact. One thing laymen won’t realize, is that combining some unclassified material, with other unclassified material, renders it classified … this last nuance is something even experts have a hard time with. As a busy executive, I am sure that Ms Clinton had no time to study or deal with these levels and nuances. So it isn’t black or white, if something should be, or is, classified. This excuses all wrongs, if you are high enough in the hierarchy.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m just shaking my head that the controversy has gone to “ZOMG!!!! Classified emails!!!!!!” when the real issue is a the privatization of public documents, and by one of “eventheliberals,” too.

      Although I’m still reeling from the revelation that Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, has some of Clinton’s mail on his thumb drive….

  3. Ditto

    Re private prisons & clinton

    I guess black lives matter up until it gets in the way of campaign donations

  4. ambrit

    That Onion piece on the ‘new’ Winchester 9mm ‘Bystander Round’ is priceless. Look closely and you can see, very faintly printed on the box face, in very large type, the words ‘Made in USA.’ If you want a real ‘bystander round,’ look no further than the reliable unreliable .223. Grunts used to put a tiny ding on the muzzle of their M-16s so the round would start tumbling the second it exited the barrel. Instant grapeshot!
    Once again, The Onion proves that truth is stranger than fiction.

  5. Moneta

    Post capitalist future… there’s one heck of a change in paradigm that will need to occur to get out of neoliberalism. For example, one important concept is that of funded pensions vs. pay-as-you-go from those currently working.

    The concept of funding probably sounded rational a few decades ago when the new population bulge aka the boomers was seen to be an issue…. They probably thought that if they funded their pensions by creating productive companies, they would get through the problematics of a population bugle going through the pension system. However, we’ve found out that loads of capital can both get misallocated or simply concentrate into few hands.

    Right now in Canada, many liberals want to increase CPP even more. Conservatives want households to do it on their own. This means that the progressives are still attached to the concept of fully funding despite all the failures we have faced over the last couple of decades.

    Thanks to zirp and a real estate bubble, Canadians have never had so much debt. They are on the cusp of having to start repaying it and at the same time CPP contributions could increase…

    I can only imagine the impact this would have on GDP. Doesn’t anyone at the top realize that markets and the economy are communicating vases but the link does not work how they think it does? That these increased CPP contributions would get invested in securities of entities facing a decline in GDP or consumer spending, with no proof whatsoever that this invested capital would lead to productivity increases instead of just inflating the global asset bubble?

    Our current pension system feeds Wall Street (and Bay Street here in Canada) and I will know real change is coming when I will see a societal change towards its ideological belief in pension funding. And progressives are contributing to the persistence of neoliberalism just as much as the conservative when it comes to thus issue.

    1. susan the other

      A money system based on money is pointless. A money system based on money based on profit is a thousand-fold more absurd. But a money system based on people would work. Strictly speaking it could never outpace itself.

      1. John Merryman

        Reading the article, it seems to completely miss the function of capitalism which is to monetize everything, in order to create ever more capital, as a commodity in itself. Which is then used to dominate the entire economy. He is mostly just talking normal economic dynamics, occurring on the field, without understanding that the field is the monetary system and those controlling it are the owners and everyone else are the players.
        The next stage, the post capitalist future, is when the financial system is turned into a form of integrated public trust, similar to democracy being the post monarchist stage, when government was taken away from private ownership and made a public trust.
        This will happen because money functions as a glorified voucher system and there is nothing more fatal to a voucher system, than floods of excess vouchers, which is the goal of capitalism. When the bubble bursts and we have to organize systems of exchange from the bottom up again, we will have to base them on the realization that money is a social contract, not a commodity. It is more like the roads than the cars. No matter how expensive your car, you still don’t get more road than you need. We can’t just create money to infinity, to keep everyone happy, because it is a delusion. The profits from a system based on public debt have to be returned to the public, in order to be stable. As it is now, the government is forced to borrow back all that excess capital and pay interest on it. With it often being spent on things with little regard to long term value.
        We will go back to society based methods of economic exchange, rather than economic exchange based societies and this will devolve back into actual emotion based methods of reciprocity. Not having all relations controlled and dominated by global mediums of exchange. That is the nature of capitalism and the post capitalist future.

    2. JEHR

      The problem of money lies in the ginormous profit that the banks feel belongs to them. The financial crisis started with the banks and continued with the banks when the pensions, for example, were modified from defined benefit to shared risk. “Shared” risk, of course, means that the pensioner gets the risk and the bank gets the share(s). The banks have arranged their (and our) business so that pensions can be looted or changed and in some cases done away with altogether. If banks were treated as utilities that are regulated and managed for the common purpose and not for profits and speculation, we would be doing better than we presently are.

      The banks have known from day one that when they control the finances, they control everything.

  6. jgordon

    The New American Slavery: Invited To The U.S., Foreign Workers Find A Nightmare

    It so happens that I’ve been reading Chris Hedges’ Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt and added with an incessant stream of things like the article it’s hard to not come away with the conclusion that rich Americans are some of the most vile and evil people on the face of the earth. Though the best that can be said for the rest is that we are merely ignorant and delusional–with no sense of justice or dignity–to blithely let this kind of thing go on. America does not need more jobs or growth or better governance; it needs to be quarantined from the rest of the world. Sorry for the few good folks left inside, but you were just unlucky about were you were.

    1. John Merryman

      A semi-religious belief in individualism does seem to result in an atomized society of interchangeable and therefore replaceable people, held together with money and mass media. The melting pot has reached a boil.
      It is our gift to the world. When they refuse it, we give them war.

  7. diptherio

    “[M]any fail to address one of the root causes of America’s income stagnation — dismal productivity growth.”

    Increased productivity hasn’t translated to increased income since the 70s. Who is this guy kidding? We don’t need more “productivity,” we need LESS. Less productive workers and more of them, along with a maximum wage differential, that’s what we’re missing, not productivity growth.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I believe something of the sort has happened in the UK; there’s handwringing and pearl-clutching after a mysterious halt in productivity gains; something like a cultural general strike, maybe.

      They crapify the jobs, then expect people to work harder at them. “What do you think of a person who does the bare minimum?”

  8. edmondo

    So Jeb! wants to end Medicare while Hillary wants to destroy Social Security as we presently know it. Who says there’s no difference between the two parties?

  9. paulmeli

    ““[M]any fail to address one of the root causes of America’s income stagnation — dismal productivity growth.”

    Productivity growth effectively lowers wages for workers and transfers the savings to profits. How does that help workers? Products cost less? They cost less for one group at the expense of another.

    As wages approach zero costs do not.

    Costs cannot go down relative to wages unless the savings come out of profits.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I agree. “Productivity” is one of those concepts that is perpetually cited as the answer to every economic problem, yet the optimal level never seems to be achieved.

      Whenever I hear this “productivity” blah blah blah, I suspect they are just obfuscating the fact that a chosen few are determined to own the entire “economy,” and have finally purchased enough of the “government” to make it so.

      Just once I would like to hear, in logical progression and simple declarative sentences, how “productivity growth” alleviates “income stagnation.” I’ll start:

      Step 1. Last year John produced 10 widgets per hour. John is paid by the hour. This year John produced 12 widgets per hour, a 20% growth in his “productivity.”

      Step 2. John’s employer rewards John’s performance by returning much of this increase to John in an increased hourly wage because…..?

      1. JTMcPhee

        One thought on why your SAT question on logical progressions tracks reality:

        “A Cynical Theory of Power and Organizational Dynamics,”

        Which seems to track an older observation:

        “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity,”

        Too bad it seems “we,” us ordinary people, don’t seem able to organize ourselves when the group size reaches some critical dimension to do anything other than what “we” all take part in hammering down as “the outcomes we want, or are apparently willing to live (and die) with.” Note the part in the first link about ordinary people doing the “workarounds” that allow as much humane function in “the system” as there is. As a nurse playing “institutional judo” with “health UNsurance providers” every day to get needed medications and therapies approved, and as a former government enforcement lawyer who joined others in fighting a holding action against the Reagan-onward neolib assault on the Environmental Protection Agency, that seems to be how it works.

        Note the comment above about wolves killing one of their Alpha females for being “too aggressive…”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We can distinguish many kinds of productivity.

      1. Previously, a lumberjack could cut down 10 trees per period. Now, he can cut down 20 trees the same time, making trees cheaper and more humans to consume…until humanity comes up against limits of the environment.

      2. Previously, it cost $100 million to kill Y-number of enemies. Now, it costs only $50 million. Productivity gain of 50% here. Good or bad?

      3. It took X amount of carbon emission for you to travel a certain distance before. Now, you emit only 0.3X. Your carbon ‘production,’ or productivity (per trip, per week or per lifetime) is down. Should you punished for lowering your ‘productivity’ and rewarded for gains in this case?

      4. You needed 5 chickens slaughtered in a month to achieve gastronomic happiness. Today, you only 3 dead chicken to achieve the same happiness. Is your happiness (personally happiness) productivity up?

      1. paulmeli

        General Motors builds 50% more cars in year without increasing the number of it’s workers.

        Will GM be able to sell those cars? Does supply create it’s own demand?

        1. susan the other

          Repeat after me, “total environmental destruction even without a consumer.” That’s how absurd capitalism is.

  10. Tertium Squid

    “Gun deaths are poised to surpass automobile deaths in the United States this year.” But surely that’s a small price to pay for our Second Amendment freedoms….

    So the article makes clear that we pay a similar price for “freedom of the open road” dear too, and with much less controversy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That number of gun deaths – does it include police gun deaths?

      I would also be interested in comparing that number with the latest number of drone deaths (yes, foreigners are humans too).

      1. different clue

        And how many of those gun deaths are due to Black and Latino ganger banger murders against the unarmed members of their own communities? ( As well as against eachother?) If THOSE are a majority of the gun deaths, then the problem would be solved by full and total drug legalization so as to exterminate the economic base of the illegal drug cartels and the ganger-bangers who work for them at the lowest levels in the field.

    2. kj1313

      Most car accidents are not intentional while gun deaths are due to the function of the product designed to kill.

  11. craazyman

    I don’t know where NASA comes up with its numbers.

    1 billion earth like planets? I mean really. Throw a dart already!

    My research puts the total at 923,389,455.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What happens when we find some exoplanets that are sending out focused radio messages?

      Can we handle long distance relationships?

      1. craazyboy

        It will be like having a pen pal that takes a century or two or three to write back. Much better than talking to Iran.

          1. susan the other

            that’s instantaneous across the vast reaches of the universe, the think Einstein called “spooky.”

  12. mad as hell.

    “In Cleveland, Black Lives Matter Readies For Its Next Big Step”

    Good article!

    I just wonder how infiltrated the group is with federal, state county and local police. Gotta be a lot.
    I also wonder how many blend in well and how many stick out like a sore thumb.

    “We’re going need a bigger boat”

    1. Brindle

      Will BLM disrupt a Clinton event?…or an Obama One?….maybe Holder.—don’t think so. I would be pleasantly surprised if that were to happen. I think the NN15 was kind of a “one-off”—relatively easy pickings logistically compared to trying to do something similar with a big establishment Dem like Hillary or Obama.
      I think Hillary’s team would one way or another get a head’s up on any planned action related to her appearance at an event or campaign rally.

  13. NotTimothyGeithner

    Perhaps, it’s cynicism, but Cheney and friends do seem to enjoy posing for pictures. Gillespie looks bored.

    1. Brindle

      I looked at their facial expressions and to me they seemed fairly passive, sorta like “hmm, what do we do now?”—but no real sense of urgency.

    2. Gio Bruno

      One of Cheney’s “friends” was reported by US media to be on Air Force One somewhere other than Washington D.C. during this same time period.

      I guess they got it wrong.

  14. Tom Stone

    Violence is cultural.
    American culture has more similarities to Mexico and Germany than it does Japan or Canada.
    You have fully documented the Corruption top to bottom that has turned the USA into a Banana Republic. Your answer to “Gun Violence” ( Guns have agency?) is to ban firearms ownership by american subjects who are not LEO or Military. Have you read Wesley Clarkes recent statements in regard to “Extremists?, Forgotten how many deaths were caused by Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious” program to sell guns to moderate members of the Drug Cartels?
    Police chiefs have the right to appoint reserve or special deputies who have full LEO powers including the right to possess and use firearms otherwise banned by the National Firearms Act of 1934.
    Who will the Police chief of Ferguson MO. appoint?
    Suisun City hs a tank, so do many,many other local law enforcement agencies.
    Think of American Culture again, the tradition that a citizen has the right to be armed goes back a long way in our culture.
    A LOT of people who are otherwise law abiding are suddenly going to be classified as terrorists.
    And some will become Terrorists or Freedom fighters depending on who you ask.
    No thanks.
    If you really want to reduce violence, especially spousal violence there is a simple answer.
    Ban the production and use of Alcohol .
    Successfully, without societal disruption or corruption.
    Reality sucks sometimes.
    But ignoring the realities of human nature being expressed in America these days would be unwise. Thank you for all of your work here over the years, Tom

  15. petal

    Rand Paul was at my local library yesterday calling for a flat tax and answering but not answering an educated question about climate change. Have a nice rest of the weekend, all.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Outrage as multi-million dollar startup trashes San Francisco park during farewell party Daily Mail

    Twice, a multi-million dollar secondhand clothing startup, held a farewell party in Dolores Park in San Francisco on Wednesday

    The company was just acquired by eBay, which laid off 230 employees of the startup’s 240-member staff

    230 out of 240. This is a reason to CELEBRATE????

  17. lyman alpha blob

    Thanks for the report from the Philly Fed. Now I understand the wide swings in appraisals we’ve seen over the last several years while buying and attempting to refinance.

    When we bought ~2007, we received an unconditional appraisal at about 10% more than the purchase price. After the crash, the city cut its valuations across the board by about 10% to avoid abatement court (and raised the mil rate at the same time). When we tried to refinance a couple years ago to do some work on the house, we received a conditional appraisal valued at almost exactly the city’s lowball valuation, which was quite a bit lower than recent comps in the neighborhood. The conditions were that we have the work done that we needed the loan to do which made the whole deal a non-starter. Ain’t capitalism great?

    1. TedWa

      Sounds like the HVCC at work. Some AMC’s prefer to hire inept/incompetent appraisers because they can pay them less and add to the AMC’s bottom line. You wouldn’t believe some of the crappy appraisals I’ve reviewed lately. They either had outright lies or look like they were written by a high schooler getting paid minimum wage.

      1. TedWa

        There was nothing “well-intentioned” about the HVCC. It was a power grab by the bankster owned AMC’s and an AMC alumni, Cuomo, who had the power to do it in the Martin Act and, despite it’s illegality, being further protected by the GSE conservatorship and the FHFA. The fact is, they didn’t like truly “independent appraisers” getting paid what they were worth and not getting a cut of the action.

    2. TedWa

      And I’m willing to bet that the appraisal cost you around twice what an appraisal from an independent appraiser would have charged. Thanks to AMC intervention and their needing to get a cut of the action to stay in business and thrive, bank fees for appraisals have doubled in many areas – ie.. double what an independent appraiser would have charged. Are AMC’s worth it? Don’t ask me, you’re the ones paying for their existence and in a more than just an out of pocket sense with crappy appraisals that blow deals. Thanks to HVCC you can’t hire someone like me directly, you have to take whomever the AMC decides, and more often than not, the AMC’s choice is the cheapest appraiser. You don’t get what you pay for.

      1. susan the other

        Actually, you don’t have to accept any appraisal as the final word on your sale price. Consider it a less than reliable suggestion. Most cookie-cutter appraisers are idiots. Tell your buyer he/she will have to come up with the balance. Unless you must sell. Real estate is so illiquid because it is an old-fashioned standoff between buyer and seller; if anybody wants to sell there should be an exchange like all the other crap that gets bought and sold. How would analysts evaluate real estate on an exchange? All local of course. With the Fed in the background buying up properties like mad. The markets – all of them – are totally up for grabs. Who needs to comply with an appraisal?

        1. TedWa

          No offense, but I know that low appraisals kill deals and the percentage of sales that fall through when the appraisal is low is well over 75%. Sellers don’t want to re-negotiate the deal when they had a contract at what they’re willing to take for the home, and the buyers don’t want to pay more than it’s worth. That’s a deal killer in most cases.

          Sure, if you have money you can just cover the difference, but in my experience that doesn’t happen very often in the real world. Another option is that you can ask and pay for another appraisal but who’s to say that the AMC won’t hire another equally incompetent appraiser because they’ll do it for slave wages, thus adding to the bottom line of the banksters AMC? You don’t, because you have no control over the process and can’t pick an appraiser that knows what they’re doing. You’re not trustworthy or knowledgeable enough to handle such complicated dealings (sarc). HVCC took choice away from consumers, to increase their own profits. The banksters would love to take over the real estate profession and tried, but they got shut out by the powerful real estate lobby. Appraisers were easy pickings.

  18. TedWa

    RE: The Impact of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct on Appraisal and Mortgage Outcomes
    … by none other than the Federal Reserve.

    I’ve never seen such a mish-mash of erroneous data compiled to cover the effects of the HVCC. First they say that housing prices bottomed out in the 1st quarter of 2009 (?!!). Then they go on to further conflate the meltdown in prices with the effects of the HVCC and appraisals on values and loans. They claim it increased appraiser independence – NOT!. It took away the appraisers rights to work for any bank or citizen they choose to and to be paid commensurate with the quality of work they did. Appraisers had to work for AMC’s if they wanted any work. AMC’s and their appraisers were the cause of the housing bubble. So the logical solution was to make every appraiser work for a bank owned AMC’s?? And at slave wages for most appraisers. Well intentioned, HA! Well intentioned to keep fat and defend the criminal banksters that were inflating values with their slave wage appraisers that would do anything to keep their jobs. Taking away true appraiser independence was seeking to turn all appraisers in low wage slaves wholly dependent on pleasing their bank owned AMC overlords.
    Inflating appraisals across the country caused the bubble and meltdown as these inflated sales had to be used by independent appraisers after 2007. Anything more than a 3% per year increase in home values reeks of “housing bubble” to me. That 3% is the typical allowable seller concession. From 1989 to 2003 or so, home prices rose steadily in this area at 3% per year.
    I saved this comment of mine from 2009:

    The mis-named Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) was born in 2008 out of a fraudulent union of an Appraiser Management Company (AMC) “EAPPRAISEIT” and WAMU in inflating appraisal values. WAMU blacklisted any appraiser that did not make the values they needed. In 2006-2007 these 2 conspired to inflate values on over 262,000 appraisals across the country making WAMU over $50 million in the process. They got caught and federal investigators wanted to see what the GSE’s had bought from WAMU. Cuomo used to be the head of HUD and somehow denied access to those files. Cuomo then decided to settle with these 2 miscreants by creating the HVCC which left the banks in control of the appraisal process and appraisers, to this day. BTW, Cuomo sat on the board of an AMC, AMCO (conflict of interest?).

    The HVCC was issued in part by an administrative agency of the Federal government but did not go through the administrative procedures act (APA) or the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) as required of rules issued by administrative agencies of the Federal government. The legality of the HVCC has been challenged but answered as “the GSE’s are in conservatorship and therefore the HVCC can not be challenged in any court of law.” The banks are still in control of the appraisers for the next round of manipulation of values as they need. Thanks to Cuomo the banks can own these AMC’s furthering the banks goal of absolute control of the appraisal process and values. This also turns their AMC’s and appraisers into ATM’s.

    1. TedWa

      BTW, Chase Bank created and owned Eappraiseit, so you could say WAMU and Chase were both in on the scam. But not to Cuomo.

      And it wasn’t just WAMU, all the big banks were doing it.

  19. Juneau

    NSAIDs cause heart attack and stroke…

    Compare the official response to data on deaths from non opiate pain killers to the response to pain specialists who prescribe opiates…some of whom have been brought up on criminal charges. Controversial topic but not all docs were drug dealers, some were just convinced of patient’s right to pain management while knowing and attempting to manage the risks.

    Wonder how the mortality numbers will compare. Then there is acetaminophen and liver failure deaths.
    There has to be a better way.

    1. susan the other

      If we had an economic system based on humanitarian values would this ever happen. Capitalism is not a humanitarian value. In order to have humanitarian economics we need an entirely different lexicon of values and goals. End capitalism before it ends us. It was dead by all logic from the beginning. Now time is of the essence.

  20. Jim Haygood

    ‘If America is the mightiest country in the world, how come it feels so weak?’

    Let’s take a stab at this question, using an article about transit delays on the Northeast Corridor as a case study:

    The two passenger train tunnels under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City, which opened in 1910, are perhaps the worst choke points along the corridor. The Susquehanna River Bridge in Maryland, a railroad and swing bridge built in 1906, requires as many as 30 workers to open and close. Trains must slow to 30 miles per hour to pass through the Baltimore and Potomac tunnels in Maryland, which opened not long after the Civil War, in 1873.

    All the roadways and railways crossing the Hudson River to NYC are prewar construction. A 1962 trans-Hudson bridge 20 miles north of the city, the Tappan Zee, was of such crappy design that its replacement is now being built alongside it.

    What happened? Among other things, the permanent warfare state (which still occupies Europe, Japan, South Korea, and dozens of other lucky host countries) started sucking up about 5% of GDP. Much of this spending should have been invested domestically, instead of wasted on the megalomaniacal global dominance fantasy of ‘American exceptionalists’ such as Barack Obama and nearly every presidential candidate.

    We’ve seen this movie before, featuring a muscle-bound, gold-plated military leviathan, coupled with shabby Third World infrastructure. It was called the Soviet Union, comrades.

  21. mycroft

    The primary reason for allowing foreign workers into the country that can easily be exploited is the same in the U.S. and Europe: to undercut the bargaining power of labor. Although Capital is all in favor of wide open borders, those on the Left often accuse those who want to protect the bargaining power of the country’s citizens as being racists.

    In a recent discussion on NC about the motives of those fighting the Civil War, I was hoping the someone would mention the long term effects of the devil’s bargain made by two very different societies coming together to make one nation.

    From the very beginning of the U.S., the South threatened to leave the Union because they wanted low tariffs; the North wanted high tariffs to protect its infant industries. If the South had decided to leave the Union in 1830, given the lack of railroads (there were less than 100 miles of railroads in the U.S.), the anemic taxing power of the Federal Government and the poor condition of the roads, it would have been extremely difficult for the North to conquer the South.

    By 1860 the U.S. had over 20,000 miles of railroads. This made it much easier to transport and supply troops than in 1830.

    If the U.S. had become two nations in 1830, it is reasonable to assume that both countries would have been less likely to become involved in the sort of “foreign entanglements” that George Washington warned against. If the U.S. had not intervened in WWI, and the two sides had fought to exhaustion, WWII might have been avoided because neither side would have had the power to impose a one-sided treaty that eventually led to WWII.

    Although the U.S. was on the winning side of the shooting war in WWII, America lost the war to the Military-Industrial Complex. Thanks largely to the influence of the Military-Industrial Complex, the Bill of Rights has been trashed, habeas corpus has been tossed over the side, millions of lives have been lost or ruined, trillions of dollars have been squandered, and everything we do is now monitored on behalf of an oligarchy that has become a cancer on the body politic.

    If scientists can put forward the notion that a butterfly flapping its wings in the southern hemisphere can set in motion forces that eventually produce a hurricane in the norther hemisphere, then I think the following speculation is much easier to defend than the butterfly scenario. I believe a case can be made that the South’s unwillingness to act on its threats to leave the Union in 1830 (there were only 56 years between the beginning of the Civil War and the U.S. intervention in WWI) was a “but for a nail a shoe was lost” tragedy for Western Civilization.

  22. Kurt Sperry

    Re: There’s No Stopping the Trump Show, The Atlantic

    Notice how Trump has cleverly and advantageously leveraged his position within the party by not agreeing to support whomever is the Republican nominee and indeed leaving the door open for a third party run if he doesn’t receive the nomination? Compare and contrast that to Bernie Sanders. Whatever you think of The Donald, he has shown a markedly better understanding of hardball political reality than his vaguely analogous opponent on the Democratic side. We should welcome the chance to play the spoiler card and guarantee a Democratic loss in the presidential contest if frozen or procedurally maneuvered out of the Democratic nominating process. What looks like a irresponsible risk to the faint of heart, is in fact an incredible opportunity to make a decisive power play and cut your opponents off at the knees. The corporate DNC types would never leave a trick like that one untaken. As has been noted, the Democratic Party hates its base, while the GOP *fears* it’s own. We need to make the DP afraid to cross us; not to make them like us or agree with us. The latter will never happen anyway.

    Thinking of the extreme conservative Republican base as stupid is, well, stupid. We should mock them less and go to school on their sometimes excellent strategic thinking instead.

    1. Cugel

      Sure. “Brilliant strategic thinking” that is going to guarantee a Hillary Clinton landslide! Whatever you may think of Hillary, and I’m not a big fan of her corporatism, I can foresee that right-wing Republicans who supported a third-party insurgent like Trump won’t be happy at all if she’s elected and they’re to blame.

      Supposedly, Democrats learned a valuable lesson over the 2000 election fiasco, and the fantasy among all the smug idiots who voted for Nader that “there’s no difference” between Gore and Bush.” Well two wars and Citizens United later and it’s blindingly clear that there’s a HUGE difference between bad and horrible.

      And if Trump keeps going like he has been, any Democrat could beat him. And the Right-wing will have 8 years to chew their tongues over it.

      I don’t think that will happen though. As soon as all the Reich-Wingers realize that nominating Trump will only get them a horrible beating, they will dump him. They may have their minute in the sun, but they will all fall in line and vote “Bush” for the 4th time in the fall.

    2. craazyman

      It might be time to take up Nascar watching and Budweiser. Reading the New Republic and the Nation just doesn’t get the creative juices flowing. That’s for sure. You can’t think straight when somebody else’s thawts are in your head. All you think are their thoughts and not yours. When those cars go round and round and round, with that arerrroooom areroooooom arerooooooommmmm, after a couple Bud Tall boys you’ve figured shlt out, that’s for sure.

      Why the hell doesn’t Trump just hook up with Bernie Sanders. Sanders/Trump, that’s who I’d vote for. Sanders thinks it up and Trump makes it happen.

      Like Felix and Oscar, for all you Baby Boomers. How the held did Oscar Madison afford to live on Park Avenue anyway. Those were the days. You could get a huge Park Avenue 2 Bedroom for like $100,000. That’s when they made the movie “Escape from New York”, or right after anyway. New York seems worse than it’s ever been, although it’s statistically better than it’s every been. It’s weird. How that is. Even the Five Points district under Mayor Fernando Wood seems like it might have been an interesting place. Life is always hard but it’s hard in different ways and some are beautiful and some are shiny and some are hell.

      Real people lived in New York in those days. Not like now, when everybody here is fake. Well, not fake, but just shiny, like plastic under a flourescent light. They’re like pieces of art on walls, shiny things that look strange. Well, not everybody is interested in the dialectic bewteen soul and reality. it gets sentimental and tedious. Trump is a fake, that’s for sure. A fake what? you ask. Well, he’s a fake politician. He’s just pretending to be a politician and if he gets elected, even with Sanders as the VP, he’ll have to get serious. No more shiny shiny. That’s when the dialectic starts for real. But he can afford to ignore it, that’s for sure. he should try though. Be the VP and see how it goes with President Sanders. It mgiht be better than he thinks. Same wtih Sanders. The two of them should say “Fukk it, let’s just give it shot and see what happens.” I bet it would be hilarious and transformative. It would be the biggest think Trump has ever done, that’s for sure.

  23. Kurt Sperry

    Re: Picked Out a Coffin Yet? Take Ibuprofen and Die- I’m pretty sure one can take the recommended dose of IB once in while without undue risk (the article seems to avoid any useful specificity here), the problems arise when drugs are taken on a frequent or daily basis. And of course drugs that are taken daily over long periods are nearly the only drugs that pharmaceutical companies can make real bank on. Watch TV ads for pharmaceuticals (arrrrgh, stupid, stupid idea allowing that) and *every single one* is for a drug they want the consumer to take every day for the rest of their lives. A drug that actually cures would in fact kill the goose that lays their golden eggs, so I doubt pharma execs even *want* to cure anything. The money is in “managing” long term conditions by putting you on an endless course of treatment. Thus any of the inevitable side effects of the drugs being pushed are made exponentially more dangerous by the business model. Ka-ching!

    1. habenicht

      I totally agree with this observation. With the profit incentives as they are, it appears that there is little motivation to develop “cures.” “Cures” would impede / preclude the more lucrative development of “treatments” that address symptoms (but do not cure).

    2. optimader

      Yes, this article is pretty much a mess
      People take tons of these chemicals everyday thinking they’ve been thoroughly tested and are totally safe.
      Ok, show of hands, who takes chemicals everyday thinking they are totally safe? How about just reading the dosage and contradictions outlined on the label? There is an minimum level of personal responsibility involved in self preservation.

      The article implies that ibuprofen can be toxic (for a normal healthy person?) if taken according dosage instruction. Is that accurate?? But then goes on to describe as an example it’s “blunting effect” contradiction for people that take aspirin daily for preexisting cardiac conditions. So ok, if you have pre-existing medical conditions and take a drug, any drug daily (hey maybe you’re an alcoholic, that’s a drug too) do some DD on what you’re mixing your pharmaceuticals with.

      Booze and ibuprofen? Yes clearly the literature indicates that’s a bad choice if you want to keep your liver for the full measure of this mortal coil.. No secret.

      Incidentally, same goes for ibuprofen lowering efficacy of aspirin used as a daily cardiac/anti stroke blood thinning medication.. No secret, well documented.

      Next of the docket, Doctors prescribing Rat Poison (Coumadin) to cardiac patients.

  24. TedWa

    Well, I said my peace, the Federal Reserve report on the HVCC and appraisers is full of sh!t, the kind that stinks to high heaven and you can’t get off your shoes with a stick or even a paper towel.
    Peace out, enjoy the rest of the weekend all !

  25. ekstase

    Re: “How Artificial Intelligence is Reinventing the Art of Influencing Human Behavior”. So far, this seems to be fantastic. Barring unforseen consequences, like omni control of us, maybe we can wind up with an online culture that has, for lack of a better word, “class”. It’s too bad all parents don’t just teach kids to behave themselves, but it seems that may not be the case. If the machine has a “conscience”, I’m in favor of it.

  26. ewmayer

    Pair of typically “oooh … scary!” headlines separated by just 1 intervening blurb-ticle on ZH:

    [1] Central Banks Ready To Panic – Again, []
    in which the teaser snip notes that

    Less than a decade after a housing/derivatives bubble nearly wiped out the global financial system, a new and much bigger commodities/derivatives bubble is threatening to finish the job. So… the central banks will panic. Again. Countries that retain some control over their monetary systems will see their interest rates fall to zero and beyond, while those that don’t will be thrown into some kind of new age hyperinflationary depression.

    After resisting the near-overwhelming urge to run to the local pawn shop and blow my savings on bullion, guns and bullets, breathing into a paper bag and letting the initial wave of panic subside, the incongruities in the above snip started to bug me. So – countries (like Greece) which are restrained from Ctrl-P-ing their way to fiscal nirvana are the ones which will experience hyperinflation, whereas those with dire finances but a sovereign currency – like, say, Venezuela – will not? Hmmm … Thankfully, the link a few scrolls down helped clear things up, by flatly contradicting the above one:

    [2] Deflation is winning — Beware! []

    Deflation is back on the front burner and it’s going to destroy all of the careful central planning and related market manipulation of the past 6 years. Clear signs from the periphery indicate that a destructive deflationary pulse has been unleashed. After years of suppression, the forces of reality are threatening to overwhelm our managed global “”markets”‘. And it’s about damn time.

    So – still scary! Even more reason to run to the local pawn shop and blow your savings on bullion, guns and bullets. But you’ll have to heat the off-the-grid woodstove of your ruggedly-individualistic zombie-currency-apocalypse-prepared-hero’s log cabin with something other than fiat, apparently. Tyler, some clarification on the “updated stove-fuel choices” — as well as free-WiFi options for post-apocalyptic reading of ZH – would be very helpful. Thanks.

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