Links 1/15/16

This suspected supernova is 570 billion times brighter than our sun Washington Post

New Report and Maps: Rising Seas Threaten Land Home to Half a Billion Climate Central

More people in Europe are dying than are being born PhysOrg (Dr. Kevin)

One in coma after French clinical trial BBC


China’s middle income trap MacroBusiness

Confused by China’s Yuan? It’s Intentional Wall Street Journal

If every Norwegian’s a millionaire, why’s Alberta in hock? Canadian Investment (Ulpanaylaylo)

IMF demands debt relief as price for involvement in Greek bail-out Telegraph


Refugee Crisis

Angry Local Politician Buses Refugees To Merkel’s Office Reuters

As Germany Welcomes Migrants, Sexual Attacks in Cologne Point to a New Reality New York Times


US’s new train-and-equip Syria plan Business Insider

US Navy boat commander re-set his nav GPS wrong Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

UN database for Gaza aid may give Israel targets to attack — secret memo Electronic Intifada (guurst)

Iran’s Propaganda Victory in One Illegal Image National Review. Resilc: “These people are nuts and dangerous>”

Watch Our HBO Episode About How the UK’s Cocaine Habit Funds Islamic Extremists Vice (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Internet of Things that Talk About You Behind Your Back Bruce Schneier

What are Americans willing to trade their privacy for? Christian Science Monitor. Confirms that people will agree to surveillance if it’s pitched as enhancing their “security”

Nest Thermostat Glitch Leaves Users in the Cold New York Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Is the US Navy building ships that can’t weather rough seas? Christian Science Monitor

New NAFTA lawsuits reveal disturbing, dangerous trend Independent


Time to take Sanders seriously Matt Bai, Yahoo (furzy). Posting this only because it’s typical of a lot of the begrudging MSM coverage: first, they go to great pains to say repeatedly that Sanders’ popularity may just be a flash in the pan and then the keep signaling that they don’t see him as legitimate, and what commentary they have besides that is remarkably uninformed.

Bernie Sanders Surge Is About More Than Populist Anger – Hillary Clinton’s Lead Shrinking Charles Pierce, Esquire

Bernie Sanders is winning with the one group his rivals can’t sway: voters Guardian (resilc)

Bernie Sanders raises $1.9 Million off attacks from Hillary’s camp USA Today

The only candidate not playing into ISIS hysteria is Bernie Sanders, and he’s surging in the polls Boing Boing (resilc)

Hillary Clinton Strategist Attacks Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Wall Street Ad While His Firm Works For Wall Street International Business Times

Hillary Clinton’s Shadowy History With Shadow Banking Zach Carter, Huffington Post

The Republican Presidential Debate in South Carolina Atlantic (resilc)

Trump challenges Cruz over Canada Birth BBC

War Talk, Jingoism and White Supremacy at GOP Debate Juan Cole (resilc)

The GOP is learning to love Donald Trump Slate

Trump and Clinton tax plans scare Wall Street Financial Times. I’ve been hearing from tax experts who are very plugged in for the last six months that the carried interest loophole was soon to be dead. The fact that Clinton is going after it would seem to confirm that.

Gaming of Obamacare Poses a Fatal Threat Bloomberg. Timbers: “Love how the headline and article implies people who receive healthcare from insurance policies they pay for are bad and wrong because they are “gaming” and thus pose a “fatal threat.” Only healthy people should get insurance.”

Welcome to America’: Australia’s first female Muslim parliamentarian ‘interrogated’ at LAX Raw Story

Death of EHR “Meaningul Use” imminent. (Hopefully the death of the ‘National Programme for Health IT in the HHS’ is imminent, too.) Health Care Renewal

EPA, Republicans in Congress Battle Over Water Regulation Esquire (resilc)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Video of 2013 Police Shooting Is Released as Chicago Relents New York Times

Angry White Men

79-Year-Old Bird Watcher Takes Down Oregon Militant With Old High School Wrestling Move The Lapine (Dr. Kevin)

Oregon occupiers ask public for supplies: get glitter, sex toys Reuters (David L). I love it! A reader said he going to send glitter. I hope you were part of the fun!

BHP posts $US4.9 billion oil and gas impairment Sydney Morning Herald (EM). The MacroBusiness headline is clearer: BHP writes off $7 billion in US shale oil

The oil crash could bring a radical new change to Saudi Arabia’s investment fund Business Insider

Sacked ANZ trader says bank tolerated drugs, strip clubs Sydney Morning Herald (EM). Should not be news, except ANZ is a very retail bank.

Drop in VC funding shows caution growing Financial Times

Goldman to Pay Up to $5 Billion to Settle Claims of Faulty Mortgages New York Times. Now that we are down to one of the last settlements, an article that is not in Huffington Post underscored the non-cash portion, $1.8 billion, and that critics don’t give them much weight.


Shipping’s globalisation woes Gillian Tett, Financial Times (David L)

What’s Wrong With The Producer-Price Index? Rent Is Too Damn High WSJ Economics

Class Warfare

Netflix Founder Drops $100 Million to Join Billionaire Crusade to Privatize Our Public Schools Alternet (margarita)

Study claiming right-to-work in West Virginia will create job growth is fundamentally flawed Economic Policy Institute

Frameworks of Comparison London Review of Books

Antidote du jour (Kim Kauffman).”2 new mountain lion kittens discovered in Santa Monica Mountains” KPCC. Has two good videos as well.

mountain lion cubs links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Howard Beale IV

    Someone has signed up for ACA coverage using my residential address-I keep sending the mail back with a nice big ‘Return to Sender-no such person at address’ scrawled on the mail-and yet it still keeps coming my way. My mail is locked, so only I can access it. Guess I am going to have to physically visit my local Post Office and tell ask them how they keep ignoring the ‘Return Service Requested’ on the envelopes.

    1. cwaltz

      Hmmmmmm, I was robocalled by them the other day which I found odd since I, not only have insurance through my spouse’s employer but the spouse and I are officially covered by the VA(they even sent us the tax forms) should anything happen to that insurance.

    2. evodevo

      As a mail carrier, I can tell you …if it is “standard mail”, i.e. junk, it cannot be sent back. If it IS endorsed “return service”, it can be returned, but each piece has to be marked by the occupant at the address – you can write “refused” or whatever you want, but we’re not allowed to just return it on our own. One solution I have seen some customers use is to open the envelope and see if a business return envelope addressed to the company is inside. If so, put all the junk in THAT envelope and send it off, along with a stern note. The company has to pay the PO postage for each one of these it receives back, and will eventually get the message.

  2. andyb

    Regarding the NAFTA lawsuit in Canada:

    So corporations will rule and national sovereignty becomes extinct, and this reality will be even more enshrined by the latest trade agreements promoted by our corruptocrats.

    1. Ulysses


      Here’s the future:

      1)Kleptocrats complete their looting of our planet.

      2)Global economy collapses.

      3)Some form of neo-feudal barbarism arises from the ashes of the civilization destroyed by the kleptocrats.

      Their are less rosy scenarios, but I wouldn’t want to depress anyone here too much.

      1. Ed

        The good news is that this process happened regularly in Chinese history, every few centuries. Chinese civilization survived fine.

        The bad news is that the scale of things is now much bigger.

  3. JLowe

    “79 year old bird watcher takes down Oregon militant with one old wrestling move”. Is this being reported here as news or satire? Real extra subtle if it was the latter. It’s a joke – take a look at the Lapine’s home page.

    1. diptherio

      This headline in the sidebar should be a dead give away:

      Gov. Perry Unable to Find Vagina on Anatomical Doll

      1. afisher

        I lived through the Rick Perry regime and so the fact that he doesn’t know anatomical parts is well documented.

        Now, he has become a shill man for Dental Insurance – let’s hope he doesn’t get the two orifice confused…it could happen! :-)

    2. Stefan

      Quote of the day:
      “We’re hoping this is an isolated incident and we’re asking the elderly not to knock any more militants on their ass,” said the grinning FBI agent.

  4. Anon

    Re: Yahoo Sanders Article

    I like how one can stay consistent to one’s platform, keep things civil and by virtue of not being bought out, but yet be considered to be making a “last, spirited stand”. I’m not sure if this is Step 2 or 3 in Ghandi’s playbook, but someone more astute than I could make a case.

    1. James Levy

      It has to be a last, spirited stand, like that of those noble savages we admire now but plowed under for the good of the nation and the betterment of all mankind by creating this “last best hope of man” on the ashes of their villages and cultures. Workers are the new Indians. Their brief hiatus of middle class lifestyles and the upward mobility of their children must be suppressed for this glorious nation to move forward to its manifest destiny of continually dominating and educating a fallen world. They had their day. It’s over. As Trump tells them, their minimum wage is way too high. Their healthcare and pension costs are an existential threat to the power of the State and the wealthy who dominate and control it. The Counterrevolution of the 1970s must be a permanent revolution, and it must accelerate and intensify the closer to victory it reaches.

  5. craazyboy

    “Trump and Clinton tax plans scare Wall Street Financial Times”

    Egads man. Our tax system is under attack!

    The Taxman

    Let me tell you how we will do
    There’s none for me, nineteen for you
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

    Should five per cent appear too much
    I can always tax the rest a bunch
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

    If you drive a jet, I’ll tax the street,
    If you save a job, I’ll tax their teat.
    If you get too bold, I’ll tax the heat,
    If you take a walk, I’ll kiss your feet.

    Don’t tell me what you want it for
    Merger, think tank, congresswhore
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

    1. cwaltz

      The tax thing drives me crazy because it appears to bring out the worst in everyone. Yesterday I got to listen to several of the middle class whine about how the government is sticking it to them worse then the poor and all I could think of was how anyone could think making income you use for retirement accounts non taxable, making income you use for Jr’s college non taxable, mortgage interest deductions deductible, HSAs nontaxable, etc, etc and still all people can do is whine instead of being grateful that make enough that you need to pay.

      1. Brian

        Shall they then just sit and watch as the last man that spoke up, sans corpus, is raised higher and higher, on a pike, to grace the parapet with yet another head for the prince to show he is worthy of being king? Does the tiny pie feed the family any more with the job gone, the house gone and the taxman collecting new skims for corporatus mortus every day.
        Sure you belong here? you defame the middle class, who are now the poor. If you aspire to the oligarchy, leave your name at the sound of the tone.

        1. cwaltz

          The problem isn’t the tax rates. It’s the private entities that run for profit health care or the private entities that have left wages stagnant.

          While government has not been part of the solution, it sure doesn’t help that people(like yourself) can’t even identify the problem to begin with.

          Are you sure you belong here? The middle class better get smart because it’s being played like a fiddle by that oligarchy you’re decrying.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        That’s the key.

        People are insecure. Unless we’re talking about billions or hundreds of millions, there is no guarantee, even with, say, $5 million, one has enough to live out one’s expected, longer than ever in human history, lifespan, independently or in a nursing home, and survive the greed of the health care industry.

        The way to overcome that old age insecurity is with GDP sharing and free Medicare for all.

        Otherwise, it’s base instincts at their reptilian best at the Darwinian treadmill.

        1. ProNewerDeal

          “survive the greed of the health care industry”

          Amen, MyLessThanPrimeBeef!

          Median adult US wealth ~$37K. Even someone with say $500K (already the richest top 5%?) could easily get that extorted to bankruptcy by the US Sickcare Mafia

          I feel the financial svcs IRA type ads (example: Prudential) are frauds, talking about if your house is paid off, you need a “nest egg” such that you can live off 3% of your nest egg aka “live off the dividends”. Maybe in a Civilized nation like Canada, but not in Murica where your $500K can get legally stolen from you quickly.

        2. cwaltz

          People are doing and arguing for the opposite of that though when they start whining that the poor are getting rich off the backs of the middle class through the credits they get for taxes.

          Meanwhile a whole lot of them have a superiority complex. They figure since they were bilked into thousands of dollars in private student loan debt that somehow they are more deserving then the guy who cleans toilets for a living and didn’t end up with those loans.

          It makes me darn shamed to be lumped in the same class as them.

          1. Lexington

            They figure since they were bilked into thousands of dollars in private student loan debt that somehow they are more deserving then the guy who cleans toilets for a living and didn’t end up with those loans.

            It’s not just about money. Many sincerely believe that since they spent four years killing time in an institution of higher learning they are now “educated” -they parchment to prove it- and are therefore entitled to undemanding, well compensated employment. In fairness they have had this belief drilled into their heads in ways both subtle and not so subtle since they were little children by status quo propagandists who excuse capitalism’s vices with the meme that all misfortunes are the result of personal failings, such as failing to get an “education”, so we shouldn’t judge them too harshly.

            Also, their investment in education often goes well beyond money. Many, and especially the more privileged, who after all have the most to lose, spent much of their childhood and adolescence engaged in “enrichment activities” largely intended to pad the college application so they could get into the right school. Social darwinism is so deeply embedded in American society that almost no one questions a system that distributes wealth and privilege to a small minority of “winners” while debasing the potential and prospects of the majority. The obsession with winning and fear of the consequences of failure crowds out any opportunity to look at the big picture and consider alternatives.

            Should we be surprised that after subjecting young people to years of this rat race and powerfully impressing on them the consequences of coming up short they turn out the way they do?

            1. McKillop

              Does everybody get a bye then?
              If the people benefited from the efforts of others, those who sacrificed their -working class wages- not only to raise their children through public schools and high schools but also university, should not a sense of decency, of a humane education, be an expected result?
              Even the extended care received while attending extended schooling should be acknowledged. Great effort, societal effort, was expended to build the universities and pay for the benefits delivered. An obligation to those who sacrificed would be a mark of worth. And rational education.
              I call b.s. on condescending forgiveness granted because the people who got better jobs and amenities “suffered” from propaganda and now “suffer” from fear. They are no better than the offspring of wealthy people whose accomplishments give the bastards an arrogant but mistaken belief that they are special because their ancestors were ‘special’.

      3. Propertius

        The 401k is not quite the sweet deal you imply. It’s not “non-taxable”, it’s “tax-deferred”. From the government’s point of view, this has the advantage of converting a lot of long-term capital gains into ordinary income – which will therefore be taxed at a *higher* rate than it otherwise would be.

        BTW, aren’t you old enough to remember when *all* interest was deductible (pre-Reagan)?

        1. cwaltz

          You aren’t taxed on it on top of what you ALREADY aren’t taxed on(you know those sweet standard deductions the really poor get) Guess what? The poor who make minimum wage don’t make enough to shove any of their money in an account for later on. If you have a 401K that means you are fortunate enough to have money to pay your bills today(instead of say having to throw them into a hat to decide which ones will or won’t get paid this month) AND put money away for another day. That seems pretty sweet to me and nothing to whine over. Personally, I feel capital gains ought to be taxed as “ordinary income.” It’s another perk that the “investment class” gets over those that actually labor for a living don’t have as a luxury. Why should the money you earn off the labor of others be treated as “special?(particularly when that method means those at the top of the food chain get to pay the same rate in taxes as Burger King cashiers without having to put in any actual work?)

          I started working when Reagan was president(while in high school.)

        2. cwaltz

          It’s a sweet deal when you have money leftover after the bills are due. Don’t kid yourself, the poor aren’t lucky duckies.

          Furthermore, my opinion is that capital gains should be treated exactly like money earned from labor. It’s special snowflake status is partially why we have an inflated market while we have stagnant wages.

      4. jrs

        Have you ever read the tax code. Almost everyone earns enough to pay income taxes provided they don’t have kids (yea the breeders get quite a free ride). Because minimum wage for 40 hours will pay you enough in many states to pay federal income taxes. Of course this doesn’t mean you have a good lifestyle. Doesn’t mean you can afford a bachelor pad in San Francisco just because you can afford to pay taxes.

  6. Clive

    Re “Nest Thermostat Glitch Leaves Users in the Cold” — this has been an accident waiting to happen all along for U.S. versions of the Nest thermostat (European versions differ, unfortunately through necessity I’ve ended up having to learn far more about what happens under the hood with these cursed devices in the course of fixing the various issues which have cropped up with them) because of the kludge which Nest unwisely adopted whereby it “steals” power to trickle charge itself in the absence of a dedicated supply from a “C” wire.

    Nest should have made a “C” wire a mandatory precondition for product suitability. But that would have reduced the size of the market and/or increased the complexity of the installation.

    Memo to Nest/Google/Alphabet/whatever you’re calling yourself today: hoodwinking your customers is never a good idea in the long run.

    1. Optimader

      On the bright side, it didn’t navigate you into Iranian territorial waters

      Although I had set the thermostat to 70 degrees overnight, my wife and I were woken by a crying baby at 4 a.m. The thermometer in his room read 64 degrees, and the Nest was off.

      Hokey smoke! I keep my thermostat at 63F, are they trying to poach the baby for breakfast??

      1. Clive

        Well done and a good example to everyone! I sometimes wonder if the Founding Fathers passed some law or other forbidding the population of the US from putting on knitwear in the colder months…

      2. Frank

        Yeah, I have trouble buying this one. Hell, none of my bedrooms even have heat, the grandkids are little furnaces and don’t seem to care. This isn’t to say a non-functioning thermostat is trivial, but 64F?
        The greater question is why anyone thinks it’s important to change the temperature with their smart phone. There is no reason of course, but the answer is marketing to the rubes.

        This is not to say that communicating with your thermostat is unimportant, a farmer friend needs to monitor his greenhouse because snow overload could collapse the house, but for the rest of us a thermostat outside reset control will respond to changing temperatures without intervention and will not talk behind our back.

  7. edmondo

    the carried interest loophole was soon to be dead.

    But will the hedge funds managers still have enough money to buy a few Congress Critters?

    Isn’t this the same tax loophole that Obama couldn’t close in 2009 because the “job creators” would stop creating?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Tax loopholes came into being the same time taxation was invented.

      To use taxation to combat inflation seems to be as blunt as 20th century medicine was to Dr. McCoy in “the Voyage Home.”

      “Simple barbaric,” was what he said, i recall,though cant find the exact quote (conspiracy by the Medical-Industrial Complex?) One quote I did find was ‘Don’t tell me you don’t use money in the 23rd century.”)

      It appears ‘the government will create less money’ is a good, loopholes-free, way of taking money (including those projected to go in the system, had the government continued the same rate of money creation) out of the economy.

      — No Money in the 23rd Century. —

  8. edmondo

    BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!! BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to endorse Jeb Bush for president this morning, Politico reports.

    Now Jebbie will have to get rid of the Smart Car and rent a Fiat to get all his supporters to the polls. I guess he better hit up Daddy Bush’s network for another $100 million.

        1. optimader

          thats pretty cool, must be very squirrely to ride as almost everything is working against stability, the frame is a leaf spring w/ no torsional structure to speak of, the straight fork is precisely how you’d design it for instability and some prodigious procession in wheels that diameter and the handlebars are narrow and twitchy.
          I wonder how the front rider gets on it?

    1. fresno dan

      OK, let’s do the calculations so that we can figure out how much money the Bushes have to spend or have printed to buy….uh, persuade enough voters to actually vote for Bush…
      OK, carry the 2, raised to 10 to the 172th power, divided by 120 million, and multiplied by pie…cherry pie.
      OK, so all the bushes need to clinch the nomination is more money, more money, more money than the fundamental number of particles in the universe. Hopefully, the multiverse exists, and in it currency sh*tting unicorns provide limitless amounts of campaign cash.
      How one actually transfers financial instruments from one universe to another…well, I guess you have to hire Goldman Sachs to get the necessary paperwork done.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night”

      Should they not have access to attorneys either?

      1. craazyboy

        They should fire the one that advised them on real estate!
        Then, once you are arrested, the courts will provide one free of charge, if you can’t afford one.

      2. Optimader

        Thier using the Jimmy Johns delivery guy for food and legal advise.. He brings the mail as a courtesy

          1. fresno dan

            Those poor guys need lube….lots and lots of lube.
            A sex toy without lube is like …the sun not shining….or somethin’

              1. fresno dan

                That’s not nearly enough….the woods are full of …..bears…..
                its not like they have anything else to do…

      3. hunkerdown

        It’s the bourgeois Democratic mindset. As soon as they defied “we the righteous” they lost their rights at law, as if breaching Title 18 automatically terminates the social contract. Funny how that never applies upward in their little world, innit?

  9. allan

    Empire State weakens to recession-era lows

    A reading of New York-area manufacturing conditions in January fell sharply, suggesting production in the region has stalled and raising questions about the outlook for the economy.

    The Empire State manufacturing index sank to negative 19.4 in January from a revised negative 6.2 in December. This is the lowest level for the index, a key early reading on manufacturing, since the midst of the last recession in March 2009.

    The index has been below zero since July as the manufacturing sector has struggled with a weak global economy and declining oil prices. …

    Federal Reserve officials have said they expect domestic demand to keep the economy growing despite weakness in manufacturing. Officials have generally remained on board with their forecast of four quarter-point rate hikes this year. But the new downturn in the factory sector may give the U.S. central bankers pause.

    Pause, maybe, but still need to feed those confidence fairies.

    1. craazyboy

      Fairy Feeder Dudley to the rescue – He just announced he would consider negative rates, if “the economy” weakens. The stock market being his fav proxy for “the economy”, no doubt. Didn’t mention how he intends to implement negative rates.

      1. aka

        If the population must soon pay for their checking accounts at commercial banks this will hasten the demand for free, risk-free fiat (aka “reserve” if a bank) accounts of their own at the Federal Reserve and hasten the end of that ridiculous substitute for justice otherwise known as government-provided deposit insurance for accounts at commercial banks.

        Churchill said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” I pray this is still true.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With the technology we have, it’s possible to set up an account for everyone at the Fed.

          Then the people collectively can borrow from the Treasury and the Fed buys that debt and deposits the money via the Treasury to the individual accounts at the Fed (the people borrow money before that money is created/the Treasury lends before the money is created)…money creation from the bottom up.

          That’s called, the People’s Money.

          1. aka

            It’s hard to imagine the American people collectively borrowing from the US Treasury since the US Treasury IS an instrument of the collective American people, since it is part of the Federal Government.

            Instead, the US Treasury could mint the trillion dollar coins, deposit them at the Fed in exchange for new fiat (FRNs) in its account at the Fed and then meter them out equally to all adult citizens via their (created for them, if necessary) individual accounts at the Fed in conjunction with a step-by-step abolition of government-provided deposit insurance and the sale of private assets by the Fed to sop up* “excess reserves” from the commercial banks.

            As for future needs for new fiat, that likewise can be distributed equally to all adult citizens via their individual accounts at the Fed, eliminating the need for Open Market Purchases by the Fed and the Fed Discount Window.

            *So the banks will have to pay decent interest rates for the fiat (aka “reserves”) they borrow from the American people via their accounts at the Fed.

        2. JTMcPhee

          For Churchill, the “right thing for Americans to do” was whatever he wanted us colonials to do for the faded Empire. Same principle applicable, apparently, to “the right thing” vis-a-vis the Israelites.

          1. aka

            Let’s not get all 1793 on ourselves when there are solutions at hand that should cause no one grief.

              1. aka

                It’s no joke. The trillion dollar coin solution plus individual accounts at the Federal Reserve plus Steve Keen’s “A Modern Jubilee” could quickly banish much private debt without disadvantaging non-debtors, destroying the banks or requiring even a temporary ban on new credit creation by the banks.

                Rather, the equal distribution of new fiat could go hand-in-hand with a metered reduction in government provided deposit insurance (say from $250,000 to $0 over two years). This would probably cause a net reduction in commercial bank deposits as people moved a portion of their commercial bank deposits to their risk-free accounts at the Federal Reserve. But where will the commercial banks get the needed* reserves for the transfer of those deposits? That’s where the metered, equal distribution of new fiat (aka “reserves” if held by a bank) comes in; the commercial banks should have to borrow** or buy them from other fiat accounts, including the newly created individual accounts at the Fed, and not obtain them via cheap loans from the Fed itself.

                *Assuming the commercial banks were not already awash with reserves due to the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet so the sale of private*** assets by the Fed should be coordinated with the fiat distribution and abolition of deposit insurance.

                **Debtors would pay down their debts with actual fiat so this would also provide new reserves to the commercial banks.

                ***But not sovereign debt since this would constitute “corporate welfare” as Professor Bill Mitchell has noted.

      2. cwaltz

        Well that should be a fun way to defund banks. I know I’ll be darned if I’ll pay for the privilege of them holding onto my money for me.

    2. edmondo

      “anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction” …

      Barack Obama
      3 days ago

      Would Obama lie?

        1. optimader

          Actually still a lie, the notion that it isn’t is a fundamental flaw in our contemporary body politic.

          1. OIFVet

            Sarcasm, Opti. I don’t like using sarc tags… When you think about Obama’s speechifying and social media accounts, they are filled with sentences that start with “I strongly believe”. Just do a quick google and see what comes up.

      1. TedWa

        The worlds most famous ass talker lie? I missed it because I can’t no longer take his voice or the smell.

  10. Vatch

    More people in Europe are dying than are being born PhysOrg

    So long as the people are dying of old age, and not from other causes, this is a very promising development. Based on the usual total fertility rate in European countries, this is mostly the result of a reduced number of births. Too bad the same isn’t true of most other parts of the world, such as the U.S., India, China, Africa, etc. The European news isn’t all good, though. From the article:

    Though natural decrease was common in much of Europe, findings show that’s far from universal. Natural increase (more births than deaths) is widespread in Ireland, Cyprus, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Luxembourg. Natural increase is also evident in broad regions of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Norway.

    Here’s an especially clueless quote from the article:

    Poston and his colleagues explain. “Natural decrease is a major policy concern because it drains the demographic resilience from a region diminishing its economic viability and competitiveness.”

    Really? Is the Earth’s surface area expanding? Is the availability of fresh water growing? Hundreds of millions of people don’t get enough food to eat in a year, period. Hundreds of millions more eat enough food on average, but must endure some months when they don’t have enough to eat, which is especially hard on growing children and people who are ill. It continues to amaze me how many supposedly educated, intelligent people believe that the Earth’s resources are unlimited.

    1. fresno dan

      I agree completely.
      But until 99% of the diet of 99% of the people is soylent green, there will be no acknowledgement that the earth is not, in fact, limitless.

        1. Vatch

          Heh! I eat soy and lentils on a regular basis, but I’m still a little afraid of Soylent. Something about that movie… :-)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Corporations benefit from bigger markets (also bigger shares of bigger markets, but that for these competitors to sort out among themselves).

      National leaders benefit from bigger populations. (Maybe everyone is a millionaire in Norway, but with a billion people, you can aspire to be a hegemon).

      Movie stars benefit too. Instead of having 10 billion fans, you can have 100 billion fans.

      The best athlete can selling sneakers to 200 billion kids, instead of just 20 billion.

      If one’s budget is based on how many one has in one’s territory, it’s natural to want more.

      The state of economy is talked about in terms of GDP and GDP growth, not GDP per capita, number 1. Secondly, and more importantly, they ignore the distribution of that GDP. The point, the relevant point to this discussion, though, is the former – the total size, the GDP, and more people generally correspond to more GDP, all else being equal.

      So, there are many biases in favor of more population growth.

      1. Vatch

        So, there are many biases in favor of more population growth.

        Yes, that’s a very unfortunate fact. It makes it all the more important for those of us who understand the dangers of overpopulation to spread the word. We have a lot of work to do.

        (Maybe everyone is a millionaire in Norway, but with a billion people, you can aspire to be a hegemon)

        You’re being rhetorical here; I don’t think you believe that everyone in Norway is a millionaire. In Jeffrey Winters’s outstanding book Oligarchy, there’s an illuminating chart on page 280. It shows that there are 46 Norwegian citizens for every Norwegian millionaire. So Norway is closer to having a population of all millionaires than most or all other countries, but there is still a great deal of inequality. Interestingly, Norway’s Gini index is 29, whereas Sweden’s Gini index is a more equal 23, yet only 1 in 112 Swedes is a millionaire. I strongly recommend this book; I advise people to check it out from their public libraries pronto. If it’s not in your library’s collection, ask for them to get it for you by inter-library loan.

  11. petal

    Soooo I was at the Sanders do last night. Spaulding (the big aud) was full(900 ppl), Moore Aud (spillover where I ended up) was full (480 seats plus standing room) was full. I arrived 45 mins before doors opened and there was such a long line snaking around outside I didn’t think I’d get in-even to a spillover room. I am not sure if some people were turned away because there was only the one spillover room from what one of the ushers said. Two girls behind me in line said it was a lot more people than Bill Tuesday night(700 people attended that one), and they said that crowd tended to be quite a bit older and more…subdued. Last night’s crowd was very young-a lot of students, grad students, did see quite a few faculty members and staff, and other locals. Staffers did the best they could to get everyone inside to wait because it was about 15F out. Quite cold. Still surprised by how many people showed up. No Labels had one of those skinny sign truck things driving by/parking in front of the Hopkins Center. It asked if your candidate did the No Labels pledge thing. It was lame and very out of place.

    Before the speech began, Sanders came into our spillover room for about 5 minutes and gave a quick mini speech-surprised the heck out of everyone in the room. He looked well and energised, unlike the time I saw him give the veterans speech at DHMC when he looked pissed off and tired. They trotted out Paul Kirk(MA) at the start and he endorsed Sanders. I took 3 pages of notes, will try to find a transcript as there was an awful lot. He hit on overturning CU, Supreme Court picks(noms have to say they’ll re-hear it and overturn it), tied high youth unemployment(17-20 yo) to the high incarceration rates, ie for young black men. He talked about running against an inevitable, media-crowned candidate, railed against Walmart not paying a decent wage/so many employees getting assistance, how Americans are working longer hours for less pay and how it effects families.

    Also talked about was institutional racism and the broken criminal justice system, and the need to de-militarise the police and hold them accountable like everyone else when they do something wrong/kill people. He talked about the need for 3 months of paid medical/family leave, a huge investment in infrastructure(also creates millions of good paying jobs). He said Glass-Steagall needs to be reinstated and the banks broken up, how what we have now is oligarchy. Also brought up free tuition at public universities and the need for trade schools and the way he’d pay for this is a tax on Wall Street speculation. The free tuition thing got a big applause, so did the bit about turning away from fossil fuels to clean, efficient energy. Health care-he said a couple good things about the ACA but said we need to go further and have medicare for all/single payer. That got the biggest applause of the night.

    I stopped taking notes when questions started. Someone did ask about guns, and he said the gun show loophole must be closed, and as part of his answer said we need to do more to help the mentally ill get help.

    Sorry for the long post-again this is all in a nutshell and I was not very detailed. Thanks for your patience. Here is the article from the College paper. Cheers.

      1. petal

        Very welcome! I kinda got the feeling that Clinton’s toast and people are sick of the both of them, their shenanigans/double standards, and the rot that comes out of their mouths. A lot of people see through it now.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think the problem is even simpler than this. Hillary can’t be the greatest candidate of all time and then only present word salad and appeals to false female solidarity. Her campaign is grossly insulting. Even the reinvention of Hillary every other week is a problem. She isn’t a local figure. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer and nuclear engineer known in Georgia. We all know who Hillary is at this point.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this report. Great to hear the crowds are large and energized. Speech is now up on youtube. Search for ‘Bernie Sanders: Dartmouth Town Hall’

        1. James Levy

          To his credit, his repeated declarations that “we need a movement” does to some extent answer what is, to be truthful, an unanswerable question at this time. Given the current Congress, Sanders will not be able to pass anything. All he can do is fight and get the people pissed off enough to throw the bums out and give him a better Congress to work with. I consider this unlikely but I still prefer to have Sanders in the White House than anyone else likely to get the job at this time.

            1. afisher

              And SCOTUS nominees.

              I believe that he will use the bully pulpit to point out who is obstructing the needed progress, once he is elected.

            2. hunkerdown

              Exactly. In the worst case, wouldn’t no progress at all from the national firm be better than progressing toward market rule?

    2. fresno dan

      thanks for that!
      Ratcheted back my cynicism clock from 1 minute to midnite to 2 minutes to midnite (which is pretty incredible for me. Maybe something really is going on, and the people won’t settle for the same old same old…)

    3. TedWa

      I want to echo the same thanks here petal, very good to know. I would add that every 00 year the legislature gets to redraw the district lines. The wins by Republicans in 2010 allowed them to gerrymander elections for the next 10 years by redrawing the districts. If we don’t get Dems in in 2020, Congress will remain captured by Republicans. We do need a revolution in voting and voters and a good progressive President to inspire all to vote in the 2020 elections and end this gerrymandered capture of democracy.

      1. polecat

        The problem I have w/ regarding free tuition………once the TBTFs are broken up, and Wall Street reined in, won’t that diminish whatever supposed revenue stream remains……it costs a lot of moola to pay for those fancy, new, sparklely campus buildings……not to mention the most essential of them all,…the administrator & the coach!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I would rather have free medicare than free tuition.

          If there is money for both, I would prefer free world travel to free tuition. Learn from the world, street learning, learn from nature, plants, animals.

          Liquidate those fancy campus buildings and stadiums.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Down in FL, our “Dems,” many of them, are just fine with the gerrymandering as long as it leaves their individual asses planted firmly in their Congressional seats. And the “Dem” party here, with a majority of registered voters last I checked, apparently likes the loser position on the larger scale. Why else field a gubernatorial and legislative candidate named “Sink”? Or a retread Republican like Charlie Crist?

  12. griffen

    Paging the PPT…Paging the PPT…we are plunging !?!

    Mr Market can not have a sad on a 3-day weekend; this is not allowed.

    1. edmondo

      Didn’t these guys just ramp up the markets yesterday?

      A stock transaction tax would have paid down the national debt at this point. If I have to pay a tax on toilet paper, why can’t these guys pay a tax on their stock quotes?

      1. allan

        Congratulations to James Glassman and Kevin Hassett – the Dow just cracked 16,000.
        Only 20,000 more to go!

      2. cwaltz

        You might as well by some lottery scratchers at this point. The market has been out of touch with reality for awhile.

        It might have started off as a good idea and a means to fund responsible expansion at one time but these days putting money into it might as well be a thumbs up to CEOs and boards that ship jobs overseas, cut benefits, and then put those savings into larger salaries for themselves or irresponsible expansion(without any foresight into meaningfully paying staff that helped create profit.)

    2. craazyboy

      ouwee, ouwee, ouwee. the stock market is getting hurted!!!! where is my wealth effect? Ben promised!

      1. cwaltz

        I think it’s interesting that we’re all supposed to cry because the “risk takers” aren’t getting HUGE returns off the backs of workers anymore. Boohoo where’s my dollar for you shipping all the jobs off to China? So shortsighted.

        1. Vatch

          “Risk takers”? Of course you are referring to people who are really professional gamblers, but I know that you know that. People sometimes criticize gambling on ethical grounds, and they sometimes make a reasonably good case. I wonder how often people who criticize poker, lotteries, craps, and roulette, also criticize Wall Street derivatives for the same reasons?

          1. cwaltz

            If I won money on a lottery scratcher I’d pay 40% off my “earnings” somehow though if you are a Wall Street gambler you get to pay 15% on your winnings.

            If I were a benevolent dictator they would being paying at least what wage earners are paying and at most what those that gamble pay on their winnings.

            1. jrs

              I think what gambling is taxed the same as labor. Only winning two billion (as if) would likely you put you in the highest bracket which most employees probably aren’t in now (upper management maybe). Qualified dividends and capital gains meanwhile are always a mere 15%.

        2. jrs

          Even from a Marxist analysts it’s hard to say gains from stock speculation (as opposed to dividends or bond interest) is taken from the exploitation of labor. It’s just pure speculation. However the boom was Federal Reserve goosed which does at times seem to have a class warfare bent as the 1% are the main beneficiaries.

          The workers are no better treated than they were yesterday and their backs will carry as heavy a load as ever (possibly worse if we do get an actual recession from this and not just stock market volatility).

          1. craazyboy

            There is a link. CEOs are under huge pressure to make earnings keep up with the stock price. This means pushing GAP to the limits, or past the limits, and anything else they can think of that is cost related.

            1. craazyboy

              Also revenue related. It would explain why M&A activity spikes in the late stage of the biz cycle. Then layoffs.

          2. cwaltz

            The market rewards cutting labor costs. More often than not that has meant that stock holders were rewarded every time corporate America cut a benefit or shipped a job overseas. Keeping costs down has meant that wages have stagnated meanwhile the market has climbed and climbed(and yes that means it was done on the backs of labor.)

            I’m not completely opposed to capital but I do think far too much importance is placed into their contributions to the market. It isn’t any wonder to me that things are out of whack where the people who work basically are told to pound sand when it comes to sharing in the profitability of a company and all the actual profits are reinvested into increasing market share(often irresponsibly) and rewarding shareholders(which coincidentally stock happens to be part of high level executive compensation.)

  13. fresno dan

    Iran’s Propaganda Victory in One Illegal Image National Review. Resilc: “These people are nuts and dangerous>”

    If what Iran did is such an outrage, than Bush should be tried on treason charges for what happened with China…The hypocrisy and immaturity is really appalling. But the purposeful blindness is the mark of hubris.

    The non seriousness, the lack of any appreciation of the gravity of the situation – the just juvenile smack talk is deeply disturbing. Although I try and convince myself it is just campaign BS for the rubes, it has consequences. It seems to me that hubris is fueling a pellmell charge into very dire consequences.

    1. James Levy

      All the Republicans plus Hilary are in thrall to bullying. It’s in their blood. Bush, ironically and to his credit, backed off the Hainan Island thing mighty fast. Would Trump? Cruz? Christie? Clinton? Think about how scary the answer to that one is. And American media went out of its way in 1991 and 2003 to show cowering Iraqi POWs. I complained about that at the time, but you think these right wing clowns gave a shit about the Geneva Convention or anything else while we were winning? Rules are always for less breeds in their eyes. We are so wonderful that we can’t be expected to actually follow the rules.

      1. fresno dan

        Deeply, deeply troubling. Just as our politics of red/blue tribes that can broach no acknowledgement that the other side is maybe correct on the facts and/or principals, we see the exact same child like adamant refusal to even CONSIDER the other sides point of view.
        Lying on persian rugs – compared to Abu Gharaib…..

  14. Blurtman

    Goldman Sachs’ $5 billion settlement is for fraud that occurred under Hank Paulson’s leadership of the company. What kind of banana republic installs a financial criminal as a cabinet official, who then goes about bailing out his criminal former employer?

    1. JEHR

      And that $5 billion would have been put aside for “the cost of doing business” and will not make one ounce of difference to their year’s bonuses and salary and accumulated shares. What a travesty GS is! It is the equivalent of fining a murderer $5 rather than sending him to trial and a long jail term.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The kind of banana republic populated by utterly self-absorbed citizens anesthetized by sugar and media and narcissism and anti-knowledge, to the point where they have no idea what they are doing or why. Joe Bageant said it was the deepest mystery of our time, the lemming effect of the middle demographic voting time after time against their own economic interests

      1. Skippy

        “Bageant said it was the deepest mystery of our time, the lemming effect of the middle demographic voting time after time against their own economic interests”

        The old vulgarian trope –

        And add to that it must be a False consciousness thingy… i.e. is, within Marxist theory, an attempt to explain why all workers do not do what Marxist theory says they are supposed to do, viz., support a communist revolution.

        Flip the coin and you have –

        Some hard-right activists and libertarians of a conspiracy theorist bent have developed their own version of false consciousness, in which they claim that people only vote left-wing because they’ve been duped by the liberal media, public education system, and other institutions. Deep down these “left-wing” (which just means anything left of firmly right-wing) voters supposedly believe in right-wing values, they just don’t know it. When taken to an even greater extreme they may say liberals are just right-wingers in denial, or are vying for attention. A more mainstream version of this was pushed by Fox News and the GOP after the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, where they tried to say that people didn’t vote for Mitt Romney because of “messaging problems” as opposed to their platform itself being too extreme for the public.[2]

        Another right-wing version of this pops up every now and then to explain why minorities don’t vote Republican. The answer is that they’ve been fooled by the Democratic Party, who repress them through food stamps and welfare into not taking personal responsibility, never mind that the suggestion that minorities are too stupid to know what’s good for them is an argument that will help turn off minority voters.

        The libertarian version of this is to refer to people who didn’t vote for Ron Paul as “sheeple” on YouTube.

        It is the Marxist version of the Christian idea that “people only reject Christianity because they want to sin.”

        The fact that both the far right and far left like the theory goes to show it may just appeal to ideologues who need to explain away why most people don’t support their perfect ideology.

        Skippy…. Seems you missed the post back at thanksgiving on the Century of the Self when Bernays invented the public relations profession to play on irrational fears… not rational thought… Orwellian double speak as it were… so who’s the lemming now HAL…

  15. susan the other

    Just watched a 2 hour film: Incontrovertible Evidence by Tony Rooke about 911. A good summary, as I have heard it all before – the information is out there but nobody does anything with it. Anyway a good 2 hours down memory lane. If you want to get depressed all over again. The question I want answered is what did this incident and the last bizarre 15 years accomplish and what should we have accomplished instead?

    1. low_integer

      I want these answers too. The world has been a total clusterf@*k ever since, and I’m guessing it’s all connected in one way or another. Have you read this?

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    One in coma after French clinical trial.

    I thought all clinical trials had been outsourced to life-is-cheaper-here countries?

    1. Chris in Paris

      You may have noticed the trail wasn’t in Paris or the banlieues chics.

      Life is not great for a hell of a lot of people in France right now.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The boy who cried wolf.

    Well, it’s the opposite – the media didn’t cry, for a few days.

    Germany’s new reality…sexual attacks in Cologne. People are wondering what other attacks they didn’t cry about, didn’t report on.

  18. JEHR

    Re: If every Norwegian’s a millionaire, why’s Alberta in hock?

    Yes, Canada drank the Kool-aid and Harper is our Jim Jones! I feel very sorry for the NDP provincial government that is being saddled with Alberta’s debt. Premier Notley has the hardest job in Canada–to help Albertans get out of debt and to create jobs instead of selling out the oil resources to multi-nationals for a pittance. We have our very own Donald Trump named Kevin O’Leary who offered to invest $1 million in oil companies if the premier would quit her job! He is a first-order creep who is threatening to run for federal leader of the conservatives. Where do these guys come from?



    1. Lexington

      Where do these guys come from?

      As you no doubt know O’Leary appeared in several TV shows, including The Lang and O’Leary Factor, Redemption Inc. and Dragon’s Den. Like Donald Trump he’s leveraging his celebrity to pose as a Very Serious Person whose pontifications on public policy should be received with joyous gratitude by the little people.

      I do hope he takes Stephen Harper’s old job. Nothing would better exemplify the moral and ideological bankruptcy of the Conservative party. Hilarity is sure to ensue.

      Btw it says something about the times in which we live that a wealthy businessman offering $1 million in exchange for annulling the democratically expressed will of the people in the last provincial election doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. It’s fast becoming the new normal.

      1. McKillop

        I don’t know . . . a million ( a million!) 1,000,000.00 doesn’t seem to be a lot of money. And he’s not ‘giving’ it away, he’s investing it with the conviction that he’s supersmarter than ever’body. And it’s probably Canadian dollars converted/exchanged from U.S.A dollars (which comes out to even less ofabigdeal).Can$- .70 of US$.
        It’s also strange that a supersmarter guy like our kev blames Notley for the events that occured when she’s only been premier of Alberta for a few months and the tarsands oil and other oil is priced in relation to the world’s glut.
        Here’s what I’d do were I a beggar on the street and saw our kev coming – turn my cup over and hide my pencils.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Time to take Sanders seriously…Yahoo.

    This may be a bit paranoid, but when they start feeling comfortable talking about a challenge, usually it’s because they know how to handle that.

    1. James Levy

      I think they are worried that the ignore him and he’ll fade away strategy has failed and that it may have garnered sympathy for Sanders. So I expect tons of attention, concern trolling, and ridicule going forward, and then full-on hostility if Hilary starts to fold up like a jackknife. They will bring forth a parade of talking heads to denounce his policies and declare them idiotic, dangerous, and budget-busting. We’ll start to hear more crap about balancing budgets (which was strangely absent during the latest round of Republican tax-cutting, as if reducing revenues was fine but raising expenses anathema). I have no idea if Sanders can weather that storm.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I also like product disclaimers and warnings.

      “We do not warrant enlightenment, a career nor employment with this academic degree.”

      “The admission applicant should know, in case of approval, he/she likely has to get into debt to enroll. Please consider going to another country or another way to climb up he serfdom ladder.”

  20. fresno dan

    The Republican Presidential Debate in South Carolina Atlantic (resilc)

    “The debate also featured a war over trade wars. Trump was pressed to defend past comments supportive of slapping retaliatory tariffs on Chinese imports. Instead of backing away from tariffs, he stressed the need for a firm response to the rising power. Economists across the country held their heads, and his rivals gleefully pounced. But as they took turns explaining the economic theory of why tariffs ultimately hurt consumers, Trump simply insisted that he’d be tough enough to make the Chinese crumble. By Friday, there will likely be dozens of columns explaining the downsides of tariffs; whether any of them will dissuade Trump supporters from believing that he alone has the resolve to right America’s trade deficit with China is another matter entirely.”
    I’m glad to see the Atlantic defending “free trade” (super SARC).
    Yes, absolutely every economist says it raises GDP….the fact that it only raises GDP for the 0.1% is too trivial a matter to discuss. If only we could have better education….which apparently we have been unable to do for about 50 years now….THAT IS THE SOLUTION!!!!
    And the lamestream media can’t see the appeal of Trump…..

    In viewing the debate, you wonder if the other repubs and candidates are truly that stupid, or if Trump has bought them all off.
    Can Haley really serve up a softball like don’t be angry, after FOX and its minion republican candidates incessantly 24/7 serve up that under Obama we are far worse off than people were in the gulag? That the depression was nirvana compared to nowadays???? That the commie-fascists and the fascist-commie’s, all serving Muslim masters, sell 1 million blonde patriot children into sex slavery every minute?
    NOBODY in repub-ville understands what a contradiction is????
    So after all that absurd propaganda (and even if they are repubs, the base are having a rough go of it)…..the rubes are suppose to be happy?

    I wonder if Trump actually prepares, or really is fairly quick on his feet? His comeback to Cruz’s jab about New York was brilliant and in my view quite impressive. Its hard to imagine how even a seasoned speech writer could have written anything better – eloquent, but not so polished or verbose as to lose the veneer of spontaneity and heartfeltness.

    And of course, Trump’s defense of his and the base’s anger was masterful. After all the money and resources poured by Murdoch into describing what a hell hole American is, doesn’t Haley get the daily memo from Roger Ailes????

  21. Jim Haygood

    From bad to worse:

    A report on industrial production for December 2015 looks rather ugly. Industrial production fell by 0.4% in December. To add insult to injury, the more negative report of -0.6% in November was revised to -0.9% after more data came in.

    Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased by 0.4 percentage points in December to 76.5%. That rate is 3.6 percentage points below its long-run average covering the years 1972 to 2014.

    How’s that rate hike workin’ out for us, J-Yel?

    1. craazyboy

      Crappy. I didn’t get a rate increase yet.

      But remember, China is NOT a currency manipulator, no matter what the bi-lateral trade deficit says.

      1. Jim Haygood

        In the absence of a reference standard which permits objective identification of ‘beggar thy neighbor’ devaluers, currency manipulation is always something the other country does.

        Arguably, hiking rates on a disinflationary global economy that still uses the barbarous relic of the USD as its most important reserve currency is not merely manipulative, but insane. Or as Talleyrand put it, “It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder.”

        With the approaching U.S. regime change, my fondest hope is that a bankster cartel who regards its PhD Econ degrees as fortune-telling licenses can be put of business for good.

        Crude Earl $29.44 … Dr Copper $1.945 … both new lows. The rate hikes will continue until prices strengthen. Maybe we should go out and dump pails of milk into ditches or something.

        1. craazyboy

          The global economy transitioning to slave labor IS deflationary. It didn’t start happening last month, either.

        2. giantsquid

          So I’ve long wondered: whose economic forecasts are likely to be more accurate, those of Econ PhD bankers, or those of reasonably bright astrologers? Seriously, someone ought to do the experiment.

        1. craazyboy

          Not really. The Fed has a remarkably low amount of foreign currency. But everyone loves King Dollar and our Treasury bonds (and the American taxpayer – employed or not), so the buck is the slowest sinking currency in a fiat world.

          1. cwaltz

            Their currency is pegged to ours. We don’t need to have a lot of their currency to manipulate it, we just need to adjust rates on our currency or use QE.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment is up, as reported earlier today.

      Maybe people like declining industrial production.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Echoing that quote ‘its not how fast you’re moving, but in which direction,’ government spending is not about how fast nor how much they can spend, but what they spend on.

      “Aim that spigot away from drones and more toward domestic spending.”

  22. giantsquid

    Re: New Report and Maps: Rising Seas Threaten Land Home to Half a Billion

    The recent rate of increase in the global mean sea level is rather startling.

    Not only that, Japan’s Meteorological Agency reported that global temperature anomaly for the month of December 2015 was an astonishing 0.36 C higher than the previous hottest December in the global climate record (Dec 2014). That’s a bit more than 1.4 C higher than the global temperature average for December 1890. Most scientists who study the matter believe that catastrophe awaits us when the global annual temperature anomaly reaches somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 C.

  23. bob

    “Iran’s Propaganda Victory in One Illegal Image National Review. Resilc: “These people are nuts and dangerous>””

    Can’t read it. 19 separate, non site specific scripts want to run from 19 different IP’s when I go to that page. Almost forbes level.


      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That I think was resilc’s point. I mean, a bunch of guy in camo pants sitting on Oriental rugs a massive PR victory? You couldn’t tell they were American and people outside the US are generally more skeptical of what the media is pushing than we are.

  24. Oregoncharles

    Is the US Navy building ships that can’t weather rough seas? –

    Link doesn’t work. Nothing happens.

  25. Oregoncharles

    From “Gaming of Obamacare…”:
    “People who sign up during special enrollment, insurers say, “run up much higher medical bills and then jump ship, contributing to double-digit rate increases and financial losses.” Customers are also exploiting the three-month “grace period” when they can stop paying premiums and still get treatment from providers. And the article suggests that at least some Americans have realized that under current regulations, they need to be insured for only nine months of the year to avoid the mandate penalty. So you can sign up for insurance, cram all your spending into that shorter time frame, and then stop paying for the last three months.”

    The comment in the Links misses the point: these are serious flaws in the design, just the kind of thing you’d expect. It’s a very badly written bill, and this indicates that the insurers aren’t the only ones taking advantage. Did they think all their customers are stupid? (Well, yes, they did…) A system that CAN be gamed WILL be gamed. That’s precisely why “simple” and “universal” are so important.

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