Links 1/22/16

Five of the world’s sneakiest animals BBC (furzy)

Hunting secrets of the Venus flytrap PhysOrg. Chuck L: “Fascinating!”

Thorough, not thoroughly fabricated: The truth about global temperature data ars technica (Chuck L)

Five Years Later, Tunisians Take to the Streets Again Foreign Policy

Mr. Market is Moody

Stocks surge on oil rally and ECB aid hint Financial Times

Draghi Rally Fizzles In Less Than One Day: Failure In Pictures Michael Shedlock

Fears grow of repeat of 2008 financial crash as investors run for cover Guardian (Sid S)


China Tries to Allay Global Concerns About Its Management of Yuan Wall Street Journal

The tiny shifts that can signal huge changes Gillian Tett, Financial Times. The old pre-crisis capital markets reporter Tett looks to be back….which is a crisis indicator.

EU to clamp down on corporate tax avoidance schemes Financial Times

A Faustian moment for the German Left Politico. Sahra Wagenknecht looks to be making a bid of sorts now that Merkel is wobbly.

Inside Germany’s Higher Defense Spending Foreign Affairs (furzy)

France to keep state of emergency ‘until IS defeated’ – PM Valls BBC (furzy)

Migrant Crisis

Migration ‘putting EU at grave risk’ BBC

Merkel looks to Turkey for help to deal with migrant crisis DW


Russian warships make Soviet-era display of might off coast of Syria Guardian. I would assume the US does this sort of thing upon occasion…

Russian Space Agency discussing possible training of Iranian astronaut SpaceDaily. Chuck L: “I expect the neocons will be freaked at this, if they’re not already.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

A Drone Protestor Heads to Jail Bill Moyers


Even Bill Clinton Is Freaking Out About Hillary’s Stumbling Campaign Vanity Fair (resilc)

Hillary Clinton’s Paid Speeches to Wall Street Animate Her Opponents New York Times

Hillary in Blackface: the Blaxploitation Politics of the Identity Dems Counterpunch (Judy B)

Hillary Clinton angers Iowa fans who waited hours for five-minute speech Guardian (PlutoniumKun). Let them eat pop singers? Was this arrogance or bad advance work? Either way, this is no way to run a campaign.

When Will the Candidates Start Talking About the Economy? Mohamed El-Erian New York Times. Wow. Utterly ignores that Sanders exists and that this is his focus.

It’s Time to Get Serious About Bernie Sanders New York Magazine (resilc). IIRC, NY Mag was very loud not that long ago that Sanders had no chance.

Fine, give the GOP four years: The liberal case for either Bernie Sanders, or electing a Republican president Salon

Cruz reveals he doesn’t have health insurance Politico (Scott)

Woody Guthrie Despised His Landlord—Donald Trump’s Racist Father Gawker (resilc)

George Soros: Donald Trump is doing the work of Isis Guardian

Economic Policy Progressives Need the MMT Community to Get Its Feet on the Ground Rugged Egalitarianism


A Question of Environmental Racism in Flint New York Times

Finally, We Know Exactly What Led to the Flint Water Crisis Jezebel. Resilc: “I would chip this mofo Fargo style without thinking twice.”

What Snyder Knew: Flint Email Dump Shows Attempts to Shift the Blame Common Dreams (John L)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

How Taxes Have Kept Wealth White Too Much (Judy B). From last year, but still germane.

Georgia Police Officer Indicted for Murder of Unarmed Black Man New York Times

This Time, Cheaper Oil Does Little for the U.S. Economy New York Times. As we predicted…

Saudi Arabia says $30 oil is ‘irrational’ Financial Times. Therefore, no production cuts.

U.S. Is Hiding Treasury Bond Data That’s Suddenly Become Crucial Bloomberg (resilc)

Moody’s puts 175 on downgrade watch Financial Times

Former regional mall outside Rochester sells for $100,000 at auction Democrat and Chronicle. Allan C: “It’s 11 p.m. Do you know where your REIT is?”

Class Warfare

Senator Elizabeth Warren Calls for Action to Root Out Influence of Money in Politics YouTube (furzy)

A tax break that Wall Street cannot defend Financial Times. I managed to miss this. From last week. An editorial. Consistent with what I have been hearing from tax pros, that the carried interest loophole is on its last legs.

Should It Be Easy for Wall Streeters to Take Government Jobs? Gawker (resilc)

Airbnb Takes Its Case to U.S. Mayors Conference New York Times

Antidote du jour. James: “Attaching an image from Presstv (Iran) showing a pic of a wolf pack. The article stated they’re becoming increasingly common.”

wolfpack links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    6:12am “Good stories just don’t do as BAD as the conflicts”…………..woke up to John Kerry live on Aljazeera from Davos and those are his exact words. i’ve heard psycho’s won’t tell a lie…if you listen. he rambled on about ‘certain’ media outlets that only discuss the bad news. blahfuckingblah

    choke on a 9lb lobster tail Kerry’s… from Fukushima with Love

      1. polecat

        Its’ the end of the big wolf bash…..after the davos man trireme hit the rocks and skidded to shore. wolves gotta exercise after a big meal ya know!

      1. abynormal

        growl on thru that smile baby…

        “To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn’t stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one’s place in the world. To say ‘I am here.’ To say ‘I am.”
        O.R. Melling

    1. Antifa

      You see this same sort of thing during private banquets at Trader Vic’s, over at the Park Lane Hilton in London. Investment bankers whose hair is perfect, but their table manners — they didn’t learn anything out walking with the queen.

  2. timbers

    “Even Bill Clinton Is Freaking Out About Hillary’s Stumbling Campaign Vanity Fair (resilc)”. And recent Iowa poll puts Bernie ahead of Hillary.

    Maybe Bill should spend some of his freak out energy asking “WHY is Bernie surging?” and tell Hillary to climb aboard the single payer for all bandwagon? That would save Bill a lot of time and be healthy for his heart condition. She’ll only lose Big Pharma and insurance corporations which I don’t think are the base she is known for. I looked at Bernie’s link regarding costs of his plan. Even a Republican if they spend a few seconds comparing the figures to there current situation can see they probably benefit greatly under Bernie’s Medicare for all.

    It’s the pocket book, stupid Bill.

    1. optimader

      She will go down ugly as she ablates on reentry. What are the chances of someone as sanctimonious as her switching strategies on healthcare? I think unlikely. Isn’t the campaign organization a good leading indicator ?

      1. Jim Haygood

        It’s not the health care platform, or any wonkish stance on any issue.

        It’s the mephistophelean stench of corruption.

        1. optimader

          oh I agree, it’s a generalized rot on top of the fact that she has the essence of Al Gore’s campaign charisma in spades.

    2. Brindle

      Bill Clinton shows his allegiance to the .01% ….

      —Without mentioning Mr. Sanders by name, Mr. Clinton dismissed one of his main campaign pledges, to provide free college tuition for all. “She does not agree that tuition should be free for everybody,” he said of his wife. “People like me and Hillary can afford to go to college. The government can’t help everyone. We should have money to put into jobs and infrastructure.”—

      From NYT’s First Draft. ( I’d provide link but whenever I do comment goes into moderation for hours.)

      1. optimader

        That which is free has no value..I agree with him, probably for different reasons tuition should not be free,– I imagine Chelsea had free tuition, so that’s his own hypocrisy .
        And he’s correct that college isn’t for everyone, but the tradeschool option with reasonable middleclass jobs for the competent grads to slide into should be available in our economy. That’s a bigger nut to crack than the bromide of “free tuition for all”.

        OTOH, tuition shouldn’t be unapproachably expensive either. The economics should be doable with summer and parttime jobs.
        I was able to pay for my college gig in the late ’70’s at State schools, when it was possible to do that working summers and part time jobs.
        I look back on that experience in it’s entirety and I believe working through school gave me a big leg up on my contemporaries that had the tab picked up by parents. I walked into the job market in the leading edge of a recession with a larger set of skills.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Another concern is if all the jobs are shipped out, what good is free tuition?

          Four years spent training to serve the system, with free tuition, but the system doesn’t want you. Tuition was free, but at what opportunity cost?

          Unless we reform greedy administrators (and overcome neoliberalism), free tuition just enables them to continue their merry way.

          To me, it sounds like a gift to the Education-industrial Complex.

        2. jhallc

          The tuition at Massachusetts Public University’s is not that expensive. It’s the fee’s and extras that add up. So free tuition is not really that big a deal unless we’re talking free room and board, books, etc. Most folks will still need some sort of outside work to cover the extra expenses.

          As for Bill’s comment on the cost of college. One GS speaking fee and Chelsea’s Stanford University cost is all paid for . They would never send her to a public college anyway.

          1. optimader

            These days, tuition and fees would be ~$80k. A pretty heroic nut for a young person at a State School no less.


            Rewinding that to say 1980 would be ~$28k or apprx ~$7000/year.

            IIRC I was paying on the order of $2,500/year at UofI- tuition and fees.. and I did the rest of the “college experience” on the way low, cost wise.

            And I would be competing with foreign student preference due to the predatory tuition scheme.

            Maybe a young person in Illinois should establish residency in Massachusetts?

          2. jrs

            You would think room and board would be a huge concern considering how much a room costs at this point, I guess we’re down to renting a couch to sleep on as a student.

            1. optimader

              That gives me a fond memory of college… Hovel Days and Couch Diving.

              A college friend who went on to be a food science professor, very smart guy, may well have set the standard amongst our peers for making the best of living in a dump .

              He played it to his advantage by doing a biology term paper on the territoriality of whatever version of cockroach lived in the apt.
              He used multiple daps of different colors of nail-polish on their carapace to identify them by room…bathroom kitchen bedroom ..and so forth and charted their movements.

              I don’t remember the conclusion of the paper, but I do remember his story about a “guest” stumbling into the bathroom one night, flipping on the light and screaming: “ ****** what the fk is a cockroach with red and green dots doing on your toothbrush !?”

        3. Propertius

          What really astonishes me is the trope that free tuition at public universities is some kind of novel, outlandish, “unAmerican” idea. The whole point behind establishing land grant colleges was that they would be tuition-free (that’s what the land grant was for) – and indeed, a lot of them were right up into the mid/late Twentieth Century. Lest we forget, it was Ronald Reagan who ended free tuition in the University of California system. That’s hardly ancient history.

          I should note that when I attended a state university (in a conservative Southern state, no less) in the early/mid ’70s, there was no tuition and a mere $190/quarter in fees for full-time students. I cannot imagine how the current generation of graduates will cope with crushing debt load of non-dischargeable student loans.

          There’s nothing about free postsecondary tuition that implies that “everyone should go to college” or that admission standards should be abolished – and it’s certainly reasonable to have the same policy for trade schools (for those who don’t want to pursue a university education).

          1. cwaltz

            Most trade schools are located within community and/or technical colleges.

            For example, our community college offers welding certificates. You can go for a basic welding certificate and only need to take welding classes(one of which is a welding qualifications test class) or you can pursue a more advanced certificate that includes critical reading and college success skills.

        4. cwaltz

          I disagree with the statement that which is free has no value. No one is charging for air…..yet. Try living without it. Kindness or compassion also valuable and of no cost. Water, at one time also was free. No longer, of course, thanks to capitalism’s desire to monetize everything. Part of the market’s problem is how it defines VALUE.

          For the record, trade schools are offered at community COLLEGES. So yes, making tuition free would help those interesting in getting certified.

          As radical as everyone is calling “free college” the reality is the Republican state of Tennessee has a free college program. You’re required to have a C average and are required to give 8 hours of community service per semester in return. I have little to no doubt the program was instituted so that they could attract businesses to the region with the alluring idea of an educated workforce.

          The larger problem in the long term would be the law of supply and demand applies to a workforce. One of the reasons I suspect Silicon Valley is so interested in teaching everyone to code is because it gives them a larger pool to recruit from which, in turn, could potentially drive down wages for that skill set.

      2. Bev

        Bernie Sanders’ wonderful ad “America” does not mention Hillary Clinton.

        N.H. Poll Indicates Sanders Will Win Democratic Nomination, then the Presidency

        In comments: If you have not yet seen Bernie Sanders’ poignant and wordless ad to the music of Simon and Garfunkel’s America–so beautiful in sentiment and vision: together to build a better future.

        Sanders’s magnificent ‘America’ campaign ad
        By Brent Budowsky, columnist, The Hill

        The new television ad that was released by Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) campaign, based on Simon and Garfunkel’s song “America,” is the most brilliant and appropriate campaign ad of the year so far, and may be the most important campaign ad since President Reagan’s “Morning in America” ad.

        The ad perfectly captures the vision and spirit of the Sanders campaign and the mood of an America today that is the stuff of diverse people yearning to come together for common dreams and aspirations, at a time when many voters are hurting and hungering for a better life. The ad brings together music and video behind the Sanders message in a way that is fun to watch and memorable in substance and tone.In his ad, Sanders, like Simon and Garfunkel in their song, paints a portrait of a people seeking a better and nobler and more hopeful nation. There is a poetry and romance to the ad, as there is a poetry and romance to politics at its best —

        The “America” ad is one that voters will want to see many times, unlike most political campaign ads, and it projects a message that is positive, uplifting and unifying, which embodies the spirit that we Americans want in our politics and our country.

          1. hidflect

            I like to think that Hillary’s cynicism had her hire the best insider movers & shakers and operators she could find which is why her campaign could never come up with something to match this Bernie ad which is the product of dreamers and idealists. And now her team are sitting around the boardroom conference table watching the clip and going, “Dammn..”

    3. Oregoncharles

      The Clintons were never the political geniuses they’re made out to be, unless Perot was handing the election to them.

      As a certain tyro made clear about 8 years ago.

  3. Uahsenaa

    Sec. Clinton gave a five minute speech here in Iowa City last night after making people wait out in the cold for hours. A friend of mine who went said it soured the mood of nearly everyone present and made many wonder whether she gives a crap any longer.

    The Guardian write up puts it quite succinctly: “The rest of her speech was so short that it is possible to summarize almost all of it in the next six paragraphs.”


    1. Uahsenaa

      Meanwhile in Cloud Cuckoo Land–err, The New Times, delusion is still the order of the day: “Hillary Clinton, With Help From Demi Lovato, Treads on Bernie Sanders Turf in Iowa.” I particularly love how Healy and Chozick take unequivocally bad poll numbers and try to spin them as no big deal.

      1. Clive

        A reasonable possibility is this was for health related reasons. Regardless, it is arrogant. Even if there was a good explanation for why people would be left, understandably, disappointed, why simply get up and go without saying it.

        If Clinton had come out with something like “sorry, I’ve been running behind schedule all day for X- or Y- reason, I don’t want to have to cancel my next appointment at Z- event, I do hope you’ll understand etc. etc.” people would have, almost universally, appreciated that.

          1. Clive

            Doh! Beginners error there, wasn’t it!? You see, I forgot for a moment it was that Hillary Clinton we were talking about and hope tormented me. Thanks Aby, I’m back to reality now and have shaken off that regrettable lapse into naivety.

        1. optimader

          A reasonable possibility is this was for health related reasons
          TeamClinton needs am ampule of what they were shooting RReagan up with in Reykjavik.

          If Clinton had come out with something …., appreciated that.
          Yes well that’s the script the near normal person in a campaign would have slipped her to practice for just this contingency..

          For sociopaths, mimicry is their metier, their bread and butter.

          Hare once illustrated this for Nicole Kidman, who had invited him to Hollywood to help her prepare for a role as a psychopath in Malice. How, she wondered, could she show the audience there was something fundamentally wrong with her character?

          “I said, ‘Here’s a scene that you can use,’ ” Hare says. ” ‘You’re walking down a street and there’s an accident. A car has hit a child in the crosswalk. A crowd of people gather round. You walk up, the child’s lying on the ground and there’s blood running all over the place. You get a little blood on your shoes and you look down and say, “Oh shit.” You look over at the child, kind of interested, but you’re not repelled or horrified. You’re just interested. Then you look at the mother, and you’re really fascinated by the mother, who’s emoting, crying out, doing all these different things. After a few minutes you turn away and go back to your house. You go into the bathroom and practice mimicking the facial expressions of the mother.’ ” He then pauses and says, “That’s the psychopath: somebody who doesn’t understand what’s going on emotionally, but understands that something important has happened.”

            1. optimader

              You get a little blood on your shoes and you look down and say, “Oh shit.” You look over at the child, kind of interested, but you’re not repelled or horrified. You’re just interested.
              Cut shot– Fade in– HRC watching a drone strike

    2. rusti

      I thought one of the comments below the article was worth repeating:

      Jeffrey Crafts

      Did she get her customary $600,000?

    3. perpetualWAR

      I accompanied a friend to her Seattle speech during her previous run. It was so embarrassing as Hillary was extremely late. No one told the crowd what was going on. My friend and I waited for about an hour, but we finally began to pack it in. I heard from a colleague who went, she finally took the stage 2 hours late. No explanation, no thank you for waiting for me, no nothing. I thought, I know I dont like her, but thoughther behavior should sway those on the fence to another decision.

      It appears she doesnt know how to connect with people. A simple “Gee, I’m sorry. And thanks for waiting” would have gone a long way.

      1. Steven D.

        Hillary’s response to Bernie about Wall Street during the debate made my commitment to never voting for her under any circumstances 10 times more solid. Saying that questioning her record is an attack on Obama first of all implicitly admits Obama’s lameness/treachery. Also holding up the corrupt Obama as a paragon of virtue waves around her own corruption like no one cares. That’s her telling me to sod off. She’s dead to me.

  4. petal

    An article about privacy legislation in NH and how the police don’t like it.

    Going to the Irondequoit Mall used to be a big treat when I was a kid. It was bright(lots of natural light inside) and really nice. And it had a carousel in front of a giant window. Then, people started getting jumped and carjacked in the parking lot and the buses would drop tons of kids off after school and it became a place to avoid. It went downhill very quickly. People were willing to drive an hour to another mall instead of the 10-15 minutes to go to Irondequoit-even though it was the closest to their house. Now I think the best thing that can happen is that it gets torn down.

    And I am seeing more and more Bernie stickers/car magnets here in the Hanover/Lebanon NH area. No Hillary stuff at all. I did see one Rand Paul sign on the side of the road. Definitely new.

    1. allan

      FYI, Marketplace might be next. I don’t go out shopping much,
      but the last time I went there it looked like a ghost town.

      The basic problem is a stagnant population and declining income.

    2. direction

      I’m from Irondequoit too! Home town represent! That’s double coincidence because my nickname is Petal. How weird! Two petals from where the land meets the water.

      OK folks, that’s almost a haiku. Irondequoit means “where the land meets the water” because we are situated on the shore of Lake Ontario. Finish the Haiku for me:

      Two petals by name,
      Where the land meets the water…

  5. Dino Reno

    George Soros: Donald Trump is doing the work of Isis

    I guess this means that Soros is doing the work of Putin.

    1. Foy

      Soros hates Putin and Russia. See any of Soros’ recent writings and recommendations on the Ukraine, it’s blatant.

      1. Dino Reno

        This is very simple if anyone here had read the article. Trump is a bad man who makes ISIS look good. Therefore, to extend the logic, Soros is a bad man who makes Putin look good.

  6. craazyboy

    “This Time, Cheaper Oil Does Little for the U.S. Economy New York Times. As we predicted…”

    Yes, yes. Things were great when prices were high.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I know for seniors, who drive much less than when they were in their 20’s, 30’s, etc, cheaper gas doesn’t impact them that much, especially when medicine is more expensive, but their Social Security annual inflation adjustment is zero this year.

      1. craazyboy

        Ya, not even .5%. And they said it was because of cheap oil. That also means the inflation adjustment on your hoped for future benefit didn’t go up either.

    2. Lord Koos

      When food costs, shipping costs and airline tickets all went up in price a few years back it was blamed on the cost of oil. Now that oil is cheap, where is the cheap food, and why haven’t UPS and FEDEX lowered their rates?

  7. Steven D.

    Re the mall in Rochester selling for $100,000, the big trend is that malls are the new slums. Young people in particular are bored with living in places where you have to drive half an hour to find anything interesting. The trendy neighborhoods are those where you can walk to stuff from your house. Or take public transit. This trend has a lot of exceptions, but it is observable. In the 70s, the White Flint mall was the hottest new thing in Montgomery County, Maryland. Last year they tore it down and plan to replace it with a neotraditional town.

    1. abynormal

      but this ain’t the 70s Steven…for example here in GA we got dormant/zombie chicken factories. the banks won’t allow a sale…E X P O S U R E.
      someone just stepped outside the box…100k is a drastic call to P A N I C.

      unfortunately this zh creature is spot on: (crackling mic)

      “This is your captain speaking again, the flight ahead of us is reporting severe turbulents, so please return to your seats. We’re still on schedule for touchdown at Econ Nirvana airport in about an hour so theres no cause for alarm. And once again, thank you flying Keynesian Air.”

      1. Skippy

        Aby maybe you can splaine to me the drama wrt Keynes and ZH, increasingly since post WWII and dominate since the 70s its been AET and Neoclassicals w/ a few neo – new bolt ons.

        Skippy…. its sort of like the Greenspan thingy…. once fervent devotes now sputter traitor of the faith… so was it Greenspan or the devotes which suffered some sort of disorder…

    2. SufferinSuccotash

      Too many up-market stores at White Flint. Also, Borders going belly-up four years ago didn’t help.

    3. Carolinian

      I’ve noticed here in the suburban South that run of the mill malls are taking it on the chin but “destination malls” (they all seem to have an Apple store) are still going great guns. In my little town our one and only mall is now one third empty.

      1. abynormal

        M&A volumes are expected to rise…2.7 to possibly 7.7 TRILLION 2016

        Life allows us see a shadow in the darkness, and we must guess its true shape. But life forces us to decide, before we know with perfect knowledge, how we shall confront the unknown. ~The Concubine Vector

      2. Steven D.

        Some of the malls that are staying successful are building apartments in the parking lots and reinventing themselves as “town centers,” or “lifestyle centers.”

      3. sleepy

        In my town of Mason City IA, a good chunk of downtown was torn down 30 yrs. ago and replaced with a mall–now on its last legs of course. What new business exists downtown are a few upscale eateries and bars which the city continues to pour “economic development” money into–all in a town that has a declining population of 27,000 and little consumer dollars to support any sort of gentrification—“But, hey, that works in Seattle, why not here? And we need tax dollars for a new downtown hotel for all the tourists!”

        For us plebes, KMart has closed, Sears is closing, Penny’s is gone, pawn shops and used car lots R Us. And we lead the state in per capita hard liquor sales.

        1. Steven D.

          This kind of story makes me ill. There’s nothing on which to rebuild the town since the bones of the town were destroyed to create a suburb with no urb. Little Belding, MI did the same thing about 40 years ago. That mall has been an empty barn from day one.

          The best they could do is tear down the mall, replat the old streets and lots, and allow businesses to rebuild with no parking requirements, prohibitions on live-in business buildings or any other encumbrances that block the return of small community-based businesses.

        2. JCC

          Sounds like Elmira, NY. When Elmira’s downtown started shutting down back in the mid-70’s my Uncle (someone who had left the area years before) said, “Downtown isn’t dead, it just packed up and moved 20 miles away to the Mall.” (not quite true, however, the chains at the local Mall wiped out a lot of downtown Elmira permanently). The downtown area still dead and the local Mall is all but closed.

          As in Mason City, I often hear talk about the latest great idea for a Tourist Hotel with all the attendant reasons why floating another City or County bond is the greatest idea ever.

          Mason City is much closer to where I live now. The Elmira, NY Tourist Hotel would be well out of my price range should I want to tour classic small town Americana dead urban areas.

      4. ambrit

        Of interest would be the socioeconomic trend in each malls’ feeder population. Are the fates of the malls an indicator of the shrinking of the “Middle Class?” Destination malls look to be catering to upper income families. The presence of an Apple store would indicate this. Disney recently decided to shift their emphasis to upper income families, and raised prices at its’ venues.

      5. cwaltz

        I tend to think some of the problems lie with the credits we give developers. They get credits for bringing jobs to town when they build these strip malls but really what happens is the same jobs get recycled to different strip malls. Once the developers end up raising rents because the town is no longer offering credits, a new strip mall seems to be built. We’ve got one strip mall where they’ve got 4 stores occupied of the 32 available. Despite that we’ve got a Regent Plaza presently being built to house businesses(because apparently it’s not feasible to fit these businesses in at the open mall spaces or at the strip malls already built.

    4. fresno dan

      We moved our office/lab right next to White Flint mall – I guess its about 20 years now (25???? years go by). Even than it was on a downward path – we used to have lunch occasionally at the food court – in the 80’s, it actually had upscale restaurants at its food court, like sushi.

      I remember when I first moved to Bethesda (in a basement) in ’86, I read an article that White Flint generated 5% of the sales tax in Maryland (that can’t be right, but even 0.5% seems unbelievable to me).
      So I went to check it out – it was a hopping place for a while. But than there was the 90 recession, the 2000 recession, but even without the recessions, it just seemed to decline. What was the big book store…swiss cheese brains. It opened, and before you knew it, Amazon destroyed it. The high end stuff seemed to go away, the food court began typical mall pizza, and I remember you could walk around and fire a cannon down the promenades.

      Going to the mall – before cell phones, before the internet, before Amazon. I haven’t been to a mall in years – internet and big box stores. The idea of just walking around to find a product seems as antiquated as going out to a well to fetch water…

      1. polecat

        malls, in the main, seem to have become magnets for discontented youth, mostly the hip hop & gangsta crowd…….at least that was my impression when I was living in Sacramento, Ca. a decade ago………no more for me!

        1. fresno dan

          When I retired, I moved to Sacramento and lived there 2 years. I lived in an apartment in mid town and only got in my car once a month to visit wineries while I was there, so I never went to a mall. Well, I guess that thing down by the river in “pld town”was kinda of a mall – they had the river brewpub or whatever it was called.

      2. Kokuanani

        Not too far from the carcass of White Flint Mall is “Westfield Montgomery Mall,” or “Monkey Mall.” It has renovated itself, particularly its movie theater & food court. [It has the requisite Apple Store.] It’s now buzzing with activity.

    1. fresno dan

      as usual, Archdruid has some nifty insights:

      In 1966 an American family with one breadwinner working full time at an hourly wage could count on having a home, a car, three square meals a day, and the other ordinary necessities of life, with some left over for the occasional luxury. In 2016, an American family with one breadwinner working full time at an hourly wage is as likely as not to end up living on the street, and a vast number of people who would happily work full time even under those conditions can find only part-time or temporary work when they can find any jobs at all. The catastrophic impoverishment and immiseration of the American wage class is one of the most massive political facts of our time—and it’s also one of the most unmentionable. Next to nobody is willing to talk about it, or even admit that it happened.
      The destruction of the wage class was largely accomplished by way of two major shifts in American economic life. The first was the dismantling of the American industrial economy and its replacement by Third World sweatshops; the second was mass immigration from Third World countries. Both of these measures are ways of driving down wages—not, please note, salaries, returns on investment, or welfare payments—by slashing the number of wage-paying jobs, on the one hand, while boosting the number of people competing for them on the other. Both, in turn, were actively encouraged by government policies and, despite plenty of empty rhetoric on one or the other side of the Congressional aisle, both of them had, for all practical purposes, bipartisan support from the political establishment.
      Attempts by people in the wage class to mount any kind of effective challenge to the changes that have gutted their economic prospects and consigned them to a third-rate future have done very little so far. To some extent, that’s a function of the GOP’s sustained effort to lure wage class voters into backing Republican candidates on religious and moral grounds. It’s the mirror image of the ruse that’s been used by the Democratic party on a galaxy of interests on the leftward end of things—granted, the Democrats aren’t doing a thing about the issues that matter most to you, but neither are the Republicans, so you vote for the party that offends you least. Right? Sure, if you want to guarantee that the interests that matter most to you never get addressed at all.
      Notice also how many of Trump’s unacceptable-to-the-pundits comments have focused with laser precision on the issue of immigration. That’s a well-chosen opening wedge, as cutting off illegal immigration is something that the GOP has claimed to support for a while now. As Trump broadens his lead, in turn, he’s started to talk about the other side of the equation—the offshoring of jobs—as his recent jab at Apple’s overseas sweatshops shows. The mainstream media’s response to that jab does a fine job of proving the case argued above: “If smartphones were made in the US, we’d have to pay more for them!” And of course that’s true: the salary class will have to pay more for its toys if the wage class is going to have decent jobs that pay enough to support a family. That this is unthinkable for so many people in the salary class—that they’re perfectly happy allowing their electronics to be made for starvation wages in an assortment of overseas hellholes, so long as this keeps the price down—may help explain the boiling cauldron of resentment into which Trump is so efficiently tapping.

      It is astounding to me that just a few people whining about “class warfare” were as effective as they were at preventing the discussion of the rich getting ever more rich. CLASS WARFARE – worse than racism, worse than homophobia! The ONLY time Americans HAVE to pull together is to defend our noble, marvelous, wonderful RICH! They’re rich because they’re better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Not because they cured cancer or invented flying cars, but just a well designed, well planed zeitgeist that made discussion of the ever increasing gobbling up of the nations wealth into fewer and fewer hands verboten to even talk about. UNMENTIONABLE…

      so you vote for the party that offends you least….(BRILLIANT insight)!!! Or as I would say, you can be shot or you can be stabbed – which do you prefer?

      1. fresno dan

        and this:

        It’s by no means certain that Trump will ride that resentment straight to the White House, though at this moment it does seem like the most likely outcome. Still, I trust none of my readers are naive enough to think that a Trump defeat will mean the end of the phenomenon that’s lifted him to front runner status in the teeth of everything the political establishment can throw at him. I see the Trump candidacy as a major watershed in American political life, the point at which the wage class—the largest class of American voters, please note—has begun to wake up to its potential power and begin pushing back against the ascendancy of the salary class.

        Whether he wins or loses, that pushback is going to be a defining force in American politics for decades to come. Nor is a Trump candidacy anything approaching the worst form that could take. If Trump gets defeated, especially if it’s done by obviously dishonest means, the next leader to take up the cause of the wage class could very well be fond of armbands or, for that matter, of roadside bombs. Once the politics of resentment come into the open, anything can happen—and this is particularly true, it probably needs to be said, when the resentment in question is richly justified by the behavior of many of those against whom it’s directed.

        I agree.
        I remember when they said Mike Tyson could be defeated, and Evander Holyfield said “He’s never been hit”
        Trump said things that were supposedly unsayable:
        Iraq was a mistake
        George Bush didn’t keep us safe
        I give money to politicians because I have to to get favors.

        Whether it is a red Goldman Sachs treasury secretary, or a blue Goldman Sachs treasury secretary, the differences between them are less than the distance between the front and back of a dime.
        People are beginning to see that we have only beeb presented with ersatz choices.

        1. polecat

          this is why I can’t understand the cajoling and ridicule on this board of the yehadiis, as some of you term them, because there IS a message behind the scene, that people are sick and tired, and incensed at the over-reach that our ‘government’ continues to exert on all areas of life. SO think about that, cuzz you might be next!

      2. flora

        “Notice also how many of Trump’s unacceptable-to-the-pundits comments have focused with laser precision on the issue of immigration. ”

        Even David Brooks has finally admitted that Trump might be on to something when it comes to the economic situation of working people. Taibbi takes Brooks apart over the column, and it is pretty ridiculous, but at least Brooks is broaching the subject.

      3. JCC

        “Or as I would say, you can be shot or you can be stabbed – which do you prefer?”

        Or… voting for the “lesser of two evils” is still voting for evil.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Thanks very much for that one. I smell a political opportunity, for those who can grasp it.

    3. JCC

      I poured through this last night, twice. Then I spent the rest of the evening and this morning, before work, reading through the hundreds of comments, most of them just as interesting.

      Mr. Greer’s comments on biological markers vs class as the focal point of politicians and MSM were very good, and he’s right, it is taboo. One of my first thoughts while reading this was the classic line spoken during some Congressional Hearing or other by Warren Buffett,

      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

      I thought that was a classy and honest statement at the time from someone who maybe had, despite my feelings about the general sociopathy of that class, a large chunk of honesty left and maybe people would start listening… but this is the same Warren Buffett that’s sponsoring a $33,400.00 per head fundraiser at the end of this month for one of his warriors, H. Clinton.

      So, as I should have realized at the time, it was a statement of pride after all.

  8. Jen

    How stupid and heavy handed would the press secretary of your totally-not-coordinating super pac have to be to contact your opponent’s home town news paper to offer negative off the record story pitches?

    This stupid, apparently. Money quote: “[Daniel] Wessel said that his organization prefers to be named only when speaking about Republican candidates.”

    1. Will

      what a schadenfreudelicious article! “No thanks, we won’t take your ‘helpful suggestions’ for how to spin the news, but we will make news out of the fact that you’re offering!” More journalists like this, please.

  9. ProNewerDeal

    “I am old enough to remember” 2014 when 0bama & loathsome 0bamabots like MS-DLC’s Lawrence O’Donnell claiming the ACA Individual Mandate Penalty Tax “was optional, & not really a tax”.

    I recall reading Yves Smith’s NC article in 2015, that if you avoid the ACA Individual Mandate Penalty via insufficient tax withholding, such that you owe the IRS money instead of getting an IRS refund, the IRS with garnish any future refund in the NEXT 10 YEARS, compounded at above (~2% above CPI at that moment) CPI inflation rate.

    Now I heard a TV ad for, noting “sign up for an ACA policy by Jan 31, in order to avoid the Penalty, which is $695 or higher”. Note how 0bama “subtly” shifted the ACA Individual Mandate Penalty Tax from “optional” to mandatory. Why is this not a “scandal” story, from BigMedia, or from the fake-0bama-scandal-obsessed Republicans? Why I am the only one who apparently noticed this 1984-esque rewriting of the ACA Individual Mandate Penalty Tax.

    I recall from another NC article or link, that the IRS Commissioner noted that the most predominant method of 2014 individual tax filings was via paying an accountant or other tax preparer, baffled by the unnecessary complexity of the tax filing process. Given this, the sad thing is that 0bama will probably not get blowback from his ACA Individual Mandate Tax policy, given that typical USians will probably “only look at the bottom line” that say their refund was $500, & not notice that there refund would’ve been say $2000 had the Individual Mandate Tax not have extorted $1500 of the refund.

    F 0bama, who is Even Worse than Bush43 in terms of hurting USians, & a Cartoon Villain Criminal equivalently loathsome as that Martin Shkreli Pharma Bro.

    1. meeps

      My question is how many people are exempt from the penalty because the cost of plans exceeds income by more than 9.5%? The extra time spent reading instructions and filing additional paperwork is a hassle, but the plan costs have been exhorbitant enough to necessitate it (for two years running, in my case).

      A related question regarding Bernie’s Medicare For All plan calculator (posted yesterday on NC):

      The bottom advanced section asks: Have insurance? Possible answers are Yes, No, Yes, on someone else’s plan. Selecting ‘No’ (as I must because I’ve been priced out) vastly reduces the ‘You Will Save’ amount and vastly increases the ‘Employer’ amounts to into large ‘Losses.’ Why should this be the case? I’ve no control over the the exclusionary grandfather clause in the employer plan, nor over being priced out of Obamacare. The whole section seems irrelevant for the calculation of tax for a Medicare For All plan, which I hoped would be worth supporting in order to avoid this sort of nonsense.

      There is a separate tab at the bottom for Uninsured Penalty. If Medicare For All covers everyone, why is there another fee/charge here? Will “All” continue to mean [For All Excepting…] under this plan, too?

    1. fresno dan

      uh, the blood of virgins?
      Of course I’m being facetious.
      They drink Perrier. The blood of virgins is filtered through the new high tech filters, and the H2O generated is used to water their polo ponies…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Coach Harbaugh provides an important part of the ‘bread and circuses’ service to the state.

      Maybe he is a good candidate to become a tribune.

      1. Steve H.

        The Rent for Circuses is Too Damn High!

        (Last night TNT Overtime asked by for my television provider. That was the last way to sneak in a game without paying for a cable variant. Twenty years ago, every NCAA tournament game was on the telly, I lost track of who was playing, submerged in the flow. About 10 years ago could find most games online. Gone. All gone.)

  10. diptherio

    The Dan Kervick piece on what MMT needs to do is annoying and a bit insulting. Apparently, you can’t be taken seriously unless you have a toy model for the policy wonks to play with. The whole article seems to come down to “we won’t take you seriously until you adopt the same methodology that we use,” without bothering to mention that the methodology of mainstream economics is awful at predicting how things go in the real world.

    It would be really good if people would take the informal MMT model of the economy and build it up into formal model so that when it comes time for the policy engineers to “do the numbers”, MMT actually has some numbers it can do. Otherwise, all that is offered are vague qualitative suggestions…

    And Kervick’s main gripe seems to come down to the old hyper-inflationista paranoia that failing to sterilize spending with off-setting taxes will lead to a Zimbabwe situtation–despite the lack of historical evidence for such a view. He admits that the relationship between quantity of money and overall price level is very complex (“There is no fixed and straightforward relationship between the quantity of money and the price level…”)…but then falls back into the old MV=PQ routine from Macro 101. How can you say there is no fixed and straightforward relationship between two things and then present a simple equation that does just that, and then proceed to treat the equation as if it is a sure guide to reality?

    All Kervick seems to be saying here is that he wishes MMT would be more like mainstream econ, make more the same assumptions, and pick up their attachment to mathematical modeling (which has shown itself not to improve the success of mainstream economic theorizing). Yawn….

    1. theinhibitor

      Completely agree with you there. I think Dan thinks that policy should be guided by numbers rather than simple intuitive structures. History has shown many a time that as governments mature, they tend to try to control more and more of everything, which generally makes the system less efficient an more complex for no general benefit (but rather to benefit those that built the system to exploit it anyways).

      The fact of the matter is, trying to dictate policy from numbers will always lead to someone trying to control the situation, and another trying to game the situation. Instead, policy needs to be removed in all but the immoral circumstances. Guys like Dan should take a course in biology just to see the level of mind-blowing complexity involved in a system with illogical inputs.

    2. tiebie66

      Finally someone that understands economics! “At the end of the day, goods and services are paid for with other goods and services.” This is the basic truth of economics; no amount of financial hand waving should be able to blind one to it.

      And the modeling makes perfect sense. There are numerous feedback and feedforward loops in economics. Careful modeling offers a realistic chance to examine causality in such a complex system and to separate proximal from more distal effects. Without effective modeling, the only thing that happens is that economists shunt the causality of one or another problem from “unit labor costs” to “productivity levels” to “interest rates” to “Target 2 transfers” to “trade imbalances” to “the lack of a sovereign currency” to “fiscal stimulus” to “aggregate demand”. The latest one I encountered shunts between “Capital Intensive” and “Labor Intensive”.

      Perhaps the failure of economics is not modeling per se, but poor modeling. The frequently leveled criticism of unrealistic assumptions being present in various economic models may be a symptom of poor models (i.e. a poor model may need unrealistic assumptions). And having poor models with unrealistic assumptions is not likely to produce good outcomes.

  11. ProNewerDeal

    Apparently Ted Cruz has not had health insurance since Jan 1, & plans to purchase it soon. Ted Cruz “By the way, when you let your health insurance policy lapse, your wife gets really ticked at you,” he remarked. “It’s not a good — I’ve had, shall we say, some intense conversations with Heidi on that.”

    Ted Cruz wants empathy for
    1 his 2015 health insurance policy in terms of coverage & cost is no longer available. Cruz, this situation is a frequent case for individuals in BOTH the ACA & pre-ACA status quo. I can’t tell if the “Genius” Cruz is a moron here or is playing the Willful Ignoramus.
    2 not having health insurance for ~22 days, something that afaict was his own Personal Responsibility Fault.
    3 that his wife is angry at him for screwing up #2

    Yet Ted Cruz had NO empathy whatsoever for
    1 the ~30K USians that die yearly, per Harvard Public Health Profs’ estimate, of corrupt pols like Cruz/0bama/H Clinton blocking Canada-style MedicareForAll
    2 the majority of US bankruptcies, which are caused by massive medical bills, despite the fact that the majority of US medical bankruptcy victims had (Crappy Fraudulent) health insurance
    3 the ~30M USians who cannot afford health insurance & are ineligible for Medicaid, many who do not have health insurance for YEARS or even a DECADE+, despite he wants us to cry a river for him for not having health insurance for 22 days due to his own Personal Responsibility Failure.

    F Rafael “Ted” Cruz, he is a Hypocrite, & a Moral Monster Cartoon Villain Criminal equivalently loathsome as that Martin Shkreli Pharma Bro.

      1. ProNewerDeal

        IIRC Rafael “Ted” Cruz “publicly renounced his Canadian citizenship”.

        OTOH, by being a well-paid Poli-trick-ian Wh0re of his Oligarch Owners, er Campaign Funders, he & his wife likely have a few Million USDs. My understanding is that if you have 1.0M or perhaps even 0.5M “disposable” USDs, you are Global Oligarch Citizen, who is able to purchase legal permanent residency leading to Citizenship in an Actually Civilized Nation like New Zealand, Switzerland, etc; via an Entrepreneur Visa. In other words, purchase some existing successful franchise business store (Wack Arnolds, Pep Boys Auto Repair, etc) in Melbourne/Oslo/etc, hold it for ~5 years, & then you & your family are citizens. This is the Impression That I Get (c) Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but perhaps Yves or others could reply on whether this is true.

        So even though Rafael “Ted” Cruz has likely alienated his birth nation Canada, as a Global Oligarch Citizen he could likely obtain additional citizenship in his choice of several other Actually Civilized Nations that have Civilized Canada-style or UK-style Universal health care systems.

        1. Vatch

          A person without health insurance would need a lot of liquid assets to be safe from bankruptcy in this era of super expense medicine. One million dollars wouldn’t be enough, as Doctor Evli learned after he awoke from his long cryo-sleep.

          Of course I was just joking about Ted Cruz and Canadian health care, but I’m sure you realized that.

          1. alex morfesis

            Ted ?? Cruz…have asked every cuban i know…we cant figure out how rafael or eduardo ends up becoming “ted”…??

            Anyone read anywhere in one of the many made for television bio drama pix that pass for his actual history, where this americanimagineering

            Have a cousin humberto…oombey…who once he got to texas became Frank…maybe its an urban cowboy texas thing…

            Sidebar…no three letter named person seems to have ever become president. …ronald as ron nor theodore as ted is not what i meant…jeb… ted…ron(paul)…

            1. Vatch

              Jeb = John Ellis Bush. Another fake name.

              “Ted” Kennedy was Edward Moore Kennedy.

              What about Abe Lincoln? Never mind. “Abraham” has more than 3 letters.

          2. Lord Koos

            A Canadian, a Cuban, and a white supremacist walk into a bar.

            The bartender says, “What will you have Senator Cruz?”

        2. lindaj

          Let’s elect Cruz. Maybe he will use an executive order to combine U.S. with Canada and we can ALL have healthcare!

      2. HotFlash

        We don’t actually have a national health care plan, we have provincial ones which must meet Federal guidelines as a minimum. Some provinces do more — Manitoba, IIRC, offers dental, for instance.

        And it doesn’t go by citizenship, it goes by (legal) residence.To be covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) one must reside in Ontario for at least half the year, that is why our “snowbirds” come back from their Florida trailer parks every the spring.

    1. Pakhet

      And notice how he’s trying to cozy up to sexists, I mean traditionalists, by calling the wife a ball-buster about the purse strings?

  12. Pakhet

    A Question of Environmental Racism in Flint

    A question? A question? Yeah, because if it had been a white enclave, they definitely would have been weighing the costs and benefits and deniability of poisoning the residents.

    The NYT hasn’t been all that for a long time, but it has really gone beyond these last couple of years. They put a Black man at the head of the paper so they could tank it, just like they did the country.

  13. Theo

    Your story “Fine, give the GOP four years:…” links to not is a women’s bath products site.

    Also, often a link doesn’t work because the typist has placed an “a” directly in front of http in the link. Easily rectified by me by deleting the “a” in the address line, but could you look out for the error, please.

  14. Isolato

    Contributions to support Mary Anne Grady Flores, the drone protester sentenced to 6 months can be sent to: Make checks out to the Ithaca Catholic Worker, with Mary Anne Grady Flores and send to:
    Ithaca Catholic Worker
    514 N. Plain St., Ithaca, NY 14850

    Thank you.

    Before she went to jail yesterday she told us: “I asked my grandchildren, ‘Do you know where I’m going?’ and they said, ‘yeah, you’re going to jail, Nana.’” She told us that it is difficult to leave her 88-year-old mother who is ailing, but that her mother appreciates her carrying on in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King and the iconic Catholic activist Dorothy Day, with whom her mother once worked. Day famously said, “No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”

  15. fresno dan

    Hunting secrets of the Venus flytrap PhysOrg. Chuck L: “Fascinating!”

    Well, now I know why I can’t grow venus fly traps – just putting a piece of hamburger in them doesn’t stimulate them to actually digest the food. I guess after I feed them I have to poke them 5 times….

    1. petal

      I have had a little one on my desk at work for a couple few years now. Never thought it would stay alive. It likes distilled water and has actually vomited up a housefly I fed it. I got a good laugh out of it and learned my lesson. When the bugs come back in the spring I will try to be more discerning. Neat article!

      1. polecat

        hardy pitcher plants (Sarracenia hybids) ) are more forgiving, it seems it me,……..have several outside, in small bog areas surrounding water feature…..very cool….

    2. swangeese

      Please don’t feed your flytrap hamburger! It will harm the plant. Only feed flytraps freshly killed bugs if you want to feed it.

      However a flytrap doesn’t need to be fed. Think of bugs as fertilizer for the plant and don’t fertilize the plant with anything else.

      More info here:

  16. Jim Haygood

    Every Venezuelan a millionaire (in bolivars):

    In a note published Friday, IMF Western Hemisphere Director Alejandro Werner said inflation would more than double in the economically struggling South American country in 2016, reaching 720 percent.

    Venezuela already suffers from the world’s highest inflation rate. The IMF estimates that inflation here was running at 275 percent last year.

    Last week, Venezuela’s Central Bank published economic data for the first time in more than a year. The bank said inflation reached 141.5 percent by September of last year.

    Oh well, paper money works good as napkins to hold your empanadas (jpg image):

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are people desperately trying anything to survive inflation there?

      Such as buying hard assets, like shampoo, cooking oil, tynenol, silver coins or gold?

      Any on the ground reporting from the inflation zone?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some nations are more equal than others.

          For Caracas:

          So close to Fiat currency
          Yet so far away from Global Reserve status.

          To print money freely
          And buy up the world
          That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

  17. tegnost

    copper and crude “surging” as the most affluent part of the nation has a big blizzard bullseye on it. Quick Fill up the Range Rover, buy several new down comforters just in case you get stuck in the whole foods parking lot after stocking up on cheese, crackers organic meats and wine, plus some beer, and what about hot toddies?, hot chocolate, starbucks will be closed so a few hundred nespresso pods,…then turn up the heater, and if you can’t afford to turn up the heat then it’ll be frozen pipes galore! If you’ve got REI, Exxon and whole foods in your portfolio it’s woo hoo party time, will we see a baby boom? 10-14 snow tonight, 10-14 snow and slush tomorrow, ice storms already…be careful if that’s where you are, stay home. Don’t be that guy on the news whose car slides uncontrolled and willy nilly into the pile of cars at the bottom of the hill…chuckling from So Cal, 69 degrees today, warmest since I got here. yukkity yuk no really be careful stay home

    1. fresno dan

      I like the above link because I’m contrarian, and after everyone saying that there must be life out there, its nice to read somebody who comes up with some good logic that no, there doesn’t have to be life out there.

      I always thought Sagan just substituted aliens for God. And out of the minuscule possibility that there were advanced aliens, why would beings as advanced over us as we are over bacteria not simply use us as snackies???
      Or, after deciphering campaign commercials, decide that humans are a grave danger to interstellar civilization??? (we have to vaporize them there so we don’t have to vaporize them here….)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Only two rules for interstellar relationship:

        1. If we are stronger, we offer the aliens upward mobility. You can start with an H1B visa, or come in as an illegal space alien.
        2. If they are stronger, we come in the name of peace. Peace to all. Let’s get along.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        One thought is the stars haven’t produced enough heavy elements for civilization to exist until relatively recently because too many heavy elements sink beyond where they can be extracted and don’t crash in sufficient quantities to be more than trinkets.

        All of the gold we will ever use in the world is extra terrestrial or it crashed here after the Earth was recognizable as the Earth.

      3. ambrit

        I like to think of the “Star Trek” Prime Directive.
        It is acknowledged by anthropologists that ‘primitive’ cultures do not survive intact after encountering ‘superior’ cultures. Any ‘Aliens’ out there would have their own version of the Prime Directive, non interference, to protect us!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Buy an apartment and get a green card!!!

      Stimulate our economy.

      Economy and GDP growth ueber alles.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yesterday, the South China Morning Post had an article about little hiring in the Chinese tech sector.

      So, we are not alone. Maybe that will make us feeling less miserable…or not.

  18. Katiebird

    Here’s what the tax code would look like if Bernie Sanders got everything he wanted

    Is this really likely true? ::

    Several of Sanders’s plans change income and payroll tax rates. His single-payer plan probably does the most here. It adds:

    A 2.2 percent “income-based premium” paid by all Americans on their taxable income, including capital gains. This is meant to replace the premiums employees already pay for private health insurance today.

    A 6.2 percent income-based premium paid by employers on wage income. This is basically a payroll tax, and most economists agree that the cost of “employer-paid” payroll taxes are passed on entirely to workers in the form of lower wages in the long run. For that reason, I’m treating all payroll taxes as paid by employees, regardless of their ostensible target.

    Wouldn’t employers save quite a bit in expenses with the switch? Many employers pick up at least some of the cost of health insurance plans. And HR Depts where I’ve worked have to reevaluate and negotiate plans each year…. Then manage all the changes their employees might make.

    So that is off the table as an improvement…. And all we figure is the tax and that gets passed rght along to the employee?

    Maybe so. But if it is NOT so likely, I would like to start calling the liars out now.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I don’t understand the liberal infatuation with payroll taxes. They penalize employing people. They make a certain amount of sense when they’re directly employment-related: social security (but not Medicare), unemployment insurance, workers’ comp. But most medical care is not. Why penalize hiring people? A premium on the corporate tax would make more sense, assuming those taxes are actually collected. That ultimately comes out of shareholders.

      The least undesirable taxes are on income, because it reflects ability to pay, or on undesirables, like emitting carbon into the atmosphere, or extracting resources in general.

      By the same token, property taxes should be restricted to services to property, which don’t include education. That should really come out of income or extraction taxes, though the latter tend to be unstable on a local level. Oregon is trying something new: student “loans” that would be paid as a percentage of future income, so proportional to benefit. Not sure how far along the experiment is, but it amounts to free tuition.

      1. Katiebird

        I pretty much agree. Also, what about people who aren’t employed -early retirement say. Or theself employed, do the really get socked with both sets of taxes?

        1. Oregoncharles

          That would be me, and yes, self-employed people pay both halves of the payroll tax, then deduct the “employer” half from their taxable income (for income tax purposes.)

          If your income is below a certain level, which mine is these days, the payroll tax may be all you pay.

  19. hemeantwell


    Russian warships make Soviet-era display of might off coast of Syria Guardian. I would assume the US does this sort of thing upon occasion…

    Thanks for linking and commenting on that. I worry that the Guardian effectively peddles a combo of progressivish social and economic policy and hawkish squawking about how aggressive THEY are, a reprise of mid-20 c. Democratic imperialism that’s very congenial with HRC. Christ, they even get worked up about Corbyn saying the Trident fleet is a waste.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Progressive domestic social and economic (neoliberal economic abroad) policy, when intended with following purpose, makes it easier for us to be seduced into accepting or ignoring hawkish imperialism.

      Beware of the sirens.

    2. Plenue

      Funny, I thought they already made about as impressive a show of force as could be made months ago, with two dozen cruise missiles from a range no analyst thought possible.

  20. optimader

    RE Vanity Fair
    The Comeback Kid can’t be kept on the sidelines for long. After finally stepping out of the shadows earlier this month to begin stumping for his wife, Bill Clinton is reportedly seizing a larger role in advising Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as he grows increasingly worried that she isn’t focusing enough on the dozens of primary states that vote in March.

    A metaphor for her performance as Secretary of State. HRC is a resume of job titles not accomplishments.

    1. Lord Koos

      From what I’ve heard, Bernie is way ahead of Hillary in this, he’s already had teams working on the ground in all of the early primary states.

  21. rjs

    This Time, Cheaper Oil Does Little for the U.S. Economy New York Times. As we predicted…

    can you cite the post or posts where that was predicted? i’m thinking about writing on the topic myself…if i critique yours, i’ll email you a copy of what i’ve written…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It wasn’t a post, just repeatedly expressing skepticism in Links over “Look at how all those gas savings will stimulate the economy!” I offered two reservations:. First, lower prices would lead to a loss of fracking-related jobs, which were high paying, and had positive knock-on effects in their communities. If you looked at which states had added jobs since 2008, the top ones were states that had meaningful oip/gas development. Second, they were assuming consumers would spend all or most of the savings and they might not.

      1. rjs

        that’s close to what i’ve been opining…i have been saying we’d see shallow regional recessions in the oil producing areas, like Alaska, the Rockies front range, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, but come out of it in better shape than we’ve been since the 60s…there’ll be a similar dynamic at work in the global economy…

        early on, there was a lot of commentary suggesting that consumers would take every penny they saved at the pump and spend it the next day…obvious that that wouldnt happen; nothing turns that fast..

  22. Oregoncharles

    In line with the science articles Yves often posts:

    However, we can be more specific: what about INTELLIGENT life – which is what we’re “listening” for? The grimmest theory is that we don’t detect them because they all killed themselves off. This theory is based on our own experience, since human survival, by our own doing, hangs by a thread, to say nothing of survival of our technological civilization.

    Intelligence may well prove counter-survival.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Look at how happy that fish is.”

      “You are not fish, how do you know the fish is happy?”

      “You are not me, how do you know I don’t know?”

      So went an exchange in ancient China.

      History is written by the literate. So, the lesson is that being literate is good – it increases one’s odds of survival. ‘Look at how many illiterate species that have been wiped out by the literate,’ they warn themselves.

      We don’t ask animals and plants we deem not intelligent or less intelligent than us.

      Maybe they see our ‘intelligent work’ as destructive.

      Maybe being intelligent is a disease, a sickness.

      Can Nature only judge the humanity book by anything other than its cover?

      1. polecat

        maybe , in a few hundred thousand to a million years from the present, when sentient, upright raccoons start to develop their own civilized ways & means……..or, in Greers’ case, sentient clams….

    2. hunkerdown

      The desire to develop prostheses to precisely sense and emit exquisitely pure electromagnetic radiation at the levels required for communication with extraterrestrial intelligences, whether such development was done toward that or some other technological end, might be a particular consequence of the human condition; organisms less disposed to malcontentment would reflect as much in their associations and specializations, as well as attitudes toward expansionism and collectivism. Imagine if the bonobos had felt the urge to take to the land rather than the chimps, and how differently they might pursue a path of increasingly adept and specialized tool use and development. Perhaps a hint arrived with the Malheur occupiers and the “supplies” sent in response to their call.

      Maybe it’s not that they’re dead, but that whom it may concern aren’t concerned, having found more satisfying things to do with their intellects.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Economic Policy Progressives Need the MMT Community to Get Its Feet on the Ground ” My comment, c&p’ed from Kervick’s blog:

    Assuming that MMT-ers are really that vague about the numbers, this makes sense up to the point where you talk about “models.” You’re confusing them with the real world. If we’ve learned anything about economics, it’s that it bears only a vague relationship with the real world, which is too chaotic, in the technical sense, to predict precisely. Or perhaps economics is too ideological to do the job – the effect is the same.

    So yes, MMT should have numbers available to provide guidance for real policy. But “models” are only rough guides at best, and everything depends on the assumptions. The vague statement that expenditures have to be made up with taxes UNLESS inflation is desirable (as now) might well be the best we can do. Any decisions about taxes will ultimately be political, anyway.

    I note that this rather common-sense article is NOT a critique of Sanders’ proposal, which does include countervailing taxes – which would have significant social value, as well. I also note that I had to go to the comments to find out Kervick’s name!

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Georgia Police Officer Indicted for Murder of Unarmed Black Man ”

    Why are most of these indictments in the South?

  25. Lord Koos

    Speaking of bond data and manipulated markets, this link:

    “There is a One Trillion Dollar Question: What entity or entities have purchased – for cash – the $1 Trillion dollars worth of Government Bonds that the central banks of the world have sold off in the course of the past 17 months?

    What discount on the value of the Bonds did the purchaser or purchasers of the Bonds apply? If there was no discount, why so?

    $1 Trillion dollars’ worth of Government Bonds has disappeared from the books of the world’s central bankers, sold by them for cash. WHO DID THE BUYING? On what Balance Sheets do the acquired $1 Trillion dollars of Bonds now rest?”

  26. Synapsid

    The wolf pack in Iran brings back the memory that there were still tigers in Iran in the 1940s, on the coast of the Caspian. A villager got eaten every once in a while. (This from Carelton Coon, a prominent anthropologist back then.)

    To round out the day: American archaeologists in the 30s and 40s really did wear fedoras, for some reason. Indy got it right.

    1. tegnost

      If you you want to know old tigers, and tigers where they interact with humans “The man eaters of kumaon” is the ticket. Sad because they are so powerful there’s no place for them. Loners too. One of my favorite books of all time and totally tumbled onto it by chance…

  27. ballard

    “As time went on, I subscribed more and more to Toynbee’s idea that civilizations die not by murder but by suicide. And then one day everything changed for me. It was March thirtieth, 2013, I’ll never forget – Easter weekend. At the time I was living in Brussels, and every once in a while I’d go have a drink at the bar of the Métropole. I’d always loved Art Nouveau. There are magnificent examples in Prague and Vienna, and there are interesting buildings in Paris and London, too, but for me – right or wrong – the high point of Art Nouveau decor was the Hotel Métropole de Bruxelles, in particular the bar. The morning of March thirtieth, I happened to walk by and saw a sign that said the bar of the Métropole was closing for good, that very night.”

    ― Michel Houellebecq, Submission

  28. TheCatSaid

    Re Bloomberg article about the amount of US Treasury bonds held by Saudi Arabia, IRELAND is the 5th largest holder of US Treasuries!?!

    As per the 3rd graph/chart in the article:
    “Oil Exporters Are Among Biggest Holders of US Treasuries”
    Pie chart shows only the 6 largest holders
    (USD, US Treasury Dept.)
    1,264.5 B China
    1,144.9 B Japan
    289 B Oil Exporters (the focus of the article)
    255 B Brazil
    246.4B IRELAND (!)
    227.1B Switzerland

    Why is Ireland the 5th largest holder of US Treasuries in the world?
    Anyone have any thoughts? What are the risk implications for Ireland? What is the political back story that might have led to this picture?

    There may be significant government policy / financial implications. Does this imply a certain strategic importance of Ireland in the global financial picture, than what might normally be assumed by its lowly (former?) PIIGS status?

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