Links 9/6/15

The Fight to Save a Prairie Chicken NYT

U.S. CLOs Have Material Exposure to Commodities, Moody’s Says Bloomberg

Rail Executives to Address Investor Concerns WSJ

Manufacturing, the Dollar and Implications for Monetary Policy Econbrowser

Where are U.S. data on the gig economy? Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Mortgage debt — the new retirement time bomb WaPo

Fannie Mae Revamps Mortgage Program NYT

Late Friday surprise: Supreme Court says charter schools initiative is unconstitutional Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Rousseff to spare central bank in cabinet reform: sources Reuters

G20 eyes faster economic reforms as cheap credit not enough for growth Reuters


G20 supports China’s efforts to stabilise economy FT

China Market Volatility Nearing End, Says Central Bank Official Bloomberg

Sizeable capital outflow from China adds another layer of worry Market Watch

Battle for the bottle – the fight to feed China’s babies Sidney Morning Herald

Driven to Kill Slate. Eesh, I hope this is sensationalism.


Russia ‘is building military base in Syria’ Telegraph. Says “American intelligence.”


Under Fight-Against-ISIS Disguise “West” Prepares To Openly Attack Syria Moon of Alabama

The Iran Deal and the End of the Israel Lobby Jonathon Chait, New York Magazine (Re Silc)

The Islamic State Diary: A Chronicle of Life in Libyan Purgatory Der Spiegel. Yeah, that splendid little war worked out great, didn’t it?

Labour leadership election: MPs prepare to resist Corbynistas Guardian


The poisoned chalice Open Democracy

Alexis Tsipras faces shock election defeat as voters on course to punish Syriza at the ballot box Telegraph

New obstacle for refugees: the Greek coast guard McClatchy

German volunteers launch online phrasebook for refugees Guardian

East west divide over crisis as exhausted refugees arrive in Austria FT

Here is the exact ballot question Britain will answer when it votes on whether to leave the EU Business Insider


The state of ‘dark money’ in U.S. politics Daily Dot

Poll: Trump beats Hillary head-to-head The Hill. Trump gets 25% of the Black vote, and 31% of the Latino vote? I dunno about this… 

Bernie Sanders picks up megaphone, walks union picket in Cedar Rapids Des Moines Register. I hope his shoes were comfortable….

Sanders: Clinton ‘getting nervous’ as race tightens The Hill

Margaret Atwood: The geezer vote National Post

Class Warfare

If You Ever Wondered Whose Side The Federal Reserve Is On… Tim Duy’s Fed Watch. “Real median weekly earnings have grown 8.6% since 1985. Nonfarm output per hour is up 79% over that time. Yet the instant that there is even a glimmer of hope that labor might get an upper hand, the Federal Reserve looks to hold the line on wage growth.”

America’s silent-but-deadly billionaires: How our tight-lipped overlords are waging stealth campaigns against the middle class Salon

Three Rich Treasury Secretaries Laugh It Up Over Income Inequality HuffPo

Eat the Rich and Pay the Poor Foreign Policy

Review: Freelance life as lethal as Red Bull mixed with coffee Prachatai

Scientists may have just stumbled upon a mathematical secret to how nature works WaPo. “[T]he way predator and prey numbers relate to each other is the same for different species all over the world.”

In Hyperspace Fredric Jameson, LRB

Environmental Ethics in a Post-Natural World Utne Reader

Copenhagen New Carsharing Integrated With Public Transport Cities of the Future (Furzy Mouse). Listening, Travis?

At West Point, Annual Pillow Fight Becomes Weaponized NYT

Antidote du jour (RG):

links turkey vulture

RG: “Turkey Vulture in my back yard.”

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. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The Sydney Morning Herald report on restrictions on baby formula.

    These restrictions are common all over Europe, in the name of preventing the Chinese from buying up all the milk formula and sending it to China. I’ve a personal interest in this as I regularly send boxes of formula from Ireland to China for a friend with an infant who, like nearly all Chinese, don’t trust domestic supplies.

    The thing is, there is not an iota of evidence that this is effecting domestic supplies in any country. There is in fact a glut of dairy products on the world market at the moment. The main reason for ‘restrictions’ is that it promotes panic buying by domestic mothers, who stockpile and end up with excessive purchases. It also gives them an excuse not to ever discount formula, or even provide the ‘points’ that many retailers give for other purchases. It is, in short, a marketing scam.

    Chinese mothers are of course getting ripped off – a can of formula costs in Europe around 13-15 euro. The same can can cost from 35 to 50 euro in China. So it is well worth me sending a dozen cans at a cost of around 60 euro postage to China to my friend, she not just saving lots of money, she has milk which is ‘safe’ in the way consumers never feel Chinese products (even from foreign brands) are safe. It also explains why counterfeiters have focused on baby formula as a way to make lots of money. Its not known as ‘white gold’ in China for no reason.

    Another issue of course is that one reason why so much formula is needed in China, is not just the sheer number of babies, it is that there are active attempts by the usual suspects to undermine breast feeding.

    Final point – my friend sent me last week a photo of a brand in a chinese supermarket from a well known US pharmaceutical company lab led as ‘guaranteed sourced from Ireland’. This is on foot of an Irish government campaign to promote Irish food goods in China as particularly green and healthy. The irony is that this particular pharmaceutical company is notorious in Ireland for being responsible for a polluting company which back in the 1980’s contaminated dairy grazing lands in the vicinity, driving local farmers out of business.

    1. OIFVet

      Well, Euro and US companies are well-known for exporting lower-quality versions of their products to the “new” Europeans in the East, at inflated prices. Separate but equal in United Europe, y’all! A few years ago there was a huge scandal in BG due to the importation of 50 tonnes of 20 year old Irish beef…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…even foreign brands” (of made locally over there in China, I presume).

      What about foreign pork from Chinese owned pig farms (in America)? Do they trust that?

      And one day, foreign milk products (from Chinese owned dairies outside China) – will they trust that?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Essentially, Chinese people do not trust any food product in which any part of the supply chain involves a Chinese company – it really is that simple. A Chinese friend of mine did a survey on this as part of her thesis and she found that the overwhelming majority of respondents simply assumed that if there was a Chinese company involved, there was the possibility of contamination. And not even in China – I once showed a Chinese friend of mine who was visiting New York a NYT review of a hot new place in Chinatown in Manhattan, and it raved about the lobster dishes. ‘They probably found them in the sewers’ was her simply reply. I’ve also had Chinese friends visit me here in Ireland, and before they leave they weigh their bag, work out how many kgs they have left over, and then go to my local Aldi and fill up with cheese, dried meats, etc. Its not a cost thing, its simply that they feel the food is ‘cleaner’. And this despite the fact of it being after the horse-meat in everything scandal here.

        Most put up with this in day to day life, but one thing they will not put up with is the risk of milk with children. My friends dissertation found families who were paying perhaps 30-40% of their income on milk formula for their child.

    3. ewmayer

      Given those frickin’-insane formula prices, it’s high time to bring back and destigmatize the old-fashioned practice of wet-nursing, from the sound of it.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Marketwatch article on outflows from China.

    I’ve always felt that the number 1 indicator of a possible crash in China would be a sudden outflow of money – through official and unofficial channels. I don’t think there is any country in history where the participants in a boom have been so pessimistic about how the boom would work out. All evidence suggests that every Chinese person with any net worth has an ‘exit’ plan, usually involving a business or property in Australia, the US or Europe. This is one of the major flaws of any attempt to allow the Yuan to devalue – most investors know this is probably a one way bet, so will take the opportunity to cash in while they can and put money into foreign property (the favoured fall back). This is likely to far outweigh any inflow from abroad seeking cheap investments.

    I don’t think the evidence as yet is of a panicky outflow, but it is certainly evidence that some wealthy people have their fingers over the trigger. If things get worse over the next six months, then it could become very serious.

    1. craazyboy

      Then over the medium to longer term the Holy Grail is to re-balance the economy towards more consumption, but you still have massive income inequality and, worse yet, wealth concentration that is leaving the country.

      Japan was in much better shape pre-crash – they had a 1st world economy and incomes, much less wealth inequality than the US even back in 1990, and the rich weren’t fleeing the country.

      This, to me, seems to make a “soft landing” and re-balancing in China look rather difficult.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That move towards more consumption (more domestic focus) can be broadened so that nations should be encouraged to take care of themselves, meaning not polluting themselves in order to make fast money so that eventually when the place is not livable, the wealthy can just escape.

        Chinese money buying expensive mansions here doesn’t do much good for the little people.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, surprisingly, Michael Pettis from these parts seems to be something of an optimist that China can re-balance sufficiently to prevent a really nasty landing, although I think he favours the probability of a long period of low growth as being more likely than either a crash or a soft landing.

        I can’t pretend to know more than Pettis, but it seems to me that if the transition were to occur (and there is no question but that the CCP is fully aware of the dangers of not transitioning, they are keen students of the Japanese crash), it would already have done so. I suspect that the internal opposition to making the necessary hard decisions is simply too strong. For the Chinese government to engineer a major economic shift they have to take the regional governments along (many of these are virtually self governing countries), and all the indications are that they can’t do this. Plus there is a whole new generation of oligarchs to deal with. And to top it all, many individual government members from top to bottom are so personally invested in the current model (usually via their wives and family), that it may be beyond the leadership. I’ve little doubt that the current crackdown on corruption and dissent is an attempt to centralise power sufficiently to make rapid economic changes – but whether Xi will succeed or not, I don’t really know.

  3. Ben Johannson

    Re: Tim Duy

    Looking at total real output and compensation one can see from the late 1940’s to 1980 compensation kept pace with or exceeded growth in output (the latter meaning labor increased its share of national income). In 1980 the trend reversed with output growing faster than compensation. Notice the trend inversion that occurred during the 2007-2008 GFC:

  4. Ulysses

    From the Prachatai review linked above:

    “Yoon is always in danger of being jobless because if he misses just one deadline or an incomplete task, his reputation as a freelancer will be damaged, and clients will send jobs to younger whiz kids with more speed and energy than him.”

    This is the nightmarish reality that neoliberals would like to see for all but a handful of billionaire “job-creators.” Whether it be driving for Uber, teaching at a charter school, makes no difference– the neoliberals would like us to return to the days where half-starved workers wait outside the factory gates before dawn. Standing in a crowd, desperately hoping that they look fit and healthy enough to be picked to labor for meager wages, that might allow them another day or two of wretched existence.

    1. jrs

      And falling for the doctor because she’s the only woman you see … Not that she’s not cute and riding off into the sunset wouldn’t be sweet, but how often do those relationships that start off as financial relationships ever become real relationships of any kind? Easy to relate to as many of us are suffering much less extreme versions of the same overwork disease that is killing him.

      The Thai system apparently also ties healthcare heavily to employment. Geez, it may even be worse than here after the ACA!

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Dead link for the Cities of the Future’ article on Copenhagen. Link here:

    Its interesting that the Copenhagen project is supported by Arriva, one of the biggest European contractors for public transport. They obviously see this type of integration as a benefit to them, not a competitor. We hear a lot about new tech companies creating new paradigms, etc., but I’ve always suspected that ultimately the likes of Uber will lose out to existing big companies, who know how things work ‘on the ground’ and have the capital and know-how to back it up. BMW have made no secret of seeing the future of cars as involving some form of car-sharing along the lines of the Copenhagen project. An alliance of more far-sighted car companies and established public transport operators could potentially wipe the floor with the new tech companies, including google.

    1. Sam Kanu

      When I think of Arriva, what comes to mind from a few years ago, is experience of dirty, poorly run trains in London, as well as plain irresponsible scheduling of trains in Wales.

      Also it is an extremely poor idea of give a single company a franchise – monopoly – covering multiple modes of transport. Basically, then they can run crappy expensive trains AND at the same time they have locked out competition in terms of people taking car sharing.

      Incredibly bad idea. I would go as far as to say “malpractice” from a govt point of view, as it is NOT in the best interest of the taxpayer/commuter to do this.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The articles on Syria.

    It does seem that some sort of consensus is building up among the usual suspects that the way forward in Syria is to back a mixture of Kurds and ‘moderates’, formally against Isis but equally against Assad. Although how Turkey’s attacks on the Kurds will add to that mix is anyones guess. For all sorts of reasons that should be obvious to anyone paying attention, that will only make things even worse.

    it does seem that Putins strategy is to be a continuous bit of grit in the machine to any attempt by the West to depose Assad. Iran will probably add to that mix. I never thought I’d be in favour of anything Putin does, but if he does warn the West off further meddling in Syria, he will probably be doing everyone a favour.

    Having said that, its hard to see what any sort of endgame in Syria will look like. Assad will never again control the whole country, but it seems only Isis is capable of ‘unifying’ the country, which will of course mean a slaughter greater than anyone has seen up to now. Some sort of partition seems inevitable. The best we can hope for is that its a reasonably sensible one.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Putin advised against the Iraq invasion, Libya, urged for softer power in Libya, and has warned random bombing campaigns would lead to a refugee crisis. I know Vlad isn’t an American, but perhaps, he is a villain for reasons other than Western propaganda outlets claim. Oh, he has allowed safe haven for Snowden when he knows there is no system of justice in the U.S.

      Let’s not mention greater Asian cooperation. He managed to get the Pakistanis and Indians to agree on an anti-terror strategy.

      Believe it or not, there is a much larger world than a “performance art group” being arrested for breaking and entering and destruction of property at a museum then filming said crimes. “Pussy Riot” isn’t much of a rally cry these days. I guess people saw the video of their “free speech.”

      Putin is still ultimately a reaction to Yeltsin, the guy who created all the oligarchs. That oligarchs who was supposedly poisoned according to MI6, truly an upstanding organization, made his money defrauding ordinary Russians. The world didn’t lose a voice for anything worthwhile.

      1. different clue

        What oligarch was that? What is the name of the oligarch who was supposedly poisoned according to MI6?

            1. different clue

              So, he actually was poisoned? And he really wasn’t an oligarch at all? Didn’t even have a single million dollars?

    2. DJG

      The end game in Syria is going to have to be quite upsetting for the U S of A and its neo-lib / neo-con elites: The U.S. is implicated in the destruction of Iraq as a viable state, with estimates of 4 to 6 million internally displaced and 2 million refugees. The numbers for Syria are roughly the same. We don’t even keep track of Afghanistan. Yemen, who cares? Libya? Let the Italians handle that. End game? I don’t see one.

      Until the U.S. elites are willing to give up their corrupt relations with Our Friends the Israelis (the only democracy in the Middle East (™) and with the Saudis, religious fanatics extraordinaire, we will see a continuing humanitarian crisis. So don’t hold your breath.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t like to say “I told you (our foreign policy gurus, not you) so*”, but this mess was predicted back in 02. The under 16 population in Iraq was huge. There were two post war baby booms.

        *It happens so often it loses any kind of utility.

      2. OIFVet

        Not as upsetting as you might think. The Euro lemming elites, OTOH, yes they are upset as Europe gets swamped by a human refugee waves due to the wars and “revolutions” they so willingly aided and abetted. The Mediterranean ain’t as big a barrier as the Atlantic, plus there is the curious fact of the refugees suddenly deciding to leave Turkey… So why would any of this upset US elites? It keeps the Euro lemmings busy, and makes them even more dependent on the “NATO” security umbrella. That’s a great outcome for neocon/neolib elites. They can use the situation as a lever to overcome opposition to the TTIP as well…

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: America’s silent-but-deadly billionaires: How our tight-lipped overlords are waging stealth campaigns against the middle class Salon

    Unmentioned is the establishment and funding of “think tanks” purporting to “study” issues, produce “research” and arrive at “conclusions” that conveniently coincide with billionaires’ “interests” while simultaneously becoming “facts.”

    Then, of course, there is ownership of the “media,” where those “facts” become conventional wisdom. Here issues are framed or ignored, think tank hacks and political operatives become “experts” and disclosure of conflicts of interest are optional. Not to mention celebrity “journalists” with a fat paycheck, signed by those very same billionaires, to protect.

    When money is “speech,” the term “tight-lipped” takes on a whole new meaning.

    1. Brindle

      Follow the money. When I see an opinion piece in, let’s say the NYT, by a writer I am not familiar with, often I will wiki or google them to get an idea of who signs their paychecks—before I read the article.
      The dissemination of propaganda is a multi-layered process—the major media are the devices for delivery.

      1. tongorad

        It’s not that difficult to follow the money and peek behind the curtain – and that doesn’t bode well for our future does it? People cannot be bothered. Has it ever been easier to strip the bullshit off of the propaganda? Again, people cannot be bothered.

  8. Brindle

    2016 / Sanders /Clinton

    At a Union Labor Day weekend event in Wichita, Kansas, Sanders supporters had a booth—no presence for Clinton.

    —About a dozen Bernie Sanders campaign volunteers manned a booth at the event, but there was no visible presence of Hillary Clinton supporters, even though Clinton has already secured the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest and most influential unions in the country. The AFL-CIO, of which the local machinists are members, has not yet endorsed a candidate.

    The Sanders volunteers said they were trying to get the Democratic candidate for president to come to Wichita.—

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Mortgage debt — the new retirement time bomb WaPo

    “Moraif says one of the dangers of retiring with mortgage debt is that the economy and markets may turn bad.”


    Ken Moraif is a “SENIOR adviser at Money Matters in North Dallas, Tex.” I’ll bet this firm is very successful. This Moraif guy is BRILLIANT.

    1. GuyFawkesLives

      Several years ago, I was speaking with the state legislator who sponsored Washington’s “Foreclosure Fairness Act”* and told her, “Have you seen the ‘deals’ that the banks are supplying as ‘modifications’? They are including a huge balloon payment on the backside. What that means is if that family should ever: 1) need to move for a job; 2) face divorce; 3) lose a job, they would be facing foreclosure all over again.” The legislator nodded that, yes, she knew and understood the ramifications.

      The legislators/elected officials have all received the same message:
      screw the lowly homeowners, fix the laws to support the banks.

      *definition of irony should include that if “Foreclosure” and “Fairness” is ever be used in the same description of a legislative act, then it is ironic.

  10. Steve H.

    ‘Scientists may have just stumbled upon a mathematical secret to how nature works’

    Actually, it’s basically Kleiber’s Law, which dates from 1932.

    The value of the study is that it looks at a very high number of communities. In this way it’s more akin to the economic studies which actually look at effects rather than the McEconomics of flipping equations.

  11. craazyboy

    “If You’ve Ever Wondered If Tim Duy Will Ever Get It”

    No, Tim…we don’t get raises because the Fed cuts interest rates.

    1. MikeNY

      No one wonders whose side the Fed is on. That’s obvious to the blind, deaf, lame and halt.

      Duy needs to lose the Fedolatry. As you correctly point out, they do not control the world economy. If we want to give workers a raise, there’s a political process for that.

      1. craazyboy

        I don’t think there is any hope for Tim Duy. He’s been doing essentially the same “cutting the Fed rate [to banks] solves any and all problems” post for at least 15 years, which was when I first discovered there is a Tim Duy.

        1. MikeNY

          Problem is, the Fed believes that bullshit, too. And it’s convenient for our political class to say they believe it — passing the buck.

  12. Swedish Lex

    Regarding the refugee situation in Europe.

    The majority of the French are against accepting more refugees, irrespective of the disastrous situation. The most negative are the the people voting to the right. Young people are more negative than people over 65! (who are old enough and not stupid enough to have forgotten about WWII). The “traditional” French right consists of catholics who generally (not all) are xenophobic, islamophobic (and homophobic). Sarkozy’s party is not far from the extreme right on this issue, meaning that the French, as opposed to the right in Germany and in Sweden, are oblivious to people drowning in the Mediterranean.

    Sarkozy was actually on vacation in Corsica in August (renting a house at 8000 euro per week), sold the photoshopped pictures of him and his wife to Paris Match which of course made the cover and was all the talk in Paris that week. Meanwhile, hundreds were drowning and thousands were suffering a few 100 kilometers from where Sarko was sunbathing. Such is the solidarity of the French right.

    Funnily enough, the Pope earlier today told all catholic parishes in Europe to accept at least one family of refugees. Let’s see how the French scum on the right respond to that.


    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The relationship between France and the Papacy was never close. They kept the Pope under house arrest for a time.

      In the early days of the Libya fiasco, the French were worried the death of Gaddafi (he would be 75 now) would exacerbate a refugee crisis as tribal warfare took over which is probably true. They took the opportunity to back an outfit (the Libyan National Council was the elite and upper middoe class of Benghazi; they werent long term guerrillas) that seemed like it could run things. The problem is neo liberals descended on the country, spending cash that once went to social programs on malls and propping up Libya’s currency and we, the U.S. blew up a good deal of infrastructure, handed out weapons, and flooded the place with lunatics instead of enforcing merely a no-fly zone.* France is already a major immigrant destination, so there position isn’t entirely surprising.

      *I didn’t agree with this this, but at least, I can see reasonable outcomes from this strategy versus Hillary pretending she was Caesar from the comfort of Versailles on the Potomac.

      1. Swedish Lex

        Total, EDF and other French multinationals were on the official French jets that flew to and from Libya to “help peace”. Litterally. Was part of the deal. Ironically, it is the Hillary emails that show this.

        Still not possible to prove that Gadaffi sponsored Sarkozy’s 2007 Presidential campaign but Sarko’s eagerness to have the Libyan killed as soon as possible – and not brought before justice – speaks volumes.

        Most French “traditionalists” on the right define themselves as catholic. They marched by the millions against gay marriage and now refuse more refugees (the majority). In this context, does not really matter whether they are close to the Vatican or not.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          My brother-in-law is French and lived/operated in the top echelons of Tripoli for the five years before Gaddafi was deposed. He says it was common knowledge that Gaddafi fronted multiple billions to UniCredito during 2008 and they didn’t feel like paying it back

  13. Keith in Modesto

    Just read the article about drivers in China deliberately killing pedestrians (by hitting them again and again after initially hitting them accidentally). Absolutely horrific and appalling behavior. I understand the incentive, that (purportedly accidentally) killing a pedestrian carries much less liability than just injuring them. But killing someone in order to save money — could something be more textbook evil? And many of the examples are of children. Seems the U.S. isn’t the only country enabling sociopaths.

    1. Vatch

      If a driver hits a person once, that might be an accident. But if the driver backs up and hits the person again, that’s intentional homicide. I’m pretty sure that would be considered first degree murder in the United States, and I suspect that China has something similar in their laws. If surveillance videos show a car repeatedly driving back and forth over a victim, and the defendant is only found guilty of accidental homicide, we can be certain that the judge was bribed.

  14. GuyFawkesLives

    It appears Fannie Mae’s new “mortgage program” understands that the price of housing can only be afforded by the low wage earner if they include multi-generations of family members who may be wanting to live in the same house.


    1. craazyboy

      That’s how the Japanese kept their housing prices up. A 100 year mortgage and 3 generations under one roof.

  15. MikeNY

    Re: Clinton v. Trump.

    The man says some things bluntly that are bluntly true, such as that Jeb! and Hillary are owned by the lobbyists and billionaires. Surprise! Despite the best efforts of the Depublicrats, people have not completely lost their ability to recognize the truth.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Until I ran for President, I told Jeb and Hillary to jump, and they went how high. Hell, Bill gave me advice on running against his wife just because I’m loaded. Yo, those cnbc shows need to bring in some younger models.” -the line from Trump that wins him the nomination

      1. optimader

        Interesting notion. The POTUS electoral filtering process have become so utterly toxic, rendered of any bluntness, that Trump may be just be in a place and time where many people are wanting to embrace someone who seems to speak extemporaneously whether or not it makes any sense or is accurate is quite irrelevant.

        Consider the last 15-16 years, two election cycles won by a guy who was a variation on an intellectually exceptional version of Foster Brooks w/a combination of ADD and OCD driven by addiction. Bush piloted the country into terrain leaving an economic shambles bereft of any foreign policy dignity.

        So he’s followed by a guy (also elected twice!) who is the Neoliberal incarnation of Elmer Gantry who could pitch BS bromides without saying annnd….ahhhhh, ummm… that his peeps thought smelled like daisies, all while serving a duplicitous agenda!

        In my heart I feel the R apparatchik threw the first BHO election thinking he would not be able to kick the economic can down the road and he would take the hit on cleanup duty. Low and behold he embraced the Plutocrat’s status quo and, not too amazingly when considered in that context, was re-elected running against a knucklehead. That second election was a Plutocrat win-win either way.

        So now there is a portion of the electorate thinking , well jeeze it seems like this guy Trump is pushing back on the status quo, some of it seeeeems to make sense and the real crazy talk, we’ll chalk up to his having a passionate Type A bombastic politically incorrect nature, kinda like a fun version of Gordon Gecko!

        He seeeeems to be a successful guy…He doesn’t seeeeem to need to enrich himself and curry favor to entrenched Plutocrats. What the heck, I want to herd with a winner, maybe some will rub off on me !

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I would add one more item. I’ve been inside Trump tower. There were Trump casinos. Trump had a successful reality show. Trump seems more like a very successful small business man than a glorified paper pusher. 401ks and casinos might be the thing today, but at least the latter can fun. I’ve never gambled more than $5 except for my fantasy league, and I enjoy returning my winnings after explaining it’s not really a fair competition.

          Back to Trump, he builds stuff you and I can see. Mittens was a hedge fund guy and thus fake. Dubya had a baseball team and was an oil man. His daddy was just a bureaucrat living off family wealth and economic chicanery. I can’t buy the Carlyle Group pet rock or walk into a franchise of Neil Bush. I really think this males a huge difference. Perot’s old companies became major parts of HP and Dell. I can judge his worth. I can pop in my vhs tapes of the Apprentice, the one where the chick had the huge knockers*, and judge for myself.

          *I have no idea what happens on The Apprentice. I’ve never seen it. If this President thing doesn’t work out, Trump could do a show, “The Page.” Who can fetch more staples before the printer is done next time on NBC?

          1. Sam Kanu

            Back to Trump, he builds stuff you and I can see

            More like he takes money from pension funds and builds buildings with their money and puts his name on it. Charlatan and a troll.

          2. Larry Dallas

            W borrowed money from his fathers friend to purchase a minority share in the Texas Rangers. He was never really a baseball guy.

          3. Yves Smith

            Huh? Trump inherited a real estate business and was basically by virtue of that able to ride the stunning reversal of NYC real estate from the fiscal crisis of the later 1970s to today.

            He now basically operators as a licensor of his name. Other people run those businesses. Trump just takes royalities.

            His financial statements show he has hardly any liquid assets. And not as much in real estate as you’d expect. And the real estate is so levered, who knows how much net worth is there.

            1. optimader

              Trump’s brand is his asset as you say, its all about leverage and appearances. Live off the cashflow, lease everything, it’s the American way.

              As far as W goes, He succeeded in bankrupting an oil exploration company in Texas, then his dad’s friends installed him in the Texas Rangers after engineering an eminent domain stadium deal. It would be inaccurate to imply he barrowed money to do anything premeditated and clever. He was anointed with financial independence like so many political creatures (see Rahm Emmanuel file)

              1. redleg

                I’m not inclined to defend dubya at all. But… having worked in the mineral exploration biz, more go bankrupt than not.

              2. NotTimothyGeithner

                People buy gas, so being an oil man resonates with a kind of voter. It seems like a man’s man profession.

                The Ranger ownership is important. He traded away Sosa who probably wasn’t juicing at the time, but there is a radical difference between pre- and post-Camden Yards stadiums*. Anyone who went to a Rangers game in the new stadium had a good time. There were billboards of the displaced outside. Seeing Trump’s rise, I now think this mattered to people. It wasn’t noticed because it wasn’t national trend, but the Pittsburgh metro area was likely inundated with references to how the new ball field was modeled on parks such as the Texas Rangers stadium in the year 2000.

                *Fenway is a dump. Inevitably, they will be the Foxborough Red Sox. My family had a Fenway cat when I was a lad.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              It’s a perspective. You can hold and inspect the Trump brand in a fashion. The average person can’t hold the Mittens brand since George Romney. Trump’s supporters feel they can judge the value of Trump’s business acumen or worth.

              His business reality isn’t as relevant as the access to the brand. I have no idea how those Trump affiliated buildings went up, but they are there. This makes the difference.

            3. NotTimothyGeithner

              I agree with you 100%, but it’s Trump’s name on buildings, not the operators. In this case, facts sound like sour grapes because why isn’t your name on the building if you are so smart. If I was Konservative, I see a “known” brand in Trump being attacked by “Libruls”, “Dimmiecrats”, and a wing of the GOP I never trusted (the Southern Strategy is still relevant) Trump became public enemy number one when he challenged the GOP establishment.

              This is an element of Trump’s appeal. His “worth”can be judged without a middleman. Romney’s time at hedge funds needed explanations.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Years ago, Nader offered an explanation of Jesse Ventura’s win in Minnesota: he “didn’t sound like a politician.”

        There’s also a long-standing fantasy of the politician who suddenly starts saying what he really thinks – and is elected by acclamation. Warren Beatty made a movie based on it – don’t remember the title.

        Trump unites these two themes. (In reality, he self-censors more than it appears – for instance, he supports single-payer, for obvious business reasons, EXCEPT when he’s seeking the Republican nomination.) I didn’t think it would really work, but so far, it is. A recent poll showed him beating Hillary Clinton, the ultimate mealy-mouthed pro. That might get him the nomination.

        Although outspoken, Sanders is actually much more of a politician – and he doesn’t say the sort of outrageous things that Trump does. At least, they don’t sound outrageous to us.

        Trump’s positions, insofar as they’re known, are actually all over the map – on single payer and “free trade,” he’s well to the left of the Democratic Party. On other things, like immigration, he’s harshly right-wing. It’s perhaps more important that he’s running a cult of personality, which does make him potentially dangerous.

        1. redleg

          The Ventura election as a 3rd party candidate had him up against two sock puppets – Norm (f’n) Coleman and Skip Humphrey.
          Trump looks to be in a similar position.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    G20 eyes faster economic reforms.

    Monetary policy alone will not cut it. It is necessary. It is recommended from our perspective, particularly in Europe and in Japan still, but it will not cut it on its own,” she said.

    “Clearly in the fiscal sphere as well as in the structural reforms sphere, more needs to be done, and it needs to accompany and eventually take the baton from the central bank governors.”

    Boosting investment was key, the G20 financial leaders agreed. Governments will prepare their final investment strategies by November, when G20 leaders are to meet to discuss them in Antalya in Turkey


    Details, details.

    Certainly, we don’t need to investment in more ghost cities, steel plant or on more copper mining.

    Besides, we have ask why we need more ”growth.” To improve our material lives?

    We can do that without growth, but with a better distribution of the world’s wealth.

    And the best way to avoid doing that is to talk about growth and the need for more investments.

    1. craazyboy

      Personally, I think “free condoms for all” would go a long way towards greening the planet.

      So that would be a start for needed infrastructure spending around the entire world. Condom factories everywhere – not just China. Tho after seeing data that indicated India had population growth over the last 20 years equal to the entire population of the US, they should get lots and lots of condom factories.

      Then, hopefully the US can figure out some other worthwhile things to do.

      1. ambrit

        I personally like Frank Herberts idea of a designed virus that makes you sterile until you do some difficult personal environment modifications to promote oogenesis. That way, two people would need to really want children to have them. Come on Darpa! You’re up to it!

  17. optimader

    I was curious if the driven to kill Slate piece would be posted.. Based on my experiences in China in the late 1980’s early 90’s, no I don’t think it is sensationalism.

    It’s a cultural thing that seems bizarre, as in savage to us, but so do many of the social norms of say ancient Greece, Rhome no less certain modern ME countries to name a few,,,and visa versa.

    China is very, very different than the West, in particular the US. We see them embracing certain consumer manifestations of the West and we extrapolate that to the incorrect assumption they have the same sensibilities. They don’t, and we don’t get it.

    Examining the rest of the world through our own idealized cultural lens and wanting to change it to reflect our own idealized self image is an expensive and futile American phenomena.

    It is what it is, and in this case it’s Chinese. Creepy? Yes I sure think so. Any worse than putting freshly born baby girls out on the curb/ No not really.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think a good way to find out is if we post the same article to say, people in Japan, India, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, and other countries, and see if there are some universal reactions to that article.

      1. optimader

        I suspect the universal reaction expressed will only be a reflection of people appalled by the behavior. I doubt people who really take no issue with it would comment candidly.

        Hope your having a good holiday.. Beautiful weather here. The honeybees are getting drunk at a Hummingbird feeder that’s out in the Sun. I’ve been putting brown cane sugar and honey in it this year, seems to be a popular concoction. Funny to watch them when I walk by.

          1. optimader

            No worries, I use a concentrated concoction, Actually honey is naturally an antibacterial agent and I only add a bit. I also add a bit of maple syrup. I do a boiling reduction to remove water content. The secret is to keep it as anhydrous as possible, that’s why honey doesn’t naturally ferment. They all dig it , so its not around long anyway.

            1. Elliot

              Honey is not a natural antibacterial agent except when undiluted; you can culture bacteria and molds out of it that were not dead but suppressed (botulism for example). The sole reason for its suppressive behavior is its hypertonic state; once diluted it is every bit as much food for microbes as table sugar.

              I know it’s fashionable to revile white sugar but honey is not a safe substitute for it in nectar for hummingbirds (nor is it safe for human infants).

              If you want to not feed sugar to hummers, plant more flowers that are adapted to feed them, which has the added advantage of not attracting heavy wasp populations.

    2. ambrit

      J. G. Ballard lived in Shanghai before WW2 as a child and spent five years in an internment camp under Japanese control during that war. He has some informative observations about Chinese and Japanese attitudes towards life and children in particular in his autobiographical “Kingdom of the Sun.”

      1. optimader

        I’ve observed it first hand in post Mao China. It’s gruesome stuff, but not a new development.
        I was on the highway between Beijing and the airport when it first opened, utter chaos that was a combination of mostly poorly driven vehicular traffic traveling too fast, pedestrians, bikes, oxcarts. What amazed me was the disregard each group had for the others. This was the case on surface roads as well in any city I was in. Bike riders and pedestrians that would literally step out into traffic without so much as a glance. car drivers that would drive into a literal sea of bikes and pedestrians which would part like a slow motion school of fish.. or not.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My only issue is we, Americans especially, learned this behavior when we were 16 except a certain aunt who will remain nameless. My Greek uncle is a maniac behind the wheel. In his spare time, he saves lives.

          We didn’t start dumping modern death machines on a population who have been exposed to Hollywood car chases. Even our motor vehicles laws are in direct response to motorists who thought they had the right of way because they were motorists. This kind of happened in China and Eastern Europe. Our car behavior seems natural, but we had time between then introduction of the automobile and the 50s to make changes.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Its not sensationalism sadly – those stories have been around for a long time and there are numerous CCTV films out there to show it happening. It is regularly reported on Chinese news – although I think its so common now that only the most extreme cases get reported. Most Chinese people I know find it highly embarrassing.

      I think it is a combination of the perverse incentives caused by otherwise admirable laws to ensure that those disabled by others carelessness are adequately compensated, and a general hierarchical society where people outside a particular social circle (and the victims are invariably the poorest) are not really deemed important.

  18. Bev

    For the Common Good:

    The September 2015 NY Times Billboard

    $4,500 Raised – $4,500 to Go – Thank You for Making It Possible!

    After two days of fundraising, we are halfway to the $9,000 needed to pay for the September 2015 New York Times Billboard. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far.

    Here’s the story on this important opportunity. Just last week, the owners of the billboard across the street from The New York Times — a spot they usually sell for more than $20,000 — came to us with an unbelievable offer of $9,000 for four weeks.

    We knew we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to amplify our message during the 9/11 anniversary. And so we are sharing it with you. If you would like to see this billboard go up next week, please chip in what you can by the end of Labor Day weekend to help make it possible.


    Now is our opportunity to send that message even more loudly. And to make sure they have no excuse not to look at the evidence, we’ll be mailing the Beyond Misinformation booklet to every editor and reporter who works in The New York Times Building. Of course, it’s not just about The New York Times: Our impossible-to-miss billboard will also be seen by 100,000 people each day. That means a total of three million views during the month of September.

    Please help us capture the attention of the nation’s “newspaper of record” — and of millions of New Yorkers and tourists — by making a modest contribution this Labor Day weekend.

    Thank you for helping to make this the most educational 9/11 anniversary yet.

    The AE911Truth Team

  19. abynormal

    re Margaret Atwood: The geezer vote
    lost my lunch on the first two comments:

    Pavane •
    I haven’t read any of her books and, after that first HDS article, I haven’t read her writings here. Atwood doesn’t offer anything more than the puerile thoughts of the Lefties frequenting this comment board. Has she said anything insightful, or just spiteful?
    55 votes Up no Downs
    JJRoss Pavane •
    The article above is neither entertaining nor informative.
    I agree with you, it is simply spiteful.
    55 votes UP no Downs
    i understand ‘our’ privatization of curiosity but does Canada recognize theirs?

    “Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” MA

    “Don’t let the bastards grind you down…MA

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Agree. If you read a little further down in comments, it levels off a tad. We are in a crappy period of history (ha,ha, just when we need our wits the most).

      1. hunkerdown

        In short, promotion is a the signal that one should be more than superficially interested in something.

      2. abynormal

        the capitalization of MSM, social media, technology for the few and shock oracles exterminate, through fear and shame, curiosity by dictating belief systems. a few quotes come to mind:

        “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

        The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”
        Carl Sagan

        “The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital. The live green earth is transformed into dead gold bricks, with luxury items for the few and toxic slag heaps for the many. The glittering mansion overlooks a vast sprawl of shanty towns, wherein a desperate, demoralized humanity is kept in line with drugs, television, and armed force.”
        Parenti, Against Empire

        “I am often asked the question How can the masses permit themselves to be exploited by the few. The answer is By being persuaded to identify with them.”
        Doctorow, Ragtime

        “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” I. Asimov

        “Thinkers aren’t limited by what they know, because they can always increase what they know. Rather they’re limited by what puzzles them, because there’s no way to become curious about something that doesn’t puzzle you.”
        Quinn, My Ishmael

        screw thirsty….stay puzzled my friends ‘ )

  20. Nathan Tankus

    re: predator prey models. there have been predator/prey models for a century. the way the dynamic works ie the growth rate differentials maybe different than in the existing literature but this is really just an adjustment to existing models, not a “brand new” mathematical model. I think that story is badly written.

    1. abynormal

      the above maps are out dating quickly…
      This year is described as the driest year in the last decade and as a result the agricultural sector, which uses an average of 70 percent of all water sources, will be negatively influenced and food prices may increase. The decline in water levels in dams could negatively affect electricity generation and suppliers may have to resort to other sources such as natural gas. In order to plan effectively, we must consider not only the environmental effects of drought but also the social and economic consequences.

      The effects of drought can be clearly seen in the Middle East. Under normal conditions, only one-fourth of the world’s average precipitation falls in the Middle East. What’s worse is that this year rainfall was at its lowest level in 60 years, especially in Jordan. This period of drought was also seen in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, and adversely affected water sources and agricultural activities. This year, food imports will rise in the Middle East, which is already the biggest importer of food in the world. In Syria, where a civil war still rages, this year’s rainfall was half of the annual average. Experts say that drought will be particularly severe in the cities of Aleppo, Idlib and Hama.
      Additionally, the demand for water within a growing population, concern for food security, unproductive use of water resources and the lack of modern irrigation techniques in agriculture causes a major loss of water and further deterioration of the situation. In order to use water efficiently, water management strategies should be regulated and public awareness raised. In addition, climate change will alter the management and functioning of present hydraulic structures (hydroelectric, flood control, drainage and irrigation systems).

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