Links 10/22/15

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Crocodiles sleep with one eye watching BBC

Kobe’s Yamaguchi-gumi cancels Halloween event amid internal strife, promises a return next year Japan Times (YY)

Quantum Theory Experiment Said to Prove ‘Spooky’ Interactions New York Times (David L)

EU fines Sony, four other firms €116 million over disc drive cartel Japan Times

Mediterranean diet ‘may slow the ageing process by five years’ Guardian. I’m really stunned at what they consider to be low meat consumption and high fish consumption….

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Are Making Us Fat and Giving Us Diabetes George Washington

Vanuatu court sentences MPs, including former PMs Carcasses and Vohor, to jail for corruption ABC (YY)


‘Official Statistics Understate Chinese Unemployment Rate’ Mark Thoma

China Slowdown Sees Investment In Africa Plummet 84% Value Walk

Europe’s banks face a difficult global retreat Financial Times. Long overdue.

European Inquiry Focuses on a Mysterious Starbucks Business New York Times

Bank of England wades (tentatively) into EU referendum campaign Open Europe. More proof that central bank “independence” is hogwash.

Eurozone integration will threaten Britain’s financial stability, warns Mark Carney Telegraph

Between the lines: Carney’s EU speech Financial Times

Defiant Portugal shatters the eurozone’s political complacency Telegraph

On Corbyn and our collapsing orthodoxies Open Democracy

Britain’s big banks set to avoid being broken up by competition watchdog Guardian

Refugee Crisis

EU calls mini-summit on refugee crisis as Slovenia tightens border Guardian

Refugee crisis: France to build heated tents for women and children in Calais International Business Times

Hungarian journalist sacked for kicking refugees plans to sue one of them Guardian

Canada and the Anti-Austerity Movement New Yorker


US pours scorn on Assad Moscow trip BBC. The US party line was we were negotiating a time table with Russia for his departure….”Pouring scorn” does not indicate a position of strength.

Assad Finds Chilly Embrace in Moscow Trip New York Times. OMG, what a confection of spin.

Saudis Risk Draining Financial Assets in 5 Years, IMF Says Bloomberg (furzy mouse)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Approves Nuclear Deal With West, Orders Its Implementation Haaretz (furzy mouse)

Netanyahu Holocaust remarks: Israeli PM criticised BBC

After Netanyahu Remark, Germany Reasserts Culpability for the Holocaust Atlantic. Lambert: “Moar wowsers.”


Joe Biden Concludes There’s No Time for a 2016 Run New York Times. OMG, now he is BLAMING his failure to run on Beau because he was mourning? This is beyond tacky.

5 things the Benghazi committee wants to know CNN. Testimony later today.

Why The Stakes Are So High For Hillary Clinton — And The Benghazi Committee NPR

GOP to elect Speaker next week; conservatives skeptical of Ryan The Hill. Lambert: “Wowsers. Freedom Caucus dude compares selection process to hiring a maid.”

Paul Ryan Does Not Understand the Speaker of the House Job – or His Caucus Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

The People vs. Citizens United: 7 Steps to Reversing Runaway Political Spending Bill Blum, Truthdig (furzy mouse)

U.S. Investigates Venezuelan Oil Giant Wall Street Journal. To quote Lambert, sometimes I am not cynical enough. Since when has the US been concerned with looting in developing countries? When I had then Citibank as a client in the early 1980s, it was widely known that its very large wealth management business consisted in large measure of what was politely called “flight capital” from Latin America. People with an operating brain cell knew a big % of that was looted from governments. Ditto with any financial institution doing meaningful business in Africa.

Has It Become Impossible to Prosecute White-Collar Crime? Bloomberg. Lambert: “Read the last line.”

Only 15% of California’s Big Solar Projects Are on the Right Kind of Land IEEE Spectrum (Chuck L)


4-year-old girl dead after Albuquerque road-rage shooting Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Takata and Honda Kept Quiet on Study That Questioned Airbag Propellant New York Times

Citi warns of negative sentiment, contagion in credit markets Business Insider

US regulator signals bid to curb high-speed trading Financial Times (furzy mouse)

The Dangerous Opacity of Modern Banking Atlantic

U.S. Treasury supports broad bankruptcy protection for Puerto Rico Reuters

Class Warfare

Obama Administration Urges No Bankruptcy Relief for Student Debt UPI. We featured another report on this yesterday, but if you haven’t read the details, you must. Shameful.

Public R&D austerity spending cuts undermine our grandchildren’s future Bill Mitchell (furzy mouse)

The Life and Death of an Amazon Warehouse Temp Huffington Post. A must read. Notice the apparent poor emergency response by Amazon.

Antidote du jour:

iguana links

And a bonus video from Chuck L. I like it better with the audio off.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Kokuanani

    As I scrolled down and saw the picture of the iguana, I thought it was Bernanke’s portrait from a new version of his book cover.

    1. low_integer

      I’ve heard that if you squint at the cover of Bernanke’s book it turns into a magic eye picture of cockroaches on a kitchen countertop.

    2. Benedict@Large

      I just had an iguana stroll by my condo yesterday. They’re pretty common down here in south Florida. If you’ve never encountered one, especially in the wild, use caution. They like their (your) meat just as much as they like their vegetation. And they’re pretty substantial in size, running as much as 4 feet head to tail, weighing in at 20 pounds and up. On cold nights, they use their sharp nails to pul themselves well up large trees, where it stays a little warmer than the ground. But watch out … if it gets cold enough, they go into hibernation, and just flop right out of their tree perches onto whatever (or whoever) is below them on the ground. And they manage to do this without even waking up, which might make you think, “Oh, look at the poor dead iguana on the ground.” But watch out. If they suddenly wake up and your fingers are available, they might just think your fingers are on the breakfast menu. And they hold on pretty tight once they bite in. Not to get you all afraid or anything, because mostly they’re pretty human-shy, so as long as you show them some respect, you’ll probably be fine. And they are quite magnificent creatures to look at.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I wonder if it’s covered in Materia Medica…what are its medicinal properties, for a traditional Chinese medicine doctor?

        “Best to soak in rice wine for a few years”

  2. Ruben

    First. an argument for anarchism: Power decreases trust in social exchanges

    Second, economic costs of climate change much higher than previously assumed.
    Burke et al. 2015. Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production. Nature (Published online 21 October 2015).
    Resolving conflicting predictions at the micro- and macro- levels by introducing nonlinear effects at the macro- level authors from Stanford U and the U of C at Berkeley conclude: “If societies continue to function as they have in the recent past, climate change is expected to reshape the global economy by substantially reducing global economic output and possibly amplifying existing global economic inequalities, relative to a world without climate change. Adaptations such as unprecedented innovation[…] or defensive investments[…] might reduce these effects, but social conflict[…] or disrupted trade[…]—either from political restrictions or correlated losses around the world—could exacerbate them”.

    1. Alejandro

      “Maps are not the terrain”…if accurate, they may be useful, but if change-is-constant then their eventual obsolescence is also constant.

      How would these “findings” change if unaccountable were used to describe “power”…

      I agree that “Trust is pivotal to the functioning of society”…but shouldn’t that trust be earned? Shouldn’t power be accountable? Shouldn’t unaccountable power always have the presumption of corruption?

    2. Synoia

      First. an argument for anarchism: Power decreases trust in social exchanges

      I do not believe “anarchism” means what you think it means. This is no eqality in anarchism, where only “might is right” is the rule.

      You might try “egalitarianism,” or “socialism.” I personally have doubts about socialist apparatchiks believing in equality. (See Animal Farm.)

      1. Massinissa

        No, I think you dont understand what anarchism is.

        ‘Anarchy’ means absence of authority.

        ‘Anarchism’ is a philosophy.

        Dislike anarchism if you want (im not one myself), but youre distorting matters.

        1. Field Marshall McLuhan

          Human nature abhors a power vacuum. Whenever a power structure is taken down, a new one always springs up, even if it’s as simple as “Do what I say or I’ll blast your head off.”

  3. Paul Tioxon

    The republican congressman who compared Paul Ryan’s demands for accepting the job of speaker of the house to an uppity maid has a lot to unpack. But for my money, or distinct lack there of, how far removed are you from the middle class if you are that familiar with hiring domestic servants? Forget the crap about demeaning the 3rd most powerful person in DC and the world, who the hell has a maid? This is the rich class of big shots who have nannies, au pairs, drivers, personal assistants etc etc. But the maid, the cleaning lady perhaps by another name but more present and uniformed, the maid is typically the regular daily house servant who does all the menial things that wealthier types simply do not do for themselves.

    They are also the infamous sex objects, a la Arnold the Governator, that fill the gossip reports on who has just entered splitsville. What the Freedom Caucus is really getting at is this: Is Paul Ryan ready to bend over and grab his ankles at a moments notice to satisfy whatever crackpot political whim of the week is spirited up from the bowels of right wing bloggers, talk shows and assorted pundits. Walls across the Canadian border, shutting down the government on a regular basis, preparing the ongoing impeachment of Obama, Hillary and all democrats who eventually find themselves elected to the Oval Office?

  4. fresno dan

    The shooting death of Erin Smith made a brief mark on Florida history. In the week following her death, four more children were involved in unintentional shootings across the state. Three of the shootings were fatal. In the fourth, a six-year-old boy shot his three-year-old sister, paralyzing her for life. The events of that week and the constant drumbeat from the press were enough for the Florida legislature, which was already adjourned for the year, to go into special session to pass a law that would make it illegal to leave a gun un-stored and unsecured where a child could find it.

    The law had been pending for two years, written and championed after an earlier tragedy. Nine-year-old David Berger was killed in Florida in 1987 when his friend, also nine, found a rifle under his bed, picked it up to play, pointed it at David, and shot him in the face. His parents, Bill and Susan Berger had been enraged — are still enraged — that there were no consequences for the other boy’s parents. The family had been allowed to leave the state after David’s death; the local police said there was no way they could press charges. “What we were faced with was that we were told that there’s no wrongdoing at all, that it was just a normal occurrence of everyday life that somebody could leave a loaded gun around a child,” Susan Berger says. Politically savvy and relentless, they helped write the law and secured support from their local state congressman, Harry Jennings, a Republican. The law made adults criminally liable when children were involved in these types of shootings.
    here are around 110 fatal shootings involving children under 14 each year, according to a new study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that at least another 1,000 are shot but survive.
    Jaleel Abdul-Adil is a psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who helps run the school’s Urban Youth Trauma Center Institute for Juvenile Research. His goal is to get treatment providers and other caregivers to view anti-social behavior among adolescents and teens as a result of previous trauma, not as a result of intrinsic wickedness. He has seen firsthand that when a child commits an act of violence, whether it’s part of gang activity, in self-defense, or in an accidental shooting like Sean’s, it can leave deep psychological scars. In part that’s because there’s so little sympathy for any child shooter. Even when it’s an accident, people feel, or need to feel, that there must be something inherently off about a kid who somehow got his hands on a gun. “Public opinion says, ‘I don’t care what your story is, why you did it — you did something wrong,’” he says. “‘Other kids aren’t out here having these kinds of accidents. That kids needs to be punished.’”


    There’s your problem right there: “Even when it’s an accident, people feel, or need to feel, that there must be something inherently off about a kid who somehow got his hands on a gun.”

    Not “….there must be something inherently off about an ADULT who let a child get his hands on a gun…”
    Unfortunately, the article gives no data on how many adults are prosecuted and convicted under such laws.

    1. skippy

      To bad the University of Illinois at Chicago psychiatric methodology is based on the individual and not social, see prominence by Dr. Carl C. Bell.

      All ways treating the output and not the cause….

    2. abynormal

      But there is NO problem locking up parents for child Truancy: After a woman died serving time in jail for her children’s truancy fines, the Guardian investigated US truancy data and how states try to enforce laws for keeping kids in class
      Depending on the state, students can be considered truant after one day or up to “10 half-days” of unexcused absence. Schools handle minor infractions through warning letters, parent-teacher conferences, and other means. But in 40 states and the District of Columbia, parents of repeat offenders can face fines – anywhere from $20 to $1,500, plus court fees – or short-term imprisonment. Browse the embedded chart to find where your state stands and compare it against others. (Note that local districts may set their own definitions or penalties within the states’ limits.)

      In every country where independence has taken the place of liberty, the first desire of a manly heart is to possess a weapon which at once renders him capable of defence or attack, and, by rendering its owner fearsome, makes him feared.
      Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

      1. Massinissa

        How do they choose which parents to prosecute for truancy? I was absent alot as a student (graduated 2011), but my parents were never arrested.

        Is it because they were not black? Im not even joking, is that how they decide which truant childrens parents to prosecute?

        PS: the state is Georgia, I dont know what the laws are here

  5. Bottom Gun

    Re the Bloomberg article on financial crime: I used to work for a federal prosecutor at a major regulatory agency. If you think the weakness of Uncle Sam’s ability to pursue financial criminals is some sort of accident, I have a leveraged synthetic CDO backed by a portfolio of traffic facilities across the East River that I would like to sell you.

    1. fresno dan

      My thoughts exactly.

      Has It Become Impossible to Prosecute White-Collar Crime? Bloomberg. Lambert: “Read the last line.”

      “But the pattern suggests that law enforcement may have lost the ability to choose the right cases, or that it lacks the expertise to try them in a courtroom in a way that makes sense to jurors, many drawn from the ranks of working people who must struggle to understand the vast, mind-boggling modern financial system.”

      Funny how they don’t even posit that the real reason is that we have the best government money can buy.

      As with the robo signing scandal, there is nothing there that is incomprehensible for a person of even middling intelligence. Documents were forged. On a massive scale. This is massively illegal. This was done to make money fraudulently. Its wasn’t prosecuted because the financial types have bought off the government.

      There….didn’t take me pages and pages and pages of exposition to describe it, or any calculus.
      But you have to start with ethical government…

      1. Nigelk

        As always, Fresno Dan, I enjoy your posts, but you have this annoying habit of using logic and common sense to address macro issues; While such skills are very useful whilst surviving *inside* an oligarchy, there is no place for it among those *managing* one…

    2. griffen

      As I’ve seen on this website multiple times on varying conversations:

      It’s a feature, not a bug/ flaw. I do not think it impossible, but highly unlikely (lack of political will to do so, and follow to fruition).

  6. fresno dan

    It’s almost as if the Fed were designed to confound explanation of it, precisely so the Rick Sterns of the world could never hope to influence it. Aristotle, in his ‘‘Poetics,’’ described a formula for emotionally engaging drama that screenwriters still consult to this day, with central characters and a plot that moves from a beginning through a climax to resolution. Presidential elections can be molded into this Aristotelian structure perfectly, as can many major news stories. The Fed, by contrast, seems more like somebody sat down with a copy of ‘‘Poetics’’ and carefully constructed its opposite. There is no beginning to Fed action; it’s always there, always acting, even when its action is to not make any changes. There is no natural climax. It’s just an ongoing conference between a group of economists. And it is never resolved. There is no single moment when the Fed is done.

    Seems to me asking how the FED works is like asking how laws are made – its clear enough. E.G, Why aren’t there more stringent gun control laws? Ask Bernie Sanders (I am not critical of Senator Sanders – just pointing out what I want and the majority of people and their representatives want are two different things).

    Interestingly, a previous chairman, Alan Greenspan, cast himself for a time in the role of protagonist, single-­handedly driving the action forward. He clearly didn’t read about the inevitable destiny of the tragic hero; after decades of being revered around the world, he saw his hubris lead to the near collapse of the entire global economy. (Lin-­Manuel Miranda, please call me; I just got a really good idea for your next hip-hop musical.) Greenspan’s successors, Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, have reverted to the Fed norm of trying to be the human embodiment of an Excel spreadsheet: gray, data-driven, personality-less, passion-free decision makers.

    Maybe the FED didn’t cause the tech bubble, maybe it’s contribution to the housing bubble was minor, and maybe whatever effect the overnight interest rate has is marginal at best, and is all correlation versus causation anyway…

    Is the FED a McGuffin designed to deflect attention from other actions that could more effectively and efficiently deal with the economy?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Xi Holo-Opium Wars remarks.

      After Xi Holo-Opium Wars remark, Cameron reasserts British culpability for those two holy-profit Opium Wars..

      “Wait. It was just a bad dream. I got a few countries mixed up.”

  7. low_integer

    While watching the news channel last night here in Australia, I happened to see some of Biden’s announcement that he would not run for president, I think it was being broadcast live. He talked a lot about the need to make college education free and reign in the powerful lobbying interests, saying that even though he was not going to run for president he refused to be silenced. I have no idea how sincere he was about this however Obama was standing next to him and did not look impressed at all. None of the usual head nodding that one often sees when politicians are standing next to another politician from their party who is making a speech. Personally, I found it all quite amusing.

    1. low_integer

      Hmmm, having just read that ” [i]n 2005, Biden, then a U.S. senator from Delaware, helped secure legislation that would permanently bar both public and private student loans from bankruptcy protection”, I’m guessing not very sincere.

      1. abynormal

        thanks for doing the Nasty for us.

        Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.
        Bertrand Russell

        Politicians were mostly people who’d had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers.
        Martin, Ace in the Hole

        Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can’t read them either.
        Gore Vidal

        He’s an honest politician–he stays bought.
        Robert A. Heinlein

        If politicians stopped meddling with things they don’t understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates.
        Thomas Sowell

      2. optimader

        If this was MSoft was rolling out a Biden revision , the “not sincere” tickbox would be pre-ticked.

        It was probably getting on toward dinnertime and BHO mind was lost on how to deflect his M-in-L and wife’s haranguing him about yet another weekend golf trip he hasn’t sprung on them yet.

        BHO’s calendar shows his POTUS tee times that he is regretfully Xing out as the clock counts down.

        His legacy will be his handicap. Or is it the other way around? not sure.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Maybe he is being sincere, but cognitive dissonance can be at play. My guess is the put out polls and the 2005 Bankruptcy Act and Clarence Thomas were kisses of death for any support outside of people who would like Jim Webb if Webb hadn’t opposed the Iraq War. He might even be concerned about his lackluster career. The Iraq War hurts too, but unlike Hillary, Biden won’t find do supporters who can claim he’s trying get to make it in a man’s world.

        Biden might be trying to gain a status as a statesman of sorts with his waning days because he doesn’t have much to distinguish himself from the most loathsome Democrats except Obama picked him to be VP after the even more loathsome, Bayh and Kaine, didn’t enthuse Democrats in Indiana or Virginia.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Maybe he hemmed and hawed enough that he wangled a gig with the clinton global initiative speaker’s bureau. He’s not gettin’ any younger and he’s got a family to provide for.

          Apparently there are some who find his “folksy,” aviator sunglasses wearing style entertaining, and I’m sure they could be convinced to pony up half a million dollars for 30 minutes of it.

          1. Rhondda

            “He’s not gettin’ any younger and he’s got a family to provide for.”

            True that he’s ever longer in the tooth but his wife has her own career and Hunter’s doing just great, thank you, with his crony capitalist Ukraine energy gigs.

      4. Vatch

        Biden, then a U.S. senator from Delaware, helped secure legislation that would permanently bar both public and private student loans from bankruptcy protection

        That was probably S. 256. Here’s the roll call, and Biden did vote Yes. Interestingly, Hillary Clinton didn’t vote:

        Bernie Sanders wasn’t a Senator yet, so we have to look at the House roll call, and he voted No:

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Clinton voted for the 2001 version. She missed the 2005 vote due to Bill’s heart surgery, but amazingly enough, she voiced regret for her 2001 vote when she was debating Obama in 2008.

          1. Vatch

            She voiced regret? Crocodile tears?

            The 2001 version (which did not become law) did contain the provision that exempts student loans from discharge under bankruptcy:


            Section 523(a) of title 11, United States Code, is amended by
            striking paragraph (8) and inserting the following:
            “(8) unless excepting such debt from discharge under this
            paragraph would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the
            debtor’s dependents, for–
            “(A)(i) an educational benefit overpayment or loan
            made, insured, or guaranteed by a governmental unit, or
            made under any program funded in whole or in part by a
            governmental unit or nonprofit institution; or
            “(ii) an obligation to repay funds received as an
            educational benefit, scholarship, or stipend; or
            “(B) any other educational loan that is a
            qualified education loan, as that term is defined in
            section 221(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986,
            incurred by an individual debtor;”.

            And as you said, she voted for this bill, as did Biden:


            Sanders voted against the companion bill in the House:


            I guess the House and Senate couldn’t resolve their differences in 2001.

  8. Carolinian

    This may be worthy of some NC discussion

    Few outside the legal community are familiar with the concept of “exclusion,” which permits many federal agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Department of Health and Human Services — to temporarily or permanently block corporations that violate their rules from doing business with them…..

    It’s much easier to exclude someone than to convict him of a crime. None of these agencies need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt or convince a jury that the executive knew her company was violating the law. Although executives are entitled to due process and can appeal the decisions in federal court, judges largely defer to the agencies’ expertise.

  9. abynormal

    modest rise from -0.39 to -0.37, The Chicago Fed National Activity Index is holding at its lowest since January 2014’s weather-blamed collapse. September’s negative print is the 7th (of 9) this year, the worst grouping since 2012. For the first time since June, the 3-month average has dropped negative again. Confirms the six-out-of-six regional fed surveys that shout recession.

    come on…need those green shoots for the CRICKETS

    1. abynormal

      Bloomberg reports, National Economy Expectations tumbled to 42.0 – just above Sept 2014 lows and almost as weak as during the 2013 government shutdown. 2015’s weakening streak is the worst consistent drop since 2011 \ as Americans’ spending attitudes tumble the most since May.

    2. three eyed goddess

      “come on……need those green shoots for the CRICKETS”
      Move along, only us COCKROACHES here………

    3. MikeNY

      So all is going according to plan. Mrs Magoo will never raise rates, and Draghi is readying more QE.

      It’s a great time to be an oligarch.

      1. Jim Haygood

        From the CFNAI (Chicago Fed national Activity Index) report:

        ‘All four categories made nonpositive contributions to the index in September.’

        Obviously, this is double-squared ungood.

  10. Antifa

    Whether Paul Ryan is elected or rejected as Speaker next Wednesday isn’t of lasting import. He can’t fulfill the job requirements in either case, which IS of lasting import.

    Political power concentrates in the Speaker’s hands because he’s the one guy in the party who can make deals on the spot with any Member, and deals between all factions, and deals between House and Senate, House and Oval Office, House and national Party. Those outfits don’t talk turkey with anyone who can’t deliver on deals made.

    The Speaker also raises most of the party’s slush fund, the generalized donations “for any good Party purpose.” The checks get written when the person who can make solid promises on behalf of the party is in the room.

    The Speaker’s job is a natural bottleneck and funnel for money and power. It’s a sausage factory, and it’s a 24/7 lifestyle more than a job at all. You don’t accept the Speaker’s job, you seize it, and from then on you kick any butt that doesn’t get in line with promises the Party has made. There are serious, long term strategic deals on the line, and money in the pipeline to pay for them. The role of the speaker is to see them fulfilled.

    Paul Ryan cannot fulfill these specs. He can’t do the job, even if he can get the job.

    1. Massinissa

      Isnt that a reason for him to get it then?

      I think I would like both speakers to be absentee layabouts. Let them stay on their yachts instead of trying to ‘govern’ the country, I say.

      1. Antifa

        Alas, the role of chief dealmaker on the House floor will only be claimed by some enterprising soul or other, whether they get a gavel and title or not. If you can make political sausage, people are going to keep you busy night and day in back rooms, on K Street, at the Pentagon, and at fundraisers coast to coast. There’s a lot of Other People’s Money involved. No one’s going to leave it on the table.

        Ryan wants weekends off, and to be treated like the Sun King on weekdays. The hard work, the fundraising, the role . . . someone else’s problem.

        Whoever steps up to do those things well, can claim the Speaker’s gavel when they desire it.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I heard one of the tea bagger candidates make a point about the decision making process and advocate changes to how the House should be run. He had been Speaker in Florida and claimed to have made similar changes.

          It’s probable the Speaker’s role has grown far too much given its political and fundraising nature especially if the Speaker and President aren’t in the same party and can’t share duties.

          Since party loyalty is extreme by world standards, I’m not opposed to a decentralized process. It’s probably better than Pelosi introducing equal committee representation during her Speakership.

  11. Jagger

    Spooky Interactions

    ——In particular, Einstein derided the idea that separate particles could be “entangled” so completely that measuring one particle would instantaneously influence the other, regardless of the distance separating them.———

    —-physicists are increasingly erasing doubt — alternative explanations that are referred to as loopholes — that two previously entangled particles, even if separated by the width of the universe, could instantly interact.—-

    So time and distance is ignored. Instant communication. It is almost as if the communication exits our physical universe along a connection outside of our universe-without our rules of time/distance- and then reenters. Wouldn’t that give us instantaneous communication which is supposedly impossible in our universe of time and distance. If the communication connection is actually outside of our universe, wouldn’t that solve the mystery of impossible instantaneous communctions?

    —-quantum mechanics about the existence of an odd world formed by a fabric of subatomic particles, where matter does not take form until it is observed and time runs backward as well as forward.—–

    So time moves forward and backwards. Between time moving forward and backwards, shouldn’t we see time stop? What happens to distance if time does not exist? So what happens to time and distance at the speed of light within E=Mc squared? Would that offer a method for instantaneous communication? But then, would we truly still be within our universe if time=0?

    A subatomic world with adjustable time and formless matter? Is it really a part of our universe if the rules are so different? Maybe it is actually an interface between our universe and another independent universe…or perhaps the original source of all universes?

    1. ewmayer

      “So time and distance is ignored. Instant communication.”

      No – entanglement cannot be used to propagate actual information faster than light.

      1. Jagger

        My use of the word communication is not meant to imply walkie talkie type communication but influence on entangled particles:

        “entangled” so completely that measuring one particle would instantaneously influence the other, regardless of the distance separating them.

        Note the influence is instantaneously and can be faster than light speed dependent on the distance separating the particles. Should be impossible even for light lacking mass within our time/distance universe. IIRC, there is suppose to be a hypothetical particle with a faster than light speed.

        1. Rhondda

          “He’s not gettin’ any younger and he’s got a family to provide for.”

          Naw. His wife has her own career and Hunter’s doing great with his crony capitalist Ukraine gigs.

        2. Jagger

          dependent on the distance separating the particles.

          Actually I believe the above is incorrect. Instantaneous means communication is instant regardless of distance. Even adjacent particles should not be capable of instantaneous communication due to distance regardless of how small. Time must past thus not instantaneous. Instantaneous communications should be incompatible with time and space.

  12. Tertium Squid

    1 Step to Eliminating Runaway Political Spending:

    1. Stop voting for who the tv commercials tell you to.

    As long as the contributions officials gain via corruption compensate for the votes they lose, they’ll keep doing it.

  13. fresno dan

    The Dangerous Opacity of Modern Banking Atlantic

    “In their disclosures, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Bank of America make it difficult to determine the extent to which their businesses are dependent on derivatives contracts. These disclosures are often purposely obtuse, masking the real nature of the business for investors and laymen.

    Even Warren Buffett has confessed that he does not comprehend JPMorgan Chase’s balance sheet, which indicates its $1.3 trillion worth of derivative positions. He has called derivatives “weapons of mass destruction” and questioned what they contributed to the genuine growth of the economy. Kay tends to agree: “Buffett is smart enough to understand what he doesn’t understand,” he told me recently. The bankers, by comparison, are “smart, but not smart enough to understand what they are doing. They don’t really have a clue.” What they do have a clue about, though, is the value of an industry so complex that the public, the media, and regulators can barely comprehend it.”


    I have to say that I don’t understand how these companies make money.
    I keep money in the bank and get essentially zero interest – I don’t have much of a problem with that because the debit and credit card services, checking, safe keeping of money, and record keeping strike me as still a fair deal.
    But I don’t understand how any institution would buy most countries bonds at such low interest rates and how they can make a “true” profit. If we all continually trade a 100$ bill, and continually charge each other fees, at some point everybody is getting poorer in this group, because the piddling amount of interest will not cover all the administrative costs, not to mention any profit. I suspect the same is true of derivatives. It is merely a big casino kept in business by the suckers known as taxpayers…

    I have read, and I agree, that if all the losses were truly tallied against all the profits, in fact the modern financial system has lost money. It only continues because it has formed a cartel and says that there will be no money unless they are bailed out.

    What is amazing to me is that we have proven that trillions of dollars can be generated out of thin air…but apparently ONLY to support the assets of the wealthy. Because deflation. Funny how bad deflation is when the big banks lose money, but when its an average homeowner its the….market. Which MUST be allowed to work! except when it harms the 0.01%…

    1. James Levy

      What I think they are doing is de facto creating money via derivative “instruments” then shaving a bit off of the burgeoning mass of derivatives/futures in the form of fees. The more leverage they are allowed to make, the more they can skim, the richer they get. Most of the derivatives seem never to be “cashed in”, or they create new derivatives that somehow cancel out the old ones or extend the period before they all have to be liquidated and the profits and losses tallied up. It’s like having trillions in IOUs floating around with the financial sector making billions off of buying and selling them but no one ever redeeming the IOUs. Or at least that is what it appears to be from where I sit on the outside looking in. If others know better, I’m all ears.

      1. andyb

        There are a lot of people who play blackjack at the casinos that adopt the strategy, when they are losing, to double down on each subsequent bet. The casinos counter this by posting a bet limit. There is no such limit on the banks, because the taxpayer is ultimately responsible.

        There are estimates that there is $2.5 quadrillion of derivatives already written. The FDIC will cover about .000001% of this amount. When the already bankrupt major banks have their final FED orgasm, the derivative collapse will mop up all bank deposits and the contents of any safe deposits boxes as well.

      2. meeps

        Whatever became of Brooksley Born? I haven’t heard her mentioned since Frontline’s ‘The Warning’ in 2009…

  14. Tertium Squid

    Life and death at Amazon

    When he got Amazon—OK, this is something he can retire from. Something he can work his way up.

    :( There’s a cultural artifact from long ago, and one that makes money for the powerful. “Sure we’ll exploit you now, but you’ll totally make up for it three decades from now.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder how many people mistakenly send or spend money over there thinking they’re saving the Amazon rain forest?

      Subconsciously, of course

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right.

          I just think it’s quite tragic, if, say, a town in the Amazon wants to re-name its football stadium, from say, Manaus Stadium, to Amazon Stadium, the citizens over there will have to pay a huge sum of money to that giant corporation.

    2. cnchal

      . . . Since workers at the Chester facility were typically expected to pull 100 items or more per hour, a picker could expect to walk more than 12 miles over the course of a shift. The handheld scanners allowed managers to track precisely how long it takes workers to fulfill an order, and those who failed to “make rate” could lose their jobs. Jeff moved quickly up and down the aisles alongside men and women half his size, earning the nickname “Tornado.” “If I gave him a directive, he took care of it,” said Tim Taylor, a supervisor at the warehouse. “You didn’t have to explain it—he just knocked it out.”
      Mike Roth, vice president of North American operations for Amazon, said the company ensures employees are working at a safe pace. “We do have goals for employees in regards to performance metrics,” he says. “We have a team that regularly looks at the metrics to ensure they are safe, fair and attainable.” Like many warehouse staffing companies, Integrity doesn’t require workers to take a physical to work in an Amazon facility. 3 However, the company said it provides prospective employees with extensive information, including a video, so they understand the physically taxing nature of the work. “IT’S GOING TO BE HARD,” one brochure warns. “You will be on your FEET the entire shift and walking upwards of 12 MILES per shift. (yeah, that’s really far!) … YOU WILL HAVE TO: LIFT, BEND, SQUAT, REACH & MOVE (there are no sit-down positions.) DON’T BE AFRAID; YOU CAN DO IT.” Applicants are also quizzed on their ability to perform basic requirements. If an employee has a medical condition, Integrity says it will allow for more frequent breaks or lifting restrictions.
      A former supervisor at Jeff’s warehouse described the safety culture as “very, very methodical,” with “exceptionally high standards.” Amazon, she said, required Amcare to call 911 in certain situations even when there was no obvious emergency —say, if a worker’s blood pressure reached a certain level. Still, she said, some workers were clearly unprepared for the pace. “We had people who were bookkeepers or laid-off accountants or other desk-type jobs,” the supervisor said. “We tried to be very, very upfront. … I said, ‘You are going to hurt after the first week. … You are going to crawl into bed and pray you can get out in the morning.’”

      Torture as a primary working condition. From the sadists at Amazon. When you sell through Amazon or buy from Amazon, it’s on you. What a horror show, and government subsidized too.

    3. cnchal

      At the warehouse, Jeff was a picker, fetching orders to be shipped to Amazon customers. A handheld scanner gun told him what he needed to pull and the exact aisle and shelf where he would find it. Since the Chester facility covers 1.1 million square feet, the equivalent of roughly 18 football fields, the right shelf might be just around the corner, or it might be 100 yards away.

      Since workers at the Chester facility were typically expected to pull 100 items or more per hour, a picker could expect to walk more than 12 miles over the course of a shift. The handheld scanners allowed managers to track precisely how long it takes workers to fulfill an order, and those who failed to “make rate” could lose their jobs.

      Not logical logistics. Doesn’t Amazon have a big computer so this absurd walking/running about is minimized?

      Mike Roth, vice president of North American operations for Amazon, said the company ensures employees are working at a safe pace. “We do have goals for employees in regards to performance metrics,” he says. “We have a team that regularly looks at the metrics to ensure they are safe, fair and attainable.”

      Translation: we push the workers till they drop dead, and then back off a little.

      A former supervisor at Jeff’s warehouse described the safety culture as “very, very methodical,” with “exceptionally high standards.” Amazon, she said, required Amcare to call 911 in certain situations even when there was no obvious emergency —say, if a worker’s blood pressure reached a certain level. Still, she said, some workers were clearly unprepared for the pace. “We had people who were bookkeepers or laid-off accountants or other desk-type jobs,” the supervisor said. “We tried to be very, very upfront. … I said, ‘You are going to hurt after the first week. … You are going to crawl into bed and pray you can get out in the morning.’”

      Do the warehouse workers wear blood pressure monitoring devices, so that Amazon knows when to lighten the whip lashes?

      Being tortured by Amazon is a jawb requirement, and when a tragedy happens, it is callously hidden. What a horror show.

  15. NotTimothyGeithner

    Whoa! It’s being carried by fox and Newsmax which are not ideal sources, but there is chatter Carter gave the Russians a map of ISIS targets from his daily intelligence briefing.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Biotech, comrades: unlike the moonshot in the rest of the market, Biotech isn’t recovering at all from its August plunge. Indeed, it’s not far from reaching a new low for the year. Chart of BTK:

    In turn, the health care sector (of which Biotech is a part), after being propelled to massive gains by Obamacare, now is lagging instead of leading the market. Chart of XLV:

    All is not well, beneath the ZIRP-induced glee. Mr Market is off his meds, and this manic phase is likely to be followed by another self-pitying funk.

  17. JEHR

    Finally, it took The New Yorker to point out the most important differences between the Canadian parties: Harper balanced his budget by selling GM shares at a low rate and by cutting budgets in federal agencies by at least 10% (in other words, he introduced us to austerity); Mulcair started talking about balancing his first budget after becoming PM; and Trudeau said, I am going to have three years of deficits to pay for infrastructure and boost the economy. So at least we know that Trudeau understands how money works and the other two haven’t a clue. This seems to me pretty indicative of our having a good chance of getting a better government with Trudeau than with the other two. (Knowing something about MMT is useful.)

    1. Inverness

      Well, I have a more cynical view: while Mulcair was going on about balancing the budget, the Liberals saw a great opportunity to move to the left (which is what a critical mass of Canadians wanted, anyway). It was a strategic move on the Liberals part. Mulcair remains the best parliamentarian and the guy with the best track record, but he screwed up his campaign. Still, nice to see a move away from the balanced budget insanity, whether it comes from cynicism or not.

  18. allan

    Top Greek Tax Official Is Dismissed

    The Greek government on Thursday dismissed the country’s top tax official, saying she was not fulfilling her duty to aggressively collect taxes and fight tax evasion.

    The firing of the official, Katerina Savvaidou, the head of a supposedly independent public revenue authority, came at a sensitive moment in the country’s effort to mount an economic comeback and live up to the conditions of its international bailout program. …

    Ms. Savvaidou, who was appointed in June 2014 by the previous, conservative-led coalition, has lately been engaged in a public dispute with the left-leaning government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was recently re-elected on a pledge to meet the conditions set by the country’s creditors. Greece’s notoriously porous tax-collection system and high level of tax evasion are parts of the economy that creditors have demanded be fixed.

    The country’s finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, had sought Ms. Savvaidou’s resignation last week, after a prosecutor charged her with breach of duty for granting Greek television stations additional time to pay a tax on advertising revenue. She is also being investigated in relation to a decision to review a €78 million fine on a Greek company.

    A Cheney-style stay behind?

  19. Chris

    “Researchers from Stanford University and the University of California’s Riverside and Berkeley campuses identified 161 planned or proposed large-scale utility solar [projects]” on the wrong kind of land?

    Large scale solar projects are the problem, not the kind of land they are located on.

    Rooftop distributed solar projects are feasible and doable today. At one time, most of Florida’s hot water was generated by solar hot water heaters. Solar hot water is a no-brainer for most households. Net metering electrical tie ins are the future. Of course big solar and the Environmental Industrial Complex wants people to forget that and go with large scale, bond financed projects.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am curious what others think of the documentary film, Windfall.

        It shows the underbelly side of wind energy…the noise, the strobe light effect and the setback issues, with small towns fending off giant corporations subsidized by the government to make a quick buck.

    1. Gio Bruno

      …well, it’s both the land AND the project size that is the problem. As the article indicates, using parking areas for solar PV is a better solution because it provides local power on local land for local use. (My college campus has covered four parking lots with PV panels that provide power and SHADE to cars parked long term; what’s not to like?)

      Big projects are being proposed not only for the financial grifting that’s available, but often the land is PUBLIC lands (resource lands).

  20. rich

    Some comments on the Valeant conference call

    The interview at no point indicates that Philidor is tied to Valeant. Andy Davenport state they partner with “manufacturers to help bring their branded medications to market as cheaply as possible”. He says “manufacturers” plural but in reality they are captive by a single branded good manufacturer. He also says they chose the best manufacturers for the products on the market.

    It stated that they have 635 employees nationally – and they think they will get something near to 1000 employees in 2015. They thought they would be 12-15000 prescriptions per day by the end of 2015.

    The word Valeant never appears in this video. Similarly the word Philidor never appears in anywhere in the SEC filings for Valeant even though it is probably a double-digit percentage of Valeant’s sales. That is right – there is simply no mention of it in SEC files.

    Moreover Philidor has gone to some extent to hide its ownership. Here is the “whois” data on website ownership with the key details given:

    Registry Domain ID: 1774229314_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
    Registrar WHOIS Server:
    Registrar URL:
    Updated Date: 2015-07-21T19:49:11Z
    Creation Date: 2013-01-17T19:57:48Z
    Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2016-01-17T05:00:00Z
    Registrar IANA ID: 2
    Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
    Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8003337680
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Registry Registrant ID:
    Registrant Name: PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC
    Registrant Organization:
    Registrant Street: 12808 Gran Bay Parkway West
    Registrant City: Jacksonville
    Registrant State/Province: FL
    Registrant Postal Code: 32258
    Registrant Country: US
    Registrant Phone: +1.5707088780
    Registrant Phone Ext:
    Registrant Fax:
    Registrant Fax Ext:
    Registrant Email:

    Ownership it seems is deliberately hidden.

    Indeed Philidor appears to commit criminal offences to hide who their owners are.

    so how stretched are the industry’s ethics???

  21. Jagger

    i haven’t seen this here but Robert Reich has an article,, listing 4 methods in which pharmaceutical companies rip off the consumer. Including this one which I have never heard of before, paying off generic companies to delay release of generics:

    A fourth tactic is for drug companies to pay the makers of generic drugs to delay their cheaper versions. These so-called “pay-for-delay” agreements generate big profits for both the proprietary manufacturers and the generics. But here again, you and I pay. The tactic costs us an estimated $3.5 billion a year.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Senators do that all the time.

      “You hold off introducing this bill, and I will help you win the next election.”

    2. Gio Bruno

      It’s an accurate assessment. Phizer paid generic makers of Lipitor (atorvastatin) million$ to not introduce their generics for an extra year beyond the normal introduction date. (Phizer makes billions off of Lipitor, annually.)

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Crocodiles sleep with one eye open.

    That’s a trick Smaug the dragon needs to master.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US regulator signals bid to curb high speed trading.

    Personally, my philosophy is to travel through life in the Turtle Lane.

    Speeding in anything is dangerous.

    “High Speed wealth accumulation is not healthy…for anyone and for Nature.”

    Money the old-people’s way…slowly. “My entire $1,000 life savings? Accumulated through 3 generations.”

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese slowdown sees African investment plummet 84%.

    Probably we have seen the last of the modern 7 Treasure Boat voyages to that continent.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mediterranean diet may slow down ageing process by 5 years.

    From the article;

    Age remains the biggest risk factor for dementia, but genetics and lifestyle also play a part, Phipps added.

    I also think being skeptical and reasoning things out oneself is another helpful option against old age and its related challenges.

    One gets a good mental exercise being a gadfly.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think if one just asks ‘why, why, why’ 10 times a day, one can add one year to one’s life span.

      And if you do it 20 times a day, ‘why this, why that,” you will add 2 years.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Portugal, from the Telegraph link.

    Mr Costa’s hard-Left allies both favour a return to the escudo.

    Greece didn’t do it.

    Can Portugal?

    1. Massinissa

      Greece didn’t do it because they elected a guy who said he wanted to but really didn’t want to.

      Time to see if the elected Portuguese party was BSing or not.

      1. IsabelPS

        AEP wetdreaming again about the implosion of the euro.

        If Mr. Costa ever mentioned a return to the escudo, he would be politically dead on the spot.

        By the way, the President just instructed the leader of the most voted party (not Mr. Costa) to make a Government. And told the MPs: if you don’t like it, shoot it down.

  27. Vatch

    I just saw this. I don’t know any details other than what is in the article. The title says that 3 Syrian hospitals have been bombed, but the article says 4. Maybe the article was revised, or they’re having trouble keeping up with events.

    Here’s the start of the article (it’s not clear whose planes attacked the hospitals):

    At least four hospitals have been bombed by fighter jets in north-western Syria since Russia’s intervention in the war began in late September, doctors and international observers claim.

    The latest attack, on Tuesday, killed at least 12 people at Sarmin hospital in Idlib province. At least three of the victims were believed to be medical staff. Survivors and witnesses said the hospital was hit by two airstrikes at about 1pm.

    Dr Mohamed Tennari, director of Sarmin hospital, said the facility appeared to have been directly targeted and could no longer serve patients on one of the fiercest frontlines in the war.

    Later in the article there’s this:

    Physicians for Human Rights said it had documented 313 attacks on medical facilities and the deaths of 679 medical personnel in Syria since protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011 until the end of August 2015. “Syrian government forces have been responsible for more than 90% of these attacks,” the organisation said. “Each of which constitutes a war crime.”

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