Links 9/3/15

Mikulski Becomes 34th Sen. To Back Iran Deal, Ensuring Obama Victory TPM

IMF Says China Slowdown, Other Risks Threaten Global Outlook WSJ

President Otto Pérez Molina Is Stripped of Immunity in Guatemala NYTimes. The Attorney General called for Molina’s arrest last night.

Drowned Syrian toddler embodies heartbreak of migrant crisis LATimes

Writing numbers on refugees’ arms, are you f’ing kidding me? Crooked Timber

David Petraeus’ bright idea: give terrorists weapons to beat terrorists Trevor Timm, The Guardian (h/t resilc)

His Town The Huffington Post. About the Emirati Ambassador. Great stuff.


Sen. Warren: VP bid is ‘something I’m not talking about’ WCVB

Here’s how Donald Trump responded to my essay about him Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, WaPo

Don’t Use These Lame Acronyms If You Don’t Want to Get Nabbed by the Feds Bloomberg

How the Fed Failed the U.S. on Swipe Fees American Banker

Small Firms Slow to Embrace Chip-Card System WSJ

NY Fed Study Should Redefine How We Think About Student Loans and College Costs Rortybomb

Treasury Department Claims Paulson Never Officially Discussed AIG Bailout Shadowproof. FOIA can be the worst.

Corbyn, QE and financial interests Mainly Macro

Tax scandal probe hit by setback as EU refuses to hand over documents to MEPs The Independent (h/t Chuck L)

What the United States Owes Puerto Rico Joseph Stiglitz & Mark Medish, WSJ

Insurer Says Clients on Daily Pill Have Stayed H.I.V.-Free NYTimes

Class Warfare

Selling plasma to survive: how over a million American families live on $2 per day Vox

Mortgage lawsuits against BofA, Citigroup and Wells Fargo resurrected Housing Wire. These are fair housing suits.

Understanding the Historic Divergence Between Productivity and a Typical Worker’s Pay: Why It Matters and Why It’s Real Economic Policy Institute

Drone Oversight Is Coming to Construction Sites MIT Technology Review. I was just saying the other day how great it would be for my morale to have a surveillance robot hovering over me while I worked.

Child labour on Nestlé farms: chocolate giant’s problems continue The Guardian

A Hillary Clinton Aide Stayed Up For 100 Hours Straight To Write A Speech For His Boss Huffington Post

Why The Wealthy Should Celebrate Labor Day This Year Thomas Geoghegan, The Observer

Sony Altered ‘Concussion’ Film to Prevent N.F.L. Protests, Emails Show NYTimes

Coal divestment bill passes California state legislature Reuters. This divests from CalPERS and CalSTRS. Huge victory for activists here.

Tajikistan creates planet, names it after self Boing Boing

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. James Levy

    The refugee crisis is overwhelmingly the result of the destruction of Libya and the continuing war in Syria. Europe is utterly complicit in both. This is reaping the whirlwind. Yet their populations act as if this is all some nasty burden that fell unbidden into their laps.

    My question: what would happen if the powers over there just moved to end both disasters? Yea, the USA would bitch, but since the USA won’t commit troops in either place, what are they really going to do? Go to war with Europe? Hell, the Americans won’t fight ISIS. Is the failure of the Germans, French, and Italians to send delegates to end these conflicts just an example of learned helplessness, or something more sinister? How can the Americans force these countries to support wars that dump 100s of thousands of refugees on their doorsteps? For a man like myself expert in early 20th century history, the failure of states to act in their own self-interest is mind-boggling. Or is this a sick variant of Maggie Thatcher’s “there is no community, only individuals”, i.e. there are no states, only political elites on the make (or the CIA payroll)?

    1. Sam Kanu

      Europeans have a long history xenophobia and of blaming the victims. What they NEVER do is ask their elites to take responsibility – its always taken out on the weak instead.

    2. craazyboy

      I’m not one to go out of my way to beat myself up for the problems of the world, so I’ll toss in some counter perspective in support of the Mother Continent.

      News accounts I’ve read attribute the base cause of the ongoing Syria problem was a massive drought making a large part of the country unlivable/farmable. The original refugee problem was inside Syria.

      As far as the Middle East in general goes, it has had massive population growth over the last 40 years or so. So you might say a major problem is Baby Farm Meets Resource Limits.

      1. Ignacio

        Oh boy, there we go, with the start of ‘climate refugees’. The remaining of this century is goign to be SO fun…

        And on top, the ‘chaos strategy’ of the US neocon. But now that I think about it, could be that destroying the environment with poor policy (by neocons) is a part of the chaos strategy!?

        Maybe we got the causality wrong, and the solo reason of climate change denial etc. is to double down on the chaos strategy. there is no better disruptor that nature, and when you can manufacture natural disasters though policy…

        1. craazyboy

          Ya, I’m all giggles in anticipation. And I used to think first I’d play golf, then finally shuffleboard.

          I’ve also read recent ME analysis saying water will soon become the “new” oil. Water Wars breakout everywhere, including N. Africa. (not enough Nile to go around)

          Yes, the Neo-cons have a subset plan. But I think of it as the Jay Gould Plan. If you believe there are too many terrorists around, hire half of them to kill the other half. Then rinse and repeat.

          That is a nasty thought, I know. But waddaya gonna do? Other than nothing.

      2. Sam Kanu

        As far as the Middle East in general goes, it has had massive population growth over the last 40 years or so. So you might say a major problem is Baby Farm Meets Resource Limits.

        “Resource limits”? You mean to tell me the European continent, the one that colonised most of the planet and stole their raw materials for cheap or nothing, has NOT long passed its “resources limits”.

        Is the problem you see “resource limits only when brown people are involved? Oh ok.

        1. craazyboy

          “I’ve also read recent ME analysis saying water will soon become the “new” oil. Water Wars breakout everywhere, including N. Africa. (not enough Nile to go around)”‘

          I can’t help it if “brown people” live in deserts. sheesh.

    3. low_integer

      There has been almost constant coverage of the Syrian refuge crisis here in Australia. Some of it is heartbreaking. While I wouldn’t admit this face to face to anyone, I shed a few tears over one scene in particular. Today I saw Merkel state that Germany is happy to accept 800 000 refugees this year, and the accounts that I have seen suggest that the vast majority of the German population are embracing the refugees. France and Italy seem to be on board too. I am confused by Hungary’s stance.

      Hopefully the scale of this crisis will catalyse some change for the better.

      I should note that here in Australia, Prime Minister Dumb Dumb (Abbott) is currently considering joining the coalition of countries bombing Syria. While the official line is that the US requested Australian help, it is widely believed by Australians that our government actually requested that the US request our help, in order to boost the government’s poor polling results. We also have an inhuman refugee policy, in which refugees are subjected to terrible conditions, essentially being used as pawns to deter other refugees from turning up. These policies started under John Howard, and have become quite extreme under Dumb Dumb. Of course many Australians are against these policies, but things are pretty ugly here lately, IMO.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is China taking any?

        It wants to be more global, more active in infrastructure lending, in the IMF’s basket of currencies, this is a good opportunity to create some good will.

        1. Massinissa

          I dont know if you have seen a map, but compare the distance of Syria and Germany, to Syria and China. Even worse when you consider things like A. all the jobs are in the eastern part of china, B. to get to china you would need to either take a long-ass sea route or go walk through a couple ‘Stans, C. etc etc.

          Anyway, everyone knows most of the Chinese are still poor, evenif theyre becoming ‘less poor’.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s the point, about the fact that most of the Chinese are still poor/less poor.

            With a billion or so in population, yet, it can be a global power.

            Compared that to, say, Switzerland – most of the people there do very decently, relatively speaking, but the nation hardly can throw her weight around.

            That’s the way math works out for the 0.01%. They can either

            1. extract a little from 1,000,000,000 poor people
            2. extract more (in absolute amount, not necessarily percentage wise) from 50,000,000

            And it can equally profitable, depending on the extractors’ competence.

    4. Oregoncharles

      How do you propose the European governments end the wars in Syria or Libya, now that they’ve helped start them? I don’t see any constructive way to intervene. Withdrawing whatever aid they’re giving might only help ISIS, which seems to have plenty of money.

      Cracking down on Turkey’s attacks on the Kurds might help, but I’m not convinced they can do that, either.

      I see a large measure of wishful thinking here.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Petraeus.

    It does remind is that one of the key characteristics of the most important people involved in geopolitics is that a horrifying number of them are not actually very bright. Is it that so many military people come from an engineering background and can’t break out of a simplistic mechanistic view of how the world works? Or just that geopolitics is a refuge for sharp talking narcissists who aren’t very good at anything else? Its one thing to have psychopaths making important decisions for us, but somehow it seems even scarier when they are actually quite stupid. I mean, surely even an average 15 year old could see that giving money to ‘moderate’ Al-Queda types in Syria would do nothing but make a bad situation worse?

    1. Synoia

      Argh! I’m wounded by this remark:

      Is it that so many military people come from an engineering background and can’t break out of a simplistic mechanistic view of how the world works?

      There is nothing “simplistic mechanistic about engineering”. The solution may look simplistic, but the design and analysis are not. Please understand, the people with a simplistic mechanistic view of the world are not engineers, they are managers..

      Don’t blame the skills of the worker. or professionals, when the management call all the shorts. An example is the Challenger disaster.

      1. craazyboy

        Ya, engineers know better than anyone that there is little reason to believe that anything will work.

        You must be very,very careful when messing with mother nature.

      2. Watt4Bob

        The problem with rot at the top of the DOD is not related to their education, it’s a direct result of being required to support the ridiculous decisions of their bosses.

        It’s well known fact the military has been hemorrhaging mid-level officers ever since Cheney and ‘W’, and the neocons started the latest round of ME nonsense.

        Smart, ethical people cannot, and will not continue to work for corrupt, immoral organizations when there are moral choices available.

        Remember what happened to General Shinseki when he crossed Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz in the run-up to the Iraq war, the abuse heaped on him sent a clear message to the rest of the officer corps; “Go along, or get out of the way”.

        The smart and ethical are getting out of the way.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Hey, sounds like “banking!” And “politics!” And “education”! And “economics”! And even “medicine”! And…

      3. optimader

        I know Schwarzkopf had an Engineering BS , but don’t most of the top brass that make decisions go to military academies and get the academy versions of polysci/history/war theory degrees..?

    2. Pepsi

      If you have a complete lack of integrity you’ll happily pretend things are simple, options are few, and the choices favored by your patrons (In Petraeus’s case, israel) are the only “realistic” and “serious” choices to make.

    3. Whine Country

      Patraeus is a company man plain and simple. We are now an all-voluntary force. Congress and the Commander in Chief are not presently volunteering enough of our own volunteers, so we have to find a way to “recruit” more volunteers. Pure genius, no?

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is institutional rot. Without rigorous outside examination, protected institutions rot. NATO no longer serves a purpose except to beget itself. At this point, any action by NATO is heinous or at least a waste of money because it no longer serves a purpose. What Supreme Commander will testify to being a waste of the treasury’s money? None at this moment because there are no officers of any standing given the various disasters undertaken by Western militaries. There are 500 million EU citizens and 150 million Russians.

      Although an article posted here a few weeks ago by a former Air Force Academy instructor echoes the same criticisms of the American Civil War officers. It’s probably best to limit when generals are listened to. Of course, it’s ultimately a self selective group of people who wanted to go to West Point when they were 15 or 16. Eisenhower wanted out of Kansas. He wasn’t a traditional West Point cadet. Grant was a last minute replacement when the cadet from his district couldn’t attend. Grant didn’t apply and likely only survived because he was good with horses. Many of the more celebrated cadets turned out to be incompetent or traitors with dreams of battlefield glory.

    5. Jef

      The Peter principle is a concept in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter in which the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.”

      Especially true in Gov and the Military.

    6. craazyboy

      It’s not even an original idea, and I thought we did that already, in practice. Tho by “accident”.

      I think where our generals get all confused is they have their little plastic soldiers with different color uniforms and they push them around the war game board working out their strategies. But in reality, the real folks on the ground with the best job skills are basically mercenaries and don’t wear uniforms and change their affiliations about as often as getting a new pair of army boots.

    7. Sam Kanu

      Is it that so many military people come from an engineering background and can’t break out of a simplistic mechanistic view of how the world works?

      It’s very simple: indoctrination. They are all braindwashed at the relevant “academies” they are required to attend, which are not merely technical education but indoctrination centres:

      If you do not buy into the brainwashing, then presumably you are not “leadership” material in these cultures.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It starts before they join. I’m coming around on the idea of a draft because these military and police organizations attract far too many lunatics.

    8. Raj

      The Petraeus article gives the impression that the U.S. isn’t already providing funding, weapons and training to Al Nusra & its affiliates. I had to double check the date on the article a couple times.

  3. Disturbed Voter

    A veto-protected Iran deal only works if those promising to support it in the Senate, are telling the truth ;-( We are talking about politicians here.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Betraying the President on foreign policy looks bad in general especially with Hillary on board when there isn’t a legitimate concern such as Syria. All the problems start on our end anyway. Yes, the hostages from 1979 were still agents of the U.S. who backed the Shah. We can only hold a grudge for so long. Shouting Iran and terrorism doesn’t work when it’s been shouted for so long.

      To betray on this the President would require a major issue to crop up. Short of a false flag, nothing is going to happen.

  4. evodevo

    Re: How the Fed Failed the U.S. on Swipe Fees American Banker

    Small Firms Slow to Embrace Chip-Card System WSJ

    My husband and I run a small business in a small town and have never taken credit cards – cash/local check only. If a customer complains, we direct them to the ATM across the street. The fees are ridiculous given the level of service.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      I wonder why retailers don’t start a Vanguard-esque credit card nonprofit-type org they own & control, that charges its retail owners a transaction fee that is merely sufficient to break even on their credit card nonprofit org.

      A small biz like evodevo might not be able to do this, but a few huge retailers like Walmart/Amazon/Kohl’s/etc certainly could.

      Perhaps it would invalidate their theocratic ideological Propertarian/Libertarian-esque belief that only for-profit private orgs are capable of providing a quality service/product, & any other type of org incompetently sux ballz, any empirical facts, including successful private cooperatives like Vanguard/Amica/Mondragon/etc be damned! The Walmarts would rather get extorted by Visa/etc to preserve their ideology.

      1. Ed S.

        OK, this may be a bit pedantic, but here goes:

        The Visa/MC process (I’m intentionally leaving out AMEX) typically consists of 5 parties to any transaction: Cardholder, Cardholder Financial Institution (FI), Clearing and Settling Organization, Merchant, and Merchant FI. Interchange fees (sometimes called “swipe fees”) flow from Merchant FI to Cardholder FI (the Merchant FI retains a bit and assesses other fees for machines, banking services, etc) and from Merchant to the Merchant FI. Needless to say, the FI’s make ENORMOUS amounts of money from the network (as do Visa/MC).

        For example, on a typical transaction (credit card under $25) the Merchant FI pays the Cardholder FI 1.65% + $0.04 of the transaction (there are literally 100’s of card + transaction type combinations – this is only an example). The merchant pays that, plus some additional fees as well. So for example, Elavon (that works with Costco to offer services to Costco’s commercial customers) has a weighted average of 1.38% +$0.19 per transaction. Not going to go through the math, but you get the picture.

        If you wanted a “low cost” card processing org for merchants, there really isn’t any way to do it since the merchant is, in essence, paying the cardholder’s bank a set (and unless you’re HUGE, effectively non-negotiable fee). Profit or Not for profit doesn’t really matter: a Merchant FI can’t get around the interchange fees of which the vast bulk go to the Cardholder FI.

        What merchants CAN do is to set prices at a level commensurate with card processing expenses and offer a cash discount. You see this at gas stations, but not many other places (and to be fair, there is a cost to handling cash)

        I’m not defending the card industry — just stating that as things are, it would be nearly impossible to do what you suggest (even for a Wal-Mart – but they’ve fought Visa/MC for years).

  5. allan

    Low-Income Workers See Biggest Drop in Paychecks

    Despite steady gains in hiring, a falling unemployment rate and other signs of an improving economy, take-home pay for many American workers has effectively fallen since the economic recovery began in 2009, according to a new study by an advocacy group that is to be released on Thursday.


  6. DanB

    “David Petraeus’ bright idea: give terrorists weapons to beat terrorists,” should read, “How to Create even more Refugees.”

    1. Uahsenaa

      Also, “How to Create Even More Terrorists,” lest we forget how often today’s rebels/freedom fighters we promote out of expediency become tomorrow’s terrorists, for instance the Mujahideen becoming Al Qaeda/Taliban and so forth.

      For MIC purposes it’s brilliant, today’s military solution becomes tomorrow’s military problem.

      1. RUKidding

        How to create more chaos and instability world-wide, whilst handsomely benefiting my benefactors in the MIC, the banks, Wall St, etc. That’s why Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts hired me, right? Just doing my job.
        “General” David Petraeus

        CHA CHING!!!

  7. hemeantwell

    re the 100 hours sleepless Clinton intern, Tomicah Tillemann, who ended up working at State in an “emerging democracies” position, a search reveals that subsequently he was tirelessly working away in Eastern Europe in 2014, promoting freedom, democracy and all the rest that goes with it.

          1. optimader

            I think the longest I’ve gone on a startup was ~32 hours, and things become incomprehensible.

            More frequently I’d pull 24s, and that is bad enough in retrospect. You can perceive that you’re perfectly awake one moment drinking a cup of coffee and quickly bobblehead, it’s actually quite freaky.

            If one is doing something any more responsible than writing incomprehensible sht for the likes of HRC, you can be quite dangerous to yourself and others at +24hr.

            Now whenever I hear her BS, I’ll always wonder how long someone claims they stayed awake to write it!

            I shudder to think how long John Kerry’s speechwriters are sleep deprived?? Judging by the content I’d have to guess weeks at a time!

            1. Skippy

              3 days without sleep is comparable to the onset of psychosis.

              Same as above about 24hrs, tho one can extend periods with 30min to 1hr sleeps within the 24hr cycle. At the end it just becomes a game of diminishing returns.

              1. pretzelattack

                i once stayed up 3 days playing poker. i just went into a kind of mechanical almost fugue state after a day or so. fortunately the people i was playing with were as dulled by fatigue as i was. never repeated the experience.

  8. Sam Kanu

    David Petraeus’ bright idea: give terrorists weapons to beat terrorists

    For a while I thought that Al Quaida was a prime example of the short sightedness of these warmongers – the chaos they were sowing through stupidity. Then I began to think, they just had a hard time learning from their mistakes – because even a child could figure out this was bad idea.

    But now I realise the fact that they are warmongers is the clue to this being not a mistake, but intent. They MEAN to sow chaos around the world.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To test the idea, maybe we can give more weapons* to bankers to beat other bankers?

      Never mind the collateral damage to the little people.

      *fewer regulations can be thought of as more weapons.

      1. hunkerdown

        Give them pistols, legalize duelling (provide a tax deduction for the winner to keep things lively, if you like) and let them take care of the problem (themselves) at dawn.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Not sure about planet Tajikistan.

    But no doubt we can sell star-naming rights to billionaires.

    “Son, I am a star. Look there, that one in the Orion’s Belt. That’s me – they call that star by name.”

  10. Tertium Squid

    Drone oversight

    Did anyone ever play the game Half Life 2? There’s loads of little Combine camera drones hovering all over the place, taking pictures of you and trying to shine light in your eyes. Very intimidating and they fit into the dystopian setting perfectly.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Eventually, drone oversight can be done, much cheaply, by powerful satellites.

      We just need to fund more scientific research.

      “We didn’t know. We were just scientists. No idea there were these many bad people in the world and no idea they would be tempted by powerful things and powerful information/knowledge. And history didn’t give us any hints or examples. We enjoyed our lives in the Ivory Tower though.”

  11. Jim Haygood

    Pleadin’ da Fifth:

    A staffer who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of State is expected to plead the Fifth rather than testify before Congress.

    Lawyers for Bryan Pagliano indicated the former IT employee will assert his constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer questions from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, citing the “current political environment.”

    Pagliano is scheduled to appear before the House Benghazi Committee on Sept. 10.

    Help me here, I’m a little slow. How exactly would an IT guy possibly be exposed to criminal liability?

    1. Howard Beale IV

      The first two rules when any Government Special Agent flips their badge at you and starts to ask you questions is to (1) say nothing and (2) Hire an attorney. Failure to not heed this leaves you wide open to charges under 18 USC 1001 for even the most innocuous of misstatements.

      Pleading the Fifth during Congressional testimony is the same tactic under a very different venue with different actors.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So, it seems, one needs

        a. Freedom of speech, freedom to speak

        b. Freedom of no-speech, freedom to not speak, to remain silent.

        And it’s important to know when which is appropriate, and ironic that one would need the latter when dealing with our public servants.

    2. cwaltz

      I’d say he’s probably smart since it’s usually an underling that gets the blame and punishment for things. They’re expected to fall on a political sword to give the appearance that someone is being punished for mistakes while the people at the top get nothing.

  12. Sam Kanu

    I’m going to guess the words “Vince Foster” might influence one’s thoughts, if one were the relevant staff member.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Arkancide is an unappealable extrajudicial sanction.

      But if Pagliano truly fears prosecution, the charges that worry him likely include ‘obstruction of justice,’ ‘evidence tampering,’ ‘computer fraud,’ and ‘disclosure of classified information.’

      Under our two-speed justice system [impunity for Bigs, strict compliance for Littles], it’s entirely conceivable that her low-level munchkins could be whacked for carelessness with national secrets, while Hillary herself skates because emails weren’t ‘marked’ classified by the same negligent, culpable Little people.

    2. GuyFawkesLives

      I have been wondering why no one “trying to take Clinton down” wouldn’t revive the Vince Foster story. That story reeks of bad juju…..and outright murder.

  13. bob

    “Drone Oversight Is Coming to Construction Sites”

    Finally! A reason to wear a hard hat. Probably the only reason.

    I don’t see this idea going too far, honestly. Most contractors would just see it as another way OSHA could watch them, or assign blame after an accident.

    Camera’s have long been more or less verboten on construction sites for this reason. One picture can result in thousands in fines. If you do have to take pictures on a construction site, you never tell anyone, and you never show them to anyone.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      No, for good or ill, and there will be both, drones are going to hover over work sites more and more. Insurance companies are going to offer significantly cheaper policies based on drone usage, OSHA may try to make it a requirement, project owners want ongoing progress measurements, construction companies want efficiency gains and the bigger ones will be fine with safety monitoring as accidents are one of the most costly aspects of construction. For large construction companies, OSHA fines have become fairly well controlled by training and resources – and that experience and equipment has had the effect of greatly reducing accidents. For them, the fines are part of doing business; more of a nuisance than a financial hardship.

      Of course the average – non-elite – homeowner couldn’t afford to even talk with one of these companies, never mind engage one to do any work.

      As usual, small construction companies will loose out big time. They are the ones, trying to keep costs within reach of homeowners and mom and pop rental outfits, for whom OSHA and it’s outlandish fines for absurd infractions represent a serious threat. Drones will provide the economically feasible tools, for OSHA, code enforcement agencies, and insurance companies to finally crack down on the small contractors, handy-man-women, etc., who have historically provided the only feasible means of repair and upkeep available to most homeowners, but sometimes at the cost of skirting increasingly mountainous rules and regulations. This will ostensibly be for “safety”, but it’s practical purpose will be to squeeze homeowners the way modern business/farmers squeeze soil. The handyman’s days are numbered. The small contractor will give way to the mid-size. Faced with virtually impossible costs, the homeowner will increasingly defer repairs and upkeep. In many instances, this will end badly. But then the idea, of course, isn’t really to provide safer more reliable energy efficient building/repair practices; the idea is to prepare the last remaining financial assets of homeowners for mega stripping by such magnificent tools as reverse mortgages and condemning properties outright and putting them on the auction block for the elite.

      And all this by people who truly and barely have any idea there is anything wrong with it, much the way economists talk about whole segments of society as “adjustments” to globalization when in reality the “adjustments” are massive and often generational human suffering and even death.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Carmen Reinhart fires a warning shot across the bow of the Yellenites:

    For the 189 countries for which data are available, median inflation for 2015 is running just below 2%.

    The share of countries recording outright deflation in consumer prices (the green line) is higher in 2015 than that of countries experiencing double-digit inflation (7% of the total). Whatever nasty surprises may lurk in the future, the global inflation environment is the tamest since the early 1960s.

    Indeed, the risk for the world economy is actually tilted toward deflation for the 23 advanced economies in the sample, even eight years after the onset of the global financial crisis. For this group, the median inflation rate is 0.2% — the lowest since 1933.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For most savers, being robbed by low rates has not help to generate growth/inflation, so it’s natural they should believe that raising rates would have similar non-correlation.

      “Give me high rates. Deflation or Inflation has, or has proven to have, nothing to do with it.”

  15. Nealser

    Re: Child labour on Nestlé farms
    The standard operating procedure for multinationals has been to support voluntary agreements on worker rights through their supply chain. This obviously doesn’t work when you have farm laborers and children living and working in slave like conditions years after these agreements were put in place.

    I watched a great documentary last night called ‘The True Cost’. It is pitched as an expose on the fashion industry, but it went broader covering the impacts across the whole supply chain and the economics driving these companies. Many of the issues will be familiar to NC readers but I’d highly recommend it to friends and family because it exposes many of the systemic problems and some solutions in a very accessible way.

    1. jrs

      Nestle has been evil forever, since they were killing babies in the 3rd world decades ago, their lack of any corporate responsibility is unending. The good thing is most of their products are 100% unnecessary and utter c-r@p to boot, so it’s not like they are selling gasoline or something one might have a hard time giving up (until they own all the water). Boycott Nestle.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If we don’t want Child Labor, shouldn’t we reject the notion of Child Customer?

        By that, I mean, a child should not have to buy anything in order to survive, at least not until adulthood, when the child can defend and fend for him/herself in our ever toxic, ever dangerous, ever zero-nutritional Consumer Society.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are some of our pharmaceutical drugs produced under such slave like conditions?

      Should doctors stop prescribing such drugs?

  16. fresno dan

    Later, Bush appeared to offer an explanation, tweeting a photo of himself with the woman and noting that he was “in awe of working moms like Tara who woke up at 4AM for 12 hr shift!”

    What is it with Jebbie and longer hours in New Hampshire???

    “My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”

    I note that GDP gains in the last few years have practically all gone to the 1%. So it appears to me that Mr. Bush pretty much wants us all working more so that the rich can get richer. And adding more workers is only for the purpose of keeping wages down.

    In the last forty years, wages have been stagnant, and there is no one more responsible for that than the Bush Clan (the Clinton clan is desperately trying to catch up…)

    I really hope that someone does a story on Tara, and we get her opinion of how wonderful getting up at 4 am to work 12 hours is…

  17. alex morfesis

    the end of The donald…quack quack

    attacking a fellow heightser (washington heights…kareems childhood playground)…hmmpff…

    well time to kiss the little d goodbye…since he just signed off on not running as a third party schmoe…maybe someone handed him off some reg s money overseas at two percent for five years to keep him busy…

    either way…he was fun for a few laughs…like the loud chick at the end of the bar at closing time…but having the first Mafia president is not what this country needs at this time…becoming Biffville is not going to do anything except make the country look like the disaster his “brilliance” has made of atlantic city…

    the little d man has too many connections to organized crime types to be allowed to run any deeper into this election season…

    off with his head…

    1. jrs

      a battle of vanities indeed. I can’t actually read “Look behind the nasty invective and you find an assault on the Constitution in the effort to silence the press through intimidation” behind the quoted excerpt from Trump. It’s like two narcissists fighting, both full of their own importance (though Kareen has more genuine accomplishments). Trump and another who thinks silly personal invective is an assault on the Constitution. But Trump doesn’t have enough respect for free speech. Maybe. Our “Constitutional scholars” have also used the Constitution as toilet paper needless to say.

      1. alex morfesis

        farcebookland…modern ‘merika where life and its public conversations revert to the junior high cafeteria, but without any monitors to keep the donald in check…

  18. curlydan

    Maybe Paulson was discussing all the AIG details via a private email server?

    I’d amend the FOIA to ask for any Treasury AIG communication in that timeframe that contained the words Secretary, Hank, Henry, and Paulson.

  19. optimader

    Wow! I wonder if they rent to seniors! This has potential as a Simpsons episode
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