Links 9/13/15

Tribute In Light Was Turned Off Multiple Times To Save Confused Migrating Birds Gothamist. Light installation honoring those lost in 9/11.

The True Story of Kudzu, the Vine That Never Truly Ate the South Smithsonian

Prosecution of White Collar Crime Hits 20-Year Low David Sirota, Alternet

Prosecutors file charges against ex-CEO of Mt.Gox bitcoin exchange Reuters

Why it’s not an oil breakdown story, it’s a money story Izabella Kaminska, FT Alphaville

The Fed’s Policy Mechanics Retool for a Rise in Interest Rates Binyamin Appelbaum, NYT.  “Instead, the Fed plans to throw more money at the problem, paying lenders not to make loans.” Further reading here.

Federal Reserve to leave door open for interest rate rise despite ‘Black Monday’ turmoil Telegraph

Goldman Sachs FOMC Preview: December Calculated Risk

TOP BANKER: It is basic ‘common sense’ that the Fed should delay lifting rates Business Insider

Credit Rating Agencies and Brazil: Why The S&P’s Rating About Brazil Sovereign Debt Is Nonsense New Economic Perspectives

Schaeuble Says European Deposit Guarantee Plan Will Have to Wait Bloomberg


Eurozone waits for elections, rules out renegotiation Ekathimerini

Eurogroup President: Greece Can Choose to be Either North or South Korea Greek Reporter

Eurogroup: Greece Loan Payouts May Be Linked To Reform Action Market News

Roots of the Migration Crisis WSJ. “The Syrian refugee disaster is a result of the Middle East’s failure to grapple with modernity and Europe’s failure to defend its ideals.” Oh.

The Staggering Scale of Germany’s Refugee Project The Atlantic

Germany says ‘significant progress’ made at Ukraine meeting Reuters

Is Catalonia About to Go All In? Wolf Street

Fears for southern Italy as unemployment, organised crime and economic recession sees young people leave the country Independent

Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn elected with huge mandate Guardian. Instantly followed by an exodus of Blairies. Such a shame.


Tech company: No indication that Clinton’s e-mail server was ‘wiped’ WaPo

Sorry For What, Hillary?  Ron Fournier, National Journal

Bernie Sanders and the Black Vote Charles Blow, NYT

Trump and Obama: A Night to Remember Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

Laura Bush Hits the Fundraising Circuit Bloomberg

The 2016 Ideas Guide Politico

Obama Rolls Out College Scorecard on New Federal Website Bloomberg. But no ratings.

Doctor-Owned Hospitals Are Not Cherry-Picking Patients, Study Finds KHN

Big jump in number of immigrants losing health law coverage AP. (“Health law” is what the press has settled on for ObamaCare/PPACA. I guess it’s got fewer characters than “insurance law.”) And 423,000 is indeed big.

Evidence comes under attack Politico

Trade Traitors

When there’s no happily ever after to trade talks Straits Times

More Closed-Door Meetings, a New Chief Transparency Officer, and Growing International Opposition to the Deal: What’s Going on with the TPP EFF

On the Other 9/11: Kissinger, Pinochet, Obama Crooked Timber

How Foreign Analysis of China’s Military Parade Missed the Point The Diplomat

How to Save the Thai Economy NYT

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

FBI, intel chiefs decry “deep cynicism” over cyber spying programs Ars Technica. I can’t imagine why.

Online security braces for quantum revolution Nature

US War Theories Target Dissenters Consortium News

Class Warfare

Airbus U.S. plant cheaper than France, Germany, CEO tells paper Reuters

Here’s How Growing Up in Poverty Hurts American Adults Bloomberg

The Tide of History Flows Left LA Progressive. But it flows exceedingly slow.

Why Wrestling Matters Grantland. Because kayfabe!

Game of Thrones: The Latest Jon Snow Sighting Is a Doozy Vanity Fair

Hitler’s World NYRB

Antidote du jour:

links baby birds

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. craazyboy

    “The Fed’s Policy Mechanics Retool for a Rise in Interest Rates”

    I would characterize this as the Fed making the best solution possible, after creating the problem with QE in the first place.

    The good part is they should be able to get whatever meager interest rate hikes they do to flow out to savers because now a hand full of primary, consolidated, TBTF banks can’t keep it to themselves because savers can go to money markets and get a “fair market” deal.

    And the banks weren’t making the max number of loans possible under QE, because they are sitting on massive excess reserves. I think what they really do, since they are regulated on capital ratios and reserves are capital, is in effect this QE is backing bank speculation in markets, in a post Glass Steagal world. Say hello to the 1920s everyone!

  2. Swedish Lex

    On the staggering scale of Germany’s refugee project.

    Just would like to add that Sweden probably will take in 90.000 refugees this year (80.000 in 2014). Sweden has 9,5 million inhabitants. Germany has 80 million. You do the math. Pretty much the same intake.

    A lot of people seem to agree that it would be better to deal with the refugee crisis as far upstream as possible. In practice, this means giving more money to the UNHCR. The UNHCR has a total budget of 7 bn USD, which if far from enough. The US gives 1,4 billion, Germany 139 million, Sweden 134 million and fucking France (with 66 million in habitants) gives 20 million.

    France takes in about as many refugees as Sweden.

      1. Swedish Lex

        France is in pretty much every way using the rear view mirror to embrace the future. Add general xenophobia, homophobia, futurophobia and a general unwillingness to change and modernisation.

        Put differently, the French are very eager to erect Maginot lines whereever they can, all to “preserve” France.

        1. DJG

          Sorry, Swedish Lex, if you check around, you’ll find that the number of French with an immigrant parent or grandparent(s) is quite high. The highest in Europe, if I recall correctly, and almost near U.S. levels, the proverbial “Nation of Immigrants.” So immigration and integration of immigrants are a part of French history. Manuel Valls is an immigrant–a highly unlikely scenario in the rest of Europe.

          Yes, the French enjoy a good quarrel, which is also a distinctive part of French culture. Yes, they have made a mess of integrating the immigrants from Algeria, in particular. But being slouches about immigration in general and historically? I’m not so sure that you have made a point here.

    1. OIFVet

      I think that the best way to deal with refugee crises is by not creating them in the first place. Frankly the stubborn refusal of Euro MSM to acknowledge some EU countries’ responsibility for helping to create the crisis is infuriating.

        1. OIFVet

          Gas! Germany just secured its supply via Nord Stream 2. Talking about supporting evil Ruskies… Meanwhile poor and tiny Bulgaria stood up to evil Putin by putting its European civilizational choice ahead of self interest and scuttled South Stream and banned Russian overflights to Syria. Well, Nuland did “ask” them to do that and the US citizen who serves as BG FM obliged, but these are details. The point is that EU powers are seriously failing in their responsibilities to uphold Euro ideals, while New Europe is at the front lines of combating evils such as Assad, Putin, and Ruskie gas monopolies…

          1. craazyboy

            Ruskie gas monopolies

            The other funny thing I’ve just realized is that I’ve never heard of Europe complain about price gouging from the hated Gazprom Monopoly.

            Or maybe I just haven’t been reading enough news again and missed it.

            But at any rate, it sucks that the West wasted all this time and effort trying to take away the Syrian pipeline from that soviet puppet, Assad.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Same goes for this country and our friends south of the border.

        From american taxpayer subsidized GMO corn to the insane “war” on drugs, we make their countries unlivable and then villify them for being unable to live there.

        1. craazyboy

          It’s really not quite that simple. Actually, many in the Mexican middle and upper class think running off their useless eaters to America is a great idea!

          1. OIFVet

            Well, what’s good for the US goose is good for the Central American gander. The US and Mexican elites are definitely mutually helpful to one another, just like Euro and US elites and within Europe, Eastern and Western elites. Take a look at the Airbus article above, the US has now created cheap enough skilled labor to make US Airbus plants in the US cheaper to operate than those in Toulouse, for example.

        2. cwaltz

          Preach it! They don’t hate us because of our freedom, they hate us because we destroyed theirs with our policy positions that always put our own self interest first and the entire nations they involve second.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            And in many ways, including using the Dollar, printing lots of it, not necessarily our tax dollars (with which it is possible to object ‘conscientiously’), to implement neoliberal economic policies.

          2. craazyboy

            My guess is way more factory jobs flowed the Mexican direction than corn as a result of NAFTA. There are plenty of Jap And Euro mfg’s in Mexico too.

            The problem is the factory yobs suck. Mexico has a min wage of $5, but’s not enforced. The First World NeoLibs convinced the Mexican Government Neo-Libs that Mexican labor needs to – wait for it – be competitive with China!

            Also too, population growth. I always have to mention that.

            As far as the drug cartels, if we legalized pot, there is still coke, crack and heroin. Is the US supposed to legalize everything so we destroy the drug cartels biz model?

                1. OIFVet

                  It’s not fair debate to compare Swiss drug policies to Japanese opium dens. I am hardly one to give the libertarians much credit, but I think that they do have a point re drug policies.

              1. IsabelPS

                I don’t think that Switzerland legalized drugs.
                As far as I know, the most permissive country is Portugal, where drugs are not legal, either, but consumption is not a crime although selling is. In practice, for each drug there is a set amount that is considered for own use; if you are found carrying any quantity above that you will be prosecuted.

                1. OIFVet

                  Heroin Legalization Program Approved By Swiss Voters “The heroin program, started in 1994, is offered in 23 centers across Switzerland. It has helped eliminate scenes of large groups of drug users shooting up openly in parks that marred Swiss cities in the 1980s and 1990s and is credited with reducing crime and improving the health and daily lives of addicts.”

                  Certainly a smarter approach than the Drug War, only shortcoming I can see is that it’s not nearly as profitable for the MIC and is less destabilizing to the Latin American colonial territories.

                    1. OIFVet

                      I like rhetorical questions :) I forgot to add the Prison-Industrial Complex to the list of industries who will lose if smarter drug policies are implemented. Which private prison corporation was it that put it in its report to shareholders that drug legalization would be bad for its bottom line?

            1. hunkerdown

              There are still those other things, yes, but marijuana is the bulk of the drug warriors’ business concern, well over 80% if I remember correctly. The other 10% are the elites or the pillars of the regime. If marijuana prohibition loses support, there’s no need to even pretend at the rest of it. Just as drugs replaced race slavery as a purity principle, some other excuse to publicly torture the uppity must be found. It’s what Protestantism is all about: making others more miserable than you’re making yourself.

      2. DJG

        OIFVet: Agreed. I’m seeing rampant ignorance among U.S. liberals and moderates as to how this crisis could possibly have happened. Somehow, it is all due to the magic of ISIS, the all-purpose excuse these days.

    2. drexciya

      Well, both Sweden and Germany have media that is extremely politically correct, that might be the cause. Don’t even try to be critical of the politicians and what they’ve wrought or else. Now I’m not against taking in real refugees, but there has to be a plan or a strategy.

      Just saying you will take them in, without thinking through the effects of this action and it’s repercussions is simply stupid. Decision making based on emotions doesn’t work. Resentment is growing, because people know it’s not going to work and they’re sick and tired of the propaganda being aired through the media. So-called refugees have been misled with promises of easy money and, given their investment (money paid to smugglers), they will not be happy when they see what’s really there.

      They will have to learn the language, they will have to be educated to get a decent job and they will have to adapt to the norms and values of our society. I really don’t see a plan of doing this, which means these people will end up at the bottom of our society, if we’re lucky. And let’s not talk about the potential number of jihadis coming in under the guise of being a refugee. This will end in tears (or worse).

      I’m all for granting more money to UNCHR, but you also have to do something about the parties prolonging the conflict. Having people stay for years in refugee camps is not a solution. The UN has proven to be completely useless for this. Very typical also, that the Gulf states don’t want anything to do with the refugees; being the main sponsors of ISIS. And let’s not get started about the war in Yemen.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not just about this or that country taking in refugees.

      It’s also about which parts of a country. For example, in Germany, the rich, exclusive neighborhoods should take in more than working class neighborhoods.

  3. A Nonnie Muse

    FBI, intel chiefs decry “deep cynicism” over cyber spying programs

    CIA Director John Brennan suggested that negative public opinion and “misunderstanding” about the US intelligence community is in part “because of people who are trying to undermine” the mission of the NSA, CIA, FBI and other agencies. These people “may be fueled by our adversaries,” he said.

    This is terrifying. It is so police-state that it is beyond Orwellian. The head of the CIA is saying that anyone criticizing the intel agencies’ illegal, unconstitutional and ineffective domestic spying is a terrorist. Think about how the US treats terrorists and that should make us all quake in our boots.

    NSA head Rogers wants to “engender a better dialogue” even as Brennan right next to him quietly threatens critics with the utter destruction of their lives.

    The US is done as a democracy, just like President Carter said. Like Germany in the Thirties, its time for anyone who can to get the hell out. Only there is no new United States to which we can flee..

    1. Andrew Watts

      Director Brennan was being purposefully vague imo but he wasn’t implying anybody who questioned the US intelligence community is a terrorist. He could be saying we’re all victims of foreign propaganda. Or that he considers activists to be assets of a foreign intelligence agency, Best case scenario is that he’s merely stating his own personal belief that Edward Snowden is or was a foreign intelligence asset or spy in the employ of Russian intelligence.

    1. Massinissa

      … Theres no relation dude. Thatcher and Reagan campaigned as rightists.

      Try and find two people who campaigned as leftists and ended up rightists. Im sure you can find a pair.

      1. HotFlash

        Mass, I believe you have missed M’s point. What I got was, the pendulum swung right, giving us Thatcher and Reagan back then; perhaps now it is swinging left, and Corbyn’s win there might herald a win by Sanders here.

  4. paul

    Immensely gratifying to see the blairites flouncing off after the electorate let them down so badly. Their loss to the party and people cannot be understated.

  5. jgordon

    US War Theories Target Dissenters

    Very informative article! It reminds of a point the Archdruid made while talking failing empires:

    The second option is to try to remedy the situation by increased repression. This is the most expensive option, and it’s generally even less effective than the first, but ruling elites with a taste for jackboots tend to fall into the repression trap fairly often. What makes repression a bad choice is that it does nothing to address the sources of the problems it attempts to suppress. Furthermore, it increases the maintenance costs of social hierarchy drastically—secret police, surveillance gear, prison camps, and the like don’t come cheap—and it enforces the lowest common denominator of passive obedience while doing much to discourage active engagement of people outside the elite in the project of saving the society. A survey of the fate of the Communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe is a good antidote to the delusion that an elite with enough spies and soldiers can stay in power indefinitely.

    1. Andrew Watts

      I think the Pentagon is more worried about spooks posing as a journalist to dox their covert operations in a foreign country. This might’ve happened once already in Ukraine when some RT journalist stuck their mic in the face of an native born American English speaker. The alleged threat posed by most American journalists seems like a red herring in the article since they’re embedded with the US military in war zones.

      That thought doesn’t take away any relevance from the Archdruid’s musings. Nor does it make the changes made to the Law of War Manual any less disturbing.

      1. jgordon

        I don’t believe that the Pentagon et al is worried about any of that stuff at all. They simply have an innate desire to have a maximum amount of control over the population, and will randomly make up excuses after the fact about why having that control is be great for America.

        Regardless, these guys have all lied multiple times before Congress without suffering any consequences, so it’s not like anything they say can be believed anyway. Feel free to attribute the worst possible motives to anything whistleblowers reveal that they’re doing.

  6. diptherio


    …the Fed will pay banks tens of billions of dollars not to use the trillions it paid them previously.

    U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

    What other country gives their biggest criminals billions of dollars and then comes up with the genius idea of paying them not to use it? The good ol’ US of A, that’s who! Wooo! We’re number one!!

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      When I saw your comment, I thought, man that is a funny joke. Then I read the article. Ugh.

      Also… the guy who heads the Fed’s market desk in New York, is named “Mr Potter”. Am I the only one who finds that fittingly ironic?

    2. MikeNY

      They’ve become a parody of the notion of tool.

      OTOH, they may go down in history as one of the prime architects of The Second American Revolution.

  7. Tertium Squid

    There’s some powerful trolling on the birds-in-9/11-memorial-lights comment board.

    So apparently going to the memorial will get a person covered in bird poop?

  8. Carolinian

    Re New Yorker/Gopnik/correspondents dinner: I suspect Trump had the same expression on his face as Obama has whenever he is in a meeting with Putin. It seems narcissists never like to be called on their sh*t. Of course when Obama is surrounded by his peeps–the press, DC poohbahs,Gopnik–he is way more cool.

    Is this article anything more than puffing on the identity politics dogwhistle? Inhabitants of the coastal enclaves sometimes seem to think the bitter clingers are like the zombies from The Walking Dead–coming to get them.

    1. jrs

      That article mostly just reminds me what a sleazy sleazebag Obama is. Always so confident jokes are oh so meaningful, the same dude jokes about drone murder, who can forget (I wonder if they think it’s funny?). These sleezy sleezebags of Obama and Trump are so unworthy of anyone rooting for that I think I will keep rootin for Putin.

      Yea, it’s identity politics dog whistling. ” because it is not really members of the economic élite who are its villains—it is the educated élite, and the uneducated outsiders, who are.” Yes sure this is silly if it’s blaming anybody with some degree or other. On the other hand if it’s blaming academia proper, they are sometimes working for the economic elite (see the counterpunch article on all the academics taking monsanto etc. money to promote GMOs).

  9. Alex morfesis

    Tpp…the other 911…I luv isds…Don’t burp up your breakfast…think about it…cafta exists now…no need to wait…the revenge of allende…how you ask ? People are corporations too…isds arbitration UN wise is expensive so that only those with big boy pants can play…so about 1850 homeowners with underwater mortgages get together and hand off 25% of their future expected profits into a new vehicle…the cheapest and fastest way is to send a bunch of red hat church ladies on a cruise to the Cayman islands…when they get off the boat they walk over to the main post office and rent a mailbox…then they walk to the back of the post office and where they sell stamps…tell the clerk they want to buy “duty stamps” 40 Cayman bucks each…get five as long as you are there…then they enjoy the rest of the cruise and come back with the stamps…then someone decides to track down an attorney capable of drawing up a trust deed for Cayman trust creation purposes…and the 25% is dumped into the trust deed in return for shares…a trustee and substitute trustee are anointed along the way and…viola…an overseas entity can now sue as a Cayman entity against lobbying and govt rules designed to prevent this “foreign” entity from making its “expected future profits”…

    Everyone throws in 500 bux to get the party started…25 grand fee gets sent in to the icsid crew and we schedule the banquet…

    Merry Christmas Mister Potter

  10. abynormal

    re: How Foreign Analysis of China’s Military Parade Missed the Point
    Most outside analysis of China’s parade was surprisingly sensationalized, superficial, and over-interpreted.
    “Many reports about the September 3 military parade claim that Beijing wanted to use the parade to distract people’s attention from the stock market and China’s economic problems. But while the military parade took place on September 3, the decision to conduct the parade was made a long time ago. It was officially announced in January 2015 and the participating troops began their training and preparations for the parade in early spring of this year. This was long before the Chinese stock market’s drop. When announcing the parade, the leadership in Beijing could not have foreseen the current stock market woes, much less the devastating explosion in Tianjin earlier this month. So any argument that the leadership used the parade to distract from the current issues is baseless.”

    they most certainly knew the load was unsustainable!…China GDP Annual Growth Rate 1989-2015

    i call BS on Good Fellow Wang
    Kissinger’s 1974 Plan for Food Control Genocide

    See, your murderers come with smiles, they come as your friends, the people who’ve cared for you all of your life. And they always seem to come at a time that you’re at your weakest and most in need of their help. Goodfellas

  11. allan

    Justice, Waco style: Texas officials under scrutiny for biker shootout case

    The secrecy that enshrouds the investigation into a biker shootout in May that left nine people dead led to the mass-arrest of 177 people is hardly surprising in this city, where public scrutiny is rare and unwelcome. … It’s a city where a district judge and district attorney are former law partners, the mayor is the son of a former mayor, the sheriff comes from a long line of lawmen and Waco pioneers and the sheriff’s brother is the district attorney’s chief investigator.

    Sort of like LA Confidential, but with MRAPs.

  12. Carolinian

    Thanks for the great article on kudzu. In my town there was a drive toward eradication a few years ago and you’d see little roadside signs stuck in the ground, boasting of kudzu removal. Now many of those signs are covered by kudzu. I suspect the motive for all this had less to do with kudzu’s invasive harm–wildly exaggerated according to the article–and was more about classing up the joint. As the South homogenizes with the rest of the country many local boosters think we need a new “brand.” It’s getting where it’s hard to find a good Moon Pie.

    BTW while James Dickey was from Georgia he spent much of his career as writer in residence at University of South Carolina.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Now they are talking about ‘extraordinary looking’ invasive turtles from China, being sighted near Boston. (Just saw that at South Morning China Post).

  13. Ditto

    Black voters

    While Sanders needs to continue to reach out to my fellow Bkack voters, I do have a problem with the construction of the discussion by non candidate voices such as Blow.

    I can’t remember, but was the focus with Whites voting against their interests solely one of looking at candidates or was it one of also looking at White voters and how they were able to be manipulated ? No one just looked at the pol as far as I remember.

    Take this study:

    It’s basically magical thinking but no one calls them on it. With Clinton, she’s great with Blacks despite her spotty record on race. Why?

    There is a reason the Bkack Misleadership Class exists. It has to do with questions of whether Black voters are willing to look at the political and evonomic realities earnestly or will they vote against interest for pols who manipulate their sense of identity?

  14. tegnost

    On the antidote du jour “Hey look its bankers waiting for the FED to feed them!” (apologies to the little birdies, they deserve better)

  15. Rhondda

    The Fed’s Policy Mechanics Retool for a Rise in Interest Rates

    “In a serendipitous stroke, Congress passed a law shortly before the financial crisis that let the Fed pay interest on the reserves that banks kept at the Fed. Written as a sop to the banking industry, it has become the new linchpin of monetary policy.”

    “When liftoff arrives, however, the Fed plans to place this machinery inside the familiar language of the old system. It is likely to announce that it is raising the federal funds rate, the interest rate that banks pay to borrow reserves, from its current range of 0 to 0.25 percent to a new range of 0.25 to 0.5 percent. The Fed does not plan to emphasize that this rate is now a stage prop or that the real work of raising rates will be done outside the limelight by its new tools.”

    Oh yes, so we just happen to have this completely bassackwards “policy tool” that no one has any idea if it will work and we know people are going to be freaked out because it pays interest to banksters for not lending money, which is sure to raise hackles among those hoi polloi not successfully “nudged” into anesthetized submission. So umm let’s not come right out and say we’re doing such things…’kay? Ropes and lamposts and all that.

    1. cwaltz

      I’m trying to figure out how the rocket scientist- economists at the Fed think this is not going to impact housing(or the creation of small business) in an even more adverse way? If banks aren’t willing to lend out for business or houses because of the profitability of NOT lending then isn’t GDP going to take a large hit?

      *shakes head*

      Someone should cue up the who could have imagined chorus, I suspect it should get ready to hum a few bars. Hope I’m wrong.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The luxury apartment segment of housing, with cash for visa, should be immune, I think.

        And big business, rather than small business, using cost-free, or nearly so, money for buying back shares, might suffer though.

      2. Ben Johannson

        Banks don’t make commercial loans with reserves; they are only loaned to other banks that don’t have enough to meet their reserve requirements. Paying a maintenance rate won’t incentivize witholding credit.

        1. cwaltz

          Interesting. So that means the biggest impact this is going to have is probably to smaller banks? (which kind of makes me a little queasy too since it is the big boys that were the poor players that tanked our economy.)

          1. Ben Johannson

            I wouldn’t say it hurts smaller banks but it does reward the larger banks holding lots of excess reserves and giving them a competitive edge in cash flow.

    2. craazyboy

      It will “work” and Wall Street (the bond market part – stocks and commodity guys not so much) will be properly anesthetized, as is the plan.

      As far as lampposts go – let the record state it was Ben’s idea.

  16. Ditto


    The Blairites seem really immature with their taking their toys and going home attitude. They seem to be showing their true conservative colors. This is why I hate terms like Centrists, it is term that hides the truth: neo liberals aren’t moderates who wax between left and right policies. They are right wingers playing on Orwellian use of language. It’s always interesting when the curtains are drawn back to show this.

    1. James Levy

      These are educated professionals who crave respectability. They aren’t really right-wingers in the old fashioned sense of classic British racist anti-Semites who condescend to women and love lording it over the servants. Much of the “Downton Abbey” crowd were pricks, and we forget that at our peril. Blairites aren’t quite that disgusting. But they are small-minded men and women on the make who desire status, respectability, and advancement more than they care about anything else.

      1. hunkerdown

        And I find those people disgusting, loathsome, synthetic, utterly worthless, and generally in need of every sort of backstabbing that’s practical at the moment, for their health and ours. How’s that for respectability? If they want respect they can lick the soles of my boots clean so that they’re useful for something in their lives for quite possibly the first time ever.

  17. OIFVet

    NYT is eager to find out Why Russians Hate America. Again. After speaking with a bunch of Russian liberuls the answer becomes apparent: Putin’s propaganda done it, and Ruskies are deeply insecure people. Impotence apparently plays a role too. Phew! What a relief that it’s nothing our Western governments did!

    1. cwaltz

      Heh, they must have trust issues. It couldn’t possibly be that Victoria Nuland got caught with a smoking gun and that we are conveniently ignoring the fact that we promised to keep NATO off their front porch. It’s all their faults. *rolls eyes*

  18. Oregoncharles

    On one of Lambert’s major topics:

    Actual research on whether people can make sound decisions on (what do you think?), but also important for where it is: salon is a Dembot site, most of the time. Might mean the consensus is disintegrating.

    The most amusing comment is the last (which was actually the first posted), from one of the most automatic (paid?) Dembots.

  19. Beth

    James: “These are educated professionals who crave respectability.”
    I live in this environment every day. It is declasse to mention any of the things we talk about here, including corruption. One response I got to the latter was: “The ways of the world”.

    And if, perchance you have less that a few million, you certainly don’t know what you are talking about & your friends assume you are embarrassing yourself, even if you are among Ds only. It separates you from your peers. Even among those who are transplants like yourself.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      About the people in that environment, do you think it’s a case of brainwashing (involuntary) or do you think they have a need to believe that (voluntary brainwashing)?

      1. beth

        I personally think it is both brainwashing and a need to believe. Until I retired and had time to catch up again in finance & econ, I was partially brainwashed too. There is a strong need for people who have become professionally comfortable through their own accomplishments (mostly not inherited wealth) and who have had little career or health disruptions to assume that those who have earned less are not intelligent and knowledgeable. The class hierarchy is right, after all. Also, at our age we assume we have heard it all and life is too short to care.

        They are too comfortable & educated to entertain the idea that they are being ripped off. After all, that was true when their parents reached this age.

        1. abynormal

          ..feel ya Beth. head up & shoulders back…tis much shouldering for those unacknowledged in the chaos and poverty, we’ve consistently exported. TPTB have reveled in monumental success…what did we think would stop them from preparing US to accept the same?

          “Education becomes most rich and alive when it confronts the reality of moral conflict in the world.”
          Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

          “My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all) – that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth. We have learned to give them exactly the same proportion of attention that teachers and writers often give them in the most respectable classrooms and textbooks. This learned sense of moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly.”
          Zinn, A People’s History of the United States

          “But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can’t last.”
          Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

          “The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it’s going to bother you…and then, the worse things get.
          Frank Zappa

          1. beth

            aby, I feel sad that my generation who started out well have come to this 2015 fork in the saga so poorly. Early on, there seemed to be a groundswell of people who understood we should not be in south Asia. That all of us were on one ship economically.

            I feel somewhat complicit since I got snowed under raising children and having to migrate from one area of the country to another as a result of KKR & Co. Then my spontaneously malformed gene buried in my body rose up to slow me down. I am happy to see the fully panorama, but it is lonelier among people I should be peers with. Others in my situation pretend and keep quiet, afraid to be disinherited from their peers. Some of these are the most judgmental.

            I have wondered, were there only a few of us who had the Dream back then?

            1. ambrit

              The Dream was heavily promoted in the way back. All classes bought into it to one degree or another. Conformism is the acidulous plague of the upwardly mobile. Avoiding it in it’s most virulent aspect is hard work. Since striving to advance is also hard work, many people drop one endeavor or the other.
              Each ‘generation’ needs must find it’s own path to salvation.

            2. abynormal

              here’s an NC exchange that i’ve held dear and why this site holds my attention everyday…

              Massinissa July 21, 2014 at 8:39 am

              “Here’s a question that, in a globally warming world, comes to mind: Are we a failed experiment? I know I’m not the first to ask, and to answer I’d have to be capable of peering into a future that I can’t see. So all I can say on turning 70 is: Who wouldn’t want to stick around and find out?”

              Some of us, like myself at 22, are going to be forced to stick around and find out. And im not giddy about anticipating a positive or cheerful answer to the question. Im afraid my life will not be as comfortable as my parents or even my poor grandparents.
              Reply ↓

              tim s July 21, 2014 at 10:14 am

              Comfort is overrated – it leads to dulling of the mind and body, which in itself leads to decline in family and society, which then leads us to where we are now in the west. I remember thinking back in the 90′s that the “success” of America at that point was nearly the worst that could happen to us, and look where we are now…. This could not happen to a people who were not collectively dull in mind and weak in spirit, not to mention short on critical thinking skills (also caused by not needing to think about much in a life of ease)

              struggle brings good people closer together and crises focus the mind, so you can look forward to that. You are still quite young and life rewards strength of mind and body in ways that are not immediately obvious – so all I can say is enjoy good moments when they come, which they will no matter what else is going on. There will be pain that comes with transitioning from a weaker to a stronger condition, but this is a worthy pain that will result in a good feeling once you have passed through and stand on a higher plateau.

              Good luck, you have the chance to be a hero. Somebody invariably will be – not everyone has to be cannon fodder.
              Reply ↓

  20. Andrew Watts

    RE: When there’s no happily ever after to trade talks

    From top to bottom this article is built on the assumption that trade and globalization will lead us to a more peaceful world. This assertion is darkly humorous to any student of history.

    It was under the banner of free trade that the British Empire pillaged and raped China in the Opium Wars. Commodore Perry “opened” Japanese markets through the use of gunboat diplomacy. A multitude of petty struggles were launched to force trade and/or dominate markets in various other countries worldwide in the heyday of imperialism. On the eve of the first World War globalization and free trade was the dominant force as mercantilism was already in swift decline.

    “Furthermore, while, of course, all trade deals have a geopolitical dimension, the TPP appeared more like a geopolitically-driven policy with a trade dimension.”

    Whoever originally thought that up is a no good troublemaker. Oh, right.

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: FBI, intel chiefs decry “deep cynicism” over cyber spying programs

    Tl;dr Nobody cares about the space nerds at NGA/NRO. Keep on truckin’ boys and girls. Everybody else is on notice.

    I reluctantly admit I kinda agree with the intelligence chiefs. The furor over the Freedom Act was overblown by several magnitudes than was necessary. Nor was it entirely unfamiliar territory. In the course of the FBI counter-intelligence investigation into Aldrich Ames the FBI sought permission from officials in the executive branch to conduct surveillance without a warrant. Since this is the FBI that is being mentioned it was all quite reasonable as it only pertained to one individual. Who, as it turned out, was guilty as sin. In response Congress passed a law in ’94 that made this kinda thing illegal. Similarly overturning the Patriot Act and requiring the intelligence community to get a warrant from FISA was all that was really needed to be done without all the political theatrics.

    As for the whole “going dark” issue I’d like to point out we’ve experienced this horror show once already. Back in the late 90s, in the midst of another round of the Crypto-Wars, Seymour Hersh published an article entitled “the Intelligence Gap” that argued that the internet and encryption were making the NSA’s SIGINT collection impossible. Of course, we all know this is bulls— and many people suspected as much at the time. What transpired was the expansion of legal authority to collect data/information on American citizens after 9/11. Which didn’t stop the Bush administration from approving the conducting of warrantless surveillance.

    Compared to the past the modern context is even more complicated. Trust is a commodity that is in short supply. The emergence of Wikileaks and the Snowden revelations has played a huge part in all this but the evolution of the internet and the promotion of the internet of things will play an even larger role in the future. Particularly when a high ranking official of the CIA gloats in public that he can’t wait for the day when toasters and dishwashers will be used to conduct surveillance on their targets. While the government can’t even protect their own classified information systems as in the case of the OPM hack. So, yeah, trust is a problem.

    To be fair, the FBI has a reasonable concern that another round of the Crypto-Wars will impede their duty. Their hiring standards are way too high for the kind of expertise they need to hire. The people with this background want to show up to work in t-shirts and jeans and possibly get high over the weekend. Just sayin’.

    1. Rhondda

      The Internet of Things is a big deal. Some folks already been offed over it; dig.

      Ex. My ma has diabetes and because she’s poor (Social Security only, an old school housewife) uses a diabetes calc device that was provided her free by Xians. She tolerates, she tells me, the bible verses…But it’s an internet tubule device, friends. Just like everyone’s pert’near. Consider….gazillion people with such devices>>>virus/malware>>>gazillion dead old people. A very bad imagining. I am not promoting the NSA or their policy or peeps. Opposite. “How did we get to this Bad Place?”

      Let’s fix this proper and not listen to peepers.

  22. fresno dan

    Why Wrestling Matters Grantland. Because kayfabe!

    When I started writing for Deadspin, “mainstream” sports outlets wouldn’t cover pro wrestling at all. The most common comments were, “You know wrestling is fake, right?

    You know movies are fake? Just a bizarre thing I have a need to comment on. The athleticism is real (undoubtedly, the muscles are enhanced with steroids) and some of the injuries, and the lifelong toll on the bodies are real too. Everything a stuntman does is fake, but that doesn’t mean its not dangerous, or that it doesn’t take real skill or training.

    Thing of it is, I haven’t watched pro wrestling since I was 6. I just find the argument that it is fake annoying – there is fake jewelry, fake Rolex’s, and except for documentaries (and one wonders how manipulated most of them are) every piece of cinema or small screen entertainment is “fake” with contrived story lines that have been endlessly repeated. Humans constantly fake views, emotions, positions etcetera so the idea of wrestling being fake just seems naive.

  23. Anon

    It’s been a pretty long while, but speaking of healthcare, I was invited to an award ceremony through a friend for Primerica and, getting there early, I heard about the potential big market for “healthcare advisors”, which made me cringe, but the most noteworthy part of this was the claim that they were able to come up with software that streamlines the signup to six minutes. The event ended and the speaker left before I had a chance to ask how the hell that was possible. Through my friend, I’ll try to work out something to find out more about how it works and send the info or post a comment, but my only hurdle is figuring out questions to come up with.

    1. beth

      Maybe since it only takes 6 minutes, you could ask someone to show you how it is done. Just dream up the particulars for someone who needs healthcare. Let them take you through the process. That should illuminate the situation.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Credit Rating Agencies and Brazil: Why The S&P’s Rating About Brazil Sovereign Debt Is Nonsense”

    Weird; the numbers are overwhelming evidence; yet not only are the credit rating agencies getting away with a blatantly corrupt move, it appears that the Brazilian government – even under a supposedly left-wing party – isn’t taking the logical measures.

    It’s another example of how far economics is really just ideology – POLITICAL ideology, and self-interest of the plutocracy, which has always been very strong in Brazil.

  25. OIFVet

    The rich are simply better people than you and me: they are mentally stronger and make better choices. In fact, becoming rich is as simple as making the choice to be rich . These and other kernels of wisdom from self-made millionaire T. Harv Eker’s self-help book as quoted by the esteemed Business Insider.

    My favorite revelations:

    Rich people choose to get paid based on results…Rich people prefer to get paid based on the results they produce, if not totally, then at least partially. Rich people usually own their own business in some form. They make their income from their profits. Rich people work on commission or percentages of revenue. Rich people choose stock options and profit sharing in lieu of higher salaries


    Rich people are totally clear that they want wealth. They are unwavering in their desire … As long as it’s legal, moral, and ethical, they will do whatever it takes to have wealth.

    I think that T. Harv Eker missed a very helpful pointer: writing such garbage can make one millionaire too…

    1. ambrit

      The famous comeback to this is the scene from “Citizen Kane” where the ‘reporter’ is interviewing Kanes’ ex-business manager. The question comes up, “How did he make his millions?” The reply, “It’s no trick to make a lot of money. If all you want, is to make a lot of money.”
      Bow down before Mammon!

  26. Oregoncharles

    “Tech company: No indication that Clinton’s e-mail server was ‘wiped’ ”

    And does the company have a high-levle security clearance, since presumably they had access to every email on the server they were managing?

    Who was it that was charged with a crime for having secret information on their home computer?

  27. Cynthia

    Re: “Doctor-Owned Hospitals Are Not Cherry-Picking Patients, Study Finds”

    Physician-owned hospitals are specifically vilified by the the American Hospital Association because this corrupt, powerful lobbying group is trying to gobble up all the physician-owned hospitals and clinics it can get its grubby hands on, thus turning physicians into wage slaves. They’d rather have the lion’s share of the profits going to hospital management instead of to front-line physicians.

    ObamaCare deserves most of the blame for this. That’s because ObamaCare has rewarded large hospital systems by allowing them to become firmly positioned in the revolving door between industry and government. OTOH, physician-owned hospitals have, for the most part, remained well outside of the revolving door between industry and government. This has resulted in higher overhead costs and less money going to direct patient care. Not good if your goal to provide quality care at an affordable price.

  28. Oregoncharles

    “The Tide of History Flows Left ” – essentially every victory listed is “cultural”. We’re winning the CULTURE wars; but we’re losing on the economic, political, and foreign affairs fronts. IOW, we’re winning on the issues the plutocrats don’t care about – or even support.

    The only counterexample he gives is Obamacare. On this site, I don’t need to go into detail about how mixed a “victory” that is. Net, it’s arguably highly negative, greatly increasing the power of the insurance industry while helping relatively few of the uninsured – in a very qualified version of “help.”

      1. Oregoncharles

        OK, I missed some. But I think slavery was (and is) a “cultural” issue: in the US, one and the same as the race issue. It certainly had an economic impact, but less important (especially given the continuing use of blacks as cheap labor) than the cultural issue of whether certain people are human, or whether humans can be owned.

        And if we’re looking at trend lines, the others you mention (correctly) are a long time ago. Any recent examples? The Great Reaction occurred precisely in response to those.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          So you view the difference between wage labor (human rental) and slavery (human sale) as cultural? That seems to me to stretch the definition of culture so broadly, and so idiosyncratically, as to be meaningless. What next? The difference between renting and owning a house is cultural? The difference between Presidents and Kings is cultural? Originally, your point was that the left only won cultural wars. Now everything seems to be turning into culture, and culture war. So what’s the problem?

          Yes, I’m not unaware of a lack of recent examples; read all the way the end of the link and you’ll see the qualifier. Abolishing slavery indeed took a long time.

          1. sd

            An argument can be made that ending slavery is a still ongoing battle. The 1% would very much like all labor to be free and see absolutely nothing wrong with thinking that way.

          2. Oregoncharles

            It’s primarily a moral issue, yes.

            Mea culpa: I overstated my point. However, there’s an unfortunate trend line. All of the RECENT victories for the left have been cultural; of course, that may be something of a new distinction.

            We’re losing ground badly on the economic and political fronts, and that’s something the article overlooks – or buries.

            I still think it comes down to what the PTB, the plutocrats, care about. They’re mostly (some famous exceptions) educated and culturally fairly liberal. Getting their daughters and girlfriends to illegal abortionists (I participated in this when I was in college) was a real nuisance. They won’t really tolerate having to do that again – and so on. Corporations mostly support equal rights for homosexuals because they have valued employes who are. For women is tougher because there are so many of them, but it still makes economic sense as well as moral. In fact, this is a crucial, potentially catastrophic division in the Right: plutocrats and Know-nothings aren’t natural allies.

            But that crack has been there for a long time. Exploiting it politically has proven a non-starter – probably because the Dems don’t really want to.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I don’t believe the article buries them; that’s why I supplied you with a list of economic victories from the post. For the rest, splits in the elite are a necessity and will go all the way to the top; they always do (see Crane Brinton).

  29. rich

    San Francisco Rent: $1,800 Per Month for a Bunk Bed in a House with 30 Other People
    Published on Sep 11, 2015

    Can’t afford an apartment in San Francisco? So-called “co-creative housing” is offering a bunkbed and lots of company. But is it legal? Mark Kelly reports.

    listen to housing inspector near end….consensual inspection????

  30. Roland

    WSJ piece is unforgivably ignorant of some important plain facts.

    The Ba’ath regime in Syria was embracing the Washington Consensus. Bashar was openly committed to a wide range of neoliberal economic reforms, among which:

    1. Rapidly reducing or eliminating public subsidies for food and fuel.

    2. Free trade agreement with Turkey.

    3. Liberalizing foreign investment. Easing of joint venture rules. Creation of “free zones.” Enhanced rights for foreign IP.

    4. Establishment of privately-owned banks. Liberalization of currency exchange rules, with a view to eventually floating the Syrian pound.

    5. Establishment of a stock market.

    6. Privatization of state-owned corporations.

    7. Larger share of energy industry ownership to foreign corporations.

    The Assad regime was trying to liberalize and “modernize” Syria’s economy. Bashar was probably being too hasty. The winding down of subsidies, combined with drought which reduced rural incomes, was the trigger for political unrest.

    There can be no doubt about it: Neoliberal reforms, of the kind everywhere advocated by the WSJ, were partly to blame for the Syrian Civil War.

    Nevertheless, the Syrian government would have put down the rebellion by late 2012, except for the fact that Turkey and Saudi Arabia based, funded, and armed the various rebel factions.

    The length and severity of the civil war in Syria, and the concomitant humanitarian crisis, is largely due to the extent of foreign involvement.

    1. Vatch

      Thanks for the great word “Y’alliban”! From Article VI of the U.S. Constitution:

      The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

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