Links 12/12/15

The Big Problem with The Big Short Me, The Fiscal Times

How Hedge Funds Are Pillaging Puerto Rico Me, The American Prospect. OK, self-promotion over. But do read these if you like, especially this long-form piece on just what’s being done to that island commonwealth.

COP21: Climate deal final draft ‘agreed’ in Paris BBC

House passes Customs Bill: climate change deniers embarrass U.S. delegation in Paris Friends of the Earth

How Utah quietly made plans to ship coal through California LA Times

Refugee Crisis/Bigotry Watch

Lawsuit: No-fly list has left Muslim Air Force veteran detained in Turkey The Washington Post

Fire at Coachella mosque was intentionally set, authorities say LA Times

Syrian Refugees Greeted by Justin Trudeau in Canada NY Times

Ally Returns to Mortgage Business Two Years After Total Exit Bloomberg Business

House Moves ‘Few Inches’ Closer to Omnibus Roll Call

9/11 first responders bill: Mitch McConnell poised to give Jon Stewart what he wants Politico

Farm groups welcome Highway Bill with crop insurance fix Iowa Farmer Today. I totally missed that this happened. There was a $3 billion (over 10 years) cut to crop insurance to pay for the budget bill, and in the highway bill they just reversed it. No fanfare, completely slipped by everyone. This is a good primer for what to expect on the omnibus.

I For One Welcome Our New Monopolist Overlords:

Martin Shkreli’s Latest Plan to Sharply Raise Drug Price Prompts Outcry NY Times

DuPont and Dow Talks Put Spotlight on Agricultural Industry WSJ

Tyson Foods’ Secret Recipe for Carving Up Workers’ Comp ProPublica

Ubers New Contract Restricts Drivers Right to Join Lawsuits Bloomberg. This comes right after a federal judge widened the class for the big misclassification lawsuit in California, ruling Uber’s old arbitration contract unenforceable.

The Economy Is Improving, So Washington Has Decided It’s Time To Screw You Huffington Post

Defense Contractors Laud Themselves for Steering Candidates Toward Militarism The Intercept

Ted Cruz using firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users The Guardian

Socialism Network Finds New Friends WSJ

Judge denies motions to throw out indictments against AG Ken Paxton Dallas Morning News. Texas Attorney General. Securities fraud case.

Dean Skelos and Son Found Guilty on All Counts NYMag

Antidote du Jour

mini-pigs links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

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


  1. ambrit

    I loved the tweet photo embedded in the Skelos conviction article of the door marked simply Senator. Now all ‘they’ have to do to make it perfect is put a “For Sale” sign in that doors’ window.

    1. allan

      This is really all about the weak recovery For parents with young adult children,
      we’ve had to watch them struggle with an unforgiving job market and the rise of the gig economy.
      Who among us has not arranged a no-show job for Junior?

      Meanwhile … Cuomo wishes he had never heard the name Moreland Commission.

        1. bob

          Moreland Omission.

          Cuomo still has his foot on the neck of the nastiest of the chairs- Fitzpatrck. Cuomo has to re-appoint Fitz’s wife to her state court seat.

          Fitz has made an entire career of holding back dirt and using it to gain political power. The J edgar paybook. Letting him rummage around in Albany’s pig pen, then closing the inquiry without releasing the findings is insane, and very good for Fitz.

          **It keeps being repeated, without any thought, that Pretty, the US attorney, subpoenead the records of the moreland omission. He. Did. Not. Never. Happened.

          Preet went to the chairs and *asked* for “A” case against silver, and then skelos. Not the cases (plural). Just “A” case. Opening those records would show the real rot, and we can’t have that.

          Omission complete.

      1. cwaltz

        Uh… I didn’t arrange anything for my kids and they had no expectation of anything other than hard work from the labor market.

        Yes, I’ve watched them struggle and I’ve seen the value of labor to companies erode, but because of my working class background, my kids always have known that work isn’t necessarily going to be enjoyable or easy. It’s been interesting watching those with college come to the conclusion that many of us have lived for years(I do think the bottom rung has the middle class joining them to thank for getting rid of the erroneous idea that the people at the bottom deserve to be there because they are lazy and not very smart. Surprise! You can work hard and struggle every single day to survive.)

  2. Skippy

    Ref: Ubers New Contract Restricts Drivers Right to Join Lawsuits Bloomberg

    Yep… drivers will now be required to put an awl through their ear…. in a public display… of servitude…

    Skippy… tho thankfully now days theres an app for that…. covered by EULA laws…. “I accept” click… more humane… ain’t uplift swell Beaver….

      1. Skippy

        Like innovation… more than not… its just reheated hash…

        Yet you remind me of the behavioral child psychology used in conjugation with basic colours and shapes, too influence cognitive – preferences in 4 to 5 year old’s, establishing a foundation for more advanced conditioning – branding once more advance shapes and colour combinations develop with age.

        Beaver existed in a time before… no kids left behind….

          1. Skippy

            I thought that was a matter of whom your law firm is and its location Furzy…

            Skippy… Something Locke and freewill stuff or ask Scalia

            1. jsn

              Post coup (2000 BvsG) American contract law: an American contract is only as good as the intentions of the richer party to it. Wherever tested, Supreme Court has upheld this principal.

              1. alex morfesis

                Sadly al gore is a wimp who was not prepared to die defending the constitution…so the bullies got to sack rome…and arlington had to make room for a few more young men who did not make it home for christmas…

                As to the bad guys always winning…just saw trumbo
                ..suggest everyone go see it on a big screen…the bad guys can be forced to lose…

                Abwehr discount cards are accepted only at participating locations

              1. Skippy

                I would like to present Scalia with the proposition that he rescue himself on the basis of penis envy… then watch his demeanor flux…

        1. ambrit

          I was just ‘discussing’ Common Core at another blog when I flashed on the old saying about successful revolutions. The first things taken over are the Media and Schools.
          The “real” Beaver ended up a policeman when he ‘grew up.’
          I stole the line about colour and black and white from a song I remembered by Kinky Friedman.
          What’s sad is that when most of the people who lived before the Neo Liberal Era began start dying off…

          1. polecat

            Ha!…… good one Carla. told my daughter, after graduating from both high school and college, that now is where the real world learning begins…..i think she’s realizing the difference between what she was taught (or not taught), and how non-linear the world actually is. As a Millenial…,. she knows the score!

      2. neo-realist

        The dream/delusion of the Beaver lives on in many (predominantly white) single family home suburbs throughout America.

        1. alex morfesis

          Perhaps the problem might be more the average parent allows society to turn every comment a teenager makes into some massive rebellion…kids talked back in the fifties on tv…and dennis the menace today would be suspended from school and jailed at 12 for hate crimes…

          Rosanne barr and her useless parenting skills scripting is what seems to resonate in many homes today…scream at your kids and eat fast food…

          Have no clue what passes for television anymore…

          other than following some baseball because of all the math involved , i dont pass on any marketing opportunities to esp/dizzy co by my presence…signed off and unplugged from the one way mesmer device years ago…

  3. jgordon

    It’s pretty jarring for me whenever I see this “…because the economy is improving” meme. Does anyone really believe this? I know that the poor aren’t buying it, but are the people a bit higher up the social strata delusional, willfully ignorant, just plain liars or what? They can’t seriously believe that the economy is improving, right?

    1. John Zelnicker

      @jgordon – I vote for delusional liars. And, I think “a bit higher up the social strata” is really quite a bit higher. I have clients making somewhat into six figures and they are almost as worried about the precariousness of the economy as those with lower incomes and assets.

      They know they are doing okay now, but have no confidence that it will continue. Some have an asset cushion, but they aren’t confident that it’s nearly enough if the sh!t hits the fan. And, they do expect the sh!t to hit the fan, they just don’t know from which direction it will come.

      1. jgordon

        Just to reiterate something I often say, you can’t go wrong buying land, solar panels, rabbit hutches and plenty of ammo. Make lots of friends in the area too.

    2. wbgonne

      My personal observation is that a lot of people seem oblivious. You go out in Boston or New York and bars and restaurants are packed, everyone seems content and happy, as if everything is swell (except for the nearly-invisible people living in boxes in doorways). I see almost no signs of uprising or resistance, nevermind revolution. Are these don’t-worry-be-happy folks living on credit, or are they all rich? I don’t know. But they appear to think all is well.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Not-So-Brave go dining out, perhaps.

        “They’ say, most people don’t have more than $1,000.

      2. DJG

        Yes. It does seem as if restaurants are packed, but then so many people no longer know how to cook. There also seems to be a bit of acting out of the servant problem in restaurants and coffeehouses: People go out to have someone cater to their rather ridiculous ideas of the perfect caffelatte.

        What I have been watching is clothes. For a number of years now, American clothing has been deterioriating. Most people seem to dress now in a hooded sweatshirt, a t-shirt given to them at an event with a slogan on it, and worn-out shoes. I see signs of depression, and I see cheap clothes, badly made. So as oblivious as many seem, they are sending out signs of collective personal and financial depression.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The homeless camps, still increasing, were previously known as hobotowns or jungles and were a key feature of the Great Depression.

          Their presence argues that we’re really in another Great Depression, but the PTB have learned to disguise it with a flood of cheap money to the rich. No more brokers jumping out of windows.

          And in the bigger picture, I think the financial collapse is just one feature of hitting the resource wall. Real growth is now impossible and what growth there is is mostly in “bads.” So the economy is now thrashing around, pretending to “grow” (mostly in debt) while more and more people are pushed completely out of it. The monstrous income inequality is just one more feature of our return to the 3rd World.

          This is the reason NC keeps posting links to the Archdruid: he’s good at stating the fundamentals in a very colorful way.

          IOW, the new Great Depression is a permanent feature, which we haven’t even begun to deal with except for a few permaculturists and Transition Towns.

        2. Oregoncharles

          PS: we buy essentially all our clothes at thrift stores. Not only are they cheap, you can sometimes find things far better than in the new stores, albeit out of date.

          Had an odd experience the other day: the family was out to dinner, and I wore an Icelandic ski sweater that apparently is older than I realized. The owner was so taken with this sweater he bought our dinners (hamburgers, so not astronomical). He also told me not to get rid of it; implied it’s now collectable. It’s certainly lasted a long time.

          1. ambrit

            We buy at the thrifts too. With prices still rising, anything to stretch the money we have left.
            By the way, the Hwy 49 Hobo Jungle is back. Phyllis spotted three tents set up in the wooded wasteland adjacent to the main drainage canal. The red light beggers are slowly building in numbers too. Now we are seeing families doing the cardboard sign routine. The “worst” so far was out in Oak Grove. A sixty something woman was sitting at a well travelled corner with a sign; “Please help. Can’t afford rent now.”

            1. Clive

              I still wear my 20 year old coats, jeans and even jumpers. The stuff I bought at any point in time during the last 10 years disintegrates, usually in less that a year’s wearing and washing. I’ve tried at all price points from bargain basement to top dollar — always with the same result, buttons falling off, seams coming apart and holes appearing. I keep hoping that I’ll find a packing crate with “St. Michael” branded clothing from 1989 at the back of the garage which I’d somehow managed to forget about. But that’s a forlorn dream I know.

              1. ambrit

                Agree about the ‘magic’ box in the attic.
                I have also noted the almost complete ‘fecalization’ of shoes now. Phyllis finally broke down and purchased a pair of Clarks leather “regular” shoes for Christmas. Pricey, but they should last a while. She says that they fit wonderfully and are comfortable. The fact that the three previous ‘affordable’ pairs of shoes she had bought had, as you observed about clothes, disintegrated in less than a years’ time, convinced us to spend the extra money in hopes of a superior outcome. Time will tell.

    1. DJG

      IsabelPS: I’m glad that you mentioned that. I’m seeing bunches of these staged photos of animals in knitted caps, cats in bags, dogs in Halloween costumes. It is starting to bother me. Can’t we leave animals alone?

        1. polecat

          “Yes dear…for most pigs, that’s true…. they do get eaten…..that’s just the way things are”

      1. craazyboy

        At least they didn’t put lipstick on the piglet. That would be mean. But the booties are kinda cute, and I wouldn’t assume animals don’t like being dressed up. I knew a guy that had a bull dog and on Halloween he dressed him up in a green pullover. Said he was a bull frog (it took some imagination). The bulldog was quite happy in his new outfit. Plus it was cold outside.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I had a cat that liked to sleep in paper bags – would climb right in. (He also liked to drape himself around your neck, very comfy on cold evenings, but he’d take a flying leap to get there, clawing his way the last bit.)

        A very stoned friend got quite a shock when the paper bag he was holding moved.

      1. IsabelPS

        I don’t know about suffering. But I would imagine the piglet would rather have his feet in mud than in rubber boots.

  4. wbgonne

    How Hedge Funds Are Pillaging Puerto Rico Me, The American Prospect. OK, self-promotion over. But do read these if you like, especially this long-form piece on just what’s being done to that island commonwealth.

    Great piece, Dave. This is the story that should be made into a movie. Economic barbarians re-colonizing and impoverishing a proud people. No one in power will help, nobody cares. Just Savvy Businessmen sucking blood. This is the kind of world we live in.

    1. bob

      ” Justice Samuel Alito recused himself from the case, because he owns tax-free municipal bond funds from Puerto Rico creditor Franklin Templeton.”

      Sounds about right. Although, I can’t believe he is the only one.

      Disclosure of stock ownership of private, publicly traded companies is required. Where is the list of owners of Debt?

      For those working in local politics, this should be the #1 question on any agenda- Do any of the decision makers own any of the muni’s? What about their relatives? Wives, husbands, mothers or fathers?

      This, alone, could go miles in getting rid of local corruption. Or at the very least, bring some light into the dark smokey rooms where the tax collectors get to put themselves first in being paid back, personally.

      1. bob

        Also, on the “smaller scale” of the big scale- Student loans.

        Does the judge who issues a $ judgement against a defendant have to disclose that he is a holder of Sallie Mae debt?

  5. Mbuna

    Ally Financial- Unfortunately they were the finance company on my car lease- they convinced me to not do business with them again under any circumstances. From corporate policy to the scripted responses, it was quite clear that the overriding theme they presented to me was that they were totally lawsuit-proof. Customer service amounted to dealing with scripted droids- I pity the people who worked there. I didn’t feel like I was dealing with human beings and they certainly didn’t treat me like one (there were a few exceptions). In trying to ship my car from Hawaii to California (we were moving) I was told by their legal dept. that my car could not be shipped to the mainland “under any circumstances”. 3 other “managers and supervisors” from Ally told me that a “certificate of insurance” for the time on the boat was required and both Matson and my insurance company (who were completely puzzled) told me that so such thing exists for shipping a single car. A conference call with an expert from my car insurance company (Progressive) left her completely baffled and she suggested I would probably have to talk to a lawyer (!) The only resolution came by luck from the Chevy Western US supervisor who happened to be visiting my dealer on Kauai who simply could not believe what he was hearing. He made a couple of phone calls… I did email him my entire saga and told him I will never ever by a GM product again under any circumstances.

    1. griffen

      This time it’ll be different….This time it’ll be different…( repeat as needed until one believes it ).

    2. hunkerdown

      Good for you. GM are the Verizon of the automotive world. They’re not just slimy like Sprint or passively evil like AT&T; no, they’re actively evil. I wouldn’t advise anyone deal with them if at all possible, and I would advise anyone buy their parts and tools from any aftermarket manufacturer, especially if they’re counterfeit. The dictatorship of the bourgeoisie has to stop some time.

      1. night-Train

        I feel your pain. Have a small mortgage on a rental property that gets sold every couple of years. Because of a 911 emergency system address change after the property was purchased, the address on the original mortgage is different from the one on the insurance policy. Every time the loan changes hands, I get a notice that the property lacks insurance and asking proof of same. And when I have my insurance agent send a letter of proof, they always refuse it and reply that proof of insurance is needed. Yet, when I finally get a human on the phone, they can never tell me what they will accept as proof. After the first time I ran up against this problem, although it is really their problem, I finally developed a solution, wrote a lengthy detailed letter, with attached maps and tax records, which they accepted. Since then, when the loan changes hands and I get the dreaded notice, I screw around with the new outfit for a couple of months just for the fun of it.

    3. bob

      Ally is the former GMAC. The part of GM that brought the house down, and somehow ended up better off than the part of the company that makes cars, not loans.

  6. tommy strange

    Hey David, your writing and links are great. As are Lambert’s, Yves’, and Wolf’s articles. I wanna give myself a pat on the back for forcing many bay area anarchist/lefties to read you all. You have to read the far left, as we do, mixed with the left of center to get a real picture of the disaster coming. I’m trying to get some kinda of bottom up mutual aid organization, that will also fight back, but ….well…..

    1. Yves Smith

      Thanks for getting our work in circulation. And if there are any sites you think we should be reading, do let us know. There are a lot of really good small blogs that either via happenstance or not being able to publish regularly enough (many bloggers have day jobs and others like to really hone their writing before putting something in circulation) that don’t have the following they deserve. All of the writers here suffer from having too many sites to cover, but we try to be omnivorous. And you can always use Links or Water Cooler to flag articles we managed to miss.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Speaking of such articles, here’s one that I find trenchant and important if not novel: “What Orwell can teach us about the Language of terror and war — Bureaucratic double-speak, tautology and ambiguous cliche not only dominate the language of public life from the health service to higher education, talking and writing badly also prepares the ground for military and terrorist action, writes Rowan Williams”,

        How us mopes end up getting led around by the lexicon…

      2. Carla

        When I mention Naked Capitalism to people here in Cleveland, I’m surprised how many say “Oh yeah, I read that!” And I try to enlighten the others.

  7. griffen

    Nicely done on that Big Short movie. Have read the book, and recently took a deja vu trip through it again.

    Interested to see how Lippman is portrayed. In the book he appears partly scum, and that is by DB standards mind you.

    1. Vatch

      As often happens, I was confused. Why would Walter Lippmann be featured in a movie about the recent financial collapse? A little digging showed me that this is not Walter, but somebody else. Confusion eliminated (until next time).

  8. susan the other

    About Utah quietly planning an infrastructure to ship coal to a new Bay Area export facility using money earmarked for mining reclamation projects and a loan from the Bank of Montreal. It wasn’t too long ago (10 years?) that California was opposing dredging Humbolt Bay to make a new port for export purposes (timber, etc.) and the bankster back then was Goldman Sachs. This new coal and commodities shipping plan seems to reflect climate denial more than anything. Wheat in Montana is either going to be scorched or rained out; coal is a non-starter bec China is shutting down most of its (older) coal plants and looks to be ready to phase the new ones out as fast as they can substitute renewable energy; there isn’t enough surplus alfalfa in the west to export; California is no longer the mega-agricultural phenomenon it once was and won’t even supply the US due to lack of water/production; potash? – who needs a new 53m port for a few products like potash? Nobody is thinking this through. The only people who will make money on this boondoggle are the financiers. Coal is being phased out and shut down all across the US and the money earmarked for reclamation should be used for that specific purpose and none other.

    1. susan the other

      And also too: House Passes Customs Bill (in all of its manifest ignorance and panic). Well that was fast – the first shot across the bow of the age of sustainability. And the ridiculousness of the TPP & TTIP. Trade shall not be interfered with no matter how damaging it is to life on earth? Right. How long will that last? Here’s a suggestion – while we are busy establishing a sustainable world, one of the first things we should do is create a safety net. For the transition period away from our previous nuttiness. We have lived on profits from trade and commerce for so long we can’t think of another way to survive. But we only need to change our mindset. There are lots of ways to evolve – it’s surprising nobody is promoting these new possibilities. No doubt it is due mostly to vested interests. Too bad.

      1. Carla

        Don’t forget TiSA — Trade in Services Agreement. It would enable corporations to sue municipalities and states for regulating or operating public services if they interfere with corporations’ potential for profit-making activity.

        Uruguay bowed out of TiSA last September, and Swiss cities are now declaring themselves TiSA-free zones:

        Let’s see if we can get our cities to do so, also.

      2. polecat

        Oh they’ll get promoted alright……by the 2nd law of thermodynamics! ……. we’re looking at a future Much reduced in energy usage —— human, animal, steam & very limited electrical generation —– oil, gas, and coal will get used-up, because humanity, in the main, has no capacity for restraint.

    2. Synapsid

      Susan the other,

      Coal use in the US is indeed in decline overall, as you indicate, but locally there are differences. Coal mining in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana is expected to increase, as more is sent to Texas (Texas is the largest user in the US) and exported I guess, and coal mining in the Illinois Basin is booming, right in the heart of coal-using country, because so many of the users have scrubbers that allow their plants to pass the regulations for both carbon capture and capture of mercury (this latter reg is coming.)

      Good news overall but more to be done. If and when prices for natural gas rise there will be switching back to using coal for power.

  9. allan

    Perhaps what we really need are not more high-tech workers, but broadly educated citizens flexible enough to adapt their learning to a variety of jobs and occupations — along with policies that ensure that American jobs will be decently paid.

    From that well-known Communist mouthpiece, Reuters.

  10. participant-observer-observed

    This fyi is apropos given DD appears to be manning the NC boards:

    I just discovered that CA franchise tax board is requiring all business filers to file electronically (although there is an automatic waiver available for 2015 to those who apply for it online). It also is set up to use and require federal IRS e-file registration numbers for e-filing, (even though IRS only requires e-files for multi-million-dollar companies). also provides a list of approved software providers; the only one in CA that has the capacity for business filing is Intuit, which looks okay and reasonably priced, but one feature caught my eye:

    The PRO version feature “Mobile access to your client data that fits your life-pro only. Securely access, check e-File status and respond to client request for copies of tax returns on the go for most smart devices.”

    >>If you use an accountant, you might want to check that they have phone encryption in addition to anything INTUIT and the cellphone network provider has in place!

    Great work on the Intercept contributions, D. Dayen!

  11. OIFVet

    Vet Center Put in ‘Chokehold’ After Being Hit With 32 City Code Violations. “The veterans center is the only property not controlled by the University of Chicago or the city on a stretch of King Drive between 54th and 56th streets and Garfield Boulevard from King Drive to Prairie Avenue adjacent to the potential site of the [Obama] presidential library in the neighborhood’s namesake park…“Why come to buy us out when they can just send the city?” Habeel said. “It’s easier to negotiate with a man when you first put him in a chokehold.” Habeel said city inspectors have come through the center before and not found so many problems. The city’s website did not show any inspections at the veteran’s center prior to April 1.”

    FU homeless vets, there’s money to be made here and you are in the way…

  12. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    COP21 agreement theatre, I mean isn’t it? When all of the major nations massively subsidize fossil fuel in one way or another. One subsidy of course is the massive tax breaks they all give their fossil fuel businesses. The next subsidy is the wars they pay for so they can have access to oil and gas. The next subsidy is the health care cost of fossil fuel air pollution (ask China). So they’re patting themselves on the back for small marginal moves on the one hand while massive, entrenched policy fights in the other direction. For this we need to pay 20,000 already highly-paid people to have a lovely time in Paris? And then sniff their f*rts as they brag about their great “accomplishment”? Is it all just designed so the public will remain asleep on this issue, because they are “really doing something”?

    1. Paul Tioxon

      COP21 Climate Accord Agreement By Consensus of 196 Nations

      Universal Climate Goals by world government diplomats begins the transition to sustainable power from a planet that relies on burning fossil fuels to power its economies. World governments agree to legally binding measurements of efforts to reduce planet temperatures to less than 2C. USA and developed nations avoid legally binding reparations for damages caused by climate change to developing and poorer nations. Legal enforcement is for measurement of activities on a periodic basis, not failure to meet goals.

      Time for all people of good will to roll up their sleeves and get to work to see that coal power plants are shut down by supporting the building of the industrial infrastructure for solar, wind and geothermal power. Homeowners can sign up for good deals to place solar panels on their roofs, architects and lawyers can change zoning and building codes to build better structures that produce more energy than they use. The already built environment of commercial and industrial properties can be retrofitted as well with mandatory solar panels installation requirements on a roof larger than 10,000 square feet.

      There is enough work to go around to move the transition as quickly as possible. Without the capacity to manufacture solar, wind, geothermal immediately, no agreement or amount of protesting will change anything. The governments have spoken, they are willing to change their energy policies. We have to push what they now favor from the negotiations into our lives.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Win 10, comrades: the sales situation has developed not necessarily to Microsoft’s advantage.

    Windows 10 accounts for only 9% of computers used to surf the web. By contrast, six-year-old Windows 7 runs on over 56% of computers. Even the disastrous Windows 8/8.1 has a 14% share.

    Windows 7’s share of the market of late has started to rise, not fall. No doubt, some of that increase can be traced to computer users rushing to buy new PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed before supplies run out.

    Without so much as a by-your-leave, Microsoft sneaks anything from three to six gigabytes of code into a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC, to speed up the transition process to Windows 10.

    How utterly obnoxious. All your hard drive are belong to us.

    Bill Gates is a billionaire with a bad haircut. His company’s products are created in his coiffed-with-a-chain-saw image. Word!

    1. Daryl

      Microsoft is a zombie corporation, good idea to keep anything important off of Windows computers, who knows who will end up with the access and data when Microsoft is finally carved up and sold piecemeal…

  14. OIFVet

    Yes, Microsoft tries to sneak up an update tool which then annoys you to “upgrade” to Big Brother 10. It is simple issue to deal with: remove the offending patch (info how to do so is widely available on the intertubez), and then forbid Update from ever try to download it again. 10 minutes, problem solved. Pain in the butt and a theft of time, as Lambert would say, but sometimes we just need to help ourselves rather than passively complain about it.

  15. Vatch

    House passes Customs Bill: climate change deniers embarrass U.S. delegation in Paris

    It’s useful to have some actual facts, which the climate change deniers have a tendency to ignore. Here’s a nice chart of the somewhat bumpy, but mostly steady, rise in average surface temperatures through 2014: This has been posted at NC before.

    Here’s information about the first 10 months of 2015, the warmest year on record, so far:

    From the article:

    The first 10 months of 2015 comprised the warmest such period on record across the world’s land and ocean surfaces, at 0.86°C (1.55°F) above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record of 2014 by 0.12°C (0.22°F). This margin is larger than the uncertainty associated with the dataset. To date, eight months this year have been record warm for their respective months. January was the second warmest January on record and April third warmest.

    The average global sea surface temperature of +0.71°C (+1.28°F) was the highest for January-October in the 136-year period of record, surpassing the previous record of 2014 by 0.08°C (0.14°F). This margin is larger than the uncertainty associated with the dataset. The average land surface temperature departure from average of +1.28°C (+2.30°F) was also the highest on record for October, surpassing the previous record of 2007 by 0.17°C (0.31°F).

    Most of the world’s land areas were much warmer than average, falling within the top 10 percent of their historical temperature range for the January-October period, as indicated by the Temperature Percentiles map above. These regions include South America, Central America, western North America, Africa, most of Eurasia, and large parts of Australia. Record warmth was observed across parts of each of these regions, particularly notable in western North America and much of South America.

    Too bad so many members of Congress insist on ignoring the facts.

  16. allan

    Zero-down-payment mortgages are back in San Francisco

    In an atmosphere of continued cautious lending, the product has raised some eyebrows, but it is nothing like the no down payment, no-doc, risky products that were behind the housing crash. Borrowers are fully vetted, income and assets verified, and while there is no minimum credit score, the vast majority of the credit union’s borrowers have above-average credit scores.


    `fully vetted’ = just like the moderate Syrian opposition

    `vast majority’ = with notably rare exceptions

    `borrowers have above-average’ = SF is the new Lake Wobegon.

  17. financial matters

    quantitative easing ie digital money creation

    Re-inventing banking

    “Particularly interesting is a proposal to provide targeted lending for businesses and industries by providing them with low-interest loans at 1-4 percent, financed through the central bank with quantitative easing (digital money creation). The proposal is to issue 20 trillion rubles for this purpose over a five year period. Using quantitative easing for economic development mirrors the proposal of UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn for “quantitative easing for people.”

    1. Yves Smith

      *Sigh*. No, that is NOT correct. And I hate to tell you, Ellen Brown is wrong about 80% of the time. I never link to her even when she is occasionally right because readers might regard her as a reliable source. She’s so regularly wrong that I wonder if she is being paid to mislead people on the left (as in they’ll give analyses and policy ideas that are factually unsound and therefore will discredit them).

      This gives an accurate picture:

      QE is an asset swap. And the Fed was buying highly liquid assets from investors, so it’s not as if what it was buying was not already plenty liquid. And most of those investors took the cash and just bought new securities. So the main impact was on asset prices and spreads.

      1. financial matters

        Those links are an incomplete picture and assume that the assets being swapped have the same value as federal reserve notes. They are actually given that value by being swapped and this helps lead to the asset inflation that results.

        From a previous link: Risks lurk in failure to simplify finance Satyajit Das, Financial Times.

        “”The three Cs of financial product regulation have been capital, central counterparty (CCP) and collateral.””

        The way I see this is that the ‘capital’ is the money the Fed is creating that is going into asset appreciation such as real estate and equities.

        And ‘collateral’ is the pile of bailout money if these assets eventually fall as they will as they are not supported by fundamentals (business investment, wage growth).

        CCP is how one gets to the other. “”New exposure arise from only some but not all products being cleared, the need to channel deals through a small group of clearing members and the clash between national CCPs and cross border trades.”” (Mainly JP Morgan and Bank of New York)

        “”Collateral places excessive reliance on government bonds whose quality is falling.”” Government bonds in the end are a measure of these fundamentals which are not being supported.

        In essence we are using our financial tools to support asset appreciation in a shaky manner rather than using them for socially productive purposes.

        1. Yves Smith

          *Sign* You really need to bone up on this topic.

          The only assets that the Fed bought in QE were Treasuries and government guaranteed MBS. So they were the same quality.


          1. financial matters

            The thing is that if they could stand on their own the Fed would have no reason to become involved and buy them.

            The important point is for central banks to become more oriented toward the public welfare and less oriented toward financial institution welfare.

            Scott Fullwiler discusses some of the aspects of a PQE Corbynomics

            “”There are two final things worth pointing out regarding the MMT view on PQE (peoples quantitative easing). First, MMTer Randy Wray wrote a paper in 2001 calling for essentially a PQE-like program in the US. Second, Warren Mosler has noted that simply having the government guarantee debt issued by the NIB (national investment bank) would perhaps be a more politically palatable solution that would be essentially identical—the national government would decide how much the NIB could borrow/spend and the NIB would then be able to borrow at effectively the same rate the government issues its debt, itself based on the central bank’s target rate. As such, government guaranteed debt of the NIB would be effectively the same thing as PVD (plain vanilla deficits), which as shown above is not different in a macroeconomically significant way from OMFG (overt monetary financing of government) via PQE.””

      2. susan the other

        This just emphasizes my frustration that the Fed is a lousy regulator of unemployment (intentionally) and really only helps the economy by keeping it liquid without jobs (demand). Because unemployment is always the sacrifice for a stable currency, there should be a way to balance this out. When people talk about QE for the people it seems like a good idea. If the Fed can buy assets/swap assets with the banks so the banks can go on their various incomprehensible spending sprees that totally screw up the housing market (for example) the Fed should be able to mitigate the mess in favor of the homeowners, not the banks. That might well trash their balance sheet but only so long as it takes for the economy to come back. So it would actually be a good thing in my opinion if the Fed did “print” money. Money all nonsense anyway imo.

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